Day 29 – Motivation from Brandi

Hi there! Happy Monday! It’s January 25th, can you believe it? It’s almost 30 days now! I am so excited and pleased to introduce my dear friend Brandi again. I did an interview with her and here it is – talk about motivation and inspiration! Thank you Brandi!

What inspired you to get healthy?

There were many defining moments in my 20’s that you would have thought would have sent me on a path toward health and wellness, but didn’t. When I was 22 I lost my Mom to her very unhealthy lifestyle, but this actually drove me further down the rabbit hole of bad choices. Depression can be a miserable state and can make you want to escape your life, rather than get in control of it. When I was 27 I lost my father to cancer, this was also unexpected and devastated me. So I just sunk deeper into the escapism lifestyle I had built for myself. It wasn’t until I was 32 and had rescued my 88 year old Grandmother from a nursing home and brought her to come live with myself and my partner, that I began to focus on my health. For some reason having my Grammy there with us made me want to better myself, she always brought out the best in me! My partner and I were at our heaviest and we were both unhappy about it. So we joined a mainstream gym and booked a month with a trainer. At first exercise was incredibly difficult for me. Weighing in at 186 lbs and being 5 ft 1 in, it’s no wonder why. Plus, I had not valued movement or even really attempted activity since my teenage days. Internally, I knew that if I kept coming to the gym and getting on the treadmill and lifting weights, that it would get easier and that I would become stronger. Call it an instinct or just a strong desire not to suck at exercise, but it was what kept me focused and committed. The trainers at the gym began to make comments like “I see you here more than any of my other clients.” A fire had been lit inside me. I couldn’t fully know at the time if I was doing it for weight loss or to manage my stress and emotional world, it didn’t matter because exercise was addressing both these issues. I felt stronger, more confident, and energized. I began to learn about exercise and diet. It became an obsession. Within a year or so I had made it to my goal weight, to 113 lbs. I was running 30 plus miles a week and preforming P90X daily. This is when I decided to go to school to become a CPT (certified personal trainer) and earn my Associates degree in Personal Training. What a great experience that was and I love sharing my knowledge and knowhow with others. The day after graduation I opened Tiger Training Temple. I am now in my fifth year of serving clients, building strong bodies, and teaching personal development on all levels of being. Being a part of the fitness and well-being community has held me accountable to healthy lifestyle, it works in both directions. However, weight management is still an area of struggle for me. I blew out both knees in the first five years of self-training (this is why injury prevention is my priority with clients) so I am unable to run or jump like I use to. I am presently 135 lbs and instead of weight loss, I focus on strength, flexibility, stability, and alignment. It seems my body is happy here and who am I to argue with such an intelligent machine.
So to answer your question, inspiration wasn’t something that hit me all at once. It was the culmination of life experience and following my passions that have inspired me regularly throughout the last 10 years of my life. It’s a process and I am in it.

Who is your hero?

This is a really tough question for me. There are many I admire. Ones that teach personal development are the ones that I admire and love. Dr Wayne Dyer is an author and inspirational speaker that I have been reading and listening to for at least a decade (rest in peace Wayne!). Jillian Michaels who has taught me so much about fitness and diet, and Louis Hay who taught me about affirmations and loving myself. BUT the real heroes in my opinion are those who are working every day to create a positive change for themselves. The people who show up and do the work because they want something better for themselves. The everyday people who face real struggle and adversity but still manage to take care of their own needs, these are my heroes.

Brandi and her tigers
Brandi & her Tigers!

What is your proudest/greatest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishments do not come in the form of certifications (though I have several health related certifications) or in my lifting personal records (135 lbs Deadlift, 8 reps). My greatest accomplishments are when my students learn and apply what I am teaching them. “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time.” I want my clients to become self-sufficient and to take complete responsibility for their health, so when I see this happen it lights me up like a Christmas Tree. Health and wellness is not an easy process, but it is the most worthwhile endeavor you can embark on. I have been honored by the individuals who learn and grow as a result of our team work!

What do you do for fun?

I love to have friends and family over for gatherings, make them a deeply nourishing dinner, and play games. I am passionate about cooking healthy and delicious meals. Nothing feels better than watching people enjoy something you created from whole foods. I garden and grow food for fun, so much about life is explained in the garden, and it is a truly spiritual assignment for me to care take with the Earth. I love to be deep in Nature (Yosemite is my favorite) and soak in the grandness of the nature and wildlife, it’s medicine for my soul. I love to play with my cats, cuddle, and harass them. They love it too despite their protesting 😉 I love to watch the hummingbirds feed from one of our many feeders with my wife, her face lights up and she makes a squealing noise that I find very contagious. It’s about the simple things for me, fun is being present in the moment with the people you love and cherishing it!


What impact has sugar had on your life?

Sugar is becoming a great teacher to me. Your greatest teachers in life make you very uncomfortable. Learning when and what kind of sugars work for me and what moderation looks like in my process has been revealing as well as frustrating. At this point I realize fully that sugar (especially processed white sugar) is a slippery slope. One bite and I may downward spiral out of control because it is like crack to me. However, I have found some things that work for me and I am fully aware of what does not! It’s a learning process with an addictive quality, so it’s difficult. Focusing on the 90/10 (90% clean 10% a little dirty) principle helps me to refrain and moderate my intake. Some weeks I am incredibly diligent and sometimes I back slide. I try to choose not to beat myself up about it, but instead I encourage and love myself back to the mindset that assists me in making good choices. No one has ever changed through shaming and criticism. Only through love, acceptance, and compassion does one find the strength needed to effect change. So love yourself and be kind to you because you are put here on this Earth to feel good.

What is your opinion on sugar replacements like Xylitol, Stevia, Erythritol VS. Equal, Splenda etc?

This is a sticky question, ha! What I use to replace sugar for the most part is raw organic honey and raw organic maple syrup. I have also used dried dates, banana puree, and apple puree to sweeten baked treats. There is a lot of debate on if honey and maple syrup are appropriate  alternatives and if they are in fact better for you. Here is why they work for me. If I make homemade chocolates with honey, I can have two or three of them without feeling compelled to eat them all. The same goes for foods sweetened with maple syrup. Anything that keeps me from binging is my friend. I have also successfully used stevia and Xylitol as replacements however, I feel better mentally using something I recognize as a whole food to sweeten treats for me. Sweeteners like Splenda and Equal are synthetic foods, I won’t eat them, I trust nature more than man made.

Do you use sugar replacements? If so, how often?

I do use raw honey and maple syrup when making sweet treats. I usually will make a large batch of chocolates to last us the week so that we can have something sweet available if we are craving it. The crazy thing is they will actually last the week unlike a carton of ice cream that we would blow through in an evening. I call this progress!

When you use them, what reactions take place in your body? If any?

The reaction of the sweeteners I use is much milder than when I eat processed white sugar. I can feel the processed sugar immediately, I become inflamed, and I want more! With the substitutes I use I feel my mental cravings get satisfied (this is important) but I do not feel gross or lethargic from eating it. I always look to my body’s reaction to foods to know whether or not I should consume it. How do you feel after eating something? What is the quality of my mind? Pay close attention, your body is trying to tell you something!

What do you think about Paleo lifestyle vs. Ketosis lifestyle?

I personally love the Paleo diet, it works for me. My body loves protein and vegetables. I have very little understanding or experience with Ketosis. However, I will say this, after experiencing a variety of diets, taking a Macronutrient (fat, carbs, protein) completely out of your diet may not be the best thing for you, but you must experience it first hand to find out! What works for some may not work for you and that is okay, we are all very unique. Find what does!

Can you tell us more about bioindividuality?

Like I was saying in the above question about our uniqueness; bioindividuality means that every one of us responds differently to what we consume. What works for me is different than what will work for you. You have to be a trailblazer and find your own path to what works for you. Learning to hear your body’s needs and becoming in tune with what makes you feel good mentally and physically is the key. So I can’t tell you the magic formula that’s going to keep your weight low for the rest of your life because it changes as we do, it varies from age to age, it varies from person to person. What I can say is that eating whole foods (organic if possible) and staying away from fast foods, processed foods, and sugar will be your best start. Eating the majority of your calories from the plant based food group is what is going to give you vitality to live a full life. Eat natural, organic, and locally grown if possible, it’s the future of food!

What can we look for in the future for you and Tiger Training Temple?

I love this question because I think it’s going to help me gain clarity into what I want and the clearer the intent the easier it is to manifest. This year my desire is to take my passion for wellness to the next level. I want to reach more people and change more lives. I am in the beginning stages of creating Wellness Workshops to inspire home cooking, personal development, and fitness. This will be awesome for those local to my area. There is no better way to teach someone to fall in love with healthy cooking than to cook for them! I also see writing a book or a series of quick books containing recipes, workouts, and joy focused self-care. I’m excited for this next chapter in my career because I can see so well that the last ten years of my life coming into to full bloom with the next steps I take. It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to growing into my new position!

A personal note from Brandi –

Thank you Trudi so much for this month of inspiration on clean eating and sugar awareness and for having me as your first guest I am so Honored and grateful!

Thanks for taking the time to listen to me. Please feel free to message me on Facebook any comments, questions, or inspirational shares. You can check out my website at  Follow me on Instagram BranditheTiger.

Want more? I am offering free 20 minute Health History Consultations, there is no obligation, and the consultation is simply a tool to help you understand where to focus for positive change in your health.

Thank you so much!

Brandi Mahan – 619-756-2931