Finding My Happy Space

Happy Hump Day!

This morning I was able to spend some time in one of my favorite places in the house: my kitchen.

While some won’t think this odd at all, I must confess that I times I disregard my love for the kitchen. Sometimes I simply don’t want to enter it for fear of dirty dishes and big messes. Can any other moms and dads relate here?

The kitchen has always been a vital part of my life. On weekends, my mom could often be found in the kitchen making a true southern breakfast, complete with biscuits, eggs, pancakes AND bacon! I also remember baking chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen and learning the bare (EXTREMELY bare!) basics of baking. The kitchen has always signified a place of nurturing. Unfortunately, as I embarked upon my weight loss journey, my love for  the kitchen dimmed.

My second confession today is that I love food! I really do :) I love crisp, fresh salads and rich, creamy soups just the same. And I can get really excited over  a well cooked hamburger too! Food has seemingly always been a passion for me, so it’s natural that I became a nutritionist. The funny thing is that with my emotional roller coaster with food, I haven’t begun to utilize my nutritionist skills until recently. Here is the very basic thing you need to understand about food: IT WAS MADE TO BE ENJOYED.

You read that right! When did food become the enemy? Ahem…..somewhere in the early 80′s when “diet gurus” starting butting in and telling us what to eat. Have you noticed something? The DIET industry is BOOMING…and so are our waistlines and worse, disease. Coincidence? Well, that’s another post entirely and it is coming :) Food is not your enemy and your enjoyment of food needn’t be martyred to lose weight. In fact, if we would learn to relax and nourish our bodies with what they need (NOBODY needs a Big Mac and fries people), then the body is more complying with letting go of unwanted weight. I speak the truth!

So, I have made a shift from killing my body in the gym to pouring my heart out in the kitchen. My husband and kids LOVE when these moments come around! My intent is to spend time in my happy space every day, preparing meals that nourish us from the inside out. So, that’s all great, but what’s in it for you right? Well, I’ll be sharing my happy space journey with you. I’ll let you in on all the happenings, including the kitchen updates and new gadgets. I just got a Vitamix (OBSESSED!) and I’m in desperate need of picking a color for the kitchen walls. All of it, from recipe remakes to failures to videos on how to ensure you shop your store smart, stock your pantry with confidence, travel light (intestinally speaking) and even make your own dressings and kimchi (oh yes, YOU can do this!).

Why am I doing this? Every good nutritionist (the GOOD ones!) have periods of self experimentation. This ensures that what is being recommended actually works. Through years of research, I have noticed the one common denominator for those seeking help to lose weight or overcome illness is this: FOOD. It’s not that our bodies are just lazy, our food isn’t working FOR us. Actually, over the past couple of decades our food has begun working against us. Any kind of workout will help most people feel better IF they are feeding themselves well. My intention is to make that possible. Eating healthful is not impossible, no matter your career choice or current life situations. Come along for the ride and get ready for vibrant health, renewed energy and all the weight loss your body needs.

From our kitchen to yours,

kitchen help

 

Michelle

 

It’s the Little Things

There is one common theme that I am noticing amongst my clients and fitness fans alike: We ALL LOVE FOOD!!!!

Am I right?

Well, you know what? You SHOULD love food. As a matter of fact, God gave us food so that we can be nourished and enjoy life. Just on a side note though, I’m not so sure God gave us Twizzlers…but I sure do enjoy them :)

I think there is a lot of food confusion going on in the more affluent parts of the world. You read that right, but I’ll explain: if you have enough food to actually cause worry over what you should and shouldn’t eat, you my friend are affluent. We worry over carbs and fats, count calories like devoted mathletes, and even wear devices that tell us how much we move because we honestly don’t know! OK, I have been guilty of ALL.

There is hope for each of us though. It’s a little something called Intuitive Eating. I counsel with this theory and have had raging results for myself and lots of clients. And guess what? We all need it so I’m going to be focusing on this for several blogs. Why? I think we need to bring the enjoyment back to our nourishment. It is the way God intended. think of the people trudging around the desert. God sent manna and I’m sure it was the best tasting, we’re not totally sure what it was, stuff on Earth! Enjoying our nourishment (should we be the ones that are not having to worry over it) is a gift, and it is my intent to bring it back.

Mindless Eating is one of my most flipped through nutrition books. the funny thing is this is not a book of calorie counting or anal retentive meal plans (there is such a thing). it is a book that brings the reality of the situation into light. We are such a get-it-done-yesterday society that we are often just stuffing food in so we can stay awake. We use it to fuel more than it actually does and we often use food for comfort as well. The sadness of this reality is that to an orphan in Ethiopia comfort food is ANY scrap that will reach his belly….

In our culture, we have recently begun to deal with the effects of too-much. Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities (all different) are beginning to run rampant. Why? Scientists speculate it is because we have never before had such a wide variety of foods available at any time, to anybody day or night. Think about it: you can now get any food delivered straight to your doorstep, no matter the time. Most of us make use of this convenience due to our busy lives, but according to scientists we have “convenienced” ourselves into a serious lack of real health.

I know what your thinking: “I can’t feed a village with MY food and my life won’t slow down anytime soon“. This may be true, but you and I are not meant to leave in an eternal food fight on Earth. We shouldn’t need a third-party to tell us what to eat. So what are we to do? Information is power and I intend to provide you with that. Each week we will discuss a small change that can be made to the diet to help bring about health. The 10 Pound Challenge will cover food in just a bit more detail, but strict meal plans are off-limits. It’s time to take back our right to enjoy our sustenance as it was intended.

So, are you up for the challenge?

Michelle

How to feed your youth

One of the biggest debates that resides in the minds of parents and caregivers usually has to do with the nutrition of those in their care. I mean, it stands to reason right? We spend a lot of our time feeding ourselves and our loved ones. With childhood obesity on the rise, nutrition is honestly the forefront of winning this ever-growing battle. As parents and caregivers we have the ability to set our children up for a lifetime of good health OR a lifetime of poor health. The choice is all ours.

So, let’s start with the basics. The first fact is that we buy the food in the house. I mean, I don’t send my 10-year-old to the store alone to pick up that weeks groceries. So, the first thing is to make sure that you are involved in planning the food for the week. Think ahead, just like you would if you’re planning a big road trip. Make sure that you have PLENTY of healthy snacks on hand at all times. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very appealing to young taste buds IF they are already washed and ready to go. I wash my fruits and veg after the store trip, then chop them up and put them into small containers. These containers are then placed in a prominent place in the fridge: EYE LEVEL. Yes, I know there are several drawers for this purpose, but when was the last time you dug into the drawer as opposed to hitting the chips in the pantry? Yeah, EYE LEVEL. The bright colors and freshness of the produce has been shown to create an immediately favorable response. That means if it’s available and ready to eat, kids will reach for it!

Another tip is to limit the amount of processed junk that is allowed to hang out in the house. It doesn’t mean that chips will never again cross the threshold of your kitchen, BUT it does mean that in the fight to better health, these foods are limited and no longer deserve permanent residence in your bread box. You and child deserve better food and better health, simple as that. So the chips, cookies and candies are bought only on special occasions. This will begin to treat the emotional dependency on food for comfort.

Potions are usually out of control for most of us. I know I can put away MASSIVE amounts of food if left to my own devices! When in doubt, use your hands as your guide. Protein will fit in the center palm, veggies take up 2 handfuls, grains are a closed fist, and fats are the tip of both thumbs. This holds true for your kids as well. Far too often we as parents give our children the same amount we eat and sometimes even more. We over feed to show love (totally different post!) and this causes a world of health issues. Stay within your childs portions and when they aren’t hungry, don’t force them to eat it all. In our home, we simply put leftover food away and if my daughter pops up “starving” an hour later, we reheat. Most times kids just may not be hungry at the time. If your child is chronically not hungry, look at the amount of snacks being eaten as well as the amount of movement between meals. Ever notice how little Timmy is famished when he gets home from school, but after a snack and some TV he’s not interested in a healthy dinner?

Last, don’t put your child on a “diet” of any kind. Children need to focus on the nutrients they get (adults too, but again: different post) and by placing children on any type of diet, we cut out essential nutrients that they need to grow. This will affect growth of healthy tissue as well as brain function. So, let the focus be on gaining more access to better nutrition and they will be set for life :)

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a fun family game that incorporates fitness into game night!

In good health,
Michelle