Winter Services

Saturday, November 4, 2017
It's that time already! The fall group is wrapping up and that means I will have availability for Winter! I'm going to do things a little differently this time around, as my education increases and as my availability changes. For this next 10 weeks, I am not going to offer a "group" challenge. I find I focus more on the individual, keep tighter track of their progress and build better relationships when it's one on one.  In this past group, I feel that the majority of time put in was trying to keep everyone motivated and on track vs actually helping them make true progress and move forward! I want that connection and trust with my clients- and I don't feel the groups have been promoting that well. This was a hard call to make as I've been having groups for over a year now! But I truly believe the one on one services will be a positive change and bring greater understanding and relationships.

If you were a group lover, no fear. I may bring another back in the future!

Winter 2017
Jan.1-March 1

One On One Nutrition Plan: 

During your 30-minute one on one initial session, I will work with you to assess your current relationship with food and your body. Including self-care, eating, exercise, and sleep patterns. You and I will develop a plan together that moves you toward your goals while promoting normalized eating and a freeing relationship with food. Each session includes an individual plan with long-term goals, actionable steps, helpful resources and email support between your initial consultation and your seven follow-up sessions.  If you have been curious about some of the intuitive eating posts I have made or want to get on the path to a better relationship with food, and discover how to do these while still having goals, this is for you!

 $95 for 8 weeks (initial 30-minute session, plus once a week follow-ups ups for 8 weeks)

Accountability Plan: 

This is for the person who just needs the extra accountability and less of the "fluff" while working towards their goals.  During your 15-minute one on one initial session, I will work you to determine and set up your goals and an actionable plan of how you are going to achieve them. Included are also four random "pop-in" accountability checks a week through the course of your eight weeks to help keep you on track. You will not know when I will be checking in, helping to keep you on your "A-game".  This is the perfect plan for the highly motivated and determined person!

$75 for 8 weeks

All or Nothing: 

This is a combination of the first two plans (initial session, 7 follow-ups, and 4 weekly accountability checks) PLUS:

Local Clients: 4 workout sessions WITH ME. They will be tailored to your ability and level of fitness and I will be doing them with you, not just watching you.

Distance Clients: 2 virtual weekly step challenges with me! Twice a week we will connect and compete in a step challenge for 12 hours that day, your goal is to beat ME in your daily steps.

$160 for 8 weeks

To register, email me at 

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Friday, October 27, 2017

This has quickly become one of my favorite meals, it's easy and versatile and so good! You can make the peanut sauce or buy it, whichever floats your boat. The veggies you add are completely up to you! The first time I made this I used carrots, mushroom, and onion. The second time I used zucchini and carrots. It's really whatever you have on hand and like! 

What you need :
Lettuce (I use romaine hearts)
Cooked Chicken diced or shredded
Veggies of your choice, grilled or sauteed
Peanut Sauce (make your own with PB, rice vinegar and soy sauce or buy it)

Cook chicken and veggies (I actually cooked a batch of chicken in the crockpot all day, then sauteed the veggies and added the chicken to it)
Add peanut sauce to the pan and stir
Serve in the lettuce wraps, add extra peanut sauce if desired)

So simple and so good! Enjoy!

Week 2 + 3

This week is suppose to be THE week. We are (fingers crossed!) getting colder weather! I'm excited silly! I have my candles ready, I've baked and froze bread, new throw blankets for the sofa, coffee, fall oils, I ordered my new fall boots and now we wait. Oh, I also had to start burning one of my candles...what can I say...dry run?:

This week held a bunch of busyness for us, starting with dentist appointments for all eight kids! Since when was going to the dentist fun? Our office has TV's mounted on the ceiling for the kids to watch TV  while their teeth are being cleaned. Not to mention the interactive waiting room decked out in pirate ships and games and a movie theater. I'm not making this up! It's great because it's somewhere I can take eight children to and they can play and have fun since we are there for 1-2 hours at a time. On the other hand, talk about constant entertainment for children.  Gone are the days of having to sit quietly in a formal waiting room for your turn, and your "prize" for having your teeth cleaned was a sticker and toothbrush. Last week my kids brought home spinners, toy monster trucks, and paw patrol puzzles! 

Sunday's are date days for us. We have a little system, every other Sunday we run and then get coffee. The Sunday's in between that, we take one of our kids out to dinner for some 1:1 time with us. Last weekend was "Sunday-runday" and this weekend we took our oldest out to dinner. 

 (hubby + I before a 4-miler last weekend) 

Our sweet and caring oldest! Seriously, she is amazing. She chose to eat at Plums, a waterfront restaurant in our town. She chose the gouda mac and cheese that was to die for. We then preceded to one of our favorite places to shop where she found some cute things before we had to pick up the rest of the crew. Date your kids. 

My kids have also been spending oodles of time outside making a fort/house. It's a full blown 2 bedroom "home" right now. Pictured is the "living room". Kills me. For one, they have adapted my love for neutrals and two, I remember vividly doing this as a kid. It's also been awesome because they have been spending hours and hours outside at a time. 

School is in full force now and I've settled into a study routine. I'm currently taking a Math, and English and a Basic Nutrition class. Next semester my course load will be heavier with a 2nd math, 2nd English, Anatomy and Physiology, Intro Chemistry, and an elective. It will also be my last semester before transferring to Eastern Michigan University which I can't wait for! Enough of my jabbering- I have recipes to post!!! 

Life + School Week 1

Friday, October 13, 2017
This week we celebrated Miss O's 9th Birthday, nine! Come March I will have three 9-year-olds! Time flies and she loved every little bit of her big day. 

I was also able to sneak away to dinner for a friends birthday the following night. Pimento burgers: my favorite "splurge-type" food ever. 

Here is rundown of how life+school went: 

The first week is an orientation week.  Read the syllabus, get familiar with the course and expectations, college policies and the like.  I was able to knock all of this out on Day 1 and immediately began working ahead in each class (so the work that I am doing now is actually not due/expected until next week and I hope to keep this up as long as I can).  On average I would begin studying at 8:30 and get in bed right before midnight. I wake up at 7am, so I still get a full seven hours of sleep this way. This worked well for us.

For those of you wondering, in the morning I look over my emails and assignments that I need to complete that day while my kids are still asleep. Then I put it all out of sight and we continue our regular day of school, gym, field trips, housework, meals, etc. until 4pm. At 4 it's downtime for all the kids and I can do whatever I please. Today I am using it to blog, yesterday I used it to complete a unit of math practice. If I have any reading that needs complete now would also be a good time to do that.  5pm begins the dinner grind (which is already prepped for at lunch time), my husband comes home and we eat, have family time, baths, prep for the next day etc. Right around 8pm all of the kids are in bed (the older ones are allowed to stay up in their rooms as long as they are quiet) and I can use the rest of the night however needed. 

(my two kindergarteners & BOB books)

There are a few key factors that I have noticed are huge game changes in the ease of this for us. 

-My youngest is fairly independent now (insert tears). I do not have babies to feed and change and chase after. I would imagine this would make it a little more difficult, but not impossible. I mean, everything is a little harder when you have a little one anyway and you just adjust. 

-We have family chores. We all pitch in around the house and get things done every day. With a family our size people assume it chaotic and messy and it's actually the opposite. We are pretty structured and because everyone has things they have to complete each day, it means that the trash is taken out as soon as it's full. Dirty dishes are rarely ever in the sink. Laundry gets cycled through really fast. Floors are swept after each meal, etc. This lifts a huge weight off of my shoulders because I don't have to do it all (nobody does), I do not have to and don't spend my days cleaning the house or trying to stay on top of the laundry. 

-My husband is really supportive. I mean, he is ALL IN. He is team me and I am team him. We help each other however we can. He has more opportunities to study at work during the day so at night he puts the kids to bed so that I can get started right away. I make sure his lunch is made the night before so that he can spend his night and morning before work however he needs to. Small things like this make a huge difference. If you are a mom you KNOW that bedtime can take over an hour some nights! A supportive husband makes it or break it in my opinion. Not a husband who just agrees and says "yea do it". But a husband who agrees and then supports you in his actions and encouragement. 

In the end, every family is different and every person is different. I have friends who are single with no children who tell me that there is no way that they could ever manage school and a family while I have friends who homeschool full time, teach and go to school full time no problem. If it's something you are passionate about you can absolutely make any situation work. 

I will be posting more about juggling it all as I get deeper into the semester- but for now it's Algebraic equations while my fam sleeps :-) 

--my typical desk view, less cluttered than normal for you!--

Health + Weight

Sunday, October 8, 2017
This morning we trekked to church and enjoyed a stop at our favorite coffee shop afterward (coffee is our favorite thing). We may travel further than most people do for everything but when the view is as beautiful as it is here, we really don't mind. Except for the fact that it takes more effort to actually be on time for everything (ok, to be fair, that is mostly because we have eight kids to get ready as well!).

The kids had hot oats with toppings before church. Mom? Oh ya know, yogurt with berries and an "energy" bite on the way to the car. #wouldnttradeit

Two things: we love pour over/drip coffee (no kuerig or fancy machine here) and who knew that there were disposable pour overs? Genius.

Second: I love these hanging bottles. As we waited for our order I studied how they were hung and I am pretty certain the only thing keeping them afloat is the knot in the rope. Where could I put this in my house?!

Now, I don't have any pretty photos to accompany this next set of info, be warned! A few months back I started reading a blog written by a dietitian not far from me in upstate SC. Frequently I saw her referencing "health at every size" or "HAES" and ditching diets. Assumably dietitians and "diets" go hand in hand, so I started looking more into HAES and ordered the book. I should clarify that dietitian does not = dieting, but DIET in the form of everything that you eat: your daily "diet".  Also that dietitians play a number of roles from working in school settings to working in the NICU to nursing homes, not every dietitian works in a field that involves weight and weight loss.

Book in hand, I was amazed. As someone who has gone through my own season of weight loss, years of my early adult life obese. As someone who aids women through their own periods of weight loss and health basics, the facts and the research behind the harm of purposeful calorie restriction intrigued me.  My entire life I've always "heard" and "known" that fat=unhealthy. With the billion-dollar diet industry and advertising, it is safe to assume that the general population agrees, if you are overweight you are unhealthy.  The HAES organization debunks that myth.

Here are a handful of facts that intrigued me the most while studying this book (which is available for you/anyone to read for yourself and I encourage you to do so!):

-We are not experiencing an "obesity epidemic". As a matter of fact, obesity rates have been the same for women and children since 1999, men since 2003. As a nation, we are all getting larger, not just in weight but in height as well. There is no evidence to support the claim that this weight gain is a crisis, and to quote the book... "our bodies have adjusted to our current lifestyle habits and environmental conditions and are now kicking in to maintain us at a new setpoint, albeit a higher one than our ancestors, who experienced different conditions."

-The idea that weight plays a large causal role in disease is unproven except with sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and a few cancers in morbidly obese individuals. The author has full chapters where she digs into all of the science, the studies, the articles and the evidence that would be impossible for me to relay into a blog post. She digs into obesity and cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis, obesity, and hypertension and more. At the end of the section about cancer she quotes the CDC epidemiologists that there is "little or no association of excess all-cancer mortality with any of the BMI categories".  To sum it up simply for you- there is no evidence or research that actually proves that being obese increases your risk for the above-mentioned diseases. Obesity has been greatly misrepresented and exaggerated as a risk.

-The only way for overweight individuals to improve health is to lose weight, is false. "Most health indicators can be improved through changing health behaviors, regardless of whether weight is lost". 

-Overweight and obese people die sooner than leaner people, also false. "Almost all epidemiologic studies indicate people in the overweight or moderately obese categories live at least as long or longer than people in the normal weight category". 

You guys, there is just so much good information in this book. I could go on and on, but if you have any interest in health, weight, diets, or nutrition snag this book and read it. It is not just chock full of opinions, no. In the back of the book the author has listed 437 references and eight pages of resources. Not to mention that the HAES studies were also government funded.

-Lower body weight and/or BMI does not equal healthy.
-Losing weight does not make you "healthier" (actually, you may be surprised to find out what kind of effects losing weight actually has on the body).
-Health does not equal weight/vice versa.
-When people say "healthy", they usually just mean "thin", assuming that "thin" means they are healthy.

*please note that these studies, research and reference is to the general population of people. Not the tiny percentage of people who are so obese they can barely walk or stand, etc. That is not the majority of our nation.* 

If you have an opinion or question or thought to share about any of the above quoted from HAES with me, reach out! I love talking about this stuff with people. Now, we are off to my nieces 2nd Birthday Party!

Part 2: HOW to Eat Intuitively

Saturday, September 16, 2017
I have been putting this one off for a little while now because intuitive eating is not a step-by-step "program" or plan, it's just a way you live and that is hard to explain to anyone (without sounding totally crazy).

In a nutshell. YOU are the best person and the only person who knows best about what to eat, when to eat, how much and what to avoid. Yes, YOU know this whether you think you do or not. If you don't believe this then you do not trust your body and your God given instincts, which is totally normal and common for most people and it's how we end up in this place to begin with.  Our natural instincts are disrupted and over ruled and disregarded and we no longer know how to eat or how to listen to our bodies. We don't trust ourselves and our body to not go crazy with food.

The basics: 

-Get rid of all of your ideas about diets and plans and programs. Be done with them. The longer you listen to a plan or a diet or diet expert about what to eat- the further and further away you are getting from being able to listen to your body about what to eat. Before you eat anything, honestly ask yourself what it is that you truly feel like eating. When you pay attention to your body's cues you may notice that your body will naturally crave foods that are nourishing and healthy. Your body is not going to tell you that it truly wants to eat 10 oreo cookies. Not because oreos are bad, but because your body knows how it will feel after you've eaten that amount of a sugary processed food.

-Eat at the early signs of hunger- do not let yourself get truly hungry. That is when you are most likely to over eat, binge, eat until you are stuffed etc. I always carry around a snack in my purse to avoid getting to that point of hunger when out and about.

-Food is not your enemy. Even sweets. Or those savory snacks. Stop labeling foods into categories of "can" and "cannot" eat or "should" and "should not" have. If you TRULY want  something, you will be able to eat it and be satisfied and move on. Those oreos I mentioned above? No, you will not want 10, but you may want one or two if you are feeling the need for something sweet, that is totally ok! Food is not good or bad, and you are not good or bad by what you eat.

-Listen to your body when you are eating. You will know when to stop eating. You will know when you have had enough and need to stop.

-Pay attention to your feelings. Pinpoint those times that you are feeling emotional and instead of eating, intentionally choose to do something else. Choose to be in control. Take a walk. Pray. Clean or organize something. Call a friend. Water your plants. Journal. With everything, sometimes we just simply have to say no and resist the urge. Food is not the answer to emotions.

-Exercise. FEEL good. Not militant exercise or doing it out of obligation. Exercise because of how it makes you feel. When you feel better about yourself and in general, this will spill over into all areas of your life.

A good place to begin is to wake up in the morning and before planning out breakfast or mindlessly eating- ask yourself what your body truly wants to eat that morning, and eat just that. Don't eat because you feel that you have to, if you are not hungry, don't eat. At the same time, don't let your hunger get too far and you get to the point where you are out of control with your eating because you are so hungry. Do not eat to the point of being stuffed- listen to when your body tells you that it's comfortable. Choose foods that you know are nourishing and healthy but also taste good.

You will find that after a while this becomes easier and easier, your body will tell you what it needs and if you are not at your natural healthy weight already, your body will begin to shed pounds naturally to get you there.

I know that this is completely foreign and crazy and opposite of everything you've probably ever done or thought to do when wanting to lose weight, and some of you may not be able to mentally let go of the dieting mindset right away which is why I have given a calorie cap to begin with, and remember that it will take time for your body to shift from "dieting" and restriction to being fed what it needs and wants. It's not an overnight change but eventually you can get out of the mental strain that dieting has on you! Part 3 to this "series" is going to be about just that: WHY do this and NOT what I/WE have been doing???

Part 1: So, what IS intuitive eating?

Friday, September 8, 2017
Over the past week I have been asking questions and taking polls, trying to get a feel for where the ladies in my group are at mentally with weight loss and body image. I have mentioned intuitive eating a handful of times and so now I'm going to begin a blog post series about "what" it is, "why" it's important, and "how" to become an intuitive eater.  Starting with, what IS it exactly?

God designed us, every single one of us, with an instinct to feed ourselves when we need fed and how much we need fed, and when given choices even what we need fed. Think of a brand new baby. They are born knowing exactly when to eat and how much to eat as needed for their growth. But our culture has disrupted that instinct and it starts at birth as well, when the nurses tell you to feed your baby every three hours. If they are sleeping, wake them up. I remember with my first baby the nurse would even take off my daughters clothing so that she would respond to the coldness- to wake up and eat.  Don't let them fall asleep eating, make sure that they are eating __ amount of ounces or feeding for ___ amount of minutes on eat side. Disrupting from birth their natural instincts to eat intuitively- when and how much their body needs. With my last few babies- I learned to tell the nurses what they wanted to hear and let my babies eat when they were ready, they never starved and they definitely will let you know the second they want to eat. I understand that there are situations where a baby may need to gain weight quickly for health reasons or premature issues or an upcoming surgery etc, and of that I am not referring to. Just an average, healthy baby.

The disruption only continues through our lives. Start solids at ___ months old, even if she shows no interest in them yet. As we get older our portions are given to us and our diets micromanaged by someone else. If we wake up at age 5 and tell our mom we are not hungry, she makes us eat anyway. Disruption. If your child is not hungry for breakfast, they will not starve to death. This pattern continues and worsens with age when the cultures standard of thinness and health begins to influence us and all of sudden, we don't know how to eat anymore. We can't listen to our God given instincts, we've never in our lives been able to. This person eats this way and look how amazing they look, this person raves about this diet or this program. It all begins with that disruption and we are here. Overweight and looking for answers, trying to figure out HOW to eat, HOW to lose weight and keep it off, trying every diet and program available only to gain the weight back.

Intuitive eating is so well described here :

"It means eating until full and satisfied; without the need to envision ‘fullness scales’, ‘hunger charts’ or chewing each mouthful in a slow, meditative trance; stopping at 80% full (whatever that is) and re-evaluating in 20 minutes. It means aiming for complete and utter satisfaction: a stomach that has no desire to eat more. It means relying on your body to gauge fullness signals well, without second-guessing or panicking about getting it ‘right’ down to the exact mouthful: knowing that if you eat too much at one meal, you will be less hungry at the next – and vice versa: that your body will sort it out."
So intuitive eating is getting back to the place where we listen to our bodies cues and trust our bodies instincts to eat when we need to eat, how much and what. Your body wants to be healthy, and if you pay attention to it- you will naturally eat when you are hungry, you will naturally eat foods that are nourishing, you will naturally stop eating when your body is "full" (and that doesn't mean when you feel full/stuffed). 
So how does this work with losing weight? First, you have to throw away any preconceived ideas about how much you should weigh based on any charts from any organization. Throw them away.  Your body will settle you into your natural healthy weight and it is most likely not what the online charts tell you you should weigh, because they continue to lower the standards of the BMI charts. 
In the book "Health at Every Size", the author writes about her time as a PhD candidate at the time the BMI standards were lowered.  Her mentor was on the NIH Obesity Task Force. The author expressed her surprise and concern about the standards being lowered (when I say standards being lowered it means that if the chart currently says you should weigh 145lbs, they are now lowering that weight and saying that now you should be smaller-etc). There was significant evidence in support of raising the standards, not lowering them. She presented her review to her mentor, which was laughed at. In the end, her mentor told her "we were pressured to make the standards conform to those already accepted by the World Health Organization." The decision to lower the standards of the BMI charts and tell you that you need to be even smaller, was made for political reasons. Not because it was supported by science or for the betterment of health.  Stop looking at charts and online weight calculators.  Also in her book she traces back further with the WHO BMI standards and it becomes even more disturbing. I cannot recommend this book enough. 
Second,  you have to accept that what your natural body weight is may not align with what YOU want it to be.  Just because YOU want to be 130 lbs doesn't mean that is what YOUR body should weigh (and is also the reason why if 130 is not your natural body weight, you will have to fight forever to maintain that weight). Often, our expectations are not realistic for our bodies OR genetics. 
If you are eating intuitively, eating when your body tells you and only eating as much as your body tells you, your body will stabilize and maintain at it's natural healthy weight. If you are 160 pounds and begin to intuitively eat, and your natural healthy weight is 150, your body will naturally shed those pounds because you are giving it exactly what it needs to do that. 
There is so much to explore in this subject and I am excited to be exploring it all alongside my current group! In part II I am going to explore HOW to start this way of life. 

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