As many of you know, we recently spent a month in Costa Rica! Before we left we told you WHY we decided to take a month off as a family and try someplace new (to read our WHY click here!) We've been back for about two months and I realized that we updated you when we got there and while we were away but I didn't really fill you in on how this experience changed and challenged us, individually and as a family. So read on to learn about our experiences - the good, and the bad!
We had an incredible experience in Costa Rica. I am so happy that we took the time with our family and made it happen. Our kids did such a great job traveling (overall - we had our moments and I have some funny travel stories to share for sure!) In terms of expectations, I worked really hard not to set expectations for the trip. Traveling with 2 little kids (a 4 year old and a 1 year old) I knew a lot would be dependent on their mood, the lunar calendar (kidding) and which way the wind was blowing. I did expect that I would be working much more than I actually ended up working. Which is a good thing for this girl who LOVES her work. It was a really good shift for me - I was OK with doing less work and easing into the Pura Vida lifestyle. We also had a really fantastic team that was carrying our weight while we were gone. (Thank you guys! You are the very best!!!)
A lot of people wanted to know what a typical day was like for us. It is difficult to describe that because we quickly learned that our family did best when we were ‘adventuring’. ‘Adventuring’ meant finding a new beach, or exploring a new town, or driving in the jungle, or visiting an animal refuge, or just trying something new. But one thing I did every day was get up at 5am to get a little bit of work done before the kids woke up. Our rental was tiny - so that meant working outside on the patio just before dawn. It was so loud! We could hear howler monkeys, cows, birds, and the really loud grasshoppers (I think they are called cicadas). There were ‘condo cats’ - community cats that everyone fed but nobody owned who would keep me company while I worked.
The kids (blessedly) would wake up most mornings around 7 and from there it was off to the races. Brooklyn, our 1 year old would get up and look for her swimsuit, her sunblock, and her life jacket to indicate she was ready to go. We would have a quick breakfast of the most amazing tropical fruit and yogurt then be out the door for a walk on the beach before it got too hot. I would carry Brooklyn on my back and we would walk and explore a new beach - picking out our favorite beach houses. Then we all would have a swim / play in the waves or we would explore rocky tide pools. After that, we would get Brooklyn back into the baby carrier and she would get a little power nap in.
We had to get out of the sun from 11-3pm. It. Was. So. Hot. So hot you would feel your body slow down to compensate for dealing with the heat. During this time, we would either let the kids sleep or drive somewhere for our afternoon adventure. We had a really great pool at the place that we stayed and the kids LOVED swimming in it. It is really impressive to see how much confidence they gained swimming. Mike put Hazen’s life jacket on Brooklyn as a joke once and she LOVED it - seconds later she was peeling my death grip off her so she could swim on her own and the next day she was jumping off the side of the pool and holding her breath underwater. CRAZY.
Hazen made a lot of friends. He met a little girl Grace, from upstate New York and then his ‘best friends’ were a couple of Canadians in their 60s(ish) (Tammy / Earl if you are reading this I hope I didn’t overestimate). We would come back from our morning walk and Hazen would strain his neck walking down the path to see if his friends (60 years his senior) were there to ‘play’.
The sunsets in Costa Rica were absolutely spectacular but we didn’t see many. The sun would drop right around 6 which was when we were in the hustle to get cleaned up from the day, have dinner and get to bed. Bedtime in Costa Rica was a breeze. The kids were e x a u s t e d and were so excited (just like we were) to get in their bed at night. I wish we could have brought a little bit of that home.
My most favorite day was when we went into the rain forest in the Monteverde area. It was so beautiful. It was a lot cooler - a great break from the heat we were experiencing - and I think I just love hiking. We walked across canopy bridges high in the air, stood on the continental divide where we could see the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, listened to the birds, and looked for monkeys. We didn’t see any- I am pretty sure that Hazen cleared out all wildlife within a 4 mile radius of us.
In Monteverde we rented an AirBNB from a family of dairy farmers. Their spot on the side of the mountain was probably one of the most incredible views / experiences of my life. We watched the clouds come from the rain forest roll over us and then evaporate into the air. We watched the sunset over the Monteverde valley. We drank the most incredible coffee that was grown and roasted by the grandfather on the farm. We talked with the family and learned about their lifestyle. Our kids played with their kids. We walked on paths in the jungle that the family cut themselves. We got to help with the milking of the cows. I got to bottle feed a 3 month old cow. It. Was. Amazing.
While each day was so different, in general I knew that everything would be a slower pace and I was really really to embrace that slower pace. But… I had my moments when we were out to eat where I just wanted to jump over the counter and make my meal for myself. I could actually feel my grandfather come through me (he was not known for his patience) and groan. I remember a particular time we were all packed up and ready to hit the road for an adventure. The plan was we would stop at the Bagel Kitchen and get 2 breakfast sandwiches and 1 bagel for the road (a girl can only eat so much fish, fruit, and veggies.) The kids and Mike were waiting in the car and I was watching the breakfast sandwich being made. The very nice man cracked the egg, beat the egg, poured the egg into the fry pan, toasted the bagel, fried the bacon, etc, etc, etc, at a pace comparable to a snail. He wrapped the bagel up, put it in a bag, and started on the next one… I just about lost it. I am not proud of myself in that moment. I heard my grandfather’s groan come out through my body. I truly appreciate everything being made fresh and to order and I also appreciate the efficiency of an american kitchen. I am fairly confident this makes me a jerk.
One challenge we faced was the language barrier. We did our best with language and I think next time we travel we will work hard to be even more prepared. When we went to Costa Rica 2 years ago it was for a weeks vacation - and vacation for a week is much different than making a far away land your home for over a month. The kids did much better than us with language and Brooklyn came home with more words in Spanish than English just because she was in the sweet spot of learning new words. Hazen was fearless with his language skills. He would shout ‘Hola Amigos’ (hello friend) to anyone passing by; ‘Gracias’ (thank you) in not always the right circumstances; ‘con gusto’ (with pleasure / your welcome) in even stranger circumstances; and ‘Adios Muchachos’ because it rhymes (bye dude) - we had to look up Muchachos and make sure it wasn’t anything derogatory. Hazen also practiced repeating a string of sounds back to people which was incredibly entertaining for everyone involved. So - someone would say a sentence or two to Hazen in spanish and Hazen would parrot the same sounds back to that person, I am sure in his very Maine, very American accent. It was so fun to see the kids embrace learning the new language with such ease, curiosity, and fearlessness. It gave us more confidence to experiment and try our Spanish/French linguistic skills without being afraid of getting it wrong or embarrassing ourselves.
But because of the language barrier, we did have a pretty scary miscommunication. We were in Costa Rica in the dry season and in the dry season there are forest fires. Not fires like you would imagine with high branches burning and big flames. Lots of little fires with burning of the underbrush. We would see smoldering ashes on the side of the road - just like when a campfire gets perfect to roast marshmallows. We had been to a monkey refuge sanctuary a few days prior and had learned that these fires the night before had gotten out of control and the refuge lost their water tanks and had a couple of animal casualties. The fire department wouldn’t help and all of the volunteers were working to put the fire out with a bucket brigade.
So that's the back story.
Then at 4:15am there is a rap rap rap rap rap rap rap on our door. Mike leaps out of bed says ‘stay here’ and I of course was hot on his heels. It is the youngest security guard from the gate and he is getting increasingly panicked that we don’t understand what he is trying to communicate to us. The incredible game of Costa Rican charades begins with him gesturing to the mountains and making flame like motions, then he starts motioning a key, car, steering wheel. OK - got it muchachos - forest fire, evaluate, leave in your car. Si.
The guard goes and knocks on our neighbors door...
What to grab for an evacuation in Costa Rica? Passports, water, elephant blanket, computers, who knows - we stuff a few things into an already packed bag. I wake Hazen up and say: ‘Honey, there is a fire, we are being evacuated, you need to wake up and walk’ and I get the baby out of her crib.
The fear hit me when we were walking down the long path to our car and I hear the bomberos (the Costa Rican fire truck siren). I know there is one road in and out. I know we have the option to either go right to the jungle on the bumpy monkey trail or left to wind around the coast line. I know that we aren’t going to have a team of emergency personnel telling us calmly and in English where to go and what to do. I know this is it. We are on our own. At least we have elephant blanket.
Just as we get to the end of the path we see Roberta, our host of Italian nationality. ‘Buongiorno!!!’ she calls to us - walking towards us slower than she should in an forest fire / evacuation situation. After a few Italian niceties she explains to us that we are not being evacuated we just need to move our rental car. There is a truck in full flames of fire and it is right next to our rental car.
Welp… that was a bit of a misunderstanding - sorry kids - wanna go to the waterslide park? What time do you think they open?
Thank goodness that was the only "emergency" we faced on our trip!
One thing that I didn't really discuss before we left was that I had never been with my kids for that period of time, full time. I was really worried that I wouldn’t like it / couldn’t do it / that there would be no one to cry ‘uncle’ to if we needed a break. I was worried if I had felt these feels - not enjoying every second of every minute of every day with my kids what that would mean about me as a mother or as a person. And then I was worried about beating myself up for those feelings and those thoughts. This was really hard for me to say before I left. Really. I had mentioned it subtly in the blog before I left and somebody really close to me and to my kids mentioned it to me and I literally busted out in tears. (And if you know me, you know I have an incredibly stiff upper lip.) She said to me “You will be fine. It will be great.” And. I. Lost. It.
But you know what - I was better than fine and it was absolutely great. Being with our family 24/7 was actually the very best part of the entire experience. I don’t know how to describe it - everyone just did what they were supposed to do. There was no asking the 4almost5yearold to get dressed or brush his teeth 10,000 times - he just did it. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly had our moments but having the kids, knowing what was going on with them start to finish, was SO. MUCH. EASIER. than all of the transitioning and hustle associated with living and working in America.
Though, I will say the last 4 days of our 34 day trip were rough. I think the kids, especially Hazen had just had enough. Everyone was ready to go home. The season had turned from hot and dry to hot and humid (just like that in one rain storm one night - that by the way, poured all over us in bed), and we were not handling the humidity well. We all wanted to get home to sit in our living room, play with toys, go to an American grocery store, eat something other than fish, veggies, and fruit, pet our dog Oliver, and see our friends.
I am happy to say while aspects of this trip challenged us, it also made us stronger and closer. Travel always give us an incredible sense of perspective and this trip certainly achieved that for me. But more than that, I think it gave our son an incredible sense of perspective as well. I love how he was able to see that we are just a very very small part of a really big and beautiful world, that we are so lucky to live in one of the greatest countries in the world, and that there are all kinds of different people living all kinds of different lifestyles. Being away also taught us to live with and enjoy living with a lot less.
I think we have come together much closer as a family unit. Living in 433 square feet (that’s probably an exaggeration - I have no idea how big our condo was) will do that for you. I have a lot more trust in the children’s ability to listen to me and follow instruction when (read: only when) absolutely necessary. I have gained a lot of confidence in being a Mother.
Since we have been back it was an adjustment getting into the swing of a daily routine and it felt exciting to dive back into work and come into the gym and see all of our clients smiling faces! One questions every asked me was "Are you planning on doing this again?" And my answer is always "Absolutely - 100%." Our goal is to have one big family adventure per year. Mike and I haven’t figured it out 2020 yet but we are thinking that it may involve an RV and lots of national parks!
We love Costa Rica but we really want to explore the world so we will definitely try a different location. Now taking recommendations!! Leave your travel choices in the comments!!
For the month of April, we asked Shelley and Matt to write about their small victories since they have started with us. We wanted to know what they have been noticing about themselves, what has changed, and how they have been feeling since embarking on this health and wellness journey.
Here is Shelley's story about small victories:
September of last year, my journey of small victories began. Simply putting a foot in front of the other and committing to a lifestyle change was really my first step. From there, I built frequent goals to hit including exercise type, frequency, eating, sleep and weight loss. The later goal was my best motivator.
Right off, I cut sugar out of my diet. Friends of mine had adopted a keto lifestyle - a very low carb, high fat diet. It took awhile to get accustomed to no bread, no pasta, no rice - all of my favorites. I started walking on my own and bit, then tried a few local gyms.
I joined Wilcox in November and immediately loved the environment. I struggled through the first workouts but saw myself getting stronger and more confident. And, mixed with this regular exercise schedule, I hit my first goal and lost 20 pounds by Thanksgiving.
In December, I bought new clothes and started a Stitch Fix membership where you plug in your sizes and design preferences and each month a custom styled shipment of a fancy outfit arrived. (Since that time, I’ve had to change my size preference 3 times and each time I receive a package - the clothes are smaller and fit better.)
By Christmas I had lost 30 pounds. I felt stronger and more confident at the gym. My routine was solid and my weights were heavier. I stopped taking my prescription heartburn medication! For my next goal, I purchased a dress for a January work dinner that was a little snug.
January started and my husband started eating a low carb diet with me, which helped with meal planning. We started experimenting with different ingredients and banned sweets from the house. We both experienced off-scale victories together as our clothes fit better. I even wore my shirt tucked in! (I know that this is not a big deal for most people, but it is to me!). Plus my dress that I purchased in December for my work dinner fit like a charm!
In February, I decided to switch things up at the gym. Since I now slept better at night, I felt that I can start my workout day earlier. I signed up for 6AM and 7AM sessions where I can get in, work hard and then go about my workday. This was a big change, as I never had been a morning person! I’ve since continued a mix of early and later classes.
By then I was down 40 pounds and I was on to my next goal!
Planning for a Gala happening in April, I joined a group of women at The Henrys in February to shop for a dressy gown. In the past, I was very nervous about an event like this and I found that I couldn’t really shop off the rack. I was very pleasantly surprised that I could try on 8-10 dresses that I really loved! In the end, I picked a very bright color that was a little tight
March brought more personal victories. In the Strength Training sessions, I now picked up the heavier weights and pushed myself through more reps and different angles. I bought some new spring clothes and “shopped my attic” for clothes that I haven’t worn in 5 years! I even bought something that I always wanted to own but couldn’t fit in - tall boots! I was so excited.
I’m proud of my small victories, they really do count! Each one brings me closer to my ideal self.
Here I am in April, nearly 50 pounds down! And yes, it is a bathroom selfie.
This is what fuels my fire. What fuels yours? John’s story is like high octane rocket fuel for me and I hope it also inspires you to take action to improve your overall health and wellness.
In just 6-weeks John was able to significantly lower his A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Just 6-weeks of consistency. Training 3 times per week. Eating breakfast. Drinking lots of water. And nourishing himself well. It isn’t easy, but it is possible. And it's totally worth it.
This is what I love about our business - stories like these of incredible transformation, the ripple effect that is created by that transformation, and the incredibly supportive community that surrounds us all. Owning a business isn’t always rainbows and butterflies and these are the things that make all the hard work, late nights, and sacrifices worth it.
So tell me... what fuels your fire? What do you love right now about your life, your career, your family that is lighting you up? What do you want to celebrate? I want to hear it! Leave a comment below!
John Pickering is such an inspiration to anyone who has the great privilege of seeing him train. The things he is able to do during his sessions is really incredible - most people 40 years younger would have trouble doing some of the movements he conquers! John has a terrific attitude about trying new exercises and to his overall training. He always gets to the gym early and stays after, which has really accelerated his ability to train and progress. Also, he rarely misses a session and when he does he makes it up within a week - truly committed to feeling great and being active inside and outside the gym. He is also eager to work through movements that are a challenge to him (he even asks his trainer, Nick to try them again so he can get better at them). We couldn't be more inspired by John and the attitude, mindset, and friendly personality that he brings to the gym every single time. Thank you, John - keep inspiring all of us at WILCOX, the trainers and all the clients appreciate everything you do.
LOVE seeing posts like this from our clients who are #makingithappen. I love that Jacqueline makes the connection between training and life - that we can get used to tension in our life (and in our bodies) and it isn’t until we let it go that we even realize it was there.
Thanks for sharing, Jacquelyn - and for letting us share. So happy you have found a more kind, more gentle approach with your body and life.
You have big goals. There’s a result you desire. You want to live a BIG life that is free of limitations.
Maybe your goals are weight loss related, maybe it is to start your own business or change careers, maybe it’s to play with your kids without getting winded, or run your first 5k, or maybe it’s to get off your blood pressure medication.
Whatever it is, your daily habits are going to have more impact on meeting that goal and sustaining it in the long term.
If you or someone you know has ever gone to extreme measures to lose weight – diet pills, surgery, starvation diets, etc – the chances are VERY small that they were successful. And if they were, chances are that they couldn’t sustain the result. The reason is…
They were chasing a result while ignoring the process and focusing on the daily habits that shape their life.
To be successful with anything long term, whether it’s nutrition, weight loss, fitness, business, performance – literally anything – you have to learn to fall in love with the process.
It’s not some grand action that gets you to lose 30 pounds. It’s the accumulation of the choices you make each and every day – the PROCESS – the HABIT - that gets you to the RESULT, not the other way around.
So if you ever find yourself frustrated with progress toward a desired outcome, be sure to stop and ask yourself – “are the behaviors I’m practicing every single day going to lead to the result I desire?”
The answer should be pretty clear.
And if the answer is “no”, what are you willing to change to make the answer “yes”?
Habit change is not easy. It is HARD!
Think about what you do on a daily basis – are these habits bringing you closer or further away from your goal? We don’t suggest going for a full lifestyle overhaul all at once, but rather be conscious of the choices you’re making each day knowing that each choice either widens or closes the gap between you and your goals.
Need extra support with this? Download our Habits for Massive Impact PDF to learn about the 5 habits that we believe will have the most impact in your life.
What choice do you continuously find yourself making in your daily life that you’d like to commit to changing to bring you closer to your goal? Hit reply and share your insights!
To Your Success,
PS: If you’re not already in our free private Facebook group, be sure to click here and join! We would love to have you!
Congratulations to this AWESOME KickStart Crew! This amazing group of people were laser focused in the pursuit of their goals – to live healthier, feel better, and gain strength and confidence. As a result, they found their commitment to healthy living, lost an average of 15.29 inches overall, and are feeling amazing!
The next KickStart Session kicks off on August 4th (Success Sessions start the week of July 16th). We want you to be our next success story! More information on the KickStart Program is avaliable below!
I am pretty sure that I have the absolute best job in the world. I get a front row seat on a daily basis to see people's beautiful transformations.
I am not talking about losing weight, toning up, and looking great in a bikini (yes – that does happen here and it's awesome!) I am talking honest to goodness transformation.
Transformation from the inside out.
Changing thought processes.
Increased confidence, energy, and zest for life.
It is absolutely amazing and I absolutely love it.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with one of our clients who had gone through our KickStart Program.
This individual had gotten great results in our program and was going to continue on in a training program with us. She had tried many health and fitness programs in the past and nothing had ‘stuck’ for her.
Now I know that you can have the best health and fitness program in the world, but if you don’t address what is going on with the mindset eventually, the client is going to fall off the wagon.
In this conversation, I was pushing this individual to share with me her reasons WHY her healthy habits were going to ‘stick’ this time.
Her reasons were so powerful – she was getting excited and talking fast. She had just completed a very focused 4-week program to establish healthy habits, had gotten great results, and was on a bit of a health and fitness ‘high’.
I knew this positive energy and her words needed to be captured – bottled up and saved for later.
I asked that she write a letter to herself with WHY she wants to commit to healthy living for the rest of her life.
This is a letter that she will be able to go back to when the going gets tough – and it will get tough. When she just isn’t feeling it and the couch is looking better than the gym and cookies are looking better than the salad.
The purpose of this WHY letter is to help recenter and refocus her on what is most important in her life.
"Why did I begin this journey? Why am I doing this? How did I get here?
I want to be strong, and be a better role model for my daughter. If she can go through what she has had to endure this year physically, and do it with such grace and strength and positivity, I must do better.
NO MORE EXCUSES.
I want to feel better, healthier, more capable.
I don’t want to feel like I can't keep up with my family. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines anymore.
When we went hiking and I could barely make it up and down the trail, I can’t ever go back to that. Knowing they were going slower than they wanted, waiting for me to catch up. Knowing my heart rate was probably too high for such a simple hike, and that meant I was more unhealthy than I ever wanted to admit.
Watching my husband and daughter play soccer out back, and me feeling exhausted from doing absolutely nothing, knowing I cannot begin to keep up with them…
I can’t go back.
I won’t go back.
I want to show my daughter what strength is, I want her to know and see her mom is healthy and strong.
The days of feeling like “I can’t” to so many things have to be over.
I want to feel proud of how I look, and know I am capable of doing anything.
I want to be healthy inside and out.
It’s only been 4 weeks, and I see and feel the changes. I am getting there.
Slowly, day by day, week by week, I am getting there.
It’s worth every meal cooked, every workout struggle, every dollar spent, every hour taken away from home, taking time for myself.
I am doing it for my family and for a better quality of family life.
I am doing it for me, for my health, for my self-worth, for my tomorrow."
This letter is incredibly powerful. This individual is finally internalizing that she doesn’t go to the gym to lose weight or to look better. Healthy eating isn’t about getting that bikini body.
It is about doing all of the things in life that you want to do without any limitations.
It is never going to be easy -every workout struggle, prepping meals when you aren’t feeling it, and drinking all that water is HARD! But the reward on the back end is more than worth it in the long run.
These short term sacrifices help you live the life you love.
A life that sets your soul on fire.
This client is ‘in it’ right now. She is still just at the start and the start is so hard. Everything is new and those old habits can look so comforting and appealing.
She is going to stick with it. And it will get easier.
Workouts will become more enjoyable. She will begin to look forward to them. Eventually. And she will begin to:
Enjoy the feeling of sweat on her body.
Enjoy the feeling of breathing hard.
Enjoy feeling strong and in control.
And when the going gets tough, she can re-read this letter and remember why she started this in the first place. And recommit.
When it feels like she is trading time for the gym for time at home she will remember that the time trade isn’t gym for family time. The time trade is gym for the life she wants to live.
This client’s letter inspired me. This is my WHY: to help people realize that healthy living is about doing (and enjoying) all of the things you want to do in life without any limitations. Because I believe that when people are living their best life, the world will be a better place. And even if we can impact the lives of just a few people, the ripple effect that their transformation has created will impact many more.
I hope that it has provided some inspiration for you today as well.
Ready to start thinking about your WHY? Watch this:
This 20-minute goal setting workshop has the potential to change everything! We will cover:
Gain confidence, increase your momentum and add more awesomeness to your life. Watch Here!
Inspired to get started now? Download this free QuickStart Guide:
This free QuickStart Guide that has been used by many of our clients and is proven to increase your energy levels and help you feel great. This free QuickStart Guide includes a full 7 day whole foods based meal plan, a simple to implement exercise plan, 18 delicious whole foods based recipes, and daily encouragement from our trainer team to help you stick with the program.
Want more support? Join our free Facebook Group:
Join our free private FaceBook Group - Healthy Living with Wilcox Wellness & Fitness to connect with us live. Daily we post all things healthy living - pro tips for healthy living, recipes, and weekly workouts for you to do at home. We will answer any question you post and we encourage you get involved in the discussion.
Our trainers are blown away by Nicole Barbeau. She has made so much progress in just a month of training with us - even the trainers notice her confidence as she is training. We love your determination, Nicole! Keep it up, you are inspiring us all!
Glory Boarding is a great way to build yourself up and help support positive self-talk. Positive self-talk is one of the most powerful tools in the world. Our subconsious mind is constantly 'talking' - so controlling that chatter is critically important. The words that we use can either be positive and build us up or negative and tear us down.
What we focus on expands