Wednesday
Aug172016

This Beachbody Program is Too Expensive - My Perspective 

Since having my first daughter in 2014, I have completed many Beachbody programs: T25, Insanity Max 30, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, and now I'm doing 22 Minute Hard Corps. As a health coach and Beachbody coach, I use these programs with my clients as well. The programs cost roughly $140-160, and sometimes people tell me they're too expensive. Here is my perspective. 

What other fitness things cost 
- Yoga class: $22 for a drop in, or $108 for a month pass (at Sonic Yoga in NYC) 
- Soulcycle class: $34 
- Gym membership: $80-100/ month 
- Equinox membership: $200/ month (approx) 
- Personal trainer session: $80-150/ session 
- Babysitter to go do these things (if you have kids): $15-20/ hour
 

There are cheaper fitness options too 

- Free stuff on Youtube 
- Going running 
- A one-off Jillian Michaels DVD
 
Why I personally think it's a great value 
Let's take 22 Minute Hard Corps for an example. The challenge pack is on sale this month for $140. Here is what you get: 
The workouts: This is an 8-week program which includes 8 workouts on DVD. You can do them FOREVER.
 
- 30-Day Supply of Shakeology: Shakeology is a nutrient-dense shake with protein, superfoods, adaptogens, vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, fiber. You can replace one meal a day with Shakeology and you get a 30-day supply. So BAM that's breakfast for a month. Say you were spending $3/ day on breakfast, well that's $90 saved right there. Plus you're getting tons of nutrients and will likely be craving less and snacking less during the day - more money saved. BOOM.
 
30-Day Trial of Beachbody on Demand: Beachbody on Demand allows you to stream THOUSANDS of workouts from your computer. Try out some workouts, have your partner try some out. For free.
 
Discounted shipping: yay.
 
Portion control container set: you get the handy containers that are used with the 21 Day Fix eating plan, as well as a nutrition plan.
 
Sandbag: the program comes with a sandbag! How funny. I'm just using a heavy weight instead. With 2 young kids I do my best to keep sand OUT of the house :)
 
Coaching from me: as a health coach at Dr. Lipman's office, I charged $150 for a 50-minute session. Now you have me all through the month and beyond for support and guidance.
 
A community: I run a tight-knit private facebook group for others doing Beachbody programs. The energy, motivation and friendship is awesome. 

So for less than $5 a day ($4.66 over 30 days to be exact) you get ALL THIS STUFF. Honestly, that is freaking amazing!!! I bought 21 Day Fix Extreme a year ago and my husband still does those workouts ALL THE TIME. We have totally gotten our money's worth.  
 
Truth: When you follow a set program, you get better results 
I worked for 5 years alongside Dr. Frank Lipman at his wellness center in NYC. One thing I learned FOR ABSOLUTE SURE is that people got much better results when they followed a defined program. If I gave a patient a list of foods, they did not do well. However, if we gave them a 2-week detox program with a food list, shakes and supplements and a defined start and end date, they did AWESOME. I saw it over and over again. Willy nilly does not work. It is just how we're wired as people.
 
Truth: When you invest in yourself, you get better results 
I am a thrifty little bugger and I truly understand why it's hard to invest in a program like this. I really do. Some fears come up - you worry that it won't "work" for you, or that it will gather dust. Those are normal fears, but if you want different results, you have to be willing to do things differently.  
 
When you shell out some hard-earned cash for a program, you are signaling to yourself and the universe that you mean business. If something is free or cheap, the stakes are too low. I actually think $140 is a good price point for telling yourself - ok let's get serious. You are also saying my goals matter. Feeling better matters. 

What is it worth to you?  
This is really personal. You have to be in touch with your own "pain points" and your willingness to make changes. I started Beachbody programs after I had my first daughter in 2014. I was having a massive crisis of body confidence. I was mushy, and in the past I would have gone for a few 6-mile runs to get my body back, but after a c-section that was not an option. I had no energy, no core strength, no confidence, no time and I was totally floundering. I had to go back to work as a health coach where I saw all these celebrity, actor and model patients and none of my clothes fit. I felt like a hairdresser with bad hair! A mom friend told me about T25 and I liked that it was a) 25 minutes long and b) had a modifier. Because I was struggling so much, I took the leap.
 
You really need to ask yourself - am I ready to change? If the answer is yes, go for it! If you are getting tripped up about the cost, I would ask you to consider that you are using the money as an excuse to stay stuck in a painful rut. Don't do that!  
 
Do let me know if you'd like to talk about starting a program - I'm here to support you with taking this leap :) 
Love,
Kerry  
Thursday
Jun162016

Preparing Our Toddler For the New Baby


Leela was 20 months old when Rumi was born this spring, and she has adjusted very well to our new arrival. I got some great advice before Rumi was born about how to help her with this big transition. So here I am sharing some of the wonderful advice I received and what worked for us.  


Before the baby's arrival  

Leela was young, so there wasn't much I could do to prepare her for an abstract future event. She did, however, go through a major baby-obsession phase during my pregnancy where she pointed out babies EVERYWHERE - at the park, on the diaper box, in books, etc. I would point to my belly and tell her "baby is coming." Who knows if that sunk in? I got a bunch of books for her, but honestly she had no interest in them before the baby was born. Now that Rumi is 3 months old, she LOVES these books. Here are the books we got, in order of my most to least favorite:  

Waiting for Baby, by Rachel Fuller 
I am a Big Sister! by Caroline Jayne Church 
I'm a Big Sister, by Joanna Cole 
The New Baby, by Mercer Mayer 
The Baby is Here! a Daniel Tiger book
 

Meeting the baby for the first time

After ALL the worrying about rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night and needing neighbors to take care of Leela, well, that didn't happen. Rumi was born on a Friday afternoon. We had a sitter at the house, and my parents came at a leisurely pace and brought Leela to New Jersey for the weekend. I was only in the hospital from Friday to Sunday, and it's a long drive and Leela tends to get carsick, so I made the decision that she shouldn't visit me in the hospital. Too much driving, too confusing. 

My parents brought Leela back home to Brooklyn on Monday. I had Rumi in the rock & play (not in my arms) when Leela came through the door. It was an amazing moment, it was like she KNEW all along that something big was happening and it all clicked together. "Baby, baby" she kept saying as she circled the rock & play and met her sister. She looked sooo big next to a newborn!   

Everyone told me it was important that Leela should get a gift from the baby, so I had a soccer ball and an Elmo doll for her. My parents also got her a scooter around that time, which was great. They weren't just boring toys, they were cool new big kid activities.  

The first weeks 
I tried my best to make sure that Leela didn't feel excluded and that her needs were met. I was so tired and it was hard. But I did my best. 

 

1. There were some phrases I tried out with Leela: 

"This is your baby" 
"You can sit on my lap, I always have room for you" (even when I was holding/ breastfeeding the baby) 
"Come sit on the bed with us, let's cuddle."  
"You are so important to me, you are so special to me, you are my favorite" 
 

2. I got help from my husband and our sitter so that Leela could burn off energy, ride around on her scooter, and still get outside when I needed rest. Karan started a tradition with Leela every evening where they went to get a green juice together. She loved it.  

3. It's nerve-wracking to watch a toddler interacting with a tiny newborn. The toddler doesn't have much impulse control and you don't want the baby to get hurt. However, I really tried not to be saying "no" or "don't do that" all the time. I tried to focus on what she COULD do like, "tickle her toes," or "gentle" or "soft." 

Leela wanted to jam a pacifier in the baby's mouth all the time, and there didn't seem to be any harm, so I usually let her. Leela wanted to burp her, sometimes a bit too forcefully. Sometimes she wanted to help with diapers, sometimes not. I tried to let her explore, within reason. I let her pull 10 wipes out to change one diaper, or to put the diaper rash cream on the baby even though it was messy. I let her put 30 stickers on the baby while I was breastfeeding her. I let her climb into the Rock & Play and the baby swing. I figured that if I was getting worked up and saying no constantly, this would be no fun, and she would resent the baby. And when Leela did funny things, like trying to breastfeed with me, or tasting a bottle of breastmilk, I just was very neutral and poker-faced, and usually she didn't do those things again. 

You can't trust a toddler around a newborn (and Rumi has the scratches on her face to prove it), but I pretended that I trusted Leela, and I do think that helped her behavior to be pretty reasonable and decently gentle.    

4. My mom gave me simple advice that helped me 100 times over - to sit on the floor. Instead of nursing the baby on the couch or in bed, I would just move down to the floor and it helped so much. Leela was at our level and didn't feel excluded and could bring toys or books over to me. I also did many diaper changes on the floor instead of up on a changing table.  

5. When the baby was crying (which was often in the early days), I tried not to get flustered and act like this was the most important thing in the world to fix. If Leela needed me, I'd let the baby cry for another minute. Sometimes we would roll our eyes at the baby, like she was this pesky new roommate, and Leela and I had an inside joke. Mainly I would try to treat them as equally important, rather than Leela being less important. We also created new traditions, like Leela LOVES the breastpump so much and always sits with me if I'm pumping. "Drip drip drip!" she says. 

6. I didn't "shush" Leela all the time if the baby was sleeping. I figured another great way to make Leela resent the baby was to constantly be shushing her in our apartment. Toddlers make noise. And newborns can sleep through stuff. And Rumi wasn't on any sort of schedule in the beginning, so I figured that if Leela came home from the park and was jumping out of her skin with excitement to see the baby, well, the baby was probably going to wake up whether I like it our not, so better not to make a stink about it. 

I hope there are some helpful nuggets in here! Janet Lansbury also has a helpful article on Helping Kids Adjust to Life with the New Baby

Love, 
Kerry 


 

Wednesday
Jun082016

How I'm Taking Care of Myself Postpartum


During my 5 years of seeing patients as a health coach alongside Dr. Frank Lipman, I learned that the postpartum period is a very vulnerable time. Thyroid and adrenal issues seemed to find a foothold during this stressful period. I heard so many women say some variation of:  

"I haven't felt the same since I had my baby X years ago." 
"[XYZ SYMPTOM OR HEALTH PROBLEM] got much worse after I had my baby." 

Yet when I had my first baby Leela, I had no clue. I thought maternity leave would be all walks in the park with baby and dog. I did too much, too soon. I was stressed out often, exhausted always, and my healing was slow. After having my second daughter Rumi this March, I took it much slower. With 2 kids under 2, my body has been working very hard since the first pregnancy in 2013. These babies are a like parasites that suck the nutrients right out of you, and I've been aware that this is a physically taxing time. 

Here's what I did during the "fourth trimester" to take care of myself: 
  

1. Hibernation.

I stayed in bed and breastfed the baby, as much as possible, a practice known as a "lie in." This article which talks about postpartum practices in the US vs. other countries had a big impact on me. I literally didn't leave the house for days, then ventured only as far as the deli half a block away, then kept my radius to about 5 blocks for a while longer. I watched 6 seasons of The Walking Dead in 6 weeks. Since I have a toddler who needed to go outside to burn off energy, this meant that her dad or a sitter helped.
 
2. Fewer visitors, more help. 

Having a visitor stop by doesn't sound stressful, but it can be, if you're trying to tidy up the house, offer a snack, look presentable, or time the baby's naps or feedings around the visit. This time, I had fewer visits from friends, and more visits from my parents, where I gave them guidance to come after Leela's nap, bring her to the park, and then cook me dinner :) Thank you parents, for doing this multiple times!   

3. Automate everything. 

I signed up for Amazon Subscribe and Save to get diapers, wipes, toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, garbage bags. I use Fresh Direct for groceries. I have a neighborhood pet store that delivers Coconut's dog food. We even have a dry cleaner who does free pickup and delivery. All of this helps -- a little -- when you're in the thick of things with a newborn. 

 

4. Shakeology 

I drink my Shakeology every day because it's nutrient dense and helps me steer away from junk food, which I've noticed is about 1000x more tempting when you're exhausted and depleted. When I started with Shakeology a few months after Leela was born, it helped my energy, mood and milk supply, so now it's part of my everyday routine. 

5. Unapologetically resting. 

This is the hardest part for me. My conditioning says that lying around in bed all day = lazy and pathetic. But the fourth trimester is different! Have you ever heard that saying "summer bodies are made in the winter"? Similarly, I'd say that "energetic moms are made in the fourth trimester." I simply had to not think of this as laziness, but instead decide it was necessary for being strong and energetic in the future.  

6. Using babysitters. 

Even when Rumi was too little to leave with a sitter, I got help with Leela. There are many things - fancy clothes, expensive dinners, cable tv - I don't spend money on. I consider myself thrifty and often too practical. But 30 or 40 bucks for a sitter for two hours, when you're going to be up ALL night with a newborn - that really helped me survive those first weeks. I think it helped Leela with the sibling adjustment too, because she was getting undivided attention and a chance to run around outside.    
 

7. Iron. 

My iron was low when they tested it in the hospital, and I started taking Floradix right away. (Warning: Floradix tastes gross.) My lactation consultant warned me that low iron --> overwhelm and irritability, and I didn't need any extra of that! I also ate a ton of hamburgers for a few weeks. I don't like hamburgers, I've been eating a mostly vegetarian diet for nearly 20 years, but I just listened to my body on this one and went for it. Karan called himself the "energy police" and would come home at night, take one look at my pale, dizzy self and "prescribe" me a burger. Bone broth would have also been good. 
 

8. Drinking water.

A glass of water every time I nursed. A big glass of water first thing in the morning. Half-empty glasses of water all over the house. I let my husband know that I ALWAYS need a glass of water, he doesn't have to ask me first, or wait for me to ask. Water is my superfood, and I've gotten really good about drinking tons of it, and I think it has helped my milk supply and energy levels a lot.
 

Don't get me wrong, I also did unhealthy things! There was chocolate, there were croissants. I stayed up too late watching Walking Dead many a time. I cried often and bickered with my husband for no good reason. But I think I've emerged from the fourth trimester relatively unscathed. I've started to exercise again. Rumi is healthy and sleeping for nice stretches at night. Leela likes her sister. All of those bleary long nights will be a distant memory soon enough, and I'm happy with all the choices to make resting and healing my j-o-b during the first few weeks. 

I'd love to hear from you! What helped you survive and/or thrive during the first weeks with a newborn? 

Further reading: 
What new moms need to know about thyroid problems, by Aviva Romm, MD 
The undervalued therapeutic power of rest, by Gloria Lemay 

Lots of love,  
Kerry

 

Wednesday
Jun012016

My VBAC Experience

The most frequently asked question in my life right now is "How does Leela get along with the baby?" But second place is "I'm considering having a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), can you share about your experience." So - here goes! Keep in mind, I'm not a doctor, just sharing my experience and my best understanding here.
 
A little background on my c-section
In July 2014, I had my first baby Leela. She was breech and despite every attempt to turn her, I couldn't get her to budge. I scheduled an external version, but my fluid levels were too low to attempt it. Because of concerns about the low fluids plus the breech, I had a c-section at 38 weeks. I was devastated. I'm a holistic health coach and wanted a natural childbirth. I was with a midwife practice, hired a doula, read a dozen books about natural childbirth, watched every episode of Call the Midwife. I ended up having a highly medicated birth, surgery, a difficult start to breastfeeding, and a tough recovery. I never went into labor, had a contraction, had my water break, or any of that "fun" stuff that you see in the movies.   
A different approach with the second pregnancy
A year later, I got pregnant with my second baby, Rumi. Since using a midwife practice and putting so much energy into wanting a natural childbirth had backfired the first time, I took a different approach. I chose a conventional ob-gyn practice (Weill Cornell) and told my husband "I am not making having a VBAC my big crusade." If it happens, great. If not, I'm going to be ok with it. Basically, my plan was to apply reverse psychology and pretend it wasn't super important to me, in hopes that that would make it happen.
 
Discussing VBAC with my doctor 
From day 1, I told my doctor that I would like a VBAC if possible. She needed to see my hospital records from the c-section in order to determine if I was a candidate for a VBAC. I think they mainly look to see the details of the incision. Based on looking at my records, she said I was a candidate for a VBAC. She was pretty neutral about it. I certainly could have chosen a practice that is more supportive of VBAC, but instead I chose a practice most convenient to where I live, with short wait times and good Yelp reviews (because living in NYC is ridiculous and you make decisions based on stuff like that here!).
 
Coasting through pregnancy
I had an easy and uneventful pregnancy with Rumi. I didn't obsess over the VBAC. However, I did stay very physically active for two reasons. 1, because when Leela was breech her head was stuck up in my ribs. It was so painful. I felt like if I kept exercising, this baby wouldn't get stuck. 2, because I didn't want any complications such as gaining too much weight to "disqualify" me from a VBAC. You see, if you have had a c-section in the past, you can't get induced because your scar could rupture. So if there are any complications, you'd go straight for a c-section.  So I made it a point to eat well and exercise in the spirit of doing my part to avoid complications. At every doctor's appointment I would ask "are things still looking good for a VBAC?" and they would say yes and I'd consider that a victory.
 
3rd trimester - getting discouraged 
Towards the end of the pregnancy, I felt that my doctor shifted her tone and became rather discouraging about the VBAC. At my appointments, she would list 5 different things that could disqualify me - if the baby was too big, too small, too early, too late, etc. I learned that my hospital had only a 13% VBAC rate. I felt that to have a VBAC was like getting through the eye of a needle. I was kind of annoyed with myself for not choosing a practice that is more supportive. That's when I started to do my research so I'd be empowered to make this happen.
 
My research on VBAC 
The best resource out there is: http://www.ican-online.org/. I reached out to my local ICAN chapter and they were really helpful with answering some of my questions. I also did google searches on "how to have a successful vbac" and basically searched for stories from moms who had vbacs. 
 
I also did field research. My friend who is a doula asked me to be the pregnant model at a class she was taking on fetal positioning. The class took place at the very end of my pregnancy and I got to meet a bunch of doulas who had VBACs themselves and attended VBAC births. It was very encouraging and empowering. I started to feel optimistic. I hired a doula, feeling that would help me to labor at home for a bit longer than my husband and I would be comfortable doing on our own.  

Why did I want a VBAC so badly? 
There are so many reasons!  A few: 
- I have a toddler. I was worried that after a c-section I wouldn't be able to pick her up for 6 weeks, which would be crazy hard. 
- I wanted the experience of pushing out a baby. It seemed crazy to me that I could have 2 babies and yet never have a single contraction. 
- I wanted an easier recovery. 
- Despite all the hype that VBAC is less safe, a second surgery is not without it's risks. I didn't want another surgery. 
- I am just a crunchy granola person and vbac was my strong preference.
 
Managing my emotions
By the end of the pregnancy, I was no longer pretending that a VBAC didn't matter to me. However, I spent an hour journaling about my birth experience with Leela, processing those emotions, and that helped. I felt like I could accept either outcome. And if I had a second c-section, I felt my recovery and healing would be MUCH better because I would know what to expect and wouldn't allow myself to wallow in disappointment like I did with Leela's birth.   
Rumi's birth
At my 39-week appointment, my doctor told me "I'm at the hospital all weekend, I hope to see you there!" (Remember, we didn't want the baby to be late, because then I'd have to get a c-section, since I couldn't get induced.) On Thursday I wrapped up all of my work projects. On Thursday night, I took a long walk with Leela, bounced on a yoga ball, and ate eggplant parm for dinner (wives tale that eggplant parm --> going into labor). I was ready. Low and behold, I started having contractions that night. Woke up on Friday morning, and called the doula to come over. Karan had a dentist appointment and I told him there was still plenty of time and to go. The doula and I labored at home. Karan came home. Then, whooosh, things started to go REALLY CRAZY FAST. I told them, "we have to go to the hospital NOW." We left Leela with the sitter and had one of those dramatic cab rides where the poor cab driver must have been seriously worried that I was going to have a baby in the back seat. We got to the hospital, and I was 10 cm dilated. Oh boy. My doctor said, "I'm sorry but it's too late for me to offer you an epidural, the baby's head is here and it's time to push." Rumi was born within 1 hour of my arrival at the hospital.
 
Recovery from VBAC vs. c-section
Neither one is a walk in the park! However, the recovery from my unmedicated vbac was much better. It felt amazing to be able to walk around, pee without a catheter, EAT, and not sleep with those puffy things on my legs. After my c-section, I was confined to bed for 12 hours, was not allowed to eat for about 20 hours, had so many drugs running through my body that I was throwing up while nursing Leela for the first time, and it took a full week for my milk to come in which was incredibly stressful. After the vbac, I did have a few stitches, plenty of soreness, and took my full dose of Motrin for a good 2 weeks. But - there's no comparison. Not having surgery = easier recovery for me.
 
My words of advice
A few things I learned: 
1. If you're committed to having a VBAC, choose a practice that is known for being supportive of them. In everything I read, that's the #1 thing you can do to increase your chances. I did not do that and wish I had. 
2. Choose a doula who has attended a VBAC birth. 
3. Don't labor at home till you're 10 cm dilated! That's not something I intended to do, and I'm not sure why my labor went so crazy fast at the end, but it was scary and I don't recommend it.  
4. Find a way to accept either outcome, because I believe that will support your healing. 
5. Get educated about VBAC, there are a lot of myths around it. For example, some people think that you can't have a VBAC if it's been less than 2 years since your prior cesarean, but that is not true. Also - uterine rupture happens in only 1% of vbac births. This is a good article: http://www.vbac.com/making-informed-decisions-about-vbac-or-repeat-cesareans/. Also - ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists) says this: In addition to fulfilling a patient's preference for vaginal delivery, at an individual level VBAC is associated with decreased maternal morbidity and a decreased risk of complications in future pregnancies. Read more here  
6. You often hear, "all that matters is a healthy baby." I don't love the way that statement diminishes the mother's birth experience. While a good outcome for mom and baby matters most, there is still room to advocate for the birth experience of your choosing. There is still room to be empowered and have a preference. It's your body and your baby. 
7. Manage fear. There's no question that the phrase "uterine rupture" is a scary one, and I had to find a way to manage my fear. For me, reading positive birth stories was helpful. I really love the book Baby Catcher. Also - AVOID AT ALL COSTS talking to people who might make you more fearful. I wanted to be well-informed but not to hear horror stories. 
8. Nothing is perfect. While having a VBAC was a triumphant and wonderful experience for me, when Rumi came out she had difficulty breathing and was in the NICU for the first 2 days. Even though I had the drug-free vaginal birth of my dreams, we didn't get skin-to-skin contact and I couldn't breastfeed at all for 2 days. Ironic, right? For anyone who wants a VBAC I would recommend to go for it, but ... truly all that matters is a healthy baby.
 
I hope that's helpful! 
Sending all the best wishes for a healthy birth ~ 
Love, 
Kerry 

 

Friday
Jan012016

How Shakeology has changed my life

In November 2014, when Leela was 4 months old, I was going back to work after maternity leave. I worked as a health coach for Dr. Frank Lipman at his wellness center in NYC, where we see many celebrity patients. Even before having a baby, I found it a lot of pressure at times to be giving diet or weight loss advice to gorgeous teeny Oscar-winning actresses. But after having a baby, and still carrying 10 extra pounds, I was incredibly self-conscious. Bottom line: I felt fat. Leela was nowhere close to sleeping through the night. So I was tired. I was exclusively breastfeeding, and constantly felt pressure about pumping and my milk supply. I was "FINE" - frustrated, insecure, neurotic, emotional. 

A nutritionist friend recommended Shakeology. I studied the ingredients. I have high standards with this stuff, and because of my work, I understand supplements and ingredients well. It wasn't perfect in every way, but it was free of soy, gluten, dairy, artificial sweeteners. It had a lot of good stuff in one bag, so the quick + easy factor was a big selling point, since I had to wrangle a baby, pumping, a dog, showering, makeup, and getting to work on time. A bag of Shakeology cost $130, which nearly gave me a panic attack. That came out to $4/ day, but the upfront cost was hard for me to swallow. It had a 30-day "bottom of the bag" money-back guarantee which I liked. So I ordered it, kind of as a going-back-to-work present for myself. 

I started drinking these crazy shakes and my life started to change. I don't want to exaggerate the changes, but one healthy change can lead to a domino effect. In behavior research, they call it "keystone habits" which set off a series of related changes. Here's what happened for me over the past 14 months. 

1. My fog of exhaustion started to lift. 

2. My milk supply started to increase, which was a big relief. 

3. I had more energy, which meant that after the workday and putting the baby to bed, I actually could convince myself to exercise. This lead to endorphins, better mood, gradual weight loss. 

4. My digestion improved. (The shakes have prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes, fiber). 

5. The price of the shakes still bugged me. Because of my work in the nutrition industry, I have a good sense of the markup of these shakes! So I signed up as a Beachbody coach, which meant I got a 25% discount. It also meant that as friends and family started to buy shakes from me, I received a commission. In my very first month as a coach, I got my shakes for "free." 

6. Karan caught on that I was making a delicious chocolate milkshake in our blender every morning. He wanted to try. He got hooked, and also felt the boost in energy, stamina, etc. He launched a book last year, while working full-time as a CMO, with a young baby. He was spread really thin and to be honest I expected him to go bald! Thanks to a lot of good habits - shakes, green juice, exercise, meditation - he was just a powerhouse all year, and he still has plenty of hair :) I don't know how he did it, but was happy to make him a shake every morning to help support his health and resilience in any way I could.  

7. My cravings for sugar dramatically reduced. This is a common 'side effect' that I hear from people with Shakeology. I've always had a sweet tooth, which was hard because as a health coach, a) I know better than to eat sugar!, and b) I'm supposed to set a good example for my clients, not be a donut-eating hypocrite! I've tried a LOT of things to reduce my sugar cravings, and this really was a turning point for me. 

8. Since I was signed up as a Beachbody coach, I started leading 21-day fitness groups, too. In the 7 years since I graduated from nutrition school and became a health coach, it was the most fun I've had with my coaching yet. 

9. By summer, I was feeling back to myself. No longer the stressed, exhausted, shrill, emotional mess of a few months before. In fact, we started talking about trying for another baby and got pregnant. While it took a few months to get pregnant with Leela, this time I got pregnant right away. 

10. It seems like this list should have 10 items :) I suppose what I can round out the list with is by saying, I became more comfortable with investing in my health. Not just investing money in shakes. I invest time in reading books like Daring Greatly and The Power of Habit. I invested in flying to Nashville for a Beachbody conference. I invest 30 minutes a day in my workouts. Part of the journey of becoming a wife and mother is realizing that my family can't afford to have me be "FINE." They need me to be strong and happy. So on the one hand, I'm one of the least materialistic people you'll ever meet. Leela wears hand-me-downs, I'm wearing all second-hand maternity clothes, our house is completely uncluttered. We don't buy crap. Yet we always prioritize investing in our health. 

I share all of this because I'm grateful to the nutritionist friend who shared about Shakeology with me. As a disclaimer, I'm not giving medical advice here, nor am I suggesting that all of these things will happen to you. I'm simply sharing my experience. If you're looking to make a change this New Year that will improve your health, and taste like a chocolate milkshake, well let me know and I'm happy to get you set up! 

New Years Special 
Beachbody has a kick-ass special happening right now. If you buy Shakeology, you can get the 21-Day Fix workout DVDs, eating plan and portion containers for $10 only. For extra support, motivation and coaching, you can also join my January 4th challenge group - for free! Let me know if you'd like to jump in.  

Lots of love and HAPPY NEW YEAR!  
Kerry