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How To Eat Healthy In Disneyland

7 Simple Tips to Eat Healthy In Disneyland

Disney Fanatics

I married into a Disney-loving family.  My husband has really amazing childhood memories of his trips to Disneyland.  It is inevitable that our children will have them too, as it is near and dear to his heart.  As an adult…I get the attraction.  There is something indescribable about seeing the amazement and wonder in your children’s faces when they lock eyes with their favorite Disney character.  Or when the Electric Light Parade passes by and they can’t contain their excitement.  Some day, that innocence will fade, so I am with him.  Let’s enjoy that magical moment while it lasts.

 

Disney Bender

In 2015, almost 18.5 million people visited Disneyland in Anaheim. That is a whole lotta corn dogs! For the average Disney goer trips to Disneyland mean a 3 day binge on corn dogs, pretzels and Mickey shaped ice cream treats.  But that binge just leaves you feeling YUCK.

 

Disney Does Most Things Right

You can’t dispute Disney does everything right.  Well, mostly.  The one thing they could improve on is food selection.  Don’t get me wrong, they’ve made major strides.  Like anything though, you can’t be a victim to choice.  Instead, you have to be a victim to your own success and plan for your adventure to the Happiest Place on Earth.

When I began to track my macros years ago, we had a Disney trip planned. I’ll admit I was both terrified of how I could manage to stay within my numbers and also so excited to put my hard work and food awareness to the test.  I’d already managed to make Disney food happen gluten free, now I was determined to make it happen within the framework of my goals.

 

For Macro Tracker and Non-Tracker Alike

Although you may not be a “Macro Tracker” yourself.  The take home from this post is food awareness.  This post will help you navigate Disneyland with heightened food awareness and a greater sense of success having “survived” and still maintained your nutritional goals.

 

How to Navigate Disneyland With These 7 Simple Steps

(And Still Hit Your Nutritional Goals)

 

1. Eat Breakfast Outside The Park

I think this one is a necessity on so many levels.  Depending on the season, the park opens somewhere between 8 and 10am.  Who wants to spend their first hour at the park, when things are less busy, eating?  Not us!  That is our time to get on as many rides as possible before the crowd arrives.

Eat breakfast at the hotel if offered.  Many hotels near Disney recognize this need and offer great buffet or made-to-order options.  We love staying at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Anaheim South because of their made-to-order omelet options, fresh fruit and a host of other selections to start the day.  Not to mention it is fun, budget friendly and well located. Don’t be afraid to ask for things that meet your needs like egg whites.  They may not advertise their availability but often have them standing by.

If your hotel doesn’t offer breakfast, then prepare a simple meal in your hotel room of oatmeal, hard boiled eggs etc.  I have vivid memories as a child of my mom bringing in an electric skillet to prepare some amazing hotel room breakfasts that saved money and were better for us.

 

2. Bring In Your Food

Disneyland’s food policy permits you to enjoy your own food in the picnic areas just outside the gates.  However, one look around you can see hundreds of people enjoying snacks they packed in to save money, time and health.  I’ve never been asked to take my food elsewhere.  They do permit you to bring in food if you have a specific dietary need or allergy which is really the grey area that allows almost everyone to bring in what they like.

My suggestion is pack food that will help you maintain a lean intake as you are likely to eat more fat in your meals out when needed.  Pack things that are protein packed!

 

 

 

When my family goes, I pack lunch meat, hard boiled, eggs, fruit, fruit and veggie squeeze pouches and usually some type of bar as a snack. Check out my vacation travel post (you can download the ebook here) for a long list of snack ideas that will work perfect for Disneyland.

3. Find the Hidden Snack Places

Disney has done a good job of late to have path side vendors filled with fresh fruits, some veggies and not so sugary laden snacks.

But protein packed snacks are still hard to come by, as is the case during most travel.  My favorite go-to protein snack is Bengal Barbecue in Adventure land in Disneyland.  They have some awesome chicken, beef and even bacon wrapped asparagus skewers.  A simple, and cost effective, way to snack on something to keep that protein up.

Pickles? (They deserve their own heading)

Since I was a child pickles have been my jam!  I once ate an entire jar in one sitting.  Then, I puked them up all night on the bathroom floor.  Lesson learned…pickle moderation.

But a gigantic pickle from the Main Street General Store or another vendor is another great option to fill you up without breaking the macro bank.

 

4. Choose Your Dessert Wisely

Yep–how could I not mention dessert.  A sweet treat in Disneyland is almost a requirement, right?

Two words…Dole Whip.  The Dole Whip is a must in the Disney Parks, especially in the late afternoon when the weather heats up.  It is a non-dairy soft serve yogurt indulgence and brings back so much nostalgia located at the Tiki Hut in Disneyland.

But do you know what the macro nutrient value of the Whip is?

To no surprise all carbs, 18g per ½ cup on average, and zero fat or protein (questionable here).  If you make it a Dole Whip Float then add in extra carbs for Pineapple juice.  Not a horrible choice to cure that Disney sweet tooth for sure. A local yogurt shop even carries the “Dole Whip” flavor which brings back Disney memories for sure.

 

5. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

One reason many people feel exhausted after a day of Disney is not always screaming children and over stimulation.  It is often dehydration.  It is easy to move through the day with a “do everything” attitude that you forget to drink water.  Take advantage of Disney’s newer water refill stations and bring your own water bottle to refill all day FREE.  Not too many things are free at Disneyland so drink as much as you can.  It makes that pricey ticket more worth it (lol).

 

6. Disney Check Meals

Disney had done a great job of advertising the new “Mickey Check” program. My kids have have come running to me to tell me all about Mickey’s desire for them to eat healthier after seeing television commercials.  Well done Mickey, well done.

But what does this really mean?  Disney’s Mickey check seeks to help families find healthier options both inside and outside the Disneyland Parks and Resorts.  To receive a Mickey Check a meal or snack must meet certain nutritional standards.

Although the dietary guidelines don’t provide specific macro nutrient information, they are a better selection for both kids and parents alike.  You will find Mickey Check items in most sit-down restaurant selections within the park and lots of brands at home.

 

7. Plan Your Big Meal

If you are going to eat out at one of Disney’s restaurants for a nice dining experience during your time at the park, pick it wisely.  Plan ahead and look at what each restaurant has to offer. Making a reservation will save you time and will guarantee you healthier options to support your goals.  If you wait until your family is HANGRY you are likely to settle for something for less healthy and less filling in the heat of the (hangry) moment.

 

My favorite place to eat at the Disney Parks is just outside the Park at Tortilla Jo’s, a Mexican food restaurant.  In fact, Mexican food is one of my regular go-tos because I can control the ingredients and navigate gluten free options more easily.  They have amazing fajitas and other options for the entire family.  My kids love the balloon artist that can make the most amazing Disney balloon characters (seriously..the are talented.)

Enjoy your next Disney stay a little more aware and lean!

Work Hard Be Kind,
AWalk

Want more travel tips at your fingertips when you are on the road?

Download my 8 Tips To Help You Hit Your Macros On the Road Here

5 Tips To Make MyFitnessPal Easier To Use

5 Tips To Make MyFitnessPal Easier To Use

 

If you ask me, or the millions of other nutrition coaches out there, the real difference in nutritional success is accountability.  Writing down, documenting, and recording your intake leads to nutritional success. This is nothing new and I see it in my own clients daily. MyFitnessPal has become one of the most popular, simple to use tools for increasing both nutrition and fitness accountability.

I have all of my clients use the MyFitnessPal app.  I love its ease of use, its flexibility, the huge food database and the cost…FREE.  It also allows you to opt for an upgraded option for $10 a month with access to more features. It syncs with some of the most popular fitness tracking devices such as the Fitbit that allow you to track your day-to-day fitness expenditure. Many of my clients love the convenience of having their food and fitness all come together through one simple tool.

After working with hundreds of clients, I’ve discovered that there are a few features of MyFitnessPal that many clients just don’t know about.  I know there have to be thousands of others out there missing out on these same awesome features that will make its use much more simple.  These features can offer some reprieve from the tediousness of tracking in the beginning and are guaranteed to make your tracking more efficient. Not to mention, you may become an MFP expert and share these tips with others.  Short on time?  Download these tips HERE in pdf form to save for later.

 

5 MyFitnessPal Tips to Make It Easier To Use

1. Turn It Sideways

When new clients begin with me, one of the areas they tend to struggle with is learning how to balance their meals.  I provide them with some general macronutrient meal goals in the beginning in order to help give them some guidance and targets.  This helps to provide them a greater sense of balance throughout the day so they aren’t left feeling glutinous before bed, with too much food left, or starving from not enough food.  Balanced meals also help improve satiation and regulate hormones throughout the day.

While looking at your diary, a quick turning of the phone sideways allows for you to get a great view of the meal breakdown.  You can see how many grams of each nutrient you took in or have planned for in order to work towards meal balance.

 

To get the meal break down view below.

 

2.Tap The Top Toolbar

I’ve noticed that I was spending so much time clicking several buttons to go between my diary and my daily totals.  Then viola–I discovered the most simple of all hidden features: the top toolbar tap. This quick tip allows you to move back and forth between your diary and nutrients views with one quick tap.

Simply tap the toolbar on your running totals for the day and it will take you right to your macronutrient goal screen.

Boom…You are welcome!

3. Change Your Diary Headings

Many of my clients have performance goals so we spend time working on nutrient timing and pre and post-workout ratios.  This might be my favorite option in MFP because it allows you to really zone in on where you are budgeting which macros. By naming meals specific for your goals, lifestyle or habits, you can assess where you are spending your macro budget. If you aren’t sure what macro tracking is then you can download my Macro Tracking Beginners Guide HERE.

You can change your diary meal descriptions from a desktop ONLY by going into the settings option.

 

Select “Diary Settings”

From there you can rename each meal description to your liking.  I like to have my clients add pre-workout and post-workout to the already existent breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Ultimately, it is up to you to select meal names that make this lifestyle, not a “diet.”

 

4. Copy Meals

Using MyFitnessPal can be tedious at first. I totally get it.

But utilizing some of the features geared toward efficiency, you can easily eliminate some of the tediousness.  One of those features is the ability to copy meals.  I use this feature often in many situations.

For example, I always over prepare dinner.  I like to make more than enough at dinner to create lunch for the next day for both my husband and I.  I call it “double prep.”

The copy feature allows me to copy my dinner into tomorrow’s lunch.  This saves me the time of having to enter each meal item again when I eat my leftovers for lunch.  I love efficiency and planning ahead! Why reinvent the wheel?  Copy and save yourself time and sanity.  You can also save these tips in pdf form for later by clicking HERE.

 

First, tap the small dots in the meal you wish to copy from.

 

Next, select the option “Copy From” or “Copy To.”

You will then select the meal you wish to copy to.

 

 

The copy feature also allows my husband to copy my meal into his diary. He can go into my diary and follow the same steps as above.  He can then adjust his portion sizes to fit his needs.  This is awesome if you are at a party or a friend who uses MFP has to input a recipe that you can copy into your own.  One note to remember is that you must be “friends” with the person you are copying from or to in order to access their meal diary.

5. Create Recipes

Do you have a favorite morning coffee routine?  

A weekly go-to staple in your dinner rotation?  

MyFitnessPal allows you to create a recipe of your own so that you can enter it one time and utilize it over and over again.  This saves you time from entering each ingredient manually every time you enjoy it.

First, go to “Add Food”.

You will notice the recipe option on the far right.

Then select “Enter Ingredients Manually”

You will then type in your recipe information and the number of servings.

 

My example is a simple morning coffee combo that will serve 1.

I have a major morning coffee ritual.  I include several ingredients in my coffee including:

Coffee

1/4 Cup 2% milk

1 teaspoon pure Maple Syrup

1/3 teaspoon of Kerrygold Butter

1 Scoop Vital Proteins Collagen (this adds some protein and health benefits and is awesome).  You can read more about Vital Proteins here along with their awesome products.

 

 

Select “Add Ingredient”

 

You will then search for each ingredient that will be included the recipe.  You will select each ingredient and confirm its nutritional validity. It will add that ingredient to the recipe along with the nutritional values.

 

 

Continue to add all ingredients and quantities for the recipe.

 

 

Once complete, you will be able to see all macronutrient values for the set serving size.

When the recipe is done you will be able to view the name, servings and all nutritional information to confirm its contents.

You will then notice it adds that recipe to your Recipe tab for future use.

You can also add recipes similarly from your desktop.

 

I hope these not-so-obvious MyFitnessPal tips help make your journaling and tracking experience even easier. You are already accomplishing the number one variable of nutritional success…accountability.  Using MyFitnessPal is an extremely valuable tool in food awareness but can be a bit overwhelming initially.  Give yourself time to learn the technology and use these very simple MyFitnessPal tips to make your journey much more user-friendly and download them here for reference later.

 

 

Did I miss your favorite not-so-obvious feature on MFP?  Comment below and share!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

Click the link below if you are ready to begin your nutritional transformation to make a healthier you!

 

This post may contain affiliate links to products I love, believe in and use every week.  By purchasing them through this link, I may receive a small commission.  I appreciate your support in continuing to support the addition of valuable content to my blog.

8 Tips To Help Hit Your Macros When Traveling

Spring is upon us and summer is right around the corner!

That means bring on the heat, no school schedules and vacation!!!  I have so many amazing memories from family trips when I was young and so many of them involved food.  As an adult, nothing is different…except that I am 35 now and still get just as giddy about traveling.  I no longer have the body nor the metabolism of a 16 year old.  So, I enjoy my food on vacation in a way that helps me stay on top of my nutrition game.

 

With so many of you heading out on trips for spring break and summer vacay, this blog post went to the top of my priority list.  Questions about how to eat healthy and stay on track during vacation is one of the top questions that I get from clients and followers.

I want you to know that you can travel, maintain your healthy lifestyle and fully enjoy vacation or or a work trip.

 

8 Tips To Help You Hit Your Macros When Traveling

1.Hit That Protein

The one macro nutrient I see most clients miss (myself included) while busy and traveling is protein.  Protein is key in fat loss (if that is your goal) and to maintain muscle growth and recovery.   You want to continue to support your hard work in both a resting and active metabolism by keeping protein up.

To help hit that protein here are some ideas:

Breakfast

Many hotels lack a great morning breakfast. It is usually a display of muffins, donuts, danishes that smell of sweet sugar and are fat ridden.  The one option they tend to have is egg.  I have a noticed a trend of hard boiled eggs.  In my opinion—even better.  On a recent trip I grabbed 4 HBE, scooped out 2 of the yolks (to save my fat options for a later meal) and easily hit roughly 20 grams of protein to start my morning.  If you plan to eat breakfast out, opt for an egg white omelet or ask for a ratio of yolks to whites that fit your goals.  For a side, ask for potatoes, fruit or a healthy carb that fits your craving.

Lunch

I am a fan of high quality lunch meat , rotisserie chicken or lean jerky.  They are easy to buy in measurable amounts and are easy to keep stored in a cooler or fridge. Tuna packs are also an easy and super high protein option.

Dinner

Dinner tends to be the meal I enjoy the most while on vacation.  It is the one meal I plan my day around.  Regardless, I opt for something that keeps protein up.  If I have tacos, I try for chicken.  If I have a gluten free pizza, I add sliced chicken breast and lots of veggies.  If we have an American style meal, I chose salmon or a nice lean steak.

Protein Shake Nightcap

If you find yourself still lacking protein at the end of the day, try a protein night cap of casein (slower digesting), whey or plant based to finish off your day.

 

Want these tips sent to your inbox?

2.Pack Snacks To Fill The Gaps

Snacks, snacks and more snacks are the key to keeping your intake dialed in.  Traveling, for work or pleasure, can disrupt your normal routine.  You might be so busy you forget to eat or so bored all you want to do IS eat.  Either way, if you have snacks at your fingertips that fit your goals…things will go much better.

Here are some great ideas:

  • Bars
  • Popcorn
  • Pop Chips
  • Deli Meat
  • Jerky
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Baby Food Squeeze Pouches
  • Oats
  • Trail Mix
  • Rice Rollers or cakes
  • Fruit
  • Fruit Leathers
  • Nut Butter Packets
  • Pre-cut veggies

 

3. Ask For A Frig

When you make your hotel reservation, ask for a refrigerator.  Many hotel rooms include one but others will deliver one to your room (for free) if not.  This makes for easy storage of your snacks and gives you a great in room breakfast option as well.

 

4. Plan Ahead For Your Meal(s) Out

On a normal day at home, I push my clients to spread their fats evenly throughout the day so that it helps maintain normal hormone function and helps them to feel full. If you really want to enjoy a higher end fat meal out, eat lean leading up to it.  Opt for an egg white omelet, an Americano over a whole milk latte, chicken breast at lunch, etc.  Although you may not be able to track while traveling, you are making the effort to manage your intake and maintain those goals.

 

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For It The Way You Want It

Some people are so worried to seem high maintenance when dining out.  They are afraid to ask questions or ask for substitutions.  You shouldn’t be.  It is your health and your dining experience that you are paying for.  I’ve personally had a head chef come to my table to say thank you for changing the way a meal was ordered to satisfy my gluten free needs.  When I went back, they had added that option to their menu!

Ask for it grilled or steamed instead of breaded, ask for less cheese or more cheese if you need it.  Ask what oil they use or if there is butter in the potatoes.  They may be apprehensive solely because the server may not have an immediate answer.

Asking questions helps you gain more experience and knowledge while eating out and helps you hit your target with more accuracy.

 

6. Think High Carb, Low Carb.

It is the yin and the yang. What I mean is if you go out and crush a stack of awesome pancakes for breakfast, then think about choosing a lower carb option for dinner.  It allows you to enjoy something you really want but keeps your intake average by opting for something lower in carb at the next meal.  If you don’t plan to track tightly this will at least prevent you from being way off target.

 

7. Be Reasonable With Adult Beverages

Big kid drinks, as we call them in our house, are part of the travel routine.  Those drinks however, can add up!  If you plan to enjoy them then you will have to sacrifice real food carbs for it.  If you plan to track alcohol then you will treat it as a carb.  For every 1 gram of carbohydrate consumed, the body uses 4 Kcal of energy to burn it.  If your adult beverage, let’s say a glass of red wine, has 120 cals then the total carbs consumed will be 30 grams.  That is 30grams of sweet potatoes you sacrifice in its place.  Enjoy them with caution and planning.

 

8. Accept Haphazard and Enjoy Yourself

It is vacation after all, you need to enjoy yourself.  Navigating through a trip with a heightened awareness of your macro intake is in most cases strides ahead of where my clients have ever been.  After vacations, many clients come back so thrilled with their ability to make great choices to support their goals without the feeling of missing out on vacation for food.  It doesn’t have to be perfect but awareness and loose tracking will leave you feeling great post-vacay rather than coming home with post-vacay food guilt.

 

Want more travel tips at your fingertips when you are on the road?

Download my 8 Tips To Help You Hit Your Macros On the Road Here

And look for my tips for tracking macros in Disneyland HERE.

What are your other strategies for success while traveling?

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Beginner

Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Beginner

In second grade I remember being afraid to do a penny drop from the monkey bars because I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to look silly in front of my friends who could nail the penny drop.  For those of you who don’t know, a penny drop is when you hang upside down from the monkey bars by your knee pit (yes…it is a word) then plummet to earth while rotating one hundred eighty degrees to land on your feet.

 

So, do you know what I did?  

 

I played soccer, tether ball, basketball and completely avoided the monkey bars.  I never learned how to do a penny drop and honestly, I regret it to this day.  I was afraid.  Afraid to fail and afraid to admit that I was a beginner and needed help.  I have been afraid of this my entire life.  In fact, I am a bit afraid even writing about it because I am admitting it for the world to know and that feels nauseating.

 

Self Realization

I realized a few years ago this has been a theme my whole life.  I’ve always wanted to seem like I knew what I was doing.  Not because I wanted to impress anyone but because I was afraid to admit that I didn’t know.  That if I admitted I didn’t know someone would think I was a failure.  And one of the things I hate most in life…failing.

 

This self-realization came when I began to CrossFit.  I know what you are thinking…not another CrossFit obsessive story.  But just hear me out…

 

Crossfit is humbling.  You essentially try a whole bunch of new movements that your body has never done for consecutive days and realize that the athlete you thought you were, has left you.  Your body is expected to move in ways it never has and do it efficiently, effectively and gracefully.

 

I was none of those things in the beginning.  So, I became obsessed.  I wanted to be good at every single movement…in fact, the best.  I was a runner, a cardio queen, but not a weightlifter. I practiced at home and stayed at the gym extra hours to increase my skill level.  I began to throw more weight on the bar in an effort to compete with the best with a total sacrifice of correct technique.  And I did that for a long time.  Until I realized, I wasn’t really getting better.  In fact I hit a huge plateau.  I had been lifting at the same weight for months and I had no idea why. So I worked harder with the same ugly technique and got nowhere.

 

Then it came to me.  I had sacrificed technique, the foundation, the beginning, in an effort to compete.  I had to change something in order to overcome this stagnation.

 

That something was admitting I was a beginner.

 

Starting Over

I needed to start over, from the ground up, and retrain my bad habits.  I had to put my pride aside, admit my faults and become a beginner by taking some big steps back before I could move forward.

 

Can you relate?  Have you been in this place in life before?

 

It isn’t easy.  It is an ego check and honestly embarrassing.  To top if off I am a CrossFit coach.  I needed a coach with more knowledge than I had at lifting to coach me, a coach.

 

 

When I had this epiphany about myself, I began to reflect at similar situations in my life.  I began to identify moments and opportunities that I missed out on because I wasn’t willing to be a beginner.  I wasn’t willing to admit I didn’t know because my pride was too big to admit I didn’t.  I missed out on learning more in college because sometimes I felt like I knew the content so well, when in fact I didn’t truly deeply understand.  I missed out on being a better mom at times because I often felt like I had mastered certain stages of their life, when in fact I hadn’t (and still haven’t).  I missed out on being a better wife because I didn’t want to admit to my husband that I was a beginner when it came to truly, authentically, connecting to his needs. There are more, many more that I know I could list.

 

I realized that I couldn’t be a Varsity player if I didn’t have JV skills.

 

So I made changes. I didn’t want to continue through life this way and more importantly, I needed to show my kids that you have to start from the beginning to get to the top.  I was at a turning point in my career and in my life and I knew I needed to fully embrace the beginning to become who I wanted to be in the end.

So…

I began to do more yoga to give mobility to muscles that were the foundation for movement.

 

I began to break my lifts into parts before I could work on the whole.

 

I began to read more to discover truths not just hearsay.

 

I began to ask other moms what worked for them because I don’t have all the answers.

 

I began to resist the urge to say “I know” in situations where I really didn’t.

 

I began to take more classes to learn from people whose experience could add so much value to my life.

 

I began to look inward and study spirituality.

 

I began to surround myself with people who really know more than me because I needed their presence in my life to make me better.

 

I began to experiment on my body and try new things…because to fail on myself would be the best gift of experience I could have.

 

I began to try to just simply be a better listener.

 

I began to be more intentional and present.

 

And the best part…I began to learn things I would have otherwise missed out on because I was afraid to be a beginner.

 

When I stopped trying to always be “advanced” I realize that being a beginner was awesome.  I began to see growth in my life, in my strength, in my heart and in me as a person.

 

I love when people come to me and admit they too are beginners.  That they are beginners in understanding how to fuel their bodies and allow me the opportunity to guide them in that journey.  Together we learn and each time I have the opportunity to be a beginner with them.

 

“Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at your life in order to take a step forward and move on in it” -Rashida Rowe

 

Don’t be afraid to be a beginner.  Checking your pride at the door and really admitting you don’t know opens up so many opportunities for growth in mind, body and spirit.  I still wrestle with that internal habit to say “I know.” But now I am aware and work to strangle that urge (most of the time) before it is spoken.

I encourage you to be a beginner too.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

5 Ways To Save Money On Real Food

5 Ways to Save Money on Real Food

Several years ago I watched the documentary “SuperSize Me” created by Morgan Spurlock.  If you haven’t seen it here is the premise: he decides to document what will happen to him if he lives on a diet of McDonald’s fast food exclusively.  The results and statistics shared will astound you.  It is worth your watch. One point brought up in the film has stuck with me over the years:

It is cheaper for a family of 4 to 5 to eat at McDonald’s than to buy healthy food.

Umm…nope… I don’t buy it.

Here is why:

6 cheeseburgers at $1.00: $6.00

4 orders of Small French Fries at $1.39: $5.56

4 drinks at $1.00: $4.00

(plus tax of course)

Meal Total: $15.56

 

If that family were to eat McDonald’ five times a week for the entire month (let’s call it 20 times) that is $311.20 for a month.  In my house that is what we budget to feed our family with for 10 DAYS of groceries for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And we eat well with that budget.

According to the USDA the average American household spends $150 to $300 on groceries per week.  Our family is on the high end of that average and yet we still spend less than it would cost for our family to eat at McDonalds that frequently.

Here is an example:

I made burgers, sweet potatoes and broccoli for my family of four last week one night for dinner (2 adults, and a 7 and 5 year old):

1.25 lbs of lean ground beef: $4.98

2.5 lbs of Sweet Potatoes: 3.19 (on sale)

2 crowns of Broccoli: 1.49

(plus tax of course)

Total Meal Cost: $9.66

 

You tell me…what would you rather feed your family?

 

I Needed To Contribute

When I left my teaching job to stay home with our kids, I was desperate to find ways to contribute financially.  I began couponing and finding simple ways to pinch pennies here and there with digital coupons and the Ibotta app.  What I discovered was that the majority of the food we ate was fresh produce and meats and rarely allowed for couponing. Most coupons available were for process foods and toiletry items.  I began to find other ways to save on those foods by being “real food” savvy.

I want to help you realize the same.  Sparing no expense for quality foods is something I am not willing to compromise on. You shouldn’t either.  There are ways to save–you just have to think out of the box, be willing to invest your time and PLAN.

5 Ways to Save Money on Real Food

From that experience, I found 5 ways to save money on food we ate.  Not stuff in boxes that lasted forever but on food that we needed to eat quickly because it was actually going to go bad.

 

1.Buy What Is In Season

Did you know eating the vegetables that are in season provides benefits to you?

It is something often overlooked because of the grocery store convenience. We have access to almost anything we want year round. Most of us can’t even tell you what produce is in season.  But my Grandma…she knows…because she had no choice when she grew up.  The benefits to eating produce when it is in season are plenty.

  • It just tastes better because the environment for its growth is ideal.
  • Less human interaction.  If it grows when it is supposed to that means humans probably had to do less to help it grow.  That means less chemical exposure and a lower price potential.
  • It tends to be cheaper because it is easier to come by.  It is the good old supply and demand principle.
  • It is more fresh. When things are fresh they tend to have more nutritional value and a richer taste.

This link is so cool!  You can select your region and time of year to see what produce is in season in your area.

http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/

Start approaching your grocery shopping a bit differently and think about buying foods that are in season to reap their cost (and nutritional) benefits.

 

2.Shop The Clearance Section

Clearance on whole, real foods?  Um, Yes!  Almost every grocery store puts fruits, veggies and meats that are almost about to expire on sale.  Perfect for you and I because we have a FREEZER.  Take those items and throw them in the freezer for later use.  Those brown bananas that are $39 cents per pound…slice them up, store them in a freezer bag in your freezer and then through them in a smoothie or into a blender for some nice banana ice cream.  You will also have a freezer full of options to pick from for meal prep without having to visit the grocery store as frequently.

 

3.Peek At The Grocery Store Ads and Apps

I know you are thinking does this really even happen anymore?  I promise it does…just not so much in the paper version.  Almost every store offers a digital version of their weekly ad.  Even cooler, many stores offer digital coupons that often include coupons for sales on produce, tubbed greens and meats.  They want you to use their app and retain your business so these coupons need fully taken advantage of.  It only takes 1 minute to scroll through their ad and coupons and that minute could be worth lots of $$$ for you.  I’ve used digital coupons on packages of mixed greens along with store’s weekly sale to get a large container for just about $1.  That is several nights worth of salads to pair with a meal for less than $.33 for your ENTIRE family. Sprouts, my favorite local retailer, has even joined in, and offers an app to highlight their digital coupons and sales of the week.  And Wednesday is double ad day which equals double savings when shopping.

Coupons are not abundant for real foods but…surprise!  There are some great sites that do provide such an opportunity.  All Natural Savings is one of those sites that offers coupons and rebates on organic and high quality options.

Another great one is Organic Deals Their grocery tab offers a drop down menu for Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to highlight the deals of the week and coupons at each of those major grocery store chains.  Boom–one stop savings right there!

 

4.Buy Store Brands

I am not talking about the bottom of the line store brands.  I am talking about nice quality frozen store brand fruits, veggies and meats.  Every store offers them now and that is to your benefit.  Grocery chains are now recognizing that its consumers are demanding higher quality for ourselves and families. A great example is my favorite mainstream store brand by Kroger called Simple Truth.  It is a mostly organic brand that rivals its non-store brand almost always in price.  Not to mention, stores want you to buy their brand so they put them on sale more often too.  Cha-ching! Although frozen, these foods still offer you a major healthy go-to on a busy work night.

 

5.Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan

The biggest tip to saving money on real food is PLANNING ahead.  I know it takes time, it takes energy, it takes using your noggin.  In my opinion your health and the health of your family is worth every minute it takes.  Use the ad to guide your menu planning. Decide what vegetables to use that week based on what is on sale. .  My advice is 5 dinners a week is a really reasonable goal, with the other 2 nights being used as a great time to eat leftovers (boom…a little hidden money saving tip right here too).  And hello–we all love a night off from cooking! Just buy planning for 5 dinners you are saving money on that temptation to hit the drive thru.  The bonus of trying to save money on real food is that you are investing in your health as a byproduct. Therefore, completing the cycle of awesomeness I’ve talk about befor…health, wealth and happiness.

 

Maybe the claim of healthy, nutritious food being expensive is less about cost and more about convenience. There is no way healthy living costs more than fast food.  But it does take more work. Get started by using these 5 tips to invest in your pocket book and in your health.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

Why Food Quality Does Matter

Eat Quality

You are part of a food chain.  In fact many of them, called a food web.  This is a concept I taught to my freshmen biology students for years.  We tend to think of ourselves as stand alone species because we are at the top of that food web and access to food can be extremely easy and passive.  Because we are at the top, we get all the good stuff, AND bad stuff, from the bottom up.

 

Here is what I mean by that.

 

Plants take up their nutrients from the soil, water and the sun.  Then small consumers eat those plants, larger animals eat those smaller animals and then we humans eat them all.

 

Starting to catch on? (I know it is hard to think way back to high school biology)

 

The quality of all those organisms and the micro nutrients they take in affects our food quality.  That is exactly why quality DOES matter.  Quality isn’t just what food looks like. In grocery stores today vegetables and fruit have been covered in pesticides to make them last longer before they rot and to look prettier to the eye during the selection process. Quality has a far greater significance than what the eye can actually see.

 

But there are a few rules of thumb to think about when addressing quality in regard to produce:

 

Eat Less Processed Food

Quality foods are unprocessed, unpackaged and unrefined.  They are “al-natural”.  These foods should make up the bulk of your diet.  I don’t care what research study you read this is key to any long lasting, nutrient rich diet.  If you could do one thing to change your life–eat less processed food.  I am not gonna lie…this is a hard one.  Processed is quick and tastes oh so good.  When you step away from consuming it you will rekindle your tastes buds for real foods.  It takes true effort to make it happen but there is no price tag on its value.  Make baby steps it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

 

To Buy Organic or Not To?

Is “Organic” really all that it is cracked up to be when buying produce?  Yes…and no.  I have general knowledge about labeling requirements for organic foods but I actually went to the USDA’s website  to educate myself a bit more too. For produce to be certified organic it must:

“…demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances.”

So essentially it must be good for Mother Earth and better for human consumption with lots of grey in between.

But I really wanted to know–is it worth my money?

In my opinion…yes.  Here is why: In a 2012 study researchers concluded that the risk of chemical contamination from pesticides in traditional produce they surveyed was five times greater than organic produce.  In a second study another group of researchers concluded that organic produce contained a far greater amount of antioxidant benefits and fewer heavy metals.  I don’t know about you but that is enough for me to be more aware of my food selections and choose organic when appropriate.

The Dirty Dozen

A great rule of thumb is if it has a thick skin around it, you can likely pass on buying organic.  That is because the skin acts as a protective barrier to lessen harmful chemical exposure.  If you plan to eat the skin then opt for organic.

Avoid the dirty dozen from the main fruit and veggies section and invest in buying these few things organic. You can check the list of dirty dozen foods here.

 

Avoid Genetically Modified Foods

There are so many choices at the grocery store that I can see the glazed look come over some shopper’s faces. We all want to feed our children the best foods we can.  I know our grandma grew up eating butter and lard and she is still doing awesome.  But here is the deal…Grandma’s produce didn’t face the agricultural tactics that our food faces now.  We have to be mindful in our food selections and not settle for the “My grandma ate it and so will I” thought process. One such tactic is genetically modified foods.

What are genetically modified foods or GMOs?

These are foods whose DNA has been significantly altered to try to create herbicide tolerance or another helpful trait to make that crop more apt for survival.  For example, a wheat plant might be injected with genes from a bacteria in the ground that is resistant to a specific weed killer.  This tolerance allows the plant to grow without being susceptible to destruction from that weed killer.  Except for the U.S. and Canada, all other developed countries do not allow their use.

 

Why do they matter to you?

They are harmful for us because the effects of modifying organisms’ DNA is damaging.  Because these crops are highly resistant to herbicides they tend to have a higher than average chemical exposure.  And remember–we are at the top of the food chain.  What they are made of is what we are made of.  Look for the Non GMO label on your foods to guarantee their safety. Here are some great tips from Whole foods on how to shop for non GMOs.

 

My role as a nutrition coach often focuses on macro nutrients and performance.  But I want my clients to gain knowledge that helps them become aware of not only the carbs, proteins and fats they put into their body but also their micro nutrient intake as well.  Choosing how to fuel your body can be completely overwhelming because of so many choices and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that seem to call your name (ok, well my name too).  My goal is to educate you (and educate myself along the way too) to make choices that will benefit you and your family a lifetime.  Knowledge is power!

 

 

Keep it up–you are doing great things!

 

I’d love to hear your feedback: Do you think about quality when buying produce?

 

Work Hard, Be Kind

AWalk

Daily Grubb Diary #2

Daily Grubb Diary #2

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It’s 2017…Already

Dang–I swear I blinked and it was 2017. My first daily grub diary was well received and gave people some simple ideas that they can incorporate into their day.  So, here I go again, sharing me…getting my grub on:)

 

Gimme All The Food

Since November 1st I have been working toward being in a surplus on intake or “massing” phase (at least that is the cool way of saying it).  Really it is just a purpose driven phase of weight gain not an “eat all the Oreos you can” kind of weight gain. I am lifting much more and cardio-ing (is that word?) much less to try and gain muscle in the process.  Not gonna lie–it has been awesome and perfect time around the holidays when life is a bit crazy for sure.  So far, I am  up 7 pounds from my starting weight and working for another few, nice and controlled.  I eat lots (don’t judge…lol) and I love it.  It won’t always be this way, but I look forward to what the pay off will be on the flip side.

What I Ate In A Day, Monday January 2nd, 2017

5:00 Am Wakeup and Pre-Workout:

I was up early this morning to hit start my lifting before coaching so my normal routine was a bit interrupted.  Usually my breakfast serves as my pre-workout as well.  I don’t typically train early so today I ate something small to top off my tank but not upset my belly.

 

Today it was leftover Krusteaz Gluten Free Pancakes.  We have a Sunday morning tradition of a big family breakfast as my hubby is coming off shift and the start of our weekend begins.  I lucked out with some leftover pancakes–yes!  On top of them I spread a current addiction of mine (thanks to a friend who knows nut butter is my kryptonite) Wildfriends Pumpkin Peanut Butter that a friend introduced me too.  Sooo good! And both were perfect for a pre-workout carb up! And of course, I enjoyed my usual morning coffee.  Before I left the house I put out chicken breast to defrost to keep me on track for dinner time.

 

 

Post Workout Snack

After my lifting session, I took my normal whey protein shake and topped it off with a go-to of mine…baby food.  I know weird right??  But it is so simple, great quality and easy if I have to work or coach right after I lift.  That morning I had one of my favs.. Happy Baby Spinach, Apples and Kale flavor.

 

 

 

Snack #2

I never leave home with snacks…not just for my kids, but me too.  Ask my husband (and my parents)…I go from zero to HANGRY real fast. A few hours into coaching I was starving and got in a quick snack, an Rx Bar.  I love these bars.  Simple ingredients–dates, some type of nut(s) and egg whites.  The fat content ranges in among all flavors from 8-12g.  The Chocolate Sea Salt and Maple are my favorite.  (Click here to check out the awesome variety pack on Amazon).

 

Lunch

Finally–it was lunch time! I have been on a major sushi kick lately.  I crave it all the time, so naturally I can’t deprive my body. I must need the Omega 3s. I love a local sushi restaurant that offers some great lunch specials. I opted for the Bento Box on this day which included 2 pieces of tuna sashimi, 2 pieces of salmon sashimi, a 5 (huge) piece California Roll, 3 oz Teriyaki chicken, seaweed salad and cucumber salad.  It was AMAZING!!!

 

 

 

A note for the trackers out there.  I believe in balance when tracking macros.  You shouldn’t have to be a victim to the scale and you shouldn’t ignore your goals either.  I eat out now and then and use my food awareness to help me make my food choices.  I know both the consequence and the reward of eating out now and then…and I am content with accepting both at the right time.  “How do I track my food when I eat out” is one of biggest questions I get as a coach.  I though I would throw in a sample of how I tracked this meal out as reference.  This is my way and I am sure there are other great ways as well.  Consistency is “how” you track while eating out is really the most important.

 

Dinner

I was in desperate need of doing some grocery shopping after the holidays so I had to get creative with what I had at home. I opted for a new recipe I wanted to make after trying it a New Year’s Eve party.  It was Gluten Free Girl’s Brussel Sprout Salad and I happened to have the sprouts and just got a few fresh pomegranate from a friend.  So delicious.  I dialed down some of the olive oil in the dressing and passed on the cheese this time and it was still soooo good.  Along with the salad, I browned chicken breast in a pan with garlic and spices and opted for some Earthbound Sweet Potatoes I had in my freezer.  The whole meal turned out so good and the kids and hubby loved it  I seriously love when I have to get creative with what’s at home and then they all love it!

 

So there it is..another day in the life of me, seeking balance and trying to fuel my body. It is never perfect but each day is mindful, consistent and different than the next.  Variety is the spice of life…literally!

 

Work Hard, Be Kind,

AWalk

5 Extremely Simple Tips to Achieving Nutritional Goals

Why I don’t make resolutions

I love the feel of a new year.  I love the internal feeling of accomplishment of another year gone by when the clock strikes midnight (that is if I actually stay awake for it).  And I love the feeling of hope of the unknown for what the new year will bring.

But I can’t honestly say I’ve never sat down and said…”These are my New Year’s resolutions.” It just seems too fluffy, too manufactured and too static.

To be honest, resolutions are intended to be so long term that you almost forgot you’ve made them. In fact, 92%  of New Year’s resolutions fail by January 15th.  Seriously…that is it.

 

What is a resolution?

The word resolution means “a formal expression of intention”.  To have the intention to do something is one thing but to actually put it on paper and take action is another.  The word resolution implies to me that you failed the year before, that you resolve to do better in the next year.

The failure from the previous year is not a failure at all, but rather experience that will drive future change and behavior in this year.

Instead of resolutions, set goals.

 

What is the difference?

You might be asking, “Is there really a difference between a resolution and a goal?”

Well yes, there is, thanks for asking.

A goal is defined as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.”  In other words, there is a tangible target that you want to hit with some type of behavior that will get you there. Goals are measurable, specific and are written down with the intention of continually coming back to them to evaluate progress.

When I was a teacher, we set goals for our students’ progress and we assessed that progress each unit to identify our students’ areas of improvement and our own.  With my clients now, I am constantly asking them the same.

As people, we should be doing that for ourselves constantly…in life, in marriage, in parenting and of course, in health.

You Need Goals

You actually need goals. People who set goals and write them down succeed in life 50% more of the time than those that don’t use goal setting. In addition, when goals are set and achieved overall well being is improved and happiness is attained as a result.  By setting goals you guarantee your life to be filled with greater success and happiness.  Goal setting is FREE, simple and requires no major supplies.  It is a no-brainer.

 

Goals are Dynamic

Throughout the year goals are meant to be dynamic, not static.  That means they are constantly moving and changing.  You might find that by February you achieve a goal set. When that happens, it gives you the opportunity to modify it and challenge yourself even more.

The moment your goals become static, you become stagnant.

When I see my clients begin to feel stagnant we work together to reevaluate their current goals and up level them for greater growth.

 

Nutritional Goals

Being a nutrition and lifestyle coach, I help my clients create their own goals related to health, weight loss and gain, performance gains, and overall life.  I know after hundreds of clients that when they communicate those goals to me in writing and we constantly evaluate progress, that their success is far greater than those who go it alone.

There are a million posts out there written about goal setting and achievement.  From my own experience and coaching practice, there are 5 keys to goal setting that must happen to maximize nutritional success.

 

5 Keys to Achieving Nutritional Goals

1. Be specific

Setting goals feels awkward sometimes.  You don’t know exactly what to say or how to say it.  Once you have a general goal in mind target in on the specific outcome you want. Just saying you want to lose weight is too vague. Will you feel like you’ve achieved your goal if you lose 1 pound?  Or do you want to lose 20 pounds?

Instead, make it specific.

  • “ I will lose 10 lbs by March 1st”
  • “I will drop 2 inches from my waistline in 8 weeks.”
  • “I will eat 1 serving of vegetables at each meal”
  • “I will workout 3 times per week”
  • “I will track what I eat all meals of the day”

Making a goal specific allows you to come back and monitor your progress.

2. Make goals measurable

Nutritional goals can be measured in so many ways:  through a body weight scale, body measurements, DEXA scans, before and after pictures, and through personal records at the gym.

When you have a specific goal, measure it by collecting data and monitoring that data to make sure it is headed in the direction you want.

Within your goals include a reasonable marker of progress to measure.  This could be quantitative data such as weight, pounds lifted and inches lost.  However, measurable data can also come from quantitive measures such as perceived energy levels, fit of clothes and quality of sleep.

3. Find somebody to hold you accountable

People have a hard time hiring a coach or asking a friend to become their accountability partner. It is almost as if by doing this they are admitting they can’t get it under control themselves.  I think those people are the smart ones.   Your results will be far greater if you have someone in your corner to get you back on track when you fall off, to assess your progress, and to ask the hard questions when you need them.  I know this from my own experience and the clients I lead.  Ask your spouse, friend or hire a coach to keep you accountable.

 

4. Make it a priority

Don’t make up excuses.  I hear it from clients often, the week was busy, we traveled, we had a party, etc. If you want your health, your body, and your gym performance to change than it has to be a priority. If it truly matters to you, you will find a way to make it happen. The effort you put in is the outcome you will get. That effort is 100% in your control. To make a change you must change the behaviors to get you to achieve that goal first.

 

5. Celebrate Progress

Often times we rely on scale weight to judge our progress.  The scale is just one indicator of progress along our health journey.  Celebrate the aesthetic change you see in the mirror, the way your clothing fits, your changes in strength and stamina at the gym, the compliments others pay you, and your overall health improvement.  It is not all or nothing.  Celebrating small markers of success help keep motivation and commitment high along your journey. If a bad day falls upon you, get right back on track the next day and celebrate your ability to identify that.

 

Be the 88% of the population that uses goal setting as a strategy for getting what you want, including nutritional success.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

,

What 35 years of experience has taught me…

What 35 years of experience have taught me…

I turn 35 this week.

I normally don’t care much for my birthday.  In all honesty, celebrating and making a big commotion about it has never been my thing.  I am not a “birthday month” or even a “birthday week” kinda girl.  I like low key, being with my family and still having my mom make my birthday meal (and I know she loves it too).

I grew to appreciate my birthday, more for my parents, after having my own children.  The birth of my own children was the most significant day of my life and I can empathize with their feelings on my own birthday.

This year has felt different.  I still don’t need a birthday week or a month…but this year I do want to celebrate. The 35th year of my life has provided me so much growth that I feel like I am beginning anew in my 36th year of life.

In my 35 years of life, I have learned to…

 

Read more

I’ve learned to invest time in reading.  I never read much as a child or even as a student, only the things I really “had to.”  Reading continues my path towards lifelong learning, it sets me up as an example to my children and it helps me to cultivate my craft as a mom, as a wife, as a daughter, a friend, a coach and as a human.

Fill my soul, not my calendar

I’ve learned to say NO.  Quite honestly, it was one of the greatest gifts of knowledge I’ve learned this year.   It feels liberating to say no to things that weren’t my absolute best yes.  To say no to things that wouldn’t leave me walking away from any richer in mind, in conversation or in spirit is freeing.

A quote from a book I read this year by Lysa TerKeurst entitled “Best Yes” still remains a constant reminder of this:

“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live determines how you spend your soul.”

Be OK with being uninvited

I’ve learned to be thankful to be uninvited at times.  I spent so many years with heartbreak from not being included, from being left out and from feeling less than.  I am done with that and I am moving on with gratitude for a far less busy schedule.

Slow Down

I’ve learned to slow down.  To get on the floor and build legos, color, bake and not rush through the day trying to always accomplish my “to-do” list.  I’ve learned to actually sit and snuggle with my husband while we watch a movie instead of doing laundry or making a shopping list. Tomorrow is a new day and some things will just have to wait.

Invest in me

I’ve learned to invest in self-growth.  To read books and talk to people who challenge my perspective, who make me answer the hard questions…the ones you struggle to answer honestly to yourself.  I’ve taken time to not just do for the sake of “doing,” but really try my best to act intentionally.

Eat Quality Foods

This isn’t something that really just happened this year.  But in taking my business to social media, it has really made my passion for sharing it even bigger.  Spare no expense for quality foods in your life.

Set Goals

I’ve learned to set goals.  To physically write them down and cross them off my list.  If you don’t hold yourself accountable then nobody else will.  It doesn’t matter if you are 35, 13 or 61 you must have goals to keep you young at heart, to keep your brain active and to never allow your life to become stagnant.

Find Beauty in Simplicity

I’ve learned that I may never know how to contour my makeup or know the best beauty tricks, or how to coordinate the best outfits.  It just simply isn’t me.  I used to feel like this made me less of a woman but now I realize I just have different priorities. I love t-shirts and jeans and cut-offs. I am simple, not fancy, and I’ve finally found beauty in that.

Know My Why

The moment I feel like I am floundering I have begun to realize it’s the moment I’ve lost my “why.”  I’ve learned I have to have a “why” to drive my passion or life gets idle.  Find your drive, your reason, and when you do, things move in the direction of your heart.

Get Out of My Comfort Zone

This was my motto last year and will continue to drive me to the peak of the mid-30s.  Nothing extraordinary comes from being comfortable.  It feels good and safe but you never grow from it.  I’ve done things this year that literally made me almost vomit from nerves and then I felt so empowered after.  I’ve grown my small business and taken it to social media, I’ve put my face on live video for thousands of people to critique, I’ve written and shared things that I can barely say out loud and it feels so dang amazing.  The greatest growth really has happened outside my cozy place.

I’ve learned to do what makes me happy. Period.

 

Eat More Burgers

I used to hate them and I have no idea why.  Burgers have become my soul food. I’ve learned to enjoy them more.

Lift Heavy

I’ve learned that not doing cardio won’t kill me.  LOL.  I love running and met-cons more than anybody.  But, I’ve learned that getting strong, adding muscle, being bulkier and lifting heavier than I ever have is pretty darn gratifying too.

Accept the Mess

I’ve learned that it is okay to have a messy house.  If there are dust bunnies on the shelves, dishes in the sink and laundry in baskets that I have more important things to do.

Narrow My Circle

I’ve learned to narrow my circle.  I just can’t be everything to everybody and nor can they to me.  The definition of friend has evolved for me and is a title I use less willingly these days.  I need friends who support me, who are honest and who will call me out when I need it.  Those friends are hard to find and thus, my circle has shrunk.

Be a Beginner

I’ve learned that it is okay to be a beginner and to admit that I don’t know.  This is a hard pill to swallow for me.  Surrounding myself with people who have more experience in life than I have will only bring more value to who I am as a person.  Going back to the beginning is sometimes necessary.

Pack His Lunch

I’ve learned that packing my husband’s lunch brings me peace.  I know it’s random…but it is one of the only ways I feel like I can prepare him for battle.  When he leaves the house, sometimes I feel so empty and unsure, but if I know I helped him be ready in some way then he will come home safe to us.

I’ve learned that mortality is real.  For years I’ve ignored it.  I no longer can.

Accept Food as food

I’ve learned that food is not who I am.  I’ve found balance in my nutritional life and I will never be able to help all people find that place.  In the meantime, I hope to help as many people who will let me.

Put Family First

I’ll admit, there are times in my life both as a child and an adult that I put my family second.  That I may have chosen a social event with a friend over quality time with family.  That just won’t happen anymore.

Turn off the Radio

I’ve learned to turn the music off in the car and talk.  Our driving time is sometimes some of perfect moments to truly hear what is going on in the minds of my children.  As they get older, I know this time will become even more valuable and scarce.

Question Authenticity

I’ve learned that I can no longer subscribe to “fluffy.” Invest in confronting things that aren’t real.  I can’t preach it to my kids if I don’t do it myself.  Take time to stand up for what you believe in and for those that don’t have the courage or the confidence to do it for themselves.  I am finding peace in quality over quantity in so many ways.

Accept that I am Far from Perfect

I’ve learned that even though I’ve learned all of these things…that I am far from perfect.  I wasn’t always okay with not being perfect.  I like being perfect, being first, being the best and all those other totally OCD Type A personality traits (I know you know them too).  But the moment I accepted I will never be perfect was the moment life started to be REAL.

 

Cheers to 35 years of experience that I have gained, that I can share and that I can only hope my friends, my family, and my children will come to know as well.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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