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.

  • 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.


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.


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.


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)


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?


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.



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.



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)



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).



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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.

  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. 


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!

Weight Bias and Stigma

This post was supposed to go out last Thursday, but Wednesday I got the call that I was getting a niece a bit early (her due date was today) SO all other things went on the back burner including proofreading, editing and sharing this post. She's adorable and happy and big sister likes her most of the time and I'm glad I dedicated my time to being there for my sister... But now I must get back to the last piece of my HAES series (just kidding, I will forever and always post about HAES but this is the last one I intentionally have planned in the foreseeable future).

So to embark on our HAES journey we have to acknowledge that those who are living in a larger body live with a stigma due weight bias. To fully understand, let's define these terms:

Weight Bias: Like any other bias is a judgement particularly made due to their size. This can be an assumption about their lifestyle and habits, their current health, their knowledge or education level, their relationship status, their happiness, their satisfaction with their life or body... This bias can and has infiltrated every inch of our society from our health care, to our schools, to our families, to our own minds. 

Weight Stigma: The result of weight bias leads to unfair treatment, inadequate care, discrimination, and harassment that one might face due to being in a larger body. The bias that results in this stigma can be both external and internal. 

The effects of bias and stigma in multiple subgroups has been linked to poor health outcomes (POC, LGBTQ, Low SES, Mental Illness, etc). Sometimes it can be an internalization of this stigma that prevents someone to get treatment to begin with, however, we must ask what is happening to make them not want to seek proper care? 

Of course, there are some individuals who literally live in a space without access to adequate care or do not have the means to see a health care provider. And that's a problem I hope is fixed in my lifetime (sooner would be great). 

In this instance though, I'm talking about people who choose not to go to the doctors (or perhaps elsewhere) because fear of biased care and treatment based on their or others experienced stigma. 

Then there are the ones who do but their problems are ignored because of this bias:

We're talking about the patient who went in for an earache to be told that they needed to diet.

The prospective gym goer who was immediately told prior to any assessment that they could help them lose the fat.

The new mom who was approached during a target trip to receive unsolicited weight loss advice. (Pro-tip: Stranger or not, just don't give weight loss advice. Weight loss attempts fail 95% of the time, so just don't.)

The one who's experienced some variation of all of the above and just doesn't leave the house anymore.

You may think that these scenarios aren't real. Or that they rarely happen. But they do happen and in my opinion that is enough to want to make a change. 

The fact that these people are human beings,  and in my opinion every human being deserves care, respect, and to be able to live day to day without being ridiculed for something they have no control over, and this should be enough but it isn't and there is even more at stake.

When weight bias infiltrates our healthcare system we misdiagnose. With weight bias we don't see the whole person. We don't listen. We miss important symptoms that in any other individual would be cause for concern.

With this comes high demands and impossible standards. We withhold treatment until weight loss is made or we suggest risky treatment that results are questionable.

We won't do a knee surgery that could improve one's quality of life but we would not hesitate to amputate healthy organs that will certainly have terrifying side effects, including the risk of death.


All of this for the sake of a number that means next to nothing. All of this in hopes of achieving the (is it so glorious?) thin ideal. All of this because our society has a problem, a dangerous fatphobia. 

So how can you challenge weight (and other) bias?

Weight bias is not going to go away over night. It will likely be around for a very long time. It's ingrained in us and our society, but we can take steps to challenge it and make efforts to contribute to a shift.

  • Start with your own bias
    • Notice when initial thoughts about someone pops up and question where they come from. If it's an assumption-it was probably learned.
    • We may never be able to completely irradicate these thoughts but we can acknowledge that they are untrue, that they don't match our values, and move forward with compassion for everyone.
    • Start shifting your language. Being fat, POC, disabled, LGBTQ or any other group is not a bad thing. Because it is how someone identifies it's important not use any of these labels as a put down or used negatively in any way. Apply this to chat with others and our own self talk.
    • Vary what you see. If you use social media make sure who and what you're following provides a diverse representation. Our world is not one size, color, or gender. Our feeds should better represent that.
    • If you have children do your best to show them role models and heroes come varied too.
  • Take note if places you go are accessible to all bodies (why stop at larger bodies?)
    • Do they offer seating without arm rests that would be comfortable and supportive for all bodies
    • Is it handicapped accessible
    • Is it inviting to all persons
    • Do they use appropriate languages
  • Shop at places that offer a variety of sizes 
    • If you have a favorite shop that doesn't you can always try to reach out and see if they'll offer a variety of sizes
    • In Southern Indiana I love Skirt and Satchel and The Lemon Seed Boutique - the first offers all of their clothes in XS to 3X and the latter has a Plus Size Section
  • Use language that is preferred by the person
    • Some people may enjoy people first language (Person with X)
    • Others may find that their size, disability, or race is a core part of their identity. Let them define it for you. 
    • If you say something wrong, apologize and use it as a learning moment.
  • If you have the energy and passion, share your experiences and what you learn with others. Call people in. Stand up for others who you feel are being treated unfairly.

If you want to practice Health at Every Size definitely look up Linda Bacon and her work, as well as the Association for Size Diversity and Health. If you have any questions or want to discuss this more please feel free to reach out!


27 by 27

Happy National Donut Day! Hope everyone who wants the best circular food with a hole in the middle gets one today (Bagels are a close, but definite second.) 

As May comes to a close and the freshness of being another year older begins to fade, I cannot help but wonder where I want to be in a year. I think I've said it before, and you'll probably see it again and again across this blog, but I love lists. Give me a reason to make a list and I will gleefully run with it. So here is my 27 things by 27 years old:

  1. Find more forms of movement that I enjoy and then participate regularly.
  2. Get out on and in the water more. I love to swim and be around water but in my adult years this just hasn't been as much of a priority, which is a shame considering all the places I've lived have had large lakes nearby. 
  3.  Create more. I love to create: weaving, water color, coloring but I do it more sporadically than anything and I hope to be more intentional with setting aside time to create. 
  4. With that, I would love to explore a new art form so I hope to take another art class this year (I took water color last year and fell in love with it!)
  5. Spend more time with the people I love.
  6. Unplug more.
  7. Experiment in the Kitchen more.
  8. Journal regularly.
  9. Always try to find the positive. Be more compassionate with myself and others. Try to only speak kind words while remaining honest and authentic.
  10. Expand my circle of people I communicate and interact with on a regular basis, really take time to consider who I look to as role models, that I know about, that I spend my time with.
  11. Continue to learn more about this field and topic I'm so passionate about.
  12. Take my dog on more walks. Slow, unrushed, unplugged.
  13. Finally get a State Parks Pass (that I keep saying I'm going to get) and really use it. 
  14. Try more new foods and dishes and recipes.
  15. Travel (near or far) whenever possible.
  16. Read more books. 
  17. Eat Tacos whenever the opportunity presents itself. Because, tacos.
  18. Cuddle my dog, against her will or when she'll let me, I'm equal opportunity on this one.
  19. Get outdoors more.
  20. Be more intentional with my time.
  21. Practice yoga and meditation on the regular.
  22. Try more new (or new to me) restaurants in Bloomington (this is a small fragment of a much longer list of restaurants I want to get to).
    1. The Owlery
    2. Social Cantina
    3. Scholars Keep
    4. Osteria Rago
    5. The Roost
  23. Bake more. From scratch, from boxes, from pre-made dough or desserts. I'm not picky.
  24. Get more massages (honestly, I've never had a massage so my goal is to just get one and test my irrational fear of getting a massage)
  25. Take another dance class (I took contemporary this past spring and had a blast!)
  26. Continue to question and grow and learn and hope and dream and set (and crush) goals and life things.
  27. Embrace the lived experience: good, bad, happy, stressful, worrisome, challenging, celebrating. I just want to embrace what comes.
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Looking back over this list, I see that my hope for this next year is all about adding to and I could not be more pleased. I have every intention to make the most of this life and I cannot think of a better way to do so.

 Do you make a "to do" list each year? What are some things you do or would put on your list?


Set Point Theory

I've been a bit incommunicado for the last couple of weeks as we were traveling Germany and Austria... and then I underwent a major trip hangover-which literally all I wanted to do was plan future adventures-no worries we have a small weekend getaway to Louisiana planned for September, so I'm starting to recover. In all honesty, I had meant to prepare a few posts for when we got back and while I did most of the research I ran out of time to put it into coherent sentences.

My self care is and always will be a priority and while I would love to be the type who can whip out a post on the daily, I don't think I ever will be. And that's a-okay with me. I do hope to mostly post 2-3 times a week with occasional breaks here and there. It's likely to ebb and flow given what's going on in life. I hope you stay with me for the ride!

So we've addressed what HAES is and is not-now let's dive into some of the science. Excuse me while I nerd out a little bit.

At the core of Health at Every Size is set point theory. Set point theory suggests that all of our bodies have an individualized weight range that our bodies trend towards. Even though it is called a theory-science suggests that when we don't actively try to control our weight it tends to stabilize reinforcing this idea. Our set point is not likely to be an exact number so fluctuation in your weight it is completely normal- the range can vary +/- up to 10 pounds give or take-varying person to person.

Your weight may be more similar to body temperature or our pH balance than we are led to believe. For those who haven't done a lot of reading or research on the human body and anatomy, our bodies can only sustain life if our pH and temperature are kept within a very fine range-anytime we even begin to stray away our body has measures and mechanisms that kick in to get it back to a normal range to keep us safe and alive. In this case, we can try to change our weight, but our body will keep fighting us to get back to equilibrium (our set point range).

Catch 22: Your body wants to maintain the status quo and is stubbornly resistant to change. When you lose body fat, the very loss of fat triggers processes to reclaim it. So losing weight in and of itself is counterproductive to maintaining weight loss.”
— Linda Bacon, PhD, Author of Health at Every Size

This can go very far in explaining why diets and sustained weight loss are so damn hard. It’s possible that those who sustain the weight loss (generally around 5% of the population-that's right diets have a 95% failure rate) were above their set point prior to the weight loss. Or maybe they are currently below their set point because they are actively engaging in unhealthy restrictive behaviors.

So how is our set point weight determined?

There are a many factors that help determine body size-and our eating habits are pretty low on the list. Below are some of the major contributions:

Genetics is a large predictor in what our bodies size will be and what shape we may have. I know this sucks and our teenage self may want to come out and say "My parents ruin everything!" but honestly they didn't choose it either. And did that blame game ever get you anywhere, really?

Another factor that can influence our set point weight is environment. Which we may or may not have control over depending on, well, life and it's many mishaps and mayhems. Do you have access to fresh food and water? Are you in an environment that causes a lot of stress? Does your environment encourage you to be sedentary or physically active? This list can go on for a while, but our control over this varies with our age, wealth, and so much more.

The last thing, which we have the most control over, is our dieting history. And no, dieting typically doesn't do what you want it to (lower the set point) but actually raises it. Diet cycling particularly, where we are yo-yoing between diets triggers our set point may go up... and up... and up. What happens is that our body does not know when we are actively trying to lose weight versus a famine. So when we diet our body's alarms go off because of the restriction done in dieting believes we are starving. Our body, the self preserving machine  it is (see above desire to keep us in equilibrium), will do everything it can to get us back to our set point. Often times, it will raise the set point in anticipation of another famine... because if we have a bit of extra weight, we can survive for a little bit longer. You will see this weight gain as your body betraying you. Your body sees it as a means to survive.

Our body, the self preserving machine it is (see above desire to keep us in equilibrium) will do everything it can to get us back to our set point. Often times, it will raise the set point in anticipation of another .png

So what is my set point weight?

We're not talking about an exact number here. There is no specific formula to figure out your set point. There's not even an ideal number. As I said above, it's likely a range that can vary by nearly 20 pounds (depending on the individual). But if you're ready to give up dieting, if you want to work towards body acceptance, you can get there.

How do I get to my set point? 

As I said before, it's possible to achieve your set point. I wish I could tell you it's going to be easy... but it probably won't. It will take unlearning. And relearning. And a lot of patience and compassion for yourself and for your body. But you can do it by:

  • Rejecting diet culture
  • Listening to your hunger and fullness
  • Honoring your appetite and begin to return to eating intuitively (we'll touch more on intuitive
  • Recognize food for its values beyond nutrition by allowing yourself to feel not only full but satisfied by food whether it's physically, emotionally or mentally

If you are struggling with any of this but still want to continue on the path to accepting your body and saying no to diets for good, I highly recommend meeting with an anti-diet dietitian. We can help you move away from the restriction that comes with diets and into freedom. If you are in Bloomington, or wish to work virtually with me, you can check out my services here!



Set Point: What your body is trying to tell you

Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon

Taco Pasta

You guys, tacos are one of my favorite foods. I don't say that lightly because I love most foods and I hate to play favorites, but I can barely resist a good taco. They're versatile and can be eaten for every meal.

When Banza announced their Banza + Plants contest I said to myself "challenge accepted." (I was re-watching How I Met Your Mother when it was announced so...) The challenge was to create a vegan pasta dish using Banza. 

Disclosure: As a nutrition ambassador for Banza I receive packages that include pasta and coupons. Banza provided the pasta for this recipe. My thoughts and opinions on Banza are 100% my own.


This pasta turned out better than I imagined it would. Don't get me wrong I'm a good home cook (#humblebrag) but I've just begun really dabbling in recipe development. The conistency and taste of the mixture even had my meat loving husband enjoying it. SUPA PROUD.


I highly recommend it for taco Tuesday... or Wednesday... or Thursday. Or Everyday. The leftovers make fantastic lunches. Okay, okay, enough telling you about how amazing this recipe is, words only go so far, right? I'll just let you try it out for yourself.

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I hope you enjoy and would love for you to let me know what you think! 

What I've Learned...

I feel like with every birthday comes a time for reflection and reminiscing. Over the first 26 years of my life, I like to think I've learned some things. Most days, just when I think I've got this life figured out, it tends to prove me wrong... Whether I know anything or not, here are some things that I've found to be true for me so far.

  1. Everything, everything, everything is on a spectrum. Nothing is black and white. There is gray everywhere and this is where most of us can find a common ground. But most people don't like the ambiguity of the gray. Try to embrace the gray.
  2. It's important to do your best to find things that fuel your fire but do not burn you out. If you find something is dimming your light, and it's within your control to let it go, you must. It may be hard. It may even hurt a little. But it will be worth it.
  3. Set aside time for the people who matter the most in your life. This list should most definitely include you. 
  4. Be brave enough to stand strong in your beliefs. Be open minded and compassionate enough to see things from others perspective. Realize there is a big difference between compromising and questioning. 
  5. Eat the doughnut. Buy the shirt. Take the art class. Life moves way too fast and regret is nothing more than a time suck. If you have it, do your best to learn from it and move on.
  6. I will continue to evolve. I know this to be true so I plan for this and I hope for this as it shows growth as a person. Some of my beliefs may hold true for me until the end of time. Some of them may change just a bit. Some may alter completely. Some I may leave and come back to later. All of the above will be okay as long as I'm being true to my character.



What are some things you've learned in your trips around the sun? I'd Love for you to share below!


The Evil Dreaded No Good Dirty Rotten Birthday

Content Warning: In this post I talk about aging and body image. I want to start by acknowledging my immense privilege as a young, white, thin female who has faced minimal stigma in my life. I know this is not the case for everyone and if for any reason you feel this subject may que something for you and it will be safer for you to not read, please take care of yourself and do that. 

Tomorrow I turn 26 years old. To be honest I've never really enjoyed birthdays all that much, mostly because I'm an introvert and birthdays called for (in my opinion) unnecessary attention. I mean, they announced it at school, they sing happy birthday in restaurants, everyone makes a big stink about it and I just wasn't into it.

Last year turning 25, I couldn't help but think "oh god, the dreaded terrible 26, I'll officially be closer to my thirties than I am to my teens."  (because it's such a bad thing to put more distance between me and my teen years). Watching as others hit this marker before me, I have observed that this is, unfortunately, completely normal. According to the "powers that be", I feel like 25 is the last age deemed appropriate for most women to celebrate with enjoyment and glee, before 30 we should just stop sharing our age or choose the age we're going to use when we lie, at 40 we definitely aren't "allowed" to wear anything we want because there are some made up ridiculous rules about that too, and at 50 we're definitely not considered older and wiser, but just the little lady who probably needs aid crossing the street and is offered help for her grocery bags carried out to the car because we haven't managed for the first 50 years of our lives.

These last few months I've thought about ageism in our society today. I've thought about how it's ingrained in us, as women, to dread getting older. That we are told to fear aging, not necessarily because it means we're closer to death, but because with wrinkles and cellulite and stretch marks and sun spots and crows feet and graying hair and every thing else that shows that we've lived a full and meaningful life, that we won't fit our societies ideal of beauty. We're fed information and sold products and procedures. These products and procedures, of course, are only a temporary solution-because in spite of all the efforts in the world  you'll continue aging, but society will keep on saying, young is beautiful and it's bullshit, because we're all screwed as it is an inevitable part of life.


So in my thoughts and angry rage towards these unrealistic standards I've decided to say (pardon my French) f*ck that sh!t. 

This year, I'm embracing my birthday. I'm embracing becoming older. I'm embracing the lived experience, which in my opinion, is so much better than youth. I'm embracing my cellulite. I'm embracing the inevitable crows feet and graying hair and wrinkles and sun spots that say I've lived and laughed and smiled and some days I forgot to reapply sunscreen because I was so immersed in the living (whoops). 


If my tattoos begin to fade or distort with time, if I choose to have children and develop stretch marks, if I have injuries that leave me with scars, if I have experiences (even if that experience is simply having the opportunity to grow older) that alters my appearance-I want to be able to welcome it and be grateful for this life. 

I know this will not be easy. I know I'm going against a culture that does not agree. I know everything we are taught, nearly everything we see will say that this is the wrong approach. But in the end, I don't want to waste my life wasting time trying to regain something I can't get back. 


The question is, are you ready to rebel? Will you join me?

Lone Travel, New and Old Friends, and Knowledge Overload

This past weekend in Chicago(that ran into Tuesday-hence the belatedness) was fantastic to say the least. I got to see old friends before heading into the city, dip my toe into a moment of lone travel, meet new amazing HAES warriors, and learn so, so much from rockstars in the anti-diet realm on a topic I am passionate and curious about... Honestly, it Wiped. Me. Out. In the best way possible.

I hear about flight anxiety often, but I just want to see if anyone experiences anxiety when driving? I think I'm always a bit on edge when driving but it is so heightened when I'm driving in an unfamiliar place or traffic is fairly heavy. So driving into Chicago was not ideal. 

I did make it (and paralleled parked! Who knew I could still do that?) Then, I was on my own the first evening in town, so I decided to test my boundaries and explored a little on my own. I've never really been a tourist on my own but found it enjoyable. I didn't love the crowded spots so much, but I don't like those when I'm with someone either, so that was nothing new.

I lucked out-as it had been gloomy for my entire drive, then suddenly the clouds began to break up and I got a glimpse of sunshine while I walked around the city. I walked around-relatively aimlessly-for about two hours, just trying to take everything in, finding little quiet spots in gardens and people watching, until someone walked past me with Shake Shack and I realized I was hungry and man did it sound good (and would be easily transported back to the room).

Knowing I would be around people for the next two days straight (albeit, some of my favorite kind of people) I knew I needed some "alone time" so I spent the rest of the evening just relaxing, while sipping on my PB milkshake (arguably the best kind of milkshake), watching reruns of Big Bang Theory and was asleep before 9 p.m. and it was an epic night. Self care at it's finest. 

The next morning was the start of the Body Image Workshop that brought me to Chicago and started with an (optional) yoga workshop put on by the fabulous Fi of The Mindful Dietitian. I loved yoga before this workshop and I love it even more now. She and everyone in the class brought all the knowledge for incorporating mindfulness and yoga principles into our practices while connecting them with body image. Plus, she introduced me to chanting and it may have been the coolest mindfulness practice I have ever done. (Seriously, if you ever get the chance-even if at first your red flag goes up and you're like... this is gonna be weird and awkward-because it is, but it's even more cool. And I don't use that term lightly.) 

Afterwards, I walked the whole 4 minutes back to the hotel room to get ready for the afternoon portion and meet up with my roommate and new (we've actually met in real life and not just facebook/instagram) friend, Aubrey from Grace Fueled Nutrition-another awesome anti-diet dietitian! We got lost then eventually got lunch at Eataly before we dove into the rest of the workshop. (seriously-that place was overwhelming... and delicious.) I'm not sure that outside of the workshop the two of us stopped talking for the next two days we spent together. Whoops.

  Marci  and  Fi 's fabulous workbook and cards put together just for this workshop

Marci and Fi's fabulous workbook and cards put together just for this workshop

This workshop filled me up. It's so great to be in the presence of so many amazing people who are passionate and excited about the same things you are. It was one of those workshops where you walk away and you're like, yes, this is what I am made for, this is why I am here. 

I am so excited to incorporate all that I learned. Even more so, I am so excited to watch all those that I connected with inspire body image healing.

After such a great trip, I always expect a bit of a let down. I know after vacations the way I get over it, is by planning my next getaway or vacation. Perhaps with workshops I'll have to do something similar... In the meantime, I did some self-care on Wednesday afternoon and took a long bubble bath paired with some non-work related reading to calm my overwhelmed mind.

What do you do to get over the coming back to reality? I'd love to hear your ideas below!