For the first time in 7 years, I was inspired by the words that were coming out of my own mouth. I was spiritually naked, exposed, vulnerable that day. I was finally talking about who I really am. Love working with Providence Health & Services and my dearest friend Michelle Marie to continue to share & inspire through my personal story.  #HealthBeat #BelieveandBecome xx

CLICK HERE for watch the 3-Part series and hear my “full story!”

You Are Enough

I am invested & educated enough
To be a learner.
I am selfless & giving enough
To be a teacher.
I am creative & unique enough
To be an innovator of my craft.
I am strong, determined & healthy enough
To be an athlete.
I am free, dedicated & talented enough
To be an artist.
I am brave & special enough
To be an inspiration.

I am enough

To be anything I want to be.

I am everything I want to be

because I am me.

Never lose sight of who you are & want to be; you are worthy & capable enough.

…my love xo

Your Piece to the Puzzle … The Big Picture

Sometimes life can seem like one mysterious, never ending PUZZLE.  Here lies this beautiful universe filled with picture perfect pieces scattered all around us, each equally significant to potentially completing our “BIG picture”.  Sometimes we come across pieces that seem to be without purpose or reason.  OR sometimes, when they say “it all happens for a reason!”, well  perhaps it’s because what comes into our lives is with absolute purpose!  Rather than perceiving life as scattered pieces, we can shift our focus and energy on the picture we are creating every day; the pieces will then align and that perfect “one” you’ve been looking for will appear.  The beauty is that these objects already exist to create a clear picture, just as the cover to the puzzle box displays the visual of a picture that the scattered pieces will, without a doubt, create (if worked on with focussed and persistent efforts).

Sometimes, you may find yourself getting upset or feel defeated because you’re not able to find an exact piece for an exact space but you always KNOW when it just doesn’t fit in that particular area, and you must move on!!!  Why is it that we will inevitably still try to force it, knowing it will never fit, literally … in hopes for the picture we created in our mind rather than what actually connects with our heart and our soul.  Hopefully, you remove the piece before you even get a chance to realize it’s forced to fit, or worse, get stuck and tangled with another that was never a True “match” for you from the start.  Although we can try over and over again, when it’s not the right ONE, you know it’s time to align yourself with the connecting pieces.  We must be aware when we face disconnecting pieces by being present, otherwise stuck (in life) like a toddler, not only physically and mentally but emotionally perhaps; unable to start the puzzle let alone complete any part of it and stuck in one place, trying to squeeze in all the wrong pieces.

However, no effort or piece gets thrown out.  When it doesn’t fit in one space, it may belong in another.  For instance, if you saw something or someone that appeared as if it would fit in the “Love of your life” category (we all, on some level, create for ourselves) but close up and connected it just won’t gel effortlessly and with ease in that space, it must belong somewhere else…like as a symbol of having a clear intention of what you Truly want or a lesson or getting you that much closer to appropriate and compatible, loving piece!  Instead of discouragement feel excitement because the right piece will always show up!  Yes, you know when you know, whether it’s right or it isn’t but trust the perfect piece is always right there, right in front of you and you are capable to finish any part of the puzzle you imagine…it always starts with one inspired thought.

I have always had a love for puzzles.  Here are thousands of scattered pieces, all significant in creating a piece of art; the BIG picture.  As the puzzle starts to come together, you see the picture more clearly.  Our lives being the most intricate one we are given to create at any given moment!  Each puzzle piece represents a unique aspect of who you are as a person.  As we go through life, we are constantly evolving and emerging in our special uniqueness: the essence of who we are.  An outside perspective may see you slowly emerge and change over time, much as a puzzle does as it is assembled piece by piece.  It evolves and some parts of the picture may be successfully completed at a faster pace, as others are a “work in progress”.  Every day we can take a step back and look at all we have created thus far and be enthusiastic as to what lies ahead.  Some pieces that we come across may seem like filler, or background but nothing is without purpose; without just one piece, the picture isn’t complete.  Wisdom is distributed in mysterious, sometimes misleading ways.  However, all the people, events and circumstances that take place in our lives offer bits and pieces* that complete us.  We are in fact one big puzzle piece ourselves and the picture of our lives would not be complete without one another.  One Love*

It’s important that a puzzle is not ignored out of boredom or denied out of frustration. Remember the picture already exists, whether you have a clear vision of it or not, as we lay out the foundation and the mystery of life will fill in inevitably but it’s your job to put it together.  Just trust it’s ALL a part of it: the people, circumstances, moments of clarity, lessons, tests, frustrations, enlightened new ways of thinking, of connecting you to the next perfect space…You can’t throw one away, it always leads to connect that next piece. You know the moment when you say, Yes!  That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!  It shows up always, YOU just got to show up mentally, physically, emotionally and just play.  Don’t give up!  Don’t let your puzzle stand still, there’s a bigger picture that awaits to be discovered. If you walk away, just know your puzzle isn’t going to put itself together.  There’s nothing worse than feeling incomplete or scattered, you just got to show up and play.  There may be the inevitable process of trial and error but the more focussed we become on what it is we want, the vision manifests into our physical reality with ease. The clearer and more specific the vision, the faster you get out there and get what you want. You got to know yourself to know what you’re looking for 🙂 So what picture do you see?  TRUST the pieces are all right there for you to create it.  Every piece made perfectly, connecting your visions with your journey, to complete YOUR, one of a kind, vibrant portrait!

(A little Christmas gift, I finished over the holidays:)  My Mom always seems to slip in that one, two, or sometimes too many gifts where she still thinks I’m her little 10 year old …. and I honestly always love them the most.  And how fitting. I ❤ puzzles. I <3<3 Television.  Complete.  Thanks!) XOX *CL

Why did you show up today?

Believe and become? Is an avenue for people to discover what it is they want in this life & by power of positive thought, believing “I CAN”, you will become.  Whether it’s health, prosperity, success, Love, balance, that you “show up” for every day, you can have whatever you focus your heart & mind on, & beyond. I dedicate sharing my experience to inspire individuals with or without disabilities to live happier, healthier & more fulfilled lives & BEcome who you are meant to be. xx


Do you wake up INspired or does something or someone come along where you, for a moment become still and feel the power of inspiration…In spirit? I can’t quite say I’m in a constant meditative state but I’d like to say I’m in a constant motivated state; an urge to learn more, be more and evolve beyond.  It’s taken some time but I don’t wait for something to come along to open my eyes to then feel the urge to do something.  I started to just become inspired, be inspired, be the inspiration. Interesting enough, I attracted more & more circumstances, people, situations that inspire me throughout my days.

Yesterday, in my fitness class, the instructor asks the class, “Why are you here today? Let that be your intention and get what you want”.  A few reasons I thought…then in a flash, an inspired thought of why I was really there: to give Love to myself so that I could give more Love to others. The biggest gift of all.  Only when you do you, your mind, your body good, you then have the capacity to give all that and more to everyone.  Self love inspires others around you to reflect that love.

Keeping this intention throughout the spinning class, I realized my true intention was in fact to inspire!  As I fought through the burn, the pain, the hills, the race was on to inspire just one, or two, or a whole generation to do the same; to reach goals and new levels of achievements in life, whether in your job, relationships, education, a new hobby, reaching potentials of the highest success you never knew you even had in you.  Amazed by this athlete to my left, his energy and his strength INspired me.  As he challenged his personal limits, I worked a little harder myself.  I wanted to keep up with this guy.  When the ride was over, he took the time to find find me just to express, “Wow! I’ve been cycling my whole life & you are my new spinning Hero! I was so inspired by you, I tried to keep up with you the whole time. I’ve never ridden like that in my life! You are a true inspiration to me & to us all just by showing up”, and he thanked me.  ME? And that was it, a simple reminder….one person, one day at a time, I “show up” every day to Inspire and be inspired.  “WHY DID YOU SHOW UP TODAY?”

Happiness is a positive thought away .. .

“When they said it wasn’t going to be easy, never be the same, I lost it all…I responded with Ok, sooo how awesome can I make this NEW life amidst this “tragedy”.  However, periodically I’d have frightening thoughts that created a sharp, burning sensation in my heart.  I remember a time in my life when I first experienced heartbreak; where my heart was in pain & ached.  But this time was different, unfamiliar, & scary.  A fleeting, doubtful thought came rushing in, “Will anyone ever truly Love me again?” I immediately responded confidently, “Yes. Of course.” I knew the answer & I felt relieved; not sure why I knew, I just did because I STILL had me, my Life, & I LOVED it more than ever.  There’s a wonderful law that attracts & I knew someone would reflect that love.

And then, we all know the unnecessary, ridiculous trickle effect of negative thought.  For me: “Will I be starred at & perceived as a weak, crippled, incompetent individual by others?  Can I handle that?”  Probably.  I tried convincing myself, “If I like me, other’s perception of me can’t change that, right?”  So I worked towards things I was passionate about that made me feel healthy & whole (acting, nutrition & sport, giving, creating…) I remember taking walks alone, shopping in Beverly Hills just a couple weeks later; no hand, no bandage, just my new normal because that’s all I had.  I could imagine the confusion it stirred up when someone saw this “normal” looking girl, but something was blatantly missing; almost frightening to fathom for oneself.  I thought, “Being that girl with one hand might take some time to get use to myself; it is what it is & you just can’t get around the elephant in the room…the looks are just a part of it Chauntal” (I talked to myself & God A LOT, thankfully guiding me through).  It’s an extremely unconventional distortion to some but then to see “the girl with one hand” smiling, laughing, going about life in a healthy, positive way, was almost even more unconventional to observe I imagine.  I understand now, that the way I was handling it all was what was conflicting for the mind to comprehend.

AND then (the thoughts usually work in 3’s for some reason, like comedy, but not so funny this time), “Am I capable to raise children & be a nurturing wife & mother? Sometimes I need help?”  My Mom was so efficient in the kitchen, around the house & prepared everything so effortlessly.  Only now do I know how much prep & work went into those delicious family dinners.  I always assumed I’d give my family & children the same, magical experience.  Prepare family dinners, clean the house, prep lunches, be a perfectly, awesome, functional Mom & wife?! I was exhausted just thinking about it, when I really just wanted to blowdry my hair like I use to & fold my own laundry neatly.  This time I had no answer.  It was unclear to me & is still unknown.  So it came rushing in & My heart truly hurt, again.  MY world? is completely different than I had always imagined….
And finally, almost as if my survival/defense mechanism kicked in, I laughed & thought, “‘Ok drama queen, I don’t know! And that is ok.  I have a choice: dwell or embrace the unpredictable.  One fuels fear, one fuels hope.  I choose the latter.  I know this much, I sure as hell will do my absolute best and do it my way!”  The more & more I realize how much I underestimated my abilities in the beginning, just as a lot of people still do, at first glance (“How does she blowdry her hair?” “Button pants” “Tie shoes”, “polish her own nails”, even I can’t believe I mastered that one woohoo)  I have tricks & surprise myself more & more everyday!  I just do it.  Get the job done.  I hear so many friends say to me, “You stay healthy, work & get through daily things so effortlessly.  I look at you & think I definitely have no excuse”.  Thanks? 😉  That’s not my point entirely, but if I said I chose the victim route, I’d be lying.
We can do anything we put our mind to: “If you can conceive it, believe it you can achieve it.”  You are only limited by your own doubts, regulations & limitations you put on yourself.  Happiness is just a positive thought away!  I think this principle applies to everything in life.  Doubtful thoughts arise every day.  Are we capable?  You’d be surprised how capable & beyond when your mission in life is to Live the Life you always imagined & BEYOND!  I must remind myself to give unconditional love to all & everything, every day, but I am learning, evolving & growing with you all, constantly. I love to hear feedback & share stories for means of living a better life.
“I can relate, also. October 8, 2009 I was in an automobile accident and lost my left arm halfway between the shoulder and elbow. I was also pregnant at the time, and really unsure about how I would handle being a one-armed mom. My daughter was born May 5, 2010 – healthy, 8lbs. 3oz., and I have really done okay. It is really amazing how the human body can adapt. Believe and become really is the key. Best wishes, Chantal, from a “sister”. ~ charlotte39DD
This story encouraged me to be brutally open, honest & take the risk of being perceived as weak or vulnerable, because perhaps by sharing, I’ll help someone breathe a little easier or simply touch just one individual today!  I already feel slightly relieved knowing I can share a piece of my story & give back what I’ve received…Thank you for this inspiration!

Skinnie Magazine wants to know!

Skinnie Magazine features me as a “Gamechanger” along with fellow LA Destroyer’s & the LA artists we worked with in this month’s issue.

I love Q&A’s that allow me to reevaluate my goals, values and philosophies.   When you stop & ask yourself questions about you, it forces you to stay connected to yourself (be present now), explore and put things into perspective.  We can always be the student of our own teachings.  Skinnie asks simple yet direct questions about my culture, my community, my Life.

Legacy is something that few people ever consider. In terms of your craft, what are you working for your legacy to be?
Regardless of disability, I want to show the world when you truly believe in yourself you can become anything you put your mind to!  Some may perceive me as “flawed” or “different” because I have one hand but I want to break the social/media norm.  My mission is to inspire, encourage and empower people with or without physical disabilities to pursue their dreams against any adversity and embrace their flaws through my creative expression: acting, dancing and singing.  I ultimately do what I do to inspire and impact even just one life.  I hope my story/outlook and persistent drive will make a positive impact on a much higher platform!

Game-changer is a phrase often used but rarely executed. Who has helped propel you to reach a level in your career where you are now being recognized as a game-changer?
My incredible foundation: parents, sister and boyfriend.  They’ve never stopped supporting and believing in me, therefore I believe in myself.  They give me the courage to spread my wings and fly every day.  In a city of such levels of diversity, I feel as if I am more than just an actress, just an athlete, just a model, just an inspirational role model.  I now believe* I am a gamechanger.

How much of who you are as an artist and a professional in your field is directly linked to where you came from? How much has being from LA contributed to developing your perspective?
Growing up with a musician father, I was within reach the music and entertainment industry since I could remember.  I grew up in the film & entertainment capital.  I’ve always had larger than life dreams but I feel as if LA nurtures my artistic passion, allowing me to make those dreams my reality.
For me, acting is a reflection of true life.  I want to inspire people to feel and truly live.  Living in such a diverse community, what better place to study human behavior and culture.   LA is art & creativity.

Who or what did you think about on those times when it was rough to get up and do work?
We all can feel overwhelmed with uncertainty at times.  I try to adjust my doubtful thinking and remind myself that everything has a significant purpose.  I do experience the world in a way that I’d like my family & friends to see, so whether I chose this role or not, I choose to teach so that others can live happier, more fulfilled lives.  When I was told it would never be the same, I worked harder and stayed true to my passion of performing.  I want to encourage those with similar situations: ”Don’t be afraid to show the world exactly who you are!”

Did Rakim get it right when he said, ‘Cause it ain’t where you’re from, it’s where ya at…”
Absolutely.  “Where ya at..” it absolutely state of mind.  Stay Passionate!  Stay connected, be present and feel blissful now!

CRYSTAL clear*

“Without pressure and heat there would be no diamonds. It’s how you cope with Life’s difficult situations that determine how bright you shine..” ~ ♥

Yes, we really can make a difference,  1 day, 1 person at a time.  A few months ago this young girl contacted me via Facebook: “Love this page. Thank you so much. Just reading your posts is inspiring to me every day. I lost my right arm below the elbow over the 4th of July weekend. You’re truly an amazing, inspiring, individual!!  Thank you Chauntal!” ~ Crystal Clark. No thank you!  Crystal expressed to me how she’d look to my page every single day for inspiration & light, uplifting her after losing her left arm to a disease called Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS).  Not to mention, she also lost the remainder of her hearing and sight in her left eye that previous month.  I’ve been exposed to so many relating stories, people who reach out daily, but I couldn’t imagine why she’d look to me as a role model?

I felt honored…she asked to copy my ‘outlook story’ I wrote in my bio just after my accident & paste onto her page because she wanted a daily reminder that “it is a choice to live HAPPY amidst any adversity life throws at you”.  She became a friend and we’d share motivational stories & quotes.   She had the urge to impact people with her story as well.  She told me I truly helped her live her life to the fullest, focus on the positive and simply be happy.  I in turn learned so much from this special woman.

Her sister just informed me that she fought to her last day and just lost her battle with the debilitating disease.  I’m not sure the extent of her struggle but every time she posted an update or picture it seemed as if she was cracking up; so full of life, so happy, a huge inspiration perhaps without even knowing it.  It was indeed contagious.  She encouraged me to encourage others which encouraged her 🙂

Although she said I was her inspirational reminder, I thank her for putting a few things into perspective; most importantly, purpose in service to others.  “If you want to find your true purpose in life, know this for certain: Your purpose will only be found in service to others, and in being connected to something far greater than your body/mind/ego.” ~ Wayne Dyer.  Never lose a burning desire to love, help and inspire others.  Someone somewhere needs to believe*

One of my favorite quotes Crystal lived by:  “When life gives you trouble: you can get bitter or better. You can go under or you can go on.” – Joyce Meyer   Thank you Crystal.  You will forever be a role model & loved.

Another New Beginning

Last month’s revision surgery was a great success!  I am still healing a bit and back to square one with therapy, but I can officially start the prosthesis process!  I had the fitting/mold of the new improved version of my arm this week!!!  No more more revisions, this is the final product.  I think friends and family have been just as anxious for this long awaited, drawn out concept of me having a hand so I wanted to clarify what’s next for all my loveyloved ones.

A porcelain mold of my right hand was made over a year ago but when I went for my fitting, it didn’t go so well .  The nerve balls were suffocatig in this silicone glove that creates a suction, pressure on my arm to ensure it doesn’t slip off.  The sensation was way too painful to wear, to say the least.  I waited almost a year and a half for insurance to finally cover a very necessary revision surgery (don’t get me started on US Health Care Insurance, perhaps I need a whole column just for that topic America).  So here we are, basically starting all over.  I am working on the cosmetic hand first which is a beautiful duplicate of my right hand.  A silicone mold of my hand will be color matched to every pigment of my skin.  My prosthetist, Stefan Knauss, then hand paints the veins and etches the wrinkles.  It looks so real it’s scary…& beautiful at the same time, of course.  This takes about 2 months to create and perfect.

I was introduced to Stefan at Aesthetic Prosthetics by a darling friend of mine, Stephanie.  My buddy had worked with her for over a year & told me he had no idea she had a prosthetic left arm!  Not sure I recall half of the thoughts, discoveries, confusion, questions that I had immediately after my accident, but I definitely wondered, what the heck am I suppose to do now?  What are my options?  Do I have options?  So he asked her to give me a visit in the hospital, just 3 days after my accident.  I’ll never forget the moment.  She walked in and gave my family & I an instant sense of relief & hope.  I would have never guessed she had a missing arm from her bicep; she wore the most delicate gold bracelets & my favorite OPI’s “Lincoln park after dark” nail polish on her perfectly normal looking left hand.  Seconds later, she was a able to pop it off & answer ALL the questions we had for her.  This young woman exuded such confidence & pride.  I wanted to be just like her!

Not only will I be getting the aesthetic hand, I’ve just been informed by Rancho Los Amigo’s partnering prosthesis company, Hanger, that I have the option for 2 more functional devices.  One called the Mio Electric hand with minimal movement of the fingers.  The other, the most practical of them all, a metal open-close device for around the house, making those everyday tasks just that much easier.  Although I can be stubborn with a “get the job done with or without a hand” mentality, I admit, it’s going to be refreshing to have a little extra help 🙂 So I am just overwhelmed with gratitude & appreciation for our selfless doctors & those affiliated in making this huge difference in my life!  Just when adversity seemed to become my new normal, I feel blessed I am finally on my way; I see new opportunity & doors flying open already.  This week was the 1st step & that much closer!!

Just a little update on my medical progression.  I’ll get back to the fun stuff.  Till next time…Thanks for the loveylove:)



I guess when they say everything happens for a reason & your sitting there, confused, lost, in pain, hurt, it seems like just another stupid cliche.  That seemed to be my experience in 2009.  But oddly enough, sometimes one’s tragedy is one’s biggest blessing of all.  All the lessons, the change, the readapting was filled with significant purpose down to every little detail…because, geez in 2010, I see how it all “happened for a reason”.  I have climbed mountains my friends to reach this point in my life.  I don’t want to be redundant but it wasn’t until I found that peace within Chauntal when everything else that showed up in my life was a perfect reflection of that inner peace.  Things started to make sense, I had moments of discovery & clarity I had never experienced before.  I also give credit to the huge relief of just growing up.  That quarter-life mark for me seemed brutal.  I could  never imagine going back to that girl I was a few years past…searching, fighting, confused, hoping something “out there”, as in outside of my mortal being, would bring me happiness or make me forever happy when in fact the definition of happiness is within oneself.  For all the pain, confusion, grief, constant attempts to better myself, it was all for a reason because I live in a whole new world I would have never known existed if I hadn’t.

It’s always nice when the New Year approaches because we tend to associate everything subconsciously with what we were doing or saying we were going to do “this time last year”.  I definitely set 2010 goals, that I can proudly say I achieved.  Some exactly as I imagined, some that came to fruition in more miraculous ways than I could have ever expected.  But bottom line, I worked hard this year.  I was challenged by life itself & I challenged myself as well.  Emotionally, mentally, physically!  Literallly.  The hard work is still paying off.

Reflecting on 2010…Challenges. Achievements. Growth.

  • This year, I’ve developed the most loving, nurturing, healthy relationship I’ve ever been in my life.  I’ve trusted another being unconditionally; opened my heart to love myself & give him all the love within because he deserves it.  You have to be fearless & selfless to embrace this kind of love.  I arrived.  That includes all my relationships.  My incredible family & friends grace & fuel me every day!
  • It was a HAPPY Thanksgiving!  I waited a yr & 1/2 for my revision surgery: remove the nueromas, shave the bone down to pull muscle over the bone so I wasn’t walking around in fear that any contact would bring me to my knees in pain.  After months of fighting for insurance, I found the talented, selfless doctors & team at Rancho Los Amigos – State of the Art Rehabilitation Center.  AND a beautiful success! Let’s have a toast to no more nerve balls; tears of pure happiness!!! Thank you thank you*  Talk about growth.  I can truly appreciate struggle, for that was one battle that surely made me stronger. Ouch:(  Although I felt as if I had to start all over with recovery, emotionally & physically (I was forced to revisit a pain so indescribably, no human being should ever have to endure) I am well on my way to recovery!  The long awaited prosthetic in 2011!  1 promissing year of new beginnings & new opportunities ahead 😉  And in this process of healing, the payoff was worth every tear.  Putting the pain behind me in 2010, it’s a new year my friends!
  • My obsession for Vampires manifested into a delightful little pilot I shot, best of both of my favorite worlds: vampires & comedy.  I was on Vampire hours for a few days & although I haven’t quite got picked up for Twilight or True Blood (that comes 2011) I got my Vampire character fix 🙂
  • I’ve perfected my health, nutrition & exercise regimen that works BEST for my body.  I always struggled with what to do, not to do, to eat, not to eat.  I’ve maintained my perfect weight, muscle tone & have a consistent workout plan I’ve been committed to for over 10 months.  It’s sooo fun & the results have been very rewarding it’s worth every drop of sweat.  This is a huge success for me.
  • I challenged my personal limits so much this year that I became the strongest athlete that I could possibly be.  I’ve always had super intense endurance but this year was different.  I wasn’t on a team, dance, gymnastics, cheer, cross fit, like I’ve done in the past.  There would be a coach or myself as captain, leading exercises but cutting back just as the team hit a “mark”.  With or without my hand, I was determined to find strength in myself spiritually & physically & be the strongest me I could possibly be.  I ran miles, hiked mountains, never let up in spin class 4 days a week, I pushed so hard & it wasn’t for anyone else but myself!  It’s given me the most liberating new perspective on myself.
  • I wondered if there was a bigger “reason” as to why I was training & creating this intense athlete out of myself.  So my boyfriend & I shot an inspirational commercial where I hiked a treacherous path to the highest point of the mountain.  It was created to encourage people to Believe in themselves & do anything you put your mind to admits any adversity life throws at you.  “Everyone wants to be on top of the mountain, but it’s the struggle on the way up where a true champion lives.”  In the process, we realized it sort of emulated the classic Jordan Nike commercial formula.  As athletes, Nike has always had such a huge influence in the both of us by the foundation it embodies.  We put the “swoosh” energy out there & a few months later, I get a call from the head of West Coast Nike that they’ve chosen me for their Destroyer jacket campaign.
  • I’d say the biggest accomplishment this year was the recognition from Nike as one of their LA Destroyers: more than an athlete, more than an artist, more than a gamechanger!  This was a huge badge of honor because this title not only validated me as a true athlete & innovator in my craft but as a true Inspiration to my community.  https://ibelieveandbecome.com/2010/12/07/11-la-destroyers-11-artists/
  • Which leads me to my final achievement.  I created this website & commit to this Blog!!!  It started as an outlet to inspire, encourage & motivate individuals on a higher platform to living happier, healthier lives!  Including myself.  I’ve learned so much along the way, from myself but mostly from you.  I’m that much closer to making Believe&Become a non-profit organization where I can really start giving back.  2011 here we come!  Thank you for all your support, love & inspirational mail that inspires me to keep challenging myself, keep learning, keep discovering, keep teaching, keep fighting, keep INSPIRING!

I’ve always been told that I never give myself enough credit, I’m my worst critic & way too hard on myself (still a few areas I’ll be working on in the new year 😉  But I give myself permission to really appreciate & celebrate life right now because as I reflect, I feel proud of 2010!  I can’t wait to see what’s to come in the years ahead…Hopes & dreams manifest because when you truly BELIEVE you BECOME.



Tips to Stay Fit Through the Holidays!

Woohoo! Merry Christmas!  Xmas shopping done, presents under the tree, time to relax & let the festivities begin!  And that means goodies galore, dig in! You deserve it, right?  I said give yourself permission to relax & enjoy each activity making this a stress-free, guilt-free holiday season….so maybe we should think about this.  Just when you’re finally getting your weight under control, boom! It’s the holidays & food is everywhere!!! From the office to the parties to the huge family events, it seems as if the holiday season is one long, tempting food fest designed to make you gain weight. Americans put on half of our annual weight gain between Thanksgiving & New Years.  Rather than accepting the inevitable holiday 5-10, remember it’s the year to reshape old holiday traditions to more positive, productive, healthier ways.  Here are a few tips to assist you in sticking with your fitness goals & shedding that winter coat before before you even get a chance to put it on.   So here’s to a healthy holiday for those that want to stay on track. With a little planning, you’ll have even more to celebrate this new year!

1.  My first advice is give yourself permission to enjoy yourself & celebrate each miraculous moment of the holidays!  That means all the yummy treats too.   First of all, counting each & every calorie  is never fun, especially during a time that is meant to be  celebrated. It is only one day & one day will not ruin your progress if you are indeed motivated to stick with your fitness routine & healthy lifestyle.  Also, eating whatever you want should make you feel icky so I’m sure you’ll be in the gym the next day:) I know this is not advice for everyone & that some will have to be more cautious of what & how they eat during the holidays.  Over indulging is 1 unhealthy & 2 unnecessary.

2.  Nibble on food throughout the day.   If you graze & snack on a little all day, you will not build up that chance to be overly hungry.   Instead of eating one GIGANTIC meal which  generally concludes with an unbuttoning of the top of the pants, try having 2 or 3 smaller meals throughout the day.   This little trick has transformed my urges to indulge.  Also, eating small snacks/meals throughout the day is more beneficial for your metabolism overall.

3.  Eat your fruits & veggies first.  If you are at a party with a lot of tempting food, try to start with healthy vegetables & salads. These will fill you up & reduce the temptation to over-indulge on high-fat, high-calorie foods.  We just had our annual all girl Xmas party.  Oh the display of cheese, wine, cookies, brownies, more cheese & crackers.  Somehow I managed to fill up on the grapes, carrots, celery, cranberries, & almonds….& then dove into a few slices of cheese & pumpkin pie.  My tummy wasn’t in pain & still, I was able to enjoy the taste sensations of everything!

2 or 3 hours before the sit-down dinner, snack on some fruit, celery sticks, or any other lower calorie foods.  When it is dinner time, you will not be incredibly hungry. For the main meal, eat even more vegetables with it.   On a calorie basis, eat larger serving of veggies rather than starchy carbs like potatoes, rice, stuffing, or bread with your turkey.   Surprisingly, it will satiate you just the same.

4.  If you are cautious about calories yet still want to enjoy all that the Christmas feast has to offer, then skip the gravy, fatty dressings & high-calorie condiments. If the turkey is too dry without some type of sauce, use fat-free basalmic or even a dijon mustard.   I have eliminated most sauces & dressings at restaraunts (anything can taste good with loads of butter, oil & lard, but realllly?)  Most times the dressings & condiments are worse culprits than the foods you put them on.

5.  Drink a lot of water throughout the day.  This will help with hunger throughout the day. Water is also a great appetite suppressant.  If you stay hydrated, your body will not confuse dehydration with hunger & you will not find yourself starving. Also, if you want to shave some calories off your daily total, skip the soda or juice & instead have coffee, water, vitamin water, or coconut water.  These options have lower to NO calories &/or sugar than juice or regular soda.

6.  Get outside and be active.  It’s refreshing to just relax & embrace the not do anything family time, but sitting around the house all day watching T.V., smelling the food cooking will keep me salivating & my stomach growling.   Take a pre-dinner walk with the family or the dog.  Go to the park, watch the kids play ball.  If you are really motivated, go for a jog/run before dinner or later in the evening.  Being active will not only help burn off more calories than sitting in front of the tube, it will also keep you from being in “eating” mode from the kitchen aromas.  The more active you are outside, the more energy you’ll have.  Getting fresh air will oxygenate your brain & energize your body.

7.  Have a smaller dessert. Don’t skip dessert, just moderate it. Have a smaller sliver of pie & indulge in a larger serving of Fat-Free Cool Whip or other non- dairy topping.   Ok fat-free topping can be like eating air, but air has a lot less calories than that huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on your pie. 😉

Again, my feeling is to enjoy yourself & eat a little of anything you want.   If you are dedicated to being in shape, one day will not ruin your results.  Although you may be more likely to pack on some pounds during this time of cold, rainy weather & bountiful food, the holidays are not a time to feel deprived.  They are meant to be happy times with friends and family.  It is a special occasion which you do not do all the time, so just have fun & eat a LITTLE of everything & anything you want. Bottomline, it’s all about balance.  Life is meant to be enjoyed!