Gratitude and Change


I have been MIA from this blog for awhile now.  Life changes, a LOT of stress, topped off with a dollop of depression and anxiety, and I honestly haven’t known which way was up for quite some time.  So this blog is really more of a personal message to those of you who are wondering what’s going on and where I’ve been.

BUT, I really want to share my gratitude with all of those who have not given up on me.  Because I am truly grateful for all the the support and encouragement that I have received from all of you.

I know that as an introvert and someone who withdraws from social interactions quickly, that I am often not the greatest friend. Yet I still have many people in my life who accept me for who I am and continue to support me. Even when I do things like duck out of parties because I don’t like the feeling of my nerves crawling throughout my body out of discomfort and my, possibly irrational, fear of never being good enough.

This has been a tough year for me.  And I am facing yet another failure.  I am not giving up, because I AM NOT A FAILURE, but I am reevaluating what I REALLY want out of the rest of my life.  I am thinking that finding ways to make my life simpler may be better for me.  Sometimes you CAN give up too much of yourself to the point that you forget to save anything for YOU!

So, My Friends, I appreciate all of you and lovingly accept your support and encouragement while I decide what is next for me.


A new job?

Changes at the studio?

Something TOTALLY different?


I am honestly not sure yet.

But I am keeping my heart, eyes, and ears open for the opportunity that I am sure is looking as hard for me as I am for it! 🙂


Show Up!

I have people all the time telling me that they just “CAN’T”.

I call Bull Spit!

You CAN, but you have to SHOW UP and make yourself a priority!


And the old saying, is 100% TRUE!

If you stop showing up for yourself because your journey doesn’t look like someone else’s, you are only robbing yourself of the joy that you could have if you keep reaching for your goals!

People think that their results are going to be the same as someone else’s who consistently SHOWS UP and puts in the work, even when they don’t give near that level of commitment.


And BELIEVE ME, I am saying this to myself as much as I do to others who need to hear it!  I have been continuously fighting my own demons.  Can’t seem to go more than a couple of days without wanting or needing alcohol or food to help me relax and wind down my day.  It’s a crutch, just like all excuses.  I use excess snacking and drinking as an excuse when I sit down to JUSTIFY taking a break. I know in my head this is wrong, but I do it anyway.  I don’t abuse food and alcohol BECAUSE I sit down, I abuse them to ALLOW myself to sit down.  I know it makes no sense, and I am working on it, but I do go into the next day ready to kick its ass!  Some days I win, some I lose.  But I SHOW UP and accept the outcome of MY actions!  My success or failure is on ME, no one else.  I don’t pretend that I have done everything perfect while putting back on some of this weight that I worked so very hard to get off.  But I do SHOW UP and do at least one good thing for myself every day.

I KNOW what to do.  I can tell others what to do and how to get success, because I have HAD success!  And I get that sometimes life gets in the way.  But when things don’t go your way, don’t blame the journey, unless you can say with absolute certainty, that you 100% committed and SHOWED UP!

I haven’t lately.  I admit it.


Life situations.





All of those have taken a toll on my health over the past 5 years.  I had reached a place of what I thought was success in my life and FREAKED OUT!

But when I look back, what made me successful, was consistency and doing things every day that I knew would bring me closer to my vision of success, which to me, is first and foremost being healthy enough to have the energy to take on other things in my life.  I started to veer away from those consistencies when I started allowing distractions to take me away from my habits.  Now I am once again addicted to my distractions.  But I am currently taking steps to help with that.  I am not going to be super forthcoming with these steps at this very moment, because I am doing them for ME and ONLY Me, but watch for future posts 🙂

And that is ALWAYS my biggest advice to anyone who asks me for it.  Make YOU a priority!  And SHOW UP for Yourself EVERY DAY!


And as always, MAKE TODAY GREAT! ❤

Monday Again?

Good Monday Morning!!!


I WANT to feel like this~

But since I woke up thinking this~

I actually feel like this~



BUT….since that isn’t possible, I have made up my mind to CRUSH this day!

So this is just a quick hello and Motivation Monday post to encourage you to CRUSH it with me! 🙂

If you are local, I have 4 spots open at Phoenix Fitness tonight for all 3 classes!  Come join us for some Fitness Fun 🙂

Check the website Home Page for the schedule and times, and message me on Facebook so I can reserve your spot!  I also have permanent spots open for August in ALL classes.

Guess that is all I got for you this morning, so let’s Get Out There And CRUSH This Monday!!!!

Childhood Anxiety As An Adult

I came across an article today that brought out a very deep emotional reaction from me.  I will include a link at the end of this blog post, but it made me want to write about my experience on the subject.
As a kid, I missed a LOT of school.
I always had a belly ache.
I worried about everything.
I was often dismissed with a, “You’re a kid! You have nothing to worry about!”
Yet I continued to worry. And my belly continued to hurt.
My pediatrician ran tests.
I had more upper GI tests done than any 7-9 year old should ever have to.
By the time I was 9, all I wanted to do was die!
I thought that was the only way to stop the pain.
To stop the worries and fears that caused the pain.
So I tried to kill myself.
I ended up in an adult psychiatric ward.
I was not treated well or kept safe and it was not a good experience.
Those adults should be locked up for the things they did to me.
But my Mom got me out and told me to straighten up so I would never have to go back.
So I pushed it all DEEP!
I tried to BE “normal”.
I still worried.
I still had the belly ache.
I still wanted to die.
I started looking for SOMETHING to take away the pain.
Working hard to get approval from others became a big part, but it never felt like enough.
So the belly pain stayed.
As I got into my teen years, I started looking for love.
I thought from my past the the only way a man would ever love me in a special way was through sex.
Result=Pregnant at 17.
Scared, but totally elated that I would finally have someone who would love me unconditionally.
Early labor at 25 1/2 weeks and a deceased daughter the day after my 18th birthday.
MORE searching for love.
MORE anxiety, depression, and belly aches.
Finding new self-mutilation ways to dull the pain deep in my belly.
Burns and cuts became my self punishment of choice for not being “normal”.
I eventually graduated to drugs and alcohol.
Then came just not caring what happened next.
To be honest, my life filled with fear and self-loathing never really stopped after going through childhood anxiety.
Because of the constant effort of TRYING to smile so I never had to go back to a place like I had ended up when I was 9, most people in my life have no idea that my anxiety never really went away.  And that I STILL have belly aches often.
Burying those feelings.  Thinking they made me NOT normal.  Not talking about them for fear of someone calling me out as the FREAK that I am.
TODAY, I honestly don’t give a shit what anyone thinks, so will talk about ALMOST all of it with anyone who is struggling with feeling like they are the only one dealing with something that they will never be in control of.
TODAY, I am married, have a decent job, own a business, am physically healthy, help others get healthy through fitness classes and online coaching, and can usually find my smile.  And these days, they are often even REAL!
So, what does childhood anxiety look like all grown up?

Being YOUR 100%

As a fitness professional, many people come to me and say they WANT to workout for many reasons. To help with their health, possibly lose a little – or a lot – weight, to get stronger, to feel better, or to look better in a swimsuit! There are as many reasons to exercise as there are forms of exercise!
But if you come into the gym, fitness class, workout video, whatever, with a mindset of “I Can’t” or “I have to modify, so it won’t be enough” or even “I am afraid of looking dumb”, then we need to adjust that mindset first!
You must believe in yourself!  Believe that YOU are strong and can do hard things!  It isn’t always the easiest thing to do, so you MUST make it a consistent mindset exercise to tell yourself that you CAN, because you are WORTH IT, every day!  It is the one thing that when I DON’T do it, everything in my life suffers!
Let’s take my current situation as an example.
1- I OWN and operate a fitness studio as the sole fitness instructor and National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer with a specialty certificate in group/small group fitness.
2- I am at least 50# overweight at the moment.
3- I workout 5-6 days a week, for approximately 12-14 hours a week.
4- I eat fairly clean, but do have alcohol and sugar addiction issues that I do my best to control, but don’t always 100% succeed.
5- I have been battling some stress and sleep issues for the past 4 years now, and am finally starting to get to a place in my life where some relief may be on the horizon.
6- And I am in full blown menopause!
These things do not all seem to fit together as a picture perfect specimen of health, right?
But yet I keep going every day!  And I keep my mindset in a place that promotes me doing whatever my 100% is for that day for my health! Some days it is a 6AM workout, eating clean all day, and get a good night’s sleep. Other days, I might get in a 15 minute stretching session, drink too many beers, eat junk food, and fall asleep at 2AM binge watching Netflix!
But I get back up the next day with the same consistent thought that I have tried to remember to tell myself every day since I consciously started my healthy journey on September 19, 2008!
“I will give today MY best! Because I am WORTH it!”
So whether you want a safe place that makes fitness fun, and want to try one of my classes at Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT, or prefer to workout at home with a streaming service like Beachbody on Demand, I would love to help you find YOUR starting line for YOUR journey.  And help you learn that YOU are most definitely stronger than you give yourself credit for 🙂  
Message me if you are ready to commit to being YOUR 100%!

Where Do I Belong?

Hello Blog Readers!
I am ready to drop some truth that has been holding me back for quite some time now.
I have been battling some pretty serious pain issues lately. I am still teaching all of my classes, but I am not sure that any workouts of my own are in my near future. Teaching takes everything I got, and I am icing, heating, massaging, medicating, you name it, daily to be the best I can be for my students and clients.
With this pain and change in my lifestyle, has also come a bit of depression. I am doing my best to come to terms with it, and take the rest time that I need, but I REALLY want to get back to my life! After the stress, lack of sleep, and menopause issues of the last 2-3 years, I am just ready to get back to normal. I allowed myself a LOT of grace during that time while my body seemed to have turned its back on me and took on inflammation and put on fat like crazy no matter how well I ate, or how much I worked out. But now, I am ready to get back to “My Life”, and my body is STILL not letting me!  I feel like I don’t belong in my own life right now, because my body and head can’t agree on a game plan.
Another truth to tell – Yes, we are actually having financial problems right now, but the REAL reason I didn’t even want to go to Beachbody Coach Summit this year, was because I don’t feel like I belong there right now. I can’t face those people who met me 5 years ago as a size 6 now wearing tight size 12’s. It’s embarrassing. I feel like an absolute failure!
And before you say it, YES, I know that the life change and stress and sleep deprivation can all cause weight gain, and this is NOT a sign of being LAZY or not trying, I am just being honest about how I FEEL right now. I also feel like people won’t commit to classes at Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT, because they don’t feel I am a visual representation of what I “should” look like to be promoting health and fitness.
And I hate to say it, but even today with all of the research that proves that overweight people CAN be healthy, most people still only see fat, unhealthy, lazy, and gluttonous when they see people with weight problems. I have believed this for most of my life myself, because it is how most people have treated me in my life. The only time I ever felt “accepted”, was the 3 years that I was a size 4-6! WHY is that? The size of my ass has NOTHING to do with who I AM!  OR how good of a Fitness instructor and Personal Trainer I am!
Another truth – I have been working on self love and self acceptance a lot lately.  I am not there yet, but I am trying.  It is hard to be positive and and promote self love, when you look in the mirror and see someone that has a great deal of trouble loving herself!  So I have trouble feeling like I belong on my own Facebook Pages as I still do my best to post positivity and about staying body positive no matter where you are today, as I still struggle with it constantly!
Anymore, I am not sure what I want or where I want my life to go next.  I am not sure where I WANT to BELONG.  I have done a LOT of soul searching lately, and I have tried to be honest with myself about what it is that I want.  I thought I knew, and all I ended up with was MORE trust issues.  People are not always what they say they are.  I will continue to search for what I want and need out of life, but for now, I am a wife, a furmom, a fitness studio owner/instructor, a bookkeeper, and more.  And I will continue to try to be the best I can be!
My point of all these truths, it that I want you to please never feel alone when you feel like you just don’t fit.  I feel like that almost EVERY DAY!  The only advice I can give, is never give up on yourself.
You DO Belong!
I DO Belong!

Becoming Me-A New Chapter In A Frustrating Life Season

The last few weeks I have felt a shift in myself.  I have really been beating myself up for quite some time lately. And each time I think I am doing better, something else happens to pull me back down. I have had troubles accepting this season of my life.  I workout and, yes, I DO eat right most of the time.  Yet still I struggle with the greatest nemesis of my life, my weight.  I know now that I have not made time and taken enough time to rest, recover, relax, or even just breathe.  I am stressed most of the time. And up until my Sweet Emmy Lou died, I was averaging about 4 hours of sleep per night for the last 2-3 years.  I simply haven’t been doing very good on my self-care.  And in the meantime, have returned to some pretty toxic feelings of self-loathing and worse.  Add in some sneaky toxic people, and you have a pretty good recipe for a slippery slope back to depression and under rock dwelling 😦  But I REFUSE to reside there for too long EVER AGAIN!

Although it was a horrible and heart wrenching time for me, after I lost my sweet Emmy, I realized that it is time to start being nicer to ME in more ways than just starting to get a little more sleep.  I recently listened to a book about being healthy at any weight, and although I really agreed with so much of it, because I have had a horrible relationship with food all of my life, I am also not happy with where I am at now for ME!  Not to please anyone else.  Not to make myself feel worthy of love or friendship.  Not even for acceptance as a fitness professional.  You don’t HAVE to be a “Barbie” to be a FIT!  But I also know that with my knee problems, I feel a lot better about 40# lighter than I am right now.

But I will NOT be body shaming myself anymore!  And I will not tolerate anyone who thinks they have a right to talk about me or ANY ONE else in that way.  Either to our faces, OR behind our backs!  To them, I simply say F!U! Because they may think that beauty is about weight, but in my opinion, their ugly hearts are WAY uglier than my Big Butt, Thick Thighs, or Bulging Belly!

This is pretty much a TOTAL overhaul of the way I have thought and talked about myself for most of my life, so please be patient with me.  So if you see me struggling, saying a kind word would be appreciated.  Further criticism, or even unsolicited diet, nutrition, or fitness advice is NOT!  Following crappy advice and fad diets for research has also contributed to where I am now with a 100% jacked up metabolism!  It will NOT happen overnight, and I do not expect it to.  Neither should you!  So don’t assume that I have given up just because of what I LOOK like!  Sometimes the people that you think aren’t doing anything, are working harder than anyone else.  Or they have simply decided to believe in THEMSELVES more than what media and society tell them they should believe in.

I have been told SO MANY times in the last 2 years, that it is my age, or menopause, or stress.  And even though I do believe that all of those things have played a role in why I have “fallen” as some have said, you know what?  I have fallen before.  I have also gotten back up EVERY TIME!  If you think you know my whole story, I would like to know how, since it isn’t even close to being over yet! 😉



Grieving Is Personal

Hello Friends!

It’s been a rough few days.  Mother’s Day is always hard for me.  Did a little crying, a little remembering, and a lot of reflecting.  When you have lost the two most important females in your life, my Mom and the daughter that made me a Mom, it makes for a crappy holiday for me.

I know some of you understand, and I empathize with you.  And each year, I try to do my best to keep my sadness out of the actual day of celebrating, but I feel it all the same.

The following pictures speak to me and partially represent how I feel, not only on Mother’s Day, but most days as I think of them.


Yesterday was also my Dad’s 83rd birthday.  This is our last picture together before he passed.  It is me introducing one of his Great-Granddaughters to him ❤

But as sad as I am that he is gone, because I got to see his life play out in full and he was ready to go Home to be reunited with Mom, I think for me, I grieve him differently than I do Mom and Marian.  Because in my mind, they were taken too soon.  My heart was NOT ready to let them go!  30 years ago for Marian, and 16 years ago for Mom, and there are still nights that I can cry myself to sleep missing them to the core of my being.

It’s OK to be sad over a lost life.  And it is important to remember that those of us left behind still have a life to live.  And even more importantly, that you let everyone grieve those losses in their own way.  Grief is personal.  But personal does NOT mean that you have to go through it alone.  Whether you keep more to yourself about it, share memories daily on social media, go to a support group, or go see a therapist.  Unless you are not hurting yourself or others, however you get through each day after a loss is OK!  Don’t let people tell you that you should be FINE now, because it has been such and such a time.  Or my PERSONAL favorite in my situation – “You never even got to hold her, how can you still miss her so much?”

Grieving is personal.  So please, don’t tell ANYONE that they are doing it wrong.  That is hurtful and disrespectful to their core being.  And NO, it doesn’t matter if you agree with them!  As long as they are still living their life and not hurting themselves or others, please just show them love and support. ❤



Yep, I have been an MIA blogger 😛

And the reasons are kind of deep yet vague(even to me) at the same time.  So I will do my best to be as real and transparent and vulnerable as possible with my explanation in this post.

I have kind of been having a rough time lately, and have had a hard time finding the motivation as to WHAT to even blog about!

Right now, I don’t feel very “Health & Fitness-y” 😦

I am STILL struggling with my weight!

My chronic pain has been worse in the last 3 weeks than it has been in the past 10 years.

My business is very close to a full on nose dive.

And BOTH of my elderly basset hounds are not doing well.

And those are just a few of the major issues murking up the waters of my life right now.




I AM doing my best to continue to stay positive and work towards success in all the areas that I am struggling with. Is every day a GRAND Success?  Well….NO!  BUT every day is ALSO not a DISMAL FAILURE!  So I try to focus on the good, and when I don’t(Yes, it happens a lot, even to me, the eternal optimist!) I try to let the feelings come, and get back on track as soon as possible.

I know that this sea

son too will some day come to an end and I hope that there is brighter skies ahead.


Today, I will concentrate on one thing that is bringing me joy right now, and that is my beloved St Louis Blues being in the 2nd Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs!

If you follow me on social media, you KNOW I am a HUGE Blues fan, so this has helped a bit the last few weeks. 🙂


But believe me, I do know that my happiness comes from within, and that if I am not happy with me, nothing and no one else can ever make me happy.

I will keep working on Me!

Tell me in the comments, What is something YOU do to help your mood and outlook when you are feeling low?

Let’s Talk About the Four Letter F Word!


What did you think I was talking about?

Let’s add another BAD 4 Letter Word.


Depending on how long you have known me, you have seen me at not only many sizes, but many different levels of fitness and weights too.  Back in 2008 when my consciousness came alive to the fact that I was killing myself “not so” slowly with food, alcohol, cigarettes, and a sedentary lifestyle, I started making changes.  First, I cut back on ONE thing.  Then I added/subtracted things to improve my health SLOWLY over the next several months.  And over the next 2 years or so, I lost 148 POUNDS!  I was quite literally HALF my heaviest weight!  At that point, I was running a lot, and had not fully found my love of lifting.  When I did, I put back on 15-20# of lean muscle over the next 2 years while dropping another pant size!  And I felt GOOD!


I maintained that within about 10# for the next 2 years.  And to be honest, I never in those 6 years really felt like I was on a diet.  Then we get to 2014.  Life got tough!  And in 2015, we lost Dad and it got tougher!  I seemed to be on a downward spiral emotionally and my weight seemed to be on an upward climb.  Then came the wonderful season every woman looks forward to hating…..menopause!  And with it came MORE weight.  And even MORE frustration!

2018, I thought I was once again getting a handle on it.  I started the year losing 19.6# with a great program, and then. POOF!  Pain. Stress. Life. It was all back!  And it brought friends!

That brings us up to today.  Although I have kept up my fitness as best I could through all of this, my nutrition has suffered.  I am an emotional eater.  Always have been.  And I feed ALL of my emotions!  But I have been doing a LOT of reflecting about this the last 2 weeks, because while I was SICK AS A DOG and not fit to be around other humans, I was also going through the DEEPER work of a Master Coach Certification for a new Nutrition Program, and I realized something.

What I realized, was back when I was doing GREAT, I was following a balanced diet.  I never took out my “beer and pizza” date nights with my hubby, or the occasional party with friends.  I just ate in a balanced, nutritious way and kept track of my calories so they didn’t get out of hand.  And I never felt deprived.  It didn’t come off fast, it took me about 2 years to lose 148#, but it came off and stayed off until I ALLOWED some self-detrimental JUNK to inch its way back in and take over.  AND THEN, when a few pounds crept back on because I had slacked, instead of reeling it back in, I started going on DIETS!

Yup!  And that is where my Downward Spiral really took off!  And the more I tried to stick to this diet or that diet, or try to figure out what I was doing wrong by changing up this and that and eating weird food combinations and even taking some new “fat blasting” supplements, and eliminating whole food groups!  Everything that I KNEW was wrong, but allowed the media and questions from clients about different diets sway me to give them a shot!

So, WHY do I need a “NEW” nutrition program, if I already know what works?

Here’s a secret……

It ISN’T a NEW concept!

BUT…….I do need something to help me while I reestablish those habits and ways that I had learned that DID work for me!  Which sounds easy to do, RIGHT?  Just do what you did before.  Well…I am 10 years older and with all the keto this, paleo that, Intermittent fasting, juicing, macro counting, calorie counting NEVER EAT ANOTHER PIECE OF PIZZA AGAIN, and on and on out there, it is hard for a “Shiny Squirrel” kinda girl, like myself, to NOT get caught up in it.

So, basically I am returning to MY BASICS!  It will just be structured a bit differently while I use these new TOOLS to relearn the GOOD habits that I have lost and remove the BAD habits that I have picked up.  I really like how this program has really made me do the DIG DEEP work that it takes to get me to SEE what I have been doing to myself, and that ONLY I can fix it!

So, now that I have DIETED myself up about 50# from where I wish I want to be.  Yep!  50 POUNDS! I am happy to say that I feel like this new program is going to help me with the confidence I need to take back the reigns from my out of control nutrition habits!

Do I expect those 50# gone by summer?  YUP!  Summer 2020! 😉

But seriously, of course I hope it comes off a LITTLE faster than that, but if not……I will just keep consistently doing what I KNOW works, and it will come off eventually.  If you want to follow my journey back to better health, or better yet, JOIN ME, come find me on Facebook and Instagram.


And you can always find out what I am up to on MY WEBSITE .

Maybe you could even join me for a workout at Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT in Fowler, IL!

#MakeTodayGreat ❤