Happy November!

Marci Barker here! I’m ecstatic to be offering some insight to all of my fellow neighbors regarding health and wellness, especially in the midst of this holiday season. Come on, we all know we need that little push of accountability and guidance to stay on track. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean we have to gain weight or become a victim of unhealthy traditions.

I’m a personal trainer and weight management specialist who teaches and preaches Fun and Sustainable habits when it comes to making improvements in your overall health. Yes “Fun” meaning enjoying that piece of pie and “Sustainable” meaning our choices fit into our short and long-term goals. As we all know, November is the month of Gratitude and we’ve got tons to be thankful for here in North Ogden. Thanksgiving is on Thursday, November 23rd and I want to share with you

23 things to be grateful for in our lives and community.
1. The Stump – Like many others, I had no idea what the stump was when I moved to North Ogden. Now I’m so glad I do! How awesome is it that we have access to clean refreshing water whenever we need.

2. Free Fruit for Kids – Did you know both Smith’s and Lee’s have free fruit for children while you shop? Yes, I’m grateful for that.

3. Free Cookies – Yes, I said it! I like the free cookies at Lee’s Marketplace too. I don’t have to commit to buying a whole box of cookies when I’ve trained my kids to share a piece with me. Sometimes they are generous and sometimes they aren’t! Either way, I don’t have to leave the store with a whole box of baked goodies I don’t really need.

4. Days Off School – There’s nothing better than spending time with your kids, as a family, for a few days when the weather gets cold.Okay really, I just hate getting kids ready for school and days off mean I don’t have to do it as often. How many days until Christmas break?

5. Turkey – Yes, turkey! Even though I have been married for 10 years, I still look forward to my dad’s turkey, it is always so juicy! You may have heard the myth that eating a ton of turkey will make you tired. Contrary to that myth, turkey doesn’t have a higher amount of tryptophan(amino acid) than other foods. However, it’s common for the turkey to be consumed with lots of other carbohydrates, aka Thanksgiving dinner. In short, when a turkey is consumed with lots of carbs, the body produces more serotonin which gets turned into melatonin (the sleep hormone), that is what makes you sleepy, not the turkey. Now you know! If you need the energy, keep your meal balanced. If you need a reason to zonk out (in-laws, am I right?), then fill up that plate and pass the turkey!

6.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvT-y-DKxj8&t=165s  At Home Workouts(see link). – I don’t like the cold. I have never been snowboarding or skiing and that means the only thing that gets me through Utah winters are my Ugg boots, my Jeep, and my garage. This means I stay inside as much as possible! Creating ways to stay in shape is not only completely free but fun too! There are so many exercises that require only your bodyweight and a gym is rarely necessary for seeing some serious results.

7. Free Thanksgiving Classes – For those of you who don’t mind going out in the cold, there are always free classes at gyms in the surrounding areas. Contact me personally if you’d like to know which gyms offer these classes or about the classes I love.

8. Produce in Season – There’s nothing better than enjoying foods that are in season and grown to natural perfection! Not to mention, these fruits are much cheaper than normal because of the availability in the area. I’m ready for some pumpkin pie!

9. Turkey Leftovers – Leftovers = meals I don’t have to prep. When someone offers you some leftover food after a get-together, take it! Save yourself some time in the kitchen and relax this holiday season when you can. Holidays call for more prep time than normal so don’t overwork yourself.

10. Veggie Trays – I personally love that veggie trays are a staple for Thanksgiving meals. Whether raw with dip or steamed or baked to perfection, your ability to get your veggies in becomes extremely easy during Thanksgiving. Veggies provide necessary vitamins and minerals that you don’t exactly get from rolls, so take advantage and keep your health at the forefront of your mind. After all, it’s hard to enjoy the holiday season if you feel like crap.

11. Meals in Mass – Wouldn’t it be nice if you planned your meal around each item your kids were bringing to the table? Instead of having to prep everything under the sun, get together with some friends or neighbors and divide up the responsibilities of creating a nice meal. Wasn’t the first Thanksgiving technically the first real potluck? 😉

12. Family – This one is obvious. Fortunately, I live close to both my parents and in-laws but I know not everyone has this luxury. Use this holiday time as an excuse to get together more often and make memories, before it’s too late.

13. North Ogden Connection – Ever since I saw the first magazine published I was super excited to see that it was something that could actually accompany my meal at the table. It’s not just full of the same old ads every month like the other stuff that comes in the mail. Now, I’m counting my blessings that it’s all available online too. No more wet mail on the counter (clumsy kids).

14. Garbage Services – Speaking of mail and its convenience, I am also finding myself grateful that someone hauls my trash away for me! All I have to do is put it on the curb at the right time and I never have to see it again. A friend of mine in Alaska hauls her own trash and I’m just grateful things like that are not a regular concern of mine. It reminds me that although, the service is there and it’s so easy for it to become “out of sight, out of mind”, we should all pay attention to our environment and seek to reduce the amount of garbage we create.

15. New Foods – My mother-in-law is from Iran. She has introduced me to some new foods that have now become my favorites. I’m not admitting to liking everything I tried, but as I strive to improve my dietary choices, I find that I am willing to try new foods. Thanksgiving meals with friends and family are a great way to expose yourself to new tastes and traditions.

16. Pumpkins – I have this tradition I started with each of my babies where I carve a pumpkin and put them inside (their lower body only haha). It’s a way I could document their first fall and enjoy the foliage in my backyard before winter hit. Now that we’re in a new home, those pictures bring back, even more, memories of what we did during that stage of our lives. Let it be known, I did this BEFORE Pinterest was around. 😉 What memories do you like to create in November?

17. Boutiques – I used to run a huge holiday boutique until I started my personal training business. One of my favorite things about that was attending every boutique I could find in search of the best vendors. Shopping small and local is one of the most rewarding things I have learned to do. Fulfilling a need on both ends of the gift spectrum is a great mindset to have as we plan to purchase items this holiday season. I love helping hard-working people grow their business while providing my family with gifts.

18. Fireplaces – I don’t think I need to say a ton about this one, other than I would like you to reach out to me if you’ve got some good book recommendations. I’m currently studying a nutrition textbook as I continue my education and I can’t exactly cuddle up with that one! How am I supposed to accurately use my fireplace without a good book? Hit me up with suggestions for your favorites. : )

19. Traditions – Growing up, the first in-law my family welcomed was my oldest sister’s husband. He was assigned to prepare our favorite holiday drink: orange juice, Sprite, and mushed bananas. Yes I said, mushed, no, NOT cut with a knife bananas, MUSHED. My dad caught him cutting those bananas and stopped him in his tracks. He taught him the proper way to mush bananas (with the prongs of a fork) and now, my brother-in-law knows how to prepare the drink. Has he offered to make the drink in the last 14 years? No, but it makes for a funny story now.

20. Christmas Trees – Don’t hate me! I put my Christmas tree up the day after Halloween and have even done it sooner in the past. The Christmas season is busy and if I don’t get my tree up sooner, rather than later, I fear it will never happen.

21. Stuffing – You heard me talk about how great it is to get together with family and friends to have a nice meal right? Well, guess what? Stuffing is the easiest to prepare and the cheapest! Yes, and I volunteer to provide it every year. Boxed stuffing is primarily enriched flour which isn’t good for you at all. Moderation is a principle I teach to my clients and Thanksgiving reminds me it’s okay to indulge at a level that you are mentally and emotionally comfortable with. Yes, I like pie but I’ll be taking my leftover stuffing home. I will eat it, I will enjoy it, and I won’t eat it again until next year.

22. https://www.instagram.com/p/BSQ0bZgjqFC/?taken-by=marcibarkerfitness Meal Prepping (see link above).As a busy mom to 4 kids, I have to constantly make food. It gets really annoying too. Because of the need to fuel our bodies well, I have learned that meal prepping allows me to save time, teach my 4 girls some kitchen skills, and most importantly take care of my body on a budget. If you find yourself in the kitchen often, I recommend prepping more food for a future meal so when you need that meal, you can skip the prep altogether. This is something I do with my clients often, so if you have any questions on how to get started please let me know. : )

23. Our Bodies – No item on this list would be rewarding if we didn’t get to enjoy it physically. This November, we’ll get to see new sights, smell and taste new food, hear some laughter, and feel the hugs of friends and family. Let us avoid those things that decrease our quality of life and work on increasing our positive experiences. Ultimately, our lives are made up of lots of little choices and experiences. I urge each of us to make the best of it and refuse to let November go to waste.

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