January 23, 2018

About Crystal Breaux

Crystal Bush Breaux -- Blog Contributor -
As a Wellness Coach and Fitness Designer, Crystal work’s with busy women to design an exercise and eating plan to fit their personal schedule and lifestyle. With over 20 years in the fitness industry, Crystal has worked in commercial fitness as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, an educator in corporate wellness, and in an executive leadership position in a hospital wellness center. She has a passion for teaching and encouraging women to have balance in their life physically, mentally and spiritually.

Married for 17 years to her wonderful husband Tim, she has two children, Hannah 9 and Zach 5. She and Tim serve in their church as small group leaders and in marriage ministry. Crystal loves spending time with her family and friends, running, teaching and coaching her daughter’s softball team.

To learn more go to www.yourfitnessdesigner.com and/or follow her on www.facebook.com/yourfitnessdesigner . For a personal Fitness and Food Design, you can email her at crystal@yourfitnessdesigner.com to schedule a free telephone consultation.

Testimony of a Healthy and Confident Woman


2014 was a big year for my client, Melanie, as she became a healthy and confident woman on the inside and out.  As a wife, a mother, and a grandmother, she has a full-time job where she works at home on her computer all day.  Because she could not stay consistent with any ‘program,’ she felt she had lost all motivation to exercise and eat healthy.  She felt it was a constant battle of starting and stopping over and over.

Working from home left her at the mercy of food all day.  She was unsure of how to create an eating plan or the know-how of what to do for an exercise program. After working with me for almost four months, Melanie has lost 20 pounds and has adopted a healthy lifestyle that gives her the confidence to be the woman God has created her to be and fulfill His call on her life.

I am so proud of her accomplishments and asked Melanie to tell me about her new lifestyle. The following is Melanie’s story.

*   ~   ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥   ~   *

Crystal: What would be your major accomplishments in the past four months?

Melanie: I would truly have to say my major accomplishment is not the weight loss but the sense of balance I have found in my life.  I have come to realize (as you always say) that this is a journey for me.  It is not a ‘diet’ that I maintain for so many months until a particular goal is reached; but it is a lifestyle—a way of living that improves my life in all areas…physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Crystal: Did you experience a breakthrough or overcome a specific challenge?

Melanie: My major breakthrough was my walking program that I thoroughly enjoy! I would never have imagined when I started the coaching session that I would be walking 3-4 times a week and reaching my goal of 3 miles in an hour! This was truly a major breakthrough for me!

Melanie: Another realization I came to during this process was overcoming the mindset that if I could not do something perfectly, I would not do it at all. I am not near as hard on myself or expecting so much out of myself as I once did. I still want to do my best but when I don’t conquer some goal or meet some deadline I have set for myself, it is not ‘the end’ but rather an opportunity to re-group and see how I can improve and what I may need to do differently. I don’t just give up!

Crystal: What new behaviors have you put into place as a result of us working together?

Melanie: My new behaviors would have to be planning my snacks, trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in my diet, and, of course, the exercise.

Crystal: What are your next steps toward your wellness?

Melanie: My next steps for physical, mental and spiritual fitness would be as follows:

  • Physically, as far as the food plan is concerned, I need to continue to try and plan my meals. I have found out that is a major contributing factor to success. Planning is the key and makes a big difference.
  • Mentally, I just need to try and stay focused when obstacles come against me and remind myself that no two days are alike. It is a journey and I can’t let one bad day define a whole week.
  • Spiritually, because of my new-found confidence, I am going to be speaking soon to a ladies group. I know the Lord will continue to give me confidence to say what He would have me say. I am excited about where this may take me. I am 56 years old and I think my becoming who the Lord would have me to be is a journey as well. It is time for me to “step up to the plate” and let Him use me.  And, hey, if I don’t make a home run in my own eyes, it’s ok….He will still be pleased with me!

I seem to have a newfound confidence in myself and in my ability to continue to work toward a healthy lifestyle physically, emotionally and spiritually. I may have lost weight but I gained so much more in the process!”

*   ~   ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥   ~   *

Melanie’s story is an amazing testimony of how taking care of your body by learning how to eat healthy and exercise can give you confidence in other areas of your life.  Growing in confidence allows you to have the courage to be the woman God has called you to be and complete the job is calling you to do.

A personal note from Crystal…

I have a heart and passion for coaching women how to be fit physically and spiritually. I believe that no matter the season, or how busy your life or impossible circumstances may be, you can learn how to eat healthy, exercise, and make time with God a priority.  I also believe gaining control of your health can give you confidence to step out and fulfill what God would have you do today.

Girlfriends, at this season of my life, it is time for me to step down from blogging for Girlfriends Coffee Hour. I have been truly blessed by each of you and pray that God will continue to strengthen you physically and spiritually. I believe in each one of you and know you can do it! I would love to continue to be a resource and encouragement in your journey to better health and wellness. You can follow my blog and facebook page to receive weekly encouragement.

I love you all,
In Good Health,

Does Your Time Reflect Your Priorities?

my time
After receiving the news that she would have to drive 45 minutes to pick up her 1 million dollar lottery check, a busy woman states that she “does not have time” and will have to decline her winnings.

Can you imagine? Like me, I am sure you are thinking “I would find the time!” It would be important because I know that:

• My life would change
• I would never HAVE to work again
• My kids college would be paid
• I would never have to worry about money again

Without a doubt, picking up that money would become a PRIORITY that day because of the benefits I would receive by finding 45 minutes in my day.

How often do you say ‘I don’t have time for exercise or daily quiet time’? Could you find just a few minutes in your day because you know the benefits you would receive such as:
• Less stress
• More peace
• Better health
• Look and feel better

Let’s be honest…is it that you don’t have the time OR have you not made exercise and daily quiet time a priority?

A priority has been defined as ‘something afforded or deserving attention’.  The truth is we will make time for the things that are a PRIORITY to us, like picking up a million dollars. We will rearrange schedules, cancel meetings, or say “no.” to certain things so that it can be done.

Take a couple of minutes today during lunch, waiting in line, or driving, to think and answer these two questions:

In order of importance, what is really important to you?
(Here is an example of what it may look like.)
• God
• Husband
• Family
• Health
• Career

Is your time prioritized each day around what is important to you….in the same order?

If God is a quick prayer in the car, and there is no quality time spent with your husband or kids, and there is nothing done each day toward your physical/mental health such as exercise and/or quiet time—they may not be your TRUE priorities. Our time demonstrates what is a priority in our life and, just like finding the time to pick up the lottery winnings, we can find time for what we say is important.

Just like taking the time to pick up your money would change your life,
how would your life change if your time was better spent toward your priorities?

In Good Health,

Do You Dream of More Time?

More Time
In the busyness of life, do you dream of more time?  As women, we have so many titles—there is the employee/employer, committee leader, wife, mom, coach, church and/or community volunteer, taxi driver and friend.  Is it possible to give 100% in each role and find time to take care of our spiritual and physical health? In my opinion, the answer is no.

If you find yourself in a constant state of go, here is a question…

Is your busyness keeping you from knowing, and fulfilling,
God’s purpose for your life?”

If the answer is yes, then how do you prioritize your time to know God’s purpose?

Ladies, we will never know the answer until we make time with God each day our first priority through prayer and studying His Word. If we make Him a priority, He will begin to show us how to prioritize our time to fulfill HIS PLAN each day. You may be in a season of your life that you need to give up certain responsibilities, ideas, or selfish ambitions.  He is ready to show you.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says,
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse we hear quite often that gives us hope that God has created us for a purpose. However, verses 12 and 13 tell us how we can find that purpose—by SEEKING HIM.  God wants time with us with no distractions.  Just as we want our husband/boyfriend to give us his full attention, God expects the same.

When you give Him your undivided attention, I promise He will show you
• Where your time should be spent each day
• How your time can best be used for His purpose
• How you can use your time to take care of your physical and spiritual fitness

I understand the challenge of knowing when and where to make Him a priority each day.  If you feel that way and dream of more time, I would love to help you. Email me at crystal@yourfitnessdesigner.com to receive a free time assessment called “Fitting it In.”  Within 5 minutes of completing this assessment, you will discover how to find time to focus on your priorities and take care of your physical and spiritual well-being.

Don’t let the busyness of this world keep you from growing with God and fulfilling His purpose for your life.

In Good Health,

A Simple Healthy Meal at Home

Oven Fried Chicken

One of the biggest challenges for busy women today is finding the time and knowing how to cook a meal at home. It can seem impossible, but I truly believe that every woman whether preparing for one, two or four, can discover a plan for having a meal at home at least most nights of the week. (We don’t have to try and be perfect 100% of the time!)

Why Am I So Intent on Meals At Home?

  • Its Healthier:  A study posted by the Medical Express revealed that “those who cooked were more likely” to live longer. The possibility of other factors, besides cooking, was also extensively investigated, but the cooking at home still remained an important factor.
  • It Gives You More Control:  When you prepare your meals at home, you can choose how much butter, oil, sauce, sodium, etc. there will be in your food as well as your portion size. According to a study with the Economic Research Service, each meal or snack eaten away from home adds an average of 134 calories, compared with the same meal or snacks prepared at home. If eating out every day, that alone could contribute to over 1/2 pound of weight gain a week, if you did not do anything to counter-balance the additional calories.
  • It Saves Money:  There is no doubt that eating home does not just save you calories, but it will save you money. Let’s take for example, fast food, not even a nice sit down restaurant. For a family of four, you are going to spend, on average, $25 for one meal. Last week, I was able to feed my family, oven fried chicken with two vegetables along with homemade macaroni and cheese for $15. That went a long way considering there were leftover’s for lunch the next day.  Another savings!

How to Do It

  • Plan according to your schedule

What is the easiest method and time of the day for you to put your meal together? Take a few minutes at the beginning of the week to get a plan. Remember your plan may vary from time-to-time or season in your life.

  • Be realistic

Notice I did not say, “attempt to cook 7 days a week.”  Pick the number of days that will work for you and be realistic with what you cook and how you will prepare your meals.

Try This!

Oven Fried Chicken (adapted from Calorie King)

• 1 cup corn flakes, crushed
• 1/3 cup flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
• 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
• 1/4 cup skim milk
• 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into even strips

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Spray cookie sheet with butter-flavored cooking spray.
Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix egg whites and milk in small bowl. Dip chicken into egg mixture and then coat with corn flake mixture. Place on cookie sheet, and spray with more cooking spray.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then flip pieces and spray with more cooking spray. Continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Calories -156
Fat -1 gram
Protein – 14 grams
With the right motivation and a little preparation, you can save calories, save money, and have more quality time with your family with a simple, healthy meal made at home.

In Good Health,

High Fiber Quick and Easy Lunch


Fiber! It is one of the things we know we need to add to our diet. The benefits of fiber have been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, help with weight control, reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and be a source of cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Today’s woman should be consuming 15-25 grams of fiber a day (14gms for every 1,000 calories). However, for busy women, it is hard enough to find the time to eat anything healthy (consistently) much less worry about adding in fiber.

Adding fiber to your diet isn’t as hard as it may seem. It just takes a little know-how and some motivation. It can be as easy as choosing nutrient-rich foods such as legumes, whole grains, and fresh (or frozen) fruits and vegetables. Dried fruit, carrot sticks, a whole-grain pita and even popcorn are also a good choice.

Another reason some women may not get enough fiber is because they get in a rut of eating the same thing every day… grilled chicken salad.  Do you want something new and easy? Try this quick salad. I love it because you can quickly prepare it on Sunday evening to have for lunches during the week or as a side for an evening meal. The best thing is it will provide almost half of your daily fiber requirements.

Three Bean Salad
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 tbsp Equal® Spoonful (or use 4.5 packets of Equal® sweetener)

1 tbsp olive oil

3/4 tsp Italian seasoning

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 can (14.5 oz) cut green beans,

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained

1 can (15 oz) dark kidney beans, rinsed, drained

1/4 cup sliced green onions

  • Combine vinegar, Equal®, olive oil, and seasonings; mix well.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.

Serves 6
Calories – 159
Fat – 3 gms
Protein – 8gms
Fiber – 8gms

** adapted from Calorie King

** Add grilled chicken if you desire; however, nutritional content will change.


In Good Health,

I Believe You CAN Get Off the Roller Coaster of Eating and Bingeing


roller coaster capture

My client Jan (not her real name) once said, “I do good for two weeks and then I fall off the wagon. I am eating well and then I get invited to dinner with friends, go on vacation, or attend a baby shower and it all goes downhill. It feels like…

“I am on a roller coaster of eating and bingeing.”

So why do Jan (and so many others) fall into this trap?

  1. She was trying to follow a meal plan that is unrealistic to follow; and had not learned how or what to eat if she needed to deviate from the plan.
  2. She attempted to cut ALL sugar and carbohydrates and then binged because she did not know how to eat them responsibly.
  3. She was attempting to eat healthy for one reason only—just to lose weight—which led to giving up because she no longer cared.

In a recent article, A nation of weight watchers: Is our obsession with thin making us fat?, Siri Steinmo, a health psychology practitioner said, “If you spend your life dieting and bingeing, you fall into the eat, repent, repeat cycle.  You don’t eat any carbs all week and then at the weekend have the ‘what the hell effect’ and then you’re repenting again and hating yourself throughout the whole cycle.  This is something women identify with more than men, but men are also under a lot of pressure with body image.”

Boy, did he get it right on the money!  Often times I am asked if I write meal plans and the answer is “no.”  I teach women how to incorporate healthy eating habits and live in the real world as well as how to budget in their favorite foods instead of bingeing one day a week until the point of nausea.

For example, here are two strategies I teach my clients:

  • How to budget in an occasional favorite food, and make allowance for it in other places.
  • How to follow the healthy plate design whether preparing quick healthy meals at home or dining out.

I believe if you can make 2-3 healthy behaviors a HABIT, you can get off of the roller coaster of eating and bingeing. For today, begin with just one new habit.

In Good Health,

Do You Have an “All or Nothing” Attitude?

all or nothing
This weekend, I had the most amazing get-away with my husband.  Obviously, it was a time where we did splurge a little on food.  While it was enjoyable, I was glad to return to normal eating habits and exercise routine.  Those occasions are going to happen and we have to keep it mind it is not a sign of failure if we do not follow a perfect eating regimen for a few days.  It does not mean we have blown it forever.  Having an ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude is what leads to feeling defeated and then giving up completely.

I have worked with so many women who feel that if they indulge on occasion, it is useless to pick back up and keep on going.  The key to staying healthy and fit is consistency.  What we do on a consistent basis (or 80% of the time) is what matters.  These small, continual, consistent steps are what build us to be healthy women inside and out.

First, remember that perfection will never be attained.  Our health and fitness is a lifetime journey.  Instead of attempting perfection by trying to make so many changes, focus on one or two new behaviors that will lead to a lifetime of good health.

For example:
• Choose one day per week to get up an extra 30 minutes early to exercise or have a quiet time…it does not have to be an early morning every day.
• Cut out one Coke a day instead of trying to quit all together.
• Commit to 2 days per week of exercise instead of 7 days.
• Decide to bring a healthy lunch to work one day each week instead of eating out.

Pick one thing and become consistent with that behavior. Even when you fall off the wagon, pick yourself up and get back to your one consistent behavior. When you do, you will be confident to add another one.

For today, be nice to yourself and focus on your progress, not your imperfections.  Let’s remember that God looks at our life in much the same way. He doesn’t expect “all or nothing” in order to receive His love and grace.  Why should we?

In Good Health,

Your Healthier Options and What Would You Rather?

Quinoa Salad

This past weekend, I went on a camping trip with my family and some friends. We had a great time sitting around the campfire playing the game “Would You Rather…?” It consists of one person giving someone two unfavorable scenarios to decide which he or she would rather do. With four kids asking the questions, it can go something like this,“Would you rather…eat a big bowl of broccoli for every meal for one week or eat out of a garbage can for one day?”

As I thought about it, there were a few questions and scenarios that came to my mind. So many times, I hear women say, “I struggle to consistently eat healthy and/or exercise. I know I should, but I just can’t seem to do it.” I hear the heart of women who desire to be a good example to their children and grandchildren; to be active and have fun with their husband and kids; to feel confident in who they are on the inside and out.

So here a few questions. (I apologize in advance if this seems harsh.)

  • Would you rather find 30 minutes a day to exercise at your own choosing, or be forced to do it one day by your doctor?
  • Would you rather learn how to eat healthy now and reduce your risk of certain diseases, or miss having a higher quality of life with your kids and grandchildren one day?
  • Would you rather learn how to prepare foods at home, even with a busy schedule, or hear that you have heart disease one day from eating too much fast food?
  • Would you rather be fit and healthy to enjoy activities with your family and friends, or instead sit on the side as a spectator?

Proverbs 21:5 says, The plans of the diligent lead surely to his advantage.

What we do today, prepares us for the quality of life we will have for the future. Let us be wise with our time and resources.

I understand that it can be a challenge to figure out what you should eat and not eat,  and how to fit in exercise along with the busyness of life. So here is another question…

Would you rather spend valuable time trying to figure out HOW to eat healthy and exercise with your busy lifestyle, or would you rather make it easier on yourself and have someone coach you to make the right decisions to attain results?

I know before I buy a house, invest my money, or make a life decision, I look to those who are educated and trained to help me. The same is true for your health. I want to help you learn how to meet your fitness, nutrition, or weight-loss goals and learn how to have a balanced life physically, mentally, and/or spiritually. If you are interested or have been thinking about it, email me today for a FREE consultation at crystal@yourfitnessdesigner.com.


In Good Health,

Are You Letting Your Schedule Dictate What You Will Eat?

stress eating

One of the biggest challenges for a busy woman is knowing how to eat for her schedule. Let’s be honest…trying to plan healthy meals and snacks can sometimes be aggravating. Things get so busy; sometimes it does not seem possible to have any control over what you will eat for your next meal.

Right when you think you have your healthy eating habits together, your schedule and life changes. You may have evenings that you work late; weeks that you travel or have business dinners; or you may have weeks that you literally have an activity every night of the week with your family.  All those outside factors may leave you feeling powerless and with no control over your next meal.

I remembered the many changes in my life with the birth of my second child.  I had to re-adjust my life and schedule.  Things really began to change when he entered school.  Now he was not just tagging along to his big sister’s activities…he had his own. I now have two kids at the baseball field going in different directions, on top of all other life responsibilities.

ball season

No matter how hectic life gets, our bodies still need adequate nutrition. A few months ago, I read a story of a 17 year old girl who for many years had a diet consumed with fast food and frozen chicken nuggets, only. Her diet was completely void of fruits and vegetables. When she was hospitalized after collapsing, doctors discovered her body was so deficient in vitamins and nutrients that she had to be injected with them.

Getting adequate amounts of vitamins and nutrients for me and my family is very important. I know I will eat healthier at work and with my family when meals and snacks are prepared at home.  However, eating healthy does not just happen and it is hard to do with a crazy schedule.  As with anything in life worth having, planning and preparation is the key.

The trick:  Plan your upcoming meals and snacks on a day when you have the least amount of stress or responsibilities. Don’t wait to figure out what you are going to eat during a busy day because you have too many other things on your mind that may include a long “to do” list and who knows what other things could pop up.

Once you pick your day to make the preparations, begin putting together your strategies for your meals so that they are time efficient, yet healthy.  Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook to get more ideas and recipes.  With a few tricks you can avoid making the mistake of letting your schedule dictate what you will eat.

In Good Health,

My Crazy Diet and Views of Exercise


Ok, we have all done it..thought some ridiculous diet would help us lose weight and KEEP IT OFF or had crazy ideas about how we should exercise.  I am not sure where these crazy ideas come from or why they become ingrained in our brains, but it seems during each stage of life there is a new way of thinking about how weight loss and getting fit should be done.  We have all fallen subject to them.  I have had my own crazy diet and views of exercise over the past 25 years.

Starving Myself
My earliest memory of these, unknown to my mother, was in the 10th grade. After gaining quite a bit of weight one summer while moving to a new town, I thought the only way to lose weight was to restrict my calories. My mother sent me off to school with lunch money only to spend it on a pack of crackers and a diet coke from the vending machine, all equaling about 150 calories of nothing nutritious.

I later recall hearing and feeling my stomach growl continuously while practicing piano in the afternoon and staring at the clock wondering when we would eat dinner. Of course my mother was so proud that I inhaled everything that was on the table and saved no leftover’s…but I was famished!

What I Thought About Exercise
As a Kinesiology major in college I taught “aerobics” (as it was called back then). But my one fitness ambition was to be a runner. It did not come easy for me, but I was determined to accomplish it.  I remember attempting to go for a run the fall before turning 21 years old and thinking, “If I don’t condition myself to run a whole mile straight before my birthday, I will never get it. I will be getting too old.” Ha!  (Did you laugh out loud reading that as I did?)  How crazy was it to think I would never be able to get in shape at an “older” age.  Today, at age 42 I think I could run circles around that young 21 year old girl.

college step  me running




My Point
To truly learn how to have a healthy lifestyle, we have to develop a healthy mindset.  Romans 12:2 says,

Do not conform to the things of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your MIND so that the perfect will of God may be done.

When we start my praying for God to transform our mind, we may have a new view of how we should eat and exercise to take care of them body He has given us.  And perhaps learn what good nutrition is and break the perceptions we have of exercise and view of self.

With the right mindset and healthy way of living, I am happy to say I no longer follow a crazy diet and view of exercise.  I am curious: what is the craziest thing you have ever done and how have things changed for you?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

In Good Health,