Eating Clean, Keto, Exercise and Self-Care Motivational Blog by Monica Akerele

Monthly Motivational Eating Clean, Keto, Exercise and Self-Care Challenge!

Happy Thanksgiving! — November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


Today I’ve been reflecting on God & how truly faithful He has been to us. I give Him thanks simply because He is God & His Word is true! He will do exceedingly & abundantly above All that we could ever ask or think according to the power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20) I’ve seen this come into fruition in my life & I pray the same for you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day! You are blessed in the name of Jesus!

Much love,

Monica Hawthorne-Akerele

Don’t Let Thanksgiving Sabotage Your Diet! — November 27, 2013

Don’t Let Thanksgiving Sabotage Your Diet!


So you decided to take the challenge with me but realized tomorrow is THANKSGIVING! Yes it is but guess what you don’t have to worry about it because I’ve got some tips for you!

1) Start Thanksgiving off right with a nice workout! This will help get your metabolism a boost for the day and will help lessen the impact of the hearty Thanksgiving meal you plan to have.

2) Try to go for 1 round of food instead of going back for 2nds & 3rds in one sitting. Fix a to go plate instead that you can enjoy later in the day or the next day.

3) Watch your portions! Try to eat a little bit of everything but don’t fill your plate with big portions.

4) Go for a walk after your meal. Burn some of those calories off!

5) Drink water instead of calorie filled drinks to reduce your calorie intake.

Go to for more tips on how you can have a sabotage free Thanksgiving!

Enjoy yourself this Thanksgiving but don’t overindulge. Remember you still have goals to meet!

Let’s go!

30 Day Challenge

Don’t Let Anything Stop You! Let’s go! — November 26, 2013

Don’t Let Anything Stop You! Let’s go!


It is Day 2 of our 6th challenge! How did Day 1 go? I don’t know about you but this weather is making getting out of bed hard in the mornings! As a result I think it will be a great idea for all of us to have some at home exercises in our arsenal in case we get snowed in or iced in. There are plenty workouts available on YouTube. Check this one out and if you guys have any tips, recipes, meal ideas or exercises that you have found helpful please share the link or information here in the comment field. Thanks!

I encourage you to stay on course & don’t let anything stop you (not even the weather) from you meeting your goals! Much love!

Let’s go!


Our Next 30 Day Challenge Starts Today! — November 25, 2013

Our Next 30 Day Challenge Starts Today!


Happy Monday Everyone! It is good to be back! Today is the start of the next 30 day challenge. I am challenging you to eat clean by eating lean meats, fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans & whole grains. Be sure to also track all of your meals and snacks to ensure you are staying within your calorie allotment for the day.  I am also challenging you to exercise at least 3-5 days a week for at least 45-60 minutes per session. Lastly I challenge you to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per day.

Believe me you can do this! With God’s help, a plan & a made up mind you can achieve your goals! You can do ALL things through Christ that strengthens you! 

Let’s go!
30 Day Challenge

I lost 60 pounds in 5 months! Come join me on my next 30 Day Challenge! — November 14, 2013

I lost 60 pounds in 5 months! Come join me on my next 30 Day Challenge!

My Before Picture
My Before PictureMy After Picture

Its official I have lost 60 pounds in 5 months! No one can get the glory but God in this! This has been quite the journey but it’s not over yet, I am in it to win it! What about you? What goals do you have? Do you want to lose weight or get fit? Do you want to prevent future health problems caused by an unhealthy diet? Well my dear you definitely will want to take this next challenge! I promise you I am not selling anything & I don’t have an agenda, I genuinely want to help you get healthier so you can live a longer, healthier & a more active life. I believe this gives God glory even the more because he has a plan for your life and you cannot fulfill it to the fullest if you are sick, in the hospital or bedridden due to living an unhealthy lifestyle. 

So how do I begin?

The next 30 day challenge starts on Monday, November 25th ! The challenge is simply eating clean, meaning no processed foods, no beer/alcohol & no candy/desserts. Basically you can eat lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts & beans. You can also eat one serving of starch per day of either Brown Rice, Whole Grain/Wheat bread, Whole Wheat pasta or a Sweet Potato. You also will need to commit to exercising at least 30-60 minutes 3-5 days per week. Lastly commit to sleeping at least 6-8 hours per day.

You will also need to register for this free weight/calorie tracking service at or you can download the MyFitnessPal app on your smartphone or tablet. The purpose of this app is to track your meals, water & exercise activity for the day. It also keeps track of your weight and measurements. Remember this you cannot manage what you do not measure! Let me know if you need any help with using this app.

One Important Note!

Before you start this challenge please be sure to ask for your doctor’s consent before starting this or any other diet and/or fitness program. I am not a medical expert thus I won’t be held responsible for any adverse effect that this challenge could possibly have on you or your health. So please get your doctor’s approval first – Please & Thank you!

Last but not least!

Take a before picture before you can start so when the challenge is over you can see the difference that one month of healthy eating & exercise made. Remember this; a journey begins with one step. Don’t think because you may not be seeing the results right away that you are not making progress. Each step you make towards this end is making a difference in your health picture in the long run. My goal has changed from sprinting through this process to walking this out daily so it does not become an event but a complete lifestyle shift. I am no longer chasing after a diet but I am living this out day by day. My personal goal is to lose 1-2 pounds per week and this is achievable. You can do this. So join me on this challenge so we can do it together! Are you with me?

If you are ready there is a grand prize going to the one who is the biggest weight loss achiever! The biggest achiever will win a 30 minute photo session with the Antidote Creative Group. This will include 10 edited photos to show your friends & family the great progress you have made on the challenge. You will have to come to Charlotte, North Carolina to have your photo shoot completed.

Please contact Antidote Creative Group for your photography, video production & graphic design needs: Email:

Let’s Go!

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Eat Clean Or Else! A Clarion Call To Eat Clean — November 8, 2013

Eat Clean Or Else! A Clarion Call To Eat Clean

Eat Clean

I had a great workout today. I did about 45 minutes of Callisthenic/Strength training and 30 minutes of Cardio on the Elliptical trainer. I feel great and I am excited about coming to the end of this challenge. On Friday I had my weekly 30 Day challenge update segment on the WGIV Shake It Up Radio show ( and I gave the listeners a great tip that I would like to share with you.

Stay clear of the processed food trap

If you want to avoid all of the trans fats/processed food/shelved food laden with salt & preservatives, only shop on the outside circle of a traditional grocery store. In that section you generally find the fresh or frozen fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, nuts etc…  Avoid going through the inside isles if at all possible unless you are grabbing some olive oil, coconut oil, dry beans, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or herbs/seasonings. The peripheral of the grocery store is reserved for those like us who have made the decision to eat clean and to never eat processed foods again (or for my beginners at least during this 30 Day challenge!). If you have never thought about eating clean before consider making it one of your goals.

Why shouldn’t we eat processed foods

Why would you want to eat something with a 2 or 3 year shelf life? That food is filled with preservatives and salt that is not healthy for you to eat on a regular basis. Did you know that it’s hard for that food to even fully leave your body? It starts collecting on the walls of your colon and polyps begin to form that can eventually become cancerous. Let me insert a plug here for the importance of getting your colon checked. Make it a priority to stay on top of your yearly check-ups!  I truly believe that eating processed foods has contributed to the rise in cancer that we see in our society today. Food made in a lab was not meant to be consumed by us. If you can’t pronounce the name of the ingredients in your food then you shouldn’t eat it. In addition to this eating processed foods can cause inflammation in the body resulting in pain & discomfort in your body. There are many other adverse affects including weight gain, skin problems & a greater risk of developing other health issues. To learn more about this go to this website!

Make a lifetime decision to eat clean

Eating processed food just isn’t normal but unfortunately it has become “normal” in our society. However today I am extending to you a Clarion call – Dare to be different! Dare to be peculiar! Dare to be a leader & not a follower when it comes to the food/drink that you allow yourself to consume. Another thing that can help is to start shopping for most of your food at a local farmer’s market or a whole foods market like a local Trader Joes( ( Whole Foods Market ( or if you are in the Charlotte, NC area Healthy Home Market ( If you really want to be unshakable grow your own food. It can be done; you just have to want it bad enough.

Final thoughts

As my favorite financial stewardship expert Dave Ramsey ( says, “Live like no one else, so you can LIVE like No One Else”… This concept can also apply to eating clean. Eat what God intended for you to eat from the beginning of time. Eat the food that comes from the earth not a lab.

Now are you ready to eat/drink clean with me?

Let’s Go!!!

30 Day Challenge

No Excuses You Can Do It! — November 7, 2013

No Excuses You Can Do It!


It’s Day 26 of our challenge & I don’t know about you but I am counting down! Guys let’s make these last 5 days count! I couldn’t make it to the gym this morning because of time constraints so I decided to workout from home. I just finished workout day 1 with the iPhone/iPad App called Seven! Do 4 circuits of this and you will get a great full body workout! It’s no joke but it’s worth it! Make sure you try to get some type of exercise in today. You are worth it & YES You can do it!

Let’s Go!

30 Day Challenge

Fly High with a Nutritional Diet During This Travel Season! — November 5, 2013

Fly High with a Nutritional Diet During This Travel Season!


As the holiday season approaches it becomes that time of the year where we kick traveling up into high gear! Trying to stick to a nutritious diet while traveling can be difficult. Food courts at airports are packed with bakeries, candy shops, fast food joints, and snack stands. Nevertheless, with a little planning and research, it is possible to maintain a healthy diet.

Curb cravings
You’re more likely to grab unhealthy snacks or fast food if you arrive at the airport hungry, so sit down and enjoy a balanced, substantial meal before you leave home. If you eat nothing, you are likely to be starving by your first layover and head straight to the nearest savory diner or candy shop to indulge.

Take your time
It’s easy to feel rushed and anxious in an airport, but it is imperative that you give yourself time to enjoy your meal and eat slowly. People who take their time eating tend to be thinner and have a healthier relationship with food than those who wolf it down without thinking. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.

Bring your own food
The best way to know exactly what you’re getting is by bringing your own food. Pack some healthy snacks in your carry on. Fresh fruit, raw vegetables, protein bars, rice cakes, and unsalted nuts are all good choices. Bring an empty water bottle and fill it up at a water fountain, after passing through security. Staying hydrated will curb cravings, keep hunger at bay, and generally help you feel more energetic. Grab a cup of ice from a vendor, to chill your water, which will boost your metabolism and burn a few extra calories.

Know what to avoid
It is just as important to know what to avoid, as it is to know which options are healthiest. Not only are super sugary, salty, fatty, and fried foods fattening, they’re likely to make you feel lethargic and irritable and add to motion sickness. Also resist the temptation of coffee, alcohol, or acidic drinks, which can exacerbate acid reflux or lead to an energy crash.
Traveling by plane and browsing airports can be stressful or it can be fun and relaxing. The trick is to plan ahead and make healthy choices, so that you feel your best throughout the whole trip.

Do your homework
Look up the airports and cities you will be passing through and peruse the hotels as well as restaurant menus. You never know when you will be stuck over night in a city from a cancelled flight so it is important to be ready for anything. I recently was stuck in Las Vegas of all places and was left puzzled. I did some quick research and found a great site that allowed me to book a cheap hotel and find all the healthy restaurants in the area. There are healthy choices to be had at almost any venue, but some eateries specialize in healthier fare. Cafeteria-style eateries often offer salads, fresh fruit, soup, and milk as just a few of their solid and nutritious options. More and more restaurants are offering low-calorie options or labeling their items with nutritional information, to help you make healthier choices. Decide in advance what you will choose, so that you are not tempted by all the delicious smells as you walk through the airport.

Stay active
It can be hard to get enough exercise when traveling, and sitting on a plane for hours will leave you feeling cramped and uncomfortable. Take advantage of waiting times to stroll around the airport and get some fresh air. You can add resistance by carrying a small suitcase instead of rolling it and taking the stairs instead of the escalator. Do a little exploring. There are always interesting pictures, architecture, and artwork both in and around airports. Window-shopping in clothing or gift stores will help you pass the time and distract you from thinking about sugary confections.

Destination healthy
Once you have made it to your destination. Make your mind up to stay on course with your plan to eat healthy. Visit the websites of the restaurants you plan to eat at and use the menus to pre-plan your meals for the day. Look up those menu items on MyFitnessPal or download & use the MyFitnessPal app on your smartphone or tablet. Use this app to calculate the calories in advance to ensure you are going to stay on target with your daily calorie goals. Also try to plan time for exercise while you are there even if it’s just a quick workout that you can do in your hotel room or within the gym at your hotel. When I travel & there is no gym in sight (Planet Fitness is my gym) I do the 7 minute scientific workout. Here is the link to the website that explains what it entails – 7 Minute Scientific Workout .You can also download the 7 minute workout app to your smartphone and/or tablet for free. There are several versions of this app so pick the one that best suits you.

At the end of the day it all boils down to planning. You can successfully stay on target even while traveling, you just have to plan & stick to the plan. So are you ready to fly high on your health with these tips?
Let’s go!

*A special thanks goes to Cole Millen. He & I collaborated to put together this blog for you today. You can visit & subscribe to his blog at

To stay abreast with what I am doing in Fitness, Music & Ministry connect with me on my website

Your journey to weight loss starts here! Let’s go!!! — November 4, 2013

Your journey to weight loss starts here! Let’s go!!!


Happy Monday! It’s Day 23 of our challenge! So we are literally on the last week of our challenge. How are things going? Have you been able to get your exercise in & tracking your meals on MyFitnessPal? If not what challenges have you been running into? Please remember to weigh in on the scale in the morning to see what progress you have made so far. If you feel you have not made much progress send me an email at and let’s try to work through it together. Please begin thinking about what tips, exercises, meal ideas, motivational pictures/quotes and website links you can post on this page tomorrow for Knowledge Sharing Tuesday. I would like for everyone to participate as this will help motivate all of us on our weight loss journey. Remember a journey begins with one step so keep stepping, eat clean – make better food choices, exercise for 30-60 minutes at least 5 days a week & sleep for at least 6-8 hours daily. Most of all rely on the strength of God to empower you through this process & remember you are not alone. We are all on the same team… All 200+ of you! Much love to you. Let’s finish this last week of the challenge off strong! You can do it!

Let’s Go!!!

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