Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.
One of my core beliefs is that the best way to make real progress in our health goals is to view our health not as a straight line going from point A to point B, but a triangle consisting of three points: eating, moving, and recharging. In order for positive progress to take place, each part must be present and balanced.
Today, I want to talk about that oh-so-important leg of the triangle: Recharge.
With times being what they are, many of us are feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally drained. This means taking the time to recharge is more important than ever. The tricky thing about recharging, though, is understanding what activity puts YOU at peace—because in our self-care routines, just as in our nutrition and fitness routines, what works for one person might be a total miss for another.
So how can you be sure you’re selecting activities that will actually recharge your batteries, rather than activities that just sound like solid self-care habits? It really starts with understanding yourself and what makes you tick.
Perhaps it’s an obvious thing to say, but depending on whether you identify as an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, you’re likely going to prefer vastly different self-care activities. If you’re not 100% sure which of these categories you most likely belong to, start by thinking about what activities make you feel energized and what makes you feel drained. For example, does being in a room full of people sound like a way to relax . . . or does it sound like a chore of its own?
If you find that you feel the most recharged after some quality alone time, you’re most likely an introvert. This means that you’ll exert more energy when in a crowd and prefer to be alone while recharging.
On the other hand, if hanging out in a room full of people sounds like the kind of activity that would leave you feeling super high-energy and recharged, you’re most likely an extrovert. This means that you get your energy from others, so being social will help you to recharge rather than drain you more.
Those are the two extremes—but what about for the rest of us? For many people in the world, hanging out in large groups of people sounds like a fun activity, but not necessarily a rejuvenating one. You might really like being around people, but at the end of the day, you really need to be alone or with a small group of close friends and family to recharge. If that sounds like you, you’re what we’d consider an ambivert.
Personally, I identify as an ambivert. I love working with people and being in crowds, but I also draw my energy from an array of solo activities, including a great exercise session, time spent with a book, being outdoors, and enjoying a glass of wine and tapas out on my deck.
Why Does This Matter?
Knowing whether you’re more introverted, extroverted, or a combination of both is really just a practice in self-awareness. It helps you better understand your own needs. Once you’ve identified yourself as an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, you’ll have better insight into what activities will get you the most “bang for your buck,” to speak, when it’s time to recharge.
Since we’re social distancing, you might think that this time would be easy for introverts.
After all, if alone time is what leaves them feeling refreshed, they must be in paradise, right?? Interestingly, this isn’t exactly true. While we might not be going to be events like concerts or festivals, time spent with our family doesn’t necessarily count as true alone time. Because of this, it’s important for introverts to make sure they are finding time away from their family so that they can recharge and be the best versions of themselves.
Conversely, we can all probably assume that extroverts are struggling right now.
If you’re an extrovert, you’re likely stressed out by all this time indoors and all your missed opportunities for social engagements. While extroverts might appreciate the extra time with their families, they’re likely really craving that external socialization. In this case, it’s important to get creative with your social hours. Try planning activities like Zoom hangouts or even a socially distanced walk when you really need in-person socialization.
If you’re an ambivert, you will of course need to find the right balance for you.
Spend a little extra time checking in with yourself throughout the day. One afternoon, you might really need a long walk by yourself. A different day, you might benefit most from having a Zoom coffee date with a friend. Don’t be afraid to be vocal about your needs—your need for variety isn’t flaky or indecisive, it’s simply a sign of knowing what you want.
You might be really surprised by what helps you unwind! If you’re an extrovert, give yourself some occasional space for quiet reflection. If you’re an introvert, don’t negate the value of a great conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. And if you’re an ambivert . . . Keep going with the flow. :)
However you identify, I want to take an opportunity to invite you to my online community made up of women with ALL KINDS of different personalities and interests. Never Diet Again is my free Facebook group for women who want to make healthy changes for a lifetime, not just for a moment in time, and we’d love for you to join us. Click here to check it out!
Posted - 8/04/20 (Tue) Read more...
This week, I’m honored to be bringing you a conversation with a woman after my own heart—Carla Frank. Carla is the fearless founder of WIM (Women in Motion) Run the World: A running and walking group that brings activity to everyone, no matter where you are in your fitness journey.
Literally running across the world via races and walks in nature, and
Encouraging women to travel globally and enjoy safe, exciting retreats as a group
. . . And while you might imagine that COVID has interrupted their normal habits somewhat, Carla is proof that we really can find a way to stay active and connected no matter WHAT crazy circumstances we’re faced with.
In general, when I do interviews with other women on a mission, I love to talk with women who have great stories. And I have to be honest: Carla’s is one of my all-time favorites. From a sedentary childhood, to a shocking divorce, to a successful athlete and business woman, to a global traveler, Carla is a great example of just how much women can accomplish in our lives if we get focused and prioritize our goals.
How she got started with running in the first place
How time in nature can help us heal from stress and adversity
How to walk, run, and hike without experiencing pain or injuring your body
How to travel the healthy way
Movement is one of the legs of our Triangle of Health and like everything else, it is so important to prevent injuries so that you can keep a consistent exercise habit. So if you’ve considered starting a walking/running/hiking routine, if you’re looking to extend your community of strong, supportive women, or if you’re just interested in connecting with potential post-pandemic travel buddies, be sure to check out the video below and connect with Carla on Facebook, Instagram, or the official WIM website.
Posted - 7/28/20 (Tue) Read more...
When it comes to establishing a new fitness habit, your success hinges on your ability to set a plan and stick to it. Building new healthy habits can be challenging, so I like to tell my clients to break their to-dos down into four steps:
Establish where you are.
Set some short-term and long-term goals.
Plan for variety in your routines.
Make it a habit.
Those last two steps are really crucial. Keeping up variety in your fitness routine is vital when you’re just getting started because variety is what keeps you engaged and interested long enough to turn your new routine into a habit.
While it’s totally possible to get a great workout without ever leaving your house, I won’t pretend that the pandemic hasn’t made incorporating variety a bit of a challenge for my family and my clients.
We started with lots of strong ideas—Zoom fitness classes, backyard yoga, and Youtube workout routines, oh my! But if you, like me, are several months into being cautious about your activities, you’re probably getting a little burnt out on all of those things. And when we get burnt out, it becomes realllllyyyy tempting to just skip the MOVE piece of our Eat-Move-Recharge Triangle altogether.
So how can you add some variety to your workout without risking your health during the pandemic?
Recently, I’ve made it my mission to make working out a little more interesting. In my search for interesting-but-socially-distant movement options, I encountered a really fantastic company called Let’s Roam. My family participated in one of their challenges recently, and we had so much fun, I couldn’t help but pass this tip along to you!
Let’s Roam is an experience-based organization that offers scavenger hunts in cities all over the world. With options geared towards families, couples, colleagues, friends, and even individuals, their adventures provide a fantastic opportunity to get your step-count up while learning fun facts about whatever city you’re in.
The premise is pretty simple: You just select your city and choose the scavenger hunt that sounds most interesting to you. Each hunt option comes with a little bit of insight about what you can expect—what area of the city you’ll be exploring, about how far you can expect to walk, how long your adventure should take, and what kind of trivia/challenges you’ll face.
You can buy tickets up to a year in advance and complete the challenges on your own schedule—no need for making a reservation, and no need to interact with groups of people!
My family did a scavenger hunt in Cambridge, MA, and we had a great time! We took our masks with us for times when we encountered other folks, enjoyed lots of time away from others, and I hit my 10,000 step goal in no time.
To find out whether Let’s Roam operates in your city or a city near you, you can check out their website here.
I hope this little tip helps you incorporate some variety into your movement routines this week! In the spirit of promoting variety, I’d love to know: How are you staying active right now? Let me know in the comments!
To swap healthy living strategies, get support, and connect with other women who are prioritizing life-long health, hop over to my free Facebook group, Never Diet Again! This is a judgement-free zone for women just like you who are tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching their life go by. For women who are tired of feeling like their food is a full-time job, who want to get off the diet hamster wheel and enjoy their lives - and food - again. It’s not for women who want to be runway models, it’s for women who want to be role models. Come join us and say hi - I’d love to get to know you better and learn more about where you are in your healthy journey.
Posted - 7/21/20 (Tue) Read more...
Think fast: Are you a summer, autumn, winter, or spring? I’m not asking you about your favorite season or even which season you feel like you vibe with. Rather, I’m talking about knowing your colors—that is, understanding what shades and tones are likely to look great on you based on the color of your skin, eyes, and hair.
You may have encountered this idea before. The concept of identifying one’s best colors based on the palette associated with a certain season has been around for a long, long time. But how can you really know which colors are best for you? It’s hard to be subjective about our own appearances, right?
That’s where experts like Shirley Zaccheo come in. Shirly is an Image Consultant and owner of You & Improved. Through her work in color consulting, personal coaching, and more, Shirley helps women transform into the most confident, striking versions of ourselves.
So obviously, I was pretty excited for a chance to work with her and learn a few tricks of the trade. :)
You might be thinking, “I’m a grown woman. I know what colors I like. Why does this matter?” If so, here’s the thing: Finding your best colors matters because we only ever get ONE first impression.
Whether you’re talking about Zoom sales calls, job interviews, first dates, or pretty much any other social circumstance, showing up as your best self is half the battle. While I’m sure you’re totally awesome no matter what color you’re wearing, choosing a color that highlights your strongest assets and makes you feel great will give you that much more confidence. And we all know what a huge impact boosted confidence can have on every aspect of our lives!
My conversation with Shirley was jam-packed with great tips for finding our best colors, choosing styles that work for us, and looking and feeling like our best selves . . . So it only makes sense to give you a chance to hear her sage wisdom directly! Just hit play on the video below to learn more about identifying your most complimentary colors, and be sure to leave me a note in the comments if you have any questions!
Looking to connect with more amazing women like Shirley? You’re invited to join us in my free Facebook community, Never Diet Again—a group for women who want to make healthy changes not just for a moment, but for a lifetime. Hope to see you there!
Posted - 7/14/20 (Tue) Read more...
From time to time, I’m lucky enough to sit down for conversations with amazing women in the health and wellness sphere. While these chats are always a treat, I recently had an especially great time talking with About the Journey Founder Bonney Fiorito!
If you’ve never heard of About the Journey, they’re essentially your connection to the wellness world. Their website, AboutTheJourney.com, provides a Wellness Directory to help you find and connect with wellness professionals providing everyday services like:
….and many more!
They also provide an Experiences Directory that allows you to search for wellness classes, retreats, and workshops based on location, virtual vs. in-person, dates, and price. The experiences directory simplifies your search process and allows you to book your wellness experience at the same price you’d pay if you did all the booking work yourself—which is pretty amazing for those of us looking to save time wherever we can!
I love the idea of having a one-stop shop for connecting with wellness providers. Even more than that though, About the Journey offers a lot of great ideas to help us all eat, move, and recharge in ways that work for us individually. They do a great job simplifying the process of finding, locating, and getting in touch with professionals who can help us live healthier lives. If you’ve been considering getting in touch with a wellness professional or attending a wellness event, I’d strongly recommend that you check them out!
For more information about the specific benefits of using About the Journey—or to learn more about Bonney Fiority—hit play on the video below. And as always, if you’re looking for more support in your healthy living journey, don’t forget to join me over in my free Facebook Community, Never Diet Again.
Posted - 7/07/20 (Tue) Read more...
One of my favorite things about summer is usually travel. My family often takes a vacation together, I do lots of interesting travel for work, and everywhere I go, I get to enjoy delicious, unique cuisine.
This summer isn’t like most summers though. As we continue to traverse pandemic life, it’s pretty clear that most of us won’t be going anywhere over the next few months. This stillness begets boredom and (if we aren’t careful) boredom eating. Coupled with the fact that summer is full of traditional “splurge foods,” and we could be in for some nutrition trouble if we don’t play our cards right.
So how can you prioritize your nutrition and eat healthy this summer—and actually enjoy doing it??
As with most inconveniences in life, I think the secret to focusing on our nutrition this summer is going to be a combination of turning lemons into lemonade, getting creative, and establishing good habits. In this week’s blog, I’m offering you a little peek at what this looks like in my family right now—and hopefully these ideas inspire you to come up with a few fun ways to eat well this summer, too!
As I mentioned, I’m pretty bummed about the lack of travel plans in my summer calendar. But I realized early on during this pandemic—that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy the yummy, international faire I usually look forward to! My family has a lot of fun choosing dishes from around the world to prepare for dinner. We’ve recently done a good bit of Asian style cooking, featuring sesame oil instead of regular oil, and an array of uniquely Asian spices. From stir fry to steamed dumpling, we are definitely getting more creative in the kitchen.
If there’s one activity that defines summertime in the United States, it might just be the backyard barbecue. We always love grilling out, but this year, we’ve amp’d up our backyard oasis and it’s been a special treat. We get to break up the monotony of our routine, be outside for a while, and sometimes, we even end up playing backyard games as a family (which makes this a win in the eat, move, and recharge categories!).
Reading about the activities above, you might be wondering how all that fits into my healthy eating plan. It would be easy to take something like an international food night or a barbecue night and turn it into a reason to go off plan.
This is where the “making it a habit” component comes in. As I’m preparing for these fun activities, I simply do so with my PFC Every 3 guidelines in mind. We still plan our meals around lean proteins, lots of veggies, and healthy fats—but the diversity in experiences, spices, side dishes, etc. helps keep the PFC Every 3 program from ever getting dull.
Even if we end up occasionally using a sauce that might be a little sweet or having some deliciously chewy bread on the side, I still consider this a net win. After all, prepping Asian food or grilling at home keeps us from, say, ordering Chinese takeout or hitting up a local rib joint—both of which would be far more liberal with the fat, sodium, and sugar than we are in our homemade recipes.
As you prepare for traveling by stomach, firing up the grill, or whatever other fun meal options you have in mind, here are a few simple swaps/alterations you can make to lighten up some of your favorite meals:
I’m specifically thinking of barbecue sauce here, but this is really true of any sauce or marinade. Pay attention to your ingredients, and act accordingly. If you’re used to using a really sticky, sugary barbecue sauce, for example, consider swapping to a North Carolina barbecue style, which is more vinegar-based . . . or make your own reduced-sugar sauce!
Lots of summer foods revolve around fat and salt— I’m thinking of corn on the cob, coleslaw, macaroni salad, potato salad, and other traditional picnic-style food. In a lot of these cases, you don’t really need all the extra stuff to make your food delicious. Corn on the cob for example, doesn’t require a lot of butter and salt if you buy high quality corn and cook it fresh. Coleslaw that’s more focused on vinegar and spices rather than mayo can scratch a similar itch without loading your plate with fat. Potato and macaroni salads can be made with way less sugar and mayo than you were probably taught to use as a kid.
There are no hard and fast rules here, but be conscientious about what “extras” you might be adding to your food, and look for opportunities to eliminate them.
Sometimes, just subbing in a healthier option really is the best choice you can make. We end up doing this a lot for dessert: Instead of having a summer cobbler or cake, we feast on things like watermelon salads. If you need to sweeten something up a little bit, try using a drizzle of honey or agave instead of white sugar.
Apart from dessert, you could also try swapping out buns for spinach leaves, or stuffing your burgers with veggies (I’m a big fan of jalapenos and roasted peppers!).
What are some of your favorite summer foods? And what are some ideas you have around putting a fun, healthy spin on them this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Need some additional accountability, fun food ideas, and virtual camaraderie this summer? Join my Facebook Community, Never Diet Again! It’s free, and it’s a great way to meet other women who are making a commitment to living healthier lives in this season and beyond.
Posted - 6/30/20 (Tue) Read more...
After what feels like perhaps the longest winter and spring ever, summer 2020 is FINALLY here! Depending on where you’re located, you might already be veering into sweltering “dog days” territory, or temperatures might just be starting to pique. Here in the Boston area, the weather has been absolutely beautiful and even in the face of all that’s going on in our world right now, my spirits have been notably lifted.
If you’ve been part of this community for very long, you’ll already know that I love to use seasonal shifts as a benchmark to check in with ourselves and reevaluate our habits. If you’ve been struggling with your nutrition, fitness, or overall wellness in the first half of this year, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to adopt some new healthy living strategies that can serve you better this summer and beyond.
Clean eating is important no matter the season . . . but spring and summer are, in my opinion, the BEST times of the year to enjoy a healthy, fresh diet. If you’ve been doing a lot of stress eating and comfort food binging, the summer is a great time to hit the reset button because fresh, in-season produce makes eating clean not just simple but actually enjoyable.
If you can find even just one or two really healthy seasonal fruits to incorporate into your meal plan, you might notice that you’ll feel excited about your healthy meals rather than resigned to them. In my own life, I’ve been enjoying a ton of fresh, juicy, naturally sweet strawberries—they make eating clean during the summer months an absolute breeze!
Whatever your health goal is, moving your body moves the needle in the right direction. If you’ve been inactive over the last several months, increasing your physical activity is sure to boost your energy, help you drop any extra pounds that may be stubbornly holding on, and get you feeling like the best version of yourself.
If you live somewhere where extreme heat and humidity are an issue, it might be important to choose a variety of different workouts. You could try walking around your neighborhood in the early morning or evening to beat the heat. You could look into home workout equipment or Youtube exercise videos. If you’re lucky enough to be close to water, perhaps you could even make swimming the crux of your summer workout routine.
The point is, it doesn’t really matter *how* you move your body. The important thing is that you develop the habit of moving a little bit each day.
Even when life is just regular levels of stressful, taking time to recharge regularly is healthy and necessary. However, given the state that our world is in at the moment, prioritizing your self-care at the moment is absolutely crucial.
Maybe you can’t go on your usual summer vacation to unwind this year, but you can look for small ways to recharge in your daily life. Spend time outdoors as much as you can, be sure to get lots of fresh air, and make time for the hobbies and activities you love. Remember: Self care is not selfish. You have to take care of yourself if you want to have the energy to take care of others.
Let me know in the comments below! If you could use some extra support and accountability, I hope you’ll join me over in my free Facebook Community Never Diet Again. We’re a community of women dedicated to creating better health for a lifetime rather than a moment, and we’d love to have you!
Posted - 6/23/20 (Tue) Read more...
The first half of 2020 has been full of huge events that we simply could not have predicted. In the last few months, we’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and a struggling economy. Now, at almost the exact halfway point in the year, the United States is seeing massive Black Lives Matter protests in almost every state. To say this season in our lifetimes is unprecedented is putting it lightly.
If you follow along with me on social media, you likely know that I have taken a strong anti-racist stance, both personally and in my business. Today, I’m going to continue that conversation and talk a little bit about how being anti-racist and fighting against systemic oppression coincides with living a healthy life.
When you’re first starting out in your healthy living journey, one of the most important things to remember is that changing your habits is inevitably going to be a little bit uncomfortable. You have to learn to approach your food, your fitness, and your whole lifestyle a little differently. There will be times when you feel tired, overwhelmed or a little burnt out—and during those times, you’ll have to push through your discomfort if you want to see tangible, positive, permanent change.
This same sentiment is true of committing to being staunchly anti-racist. When you’re pushing back against systemic issues, there will be lots of times when you feel uncomfortable. I certainly have. But frankly, if you’re comfortable, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Change in your health and change in the world at large starts by saying, “I’m okay with facing some discomfort if it results in positive, permanent change.” The resilience you learn as you practice eating, moving, and recharging in my programs follows you into every aspect of your life, and our current events are a great example of that.
Again: You might be surprised how well your healthy living habits carry over into something as monumental as fighting against racism. Both start with self-reflection. What are your values? Why is making this change important enough to fight through the challenging moments?
The next step is being the best version of yourself. In health and in social justice advocacy, it can be easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough when you compare yourself with others. Start by recognizing your own issues and working through those. Listen to the Black people in your community or in your online space. Hear them. Educate yourself. Work on being the best YOU and the best ALLY you possibly can be.
We like to throw around the phrase, “Self care isn’t selfish,” but in times like these, it’s even more important to remember that you MUST pause to take care of yourself mentally and physically. If you’re running on empty, you won’t have the strength and the energy required to help others.
So yes—I hope you will take a firm anti-racist stance in your life. Be prepared to experience extended discomfort as you help to make the world a more equitable place. And also: Stay hydrated, eat well, rest when you can, and prioritize moments of joy in your life.
If you’re feeling frayed at your edges and you need some help figuring out how to manage your stress without compromising your goals, I hope you’ll join me for a special webinar with Mentor Joyce Rojas. On June 23 at 8 pm, Joyce and I will join forces for this free virtual talk, “Reducing Stress in Health & Wealth: 6 Tips to Calmness.” Sign up here if you’d like to attend!
Posted - 6/16/20 (Tue) Read more...
Whether or not you’re a person who stays regularly engaged with the news cycle, you undoubtedly know that this past week in the U.S. has been a turbulent one, to say the least. Not only are we continuing to deal with the stresses of the covid pandemic—we’ve also found ourselves engaged in a series of emotional, difficult conversations about racism and racial tensions in our country.
As a nutrition coach, I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers for the social justice crisis we’re facing. I WILL say that in times like these, it is so important for each of us to dig deep, stand firmly by our personal beliefs, and act with our hearts and minds. We have a responsibility to recognize injustice and racism, call it what it is, and take meaningful action to prevent racism from continuing.
At the same time, we all have to stay in tune with our bodies and our personal needs. As much as we want to be engaged citizens fighting injustices in the world around us, we can’t do that if we burn ourselves out. This is more like a marathon than a sprint, and if your brain is fried and your energy is totally depleted, you won’t be able to support any of the important people or important causes in your life as well as you’d like to.
And so this week, though talking about self-care in such a painful time feels a little bit selfish, I want to have a conversation about the importance of recharging even in seasons as turbulent as this one.
I approach everything in life from a perspective of supporting a strong Triangle of Health through three main components: Eating, moving, and recharging. It’s easy to let one or all of these components slip when we’re super-focused and stressed, but if you want to have the strength to enact change (whether in your personal life, your community, or the world at large), you HAVE to be able to recognize when you need a break.
Recharging during turbulent times could be as simple as remembering to take just a couple of minutes to clear your mind and reset your energy. An acquaintance of mine mentioned recently that she’s set an alarm on her phone to remind her to do this. Four times a day, she listens to a particular song and takes three or four minutes to just breathe, disengage, and recharge her mental batteries.
Recharging might also look like clearing negative energy from your body and loosening up your muscles by moving a little bit more. You might consider taking a long walk, spending a little bit of time in nature, or enjoying a quiet cup of tea on your back porch.
As always, you don’t have to take a full day away from the world or do anything extravagant—you just have to give yourself a few peaceful moments to quell your anxieties and breathe.
Just as knowing when to disconnect is vital, understanding when it’s time to step forward and act is equally crucial. Get your head in the right space, then ask yourself: How can I use some of my skills, talents, or resources to bring about positive change in the world? What can I do to really make a difference?
I always preach that you can’t totally revolutionize your health by making good choices for a day. The same is true for ending racism. We can’t just make a Facebook post, commit a few focused days to ending racial injustice, and expect that to be good enough.
The fight for equality is one that has taken time and will continue to take time—which is exactly why it’s important that you take care of yourself, build up your resilience, and strengthen your body and mind. Cheers to your good health, to radical change, and to being the best allies we can be.
Posted - 6/09/20 (Tue) Read more...
None of us are strangers to the concept of flavor. We like for our foods to taste good—to be delicious and full of a variety of flavors. Maybe you’re even particularly keen on a few specific flavors (salty and sweet, we’re lookin’ at you).
This is the idea behind Sherry Hess’ Flavor Remedy program. Sherry Hess is a food expert and founder/creator of the Flavor Remedy movement—a community, course, and soon-to-be book that’s all about bringing life back to your plate in a delicious, healthy way.
Sherry explains her system best in her own words, so this week, I’d strongly encourage you to watch the video below.
To give you just a taste of what’s in store though, here’s the gist: The flavors we eat can act as natural medicines and immune boosters if they come from the right foods. ONE flavor in particular stands above the rest—and it’s not one you’d likely guess!
Go ahead and watch this video to learn more about Sherry’s program, how I’ve been incorporating her teaching into my own life, and how you can get more of the flavors your body needs without feeling like it’s a chore. And as always, drop me a comment if you have any questions!
Posted - 6/02/20 (Tue) Read more...