What are you going to do about it?

I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve got a big family.

My dad is one of 9 kids and my mom is one of 10. I have over 50 first cousins.

Yes, I said 50.

To complicate things further, my dad is one of the youngest among his siblings and he was 41 when I was born. So, most of my cousins on my dad’s side are old enough to be my aunts and uncles. Quite a few of them have kids that are older than me.

When I was growing up, our big family vacation was to our family reunion in Evansville, IN every summer around the 4th of July. We three kids got stuffed in the back seat of my parents’ car and off we drove- for 8 to 9 hours one way. We got doted on by my aunts and uncles, who were just like a bunch of grandmas and grandpas- just a little more strict though.

I grew up and went away to school in New York, then was in the Army in North Carolina, and after that my husband and I moved to Texas, where we lived for almost 10 years. Needless to say, travelling to Evansville didn’t happen very often. In fact, I haven’t gone since my daughter was 3 months old, almost 10 years ago. So, I’ve been a delinquent family member. But, our recent move to the Chicago area shortened the distance quite a bit and I was thinking that I might be able to go more now.

Unfortunately, I had the opportunity to make the trip a lot sooner than I expected. One of my cousins, Terry, died of a heart attack while on a missions trip to Belize. He was a preacher of a church in Springfield, OH and frequently travelled for missions trips around the world- Romania and Haiti to name a few. Recently his focus had been on Belize and working with the homeless in his community.

File Mar 25, 10 57 38 PMThis picture shows my family’s tribute to Terry- his love of colorful ties and junk food.

I was so glad to see my family, despite the sad circumstances. My aunts, uncles, and cousins were all 10 years older than they were the last time I had seen them, but what broke my heart was that some were not in good health at all. Since I had just had some genetic testing done last fall, I could see the physical manifestation of my genetics in their health problems. We tend to live long lives, like to our late 80’s even 90’s, but the last 10 or more years are plagued by heart problems, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, eye problems, cancer, obesity, and more. My uncle, who is almost 90 himself was very sad to have to bury his own son, at only 66. Like I said, it was heartbreaking to see the people I loved suffering so much.

File Mar 25, 10 59 16 PMMy dad and three of his brothers that are still living.He still has two sisters, but they were not able to get out for this.

I know that genetics are not the end-all be-all of my life. They may be the gun, but the gun won’t fire if it isn’t loaded with diet and lifestyle bullets or the trigger isn’t squeezed by environmental causes. I can still help myself and my kids not have that same fate.

Most of my family grew up in a time where food was still actually food, and you could trust what you bought in the grocery store, so they had no idea what was happening to the food supply as they got older.

I know how inflammation works and how it wreaks havoc on the body. I know how we each have different sensitivities to food, lifestyle, and environmental triggers that cause excess inflammation. I have no excuse.

After the trip I had learned two lessons.

The first was to ask myself, “What are you going to do about it?”

The second was to say, “Whatever you are going to do, DO IT NOW!”

So, what am I going to do about it?

I got up and exercised while I was at the hotel in Ohio and then again while staying at my cousin’s house outside of Evansville. I stuck to the plan and had only a few potato chips and bites of French fries during the whole four-day trip.

I cannot say that I was perfect, but I am only human. I don’t pretend to be perfect.

My healthy lifestyle is not so that I can look good on stage for a few seconds, it’s so that I can be as healthy as I can be in my later years.

Could it be all for nothing, if I meet an untimely death in some sort of tragic accident? I guess some would say yes, but I still don’t think so. Because I feel better now than I ever have and I can enjoy more of my life now than I did back when I was on anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about what I do.

I ask my clients and potential clients, “What are you going to do about it?”

I have initial consultations at my gym and talk to members about their goals. Most say they want to lose weight and tone up, but just want some exercises to do and don’t really want to talk about food and lifestyle.

Last week, I met with one woman that wanted me to give her exercises she could do to get rid of that stubborn belly fat. She talked about how she had had two C-sections 20-25 years ago and how she hasn’t had a flat stomach ever since.

I gave her a pretty good core routine other than the silly machines she had been using, but she was pretty surprised when I started to talk about what she ate, and how the fact that she didn’t get more than 4 hours of sleep at night due to her constant need to worry about things was increasing cortisol and making loss of belly fat nearly impossible.

Doing a few exercises a few times a week is a lot easier than changing habits, but a lot less effective for actually reaching goals. My clients that take my advice and slowly change their eating habits are the ones that get the best results. Honestly, it’s not just about exercise.

My second point is “Whatever you are going to do, DO IT NOW!”

My reason for saying this is because you never know how long you or someone you love has on this planet.

When I was younger I went on a few missions trips and loved them. I always thought that I would go on a trip with Terry. I’m not a minister, but I could do lots of volunteer work. Now I won’t get the opportunity.

I told myself, “I’ll do it when the kids get older…when this happens…when that gets going.” But there was never a good time, I had lots of good reasons why I couldn’t go, and now there never will be.

I have a few ideas for what I can do in Terry’s memory, but I’m not going to get into that now. I’m just going to say, “Whatever you are going to do, DO IT NOW!”

So, I encourage you to take a look at your future and your goals and ask yourself, “What are you going to do about it?!?” Are you making goals that you are just giving lip service to?

If you want to get healthy or learn more about a clean eating lifestyle, I encourage you to check out my 8-Week BUFF Life Challenge, but only if you’re ready for me to and then constantly ask you, “What are you going to do about it?” and then give you the tools you need (i.e. great recipes, workouts, schedules, support, accountability, weekly lessons, and more) and tell you to get to work. DO. IT. NOW.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.


One BUFF Mama

Staying Healthy and Detoxing Naturally

Detox it vital in this toxic world. For a while as a health coach, I focused simply on digestion because I do believe that good digestion leads to a healthy life. But then one day I realized that in order to have good digestion, you must be detoxing properly. The light went off in my head. Detox for a better digestion because good digestion leads to less inflammation and less inflammation leads to less disease in this world. Let me say it again: decrease the inflammation and prevent disease.

Hippocrates said it best, “All disease begins in the gut.”

So, if this is true and disease begins in the gut, aka your digestive system, then having a healthy & strong digestion is key. But let me share one secret: when the body is toxic, your digestive system is weak. So even if you eat “clean” and only buy organic and hormone-free foods, you are still breathing toxicity in this world.

We live, eat, and breathe toxicity everyday. Look around your home and think of the paint on the walls, the rugs, the pesticides sprayed on your green grass, the exterminator to get rid of the bugs, and even if you are chemical-free in your home, is your makeup chemical-free?

Even if you are totally chemical-free and using make up that is aluminum-free plus other non-toxic chemicals, we are still living and that means eating, breathing, and sleeping in a toxic environment.

Unless you feel that are ready to live in a bubble or a hyperbaric chamber, then it is time to wake up to what I call “daily detox”. Now detox is not a curse word or anything to be scared about; instead, it is exciting to think about your body & cells actually functioning. I do not tell people detox has to be living on juices, water only, smoothies, or just salad or soup. Detox is about lessening the toxic load in your body. As I say, “Taking out the trash.”

See, when we are toxic our body cannot perform its job. The body cannot metabolize properly, detox properly, absorb nutrients and minerals, or stay hydrated. It is a vicious cycle. See detox is necessary to be healthy, happy, & free of disease. We all have some low level inflammation because, again, we breathe but, even more so, we stress in this busy world.

So, every time we stress, we create acid in our body, and our body is forced to pull mineral to buffer the acid waste, and then our liver, lymph, and kidneys begin to work hard to filter out the toxic load but what happens when the body is tired and clogged.

When your digestive system is not working and cannot break down these foods, it cannot focus on getting RID of TOXINS, and that means you cannot get rid of bloat and fat and skin breakouts and all that jazz that keeps you tired.


Difficult weight management




Low energy

Low sex drive

Bad skin



…Get where I am going with all of this?

By detoxing, YOU will improve digestion and therefore free your body of inflammation and toxins.

The foundation of this detox is NOT to ever feel deprived or starved. The goal is to help YOU do what I have learned to do in my own life: learn how to EAT CLEAN and learn what foods are IRRITATING your body.

Eating clean is a way of life, not a diet.

So, we begin to eat whole foods that promote detox in a safe and natural way. No, you do not have to only drink juices, or soups, or smoothies, or go on a grapefruit-eating-only diet; instead, you need to eat foods that are not irritating your digestive system and clogging it up.

Is this making sense?

So here are my tips for staying healthy & detoxing naturally:

  1. Upon waking, drink warm or room water with lemon and 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (if tolerated) and add a dash of cinnamon or cayenne.
  2. Start your day by being positive. Find a daily affirmation that gets you fired up. I love Louise Hay, Geneen Roth, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Marianne Williamson.
  3. Try getting quiet without yourself, even just for one minute, and say, “I release what does not serve me.” Hold your heart as you say this out loud and scream it if you want. Own that power.
  4. Drink fresh, green juices or make your own green juice with 1 tbsp chlorophyll and lemon and lime and water.
  5. Aim for one meal that is super easy on your digestion per day. Try a smoothie, green juice, or soup to give that digestion a rest.
  6. Get moving & shaking. Yes, exercise is one of the best ways to detox your body.
  7. Drink plenty of water & add lemon, lime, or grapefruit to flush the toxicity.
  8. Skin brushing is my favorite way to support the liver and get rid of those toxins
  9. Tongue Brushing.
  10. BE Happy & grateful for life.

If you’d like to dive further into learning about detoxifying, join my Spring Into Health Cleanse. If you’d like to learn how to make clean eating a habit, check out my 8-Week BUFF Life Challenge.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.


One Buff Mama

14- Weeks Out- Real Life

The last time I wrote, which was too long ago, I was honest about my journey to that point. I was not feeling or looking my best. I hadn’t really been consistent with my workouts or my clean eating plan.

Thanks to my Isagenix shakes and supplements, I had not completely lost it (and even still fit into my jeans that I had bought a few years ago after my initial weight loss), but I knew I could be better.

File Mar 14, 9 14 57 AM

Here I am 3 weeks later and feeling healthier. The changes in my body are not as noticeable, maybe a little in the abs and arms, but the changes in the way I feel are incredible.

Life is still happening:

  • I did two weeks of training in order to start in my new gym, the second week was done at a facility over an hour away from my house so the commutes were not fun.
  • I had to drop my car off at a shop to get some work done and pick up my rental car in there somewhere too with that crazy commute, then do that in reverse to get my car back.
  • I traveled to Boston for a fitness business mastery conference with my fitness mentor Cathy Savage so I could get focused back on my business- I’ve got some great things in store for you.
  • I just started as a part-time trainer at Life Time Fitness this week- I love it by the way!
  • Daylight savings time and a red-eye back from Boston has done a number on my circadian rhythms, so my sleep the past few nights has been messed up making me feel more like the walking dead instead of my usual self.

But that’s the way life is, right? It throws us around, but the more prepared we are, the better we do. I have my food prepped and ready to go. I can’t make any more excuses. If you have dreams, you have to have plans. If you have plans, you’ve gotta have action. That’s it.

I’m 14 weeks out from my next competition. I plan on launching my new 8-Week BUFF-Life Challenge next week, with the start date of April 6th. I have other things like eBooks and workouts coming later.

Another reason I’m sharing my progress pics is to let you know what real healthy “progress” is. It’s not, “Hey, check me out! I lost 15 pounds in 3 weeks with no deprivation!! Come buy what I’m selling!”

Anyone who says you can get from this (where I was over 3 weeks ago)

Photo Feb 18, 3 23 17 PM MDP-JGunst POST-3


to my photo shoot look (the one I had after my competition a few years ago).








in 10-days is lying, or selling something you shouldn’t be buying (because it’s not good for your long term health).

Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. Right now my focus is on building muscle because when I start the leaning-out phase I will lose muscle too. I have to focus on slow and steady. Everyone does. It’s a lifestyle- not a DIEt- that will have the most lasting impact on your health in the long run.

In two weeks I’ll share my next check-in pictures so you can see what another two-weeks will do. I’ll be considered in-season by then and my coach will be making more tweaks to my plan along the way so that we can see more changes in my physique.

I am so excited for the changes to come: for my competition, as a trainer/ nutrition coach at Life Time, and in my coming online programs.

I hope you’ll join me.

Questions? Comments? Let me know.


One Buff Mama