5 tips for staying healthy on vacation

Ben and I both LOVE traveling and experiencing new places together, especially through food and culture, so I thought I'd share some of my tips on staying relatively "healthy" and balanced on vacation!

staying healthy on vacation - 4 tips to feel amazing and vibrant while traveling

Healthy Travel Tips

1. Make a plan in advance and decide what kind of trip this is going to be. Will you try to adhere to your normal routine? Or are you going to give yourself a little flexibility GUILT FREE to indulge in special treats?

2. Take care of yourself while traveling. If my flight isn't too early and I know I'll be sitting for the rest of the day in a plane or car, I'll wake up and squeeze in a quick workout. I also make sure to pack SNACKS!! Because airport food is $$$$ and limited.

My favorite travel snacks:

+ drink a smoothie on the way to the airport

+ pack an empty water bottle to fill up after security

+ apples

+ snack veggies like carrots and snap peas

+ Shakeo Brownie Bites!! THESE ARE A LIFE SAVER

+ nuts and trailmix

+ healthy bars (BeachBars are going to be a new staple)

On the plane, opt for water to stay hydrated. Anything carbonated (even water) will make you extra bloated with the pressure and altitude changes, so be aware! And yeah, I usually eat the plane snacks. Because I can't say no to free snacks.

how to stay active and healthy on vacation.jpg

3. Explore your destination by foot. It's easy to rack up the steps while traveling and exploring a new city. Walk, hike, go out for a run, and soak up your new environment! Don't worry too much about fitting in "workouts," if you're staying active that's all your body really needs.

healthy travel tips - enjoy the local food

4. Eat like a local. Eat as may fresh fruits and veggies as you can, but give yourself some flexibility and ENJOY local treats! When we're in Europe, I eat lots of bread and cheese. In Hawaii it was easy to find fresh food everywhere, but I also had delicious local beer, cookies, and ice cream too.

5. Give yourself grace and live in the moment. Traveling is a chance to fully live life to the fullest and make memories that will last a lifetime. Don't waste your energy stressing about gaining weight or falling off the wagon, and don't immediately feel like you need to jump into a "detox" or reset as soon as you get home. Our bodies are resilient, and if you ease back into your normal routine (maybe with extra veggies and water when you get home), your body will respond. 

I know it might sound basic and obvious, but sometimes the best way to stay healthy and stick to your wellness goals is to KEEP IT SIMPLE and stop making everything super complicated.

Healthy is a way of life, not a number on the scale. And health is not an all-or-nothing thing! Give yourself space to enjoy foods and experiences you normally wouldn't have back at home, guilt free.

Have fun!!

 

How to bounce back from a summer weekend

It’s June! Summer has officially arrived, including the whirlwind of weddings, parties, vacations, trips, and nights drinking wine on the patio.

So much to love!

Let's face the facts: it’s incredibly hard to stick to a routine this time of year when our schedules are all over the place.

As someone who thrives on routine, this can throw me off and stress me out, but this summer I’m making it my goal to find a balance between disciplined structure, and go with the flow spontaneous living.

 My husband Ben is a teacher and had this week off before he starts summer school, so we decided to take a little getaway to Galena, IL, an adorable historic town that we’d never visited before. We both love experiencing a new place through exploring its local restaurant scene and so we basically at and drank our way through Galena for 2 days and it was glorious.

In the past, I’d get back from a trip and completely freak out about falling off the wagon. I would probably feel pressured to dive into some really rigid and structured “slim down” to counteract all the indulgences and ward off weight loss, and I would freak out about feeling bloated or heavy and beat myself up for eating unhealthy food and letting myself go.

Luckily I’ve realized that’s not how I want to live! I love food and I love my body, and I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive anymore. Having the perfect body but feeling deprived is not happiness. At the same time, I do want to treat my body with respect and fuel it with healthy food! Is there a way to find a healthy AND happy balance? I think yes.

But there’s no secret formula or program to follow. Balance can only be defined by YOU, based on a combination of how you want to feel, and what foods make your body feel the best.

That being said, here is my general Healthy and Happy Sanity Plan for bouncing back after an indulgent weekend, vacation, or trip!

4 easy ways to bounce back after a summer weekend

  1. Get right back at it!
    I go right back into my “regularly programmed routine” without being too strict. I’ll wake up early to move my body, eat a balanced breakfast, make sure to get my Shakeology (superfoods) in, have an enormous salad for lunch, and a healthy dinner. I’ll make an extra effort to drink as much water as possible, shooting for a gallon. Sometimes I’ll add lemon or cucumber to make my water more fancy and fun to drink.

  2. Avoid the scale.
    I don’t keep a scale anymore, but if you are prone to weighing yourself, AVOID THE SCALE for at least 3 days. I’ve found it takes my body a little while to de-bloat and feel like normal again, especially as I get older. If you are using the scale as a tool to track your health and wellness journey, I recommend weighing yourself on Fridays!

  3. Give yourself space to mentally detox.
    Mondays after a big weekend or trip are rough, and it's easy to get sucked right back into the to-do list and fast pace of life without giving yourself time to breathe, which leads to lots of stress and overwhelm! I try to wake up early to give myself some quiet space to chill, relax, and re-ground myself, because as an introvert, a big and busy weekend or vacation isn’t necessarily rejuvenating for me, and I need time to process the experience and get mentally back on track for the week. Just like my body, it takes my brain 2-3 days to feel like I’m “back on track” when it comes to feeling confident and in my groove with my daily routine and work so I don’t stress if I’m feeling super overwhelmed the first day home.

  4. Practice patience, empathy, and self compassion.
    Release the “all or nothing” mindset around being healthy. This is a big one that my clients and I all struggle with but it's worth practicing! I think it’s human nature to feel like we have to be ALL IN or all out. We’re either bingeing or dieting. But you don’t have to live that way! Practice moderation -- next time you’re on a trip or at an event, choose a glass of water instead of the third glass of wine. Take two seconds to tune into your body before you eat. Do you really want that dessert or extra bite of bread? It’s all about baby steps and awareness. Do you catch yourself scheduling an extra workout to burn off the calories? Do a 30 minute HIIT routine or take a lunch time walk and call it good.

Summer Detox Salad

This is my go-to recipe for the times your body is just craaaaaving some veggies and fresh food! Eat this for lunch the week after an indulgent trip. It's like a juice cleanse ... except you get to actually eat real food.

  • 2-3 cups mixed greens
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 2 T red onion
  • ¼ c cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ¼ c shredded carrot
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 T pumpkin seeds
  • 2 T fresh mint, chopped
  • Cider vinaigrette

Cider Vinaigrette

  • ⅓ c olive oil
  • 1/3  c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

Reminders for when you start feeling hard on yourself:

You can’t “undo” progress, go back to square one, or fall off the wagon. The wagon is your life! Your body will remember all the workouts, healthy food, and positive decisions you made for yourself, even if you spend two weeks eating your way through Europe or gain back weight you’ve lost in the past. Keep moving forward, and keep tuning into what feels good. If you start focusing on adding more things that feel good into your life (healthy food, exercise, any mental or emotional rituals like meditation, journaling, therapy), the stuff that makes you feel yucky will get crowded out without any extra effort. 

Focus on ADDING more positive decisions and experiences into your life, instead of trying to remove negatives. If you eat a giant salad, you will be too full for junk food. It’s as simple as that. No need to make a big drama out of will-powering your way through life.

As women, our bodies are constantly retaining water, fluids, and also digesting food. We can't trust the scale. Our weight is constantly going to fluctuate 5-10 pounds over the course of the week. So if you're using the scale to measure your progress (or sense of self worth), proceed with caution and give yourself a "goal range" not just a goal weight.

Since I'm at a healthy happy weight, I decided to trash my scale 2 years ago and it has given me a lot of emotional and mental freedom, but I still don't like it when my pants are tight and I feel bloated.

But I've learned that our bodies are designed to detox and cleanse themselves. We don't have to deprive, punish, or buy into complicated "quick fix" slim down plans.

Focus on the basics!

  • WATER.
  • SLEEP.
  • LIGHT/MODERATE EXERCISE.
  • LOTS OF VEGGIES.

And you'll bounce right back.

Please remember this sanity plan as we head into summer because let's face it -- tis the season for cookouts, cocktails, travel, and living life to the fullest.

xo Anna

how to squash your negative self talk

Last week I heard a voice inside my head that I haven’t heard in months and months.

“You’re fat.”

And the crazy part is that I listened to it.

I believed it.

It’s easy to let our thoughts spiral out of control if we’re not careful.

“I feel fat” turns into “I am fat” >> “I am gross” >> “I am a failure” >> “I am unlovable” >> see what I mean? It doesn't matter whether or not we actually ARE fat. Body shaming is a purely emotional thing.

So instead of living my life and enjoying the gorgeous weather over the weekend, I allowed myself to get trapped in my own head, obsessed about the way my jeans were cutting into my belly, second guessed my decisions to eat the delicious pita bread and froyo on our date night (two of my favorite foods!!), and my overall confidence and self esteem were completely shot. Which of course rolled over into other areas of my life as well, and I started to go down the spiral of self doubt about my business, life choices, and existence in general.

I thought I had healed my body image insecurities.

I’m a 30 year old grown woman! I’ve been a health and wellness coach for 3 years, practicing what I preach about self acceptance, balance, health and happiness at any size.

I guess this flare-up was just a sign that no matter how far we come, how much weight we lose, how much personal development we do, how many life coaching or therapy sessions we have, we’re always going to have days where that inner mean girl in the back of our head tries to take the driver's seat again. Life is an evolution, not a straight line.

Just because we’ve healed old destructive thoughts or behaviors doesn’t mean they’ll never resurface, but we don't have to let them control us anymore.

Luckily I’ve come far enough in my journey to send up a giant RED FLAG whenever I start to get self critical or body shaming thoughts like this so I can stop my inner critic before she runs away.

It's easy to put a surface level band-aid on your feelings and think you just need to workout more, eat healthier (or less), or punish your body into thinness, but those aren't solutions because this is actually not a surface level problem at all.

The secret to ending body shaming and self-criticism is AWARENESS.

Yup, it's so simple, but hard because you have to actually face your feelings and dig deeper. 

Whenever you catch yourself having a body image moment or obsessing about feeling “fat,” check in with yourself: what's really going on?

By bringing awareness to my "fat talk" I started to investigate my thoughts and feelings instead of dwelling in them, and what I discovered was really interesting.

I'm still trying to figure out my relationship with food and how to trust my body.

You know that a few weeks ago I finished the Ultimate Reset. It was amazing, I learned a lot, and although I tried to tell myself I was doing the program for the inner results and to heal my gut and let go of habits that don't serve me, I can't deny that I loved feeling super lean and skinny afterwards.

BUT IT IS NOT A SUSTAINABLE PROGRAM! I can't subsist on veggies and distilled water for my entire life. I was hoping to be able to maintain my results, but it's been really hard trying to find a new balance and go from a super structured and regimented eating plan back to intuitive eating.

It’s hard to remember that I can trust my body and trust that I don’t have to follow a strict diet to feel healthy and happy in my own skin.

I want a lifestyle that includes froyo, pizza, wine, and family dinner nights.

I don't want to constantly be obsessing about my body image.

I WANT to master intuitive eating so I can spend 100% of my life not worrying about food and my body. Right now I feel confident and free in my relationship with my body and food about 80% of the time. I'm going to have to give myself more time and practice!

Body shaming, food "issues," and self critical thoughts are always a symptom of something deeper.

Right now -- lots of stuff is happening for me, and I haven't been giving myself enough space to process it all. I'm asking myself to expand in multiple areas of life, which is pushing me out of my comfort zone and creates space for all my insecurities and fears to bubble to the surface.

I'm growing into a new level of leadership with my coaching team, Inspire Joy. I'm expanding my 1:1 life coaching business, putting myself out there in a bigger way even if some days I'd rather just hide and stay small. I'm making some really huge (to me) personal and career pivots! I'm also thinking about how I just turned 30 and life is really good but I really kinda want to have a baby soon, which is scary. Things are so good, deep down I'm afraid something bad is going to happen because do I actually deserve to be happy?? Also time is flying by so fast, I'm afraid I'm letting life pass before my eyes. And watching my grandma and parents get older is making me realize that life is so short.

See what I mean?

Whenever I start to feel a little stressed or overwhelmed with life, my anxiety goes straight to either my business (I'm not growing fast enough or making enough money etc etc), or my body (I am fat, blah, ugly, etc etc).

What I'm doing this week to squash my negative self talk

  • Journaling daily
  • Prioritizing yoga 2-3 times/week
  • Giving myself more downtime (even if I feel like I'm too "busy" to chill)
  • Drinking lots of water and eliminating late night sugar
  • If I feel anxious or overwhelmed, I am sewing or going for a walk instead of mindlessly snacking
  • Reaching out to a couple of trusted girlfriends to share what's going on and get their support

Next time your inner mean girl starts bashing your body:

Give yourself some space to dig deeper and get to the root of your fears so you can remind yourself that YOU ARE SAFE. You are ok. Nothing bad is happening right now. Everything that's uncertain is going to turn out even better than you could ever imagine.

You can't expect to go from feeling insecure 100% of the time to feeling confident 100% of the time. There are a million shades of gray in between because transformation is a spectrum, a spiral, a squiggly line. It's messy. It takes a lot of grit and courage and self compassion and patience, especially on the days you're convinced your'e moving backwards.

(You're never moving backwards)

xo Anna 

p.s. here are a couple of great articles on how to stop negative body talk and how to spot body shaming!

p.p.s. want a safe and supportive community to share your journey and connect with other women who value health, fitness, and living with joy and intention? Join our Fit For Life Facebook tribe!
 

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

 

It's rare that we have over=ripe bananas in our household, since my husband eats one almost daily with his Honey Nut Cheerios (old habits die hard with that one) and I love throwing them in the freezer for my daily smoothie, but over my Ultimate Reset I swapped bananas out for lower sugar fruits like berries so last week I found a surplus of dangerously ripe bananas in our fruit basket! You know when they're so soft the stem breaks off and disintegrates into mush when you try to pick them up? Ooops!

My first thought: YAY BANANA BREAD!

I love love love baked goods, and I'm always looking for an opportunity to recreate my favorite treats into healthier versions I can eat for breakfast, snack, or dessert.

I found this original recipe for double chocolate banana bread on Two Peas and Their Pod and knew I had to try it.

The original version is not UNhealthy, but I'm trying to cut back on sugar and processed flour, so I made a couple swaps and my experiment turned out surprisingly delicious!

I used oats instead of regular flour, replaced the sugar with a little bit of maple syrup (the bananas keep this bread pretty sweet!), and eliminated the butter since I'd rather put butter on top of my bread so I can actually taste it. Yum.

Next time you have some extra ripe bananas to liberate, give this recipe a try!

Healthy Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Makes 6 servings (or 12 muffins)

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c oat flour (blitz 1c dry oats in a food processor)
  • ½ c cocoa powder
  • 1 t. Baking soda
  • ½ t. Salt

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • ¼ c melted coconut oil or olive oil
  • ¼ c plain yogurt
  • ¼ c maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ c chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350* F. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Blend all wet ingredients in your food processor (or mash together in a separate bowl). Gently fold wet into dry ingredients. Don’t overmix. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan or muffin tin. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350* F for 60 minutes.

Let the bread cool at least 15 minutes, then gently slice into 6 large pieces and enjoy!

Store leftovers in the freezer and reheat in the microwave or toaster oven.

MUFFIN VARIATION

The recipe would also make great muffins if you’re like me and can’t be trusted with an entire pan of something. Just reduce baking time to 20-25 mins. Oh hey, chocolate fix even faster!

21 Day Fix Containers: 1 yellow, ½ purple, 2 tsp per serving

How to meal plan your entire week in 30 minutes or less

Back in the day when I was living alone as a busy grad student, I knew that planning out my meals and snacks ahead of time wasn’t just a good way for me to make sure I was eating healthy. It was a survival tool so I didn’t starve when my schedule was packed to the brim!

And yet I struggled with meal planning for years. I have a type-A personality but I’m actually not a naturally organized person at all, so anything that involves planning ahead and following through is a challenge for me.

One day I found myself making a grocery list for the entire week, and realized I’d fell into a meal planning system without even noticing! Isn’t that how life works? As soon as we stop trying to force ourselves to change or adopt a new habit, it all works out on its own.

Now, meal planning is an automatic part of my weekly routine and the main secret to how I’ve been able to maintain my 20 lb weight loss for 8 years, avoid emotional eating or boredom munchies, and make "healthy" a lifestyle instead of a temporary diet. Plus I save lots of moolah by not getting takeout!

I've discovered that one of the main struggles my amazing and busy clients face when it comes to staying motivated and on track is lack of organization and planning.

I know we've all been there ... you come home from a draining and long day at work (where you successfully will-powered your way through avoiding all the candy and donuts at the office!) only to find an empty fridge and no energy left to make good decisions, so you order takeout or pizza and then feel like crap and give up on yourself once again.

If you’re ready to save time and money, squash emotional eating or that annoying takeout habit, and best of all nourish and fuel your body with delicious healthy foods all week long, read on my friend!

I've been polishing my system for literally 7 years now, and I have it down to a science. It only takes me 15-30 minutes to set our house up for an entire week of healthy meals and now I'm SUPER EXCITED to share it with you!

How to Meal Plan Your Week in 30 Minutes or Less

1. Block out 30-40 minutes (the process might take longer if it's your first couple of weeks! Give yourself time to get the hang of it).

*Saturday is a great day to meal plan and grocery shop so you can spend Sunday relaxing!

2. Take inventory + clear your fridge. What food/ingredients do you have in the house? What staples do you need to re-stock? Pitch old leftovers, expired food, and junk from your pantry that doesn't serve your goals.

3. Print out a fresh copy of the weekly Meal Planner worksheet and spreadsheet (found in my Meal Planning Magic e-book)

4. Sit down with your favorite recipe resources, but don't overwhelm yourself (e.g. choose 1 cookbook, 1 food magazine, OR 1 food blog for inspiration each week, or use your personal list of family faves!)

5. Choose 3-4 dinners for the week. Plan to double the recipes to make leftovers for busy nights or lunches!

6. Choose 2 lunch ideas. I recommend eating leftovers or a giant "fridge dump" salad - both are easy to pack for work.

7. Choose 1-2 breakfast ideas.

**Limiting your options will save your sanity! If you're afraid of getting bored, remember you get to mix things up again next week :)

8. Choose AM and PM snacks, preferably the same thing every day so your brain gets in a habit and you avoid mindless snacking or emotional eating.

9. Based on your inventory + meal plan, make a grocery list! Organize your list by category so you can breeze through the store like a boss.

Tips for Success

  • Be realistic and don't try to completely overhaul all of your eating habits all at once if you're trying to be healthier. Be prepared, be realistic with where you're at, and set yourself up for success instead of leaving your meals to chance and being forced into scary show-downs with the Hangry Monster.
  • Remember: the whole point is not about eliminating bad habits, but about REPLACING THEM with good habits so you feel satisfied, not deprived! For example, if you know you have a sweet tooth at night and drinking tea isn't gonna cut it, plan to have a healthy dessert/evening snack option to fall back on.
  • If you know you love unwinding with a glass of wine at night, save the wine for the weekends and replace with kombucha or sparkling water mocktail.
  • If you know you're going to be wiped on Friday night and order pizza, pick up a healthier frozen pizza at the grocery store to have on hand.
  • One baby step at a time!

Pantry and Freezer Staples

It helps to have emergency food stashes in the freezer or pantry for those times when you're out of food, just getting back from a trip, or didn't have a chance to meal plan on the weekend (life happens!).

  • Healthy frozen pizza (Whole wheat or thin crust, ingredients you can pronounce)
  • Frozen stir fry veggies
  • Individually packaged frozen chicken breasts or protein of choice - buy in bulk and freeze in Ziploc baggies
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Pasta sauce
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Salsa (dump in the crockpot with chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours)
  • Cans of beans
  • Canned tuna
  • Eggs (breakfast for dinner?)
     

Weekend Meal Prep Ideas

  • Roast sweet potatoes to toss into salads or egg scrambles
  • Wash and chop veggies for snacks or to throw together a quick stir fry.
  • Cook a large batch of chicken or hard boiled eggs.
  • Make a large batch of quinoa, brown rice, or your fave whole grain.
  • Bake a large batch of chicken breasts at the beginning of the week, chop them up, and keep in the fridge for salads and dinners. (Place chicken in a baking dish sprayed with Pam, squeeze the juice of one lemon over it, generously season with garlic powder, paprika, oregano, Mrs. Dash, etc, and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350*)
  • Pack your lunch and all meals for the day the night before!!!! I really struggle with this but it makes the mornings so much smoother!
  • Instead of sugary flavored yogurt, buy a large container of PLAIN Greek yogurt, and portion it out into Tupperware with some stevia or honey and frozen fruit. Keep it in the fridge and as the fruit thaws it will create a yummy sauce! I also love mixing in some oats.
  • Stock up on frozen veggies and fruit. It’s really easy to add some frozen veggies to pretty much anything you cook! Get the fun stir-fry blends.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you give my meal planning system a try.

Find me on Instagram or Facebook for more healthy comfort food recipes!

xo Anna

Is your "all or nothing" mindset holding you hostage from food freedom?

Is your "all or nothing" mindset sabotaging you from a healthy and happy relationship with food?

In my accountability group this month we've been talking about why it's so hard to make healthy a default LIFESTYLE instead of an all or nothing yo-yo cycle.

I'm super passionate about helping women create a positive and healthy relationship with food and their bodies instead of feeling trapped in an on again/off again cycle of self sabotage, so I knew I needed to write more about this!

This is a topic that's close to my heart because I've always been an all or nothing person. It goes hand in hand with perfectionism! I lived with the false belief that if I didn't go "all in" or achieve instant success with something new, I was a failure. There was no middle ground.

This applied to school, finding a job, and also with my body and eating habits!

In college I gained the typical 15-20 pounds, then lost it by senior year through running and replacing Taco Bell with Lean Cuisines. For the next several years I lived in fear that I'd gain back all the weight if I wasn't perfect with my nutrition or if I missed a workout. I would put myself on very strict exercise and eating plans, feel guilty if I went to my friend's wedding and overindulged. I was addicted to stepping on the scale every time I used the bathroom ... and then I'd use the number to determine how I felt about myself that day even though I only ever fluctuated 5-8 pounds.

I was either ON or OFF when it came to the "healthy wagon," and I'd do short term fitness challenges with Tone It Up or the 21 Day Fix. I'd spend the weekend before I started eating all the foods I wasn't "allowed" to have while on the plan, and then once I finished the challenge I'd go right back to my old ways and undo all my results.

YES this was happening even as I became a health and wellness coach!!

Luckily I realized that living in the grip of extremes and basing my self worth on my weight or eating habits was neither healthy nor something I want to teach my clients, and since then I've been able to find a true balance with my eating and exercise patterns.

I've figured out what fits ME and my body, not what society or a fitness instructor tells me I should do. I love finding new healthy recipes to try, but I also give myself some space to indulge in foods that feed my soul, guilt free. And yes I still run challenges and accountability groups, but now my focus is on teaching women habits that they can take with them into the rest of their life (as well as the mindset changes that need to happen in order to change our habits!), not just how to lose 10 pounds as fast as possible.


Signs that you have an "all or nothing" mindset

From where I see it, there are two broad types of women who deal with this type of limiting belief.

1. The Queen of Extreme

When you try something new or pursue a goal, you want to go all in and completely overhaul our entire life ... but that's a surefire way to burn out!

You decide to cut out sugar, go on a restrictive detox, lose 10 pounds, start loving yourself more, be a better (girlfriend/wife/mother/friend), spring clean your ENTIRE home, and you're full of energy and rocking it for 2, maybe 3 days until "life happens" and you give up or get distracted.

Then you feel like a complete failure, and hold yourself back from taking any sort of positive action in your life because you've burned your sense of self trust and you're afraid you're destined to fail again.

2. The Weekend YOLO-er

You do great during the week, but then on the weekends/work trips/etc it's like your alter-ego takes possession of your body and you lose all connection to your original motivation. You throw all your healthy habits out the window, experience intense regret or guilt come Monday, and it takes you 2-3 days to get "back on track." Rinse and repeat. Then you don't know why the scale never seems to budge and feel frustrated and defeated.

Sound familiar?

It breaks my heart when I hear strong, smart, and talented women saying things like "I know that food is going to be a lifelong struggle for me."

Wait, what??? That's a pretty heavy sentence to place on yourself!

First of all, let's get clear on what we really mean when we use the word STRUGGLE. I'm not a huge fan of this word because it's easy to get comfy in a victim mode.

Here's the truth: YOU get to define your struggle.

And you get to decide whether or not you're going to let something hold you mentally or emotionally captive your entire life.

This kind of struggle around our bodies and relationship to food is entirely emotional. It feels physical because food and eating behaviors are tangible things, but food is not the enemy. When you make food an enemy that needs to be restricted or controlled, that's when eating disorders (or disordered patterns around food) arise.

When you realize that the struggle is actually in how you feel and the stories you're telling yourself about who you are, you can liberate yourself with one split second mindset shift.

  • What if you didn't have to struggle with food, weight, or your body image?
  • What if you didn't have to constantly feel chained to this mysterious "wagon" you keep falling on and off from?
  • What if healthy eating wasn't just a temporary diet or plan, but your lifestyle?
  • What if you could intentionally indulge in your favorite treats for pleasure, without completely freaking out, going down a binge, or feeling guilty?
  • What if you could achieve and maintain your body's natural healthy weight without feeling constantly obsessed about food?

I don't have a magical answer or solution to escaping the all or nothing mindset, but as a recovering perfectionist I can definitely relate and I do have a few thoughts to share based on my personal experience combined with my work as a wellness coach over the past three years.

How to ditch the "all or nothing" struggle around food and healthy living

Make a decision to change

We are not victims. We can change anything we want! If you don't want to struggle with food anymore…then make the decision to stop.

You CAN reach your health and wellness goals without giving up your fave foods, you just might have to change your habits.

Here are some questions to help you pull yourself out of struggle mode and empower you to be a leader in your own life:

+ Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel?

+ What's NOT working?

+ Where will you be in a year if you don't make a change?

+ What's the BEST case scenario?

Get clear on your WHY

What's motivating you? What drives you to get out of bed in the morning? What pisses you off? If you feel like you're struggling with something, it means that it matters to you. Why does being healthy and happy matter? Dig deeper than the superficial reasons.

+ Whose lives will change when you can love and accept yourself for who you are?

+ What will you be able to do when you're full of vibrant energy, and aren't constantly obsessing about your weight or your body image?

Give yourself a destination to move toward!

A lot of times we hold ourselves back even if we really want to change, just because the struggle is COMFY for us! It's what we know.

Just because you've never been able to lose the weight, or stick to a healthy eating plan without falling off the wagon, doesn't mean you can't.

+ How do you want to feel in your body and in your relationship with food?

Re-write the stories you're telling yourself

Our realities are based on the beliefs and stories we're telling ourselves. As long as you keep telling yourself "food and weight will be a lifelong struggle for me" guess what? It will!

But if you start telling yourself things like "I am a woman who uses food as fuel to nourish my body because I love myself," guess what? Even if you don't believe yourself at first, you'll slowly start to shift your behaviors to line up with that new story.

+ What habits or beliefs do you want to release?

+ What habits or beliefs will you have to replace them with?

+ What will you have to change in order to become the person you want to be?

Give yourself an easy win to build your confidence back up

It's important to build confidence in yourself so you can trust that you're a woman of integrity who will follow through on your goals.

+ What can you do TODAY to make yourself feel proud?

It doesn't have to be food or exercise related. When you experience success in one area of life, it will boost your confidence overall. Woohoo!

Pick ONE focus at a time, then build on that!

A lot of times we make things way too complicated. When we try to change everything at once, obviously we're going to feel overwhelmed.

Embrace the baby step.

Embrace being a beginner, even if it's awkward and gives you uncomfy freshman flashbacks.

Embrace the process.

+ What is something you can do TODAY to move forward one step?

HAVE EPIC SELF COMPASSION AND PATIENCE

These kind of deep changes take time!! Just because you aren't where you want to be yet doesn't mean that you're a failure.

Whenever we are going through change, even good change, we are going to bring up a lot of our old insecurities and patterns to the surface b/c deep down we're afraid of change. You are going to swing back and forth and "fall off the wagon" over and over along your journey. 

This is not a sign that you're failing or that you aren't good enough. It's a sign that you are GROWING and changing and evolving.

Next time you're around unhealthy food options that you'd rather not eat because you know they'll make you feel like crap, remind yourself how you want to feel. Remind yourself WHY choosing healthy options matters. Remind yourself that you can TRUST yourself to indulge mindfully, then stop. You just have to build your own self confidence and trust in yourself, one day at a time, and keep course correcting!

Obviously this is all easier said than done.

Which is why we need support! Do you have a friend you can enlist to be your accountability buddy? Do you need a coach? A therapist? A supportive community?

I know you're strong, smart, and capable of anything. Don't isolate yourself or feel like you're struggling alone because I can guarantee almost every single woman I've ever met is dealing (or has dealt with) some sort of food or body image related insecurity.

If you'd like to chat more and get a customized plan of action, click here to book a complimentary consult with me! I've got your back girl, and I want to see you thrive :)

xo Anna