Drink to This: Cold Steeped Natural Goodness

Warmer temperatures. Get-togethers. Blue skies and sunshine. Minnesota days by the river or the lake. It’s what I have been waiting for. With that comes the season I like to start trying different beverages. The great people at So Zen decided to ask me to try their new alcoholic line of all-natural and gluten-free drinks. Now, keep in mind – I’m not known to be a beer drinker. I’m more of a wine, hard cider, or sparkling beverage person. Regardless, if it tastes good – I’ll be a fan. But certain things have to come with that.

Whatever I’m drinking, I want it to agree with me. I have a finicky stomach due to having a sensitivity to certain classes of carbohydrates. I’m also a person who minds her macros – meaning I count my carbs, protein, and fats. This is because I’m a competitive powerlifter who is still on a health journey path. So, if I am going to “budget” an allowance for a drink over eating something for fuel/enjoyment, it better be worth it. Spoken like a true health freak. I know. There are worse things in life.

When I learned that So Zen was only 100 calories a can, was gluten-free, and all-natural – it piqued my curiosity. The company was infusing natural botanicals – not the fake stuff – in their drinks. So here is the low-down. My play-by-play. This took several taste tests over a couple of different days to make sure I had my interpretations consistent on the different flavors they have. Oh, and for those wondering, it’s 4.7% ABV in these drinks. So Zen is not a beer, it’s not a cider, it’s different. This is a cold steeped craft beverage.

The Original

Smooth going down. That’s the first thing I notice. I can smell citrus. It’s refreshing. I initially could not guess the fruit, but I knew it was in there. I looked at the label. Papaya. I was surprised because I have a history of not being the biggest fan of papaya. Long story, but it involved a history of chopping and dicing it repeatedly. Past papaya overload PTSD. LOL. That being said, I can get behind this. It’s not overpowering, and the combination of black and green tea, along with the lemongrass, works for me. The lemongrass sneaks up on me after a couple of sips. It’s a natural progression as your drinking it. It’s nice that way vs. “oh hey, where did that come from.”

I feel I could pair this with whatever you would like to enjoy with a Pinot Grigio. Keep in mind – The Original is not dry, which makes it a delight with or without food.


I can smell the peppercorn! I love that! Refreshing. I can tell this is meant to feel like a cool and calm beverage for any occasion. Right off the first sip, I can taste the cucumber and basil. There’s a hint of cilantro. Now, I LOVE cilantro. I do realize that not everyone is on team cilantro, but that being said – I think no one would have any issue enjoying this, whether that herb is a friend or foe. You are not being hit with it. It’s sneaky. This is due to the mix of rose hips and peppercorn – they do their thing to balance it out.

Don’t be misguided by the ingredients. This does not have a “floral” flavor to it. This is level and would work with a variety of meals. What comes to my mind is a light salad, a chicken dinner, salmon or tuna with veggies, and wild rice. That’s what my inner foodie is telling me to enjoy with this drink.


Rock my socks off. This is a fun drink. The first thing I notice is a sweet floral and minty smell. It’s incredibly pleasing. The color is vivid. It’s incredible how the pigment is so vibrant yet natural. The drink tastes like summer. This is something I can enjoy with dessert or on its own. You can taste the hibiscus, mint, and lemon. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable pairing. I would like to try swapping the mint with orange just because I think that would be an excellent combination as well. There could easily be two versions of this drink.

If I were to enjoy this with any food – it would be dessert. A lemon bar, a rhubarb apple crumble, a citrus gelato, or perhaps a fruit and yogurt granola.

Blue Cinnamon

Yours truly is a cinnamon fanatic, so I was excited to try this flavor! You’re probably thinking, “oh, this is going to be pumpkin spice,” but hold up! THIS is different and so much better! So many companies abuse cinnamon and warming spices in general with beverages and leave an undesirable aftertaste in your mouth. Not in this drink! The blend of spices is different – and that’s why this drink shines.

How does it smell?

Like I blended my own combination of spices vs. using a store-bought blend. It’s that good and fragrant! When you drink Blue Cinnamon, you feel like you’re getting a warm hug. I instantly want to be around a campfire or sit by the lake and take in a gorgeous Minnesota evening.

This drink is even, tasteful, and inviting.  Sure, you get cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove – but the key spices that set this apart and make it sing are the addition of ginger, star anise, and peppercorn. That’s what sets it apart from Pumpkin Spice.

I genuinely want to bake with this beverage. On the weekends, I bake sourdough bread, and this would be exceptional in my cinnamon raisin loaves. Check back for an update on that experiment!

Pair Blue Cinnamon with coffee cake, carrot cake, pumpkin bars, and pecan pie. Try it with a weekend breakfast with pancakes or French Toast.

Final impressions:

Fun! So Zen Cold Steeped Beverages taste great, do not give me any stomach troubles, or leave me feeling “off” at all: bonus, no bad aftertaste or breath from these. This is going to be my go-to canned alcoholic beverage. If I had to rank these, I would say Coral, Blue Cinnamon, The Original, and then Medley.

Have you tried So Zen? What did you think? Drop a comment below!

Body Positivity: 7 Steps to Celebrate Your Awesomeness

Why do we beat ourselves up? We know each and every person is not perfect. We all have things to work on for self-betterment. Sometimes, we can get caught in this vicious self-hate cycle and a serious case of the F-it’s.

This leads to poor decisions that affect our well-being like eating spontaneously from the frosting can or peanut butter jar. Been there. Or that time in college I would cover chunks of cheese in peanut butter and drown my sorrows there. Without thinking, but then getting hit with guilt and a massive gut-ache later.

I remember being so desperately disappointed with my body. In sixth grade, I had HORRIBLE acne. I was made fun of for this and ridiculed daily. I stood out. The harassment from boys had me hiding my body on the regular. I couldn’t count how many times I had to see the principal to complain about the bullying, sometimes with my mother there. I didn’t want to go to school. It sucked.

I was not like the other girls. It got so bad that my mother pulled me from public school to private, but it only got worse. I kept thinking that maybe if I were a boy, it would have been different. My husband reminds me that when it comes to kids that age, males just fight it out and get it over with. Ladies are calculated and methodical. I’d have to agree based on my experience. I can’t image what it’s like now with social media and how connected we are all now.

I remember not loving myself enough or thinking I was pretty or good enough to be with a decent man. Having been in abusive situations, I’m a survivor of some pretty horrid interactions. How does this happen?

We are inundated with images of unrealistic body types, high-end clothes, the perfect hair, car, home. We become overwhelmed with the pursuit of perfection. Then, we find ourselves motivated to make changes or we choose to stay complacent or be stuck in a downward spiral. How do we get out of our funk and learn to accept things we cannot control and embrace those we can?

We have to love ourselves enough to respect our goals and start working towards them. A big part of this is body positivity. There’s a whole movement around it. I love it, and I have issues with it. Let’s get to it.

Body Positivity

Your body is your vehicle to get you through life.

Your body gets you what you want and where you want to be. When I talk about body, we are including the mind here as well. Your brain is part of it and also your spirit.

Many of us are working on our physical selves. I know I am. Usually, this means we feel like we have something to improve on, and sometimes the task seems so overwhelming that we get stuck having a negative self-image of ourselves. Then we start comparing our bodies with others. Or worse, we start to avoid the mirror, close our eyes when trying on clothes, throw the bathroom scale out the window, or think about burning down the jeans department at our favorite store.

This can be a bad cycle to get stuck in. I’ve been there. It’s one I find myself trying to not get sucked in while I am going through some health issues that have delayed my progress as a competitive athlete.

So how do we get past this? Body Positivity.

Think about everything wonderful your body allows you to do. Ponder it. My body, while heavier than normal, is able to move really heavy objects, which it could not before. This year I was able to pull 292 on deadlifts, finally do a log press (video below) and squat over 200 lbs. While I am not looking the way I want to right now, I am proud of my accomplishments. My body allows me to do the things I love, be around the people I care about, carry in a ton of groceries in one go (one trip Teri), and help out others with heavy lifting.

Don’t forget the small things, which are big things! Your arms hug those you love. Your hands shake the hands of new friends. Your legs carry you to places and adventures. Your eyes and ears take in the beauty of the world around you and inspire you to want to do more.

7 Steps to Celebrate Body Positivity

1. Think about a feature you like – a physical one.

That’s right. Be selfish for a minute. Do you have amazing eyes? Great feet? A smile that’s hard to beat? Everyone has a part of their body they love. Embrace that. Then rock it. Seriously, let that be part of your confidence.

I love my shoulders and traps. When I am feeling down on myself, I snap them back, breathe in, and give them a check. Maybe you have some amazing hips, gams, who knows. Take pride in what you appreciate about your features.

2. Think about your personality.

What is it about you that makes you, well, you? Everyone has something unique to offer. Maybe it’s a wicked sense of humor, your ability to bounce back, your wit, your intelligence, artistic side, or secret talent. Let this be your superpower. Embrace YOU!

3. Remember that everyone is working on something.

We all have our areas of improvement. Mind, body, soul. If you can keep this in mind, heck if we could all keep this in mind, we would be living in a much different world. Help others see the good in themselves.

4. Flip the switch.

That’s right. Flip the “I’m awesome” switch without getting too self-absorbed. Choose to have confidence and celebrate yourself. Give yourself the respect you deserve. Say “yes” to you.

If you need to take post-it notes with positive affirmations and put those around the house, DO IT. If you need to make sure you greet yourself in the mirror every morning and say “Hello! I will choose to have a great day. I’m a wonderful human being and I want to be the best for me so I can be the best for all,” then DO IT. Flip the switch to saying “yes” to yourself. What would happen if we all were able to change our mindset? Think about it. WOW!

The Bad Things

OKAY, so being confident and loving ourselves is all good. I love it. However, there are some areas of caution.

5. Don’t get self-absorbed.
This just basically means don’t get cocky. There’s a point where it will make people think you only care about you and that’s never good. Too many selfies is another way to know if you’re doing this whole thing wrong.

6. Don’t get stuck on social media.

This kind of comes back to the selfie thing. I think selfies are good and evil. It depends on what you are using them for. Whenever I post one, there’s usually a message behind it for passing on knowledge or a positive vibe. When it’s just to show off, it can become very egotistical. Make sure there is a legit reason for you to post content that can help to benefit others or motivate people. Have that be your intent.

7. Don’t forget your reality check.

You heard me. Or, read me. You need to appreciate your uniqueness, your individual beauty, your own superpowers. But hear me out. Recognize when you need to work on something.

I may get a lot of flack for this, but please think about the following. If your health is in danger from being stuck in unhealthy habits, whether it’s substance abuse, weight or psychological issue, please work on getting better so you can truly be the best you.

I am all for the commercials that celebrate all the beautiful body shapes out there. The only issue I have is if someone is clearly needing to make a change but refuses to ignore it, then that can have devastating effects.

There. I said it. In order to be the best you, you need to be incorporating healthy habits, such as making wise nutritional decisions and being active. Sometimes, one has to come before the other and I get that.

If you have addiction or psychological issues or a disorder holding you back, I plead you to get help to love yourself enough to begin to heal so that you can truly celebrate how awesome you are and live a fulfilling life.

Lastly, I have some great quotes from friends about body image and body positivity I would love to share with you. Let’s get the good vibes going.

Tiffany A.

“We should love our bodies despite our scars. These scars are our story, our life’s journey, our trophies that declare our victories over the battles we have fought.”

Patti J.

“I, too, have many scars from a horrible condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (aka Acne Inversa) that plagued me on and off for over 30 years. Blessedly, I am in remission now due to the Healthy Keto & IF Lifestyle I have been following since June 25, 2017. But the scars remain as reminders of what I went through with outbreaks (flare-ups), surgical removals of the cysts, etc. I look at those scars as badges of courage and strength and a reminder of how I survived throughout those 30 years of intermittent incredible pain & suffering. Those scars are a significant part of my life’s journey for sure that lets me know that I truly can handle ANYTHING life is ready to put in my path.”

Cherie J.

“I am strong and resilient. These legs can run, these arms hug my loved ones, my body has taken me to see and do beautiful things. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I have a small series of things I say. As an eating disorder warrior (or for any human), positive self-talk is EXTREMELY important.

Ellie M.

“I am a person that does not sit still long and I THANK GOD every day for my health.”

Violette R.

“A body is a vehicle for your soul to experience the world in. It has an enormous biologic task, and in the end, will fail. Love it for its strengths, and the blessings and experiences it provides you with every day. It is by definition a limited and finite existence, and someday you will move on. Invest in your mind-become self-aware, realize that the outer body is ruled by the ego. Before you know it, your love will grow, seep out your pores, and become you. Life is beautiful. All of it– every form it takes.”

Karri L.

“Perfect imperfections and imperfectly perfect.”

Meg S.

“I am enough.”

Darin Allen E.

“I like it. If you don’t like it, don’t look.”

Sierra B.

“My strength is my beauty. As in, my strength is my beauty.”

Jade F.

“I think our bodies are like secret gardens through which we can rest and experience the world. If we tend them and love them, they grow beautifully for us.”

Heather B.

“Don’t say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say about a friend.”

Tesla Solaris M.

“Our bodies are our longest and closest friends. It’s the most important relationship we’ll ever have! For myself, sometimes we fight, sometimes we get frustrated at each other, but we always come back together and work it out. It involves a lot of listening on my part, that’s for sure.”

Ryan W.

“I’m more of a haunted mansion than a posh, studio apartment. I’m okay with that.”

Jonathan R.

“I practice this with other things but it applies to body image as well: when I’m feeling down on myself, like a piece of garbage, I remember that I am one of 7 billion other meat bags of different shapes and sizes, hurtling through space on the only rock known to support life. Our existence is highly improbable, and yet here I am. Being alive is dope and I’m happy for the journey in the vessel I was given.”

I hope you find this as a feel-good read! My favorite quote that I live by is the following:

“There will only be one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.”

Teri Tenseth Market is a Personal Trainer and holds a diploma in nutrition. She is also a competitive natural bodybuilder with the NANBF and competitive power lifter with the USAPL. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @fcpchick.

9 Tips to Stay Healthy While on Vacation

Labor Day weekend is almost here! Millions of people will be celebrating with BBQ, picnics, traveling, spending time with loved ones, and relaxing as we bid summer farewell, and for some, begrudgingly give into pumpkin spice EVERYTHING.

Hello again! It’s Teri. I myself am going kicking and screaming into autumn. I live in Minnesota. I know what’s going to happen. It will snow in October.

Back to business. How do we keep our Labor Day festivities healthy? Heck, how does one keep healthy while on vacation? I’m so glad you asked!

Whenever I plan to go on vacation or travel for that matter, I plan ahead. Here are my top tips for keeping in shape while still enjoying your time off.

1. Meal Prep.

For those truly dedicated, you can meal prep and take your meals on the road. If it’s a very long road trip,  reload your cooler with fresh ice from time to time, or get the type that can plug into a car a/c adapter. Like this one.
When I was in prep for a bodybuilding competition, I had to travel to Texas. I packed meals for a week in a cooler and had to do a dump and reload with ice A LOT. On the way, we stayed overnight at a hotel. Which brings me to another point.

2. When traveling, get a hotel room that offers a microwave and a mini-fridge.

Booking a room with these features means you are trying to make a commitment to staying on top of your health goals. You can stop and shop for food on the road or before you check-in.

3. Try and get in a workout.

Yup. Again, if you are traveling, see if there is a gym nearby and if you can get a day pass if you do not belong to a gym that is nationwide. Or, book a hotel with some cardio equipment. Weights are awesome if they have that option.

I’ve mentioned before in last week’s article that I pack a pair of resistance bands so I can get in a full body workout anywhere. Here’s a workout you can do right in your hotel room, Teri approved!

No resistance bands? Try this full body routine. The minimum I want you to do? Get in your 10k steps. I know I talk about this all the time. It’s free, it gets you moving, it keeps your cardiovascular health in check. Another thing you can do is plan a fun activity that takes you on a hike, a bike ride, or some sort of activity that gets you moving.

4. Didn’t have time to meal prep? Then make good decisions.

With smartphones, it’s really easy to find a restaurant’s menu and nutritional information for chain establishments when on the road. There are even apps like MyFitnessPal that have a lot of information pulled from menus.

Commit to what you will eat before walking in and placing your order. You can also find grocery and convenience stores along the route and get a salad to go or find a bunch of other pre-packaged fruits, veggies, eggs, and other options. You just need to look for them.

5. Don’t forget to eat.

When we are traveling, enjoying a hike, or when we’re on a long adventure, we push our meal times out. While that works for some, it can cause the hunger monster to come out, which can lead to over-consumption of calories. Keep a healthy snack on hand like a handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit like an apple. Pair it with a protein if you can. It will hold off the hunger and keep you level.

6. Stay hydrated.

Yup! I mean water. When we get dehydrated, cravings set in. Making sure you get your daily intake of 8 glasses a day – more if you workout – will help keep you full, happy, hydrated, and keep the snackcidents at bay.

7. Get enough sleep.
We try and pack so much in when we go on a trip, that we can be exhausted when we return. At times, we feel like we need a vacation from our vacations. Who does that?

I’m guilty! I have stayed up late, ran myself ragged, you know, the usual stuff. Make sure you get enough rest. That way you won’t overdo the caffeine, you will more likely make better decisions, and enjoy your trip. I get downright crabby if I am not well rested. What fun is that?

8. Share the health.

Attending a get-together? Bring a dish that is healthy that you truly enjoy, and make enough to share. Heck, if you want, bring two! You will enjoy your own meal and stick to plan.

9. Don’t forget to enjoy.

I realize…it’s vacation, celebration, time off, whatever. Taking time off helps relieve stress and recharges your mind. Indulge here and there, but don’t make it the entire time. You’ll feel better by staying on track going back into your normal routine, and your body will thank you!

Teri Tenseth Market is a Personal Trainer and holds a diploma in nutrition. She is also a competitive natural bodybuilder with the NANBF and competitive power lifter with the USAPL. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @fcpchick.

8 Ways to Add Exercise to Your Day

Are you struggling to stay active? Are you having a hard time getting your steps in for the day? Are you strapped to a desk? A lot of us are.

Hi, it’s Teri again! I am here to give you valuable info on simple ways to add activity to your day that won’t cost you a gym membership.

8 Easy Ways to Add Activity to Your Day


1. Join a 10K step challenge. You don’t really need a Fitbit. You can get a step counter online for as cheap as $9. I would personally recommend one in the $15 to $20 range that has a memory bank to help with tracking. Here’s one I can get behind.

No step challenge to join? Start your own with friends, co-workers, and family. 10K steps is a great way to get in your daily recommended activity just to maintain cardiovascular health.

2. Bodyweight workouts. These are legit. I cannot tell you how many times I have kicked my own but using bodyweight. Again, these can be done anywhere.

Check out these links for inspiration. Some of these are interval-based where there is a short burst of activity followed by a short rest period that’s just enough to reduce your heart rate. Some call this HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. I like intervals such as 60 seconds on followed by 60 seconds off. There are tons of different timer apps for this. I did my own version of a bodyweight HIIT workout in an airport once while waiting to board. I even got a thumbs-up and some applause!

3. Resistance bands. These are fabulous and affordable. They come in handy kits, and you can take them anywhere and get a workout in at your desk, in your house, on the road – anywhere. Here are some great ideas for resistance band workouts, and a suggestion on a set that has lasted me a long time. Want the ones with the handles? Try these.

I love loop bands as well! They work great for assisted pull-ups, active stretching, and more!

4. Take the long route. Running errands? Park your car the furthest away from the entrance to get in extra steps. Need to use the restroom? Use the one furthest from you at work, home, anywhere, as long as it’s not a bathroom emergency.

5. Get up and move every hour. Yup, get up from where you are sitting, or pull off the road when driving and get some jumping jacks in, practice a wall sit, get in some pushups, jump squats, or put on some tunes and dance. You can set a timer on your phone to remind you.

6. Make a game of it. Try BattleMoor! Haven’t heard of it? Neither did I, but my husband who is an old-school tabletop gamer did. It’s a game that brings fitness to you in a deck of cards. The official description:


*A personal training program that uses collectible card game strategies and lore to guide your fitness journey.

*Challenge your physical fitness goals within the familiar universe and mechanics of fantasy trading card games.

*Can be played alone, or exercise competitively with a friend where you alter and challenge your opponent’s workout.

*Includes rules and one 50 card starter deck for enough combinations to do a unique work out every day for over a year.


BattleMat was independently developed by two physical fitness experts and CCG nerds, and is made in America.

Seriously, it’s really cool. You can get it here.

7. Walk for 10 minutes after each meal. It helps get the digestive system in gear and will help you avoid the slump after eating.

8. Find something you love to do that is physically challenging. If you love it, it will be effortless to fit it into your day. That’s the way I feel about weightlifting. Find what works for you! Remember to stretch afterwards.

Teri Tenseth Market is a Personal Trainer and holds a diploma in nutrition. She is also a competitive natural bodybuilder with the NANBF and competitive power lifter with the USAPL. You can find her on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter at @fcpchick.

Find Your Purpose: 3 Steps to Self-Recognition

Hello, reader! I’m so happy you decided to read this article. I feel like now that I am about to turn 38, I am finally in the right place, doing what I was always meant to do. Let’s get into it!

We all tell ourselves “if I knew what I know today when I was younger, I’d be in a different place.” Woulda Coulda Shoulda.

At what point in our lives do we finally take into consideration all the wisdom we have gained, all the experiences we have had, and examine what our true purpose is? We need to take a close look at our life to do these.

1. Find themes.

Is there something you really excel at? Has it been pointed out to you that you have a particular talent that others appreciate and find helpful? Do you do this thing often? What is it? Here’s how I found my theme:

In all my previous careers – I was helping someone through communication. Here are some examples:

– In my youth, I volunteered at a retirement home. I would visit with residents, play cards, and help take residents to and from the dining hall.

– After college, here are the jobs I had:

I was an editor for television and film. I put stories together for others to learn or enjoy.

In the past when I worked for Apple, I taught people how to use their computers, troubleshoot technical issues, and contributed ideas for projects. This allowed others to communicate better through what they needed to do via technology.


At my job at a radio station, I created programs to get the message out on community events, told stories of artists, authors, and musicians, and I created awareness of cultural diversity by interviewing people of different backgrounds, religious beliefs, and more to a large listening audience. I also taught students these skills.

What am I doing writing this? Oooohhhhh. Communicating and helping. Gotcha, Universe.

2. Find what you love.

Are there things that you really enjoy doing? Are these things you can see yourself continuing to learn more about and do you get excited about sharing these interests with others? If so, take a look at those. I did!

For me, the real epiphany came after having been featured a couple of times in newspaper articles about my own health journey, then through teaching belly dance class, and again from others asking to work out with me.


My first personal trainer, David Ryan, really sealed the deal. He showed me just how rewarding life can be when we transform ourselves and take charge of our health. My coaching was online with him. David effectively communicated with me principles and methods, and I wanted to know more.


I started researching articles, nutrition, workouts, anything health-related. I could spend hours in a grocery store pouring over labels. I would investigate the living heck out of products, fitness gear, and supplements.

Through that and working out, I was inspiring others to be the best they can be in health and happiness without even trying, it seemed. As I became even more fit, people wanted to know what I was doing. I wanted to be able to help others like David helped me, so I became a personal trainer, which I love!


After that, I pursued an online diploma in nutrition. Then I found a job with Miracle Noodle, where I can communicate with others and help them with their health journey. Boom! We have come full circle. It only took till the later part of my 30’s. LOL.

3. Listen to the universe.

The World, God, a larger power, pointed me in the right direction repeatedly, to the point it was blatant.

“Teri, you should help people be the best they can by spreading messages of hope, showing care, taking time to communicate, educate, and train people. No, go lift some stuff!”

Aye aye, Captain!

I have been given a gift and an opportunity to share what I am passionate about. When things finally clicked and all the likes, loves, and positive feedback lined up, I was able happy to have found my purpose. Help, communicate, inspire.

What is the universe telling you? I want to know! Get a journal out and carry it with you so when you recognize a pattern, you can take note. It might surprise you!


Teri Tenseth Market is a Personal Trainer and holds a diploma in nutrition. She is also a competitive natural bodybuilder with the NANBF and competitive power lifter with the USAPL. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @fcpchick.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Stop Saying “Yes” When You Want to Say “No”

Hello Health Enthusiasts! It’s Teri, once again. I am reporting from the school of Hard Knocks. I think we all have had a semester or two there. In this article, I wanted to address something that makes many of us feel guilty. It’s a word that we never like to hear at the same time. I am talking about “no.”

Why is this? First, let’s examine the feeling that is associated with saying “no.”

What Goes On Inside Our Minds When We Say “No”

When we say “no” to something or someone, we may fear that it will reflect badly on ourselves, that we may miss out on an opportunity, or that we may never be asked to partake in some event, etc. ever again.

You see, I’m from Minnesota. In general, most of us here will help out anyone who asks for it without blinking an eye. However, repeatedly saying “yes” may mean you have to put your own well-being at risk.

I love my community. However, at my previous job I worked in the media and I was a promoter and producer of programming on arts, history, and culture. I produced multiple shows a week on it for a radio station. I’m a very social person, so I made connections easily, and soon I had the hook-up and social dynamics down for everything that happens in town.

However, because of that, my job spread over into my personal life. Why? I did not set good boundaries. Due to my skill set, I was asked to help with things outside of work I really didn’t have time for, or sometimes I was just doing too much because I cared a lot about a cause, organization, or an event I covered in a story. I didn’t know where the line was, and I burned out.

I had to leave a job I initially loved because that love turned to exhaustion. It turned into dread. It turned into misery. I wanted to throw up getting out of the car while heading towards the building. All because I didn’t know how to say “no” and I didn’t want a “no” to look poorly on the place I worked at. To this day, I have not returned to visit because I am not ready to. I put my entire being into that job, and now it’s time to heal, even though I miss the people I worked with.

There are other times where I, along with my husband, have been too helpful to others to the point where we were supporting people. One time we practically paid for an entire DIY wedding for a friend. We busted tail to get it set up with catering, decorations, a DJ, etc. This person never really hung out with us since or made contact.

I do not wish any of the people we helped ill will. All acts were done out of love. These are just a couple of examples. Don’t get me wrong, there are times in our lives we should all do things for the greater good. It’s important to know these things, these gestures are appreciated.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Say “Yes”

  1. Are your time, talent, and kindness appreciated?
  2. Do you say “yes” when you mean “no”?
  3. Are you taking care of yourself?

I think you know where I’m going here. I want you to ask yourself these questions before you say “yes” to the next thing you are asked to do. Unless it’s laundry, feeding your kids, you know, regular stuff. LOL. As much as I detest folding laundry, I still say yes, begrudgingly.

If your time and talents are not appreciated, that’s time and talent you can use to do something fun or educational for yourself or with others.

If you want to say “no” to the thing you are asked to do because it is not really doable or it will complicate things or make you unhappy, then say “no.”

If you are not taking care of yourself, hop to it! We can only be good for others if we first take care of ourselves.

Sometimes we just need to quit worrying about what people will think of us when we set boundaries. You may be surprised how people will respect your time when you do. You’ll also discover how saying “no” is really saying “yes” to yourself and your loved ones.

Thanks for reading! As always, if you want to find me I am on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter at @fcpchick.

Teri Tenseth Market is a Personal Trainer and holds a diploma in nutrition. She is also a competitive natural bodybuilder with the NANBF and competitive power lifter with the USAPL.

5 Steps to Mindfulness

I wanted to tackle a subject that I struggle with. It’s the ability to live in the moment. Easier said than done, am I right?

For me, living in the moment is a struggle. I have a tendency to try and think 3 or more steps ahead. It’s been ingrained in me my entire life.

Think ahead. Worry about the future. Have a backup plan. Ugh.

There’s so much to think about. It can be overwhelming. We worry about what might not ever be, or we over-plan. Do the following thoughts get overtime in your head?

“What will happen next?”
“What are we doing this weekend?”
“I have to plan for outcomes A, B, and C.”

We have been conditioned to prepare and worry about the future. We always look forward to the next big event, party, etc. But how often are we trying to live in the “here and now?” I guarantee if you try, you’ll have less anxiety, and will learn to relax. It’s something I am putting into practice everyday. I have to do something to get the hamster running on the wheel in my head to just stop and take a time out.

My husband and I take nightly walks, and I am starting to get in the habit of not bringing my phone. I want the entire time to be spent focused on us at that time. Sure, we will bring up upcoming things, but our priority is commenting on things we see on the walk and letting it spawn a discussion.

Maybe it’s a plant I haven’t noticed before. Maybe it’s a car he turns his head at. Maybe it’s the evening sky. We are trying to find things to talk about that are outside of work or anything related to stress.

Let me tell you, it can be a struggle. Silence is uncomfortable for some. At times, my husband and I won’t even talk at all for a couple of minutes. Yet, we are with each other, and we can feel the love for one another. That too, is being in the moment. This also brings up the next thing.


I notice a lot of people have a problem with active listening. Sometimes we are trying to think of the correct follow up, or the next thing to talk about, rather than focusing on what the other person is trying to say. When you communicate with someone, try to push away the urge to have the perfect follow up. Try to push away the worry about what you will say in order to avoid silence. Listen actively and take time to absorb all the information. Ask questions if you do not understand or feel you missed something.

Address Inner Struggles

Think of things or actions that prevent you from being aware or things that disturb your flow.

Here’s an example from my own life. There was a time I thought I had to bring a camera with me on every single hike or trip. Why? Because yours truly has a background in photography. I was afraid I would miss the perfect shot, and personally, I found this stressful. So, I quit packing the camera with me on trips where I wanted to be in the moment.

The other approach I use is to have the camera, but try and forget it’s there. If there is something I just have to capture because it’s so beautiful or thought-provoking, then I will take it out. But, it better be good! LOL!

Steps to Mindfulness

1. Meditation

You know what I am going to say. It’s meditation. Listen, I have ADD and the thought of meditation kinda scares me. What’s going to pop up when I blank out all distractions? Will an evil clown jump out of my mind? No, let’s be realistic.

To get over this hump, I have downloaded an app called “Meditation” and it has a starter program I’m using called “7 Days to Meditation” and other 7 and 14 day programs to work through. If I can do it, you can do it. What’s the worst thing that could happen? A peaceful mind? I’ll take that!

2. Awareness

When you go about your activities, even the mundane stuff, are you thinking about how things feel or make you feel? Do you focus on what you are doing vs what you feel you need to be doing? Do you make observations? Something as simple as saying, “This coffee mug I am holding is blue. The coffee is hot. It brings me comfort. I am happy.” Taking notice of things that are right in front of you and emotions you are experiencing can put you in the moment.

3. Exercise

Are you a gym goer? Do you workout? If so, I want you to try acknowledging every move your body makes at the time you are executing a movement. How is your breathing? What does your heart rate feel like? Are you warm? Are you cold? How does the activity make you feel?

Let me give you an example. I present to you, the deadlift. The deadlift is my jam. It’s my favorite weightlifting activity in the world. Nothing makes me feel as powerful as the deadlift. I am totally in the moment. Lessons from this lift can be applied to mindfulness. Here’s what happens to me.

I approach the bar, weight loaded. I say in my head the actions as I do them.

“Is my stance correct? Yes! Time to proceed!  Remember, Teri, the deadlift is a squat from the ground. Left hand overhand grip, right hand underhand, outside my knees. Bend the knees. Bar is at my shins. Arms straight down. Butt down. Belly button tucked into the spine. Head in neutral alignment. Neutral spine. Breath in and hold. Squeeze my butt. Engage my lats and shoulders. Lift/pull up and hinge hips. Stand up erect without over accentuating or leaning back, or over-rolling shoulders back. Breathe out. Control the bar back down. Control the weight. Let the weight rest. Do not use the bounceback to take you into the next lift. That’s cheating. Repeat. Check form, breath in….”

You see, that’s awareness. That’s being in the moment. Feel free to try this technique with everyday activities as well. For example, preparing breakfast, picking out clothes, doing laundry, you name it.

4. Be Aware of Phrasing

What do I mean? Listen to yourself. When you describe things, write, or talk with other people, are your words positive or negative? Switching words around and really thinking about what you are saying and how you want to impact people with your verbiage is important. It has the power to change your day or someone else’s day and attitude.

5. Body Awareness

Has anyone walked up to you and said “You look tense, is there something wrong?” Whoa! There’s a reality check. You may not even be aware that you have resting-whatever-face going on. Or, maybe your shoulders are up to your ears, maybe you have a scowl, or maybe you look like you’re going to cry.

Emotions are OK, but are you in touch with them? Are you listening to the cues your body is telling you? Ask yourself how you feel when stress comes up. Is your heart rate escalating? Are you breathing heavy? If so, you have the power to calm yourself down by being in the moment, and being aware of your feelings.

I hope this helps! Please feel free to share your thoughts on mindfulness. What works for you? How are you trying to live in the moment?

Teri Tenseth Market is a Personal Trainer and holds a diploma in Nutrition. She is also the Social Media Manager for Miracle Noodle. Have a question for Teri? You can find her online on FacebookInstagram, and at Twitter @fcpchick. Alternatively, she can be reached by email at teri@miraclenoodle.com.

Win by Losing

We’ve all had our moments of defeat. We’ve been embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed. Whether this is in athletic competition, work life, home life, dietary goals – whatever. There has been one time (or many in my case) where we have failed. The difference? Failing can help you win – or improve – for the next time. Let me explain.

When I used to compete in triathlons, I never placed. Not once! But that’s OK. I always was able to get a results report afterward to see where I could improve and then compare for the next race. How long did I take transitioning from the swim to the bike? How can I narrow that window? Why was my swim too long compared to my predicted time? Did I stay out of the crowd of other swimmers, or did I try and fight them out?

All of this information helped me plan, prepare, and change strategy for the next time. Each year I improved in a couple areas! Wonderful!

Set Out to Fail

When it comes to weight-lifting, which is my favorite form of training, I set out to fail every time I go to the gym. Let me explain.

I cannot get stronger without failure. Before I head into my workout, I look at my journal to see how many reps and sets I made at what weight for each type of lift I am assigned in my workout from the previous attempt. I then calculate what I think I can increase weight or repetitions at, and write it down as a goal. That way I have a plan when I arrive at the gym.

For example, I plan for leg day based on the amounts of weight I managed to push from the previous week. If I made all my lifts successfully, then the next time I aim for a 5 lbs increase.

Why? Let’s take squats for example. The week before I did 6 sets of 10 at 110 lbs. This week I wanted to try 115 lbs with the same amount of reps and sets. Well, it did not happen. I got a couple of reps in at 115, and then I had to drop the weight (called a drop-set) because I couldn’t handle the weight past a couple of reps with good form. Doh! But that’s OK! Those couple of reps were more weight than I attempted the week before. I just went on with 110 and did each set till failure. When leg day comes around next week, I will try again for 115. This is how I approach each type of lift. Eventually, I will get stronger, and bust through to a new weight attempt.

The same can be applied at work. That’s why we have performance reports. What can be improved on? Where can I learn more? What opportunities do I have for growth? Or, have I outgrown this profession and want/need a challenge? Am I looking to fail so that I can learn something?

Relationships, how we communicate, all of it can be improved by failing. Not necessarily intentional. I think we strive for perfection, and when things do not go as planned, we give up. We say “It’s too hard” or “why do I even try”? The reason? Growth. We have lessons to learn and wisdom we can pass on. I am constantly discovering new ways and approaches in how to communicate with people based on feedback or how people receive information I give them. Each person listens differently. People may hear things differently as well.

When I was in counseling years ago with a former partner, I learned a really great technique. We were not hearing one another. This doctor said we should try asking one another (before assuming we heard one thing vs another) “I heard you say “insert words”. Is that what you meant?” While that relationship did not work out – that advice has. I still use it today.

Learn from Failure

Do not be afraid of failure. It’s part of life. Take time to learn from it. Aim for the old saying “Progress, not perfection”. When you have that epiphany, that “a-ha” moment, write about it! It can be so helpful and therapeutic. That way you can look back and learn.

My last bit of advice? Ask yourself the following. What have you been doing repeatedly that is not working? Take time to look at your life and figure out what needs improvement and set some goals. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Try something different, and if it doesn’t work, gather what you learned, try a new approach, and most importantly, try again.

Teri Tenseth Market is a Personal Trainer and holds a Diploma in Nutrition. Have a question for Teri? Email her at teri@miraclenoodle.com. Teri can be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter at @fcpchick.

Clean Up Your Act

Hello, Miracle Noodle Fans! It’s Teri, once again. Today I want to talk about something that can distract you from reaching your own health goals. It’s not food, it’s not drink, it’s not even about exercise, but it is something that will distract you and keep you from reaching your best potential. It’s something I am working on currently in my own house.

I’m cleaning up my act.

What do I mean? I mean I am letting go of a ton of garbage. Well, maybe not garbage, but things. These things have been holding me back. You see, my mother held on to all my things from childhood. When I moved back to Minnesota in 2010, she unloaded the stuff on me when I bought a house. Into the attic it went, forgotten about. That is, till my husband and I decided we needed to get rid of clutter everywhere, to clear our minds. For our sanity.

When Jon and I moved in together, we collected a lot of items we thought would be cool to have for decoration, but then we would get distracted and it would get pushed away for later. There are decorations we purchased for our wedding, things we bought for amusement because they were a buck or two, and stuff of our own we just were not willing to part with.

There are mementos and objects from my grandmothers, trinkets from childhood, and the other night we found my Pound Puppy Collection from my 80’s childhood. Remember those? However, we are now in our late 30’s. We are trying to move, clean out, and live a little simpler.

I know I am not the only one with this dilemma. I think to some extent, we are all guilty of putting things out-of-sight to deal with at another time. We tell ourselves we will get to it, but then we don’t. We keep pushing it off. So why is this an issue?

We can’t move forward without being able to let go of the past. Yup. Things are just things. Some items and momentos are healthy, but too much of anything can turn into mental and sometimes physical clutter. So you may be wondering, “what can I do to let go?” Well, I’ll tell you. Here are my tips.

8 Tips to Let Go of Clutter


1. Take it a little bit at a time.

Don’t try and unload or go through all your stuff in one sitting. Try a couple of boxes a night, or space it out so it doesn’t become overwhelming. It can be hard to go through things if there are memories or sentimental feelings attached to them. Heck, sometimes you may want to weed through a box, and then do a second pass to get rid of more from that container. I do that. It helps me let go gradually.

2. Try the “If I haven’t used it in a year, it goes” rule.

Honestly, if you aren’t using it and you don’t see yourself using it within a year, then it’s time to consider getting rid of it.

* Ask yourself “Does this bring me joy?”

If the answer is “no,” it’s time for it to go.

3. Know that things are just things.

That’s right. Things are just things. Things cannot replace people. They may remind us of them, but that’s what’s great about the digital age. We can keep endless photos of people, events, and things even.

Have a hard time giving it up? Maybe take a photo. Then donate or gift the item if it has value to someone who will appreciate it. I know some kids in our family that are going to love some of our collectibles. You have to realize there is no reason to feel guilty of getting rid of things you no longer need, even if it was a gift. This is hard for some. Knowing you are not throwing away the thoughtfulness of the gesture helps.

4. Get a support group.

I am not joking about this. I belong to a minimalist group for local women in our area. We all post things we get rid of and we participate in a monthly challenge. I have been purging so much stuff the last couple of weeks and have been too happy to box up and drop off to various locations to take photos. But, I am doing it. Seeing others doing the same has really helped.

5. Organize a neighborhood event.

My neighbor did this a number of years ago with the intent of getting rid of/trading clothes. It was a potluck, too! It became a great idea for a social gathering. Everyone brought what they were willing to get rid of. What was left over you could take back, or donate locally.

4. Try consignment shops.

Do you have some really nifty goods? Wanna make a buck or two? Try consignment stores. I like this better than having a garage sale because you won’t be tempted to bring it back into your home.

5. Donate.

You do the world a favor when you donate. Depending on what organization you prefer – Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army, a local thrift store that takes donations, churches, or USAgain. There is somewhere that is willing to take your stuff. Jon and I like USAgain for our clothing items. There are dropboxes in 16 states. For a list of locations, check this site.
I hope this helps you! I think we all feel better when our home is free of clutter. It can be carthratic to let things go. Who knows? You might make space and restructure things for a little zen area for yourself.

Want to talk about it? I’m here! Comment below if you like, or email me at tereseltenseth@gmail.com
* After writing the article, our copy editor said I had the same sentiment as author Marie Kondo in her book The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up. Great minds must think alike! I’ve been using that sentiment for years. Anyhow, check it out by clicking here.

Teri Tenseth Market is a Personal Trainer and holds a diploma in Nutrition. She is also the Social Media Manager for Miracle Noodle. Have a question for Teri? You can find her online on FacebookInstagram, and at Twitter @fcpchick. Alternatively, she can be reached by email at teri@miraclenoodle.com.

4 Ways to Deal With Healthy Food Haters

Well, “Haters” might be a bit strong, but do I have your attention? Then BINGO! Let’s go!

This week I wanted to visit a subject that comes up A LOT for those of us trying to eat healthy all year long. Whether you’re trying to clean up your eating for weight loss, or just trying to live a good life eating clean, there might be a time where your healthy habits come into question.

Food is personal; it goes into your body and converts to energy. That’s more personal than it gets! Hence, we may get a tad bit defensive when people start asking questions or when they appear to be uncomfortable with your choices. This can come from their own personal issues.

Let’s dive in.

When Healthy Eating is Considered Unusual

Picture this scene: My mother calls and says “I’d like to have you over for dinner. When can you eat like a normal person again?”

Has this happened to you? Because it has to me.

Sorry, Mom. For the good of the readers, I am whipping this out as an example. Now, granted, I am on a food plan for my training. I am currently in off season for women’s bodybuilding. Calories are up, but I still eat clean. I have wiggle room on Sunday evenings. On the days I don’t, I stick to the plan, because the plan works and is geared towards my goals.

Usually when I go somewhere or have dinner with a friends, I can get my hands on lean protein, green veggies and a complex carb (think whole grains or sweet potatoes) and make do. Anyhow, back to my mom’s question:

Mom: “When can you eat like a normal person?”
Teri: “What is normal to you?”
Mom: “Well, where you don’t have to care about what you are eating. Maybe order a pizza, or I’ll cook and make a dessert.”

Can you see where I might get a little defensive? Why would I feel this way?

It’s the word “normal.” It’s as if my eating style is odd or unusual. Granted, I am the black sheep in the family. I can live with that. I believe the bigger issue is that I want to immediately go into educator and defensive mode and discuss how eating like you don’t care is actually not that normal.

I’ll be honest, if I could pack away a donut from our local legendary bakery, Bloedow’s (they ran Krispy Kreme out of town. That’s a fact!) along with a cappuccino and a couple of slices of pizza a day, I would. I lived that way, and guess what? It didn’t work. That’s how I packed on the weight and reached 209 pounds in 2010. There were also a ton of late night Taco Bell dinners.

Let me clue you in, ordering from the healthy menu isn’t healthy when you eat a bunch of it. I wasn’t caring, I just ate what I wanted to.

How to Respond to Healthy Food Haters

Comment #1: I’d like to have you over for dinner. When can you eat like a normal person again?


You could answer this way: “I would love to visit over dinner. I am really focusing on my health right now. Would it be okay to contribute a dish of my own?”

Why this answer: It lets them know your goals and you are showing respect by offering to bring something.
Here is another possible answer: “Visiting sounds great! How about we get together over coffee and maybe a board game?”

Why this answer: You are taking the focus away from the main event, in this case, the dinner. You are switching the focus to the conversation instead.

Comment # 2: Why are you on a diet? You look fine to me!

That’s a pretty personal question and assumption, isn’t it? This can come out of a place of jealousy. As in, the person asking this may wish to have the same focus, drive, and results as you. They may feel insecure about their own eating habits if you’re on a good path.

How to answer: “Thanks for saying so! I just know where I feel comfortable at and I am trying to get there. I really appreciate your support of my healthy habits.”
You have just turned the conversation around. Who would not want to support that? If they don’t, you and I both know it’s not going to look favorable on them. Just sayin’.


Comment # 3: So, when are you through with your diet?
Some people don’t get it. Even after the diet phase, many of us choose to go into maintenance calories, but still eat the same healthy foods. There is nothing wrong with this. This is how we keep healthy habits for life. Consistency.

How to answer: “Oh, I plan to eat healthy for life. Everything in moderation, but I find eating clean helps me feel the best and keeps me on track for long-term health.”


You can even add “I still eat (insert favorite food); but it’s an occasional treat.”

Comment #4: I made (fill in the blank). It’s healthy, so you should be able to eat it!

Sigh. Now you fear that you’ll look unappreciative for turning it down. You have three choices here:

1. You can reply with “That looks amazing! Could I take some home for me for later?”

2. You could also state that you truly appreciate the gesture, but are not hungry at the moment.

3. If it’s pretty close to meeting your nutritional goals, you could have a little bite and take some home for later consumption.

What You Shouldn’t Do When Approached With These Questions:

  • Avoid going into defensive mode. Feelings just get hurt.
  • Give detailed answers. Keep your answers simple. Don’t feel like you have to give them the entire story behind your decisions. If they want more information, they will ask. Otherwise, you may end up annoying people, and they may become more resentful of your choices.
  • Ridicule the person who asks these questions about their own way of eating. If someone wants advice, they will ask.

If You’re on the Asking End

Finally, just a side note for those of you on the “asking” end. If you have a friend or family member who’s currently on a health journey, I beg you to be considerate, patient, and respectful. There is a right way and a wrong way of asking questions.

Put yourself in their shoes. It’s hard enough to stick with a healthy eating protocol during holidays, get togethers, events, work meetings (always coffee and donuts) and other functions. Food is such a prevalent thing in our society. It’s how we express love a lot of the time. If you’re curious, ask how they are doing. Keep an open mind that what works for you doesn’t work for everyone. Be encouraging. Think before you open your mouth – pun intended!

I would love to know your thoughts! Please comment below, or feel free to comment below.

Teri Market is a Certified Personal Trainer, Women’s Physique Competitor, and Powerlifter that holds a Diploma in Nutrition. She also is the Social Media Manager and a Content Creator for Miracle Noodle. Teri can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest at @fcpchick.