Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.
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...
At long, long last . . . Temperatures are heating up and social distancing recommendations are cooling down! After a spring season spent almost exclusively at home, shops and restaurants all over the United States are (somewhat tepidly) beginning to open their doors again.
Every city has a different timeline, and some are reopening with outdoor/limited seating. Which means one big thing: Time to hit up all our favorite local establishments!
Unfortunately, dining out more can ALSO mean trouble for your nutrition plan. But never fear—just as in pre-Covid life, making smart nutrition choices while eating at restaurants is still totally possible! It just requires some strategy, some determination, and the willingness to make smart choices.
From my foodie heart to yours, here are a few of my top tips for navigating restaurant meals without putting yourself at risk of bloat, digestive issues, and weight gain:
While most of our favorite restaurants are probably still operating on limited margins and limited staff, the odds are pretty good that your local digs will be THRILLED to have your business. If you’d like to ask for something to be grilled or steamed instead of fried, go ahead and ask. The worst that can happen is that they aren’t able to accommodate! In that case, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to pick a different dish that’s a little lighter or stick with your original choice.
If you know you’re likely to feel pressured into making an unhealthy decision, don’t put yourself in that position. Look at the menu online before you head out, decide what you’re going to order before you’re sitting in the restaurant, and then stick to your decisions regardless of what everyone around you is ordering. This requires a little bit of planning and determination to put your health first, but you can do it!
The same rules apply here as in tip #1—if you see that the veggies are cooked in butter and you’d rather skip the puddles of butter, just ask if you can get them without it. Nine times out of ten, this is totally doable and your server will be happy to accommodate your requests.
You deserve it. In life, there are always moments when a little extravagance is in order. If you’ve been cooped up for months without access to restaurant food, go ahead and just enjoy a really great meal. Consider it part of your recharge strategy, and get right back on track the next morning.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for you! I’d love to know—are you heading back out to restaurants yet? Are you sticking to takeout for a little longer? Let me know in the comments! Personally, I’ve been practicing super strict social distancing, but I’m VERY excited for my favorite sushi place to open up again.
As always, what I wish for you in the upcoming week is that you’ll live a life you love without being hungry, feeling deprived, or giving up your glass of wine with dinner.
If you’d like more conversations like this, here’s your invite to join me over in my Facebook Community, Never Diet Again. Hope to see you there!
Posted - 5/26/20 (Tue) Read more...
The other day, I was reading some recent updates about COVID-19 recommendations (as most of us are doing far too often right now) and saw something that was at once shocking and totally predictable: The most recent recommendations were updated to encourage everyone to get out and get fresh air as much as possible.
I wasn’t surprised by the recommendation. On the contrary, I was surprised that it was a recently added recommendation. Were there prior recommendations to remain indoors this whole time??
Especially with the spike in stress we’ve all experienced lately, moving our bodies is perhaps more important than ever. Staying physically active and responsibly enjoying outdoor spaces are great ways to boost your physical health, curb your cortisol levels, quell your anxiety, and feel a little more “normal” during these trying times.
This might look different for you depending on where you live and your preferences. Hopefully you have access to a park, greenspace, or yard where you can move freely while social distancing, but if that’s not possible, you may need to wear a mask while you enjoy your time outdoors. Maybe it would be great for you to go for a long run to work up a sweat, or maybe you’d benefit more from some light stretching and deep breathing in the afternoon sun. The most important thing here is that you’re staying in tune with your body, addressing your needs, and doing so in a safe, socially distant manner.
I can help you meet your loftiest health goals, even in the midst of all these crazy life changes we’re experiencing. Click here to check out my free Facebook Community, Never Diet Again—or follow this link to learn about my program that can help you reclaim your life and learn to love your food again in just 8 weeks.
Posted - 5/19/20 (Tue) Read more...
In regular life, being a working mom and business owner means setting a schedule and sticking to it. From week to week, I tend to set regular days/times to handle recurring tasks, and I stick to my schedule as much as possible—if I don’t, it’s too easy for things to start slipping through the cracks.
So imagine my surprise when I logged onto my Facebook Page to conduct my every-single-Thursday Live conversation . . . only to realize that it was, in fact, Friday. Had I really lost an entire day somewhere? Crap.
Honestly though, it wasn’t a huge deal. I ultimately decided to go live anyway (albeit a day late), and the situation gave me the opportunity to ruminate on this interesting experience many of us are sharing right now. In a world where we’re usually obsessed with time, schedules, and making plans, this quarantine has allowed us to slip into a place where we can literally lose track of the days.
So, why is this happening? Is it simply because we’re staying home and not keeping to a social calendar? Maybe, but I personally think it goes deeper than that.
I think we’re losing track of our days because we aren’t exercising our boundaries.
On the surface, it seems like social distancing should have given us more time back. However, for many of us, all this staying home, working from home, schooling from home, etc. has tempted us to loosen up our work/life boundaries.
Think about it: Have you recently found yourself “just doing a little extra work” during evening or weekend time when you normally wouldn’t? Letting your kids stay up a little later than usual? Making yourself available to emotionally support family and friends 24/7?
Those actions might seem small, but combined with our new lack of regular routine and high stress levels at the moment, slacking off on your boundaries can lead to major burnout, brain fog, and yes—the sense that you’re not really even sure what day it is.
Getting a grip on your schedule and taking control over your time again starts with recognizing which boundaries you’ve let slip, and putting them back into place. For some of us, this might just mean that we really need to stop working on weekends. For others, maybe we need to take a full-on vacation day to rest, connect with our loved ones more meaningfully, or enjoy some me-time.
There’s no specific thing we can all do to feel like we’re in control of our time right now. Look at your own life, pinpoint the places where you aren’t respecting your own boundaries, and take small steps to carve out designated work time, family time, and personal time.
I know that I need a day where I just take care of me. Workout, relax, play some cards. Just chill. What will your day look like?
I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a note in the comments section below, or follow me on your favorite social media platform! I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and I’d love to connect with you during this season where our virtual connections have become SO incredibly important.
Posted - 5/12/20 (Tue) Read more...
April showers might bring May flowers, but they also bring MUD. Living in the northeast, I affectionately refer to this time of year as mud season because (you guessed it) as much as the warming temperatures have us wanting to be outside, muddy conditions often create problems for folks who want to get out for a walk, a run, yoga in the park, or some other outdoor workout. So how can you be sure to get a great workout this spring—even with all the mud, and even if your usual gym or workout class is still closed due to COVID-19?
The truth is, I could give you tips on movement all day long, but unless you want to get up and get moving, nothing I say is really going to matter that much. So ask yourself: WHY is it important for you to be active, even when things are less than ideal outside?
For me, it’s important to get up and workout every single morning because a) it makes me a much happier, more pleasant person and b) I want to take care of my body so I can show up fully for my family.
Your reason might be similar to mine . . . Or it might be something totally different! Your “why” can be anything, but choose something that matters to you, and think of that when you need a little mindset/motivation boost.
I’m particularly lucky in that over the last 15 years, I’ve put together a pretty amazing home gym setup. You don’t have to have a complex setup to be able to workout at home though! Especially right now, you can find a TON of online workout classes—in fact, your local studio is probably offering some sort of online options. From yoga, to aerobics, to kickboxing, you might be amazed at what kind of support you can find online if you take a few minutes to look for it.
If online classes don’t seem like your thing and you don’t have home gym equipment, there are still plenty of options for you. Look at ordering some hand weights, a kettle bell, or a resistance band to help you with strength exercises. Run up and down your own stairs. When all else fails, look up some workout routines that rely on good old fashioned floor exercises like burpees, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks —literally all you need for those is enough floor space to move your body!
If committing to workout every day is a struggle for you, the best advice I can give is to set an appointment with yourself. Put it on your calendar, exactly the way you would treat a regular appointment, and treat yourself like your most important client—because you are.
For some extra accountability, make a plan with a friend to stay accountable to each other. Maybe you can’t physically get together for a walk right now, but you can text each other to check in and remind one another to prioritize your workout. Get creative and figure out how to connect if that’s what you need!
I’m actually offering not one but TWO amazing ways to prioritize your health right now. First, the doors to my signature program Reclaim Your Life, One Bite at a Time® are open for a couple more days! Reclaim Your Life is the simple, strategic, 8-week program to help female entrepreneurs and business women regain control over their health.
Not sure whether you’re up for a self-guided course right now? I’m offering 6-8 folks in my network the chance to be personally led through the Reclaim Your Life program, with individualized attention from yours truly. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Individualized Program” if you’re interested in applying for one of those spots!
Posted - 5/05/20 (Tue) Read more...
There aren’t many universal truths, but here’s one: Every household has a handful of go-to, standard meals. Even folks who love to cook and explore new dishes undoubtedly have standby meals that they make again and again . . . and again.
Knowing your favorites is great as far as simplicity and time-saving are concerned! Sometimes though, you really just want to try something new. Especially right now—when we’re all social distancing, stuck at home, and possibly experiencing issues obtaining the foods we’re used to having access to—mealtime can be a great opportunity to add a little variety in our everyday lives.
Trying new foods and new meals might sound intimidating, but never fear! As a busy working mom who loves eating good food way more than cooking it, I’d never steer you into the waters of impractical dishes or evening-long cooking marathons. You and your family can experiment with new flavors without risking your time or your grocery budget. Here’s how.
At the time this blog is being published, our world is in the early stages of navigating life with Covid-19. For most of us, this means we’re trying not to go out for groceries quite as often, and that our choices at the store might be limited. That’s why the first step to creating more variety in your meal plan is to reexamine the food you already have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.
Protein in particular can be particularly diverse. For example, did you know there are several dozen ways to prepare chicken? And that’s one only type of protein.
In our house, we’re part of a fish ‘CSA’—we get fresh, local seafood delivered straight to our house each week. Last week, we got sole, which I promptly braised in some lemon and butter and stuck in the refrigerator. Now, my first two dinners were easy. On night one, I just had the fish with some veggies. On night two, I had it on some salad. By night three though, I was feeling a little bored with the sole. So on night three, I sauteed some leftover bok choy, prepared some quinoa pasta, added some spicy tomatillo sauce, and of course tied it all together with the sole. It was a super flavorful, easy, balanced, and unique dinner.
If you’ve found an ingredient you’re interested in using (for me it was sole, maybe for you it’s chicken, another type of fish, or tofu), think about different sauces and spices you could add to change things up a bit. Using my earlier example of chicken, you could decide to cook:
Chicken parm with basil and marinara
Chicken tikka masala
Grilled lemon chicken with veggies
Pulled, BBQ-style chicken
Fettuccine alfredo with chicken strips
Cubed chicken with turmeric and quinoa
Homemade chicken soup
. . . And that’s just to name a few options off the cuff! If you’re drawing a blank, the internet is your friend. Just check out Pinterest for inspiration.
If you typically hit one grocery store and call it done, consider looking to other or multiple suppliers for your foods. My family loves checking out local markets (or in the state of current events, ordering curb-side pickup from local markets) to take advantage of whatever fresh, local fruits and veggies happen to be available.
Eating a more local, seasonal diet will help you naturally start to incorporate more variety because your produce options will shift with the weather as you move through the year. Plus, buying a type of food you might not normally look for at the grocery store and then planning your meal around it can be a fun way to challenge yourself to try new recipes!
Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas around how you can freshen up your menu this week!
For more food, nutrition, and health-related tips, tricks, and advice, join me over in my free Facebook community, Never Diet Again! We’re a group for business women and female entrepreneurs who want to “have it all” without needing to have 26+ hours in a day to make it happen . . . and we’d love to have you!
Posted - 4/28/20 (Tue) Read more...
One of the hardest things about being a modern woman is that as much as we love “having it all,” we often feel like we don’t have time to pause, breathe, and recharge our batteries. Even in the best of times, it can be hard for us to find time to take care of us because we’re so busy taking care of everyone else.
How does that play out during these times of self-isolation? Well, to the surprise of absolutely no one, a lot of women have found themselves even less able to carve out much-needed me time. Our kids are doing school from home. We’re trying to work from home. Most of our partners are also working from home. And that’s not even to mention the extra time and emotional energy we’re expending on things like extra cleaning, disinfecting, and grocery shopping.
There are countless studies and articles that prove the negative impact stress has on our health and our relationships. I’ll spare you the psychology lesson today, but suffice it to say that when our mental health suffers, everything else around us suffers too. Our energy drops. Our immunity drops. Our ability to take care of others drops. Our inability to be as productive as we’d like to be causes even more stress, and the spiral continues.
I’m not suggesting that you just tap out and say you’re taking a break—as a fellow working mom and business woman, I know it’s just not that simple. However, it’s absolutely vital that you find some way to extend the same love to yourself than you give out so abundantly to others.
This one may be a given, but if you haven’t been out for a solo walk in a while, you might be amazed at how much good it could do. If you have older kids or a partner at home with you, let them know you need a few moments to collect yourself. Then, stroll around the block. Breathe deeply. Notice the spring flowers that are starting to peek out. Wave at a couple neighbors from afar. Even if you only manage a quick lap around your block, you’ll feel so much better for having gotten a little bit of fresh air and movement.
Not kidding! This might seem extreme, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you really feel like you can’t get a single moment of free time, there’s no shame in locking yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes. Read a few pages of a book, play a mindless game on your phone, do some stretches . . . Whatever you need. Your kids will survive five minutes without you.
Again . . . It’s kind of funny to say, but I’m not joking. Sometimes, we really do need to scream into a pillow or cry in the shower. This isn’t about sulking or reveling in our stress. It’s about processing and releasing negative emotions. The more you try to shove down your frustrations, the more they’ll pop back up at inopportune moments. So let yourself feel it, do what you need to do to get it out, and get on with your day.
Normally, my advice to stressed out moms would be to get out of the house. Maybe you can’t go out for wine with the girls or on a solo museum date right now, but you can technically get out of the house. If you’re able to leave your kids with your partner, that’s fabulous. If you happen to have young children and your partner isn’t available to watch them, load everyone up in the car. Go ahead and load them up with their favorite book, game, or even their favorite electronic device—from one mom to another, a little extra screen time is okay if it means you get to retain your sanity. Turn on the radio, your favorite podcast, or nothing at all . . . and just drive.
How are you practicing self-care in quarantine? Have you had to come up with creative solutions to recharge your batteries? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a note in the comments section, and don’t forget to come back next week for more “Quarantine Chronicles” from yours truly.
Posted - 4/21/20 (Tue) Read more...