Friday, May 30, 2014


Huge confession to make:

I haven't worked out since Monday.

Not a single sweat was had, not a single weight was lifted, not a single groove thang was shaken. That's probably normal for many of you to have a 3 day break but not me - fitness is a way of life and I feel a little incomplete without a new sweaty selfie to share with you today.

It's not a rut that I'm in, but just busier hours at work and a little more on my plate that make it difficult to escape for a workout and some days even difficult to escape for a lunch. 

It says that right in the header of this blog, right? A 20-something seeking ways to find balance between work and a happy healthy life. Seeing that this "more work" thing is going to be the new norm - you'll be hearing more and more about the ways that I cope with a long work day, early mornings and late evenings. Things like packing lunches, shorter and more meaningful workouts and even the "sneaky workout".

My first recommendation - get more rest. 

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Bikini Photo

This isn't so much a confession.... but it kind of is because I'm posting a no-filter bathing suit bathroom selfie for all of the internet to see. 

There have been times in my life where I wouldn't have taken $10,000 to do something this scary.

This weekend I went shopping with the mission to find a bathing suit. Temperatures have been getting warmer and I am feeling that invite coming along any time now for a friend to ask me over for a swim. 

Rather than anxiety later, I decided that Memorial Day weekend sales would be in my favor as I went to look for my first bathing suit purchase in over 10 years. 

That's not an exaggeration. 

Victory #1 - I didn't cry. 
Victory #2 - I didn't settle on something "more modest"
Victory #3 - I was honest about the sizes I needed (top L, bottoms XL)
Victory #4 - I bought a freakin' swim suit (and actually bought three)
Victory #5 - That smile on my face. Right there. 

Drop the mic. I'm out. 

(ps - this was from Old Navy but I can't find it online)

Link up with Kathy, won't you?

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Favorite Blogger's Workout

Did everyone have an amazing long weekend? 

I did! It was full of rest & recreation in all the best ways.

Workouts, family time, giving back to the community and continuing to place all my focus maintaining my happiness fill my tank with the good stuff. Filling that tank with good is just as important as nourishing your body and working out. It's what feeds the soul. 

Today's the last day of the May fitness link-up and we're talking about my Favorite workout from another blog.

Anytime I can point you over to another blog for a workout it will always be to Brooke. I've completed two Tough Mudder races with this girl and she knows her stuff. She's a Certified Personal Trainer and she lives/breathes the fitness lifestyle.

The workout I want to share with you is the Dirty 30 that I did on Sunday this weekend.

I wanted a little more sass in mine, so I added in 30 deadlifts, 30 weighted side bends (each side) and 30 alternating lunges (with weights). I'm a special kind of crazy.

And here's my post-workout sweaty selfie!

Try it!! You'll love it!

If you missed any of the other posts you can find them below:

Also linking up for Tough it Out Tuesday.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Workout Plans

I know that Monday is a day to sleep in when you'd normally be at work - but I'm going to be trying a CrossFit WOD at Body & Fuel in Beaverton.

I found some local friends on instagram and they invited me to the Free Holiday Workout.

Rumor has it we're doing the Murphy.

What's a Murphy?
  • Run 1 Mile
  • 100 Pull Ups
  • 200 Push Ups
  • 300 Squats
  • Run 1 Mile

The Pull Ups / Push Ups / Squats can be done in any order you please. 

I was given the idea to do 5 / 10 / 15 - 20 sets. 

I can't do a pull-up (YET!!!), so I'm looking forward to using the resistance bands and seeing what I'm made of. It's very possible that I won't be able to walk or lift my hair dryer above my shoulders on Tuesday, but I'm somehow okay with this. 

Wish me all of the luck! Any kips tips?

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Paleo Recipe: Coconut Whipped Cream

So you're on a mission to be Paleo (or you're just cutting out dairy) but you still want an alternative for whipped cream?

Well I've got you covered!

Boosting off of my Trader Joe's confessions, I wanted to show you how to use two easy ingredients to make an amazing summertime topping.

What you'll need:

1 can Extra Thick & Rich Coconut Cream (14oz)
1 can light coconut milk (or regular coconut milk, or almond milk!) (14oz)

Empty the contents into a food processor, blender or a bowl and begin to stir until all the thick cream has mixed with the liquid for an even consistency. 

One blended, pour into a container and cover, then place in the fridge overnight.

You can also place your blend into the freezer for about an hour for a similar right-now-have-to-have-it result. 

How have I been using it? On my morning protein shake of course!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Hello, my name is Jessi and I'm a Trader Joe's addict.

It's a problem and I'm addicted. 

You'd think that a girl with very little "free" time would like to be more efficient about her grocery shopping. The truth is that I intentionally self-sabotage when I go to Trader Joes. Instead of going there and buying groceries for the entire week, I'll "oops" and forget one thing.... on purpose! Just so that I have an excuse to go back another night during the work week.

It's sick. It's twisted. I know.

No it's not because I want their sample snack and sample coffee - because the snack is never paleo and the coffee is usually too hot.

No I don't have a crush on any guy that works there or any missed connections (that I'm aware of).

No I don't get a thrill out of swiping my credit card and staying under the signing limit.

No I don't bring my re-usable bag (I'm a bad Portlander!)

It's just the feeling I get when I walk into these stores that has me smitten. Everyone's in a good mood, there's bright colors all around, the displays are beautiful and I feel like I always see something new, even as a 3-4 time per week shopper.

My bill averages around $14 and I'm happy about that. Even the trip I made last night - I didn't need these groceries urgently. I didn't need them today for a lunch. I just went and bought. They won't go wasted, but they could have waited if I wasn't an addict

Also confessing that the looks I got as a single female shopper buying that cucumber made me uncomfortable. Snapchat friends, you know why(!)

Does anyone else have this addiction?

One more confession for the road: It's also mayyyybe partially due to my fantasy that I'm going to meet the man of my dreams there in the wine aisle. A girl can stalk dream.

Linking up with Kathy!

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Favorite Leg Workout

So you probably think that I'm going to say "more squats!" "more lunges!" "more deadlifts!"

You caught me! Yes that's exactly what I'm going to say.

I have muscular legs that I'm proud of. I got them from running 100 miles a month for 4 years straight and by doing squats. 

Lots. of. Squats. 

I put together a 4 minute video to show you a few moves that you can put into your next leg-day circuit. I'm using 10lb dumbbells in each hand so please adjust (up or down) depending on your own strength. 

In the Video:
10 Squats
20 (total) Alternating Lunges
10 Deadlifts (squeeze your buns at the top!)
20 (each leg) Kickbacks

I wanted to include some curtsey lunges but the song was too quick - maybe next time!!!

Do this a few rounds if you wanna feel good tomorrow morning!

Turn around, stick it out, show the world you got a ....!

Sorry notsorry for the profanity in the featured song! This disclaimer makes me no longer liable right?

Sorry actuallysorry for not being extremely silly in this video. I booty danced in the outtakes.

Linking up with these ladies!

Got a video recommendation?

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Making a Comeback

I can't think of a more perfect Monday post than how to make a comeback on your healthy living mission. 

This post was inspired by a beautiful lady I've met through blogging - and hopefully helps some of you to get out of the "rut" that you feel like you've fallen into. 

The first and trickiest thing you need to understand about getting back onto the fitness train is understanding that there's no stops. If you really want to make a difference in your life, the only ticket you can buy goes one-way. Like you know and like I've said before, this journey is not temporary. It's not for those who want a quick fix to drop 10lbs for swim season. 

It's for those who want their skin to glow. For those who know they are worth the change and worth seeing themselves as the new and improved versions. For those who want to feel 5, 10 or 20 years younger than their actual age.


1. Decide to Succeed!

So much of this journey is rooted in your mental commitment. It's so "easy" to self-sabotage and let your mind play games with you when you don't have a defense against it. The best ammo is a contract you've signed with yourself that says "I WILL succeed. I CAN do this. I AM worth it."

This decision is vital to your success. It's the decision that will keep your hand out of the bag of potato chips. It's the decision that will keep you to actually only one scoop of ice cream rather than getting knuckle deep into the carton of mint chocolate chip.

It's your foundation. Start here.

A big help in making the decision to succeed is discovering first why you want to succeed.

2. Realize that you don't need a Miracle, you just need a Plan.

No matter who you are and no matter how far you are from your goals, it's critical to realize that you don't need a miracle, you just need a plan.

A plan! How simple! Anyone can do that!

A meal plan, a workout plan, a plan on how you're going to drink enough water every single day.

This can be something you create for yourself or something you get help with online. Whatever it looks like for you, planning can help get you on the right track to the commitment you made in step #1 and will be the best asset for you to be organized as you make potentially significant life changes.

3. Toss the Junk - Introduce the Healthy.

I've mentioned before how critical it is for you to toss the junk from your home to be successful.

Even more important is to introduce the healthy things and to keep them in the forefront of your mind.

I've got reminders of my healthy lifestyle everywhere I look around my house. It may look like clutter, but the dumbbells and the yoga mat and the tennis shoes and the kettlebell all remind me of the commitment I've made. At work, the high desk and the big glass of water are frequent reminders to stop sitting all day and to make trips to the water cooler and the restroom.

Make it almost annoying but make it significant because get ready - it's all you'll think about.

4. Enlist your Helpers.

So many people feel ashamed to admit that they need a partner to join them on their fitness journey.

Stop this - stop feeling ashamed - stop making this an excuse. There are so many resources out there and so many support groups - if this wasn't what people needed, these wouldn't exist. Needing a partner in fitness is no different than needing a partner in life.

It's a basic human need and shouldn't make you feel embarrassed.

Find them. I'm here for you, your Facebook friends are here for you, there's tons of nice instagram strangers that are here for you, that nice girl you always see at the gym the same time as you who has the cute headphones is here for you. People want to see you succeed and they're all around you - just ask them for help. Trust me.

5. Do it. 

You have your commitment, your plan, your ammunition and your helpers. Now it's time to follow the path you've set out for yourself and make the changes in your life you've been ready for.

Compared to steps 1-4, this is the fun part and where all of the magic happens.

And when all else fails, I'm here to help <3

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fit Friday Inspiration

Some serious fitness amazingness went around the internet this week and I don't even know if I read all of it. But what I did read I loved.

I am seriously so inspired by all of the ladies I've met through blogging who are getting themselves in shape and want to help others do it too. 

And the thing that I love most is that these girls are normal. They're like you and me. They have full time jobs and they like to wear dresses and they admit to being human. They are real.

In the spirit of "I am not an expert" I want to share some of the best real-life-just-like-us inspiration:

:: Anna talked about Finding Fitness Jesus and how you can too!

:: Nadine tossed her excuses and helps you with how to sneak workouts into your day.

:: MacKensie got me pumped about her Paleo Grocery Shopping List (seriously, nailed it)

:: Mia shared her inspiring Transformation Tuesday with some tips you can borrow!

Keep those Sweaty Selfies coming, please!! (Tag me @JessiFitPdx)
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Linking up with Amanda for Friday Favorites. 

Sending You Elsewhere

Today I had an (ironic) post about how we should all be getting more sleep.

When I got home from work, I sat out in the sun and it zapped up my energy - leading me to take a 3 hour nap (yes!) and still needing an "early" bedtime by my standards at 10pm.

So rather than half-ass my post, I am going to send you elsewhere to my wing-mom who wants to talk a little more about Paleo and the way that she handles some of the nay-sayers. 

Thanks for making my day easier, mom (like always). 

See you tomorrow!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More Fitness Confessions

You would think that coming up with confessions week after week here on the fitness blog would get tougher every time - but there's always something more that I'm keeping up my sleeve and haven't yet spouted to you in blog world!

Beginning this blog I though that it would be difficult to come up with new and exciting content, but week after week I continue to challenge myself with something new. Whether it's a different workout, youtube demo video(s) or inspiration from you guys -  this world of fitness changes each and every day!

This has nothing to do with these confessions - just my overjoy in the fact that there's so much to do, so much to learn and so many people out there with their own way of doing things.

Enough philosophy, let's get juicy with my confessions!

:: I haven't done a morning before work sweat in almost a month.
:: I skipped dance class yesterday so that I would have enough energy for my evening workout.
:: I've kind of fallen in love with the "Death by Beth" class!
:: I LOVE when people email me with their fitness story.
:: My newest favorite fitness instagram account is @prove_it. Check his videos out, now.
:: All I ate last night was meat & sriracha. Not even mad.
:: I get "kind of" sweaty when I work out hard. Do you agree?

Who said you can't work out from home?

Linking up with miss Kathy

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Favorite Arm Workout

Okay guys, today is the day that I am going to share the only arm workout that I did to get these arms that I'm so proud of. 

Haha, what's that - you don't know what arms I'm talking about? 


Okay so they're still a ways off from where I want them to be - but the real proof that tells you how far I've come is that fact that I don't have any "before" photos of my arms. They actually hadn't seen the light of day for a few years and that's why now they're coming out and want the world to see. 

So these arms. They are getting stronger every day because I'm getting into push-ups and lifting "real weights", but I want to talk about their foundation.

The very basic workout that got rid of the "extra" and allowed me to start seeing my muscles for the first time in a long time.

This treadmill.

And these hand weights (5lbs).

Actually, these hand weights (3lbs) until I out-grew them.

And what did I need? Just 6 songs. Two slower, two medium and two fast. 

I've always called it my "Ace of Base" workout because all 6 songs were tracks 1 - 6 of the Ace of Base "The Sign" Album because these songs just work. But since doing the workout so often I have found other great songs that "just work" like Waves#Selfie and I'm in the House to name a few slow, medium and fast songs. 

And what do I do?

Songs 1 & 4 I walk at a quick pace, doing alternating arm curls with every left step forward.
Songs 2 & 5 I walk at a quick pace, doing alternating arm punches with every left step forward.
Songs 3 & 6 I walk at a quick pace, doing alternating arm punches/arm presses with every left step forward.

Let's see that again:

I hope you didn't hate my first vlog. 

How about you go check out some other ladies who actually know what they're talking about when it comes to getting buff in the link up below! 

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Loving the Process

The more I think about it, the more I like this long fitness journey of life that I'm on. 

Sure, the amazing thing would be to have quick results and my dream body in less than a month. It's that which I've unhealthily sought out several times in my life, and always paid for it with more pounds back and less confidence in my ability to really live a healthy life. 

This time around my approach toward the whole "weight loss thing" is different. 

I've chosen to work smarter, not harder. I've chosen to make lifestyle changes, not quick fixes. I've chosen to toss out what I used to think I knew about fitness (run more, run farther!) and instead continue to find ways to enjoy sweating (dance class!) and how to build a stronger and more efficient body (weight lifting/T25!). 

What's been so rewarding and satisfying about this approach has been the surprising things that happen while I haven't been concerned with the number on a scale.

Just a little over a month ago I remember sending a snapchat to some friends confessing that it was the first time I'd worn a tank top in public in my adult life. That feeling of success was unlike anything I'd felt in a long time because the symbolism of wearing something that revealed one of my more insecure spots gave me reassurance that my system was working. 

The "process" has taught me patience. 

The "process" has taught me that there's some places in life where you don't want to take short-cuts. 

The "process" has taught me to not panic and fret over progress.

The "process" has taught me that a lot of little victories add up to big victories if you give them time. 

On that note, this weekend had two big successes.

1. The loose waist fit on a form-fitting tank top.
2. Successful execution of a tricep push-up (just one, but it's a big step for me)

Yes, mom and dad - I took some selfies downstairs in your bathroom, the lighting was good.

What I'm saying is that I like being surprised by these results that I'm not really "searching" for. The results that come from working one day at a time doing things that I know make me a healthier and happier person. Eating right, drinking water and sweating because I love it - not because I have to do it.

What choices are you making toward being a healthier and happier you?

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Weekend Challenge - Clean out the Junk

Alright, the same rules from Easter weekend apply - I want you to have a few mimosas this weekend with your family for mother's day (or while you're skyping with mom from afar).

Onto business...and your weekend challenge!

When I talk to people about what their goals are and what they're doing to help clean up their act, many people refer to three main things getting in their way:

- Grazing, snacking, boredom/emotional eating
- Not having a grip on portion control
- Not LOVING their workout (aka you haven't yet found your soulmate)

This weekend I'm going to give you an assignment that won't CURE #1, but will really help out with the way that you handle grazing, snacking, boredom and emotional eating. 

You and/or your roommate, significant other, alter ego will hate me for this but my challenge to you is to TOSS OUT all of the crap that's in your pantry. 

You know what the junk is. 

The wheat thins, the potato chips, the tortilla chips, the sugar, the ice cream, the oreo's, the nonsense. 

I did this activity when I started paleo. While it wasn't easy to dump out all of my comfort snacks, it really helped when feeding time came along because I didn't have the same usual suspects lying around begging to be eaten. You know, the treats that know how to immediately stick to your hips and thighs while simultaneously making you regret the binge and lower your self worth. Bite by bite. 

When you do your big clean this weekend, tag me on instagram (@Jessifitpdx) with all the junk you're tossing out! 

There'll be a surprise in it for you! 

(okay since you're just starting out you can keep the Trader Joe's PB cups, but put them in the freezer!)

Best of luck! 

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

The First Summer

Last week the weather here in Portland was beautiful!

Sunny and in the 70/80's. Maxi skirts and sandals. Smiling faces and sunglasses. 

Iced coffee and sunroofs open. 

This sounds like bliss to many of you, but the past me used to be terribly afraid of unseasonal warm weather. It's like company coming over for dinner too early before you've finished with your hair and makeup - you're not ready for it. Just the thought of showing my winter body to the summer world usually scares me into an attempt at a quick-fix diet that more than anything leaves me low on energy and exhausted.

From first hand knowledge, summer is hard when you're carrying around some extra pounds and don't feel comfortable in your own skin. 

This year, thanks to taking my fitness journey one day at a time over the past few months - things are going to be different. 

This will be the first summer I look forward to 4th of July.
This will be the first summer I don't shy away from the swimming pool.
This will be the first summer I wear shorts to work (eek!) and do it stylishly (with wedges!)
This will be the first summer I don't go shopping for more light cardigans to cover up my arms. 
This will be the first summer I choose social workouts over daily patio happy hours.
This will be the first summer I allow my legs to be photographed. 

What about you, how are you going to do your summer differently this year?

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I'm Not An Expert

I hope that I didn't give off the impression with yesterday's post that I have abs. 

I don't. 

I mean they're under there somewhere and they're a little tight today, but I have a ways to go until I can see them if I'm not flexing, sucking in and taking a morning photo. I'm not sure I even want that, but it never hurts to try. 

Each time I responded to a comment with a "Hey, by the way, I don't have abs" I felt like I needed to submit a retraction. Like all thoughts about the way I can blog differently - it inspired a post. 

A confessions post on the things that I want to clear up for those of you who are amazing and have followed me over the past month.

I am not an expert. 
I am a girl on a fitness/lifestyle/happiness/discovery journey (just like you).
I can't plank more than 2 minutes.
I'm not certified in anything fitness related.
I have "trouble areas" too.
I do like 'bad foods' too, I just choose to not eat them.
Some days I don't sweat, that's okay.
I can't do a perfect push-up.
I am still on the hunt for my soulmate workout.
I don't count calories or weigh the ounces of food I eat.
I don't always hit my 100oz water goal and can be better at that.
I do sleep in on the weekends and I do love it. 
I don't fitness shame - no matter what level of fitness you're at.

Again, I am not an expert. 

Thanks for listening to a girl who tells it as she knows it from her point of view!

Linking up with kick-ass Kathy

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Abs are Made When You Walk Away From the Kitchen

So I'm taking the easy way out today because sometimes life gets in the way and you don't schedule your blogs on the weekend. Whoops!

But the good news is that I wanted to participate in the link-up I found over on Kait's blog!

Today the prompt is "Favorite Core Exercise".

Ha-ha but seriously - the best way I've found to tone up my core is to cut dairy, grains and beans out of my diet (paleo) and drink lots of water. 

But more than tone your core, you want to strengthen it.

That's why I'm sharing with you today a workout from the Tone it Up ladies that they call "The Best Ab Workout".

3 rounds of 15 reps

Scissor Crunch
Starfish Crunch
Side Slimmer
Tummy Tuck
Burpees (!!!!) because they work

Details for each exercise (and a printout) here

May Challenge

Go get your abs on! I smell a plank challenge coming on!

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Paleo Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In years past, tonight has meant a feast of tacos, margaritas and all the tortillas, guacamole and salsa I can fit into my mouth. Same for you guys?

Well not this year. 

Now that I'm Paleo, I have zero desire for any of it. I never thought I'd say I don't feel like tortilla chips and salsa but here I am - not planning on having any tortilla chips or sugary margaritas this evening. I minored in Spanish just for the margaritas so now I feel like it was a waste of money (only kind of kidding).

While I don't want to say "skip the holiday", I do want to offer some healthier options for you to still celebrate in a sombrero and not sacrifice the hard work you've been putting in to change your lifestyle and health. 

Quick and easy tips:

- Stay away from tortilla chips - if you're at a restaurant as for them to hold the chips till the entree.
- If you can't hold the chips, put your portion on a plate and avoid grazing. 
- If you must have a margarita, drink 2 glasses of water for every one margarita.
- Try to substitute lettuce for your taco shells.
- Use greek yogurt rather than sour cream.
- Skip anything fried.

If you're staying in, here are some amazing paleo recipes for you to try tonight!

Good luck and let me know your Cinco de Mayo plans!

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Flex Friday

Okay you guys, do you remember how last weekend I asked you for your very best #sweatyselfies?

You came, you sweat and you showed me your hard work. It was amazing and it was beautiful - but now I want more!

I'm challenging you to post a photo of yourself flexing (or just send one to me via email, text or snapchat!) and tag me @JessiFitPdx

I'll start... here's mine! 

BONUS points if you're flexing in your derby dress!

If you're looking for fitness, nutrition or motivation support - comment below to learn more about a free (and private) online group I'm running that starts Monday, May 5th!

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Water Drinking Tips from the Pros

Two weeks ago I asked for your help on how to drink more water throughout the day and you had suggestions!

Here are your tips and tricks that I've been sampling to see what works for me:

:: Use self-challenges. For example, "finish this bottle before my coworker comes back from a meeting" or "Have 3 bottles before lunch". Also - I hate cold water, give me all the tap water.Kristen

:: For me, drinking out of a bottle makes a huge difference. I have one of those Contigo Waterbottles with the straw and now I finish three of those bottles before I leave work! - Jen

:: I try to swap Cold and Hot water choices. I'll have 16 oz of Ice cold Water.. then next is Decaf Green Tea.... It makes me want to drink the next 16 ounces of Cold water. So, usually 10 ounces of Green tea.. I do this 2 or 3 times a day.... It works for me. - Kateri

:: Put aminos in your water every other time you fill up. Healthy delicious juice basically. Makes drinking water way easier. - Sarah

:: Fruit in yo water! Lemon slices all day! Apple slices! Orange slices! Grapefruit! - Marisa

:: What helps me is I have a bubba 32oz mug that has a straw. You can change the straw out to fun color. - Amy

:: I bring a fun tumbler cup from home and keep that thing full of water. I try to make it a point to get up once an hour or hour and a half and use the restroom and refill my water. By doing that, I get my recommended daily amount in basically at work. - Nadine

:: I aim for half a gallon by noon-1PM and then I have the rest of the afternoon/evening to get in the other half. I've found it's easier if I knock out the first half earlier in the day. I feel less pressured in the evening. - Jordan

:: Get an ulcer (she didn't really say this, but kind of.) - Amanda

THE single most helpful thing that came out of this post was finding a community full of awesome bloggers / instagrammers and snapchatters who keep me accountable daily on my 80-100 ounces goal.

Every single day I have ladies who are telling me how they're doing on their water that day, racing me and being honest that they're slacking. I've noticed being more mindful of my water intake and really owe it all to you guys. Comment below if you want in on the fun!

Although, if you've seen my sweaty selfies you know that I should probably add another 20oz. to my day because I drip sweat.

My face sweats, my arms sweat, my shins sweat. My eyeballs sweat.

It's beautiful.

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