A Whirlwind of a Weekend

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Actually… a whirlwind of a month! March has flown by and I’m finding it difficult to keep up.

But back to this weekend. To sum it up in a word: amazing.

When I learned that Fiona Sutherland of The Mindful Dietitian was returning to North America to do another workshop I signed up… Without knowledge of what the workshop was even on. (It ended up being “Bringing Presence to Tough Conversations” and I learned so. darn. much.)

You see, Fi is one of those people who if you just sit in the same room with you’re bound to learn something. She also brings together some of the best people who bring their knowledge to the table too. (I swear half of my notes are from my amazing colleagues who were sitting with me… did I mention I have amazing colleagues? I have amazing colleagues. I am so excited I get to claim more of them as friends after this workshop and meeting them in person.)

NYC was an opportunity to ‘vacation’ with a purpose. A learncation, I like to call it. Since Matt was unable to go with me, it was also officially my first solo trip. And I will just tell you-it won’t be my last. Now don't get me wrong, I love my husband and love experiencing the world with him… but there’s a lot of freedom in traveling by yourself. And there is nothing wrong with wanting alone time. (especially if you’re an introvert and you thrive on alone time.)

Now you’re probably thinking “You don’t go to NYC for alone time.” And I will tell you… You’re right. Kind of. But I was on a mission to find peace and love for this beautiful and busy city. And I did. And here’s how I did it:

First things first, I stayed away from Times Square.

This was more difficult than I had hoped. I stayed only a block from Times Square so I accidentally stumbled that way once. But for the most part, it was fairly easy to avoid. And that was tremendous to my mental health. I’ve seen Time’s Square once and for me that was enough. Unless I was going to a show, I find Time’s Square overstimulating and busy and draining.

Secondly, I gave myself a lot of permission.

Permission to not check off everything on my list. Permission to go back to the hotel and relax. Permission to add things to the list. Permission to love things I thought I’d not and dislike things that most people do. Permission to have food delivered. Permission to sleep in the city that never does.

Third and lastly, I only planned and tried things that I knew I personally would enjoy.

There are some very popular things in this city that I know do not meet my likes, needs and personality. I chose not to do, eat or see them because I knew they would not jive well with me. (going to the top of buildings and riding a ferry anywhere were two of the bigger ones that came recommended, but I know personally aren’t my thing. Good for you? Not for me. Thank you for your suggestion though.)

Instead I did the things I knew I would enjoy:

Created my own bookstore tour and here are my rankings of the five I had the opportunity to visit:

  1. Bluestockings - a bookstore with a social justice and intersectional feminist theme… it was amazing, small, and quiet but not too quiet. Also, doubled as a coffee shop. Must visit destination in my opinion.

  2. The Center for Fiction - I stumbled upon this accidentally while walking through Brooklyn and loved it. Definitely a newer look, but a large selection of fiction books. Also, has a coffee shop and wine bar as well as plenty of room to sit down surrounded by beautiful, beautiful books.

  3. Alabaster Bookstore - another accidental find. This used bookstore is tucked behind The Strand and was packed with books floor to ceiling. Small but uncrowded and smelled of old books. Yum.

  4. Strand Bookstore - I know, I know this place is iconic. But it’s also a tourist destination. Was it cool? Absolutely. Did I visit every single level (there’s four)? Sure did. Would I go back? Probably. But I needed a nap after this store. It was crowded and hard to navigate. I had no idea where to find books I was looking for and never was offered assistance. No thank you.

  5. Rizzoli’s Bookstore - This bookstore felt very run of the mill. It was pretty and well organized. Quiet and uncrowded. But I felt I could run into this store anywhere.

Visited the Brooklyn Museum for the Frida Kahlo Exhibit: Appearances can be Deceiving.

I have no words. It was amazing and if you’re in Brooklyn while this exhibit is up please go visit it. It brings to light something that is often overlooked - that Frida Kahlo, an amazing and admired artist, was disabled and had numerous struggles and a life that has often been written out.

Found Parks with quiet spots and streets that were not busy.

On my last day, I had every intention of sleeping in. But my body had other plans. So I was out the door and walking by 7 am… with this extra unintended time, I decided to walk to the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge park and sought out quiet spaces along the way… and surprisingly, I found them! Mostly it was among residential areas and streets with sleepy shops that hours didn’t open until 11 am. But it was peaceful and quiet and such a nice start to a Monday morning.

On the food front, I took note of a lot of interesting restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops, but when it came down to it I listened to my hunger and cravings. I had bagels with scallion and lox cream cheese both mornings because when in NYC, I ate burgers and fries from Ruby’s Cafe (literally one of the best I’ve ever had), I tried a poke bowl, I had street food from The Halal Guys, I had Tacos in Brooklyn, and I ate Auntie Anne’s pretzels at the airport because honestly there was a lack of options in LaGuardia.

This trip was one for the books and checked all the boxes for me. What are some of your favorite things to do when on vacation?

Making Your Workspace Inclusive of EveryBODY

You’re at work and someone walks in, it’s noticeable that they lost weight and someone says,

“Wow! You’ve lost weight, you look so great!”

What that co-worker didn’t know was what that person they were praising was going through:

Depression from losing a loved one.

HIV.

An eating disorder that has taken over their life.

Cancer.

Inflammatory bowel disease.

Over exercising.

The list of reasons weight loss happens could go on and on… Weight loss is assumed as desired-but that is not always the case. And it says so much beyond what is said. It is not a compliment because they hear:

Your body was wrong before

Smallness is valuable

What you’re going through doesn’t matter

The disordered thoughts are right

Our words encourage the thin ideal that 95% of women cannot achieve. It encourages weight cycling which is strongly correlated with increased risk of further disease. It continues women (and men) questioning their worth and value and tying it to a number on the scale or pant size which has nothing to do with either or even health.

So what can we do about it? How can we make a shift from a workplace that embraces and encourages wellness and diet culture to one that is inclusive of all bodies,. aware of the harmful effects of comments both on people in larger bodies or with disordered eating?

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Employees and Co-workers

  • Check your privilege

    • Those of us who have privilege (be it thin, white, cis, positional, hetero, male or other) must take steps to call out the negative and impactful culture.

    • People who identify as fat and have the energy to do so can too but if we’re being honest it’s going to be harder… not impossible. Not for nothing. Just harder. There’s a higher chance of getting pushback and ridicule-so when we can, we must use the privilege we have to help… and if someone in a larger body (or any other marginalized body) doesn’t want our help, even if well intentioned, we have to respect the hell out of that too. We don’t get to be the savior-we just get to be supportive if and when needed. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because we all deserve to take up space in this world.

  • Call in (or out as needed) diet talk

    • What you are eating and why does not matter. If you are on a diet for any reason, no one needs to know. It’s boring, uninteresting, and triggering to those who struggle with their relationship with food.

    • DO NOT POLICE OTHERS FOOD. You can think foods are good/bad, healthy/unhealthy (which they’re not but I’ll save changing your mind for later) - either way you don’t need to comment on what you

    • Set boundaries for yourself and others. Hear someone talking about their own or others food and/or diet? Shut it down. Change the conversation, simply ask that they don’t talk about it, or if you have the time and energy explain to them why it’s problematic

    • Instead you may be able to talk about how delicious the food is (be sensitive that some may not even want to hear this), you can share a recipe when asked, you can talk about how great it is to sit down to a meal together, or something that has nothing to do with food at all.

  • Like diet talk, body chat must be called in (or out)

    • Bodies are never okay to talk about. Period. No weight loss talk. No weight gain talk. Don’t talk about other peoples bodies, your own body, your daughter’s best friends mom’s body. Just don’t talk about bodies. Don’t talk negatively about bodies. Don’t praise bodies for aesthetics or thinness or anything that has to do with how it looks. Don’t talk about the health of a body (that you likely do not know-because by looking at a body you cannot know).

    • If you must talk about bodies (which you probably don’t-so first ask yourself if you really truly do) then if you decide you still must do so with caution, quietly, not in front of many people and if the other person shuts it down, acts uncomfortable, or any other sign that what you said was inappropriate hard stop.

  • Think about what you’re doing, saying, and partaking in.

    • The couch over the plastic chair, the rolling desk chair without arms when most have them, any language that moralizes bodies of different size. If you can sit comfortable in a chair with arms, a smaller seat, or have the ability to shut down negative body talk, do so.

  • Talk to co-workers (family, friends, etc) living in larger bodies

    • Their lived experience is invaluable. What they go through day to day will say much more about the environment you’re working in than I ever can. If the environment is toxic they’ll know. Ask how they are. Support their needs when you can. And be open to criticism. They may choose not to talk about it and that’s okay, too.

    • Don’t have relations with anyone, co-worker or otherwise, in a larger body? Question that. Then for now turn to amazing work already being done by individuals out there, such as Virgie Tovar, Lindy West, Jes Baker, and so many more.

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Those with Positional Power (Owners, CEOs/Managers, Team Leaders, Human Resources)

In addition to all of the above -

  • HIRE PEOPLE LIVING IN FAT BODIES

    • And pay them the same as you would anyone (preferably the thin, white male) of their position and credentials.

    • Then, give them the same opportunities, recognition, and trust you would of anyone else in that position for the work they do.

  • Make sure your space is accommodating and welcoming to all bodies.

    • We have laws in place to protect and accommodate some disabled bodies and we should take size of bodies into account as well.

      • Furniture without arms will fit most bodies-consider making half (or all) chairs this option.

      • Check weight limits on the furniture as well - if it is <250# make sure you have at least some furniture available for all sized bodies. No one should need to worry if a flimsy chair will support them at work.

      • Provide options that sit higher off the ground, too. Getting up and down should be simple and easy as possible for all bodies-larger, disabled, or otherwise.

  • Make initiatives to inform yourself and employees about appropriate behavior, about inclusitivioty of diverse body sizes, and about how they can prevent a toxic environment.

    • Reach out to local health at every size practitioners about talking to employees

    • Have a no tolerance policy on bullying or size discirmination

  • Do not approve ‘wellness initiatives’ that focus on weight or numbers

    • Weight loss contests, tracking calories or food, counting steps can be detrimental and encourage disordered behaviors in all bodies.

    • Focus on initiatives that truly encourage wellbeing: Basic self-care, sleep, hydration… and make sure whoever is leading it is knowledgeable on the subject and aware of disordered behavior.

  • Ask those living in diverse bodies how you can better support them.

    • Listen to what they have to say too. If they feel the environment is toxic take initiatives to change it.

    • Be open to criticism and suggestions of your own behavior.

    • Be open minded to experiences that they have are likely very different from yours if you have thin privilege

Know this list is not all inclusive and my secondhand experience through clients, talks with friends, and books by people who identify as fat will never replace the lived experience. If there is something I missed or was off on, I would be happy to know… and would love to hear what you can, would like to have (or have) done to make your workplace more inclusive and safe for people of all shapes, sizes, and beyond below.

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S'mores Hummus

This week I had the opportunity to attend a health fair with Wholehearted Nutrition and had a blast meeting so many new people.

When brainstorming ideas on what would get people to stop by the booth, I thought… OF COURSE! Food.

So I got to work on something that would be simple in the middle of the week, wouldn’t require me to take a lot of extra things and then it dawned on me… hummus. I got to looking at recipes and realize I had never tried my hand at dessert hummus. After I was unsatisfied with the recipes I was seeing, I decided to create my own. Enter: S’MORES HUMMUS.

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This recipe is husband approved (he’s been eating on the leftovers ever since) and convinced many skeptics that chickpeas and hummus can be amazing (especially if tastes like your favorite summertime sweet).

So without any further ado, here’s the recipe just for you! Super simple and whips together in less than 20 minutes.


S’more’s Hummus

Cook and Drain Chickpeas.

Blend together beans, cocoa powder, milk, olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until smooth.

Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows

Top or fold graham cracker crumbs into mix.

Serve chilled with graham crackers, fruit, on toast, cookies, eat by the spoonful, or any way you can imagine.

  • 1 can chickpeas

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 4 T milk

  • 1 T Olive Oil

  • 3-4 T Maple Syrup

  • 2 t Vanilla Extract

  • 1/4 T Salt

  • 1/2 C Mini Chocolate Chips

  • 1/2 C Marshmallows

  • 1/2 C Graham Cracker Crumbs

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If you get a chance to try it I’d love to hear below! If you have any burning nutrition topics or recipes you’d love to see let me know!

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

Chicken and Noodles

I don’t share food that often… there are a variety of reasons but mostly because I tend to not strictly follow recipes or use measuring tools, take the time to write things down, or remember to pause to take a picture before the first bite… also when I’m making food taste trumps looks and I don’t take time to prettify every food.

I’m not sure I can want to change. But as I was making my grocery I had a feeling it was gonna be good and I would want to recreate it, so I jotted down beforehand what I planned on putting in the pot.

I was inspired to make a comforting bowl of chicken and noodles because we were going to have our first snow storm and let me just say it was a hit (aka husband approved). There’s something magical in comfort food.

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CHICKEN & NOODLES

Yields ~6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 T Butter

  • 2 T garlic, minced

  • 1 small white onion, diced

  • 3 T all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine (optional: sub water)

  • 8 oz.Mushrooms

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1/2 pound baby carrots

  • 4 C Chicken Broth

  • 2 C Heavy Cream

  • 12 oz egg noodles

  • 1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded (Could sub rotisserie chicken)

  • 1/2 t Salt

  • 1/2 t Pepper

  • 2 T Herbs de Provence

  • Parsley for garnishing

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Instructions

  1. Melt butter in large soup pot. Add garlic sauté until fragrant (about 30-60 seconds). Add diced onion and continue to sauté until translucent (5-8 minutes). Stir in flour and white wine, mix until well combined. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until reduced (about 10 minutes).

  2. Next add in vegetables, broth and cream, noodles, chicken, and spices to pot. bring to a low boil and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until liquid is thickened to desired consistency and vegetables are soft.

  3. Serve warm and garnish with parsley.

What are your favorite cold weather foods? I’d love to hear about them below!

Technicalities: Food is Fuel

“Food is fuel.”

Technically, this is correct.

Food, at it’s bare minimum, is what allows us as human beings to function.

That doesn’t mean “food is fuel” is the be all end all.

Because food is fuel… but it is not only fuel.

Food functions beyond giving us energy for our daily activities and happenings.

It goes beyond the nutrients it provides for our bodies to do their magical and miraculous things.

It is more than carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

It goes further than providing for our basic needs.

Food is so much more.

Food gives way to experiencing the world, cultures, and lifestyles.

Food is a language we all speak, a common ground.

Food substitutes a time machine, allowing us to revisit the past in just a bite.

Food brings us together and creates community in the making, eating, and enjoying of it.

Food gives us something to look forward to. To reflect on. To bond over.

Food allows a creative outlet in the ability to experiment.

Food is healing because whether it is a cookie or a salad eating is self-care.

Food creates comfort in it’s familiarity, it’s warmth, it’s pleasantries.

Food is life-sustaining it, giving way to experience it, memories revolving around it, traditions upheld with it.

Food is a way to show our love, care, concern, and compassion whether homemade, store bought or takeout.

Food may be fuel… but it’s importance and abilities go far beyond that.

Food is fuel, but it is not only fuel.

How does food go beyond fuel for you? I’d love to hear what it means to you below!

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You don't have to make a New Years resolution.

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It’s hard to believe we are beginning a new year.

With every new year comes a slew of resolutions and promises that we make to change our bodies, self, habits, routines…. Many of them fueled by diet and wellness culture, and many times, like diets, we feel we fail to commit for longer than January.

And that’s okay-because if we are struggling to commit to them they likely are not serving us in a way that is right for us or were too black and white (like most of diet culture, the all or nothing mindset seeped in and as soon as we didn’t keep our ‘promise’ to ourselves… we let it go).

Also, that’s the beauty of goals and resolutions… we can begin and quit them whenever we please. We don’t have to wait until the new year, new month, new week, or new day to set a new goal or resolve to do something that we feel will improve our health, our life, or our sanity.

It’s also never a requirement to make a New Years resolution.

You never have to set resolutions or goals pertaining to changing mind, body, soul, or otherwise.

You don’t have to exercise an excessive amount, try a new fitness craze because they promise ‘results’, or go on the latest fad diet (in fact, I strongly discourage all of these).

Now I’m not saying goals and resolutions aren’t helpful-because they truly can be, but when setting goals there are things to consider that are likely more important than the goal itself.

  1. Motivation

  2. Realistic and attainable

  3. Flexibility

  4. It’s okay not to reach the goal

  5. There are no rules to goal setting

  • Motives behind goals should align with your values. If a goal is just for the sake of having a goal, to fit the ideals of someone or something else, or motivated by other outside factors it is even harder to keep up with it because it doesn’t have as much meaning for us.

  • Goals should also be realistic and attainable. If you only do something that you want to increase once a month it’s likely unrealistic to set a goal of doing it daily right off the bat. Make sure you can hit your goal-sure you can have a long term goal that will take time to build up to, but start with something that is more realistic at first.

  • Allow your goals to be flexible. If you set a goal with an all or nothing mindset and intention… if it’s written in black and white, without shades of gray, it will be too difficult to stick to and therefore easier to let go of. Go in knowing there may be days, weeks, or even seasons when this goal will not be met. Allow flexibility to enjoy life without making your goal a rigid rule. A key of thumb I go by when making new goals is starting them with “For the most part…” to allow for built in flexibility.

  • Sometimes goals don’t do what they hoped they would. Sometimes they need altered. Sometimes they just don’t work for us. In any of these cases it’s absolutely okay to adjust, dismiss, and completely rewrite any goals we have . If they don’t servers, they don’t serve us and it’s okay to let that sh!t go.

  • When it comes to resolutions and goals there are no real rules. Sure, there are suggestions and guides on how to write goals, but in reality they are yours and how you choose to use them is up to you. You can set them or not. They can be a page long manifesto of how you want to live your life or a simple word. They can be laid out traditionally like a goal or simply an intention. You can share them on every social media account and with everyone you know because you feel it keeps you accountable or they can be something private. Whatever you do has to work for you and you alone!

I personally have chosen not to set New Years resolutions for the last couple of years, I set goals as needed and desired, and instead choose a word to guide my year! Last year for me it was wholehearted-which served me well as it not only inspired my day-to-day life but my business name. This year, inspired by my time on a break from social media, I’ve decided to carry a piece of that with me into the new year and for 2019 my word is intentional.

I would love to hear-if you want to share-what your goals, resolutions, intentions or words are for this year in the comments below. I hope all that the journey and the outcome that you are striving for serves you all this year and beyond!

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Planning a Self-Care Staycation

My husband and I decided earlier this year that this winter season we would have a staycation.

My travel loving heart was a little bit disappointed at first (because there’s so many places to go and things to see!) but in reality, a staycation is really what’s needed. Some down time to relax and unwind.

In spite of the relaxing and unwinding, the type-A planning and organizing side of me came out and I dove into possible details.

The dates were set, Saturday December 22nd through Monday December 31st.

When traveling my itinerary is fairly structured (mostly because reservations have to be made) however, in staycation spirit, I want to keep things nearby and low key with minimal true obligations. Here are some things that can be done for a holiday at home:

At home:

  • Watch as many cheesy Christmas movies as your heart can tolerate

  • Honor holiday traditions or start a new one

  • Watch new seasons of our favorite shows (Also lovingly known as ‘Netflix and Chill’)

  • Cooking or baking competition

  • Cuddle your pets extra

  • Board Game showdown

  • Work on a Bucket List for the next year

  • Catch up on some fun reads

  • Brunch

  • 52 Lists for Togetherness or games of this or that

Around Town:

  • Attend a local production or show

  • Take a driving tour of local lights

  • Eat at your favorite restaurants or get take out to have at home

  • Take a walk around town or hike if the weather permits

  • Shop Locally

  • Try restaurants you’ve been putting off

  • Visit a greenhouse

  • Go rock climbing, axe throwing, trampoline bouncing, ice skating, or bowling

  • Visit the movies for a matinee

  • Get (or give each other) a massage and/or have a spa day out or at home

  • Check out local museums

So with a list of things to do and the option to do absolutely none of them, I am ready for a staycation. Whether you have extended time off or have to work between or during, I hope you find some downtime to recharge for you during this season!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and a fantastic New Year!

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Gift Guide: Self Care

Gifting (and getting) self-care items is among one of my favorites (next to experiences!) So in the holiday spirit I compiled a list of some of my favorite self-care items that make great gifts. While I’m all for a good massage or pedicure, most of these gift ideas are for self-care at home and are affordable for the gifting season on a budget.

  • A journal like Beautiful You by Rosie Molinary is a personal favorite. It has 365 prompts to guide you to self-acceptance and is so much fun to work through!


  • Face masks, epsom salts, bath bombs, or even just good ole bubble bath can make for a great spa day at home experience. Pair with a loofa or their favorite lotion.

  • Add slippers and/or a cozy robe to make a spa day at home feel more luxurious and provide comfort all winter long

  • Coloring, Word Search, Crossword or Sudoku Books are easy to lose yourself in when you want a pleasant distraction. I’m a Disney fan and could definitely see myself diving into this one

  • Candles or essential oils are always a good idea-a small experience that lasts for a while. It can easily create a warm aesthetic and brighten up the day (pun intended) of anyone around!

  • A soft or weighted blanket to cuddle up with during the cold months… or if you can knit a chunky homemade one would be great too!

  • Cards or a book with positive quotes and affirmations to create a pick-me-up that they can lean on when you’re not around.

  • Help them fight boredom with fun at home. Board games are a great rainy/too cold/too hot day activity and an enjoyable way to spend time with family members and friends.

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  • Chocolate, Cookies, or Pre-Made Meals: Gifting delicious baked goods, their favorite candy, or a crock pot meal lets them take care of theirselves in the most basic but essential of ways. (Of course-if cooking and baking isn’t your forte - a gift card to a restaurant does this job, too!)


If you were to gift self-care, what would it be? I’d love to hear your ideas below!

Holiday Chatter

‘Tis the season of gathering around the table.

Maybe it’s the table in your own home, your parents, your in-laws, your friends, a company holiday party, or even at a restaurant... Maybe holidays suck and you choose to celebrate alone at your coffee table. And that’s okay too. No matter where the table, it’s more likely than not that you will be around it for celebration sometime soon. And for many of us, there is going to be some stress that comes with that.

Stress and baggage has a tendency to travel with the holiday season. First and foremost, make sure you are practicing your best self care (more on that coming soon). Then take it one day at a time.

Here are some things to consider and maybe share with those you are spending time with this holiday season and feel could benefit from knowing:

Mind your own plate (And ask that others do as well)

Your plate is your business… and it’s acceptable to ask everyone around you to mind their own plate too. This is easily reversed-don’t compare your plate to that of anyone around you. Your plate is specifically crafted for you. Your wants, your taste, your needs. The what and why and how much is on a plate is the plate owners business alone.

Also, avoid being the food police and don’t accept others policing your food. It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to eat a salad… or dessert… or grandma’s famous yams. It’s also okay if you go back for seconds of absolutely anything and/or everything if that is what they want.

What someone decides to eat and drink any day of the year should should not be up for public debate (if at all)… let’s try to put an emphasis on that during the holiday season.

Things not to talk about around the table (or ever)

  1. Diets and Restriction: Whether you’re following the newest fad, were put on it by a medical provider, or just shooting for a “lifestyle change” don’t talk about your diet, food rules, or any restrictions that you may be implementing, considering or practicing in the future. With 1 in 4 dieters going on to develop an eating disorder the risk of harm is too high to ignore.

    What to talk about instead?: What tv, movies or music you’ve been into lately

  2. Weight and Body Talk: Even when said as a ‘compliment’, talking about others (or your own) weight and body changes or shape can be incredibly damaging. It reinforces that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bodies… and that is not true. Bodies are meant to be diverse and that is ok. Body image is hard enough in our society without the comments, even well intentioned, from family and friends.

    What to say instead?: “Hello! How have you been? It is so great to see you!”

  3. Post Meal Shaming: Guilt and shame are common following a meal. It’s not wrong to feel that way-but that probably means you personally need to do work with your relationship with body and food and that’s okay! Just choose to not talk about any poor feelings following a meal or shame anyone else for what/how much/when they choose to eat.

    What to say instead: ‘That meal was absolutely delicious. It was so great to share with you all.”

  4. Exercise Routines: No one needs to earn, burn, ‘prepare for’, or ‘work off’ any food, let alone a holiday dinner. Everyone needs to eat, multiple times a day, every day a year, regardless of movement. Period. If you moved today in a way that felt great to you, CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so happy you’ve found movement that works for you. If you moved today and your motivation was elsewhere, that’s okay too! Either way others don’t need to hear about or feel guilt or shame related to your exercise routine.

    What to talk about instead?: Your favorite thing to do during the holidays.

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Preparing yourself for the holiday celebration

Plan for as much as you can. Think through your holiday plans. Run through uncomfortable scenarios. Know your boundaries and your limits. Stick to them. It’s okay to say no to events you rather not go to that will only leave you feeling drained. Share any boundaries you need to with family and friends to help have the best time possible.

Do not skip breakfast or any meals or normal snacks before the event.

The day before and after make sure you have time set aside for self care (the day of too if you can manage!). If you know these events are hard for you, make sure that you are taking time for yourself. Maybe you plan for a nap between events, ten minutes of meditation, a walk by yourself after dinner, an hour in the middle of the day to just read… whatever you know works for you, if possible to incorporate it, do so!

Pack snacks if you think you may need them. If you are unsure that any food will be there for you to enjoy (whether it’s because of personal preference, allergy, or another medical necessity) it’s okay to pack your own food.

If you want to enjoy something or a family member is insisting on you trying it and you just can’t eat it in the moment, ask for some to go.

Not sure how things are going to go? Do what is best for you, have an escape plan, and if you need to leave early, then leave early. There is nothing wrong with that.

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As much as possible, enjoy the food. Embrace the company. Focus on the experience.

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The Problem with Gyms

Not all gyms, but too many, thrive on shame.

And I have a major problem with that. And you should too.

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I became a NASM certified personal trainer earlier this year and I’ve been dabbling (ever so slightly) in the idea of actually putting it to use. I mostly pursued it for my own information and benefit. Also, I like to tell people to move joyfully with a sense of authority.

In this dabbling, I began reflecting on my own experience in gyms and with fitness professionals and a varied relationship with movement. About a year and a half ago I felt a need to literally break up with the gym, because well, I had come to resent it so much. I’m just now returning to our local Y and trying to continue to find what fuels me instead of just hopping on the elliptical because it’s there, and discovering classes that feel uplifting instead of defeating… it’s a slow, but much more fun process, to say the least.

In spite of my own experiences, I decided I needed to do some research and find out what other people’s experiences have been as well… so I turned to Instagram. I first posed a poll-fairly vague-asking if anyone else had been uncomfortable in a gym or fitness class and at least 95% of those who responded said that yes, they had.

The reasons for discomfort varied.

Mostly, it was feeling different from those around them, a sense of being judged or “othered”, and that they just don’t belong.

Often, it was men physically (and inappropriately) entering a woman’s space in one form or another.

Occasionally, it was a trainer or fitness professional publicly calling a person out in a manner that was not necessary.

And of course, a big one was and is the pervasive diet culture, weight and calorie/restriction talk by members, trainers, and wellness professionals.

So what can we do to make these spaces more comfortable for EVERY BODY?

We can start by discouraging all inappropriate behavior in gym spaces.

  • The gym is not a place to pick up women. They’re there to move their body not to be evaluated and/or harassed because of their body. Let them do what they came to do. Can you be friendly and establish relationships at the gym? Absolutely. But read the situation. If what you are saying or doing may be making others uncomfortable it probably needs to change or stop all together.

  • Learn what words, phrases and talk comes from a privileged place… Then take measures to change it. And spread the message. This includes but is not limited to:

    • Diet talk and food rules

    • Weight chat

    • Body Bashing of any body

    • The latest “health” craze

    • Ableist commentary

    • Sexist remarks and actions

  • Beyond your words be aware of your actions. If you run the gym encourage inclusion and lead by example. Don’t make assumptions based on a person’s body about health, fitness, eating habits, or anything between.

Make your spaces and exercises accessible and accommodating to as many people as possible - yes we should all be ADA accessible by law BUT that goes beyond a ramp and larger bathroom stall:

  • Do we offer alternative versions of exercise for varying levels of fitness, mobility, and accessibility?

    • The fabulous Anna, of Urban Fitness Studio, recommends starting with offering what would be considered the “modified” version FIRST and advancing from there, instead of starting with the advanced

  • Is the furniture, equipment, shower facilities, and gym set up comfortably and accessible for a variety of bodies (shapes, sizes, ability) to use and navigate?

  • If someone was coming to your facility for the first time ever would you and/or a staff member have the knowledge, patience, and compassion to show clients how to do exercises and use equipment safely and appropriately? Repeatedly if necessary?

Gym go-ers also have a responsibility in creating a welcoming and comfortable space, and can do many of the things listed here, as well as:

  • Making staff aware if there is an immediate concern

  • If you have the capabilities and privilege, standing up for those that may be shamed or made to feel bad at the gym

  • Fill out the surveys and questionnaires for the facility to help it do better and improve

  • Giving yourself permission to leave spaces that don’t align with your values or create a welcoming and inclusive culture

Lastly, we must take shame and guilt out of the toolbox.

  • It doesn’t matter if it is shame for the sale.

  • Shame to get them in the door.

  • Shame to keep them coming in.

  • Or shame to “motivate them” (shame is actually a horrible motivator)

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Shame shows up in many ways. Sometimes obvious and other times more subtle. The sale that pounces on a perceived weakness. The comments before, during, or after a session to “burn/do/push/be”. The moralization of food and bodies. Any advertisement that suggests there are wrong/right ways to have a body. There are no wrong bodies.

This list is not all inclusive. If what you are saying or doing is to make people feel wrong for their behaviors or bodies, causes them distress, guilt, or is meant to cause an intense, unnecessary fear, it is shaming.

So we need to put a stop on the shame. We need to make gyms and fitness facilities more welcoming for larger bodies. Women’s bodies. Gender non-conforming bodies. Persons of color. Disabled bodies. Every dang body that wants to be there and move. We must uplift people instead of leaving them filled with guilt and shame and having little desire to return.

Anything less than is unacceptable.

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

When Mindful Eating Turns Into a Diet

Too much of anything can be a bad thing… Including mindful eating.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in Mindful Eating and I believe that it can work beautifully and compliment Intuitive Eating… But what happens when we take mindfulness and mindful eating to an extreme?

What happens when you have to be mindful about your food all of the time?

When we are so mindful that food and eating are the only focus of the meal?

When we know the exact amount of every food we’ve eaten from cups to tablespoons to the exact count of tortilla chips?

What happens when we take mindful eating and turn it into a form of restriction?

IT’S NO LONGER MINDFUL.

We go from saying we’re being mindful to actually being a slave to the rules and restrictions of yet another diet that we mask with mindfulness… and rules and restrictions are not mindful eating.


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Mindful eating is flexible.

You do not have to be mindful when eating 100% of the time.

You can take into consideration the situations when maybe it would be better for our sanity, our self care, our experience to allow for a bit of mindlessness.

Mindful eating takes into account not only what food you are eating or not eating and how it tastes, how our body responds, how it makes us feel (emotionally and physically), but also the experience and the people around you.

Like with all things there are shades of gray.

There is nuance.

I wholeheartedly believe that eating a meal at the table with good conversation and loved ones is one of the greatest regular occasions we can have… but I also know that is not everyone’s experience.

Maybe mindful eating is really hard.

Maybe mindless eating is truly difficult.

Either way I encourage you to lean into the discomfort as you can, because both are part of the human experience. And neither is wrong in it’s own right.

Yes, mindlessly eating at every meal can be problematic, but making mindful eating a rigid experience is too.

So if practicing mindful eating-figure out what works for you.

Maybe breakfast and dinner are distraction free but lunch we tend to work through. Or after a long day we like to watch our favorite show and have a bowl of popcorn.

Find your balance-whatever that means to you.


Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!


Let Them Eat Candy

It’s that time of year again.

The parade of holidays with the desserts and the candy and the goods that accompany them.

These sweet holidays (pun intended) tend to be dreaded by dentists. Fear mongered by the “healthy” elite. Shunned by nutritionists. Condemned by doctors. Criticized by chiropractors. Put down by personal trainers.

Okay maybe not all dentists and nutritionists and doctors and chiropractors and personal trainers… but definitely most, if not all, of the “healthy” elite and those aspiring to be among them.

In reality, the candy and sweets you eat during this holiday season are a part of the experience, the celebration, the joy of this time of year.

Maybe it’s the leftover candy from handing out or taking your kids trick or treating; pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving; all the baked goods and candies you received as Christmas gifts; the box of chocolates your Valentine got you; or the candy collected from a vigorous Easter egg hunt. Maybe you wanted some and decided to buy it or make it for yourself for no particular reason at all.

No matter where it came from-you have unconditional permission to eat it.

Why?

Because candy is food.

Because it tastes good.

Because you want it.

Because you have it.

Because your kid shared it with you.

Whatever your reason you have or for no reason at all. You can eat it.

Candy supplies us with calories and carbohydrates at least (maybe some fat or a bit of protein) and our body NEEDS those things above all else. Is it packed with vitamins and minerals and other micronutrients? Probably not. But that’s not what dessert is for.

Dispel judgement and shame to allow yourself and your loved ones and anyone else to eat their candy and dessert and sweets in peace as they want to. Your bodies will put the energy to good use and you all will have a much better holiday for it.

Enjoy your holidays. Every sweet bite of them.

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

If you don’t take a picture of your food, would it taste just as good?

“Pictures or it Didn’t Happen”

I read this phrase recently and was both outraged and inspired all in the same moment.

I get it. We live in a privileged time where we can literally (and simultaneously feel compelled to) document every single thing that happens to us (or at least the good stuff).

As someone who enjoys documenting my life, but also strives to be present, it doesn’t sit well with me that if I don’t snap a photo to document my experiences that they may be considered irrelevant. Even when I’ve totally been the person to take a picture of everything.

So of course, I took on this phrase as a personal challenge. Now I didn’t stop taking photos cold turkey (I’m not a monster-of course, I’ll never stop taking or sharing photos of my dog with you) but I am trying my best to limit how much energy I put into getting the perfect picture - or pictures things that I just won’t care about in a month, a year, 10 years - and how easy it is to be become enveloped by my phone when I should be immersed in the good time to be had. And this past weekend was a good time. But according to the above, much of it may not have happened.

After the matter, I realized one moment when I faltered that really wouldn’t matter next week… I stopped to take a picture of our meatballs from Mimi’s Blue Meatballs in Indy. Don’t get me wrong, they were presented beautifully, they tasted great, and we’ll definitely go back again… but I had no intention to make a post with that photo. I certainly am not going to print that picture off and frame it or include it in a photo album to cherish for years to come. It will be uploaded to the cloud and never thought of again. And those meatballs didn’t taste any better because I documented them.

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Earlier that day, I was surrounded by family telling stories of yore with no pictures to aid. And I just sat there thinking how much better our stories would be, our experiences would be, our life would be if we weren’t so determined to document it all by photograph and video and posting on social media as soon as possible… and sometimes missing the moment entirely.

Our food will taste just as good

Our experiences will be just as (if not more) enriching

Our life will be just as fulfilling

Even if we choose not to snapshot every single moment

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-pictures. My living space is filled with photographs documenting beautiful memories. I love living vicariously through other’s photos. I have a blog and social media and enjoy sharing photos with others. But I also have hundreds of shots on my computer that are just taking up space.

So I’m working towards choosing to be in the moments worth keeping first… and take a photo after the memory’s made. I think it’s part of the journey to live more wholeheartedly. I think this is part of finding freedom, including food freedom.

Are you with me?

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

You Can Eat. Period.

You have unconditional permission to eat.

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You can eat because you are hungry. Because you are sad. Because it sounds good. Because it is what is available.

You can eat because you want to. Because you need to. You can eat for emotional reasons. For primal reasons. For celebratory reasons.

You can eat from a place of joy. For comfort. For anxiety. For fuel. For stress. You can eat for the sake of eating. To cope. You can eat for fun. For making memories. For remembering.


You never have to consume food you dislike.

You do not have to earn your food in any way, shape, or form.

You are not obligated to restrict or make up for anything, ever.


So eat what you enjoy. Eat what sounds good. What feels good. What tastes so good.

Eat because it’s thanksgiving and your grandma still makes the best mashed potatoes.

Eat because it’s Tuesday and you’ll be damned if you miss a chance to eat tacos.

Eat because it’s the fair and when else do you get a chance to have funnel cake.

Eat because hot dogs taste so much better roasted over a bonfire.

Eat because that bakery you just passed had the most delicious looking cookie.

Consuming energy (typically in the form of food) is not only a required part of living, but a big way we experience our world.

So eat it up.

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

This Dietitian’s 5 Rules for Grocery Shopping

How many of you have rules for grocery shopping?

I’m guessing most of you raised your hand. I’ve been there.

I could list a million rules I’ve heard, I’ve used, I’ve imagined… and they’re all bullsh!t.

But I’m here to tell you to throw your rules out the window in lieu of the following. I double dog dare you. (Now you have to, sorry, no excuses).

Rule #1 BUY FOOD YOU ENJOY

That’s right. Don’t like peas? DON’T BUY THEM. Hate olives? You don’t have to eat them. Despise kale? YA’ DON’T NEED IT. Squirm at the idea of eating another rice cake? Put a fork in ‘em they’re done for.

Seriously. Fill your grocery list and grocery cart with foods you like to eat. Eating should be pleasurable as much and as often as possible.

RULE #2 BUY FOODS YOU KNOW YOU’LL EAT

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I’m all for a good deal, but food waste is the literal worst (well, at least worse than nails screeching on a chalk board, but definitely not as bad as burning the roof of your mouth because you just can’t wait for your food to cool).

If something is canned or frozen and I have the storage and budget for it, while also knowing I can work it into future meals, sure, get it. If it’s something you can substitute out for another item on your list-that works too. But if your buying it for the sake of the sale and there’s a chance it will go bad, well that’s just throwing away money and perfectly good food (at least at the time of purchase). Nah, skip that.

RULE #3 ALLOW ROOM TO TRY NEW FOODS

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Taste is one of our FIVE senses. It’s a major way we perceive and experience the world and life. So you should absolutely, positively allow room for exploration with your taste buds. If you hate something you can spit it out. Just do so in a polite and discrete manner, pretty please.

This could be a vegetable you’ve only tried steamed and want to try roasted (seriously, roasted vegetables are the best type of vegetables #honestopinion). It could be a new cheese that sounds weird, smells a bit funny, but, ya’ know, in a good way. It may be a frozen dinner that looks easy but delicious-so why not give it a shot, because Thursday nights Bobby has football practice, Susie has Ballet, Mom has a board meeting, and Dad works until 7, you have been running around all week and want to feed everyone because it’s frowned upon not to, but honestly who has time!? (Drive thru and/or take out-at new or old restaurants-is also perfectly acceptable form of self care when cooking just isn’t happening-whether because of schedule or not)

RULE #4 INCLUDE VARIED SNACK ITEMS AND FUN FOODS

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Everyone should be eating 2-3 snacks a day in addition to 3 meals. EVERYONE. So why do we avoid snack foods? Snack time is one of my all time favorite times so the world may never know… (okay we know-diet culture has demonized typical snack items, BUT NO MORE!)

Maybe it’s pretzels and peanut butter. Maybe it's pears and peanut butter. Maybe it’s Oreos and peanut butter. Maybe it’s veggies and peanut butter. Maybe it’s a peanut butter chocolate chip larabar. (I really love peanut butter and have it at least daily) But there are non-peanut butter snacks for those who cannot have peanut butter (I assume the only reason you wouldn’t have peanut butter is because you couldn’t have peanut butter) Like Yogurt and granola and fruit (with or without peanut butter…) Other nuts and seeds. Ice cream. Sorbet. Chips and dip. Bars that don’t include peanuts or peanut butter. Smoothies. Half a sandwich. CHOCOLATE. A whole sandwich. Literally anything can be a snack if you believe in it enough (and it satiates your hunger during non-meal times).

RULE #5 THERE ARE NO RULES

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Yeah I know I just wrote a whole blog post laying out my rules but in reality, there are no rules. I strongly encourage you to incorporate the above four guidelines as much as possible but you can do whatever you so please with your personal grocery list, grocery shopping experience and what you cook for you and your family.

I do strongly discourage any rigid rules that puts limitations on what you can and cannot have because for the majority of individuals all foods fit*

Do you have food rules you still follow? Are you ready to start breaking them? I’d love to hear from you on your experience below!

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

You Don't Have to Choose Joy

"Choose Happiness"

How many times have you read or seen something that suggested our negative emotions and feelings have no place in this life? 

That feeling your feelings, outside of the bright and sunny, is just a waste of time?

That not only are you down in the dumps, but those emotions make you a less than fabulous  person for not choosing better?

Now don't get me wrong. I want to be happy and joyful and positive as much as possible. I am also well aware I live a very privileged life and there are conditions far worse than the minute problems I have faced. And I really don't enjoy having a bad day. However, at the same time I am well aware that bottling up our bad feelings and "throwing them away" (only for them to explode all over ourselves at a later time) doesn't seem like a good idea.

So here is my conclusion:

Everyone has a right to a bad mood, bad day, bad week...

Everyone has problems-big or small-that are worthy of having a full range of emotions over and reaction that is authentic and true to that person.

Everyone can and should have a good cry every once in a while (whether there are physical tears or not.)

Allowing ourselves to feel all of our feelings is a very basic, boring (note: not necessarily easy) form of self-care.

I'm not saying we should allow ourselves to dwell on the negative forever and ever. I just think we should give these less desirable emotions the space and room they deserve instead of trying to stuff them down or my least favorite phrase, "suck it up" or my most hated words ever said "man up."

So yes, I will always believe that we should always choose to chase joy when we can...

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... but not at the expense of allowing ourselves to feel. Deeply. Widely. Thoroughly. All the things.

After all, what is the human experience without a wide range of emotions? 

When was the last time you truly allowed yourself to feel your less desirable feelings? Did you feel better bottling them up or allowing them be?

Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

Self Compassion

The last two weeks I've been immersed in the Self-Compassion Challenge hosted by Jamie of Your Happy Healthy RD

For 10 days she came up different topics and steps that would help lead us to a more self-compassionate life and it was as fabulous as it sounds. Today is the last day of it so I wanted to re-cap all ten days, their topics, what my thoughts were and how you too can #chooseselfcompassion.

Day 1: Create awareness-Think about how you would treat your best friend.

We should all work towards a relationship with ourselves that resembles the relationship Leslie has with Ann. Love a little on your self, you priceless, expensive gem.

We should all work towards a relationship with ourselves that resembles the relationship Leslie has with Ann. Love a little on your self, you priceless, expensive gem.

Day 2: Notice how you speak to yourself. Then make changes accordingly. 

Check in on your self talk. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it productive? Change accordingly.

Check in on your self talk. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it productive? Change accordingly.

Day 3: Surround yourself with that of which encourages and supports self-compassion.

You are what you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with love, compassion and kindness.

You are what you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with love, compassion and kindness.

Day 4: Start a self-appreciation journal

What do you appreciate about you? A journal is a great way to reflect on the G O O D in you.

What do you appreciate about you? A journal is a great way to reflect on the G O O D in you.

Day 5: Take care of the care giver

Practice the necessary self care, the glamorous self care, the not so glamorous self care. Repeat at least daily.

Practice the necessary self care, the glamorous self care, the not so glamorous self care. Repeat at least daily.

Day 6: Challenge assumptions and judgements

How many times do we assume we're not good enough? How often do we pre-maturely judge ourselves?

How many times do we assume we're not good enough? How often do we pre-maturely judge ourselves?

Day 7: Show compassion to others, it comes back in return.

Compassion is contagious. Share a small, kind interaction with someone in need and the dominoes will fall.

Compassion is contagious. Share a small, kind interaction with someone in need and the dominoes will fall.

Day 8: Practice forgiving yourself.

We aren't our mistakes, not even our biggest ones. What can you do to forgive, begin healing and start to move on?

We aren't our mistakes, not even our biggest ones. What can you do to forgive, begin healing and start to move on?

Day 9: Foster your interests, hobbies, and values.

Create space to live in your values and interests.

Create space to live in your values and interests.

Day 10: Embrace your imperfections.

Perfection doesn't allow for human error and is a path of strict rules and regulations. How would your life change if you could let go of it and allow imperfection?

Perfection doesn't allow for human error and is a path of strict rules and regulations. How would your life change if you could let go of it and allow imperfection?

For my full posts check out my instagram feed! I would love to hear, how are you choosing self compassion?

Amanda is a anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

Restriction Breeds Restriction

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Restriction Breeds Restriction. You may be unaware or just oblivious to it, but it holds true.

Any time we place a restriction on something-whether it's out of true necessity or not-we inevitably restrict ourselves in other ways, other facets of our life become restricted too.

While I can think of many examples, the one that is most present in my mind, in my own history, in my clients stories, in my research and observation, and in my practice is the restriction of food. 

When we restrict food, whether it's due to a new diet, our own food rules (also a diet), a food allergy (a necessity but restriction never-the-less), a moral obligation (may be necessary to our faith/belief system), or because we're trying to eat clean (read: another term for a new diet), the restriction dominoes begin to fall.

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If we restrict food we restrict life.

We restrict the time spent with family and friends.

We restrict opportunities.

We restrict joy 

We restrict comfort.

We restrict convenience.

We restrict our thoughts because so much time is consumed by what we can and cannot eat. What we want to eat. What we "should" eat. 

We restrict our time because instead our time is spent worrying about following our restriction. Consumed in thought over what we can vs. what we want to eat. Then, we spend our time consumed with guilt and shame if we "slip up" and fall out of line with the restriction.

You see, when we restrict our food, we restrict what we say yes to. We restrict the bounds of experiences we can have, the memories we can make. We restrict our happiness. We restrict our valuable and limited time on something that can and should be simpler. But because we've restricted our intuition and our trust in our own wise body, it has become so much more difficult.

So lift unnecessary restrictions that are no longer serving you.

Will it be easy? Probably not.

You've used the restriction as a tool. As a method of control. As a guiding light post. You've allowed the restriction to take the wheel, but it's served it's purpose and now it's time to let it go.

Start small. Break an easy but unnecessary rule. Ask for support from trusted family and friends. Seek the knowledge of a non-diet professional. But take the steps to live life unrestricted, ASAP.

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Amanda is a anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

The Funk is Real

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I set such high goals for this blog. Starting out I was going to post three times a week, every week on Monday/Wednesday/Friday. I was going to create an arsenal of topics to have on hand and they would always be published by 6 a.m. the day of. 

And that joke, my friends, is on me.

I haven't posted in over two weeks. And before that I was getting maybe two posts out per week at various times. I had topics on hand but some were uninspiring and just didn't speak to me when I went to write them. And I have realized that all of the above, is absolutely a-okay.

So why the change of heart? Well, first of all starting a business is hard on it's own. Even when I'm only seeing a handful of clients, I'm spending days doing research, self-assigned homework, and filled with stress and anxiety about every decision I make or what will happen next. 

Don't get me wrong entrepreneurship is and has been an exciting and fun adventure. I get to meet and collaborate with so many wonderful people. I get to see my ideal client. I get to set my own hours. I get to be my own boss. I get to focus on my passion and go for it, wholeheartedly.

But it's also scary. At times lonely. Stressful. And the hardest work I have ever f***ing done. It's chaotic. It's random. It's unstructured, which in my type A, recovering perfectionistic mind wants to  completely shut down.

And the funk, the funk is real.

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If you are unfamiliar with the funk, it can include any or all of the following:

  • Frequent imposter syndrome and self doubt
  • Questioning everything 
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of imminent doom (but can't put your finger on what it is)
  • Your inner teenager screaming that the world is out to get you 
  • All the stress
  • Things may constantly seem to not go your way
  • Feeling completely and totally worn out no matter what (probably from all of the above)

**This list is not all inclusive and results of the funk may vary person to person

So what do you do when the funk sets in? When you have a bad day? When that gray cloud just seems to not be willing clear? I've compiled a list that have helped me through tough times and want to share them with you.

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  1. Rest. If you are in a place take a day off work and your to do list, allow yourself to just rest. Personally, I put this off for way too long. I am not  productive when the funk sets in but I tried to "power through" because society tells us that's what we should do. When I stepped back for a moment I realized that I just needed to cut myself a break. So Thursday, after my last client, I allowed myself to do just that all weekend long. That's right I took the weekend off and only did things that bring me joy. 
  2. Set Boundaries. I'm still personally working on this one. As a chronic people pleaser, boundaries are tough for me. I always want to help everyone in every way, but this only hurts me and puts my needs and priorities on hold. So I'm working on setting boundaries. On my work. On what I say yes to. On what I do around the house. On what I take on personally.
  3. Check in on boring self care. Are you brushing your teeth twice a day? Making sure you have access to food every 3-4 hours? Showering or grooming in a way that feels right for you? Participating in activities that drain you or fuel you? Washing your face? Carrying a water bottle? Flossing? Making sure your environment is not bothering you? Getting enough sleep?  Taking your medications? Connecting with friends and family in a healthy way? Limiting screen time as needed? Allowing room and space for growth? Not all self care is glamorous, but these are essential to our well being.
  4. Once boring self care is in check, participate in some fun self care. I'll dive more into my favorite forms of self care later, but it can be as simple as a bubble bath to as luxurious as a spa day. 
  5. Read for fun. I'm a big fan of "self help" books and anything on nutrition, so I often times put off reading for fun. This weekend I refused to read anything but fun reads and am halfway through a thriller that ropes me in and doesn't allow room for thinking about anything else.
  6. Check out of social media. It doesn't have to be for weeks, or months, or even a whole day. But setting aside time that we are not checking into social media is absolutely essential. I recently read a study that found that just having our phone out in front of us, even when not in use, can reduce our productivity and takes away our attention. 
  7. Limit your screen time. Now I'm all for a good binge every now and then on Netflix-and sometimes that is the self care we need-but it's easy to come home, turn on the tv, and tune out. Or "work and watch," which in reality your work isn't getting the attention it deserves. Now, my dog and I struggle with silence, so I either listen to pandora's instrumental station or my Spotify playlist that I've created with my favorite instrumental songs.
  8. Move in a joyful way. I'm not big into exercise, and definitely not exercise just for the sake of exercise. Yeah, I have my CPT but honestly joyful movement is where it's at (and what I recommend).  So I'm saying you should move your body in a way that feels right for you. That's fun. That hooks you and gets you there and leaves you feeling better. Especially during the funk when "exercising" may feel like another task. Maybe this is going for a walk or a run or to a class you love. Maybe it's just stretching. Your body will speak to you if you just listen.
  9. Fuel you body. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone tell me when they get busy they forget to eat. Your meals don't have to be fabulous or insta-worthy. They can be simple and satisfying. They can be take out. But not eating only makes matters worse and creates a fog.
  10. Ask for help. Reach out to a loved one, a friend, a professional and ask for help. Maybe it's asking your significant other to take on a few more chores. Asking parents if they can watch the kiddos for a day, so you can truly take it off. Or maybe you would benefit from talk therapy. All of the above are absolutely okay.
  11. Last of all, be kind to yourself. We have all heard it, we are our own worst critic. And we are. We set impossible standards and then are incredibly harsh on ourselves when we don't meet them.  So just remember to give yourself the compassion, kindness and forgiveness as needed.

We all have bad days and we all have our own ways of handling it. So what have you done in the past when a funk set in? I would love to hear from you!

 

Cherries & Cream Muffins

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I am pro-muffins.

I do not believe they are sad cupcakes.

I believe they can make a delicious part of breakfast... or lunch... or snack. They're easy to make and even easier to grab when you're on the go (which can be essential on busy and hectic mornings). Pair a good muffin with some nut butter or  a couple of hard boiled eggs and you've got a great breakfast, eat it as a side to a salad or other entree at lunch, eat it alone in the afternoon for a snack or crumbled into some yogurt. Or eat it whenever you are craving it, however you like it.

These muffins boast a mouthful of cherries in each one and the not so secret ingredient, cream cheese, to give them the most amazing flavor! They are definitely are one of my new favorite muffins. I also made blueberry muffins at the same time (my usual favorite) and these BLEW them out of the water. But I'll let you decide for yourself. 

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Do you have a favorite Muffin Flavor? I always forget how easy they are (both to make and to eat), so this summer I may experiment with a few more flavors. If you get a chance to try them, let me know what you think!