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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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In The End, You Decide Your Own Fate

No matter how often I was given advice about something, ultimately it was up to me to decide my fate.


Has anyone close to you ever tried to insert their opinion whether you wanted it or not? I'd like to assume that for anyone reading this, you've gotten some advice that you didn't completely want to take, even if it seemed good for you. I've sought out advice from many people, especially during the lowest parts of my life, and their opinion wasn't quite what I wanted to hear. Say for instance that some people don't like a friend you have or disagree with a decision you've made, how you spend your money, or anything else, really, and they tell you over and over again why you shouldn't do what you're doing or why you need to change your life habits. Often, no one wants to hear that they're screwing up in life, but is it always that you're screwing up or is it just that they don't like the way you live your life?

Here's how I see it: no matter how often you tell someone not to blow their money on insignificant things, how they shouldn't hang around a friend or even that they should break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend, it doesn't concern you. Don't get me wrong, giving your opinion isn't always a bad thing, but you have to understand it isn't always going to be taken and you have to let people learn the hard way or learn to improve their current situation by themselves. I often didn't learn lessons until I either made a mistake myself or until I watched someone else make a mistake. No one wants to learn the hard way, but sometimes I feel that it's a necessary step in developing who you are and strengthening yourself as well as your skills.

To clarify, I'm not saying learning the hard way isn't preventable. This is to say, if you know a decision is wrong, don't do it—plain and simple. In this sense, don't make the excuse that you have to learn one way or another. If it's bad, don't do it. I would hope that this is self-explanatory.

No matter how often I was given advice about something, ultimately it was up to me to decide my fate. It was up to me to decide what was worth fighting for, what was worth my energy, what I should be doing with my life. It didn't matter whether people agreed with me or not. In the end, it was (and is) my life and no one else suffers the consequences for my actions, only I do. So, therefore, it's my decision and I decide my own fate whether you're there for me or otherwise.

As painful as it is to watch someone mess up in life, sometimes—and I use this with emphasis— sometimes it is necessary to go through tough situations in life to pull yourself back up and figure out what's worth it in the end. It's similar to raising kids. Sure, you don't want them to mess up or feel any physical or emotional pain and you want to prevent all of life's hardships from being thrown at them, but we all have to learn somehow.

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