Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.
Everywhere I turn, I keep hearing about how overwhelming this year has been. Between kids at home doing remote learning, trying to work or even run a business, maintaining a healthy household, and having to worry about the health and safety of our families, it can seem impossible to maintain our sanity. A lot of people have had it with 2020.
These feelings are completely fair and understandable. This year crashed down on us all in a way that no-one could have expected, and that leaves even the most prepared of us feeling blindsided and overwhelmed. Now more than ever, it is so important to give yourself those little breaks and cut yourself some slack to maintain your mental and physical health and keep yourself from breaking down.
Right now, none of us are immune to that feeling that anything can change at any time. Any time things start to feel too tough to handle, take a few deep breaths so that you can reset your mind and get yourself in a better place.
Lately, I’ve had to do a lot of this in my own life. I have a 16 year old son who is, thankfully, pretty self sufficient, but that doesn’t mean that everything goes smoothly all the time. Just recently, his in-school learning came to a halt as his school developed a possible case of COVID, bringing us back to remote learning for a few days. Of course, this threw off our routines, and I had to remind myself to take that deep breath and complete my workout in order to be a patient person that day.
I'm a firm believer in taking breaks—and that goes for our children, as well. On days that just seem truly overwhelming, there’s no harm in taking them for a little drive with the music on just to clear everyone’s heads. Or get outside for a walk or jumping in a pile of leaves. (Sometimes a 5 minutes dance break in the house will do the trick!)
If everyone needs a break from each other, don’t feel guilty for giving them some headphones and extra screentime while you take some reset time for yourself. Everyone will recover from having skipped out on whatever you skipped out on, and you’ll all feel refreshed from having taken that time to reset.
My son and I usually go out around 5:30 for a daily walk, which allows us to take a physical break from the rest of our day. For me, this is a great way to ensure that I’m stepping away from my screen and not keeping myself in work mode once the work day is done. It also helps me to shift my mindset so I can focus on the environment around me, the fresh air in my lungs, and time spent with my family instead of in my office.
Of course, there may be days when a long break isn’t an option, but even then, find a way to prioritize your wellness with a quick step outside, a few deep breaths, or even a moment spent ‘hiding’ in the bathroom to help you clear your headspace.
This year has been full of overwhelming and unexpected moments. No one saw the remote learning, social distancing, work from home season coming, and that element of surprise left so many of us feeling unprepared.
Now more than ever, those of us who like to be self sufficient and are used to things running smoothly all the time might need to do the one thing that can be the most difficult for us: ask for help.
When you’re the one planning the workouts, weekly meals, and playdates, it feels nice to know that you have it all under control. And it is also important to remember that you don’t have to be alone in that. Get comfortable with the idea of phoning a friend, a mentor, or a fellow parent, to help you brainstorm ideas and maybe share some of the responsibilities during a time that is a learning curve for us all.
During those moments when you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself again and again that this is just a moment in time, and it will soon pass. Tomorrow is another day and opportunity to refresh and try again.
Have questions about maintaining sanity when normalcy doesn’t really exist anymore? Pop any questions in the comment section! And as always, if you want to connect with other like-minded ladies as we navigate this challenging season, please join me over in my Never Diet Again group.
Posted - 10/20/20 (Tue) Read more...
As we head into the last quarter of 2020, I’m hearing the same complaints from the women in my coaching programs and online groups over and over again. Everyone is stressed out. Life feels really heavy at the moment, and despite the fact that we’re staring down the barrel of the holiday season, there’s just not much joy going around.
Fair enough! Life IS really heavy right now. Especially for women with kids, juggling work, family life, and homeschooling/virtual school has proven to be an immense challenge this school year. If you don’t feel like you have time leftover for “me time,” you’re far from alone.
Women have a tendency to want to take care of all the people in our lives … But the fact of the matter is, we can’t take care of our families, our businesses, or our friendships effectively if we aren’t taking care of ourselves.
If you ask me, it means finding opportunities to create more joy in our daily lives. That will look different for everyone depending on what your interests are.
For me, it means keeping up with my morning workouts no matter what, going on lots of walks, and treating myself to amazing food and fine wine on a regular basis. For you, it might mean cuddling with your dog, reading a great book, getting a massage, or going for a run.
However you do it, I challenge you to create time in your week for something that makes you feel genuinely joyful. Even if it’s only five or ten minutes, the mental break will leave you feeling far more equipped to deal with the everyday challenges you’re facing right now.
For now, let me know in the comments—what’s your favorite way to decompress when life is stressful? Answer below!
Posted - 10/13/20 (Tue) Read more...
Making healthy choices is important for a lot of different reasons, but perhaps one of the BIGGEST reasons is that poor health robs us of our peace and joy in life. Perhaps no one understands that better than Mind/Body Practitioner Jennifer Jackson.
Jennifer is a Mind/Body Practitioner who helps women over 40 end the struggle with food cravings, emotional eating, self-sabotage, and yoyo dieting. In her business, The Missing Peace, Jennifer works with women (both as individuals and groups) to move through her signature PEACE process:
P - Prepare Your Personal Plan.
E - End Emotional Eating.
A - Accept Your Awesome Self.
C - Cede Self-Sabotage
E - Evolve Your Habits
As you can see, a few of the core components that Jennifer teaches align beautifully with my philosophies around health and nutrition.
… So of course I had to set up a time to chat with her! I deeply respect Jennifer’s approach to health and wellness, and I was eager to gain a more in-depth understanding of her PEACE philosophy as it applies to the healthy living strategies we already have in place.
Per usual, Jennifer didn’t disappoint! Our interview was chock full of incredible tips, inspiration, and guidance to help women like you and me stay in control of our health and maintain our sense of inner peace and self-worth as we work to create healthier, stronger bodies.
You can check out my full conversation with Jennifer in the video below. Then, click here and get all the details on her upcoming workshop!
As always, I hope you stay well in the week ahead and that you’re making good choices to create a life you love. If you have any questions about Jennifer, our conversation, or anything else, be sure to drop them in the comments!
Posted - 10/06/20 (Tue) Read more...
If someone had told me in my early-20s that I’d someday become a Nutrition Evangelist, past-me probably would have had a LOT of questions. After all … I LOVE good food. While my palate wasn’t super refined in my early 20s, my adoration for great meals and good wine/beer were solidly in place. And as I’ve grown older and traveled the world, that love has only intensified.
So when someone says something to me along the lines of, “I wish I could have X, but I’m trying to make healthier choices,” my heart breaks for them a little. Because as a Foodie AND someone who struggled to make healthy choices for many, many years, I know how hard it is to feel like you have to choose between your favorite foods/experiences and trying to make healthy choices.
In my years of working with women to make more sustainable choices around health and nutrition, it’s come to my attention that most women don’t understand how to comfortably allow for indulgent food and wine in a healthy lifestyle. We’re taught that maintaining our weight and making healthy choices are pretty all-or-nothing—we treat dieting as if it's a way of life and refer to our favorite foods as “splurges” that we later have to atone for at the gym. Yikes!
I once shared that attitude, but thankfully, through YEARS of education, trial and error, and learning more about the cuisines I love most, I’ve realized: We DON’T have to choose between food/wine or being healthy. Enjoying incredible meals and fitting comfortably into our clothing are NOT mutually exclusive.
Which is why I’m so excited to introduce you to …
A Virtual Cooking & Wine-Tasting Event
Co-Hosted by Dawn McGee, Debbie Brosnan, & Lisa Greig
A delicious, healthy recipe created by Personal Chef Debbie Brosnan (of The Effortless Kitchen)
Two carefully curated wines (one red and one white), hand-selected by Wine Consultant Lisa Greig
Some insights around incorporating more surprisingly indulgent yet healthy foods and wines into a healthy lifestyle (from Yours Truly!)
If you’re interested in learning more about the relationship between food, wine, and your health—or if you’re just interested in a virtual social hour where you can meet more like-minded women in our community!—then I hope you’ll join us for this night of flavor and fun.
Email me at email@example.com if you have any questions! Otherwise, I’ll see ya at Perfect Pairings. :)
Posted - 9/29/20 (Tue) Read more...
You want to eat better, move more, make time to recharge, and live an all-around healthier lifestyle … But some days, our crazy long to-do lists make this feel absolutely impossible.
The result? Wellness becomes a chore. When this happens, we either cave in and disregard our healthy choices—or we force ourselves to keep up our good habits, but we resent them a little bit.
Have you ever felt like that?
As a Nutrition Evangelist, it would be easy for me to sit here and say, “Just make better choices! Just get off the sidelines of your life, eat healthier, and go live a life you love!” But without explaining HOW to actually do that in a practical, sustainable way, that advice falls flat.
So today, I’m going to share just a few really simple tips that I hope will help you go from wishing you could live a healthy life you love, to taking actionable daily steps to finally make it happen. Because little changes can make a huge difference!
Cook Once, Eat Many Times.
Health and wellness are my passion. Cooking? Not so much. If you’re anything like me, you want to eat delicious, healthy food, but you don’t want to spend a ton of time and energy in the kitchen every evening. The trick here is to make simple, large meals that you can eat for several days at a time.
Personally, my Instapot was the best gift I never wanted—it helps me make large, hands-free batches of food that I can use for 3-4 days worth of meals, easily. Roasting a chicken is also a great way to feed my family for several days. Get creative or check out Google for tons of quick, large-batch recipe ideas.
Eating Al Fresco
Sometimes, my clients tell me that they have a hard time finding time to eat well AND move AND recharge every single day. But who ever said your healthy activities couldn’t do double duty? For me, eating and recharging go hand in hand. I love to eat outside because I get to fuel my body with whatever yummy, healthy meal I’m having, while getting some fresh air and a change in scenery.
This may not be for everyone, but even if eating outside isn’t your thing, you can find enjoyable ways to group your Triangle of Health activities together.
Walk this Way
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but that’s because it works! An easy way to get more movement on days where you feel like you don’t have time for a full workout is to simply incorporate more walking into your regular tasks. Park a little further away from wherever you’re going. Take the stairs when you can. Put a little sprig in your step and walk a little faster between activities to get your heartrate up. It’s a small thing, but it will burn your calories, strengthen your muscles, and maybe even perk up your mood.
If you enjoyed these tips—or if you have some tips of your own to share!—I would love to see you in my program, Reclaim Your Life, One Bite At a TimeⓇ. It’s for women just like you, who want to get off the sidelines and get back to living a life they love. Check it out right here.
Posted - 9/22/20 (Tue) Read more...
Recently, I feel like I’ve been having the same conversation over and over again. For some reason, a lot of people seem to be under the impression that they either have to choose between enjoying their food OR being healthy. Diet culture has deluded us into believing that “eating healthy” is synonymous with foregoing most of our favorites in favor of grilled salads ad nauseum.
Do you feel that way, too? If so, I’ve got great news for you: Eating well, minding your nutrition, and loving your food are NOT mutually exclusive!
In fact, as a Nutrition Evangelist, I eat healthy foods that taste amazing and leave me feeling satisfied every single day. My passion in life is showing people that taking care of our bodies doesn’t have to come at the expense of eating boring, tasteless, or redundant meals.
For me, having a wide variety of delicious flavors to choose from in my life is absolutely essential … But it’s not enough for a meal to only be delicious. It also has to be nutritious, PFC balanced, and on most evenings, relatively simple/quick to put together.
So how do I accomplish this? It’s actually pretty simple! It just involves a little bit of planning. Every week, we stock our refrigerator with a variety of lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. In my pantry, I keep a fairly impressive collection of spices, oils, and vinegar. And we keep our wine rack stocked with a range of delicious fine wines, including both interesting new bottles and old favorites.
The result? Easy access to pretty much all the ingredients I could possibly need to whip up a yummy, healthy meal in no time. Most recently, we had sauteed scallops on a bed of spinach, seasoned with dill and garlic, paired with some fresh strawberries and fresh peppers … and accompanied, of course, by a glass of my favorite tempranillo wine. YUM!
It all starts with changing up your flavors and getting adventurous with new seasonings and spices! You don’t have to overhaul your whole menu at once, but if you take intentional steps towards incorporating more healthy foods you love a little at a time, you’ll have a kitchen full of exciting staples in no time.
My challenge to you for this week is to incorporate just ONE new flavor that you’re not accustomed to. If you need inspiration, drop me a line over in my free Facebook Community, Never Diet Again! I’ll be happy to help you come up with some simple, tasty, and healthy meal ideas.
Posted - 9/15/20 (Tue) Read more...
If I’ve learned anything through coaching women through sustainable health changes, it’s this: Most women don’t check in with ourselves nearly enough. Even when we’re stressed out, we keep chugging forward, helping everyone but ourselves, until we find ourselves running on empty and ready to break.
Kids are heading back to school. Families are trying to squeeze in that last little bit of summer fun. Temperatures are dropping. We’re starting to think about the holiday season, which will be here before we know it.
This year, with the added stress of the pandemic, that sense of overwhelm seems to be hitting twice as hard. So if you feel like your batteries are totally depleted, you’re not alone.
When we get to THAT level of exhaustion, even taking time for self-care can begin to feel like a chore. Sure, you could take a long, indulgent bubble bath … But that would put you three steps behind on everything else you hoped to accomplish today, which would just leave you feeling even more stressed.
This week (like most weeks), I had a long list of tasks in front of me. We had appointments at the dentist. We took my son to apply for his learner’s permit. I need to do my daily workouts. And I met up with an old high school friend for dinner. Add that to my work/coaching schedule and whatever unexpected stuff comes up, and you can see that there’s not a lot of room leftover for traditional “self-care” activities.
But here’s the thing: I know that checking off those tasks is going to make me feel better. For me, crossing things off a to-do list releases mental weight and leaves me feeling lighter. So even though I wouldn’t typically label going to the dentist as my preferred form of recharging, it IS going to put me in a better headspace and leave me with a sense of accomplishment. (Plus it *is* true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.)
If so, I want to challenge you to reframe you’re looking at your tasks for the week ahead. See if you can approach some of your must-dos from a slightly different angle to make them feel less like sources of stress and MORE like opportunities for recharging.
Looking for more tips on practical ways to eat, move, and recharge more intentionally? Join me over in my free Facebook Group, Never Diet Again, where I post daily tips, inspiration, and strategies to help you live a more sustainably healthy life.
Posted - 9/08/20 (Tue) Read more...
For many of us, vacations are the ultimate way to recharge our batteries. For months and months, we look forward to our chance to get away, unplug from our work lives, and spend a few days exploring somewhere new and doing whatever we want.
So why is it that we sometimes come back from vacation …feeling like we need a vacation?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a proponent of active vacations. While some people might long to lay on a beach for a week straight, I enjoy doing, seeing, experiencing, and milking every single moment of a trip. But I’ll be totally candid—there have been a few times when I returned home from a trip feeling just as exhausted as I was when I left.
So how can we stay active on our vacations without nullifying their recharge potential? Like most things in life and in health, it’s all about balance.
On our most recent vacation, we tried to strike a better balance between activity and rest. We took a socially distant trip to our family-favorite locale, Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont. While there, we enjoyed many of our usual activities—hiking, taking walks, and playing volleyball, to name a few.
But we also focused a little bit more on recharging activities, like catching up with some old friends who were also vacationing, listening to some music outdoors on the green, and enjoying some great wine without a care in the world. As an ambivert, I enjoyed a little bit of alone time, as well as lots of time hanging out with our small group.
Your version of a recharging vacation might look similar to mine … Or, depending on your personal preferences, it may look a bit different. Either way, it’s all good! The important thing is that you use your time away to soothe your soul and recenter yourself before heading back to “the real world.”
So let me know … How are you vacationing this year? Even if your vacation is a “staycation,” I’d love to hear more about what recharging looks like in your life right now. Leave your thoughts below!
Posted - 9/01/20 (Tue) Read more...
In the midst of this pandemic, trying to make safe and healthy choices can leave us feeling a bit like we have our hands tied.
How do we plan for the future right now?
How do we make decisions about whether to enjoy the things that give our life the most meaning—celebrations with friends, long-awaited travels, or holiday get-togethers, for example—knowing that every decision to live life “normally” might put us and our loved ones at risk?
In some ways, you might be starting to feel a little bit like your ability to make choices has been taken from you. After all—so many of the choices we make have to be viewed through the lens of the COVID crisis. And for most of us, any choice deemed too risky is immediately taken off the plate.
While it’s true that we’re living in a very different world than we did just six months ago—and while being able to make fewer choices in our everyday life can certainly be frustrating—I’ve personally found a lot of peace by focusing on the choices I CAN still make.
Even now, when so many of us feel a bit helpless, you DO still have a great deal of power and influence in your own life.
So today, I want to challenge you to consider a few choices that are still very much yours to make. While these choices may seem small in the grand scheme of things, each one of them impacts the way we feel about ourselves, our daily life … and by extension, our place in the world at large.
If you’re thinking that what you eat every day has little bearing on the rest of your life, think again! While many of us have been culturally trained to look at food as a source of comfort or solace during stressful times, food can ALSO be a source of power, energy, and resilience.
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or lethargic, try eating super clean for just a week and see what that does for you. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that will magically send all your worries packing, but you might find that improved nutrition gives you that boost of mental clarity and natural energy that you need to deal with stressful situations more effectively.
(Bonus: Wondering whether a week of intense focus on your nutrition could help put you back on track? Check out my blog, “Should You Do a Detox Week?” right here.)
Have you been doing more Netflixing during this season of quarantine and social distancing? For many families, our caution about being out and about this summer has led to a much more sedentary season than normal. Like eating junk food, sitting around too much can lead to feelings of lethargy or even depression. Add this to the fact that a lack of physical activity usually also means weight gain and decreased physical health, and that’s a recipe for disaster.
You may not be quite ready to head back to your gym yet (I’m certainly not), but that doesn’t mean you can’t increase your movement! Try going for daily walks around your neighborhood, checking out local hiking trails on your weekends, or even just finding a good YouTube workout routine that you can do from the air-conditioned comfort of your living room. If you’re not quite ready to take on an intense workout regimen, just start where you are, do what you can, and focus on moving a little bit more each day in whatever way makes sense for you.
The phrase “self-care” gets tossed around a lot these days, but especially during times like these, it’s SO important to take time for the little things that bring you peace and joy. If you come to a place where you feel listless, angry, or just plain overwhelmed and tired, being intentional about finding “me-time” can help you clear out negativity, recharge your batteries, and get back to feeling like YOU.
Are you struggling with making good choices right now? Do you feel like you’ve lost control of your health?
Get in touch with me! Coaching women to success with their health goals is one of my greatest joys in life, and I’d be more than happy to help you establish some strategies for healthier, happier living during this challenging time. Click here to connect with me in my free Facebook Community, Never Diet Again.
Posted - 8/25/20 (Tue) Read more...
For many families, summer is the time of year where we get our vacation fix. In 2020 though, the rules have obviously changed. Everywhere we look, people have been (rightfully) canceling events, postponing celebrations, and putting long-awaited vacations on hold. And even though we know that social distancing and staying close to home are necessary, it’s hard not to feel like we’ve been deprived of one of our major tools for recharging our batteries.
So how can we continue to recharge without endangering ourselves, our communities, or the locals in the areas where we’d normally vacation? Is it even possible to get that same vacation fix during the time of COVID?
For my family, the answer was yes. We actually just returned home from our annual summer vacation, during which we observed all recommended social distancing guidelines. So today, I want to talk a little bit about how we enjoyed some safe-but-effective recharge time away from home—and how your family can do the same, even if traveling isn’t really an option right now.
Back in the spring, my family canceled our would-be family vacation to Florida. While we desperately wanted to leave New England in favor of some sunshine, we recognized that doing so would have been irresponsible and hazardous to our health and the health of others.
However, when family vacation #2 rolled around in early August, I felt a little more confident about our ability to take the trip. Here’s why:
We chose a location at a mountain resort—Smugglers' Notch, Vermont.
We’ve been to Smugglers' Notch many times in the past and knew that we’d have plenty of safe outdoor activities to choose from.
We planned on socializing with just a few other families who would be traveling at the same time. Everyone involved had been able to meet quarantine guidelines and was in favor of practicing necessary social distancing protocol.
With all these facts working in our favor, we loaded up and headed to Vermont. There, we spent the week playing volleyball, catching up with old friends, and simply enjoying some time away from the house.
While we did have to forego a few of our usual activities—hanging out indoors with friends and hot tubs both seemed like a bad idea—we still had a fabulous time. We came home feeling totally recharged, and our craving for travel has been satiated for the time being.
If your family has a similar ability to visit a familiar destination with familiar people, then perhaps you’ve had no issue figuring out how to travel this year. However, for people who can’t meet quarantine guidelines, or who may be choosing to stay close to home for other reasons, there are still plenty of options! Here are a few ideas around recharging/vacationing given the current health crisis:
Choose local, isolated vacation destinations. A weekend alone in a mountain cabin or beach house would do your soul a world of good! Or just pack up and spend a day at a local beach (bring lots of food, water and sunscreen!).
Take advantage of local camping spots. If you can’t make it to an actual campground, you might even consider camping out in your backyard for a night!
Turn your vacation into a staycation. Take a week off work and spend that week catching up on activities you’ve been meaning to get to for a while. This could be a good time to try a new hobby, start a fall garden, or finish a long-term home improvement project.
If you’ve found a creative means of getting your vacation fix, I’d love to hear about it. Comment below and let me know what you’ve been up to!
Looking to expand your virtual community in this time of physical distance? You’re invited to join Never Diet Again—my free Facebook group for women who want to make healthy choices that last a lifetime, not just a moment in time. Click here to join now!
Posted - 8/18/20 (Tue) Read more...