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Work Hard, Be Kind

This is it—my first big blog post. I have been  so nervous about this post.  For months I was in blog purgatory. Should I? What would people think? Would there even be interest? It was the encouragement of my client base, my friends and above all, my husband that led me this direction. Then, I had a moment, an epiphany if you will. You know the kind that feels life changing—like the planets aligned to send you a sign. I was listening to an Amy Porterfield podcast when she interviewed this amazingly spunky social media marketer. The person interviewed said…”isn’t it better to have 2 people who believe in you madly than to be followed by many, who barely believe?” It was in that moment I realized, who cares about anybody else. If I follow my passion, my heart and who I am, the rest will fall into place. So—here I am, vulnerable as ever, sharing my passion.

My Passion

I pondered how to begin my blog, what would be the most important to open up with? I realized that my audience needs to know where I came from and what led me to this point to truly understand the origin of my passion. Nutrition is personal. To some, like a religion. And just like religion, there are a million interpretations of what nutrition should look like. High fat, high carb, low fat , low carb…what is truly best? What I’ve come to realize…it’s all the best if it works for you. The act of bettering yourself is what truly matters at the end of the day. In a world of so much craziness and tearing each other down, the gift of kindness is one that we all have to give. The gift to support each other in our attempts to be better. Nutrition and living a healthier lifestyle is no different.

 

Work Hard Be Kind

”Work Hard, Be Kind…” It is our family’s motto. So much so that I whisper it to my kids as they head into school, so much so that it hangs on a banner in our kitchen and so much so that I had a shirt made to spread it to others. I feel like life can really be that simple.

So–it’s become my mission. To support people in their attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. To show people how to eat real food and find a healthy balance to enjoy something they love each day too. To spread nutritional love and support anybody and everybody who is trying each day to better themselves.

 

My Childhood

I grew up in a house where soda, Little Debbie’s and homemade noodles were a staple. It was no fault of my parents; honestly I think children of the 80s all had a similar experience. This health awareness revolution didn’t start until much later. Like most girls, I’ve always been self-conscience about my body but my parents never failed in making me feel beautiful. College became my true exposure to the importance of health. I was on my own, the controller of what I put in my body and the consequences it came with. I became obsessed, in an unhealthy way, with working out and eating. Part of it was being away from home and the other was the beginning of my desire to find a healthy, sustainable life.

After being Pre-Med and getting my degree in Life Science with a Physiology emphasis, I decided teaching was my path not doctoring (is that a word??). While completing my masters, I also became certified in group fitness. Along with teaching high school science and coaching basketball, I taught Spin, TBC, Step aerobics, etc. in order to help others find a fun way to be active. At that time, I had an unhealthy relationship with food. If I knew I was going to a social event I would jump on the treadmill for hours. If I indulged in Coldstone, I immediately had to go for a run. I joked and told people “I run to eat.” Little did they know—I really wasn’t joking. I punished myself for loving food—and I know many of you can relate.

 

When Nutrition Trumps Fitness

It wasn’t until after marriage and our second child that nutrition really began to trump fitness. I realized that my bad nutrition would never out due the calories I burned on that treadmill. I wasn’t cute and pregnant. I gained over 60 lbs with my daughter and dialed it back to 40lbs with our second. After two babies, my 20 something body was gone and I hated the new one I had acquired.

My body changed externally and internally. Through pregnancy I had acquired autoimmune changes that made me gluten intolerant. This diagnosis led me to the Paleo diet. I loved it, became obsessed with it and lost much of my baby weight with it. Then, I became the “Paleo Nazi.” I was the one at the party everybody thought they had to justify their eating habits to. I’ll be honest—I judged people for their food choices like I had an awakening they hadn’t yet experienced. I look back and hate myself for it. What I don’t apologize for is the knowledge that turning to a Paleo life gave me. It taught me food quality matters. That any “diet” should focus on whole foods made of mostly vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts and seeds. But what the Paleo diet is missing—is reality. I never let myself indulge and was truly miserable for it. I would watch friends enjoy chips and salsa and other treats at parties and be miserable. I was afraid to leave it for fear of weight gain and those dreaded “carbs.” I desperately needed freed. Freed from food guilt.

 

Much Needed Change

I was in need of a change. I had plateaued—I was unhappy with my health, my body, my athletic performance and my burden of not feeling honest about food. I began my own work with a nutrition coach, who later became my mentor, and it truly changed my life. Flexible dieting, or macro tracking, has been the most freeing food experience of my life. It is moderation to a tee. It has showed me, more than ever, that whole foods should be the bulk of your diet because they are truly the “biggest bang for your buck.” It has showed me that being on either extreme of the nutritional spectrum has no sustainability. Food is amazing. Food is meant to be enjoyed…in a way that meets your own personal goals that only you know. It has showed me that nutrient timing is critical to maximize your results. Most of all—it has showed me that I can enjoy the things I want because I am the driving force behind my own nutrition. Food is not WHO I am. Food is FUEL.

Here I am now: many clients coached, hundreds of pounds lost, personal records crushed and so many healthy relationships with food reestablished. I am only motivated more to continue to guide others in their journey. Watching my passion to support and encourage clients cultivate their success is gratification beyond words. What started as a small side hobby has turned into something that I truly feel inspired to do each day. Good nutrition and changing your food lifestyle is addictive. I can’t wait to continue to help others feel that same addiction.

So—here I am, “AWALK”…working hard, being kind and spreading nutritional love. Can’t wait for you to join me and take “AWALKmyway.”

5 Ways to Better your Burger

5 Ways to Better your Burger

It’s summer time and that means…BBQ!  In my house we have burgers almost every week.  They are simple, taste so good and can be done in so many ways.  Because we have them frequently, I am always looking for ways to spice them up and avoid boredom…and of course, maintain my macros.  Here is a list of a few simple things you can do to save the fat (or add it too) to enjoy a better burger.

  1. Vegetables: Lettuce, arugula, pickles, jalapenos, tomatoes,better-burger-pinterest salsa, mushrooms, peppers.  These all have little to no caloric value and can be sauteed on the grill with the burgers or in a pan with a slight spray of O.O. or beef broth.
  2. Grilled Onions: I know an onion is a veggie. BUT—I had to talk about it twice because it alone completely changes the flavor of the burger.  Place big full slices on the grill or again use a little spray O.O. to save the fat (or sauté in Kerrygold butter to increase fat) and OH.MY.GOSH!  So good!
  3. Frank’s:  Just like their awesome marketing slogan…that #$%@ tastes good on everything!  I use Frank’s Buffalo sauce most often and adds a great flavor.  You can mix it right into the meat before grilling or pour over after.  The macros are amazing with no fat, no protein and no carbs per 1 tablespoon.
  4. Hummus.  I love hummus on the day-to- day.  It is an awesome spread for any burger with a variety of flavors.  I love a garlic styled hummus and the macros can stay low too.
  5. Feta Cheese. This is maybe my fav in a burger!  I’ve found great lower fat options made by Athenos.  My hubby makes a pocket for the feta, then puts the burger on the grill with the feta inside.  When you bite into the warm, melty feta it is a flavor bomb!

And don’t forget you can easily change up the meat to give a unique taste.  Try Elk, Bison, turkey or even a combo of two to hit those counts and really enjoy a different taste.

Enjoy the summer heat and a better burger!

5 Simple Tips to Make Healthy Living Easier

  1. Clean out that Pantry!  Get rid of cookies, chocolate, ice cream, candy or whatever really makes you over indulge.  This won’t be forever.  It will be until you can have better acquisition of your goals and a sustainable eating pattern.
  2. Chop, Chop, Chop… up veggies and fruit.  Turn up your favorite Pandora station and spend an hour (or a few) preparing raw veggies and fruits.  Wash and cut produce and store in containers so they are ready to eat.  You will have no excuse other than to enjoy!  Use mason jars to store so they stay fresh and at your disposal. Get the kids involved—you are their example of what a healthy eating lifestyle looks like.
  3. Plan your week!  Take 30 minutes to plan a rough outline of your dinner meals and lunches before you hit the grocery store.   If you plan before you grocery shop for the week you have a focused mission and are less likely to purchase less nutritious (and more expensive) options.
  4. Cook extra! Portion out an extra serving of the protein, carb and veggies you plan to prepare for dinner for lunch the next day.  You will have no reason then to enjoy it and you can ditch a much unhealthier option to eat out.
  5. Keep it simple!  Cooking doesn’t have to be fancy or gourmet.  Let’s face it—we are busy and kids aren’t food critics.  They appreciate the dinner experience with family more than the food being served.