How To Make 2017 Your Healthiest Year

How To Make 2017 Your Healthiest Year

Make this your year

Well Folks, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when we whip out a sheet of notebook paper, our favorite pen, and write our list of “New Year’s Resolutions”. For 32% of Americans, one of the things on that list will say “Lose weight”. For 37% it will say “get fit and healthy”. Either way, it’s very likely that one of your goals has to do with your health or fitness levels. So here’s how to make 2017 your healthiest year!

Join the TIU Look For Love Challenge

The hardest part is finding what kind of lifestyle plan works for you. Well I’m taking all the guesswork out of it, because Tone It Up’s New Year Challenge will give you all the tools you need. No, this isn’t some sales pitch like Beach Body or Weight Watchers. TIU is an online community of women that all share goals of health and happiness. I’ve been a TIU girl for five years now, and I’ve loved every minute of it! A big part of TIU is their super fun, really amazing annual challenges. Starting Jan 1st, and going through Feb 14th, they’re having their #LookforLove Challenge! Its 6 weeks of new workouts, new recipes, accountability, prizes and more! The best part? It’s all free! All you have to do is go sign up at I promise that there’s nothing like it!

Meal Plan + Prep

Okay, any way you look at it- planning your meals is key! This is the big downfall for so many people, because they decide to commit to a healthier lifestyle, but then don’t do any planning for it. Remember the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”? There’s no way around it- if you’re going to be your healthiest you, you need to plan your meals! For me, I’ll be following the TIU meal plan and prepping my meals for the week every Sunday. That means every weekend I sit down, make a list of my meals for the week, go grocery shopping, and prep in advance so that I’m not scrambling the day of.

Commit to a Workout Schedule

I like to treat my workouts like they’re appointments. My workouts are an important, daily commitment for me, and I know that if I want to see the results, I’m going to have to hold up my end of the bargain! Again, I’ll be following the TIU workout schedule. Every Sunday, TIU puts out their free weekly workout schedule. I love that they’ve taken the guesswork out of it for me, but I also have the flexibility to adjust it, if I see something that doesn’t work for me. Regardless of if you follow TIU or not, it’s key to find a workout schedule that works for you. The most important part? Your workout should not feel like a chore! You need to find the workout that makes you smile, and then go with it! Don’t know what that is yet? That’s okay! Try the stair master, hiking, weight lifting, Zumba class, spin class, kickboxing class, personal training session, running, or youtube workout videos!

Write It Down

I believe in the power of writing it down, because every goal starts with a written plan. As the new year kicks off, take a few minutes to sit down and write out your goals. Write down why you want to make a change, how you’re going to get there, and how you’ll feel when you succeed. Identify common obstacles that have hindered your success in the past, and what you’re going to do differently to stop them from getting in your way. Often times it's helpful to put this paper up somewhere visible, so on the hard days you can remember why you started.

Buy A New Gym Outfit

This last one is by no means necessary, but it certainly is fun. I’m the type of person that gets really motivated from buying a new workout outfit that I love. The key here, is to find what helps to motivate you. That might be getting a gym membership, buying a package for spin class, buying new Nikes for running, new headphones for while you’re working out, or getting some yummy protein powder. Whatever it is- find your motivation. For me, that’s a new outfit, because when I work out I want to feel good about myself and have an outfit that is functional. Looking for a new outfit? My favorite places to shop are Tone It Up, VSX, Lululemon, Gapfit, Target, Nordstrom, and Bandier.

*To follow my workouts, diet, and daily life, you can follow my Instagram @em_tonedup.

Happy New Year lovelies! Make this YOUR year!

Cover Image Credit: Emalee Fox

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.


Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?


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