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Understanding and Coping with Emotions

Good morning world!  Today is a brand new chance to make a difference!

What is something that we all have, often don’t acknowledge and probably don’t fully understand?

The answer is feelings (I bet the giant hint above helped you with this answer!) Even as I sit writing this I’m struggling with determining whether I’m truly physically tired or just feeling some emotion that is making me want to go back to bed. Almost all of us know when we have been cut, burned or scratched.  Physical feelings are pretty easy for all of us to ascertain.  It is emotional feelings that seem to baffle us the most.  We need to communicate our feelings and the fact that we don’t understand them makes it pretty difficult.  This leads to many of our communication problems; how can we eloquently communicate something we just don’t get?

Feelings are something that you are aware of through the mind or through the senses that is not connected with sight, hearing, taste, or smell.  

Sometimes we try to stop feeling when it is uncomfortable.  This can make us really tired and further confused.  Feelings need to be acknowledged, sometimes spoken and released. The Feeling Wheel (above) is a favorite tool of mine. It helps us identify the layers of underlying feelings. Robert Plutchik developed it in 1980. This wheel is used by a lot of counselors because understanding our feelings leads to an even greater emotional health.

One of the feelings I hear the most about is motivation. “What can I do to stay motivated to workout?” “I’ve just lost my motivation to lose weight.” Far too often we speak about emotions, which are changeable and transient, as if they are fixed and permanent. Emotions come and go and if we allow them to do so while calmly observing them it gives us room for success. Motivation waxes and wanes but that does not mean you’ve lost your drive, it just means today might be powered by willpower.  An emotional eating binge does not mean your entire diet is blown, or even that the day is shot. Just as the sundae is gone, so is the slip. Gather yourself up, forgive yourself and let the emotions pass.

Once we understand a feeling, we can get to the next step to either create and enjoy the feeling, communicate it better, change the value that influenced it or to move on and change the situation to eliminate the cause of the bad feelings. This wheel is similar to a color wheel!  It shows the opposite feeling opposite ends of the wheel.  For example gratitude is a peaceful feeling and peaceful feelings are the opposite of scared.   This wheel is a great tool to use to get in touch with your true emotions!

Today, I am feeling thankful, cheerful, and intelligent and truthfully a teeny bit scared that I am not going to get all my work done!  I am also feeling loved and loving which gives me mostly peaceful emotions.  Maybe if I get all my work done I will feel powerful too!


xo, Ana Maria

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Primal Roasted Cipollini Onions and Pan Seared Swordfish Steaks

This is a super easy, primal (paleo friendly), high protein recipe combination that is high on flavor. Feel free to substitute the sweetener of your choice if raw honey doesn’t work for you. 

Roasted Cipollini Onions

Prep Time:15 min

Cook Time: 60 min

Level: Easy

Serves: 2-4 servings

Ingredients: Bag of 15-20 cipollini onions

Coconut oil

About 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp cup raw honey

1/2 bunch thyme, leaves removed (1/2 -1 tsp dried)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

*Cooks Tip: Allowing onions to sit in a bowl of hot water while you peel them makes it MUCH easier. Don’t make the water too hot, you don’t want to PRE-cook them.*

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, thyme, salt and pepper until combined. Put the onions in a large bowl, pour the dressing over them and toss well to coat.

Pour onions and marinade into small baking dish and place into the preheated oven and roast for 45 to 60 minutes until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized.

You can use the marinade to top off some side veggies or as a base to pan sear some yummy swordfish like I did.

Pan Seared Swordfish

Rinse and pat dry swordfish steaks. Season with sea salt and pepper and set aside.

In a skillet on medium heat add enough marinade to fully coat the bottom of the pan. Once hot add swordfish steaks.

Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes before turning over with a spatula and cooking for the same amount of time on the other side.

I suggest adding something green and then… Serve and enjoy!!!!

xo Ana Maria

Ch-ch-ch-changes, turning and facing the strain…

This blog has been a (sporadic) written recording of my experiences living and coaching people to an overall healthier lifestyle.  It is SO hard for me to remember to post on a regular basis, but I still plug away and come back so my commitment can’t be questioned. Right? lol Discipline is an entirely different character trait and one I would wager most of us struggle with. Am I wrong? Since my last post I’ve done a variety of fitness program challenges with my clients and had fun with each and every one! I will do a post in the future about some of the activities we did and books I’ve read over the past few months and my thoughts on them.  The theme of this portion of my journey is progress not perfection.  I am not expecting perfection from myself. To do so is a set up for failure. NOBODY is perfect. Personally, I am striving for overall progress; slow and easy continuous progress.

What used to work for me no longer works I’ve noticed, much to my chagrin.  When I started my healthy lifestyle almost 10 years ago, cardio, healthy carbs, whole grains and lean protein allowed me to lose 50 pounds even with my hypothyroidism in full swing. I recall being on a thread in the Beachbody message boards, at the beginning of my journey, and a woman telling me that her experience led her to believe that people with hypothyroidism couldn’t maintain a healthy weight while eating according the the FDA pyramid guidelines. I blew her off big time since I was losing just fine. Fast forward a decade and about a month ago I had a come to Jesus moment with myself and had to face the fact that there was something VERY wrong with the nutritional choices I was making for myself because the weight wasn’t coming off, it was sticking and increasing! I couldn’t workout any more than I was already doing because I didn’t have time and frankly just didn’t want to! I heard that wise woman’s words in my head and I headed to google. Could anyone really eat totally clean, workout 6 days a week and still struggle with getting to goal weight? The answer is a resounding YES. My research into possible causes led me to discover is, I’m not alone! Hypothyroidism, wheat/grain intolerance, autoimmune illnesses and difficulty losing weight are all very interconnected. I knew I had to make a change.


So here are the changes I have made to date.

1.              No processed foods

2.              No processed sugars

3.              No gluten

4.              No foods on my allergy list

5.              No grains (corn, oats, millet etc)

6.              Dialed WAY back on the cardio workouts with a focus on resistance training.

7.              Put my scale in the closet. (This was a mental health decision. lol)


I’ll do future posts on the why’s behind my choices. They weren’t random even though some of them are counter to current popular advice on how to achieve optimal health, wellness and/or weight management.


Here are the changes I’ve seen to date.

1.              Drastic lightening of the dark circles around my eyes

2.              Less painful menstrual cycle

3.              Lessened PMS

4.              Increased energy

5.              My clothes are getting bigger! 😉 Or is it that I’m shrinking? Lol

6.              Reduced appetite

7.              Increased sense of well-being and peace. Fewer mood swings.


I can’t deny that I have my hands full with the food changes. Just this morning I ordered breakfast at my new fav café and forgot what I can and can’t eat! When my plate arrived with the chili I remembered, I don’t eat beans or corn! I ate my eggs and the salad and left the chili. When the waitress came to get my plate she inquired why I left the chili. I explained how hard it is making health changes and that it was my fault for ordering something I couldn’t eat. The chef overheard me and empathized and sent me a yummy salad to fill my belly. It’s amazing how supportive people are of you when you explain that you are trying to choose foods to improve your health and wellness.


I believe that it is a mistake to take on more than what we can reasonably handle. Again it is important to be realistic with ourselves and practice slow growth and betterment. One thing at a time.


As my grain-free lifestyle becomes more is comfortable and natural, my main goal is to minimize stress.  My main focus will be to relieve stress with the following:


·      Pinpoint the things that cause stress in my life by daily journaling and then going back and highlighting anything stressful in my day.

·      Continuing daily exercise of 45-60 minutes 3 times weekly strength training and 30 – 45 minutes of cardio 2-3 times a week

·      Continuing my mindfulness practice for 30-60 minutes every morning.

·      Very limited political news.

·      Very limited television.

·      Being fully present with my daughter in the evenings.

·      Steps to reduce stress in my business through proper planning, using to do lists and very structured business hours working outside my house.

·      Interacting only with people who are positive and supportive of my goals and of me.


Have you made any positive life changes recently? How’s it going? Are you waiting for the new year to make a fresh start? Tell me about it in the comments section!


Let’s sail into 2014 FABULOUSLY


xo Ana Maria



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