What's YOUR Big Adventure?

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You’ve been hearing about it for months: Folk Fitness is raising money for the NC Special Olympics in order to gain the opportunity to rappel down the Wells Fargo building in downtown Raleigh. Well…we did it!

Last Saturday, our team of two went down 400 feet - that’s 30 stories - of building. It was a rush, for sure. It was exciting in the moment and also made it feel that much sweeter to be back on the ground with family. It was 1 part freakin’ scary and at least 3 parts incredible. It felt really, really good.

Want to see some pictures? Good, because I’d love to share!

Along with the hardcore Nerf player vibe we are giving off, take note of the other things that make this photo stunning, including Elizabeth's Winnie-the-Poo socks and my team shirt from the only softball team I've ever played on, "The Many-Handed Octopi."
We obviously played a critical role in decorating the float.
This is one of my all-time favorite t-shirts, btw. Of a mountain lion, and it says, "Montana," a state I have never visited. Classic.
This game was called, "Grab whatever happens to be in the backseat and wear it into Wal-Mart."
This serious group rented a house together our last semester of college. It was all diligence and study around there, all the time.
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Two orangutuans peeking out behind a bush. Because, of course.
She was wearing a Superman shirt, so...obviously...

All in all, our humble Folk Fitness team of two raised $2,035. We were part of something even bigger: this event alone raised over $100,000 for the NC Special Olympics. And many of you reading this were a big part of that: we had a total of 41 donors - Wow!

After the big event, my amazing husband put this sweet post up on Facebook:
Niki Jacobsen Torres - you are an inspiration to me. You are bold, determined, a risk taker, and full of joy. It was so much fun to see you go over the edge and set a great example for all of us to live an adventure.”

That post got me thinking…what is my NEXT adventure?

And also,

What is YOUR next adventure?

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I talk a lot about the power of small-but-consistent healthy choices, and about the importance of habit formation. But can I share a secret with you?

That stuff is boring.

Well, it can be. It can also be fun, and it’s my driving force to make it so, but still……that part? That part is the grind.

Since this weekend, what I have been reflecting on is how finding an Adventure to Live gives purpose to the grind. It gives the grind more meaning, and it better motivates us to hold ourselves to what we said we would do in order to reach that higher (and more exciting) goal.

Would you run faster on a treadmill, or if a bear was chasing you?

We all need an adventure to live.

So what does it take to find that adventure, and how do you start?

Start by dreaming big. Adventures, by nature, must be a little scary. Must stretch us a little more than we are comfortable. Must take us - dare I say it? - Over the Edge. So start there: what sounds exciting-but-slightly-out-of-your-current-comfort-zone-or-ability-level?

I would suggest coming up with an adventure on a 6-12 month timeline. Less, and it may not be too much of an adventure. More, and it’s easy to lose focus. Then how do you start? Just like eating an elephant: by breaking it up into small parts.

Here’s an Example Timeline:

  • In 12 months: Run a marathon!

  • In 8 months: Run a 1/2 marathon

  • In 6 months: Run a 10K

  • In 3 months: Run a 5K

  • In 1 month: Commit to a running program or group to train with

  • In 1 week: Begin researching marathon training programs/books/groups

  • Today: Schedule 3 days/week to begin walk/jogging for 30 minutes

Remember this: If you don’t get started, you don’t have an adventure: it’s just a wish. Move your thoughts into concrete action - start planning today!

Need some inspiration? Here is a short list of some of the next adventures I am considering in my next year:

  • Snow Skiing (I haven’t been in over a decade!)

  • Hiking up Old Rag in the Shenendoah National Forest

  • Biking 100 miles with Bike MS next September

  • Walk/Jogging at least four 5K / obstacle races in the next year with my family.

  • Going Over the Edge again next year? Hmm……

Adventures are good for the soul. They are also good for the world! I strongly believe we all have super powers the world needs us to use, and for me, fitness is about helping to better enable ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally to be our best Superhero self!

So I want to know…what adventure will YOU be living next?

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A Trainer in Crisis

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A Trainer in Crisis!

Secrets Revealed….

May I share a secret with you?

I HATE advertising. HATE. IT.

This is likely in part because I’m just not that great at it, and it’s always more fun to do things that make us feel like rockstars, right? But there’s another, deeper reason that I hate it. And it has to do with you.

I hate advertising, because I worry about how I am making you feel.

All advertising works on the basic premise that you the consumer have deep needs/wants/desires in your life, and by tapping into those things, we the marketers can convince you that we have the answers to what will truly make you happy.

Now that may feel a bit shady already, but it really doesn’t have to be. The truth is, I believe deeply in the power of fitness (and the community it creates) to make our lives fuller and better, to help us feel stronger and more empowered. So I try to focus on that, knowing that fitness really can fill an important need in a person’s life.

The problem is, selling personal training or nutrition coaching is just not the same as selling free trade coffee or a photography session. You see, selling fitness gets aaaaaaalllll up in your business and in your headspace, asking you uncomfortable questions about how you spend your time, what types of foods you eat, and whether you feel ready to make changes to support a different way of life than the one you are currently living. That’s a lot. But there’s even more. To illustrate, let me tell you about a different scenario: party conversations.

When I meet someone new at an event like a wedding or holiday get-together, at some point we will likely talk about what we do for a living. This is great - I love talking about what I do and hearing about others’ lives! But inevitably, once I mention I am a personal trainer, the conversation becomes a bit confessional, as if I was a priest and my new acquaintance felt compelled to confess to me his/her past routine, how s/he has gotten off-track, gained weight, and really needs to get back to it.

Even this is not all together “bad”. I’m all for diving in and being vulnerable with others! However, what bothers me deeply is the shame that is always attached to the conversation. The almost-need to apologize to me, a stranger.

Most of the time, I have a hard time responding in a way I feel good about. I try to make sure to say that hey, it’s hard for everyone - these are normal feelings and life situations that we all struggle with. I talk about the power of making small changes, not feeling like we need total overhauls all at once.

I say these things because they are true. I also say them because I feel these words would come off better than hearing a near-total stranger grasping their arm and emphatically replying to them:

You are beautiful NOW! You are worthy and valuable RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT!”

Folks. THIS why I hate advertising. Because when I talk about personal training or nutrition coaching, I fear it often leaves you with a feeling of shame, like you have messed up, like you are not good enough just as you are.

So can I just say right here and now - and can we all pretend I am on a mountain top, shouting my heart out in a fervent plea that you would hear me and believe it in your soul:

YOU ARE VALUABLE.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, WHOLE, AND COMPLETE: JUST AS YOU ARE.

My friends, exercise is empowering. I cannot count the number of times I have been down about everything going on in my life, and after one good workout, my entire attitude changed: nothing seemed insurmountable.

Healthy living brings energy. When I eat well, my body feels and performs better than when I eat crap. I have more stamina and drive.

I truly believe that exercise and eating well help us live more fully into the lives we are called to. To help us more easily be our best selves. To help us more easily help the people we are meant to serve. In short, to change the world.

You are so much more important than your jeans size! And what you offer is so vitally important to this world! Never for one minute doubt your value due to how many times you worked out in a week or whether or not you ate the Cheeto’s. That is never in question.

However, if you want to get into an exercise routine that you can love and have fun doing - if you would like to learn strategies that can help you incorporate healthier eating habits while still taking part in the joy that food brings into our lives - then let’s talk. Let’s plan. And let’s get started!



Who Am I and What Am I Doing?!?

Many of you know that I have been a personal trainer for a number of years now, but I haven't written too much about my journey into nutrition coaching, so I wanted to share that with you...

A number of years ago, a super-rad dietitian whom I respect posted this article: “Can Personal Trainers and Health Coaches Give Nutrition Advice?” I eagerly read the article, anxious to hear what it had to say.

That had been my dilemma for quite some time: as a personal trainer, I saw tremendous value in regular movement in people’s lives. I believed in the power of exercise to build strength, self-esteem, tight-knit communities, overall wellness, and yes, aid body composition goals. However, I had been at the training game long enough to witness again and again that a person’s weight loss goals would not be met by exercise alone - nutritional change would need to happen as well. But who was I to make such pronouncements? I was not a dietitian (which, by the way, means that someone has completed a four-year degree, internships, and passed a licensure exam, among other things), and I felt skeptical about becoming a certified ‘nutritionist’ through some random organization (since the term ‘nutritionist’ can mean just about anything and there is no particular set of criteria to become one).

Enter Precision Nutrition into my life. John Berardi is the founder of PN and was also the author of that article. The article not only helped me clear up what was in and out of my scope of practice, but it introduced me for the first time to Precision Nutrition’s habit-based coaching approach, which, as it turned out, was pretty much exactly what I had always believed about nutrition.

So what IS habit-based nutrition coaching, you ask? Well, for starters, it is just about the most UN-sexy way to “sell” body composition change! You see, habit-based coaching can’t generally lead off with claims like “Lose 20 pounds in 20 days!” or “Get Ready for Swimsuit Season in One Month!” This is because habit-based coaching focuses less on the end goal, and more on the skills and practices needed to reach that end goal. Do you want to lose 20 pounds? Great! Let’s talk about the behaviors needed to reach that goal, then let’s work on implementing them, slowly and steadily, into your lifestyle in a way you can learn to manage and maintain! Habit-based coaching works on the belief that learning to think like a fit person and make choices like a fit person will eventually lead to you become a fit person...that our long-term habits must change for that change to last, and habits ‘stick’ best when changed one by one.

So I began a really awesome journey with Precision Nutrition, first becoming certified through their Level 1 program, then beginning to offer in-person and online coaching to clients, and I am now part of their yearlong Level 2 program. Over the time I’ve spent offering nutrition coaching, here are things I have observed:

  • For most people, “good” nutrition is not a knowledge problem as much as it is an implementation problem. Sure, nutrition can be confusing to navigate, particularly with the information overload that is out there today. But for most of us, there are many things we know we can do to positively affect our diet: eat more veggies and less sugar, for instance. Focus on whole, minimally-processed foods. These gems of knowledge are not highly sought-out secrets; the breakdown comes when actually making those changes consistently in our everyday lives.

  • Much of the time, making better nutritional choices goes hand-in-hand with working on stress management, self-compassion, new time management strategies, and other things that are not expressly under the heading of ‘nutrition’. When we set out to ‘eat better,’ we don’t often think about how our bedtime affects those choices. Or our support system of friends, families, and co-workers. Or the routines we have put in place. But these are the things that often end up making or breaking the goals we have set for ourselves.

  • More often than not, clients can make amazing changes with just a little bit of guidance and a lot of support and accountability. When I look over a food journal with a client, it is usually pretty easy for them to see the changes they could make. The magic happens in talking things out, coming up with a strategy for tackling it together, and me checking in with them to see how things are going.

So if you have been on a cycle of jumping from one diet to another and thinking that you just need to find the 'right' one (something I will talk about in an upcoming blog post!), take a minute to step back and check in with some of the habits that are in place in your life. Ask yourself some things like:

  • What time do you generally go to bed, and how much sleep do you get (seven hours should be the minimum for anyone and often more is better)?

  • How much stress do you carry in your life, and what sort of coping mechanisms do you use to alleviate that stress? Do you feel you are able to cope with stress in healthy ways?

  • How do you talk to yourself? Are you your own worst critic, shaming every ‘wrong’ choice you make, getting down on yourself for your failures? How much compassion do you offer yourself?

  • When it comes to eating, do you do ‘diets’ with an all-or-nothing approach, making rigid, perfect choices for a short amount of time and then ‘falling off the wagon’ and binging for a while before the cycle starts again?.....or do you take a more measured approach, trying to make small improvements everyday?

  • Do you have a system for meal planning and prepping that is working for you? Do you feel confident with your kitchen skills to plan and make at least a few basic meals at home that include lean protein, veggies, slow-digesting carbs, and healthy fats? How confident do you feel in knowing which foods are parts of those categories without simply following a prescribed meal plan?

  • Where do you eat? How fast do you eat? Are you always doing other things while eating (like working on a computer, driving, or watching TV)? How mindful are you about the experience of your mealtimes?

These are just a few areas to stay checked in about throughout your day. Try it today, and see what you might discover! And if any of the above feels like you might want some help in bringing awareness to and implementing these habits, that’s what I’m here for - let’s talk!

The Power of Two

A few weeks ago, I was lying in bed about to go to sleep, and a text message popped up on my phone. It was from an old college friend who is still one of my besties today, with the message, “This is gold,” and this picture:

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I giggled. Aww, the ole’ college days. Elizabeth and I had the same ridiculous sense of humor, and we often found ourselves spinning off into some scenario we thought was hilarious (regardless of whether anyone else agreed), and then - clearly - documenting it with photos. That night, Elizabeth was looking for a different set of pictures, but she kept coming up with more and more photo evidence of how we spent our college years. May I share them with you? Make fun of me all you want, but we were having a blast...

Along with the hardcore Nerf player vibe we are giving off, take note of the other things that make this photo stunning, including Elizabeth's Winnie-the-Poo socks and my team shirt from the only softball team I've ever played on, "The Many-Handed Octopi."

Along with the hardcore Nerf player vibe we are giving off, take note of the other things that make this photo stunning, including Elizabeth's Winnie-the-Poo socks and my t-shirt from the only softball team I've ever played on, "The Many-Handed Octopi."

This serious group rented a house together our last semester of college. It was all diligence and study around there, all the time.

This serious group rented a house together our last semester of college. It was all diligence and study around there, all the time.

We obviously played a critical role in decorating the float.
This is one of my all-time favorite t-shirts, btw. Of a mountain lion, and it says, "Montana," a state I have never visited. Classic.

We obviously played a critical role in decorating this float (here I am wearing another one of my all-time favorite t-shirts, btw. Of a mountain lion, and it says, "Montana"...a state I have never visited. Classic).

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Two orangutuans peeking out behind a bush. Because, of course.

Two gorillas peeking out from behind a bush. Because when your gorilla impersonations are that good, you just have to show off.

This game was called, "Grab whatever happens to be in the backseat and wear it into Wal-Mart."

This game was called, "Grab whatever happens to be in the backseat and wear it into Wal-Mart."

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She was wearing a Superman shirt, so...obviously...

She was wearing a Superman shirt, so......obviously...


That night in bed, I found myself laughing out loud for the next 30 minutes at past antics, the two of us sharing texts with each other like, “We really are the funniest people that ever did anything funny,” and “We are HYSTERICAL,” and “#comedygeniuses”.  

As clever and well-staged as these photos are, what in the world do they have to do with fitness? Well…

Here we are, in February. Statistics show that 80% of new year’s resolutions fall short by the second week of this month. Isn’t that crazy? Wouldn’t you want to believe that the majority of us could at least make it halfway, or heck, even a fourth of the way into the year before throwing in the towel on the goals we made only a month before? As dismal as that percentage may be, there is a silver lining: the other 20%. And that’s where we all want to be, right? So what is it - what is the thing that separates that 20% of go-getters from the rest? While I believe there are a few important factors (that I will post about on my Facebook page throughout this month - stay tuned!), there is one I feel is the biggest...

Back to the comedic genius of those photos...as silly as Elizabeth and I each were individually, I doubt those moments would have been created solo (acting like a gorilla in public just doesn’t have the same feel to it when you are doing so alone...so I’m told). In the same way, moving mountains (a.k.a. embarking on any big project or life goal) alone can feel scary and overwhelming...but add another, and suddenly, you have a different sort of power - you are a FORCE to be reckoned with!

Ally. Co-conspirator. Partner. Buddy. Compadre. Duo. Team.

Roll through those words again...there is an excitement there, right? An electricity. Inside those words contain potential energy, just waiting to jump to action. These words imply:

“We are in this together. We have each other’s backs, no matter what!”

Sometimes, for some goals, a person’s “co-conspirator” may be an actual life partner, family member, or friend...but that’s not always the case (and sometimes it works better when it is not!). Really, your compadre just needs to be a person who ‘gets’ what it is you are trying to do and can stand alongside you: in encouragement and support, offering help when needed. To that end, the person you find for yourself could be a running partner, a co-worker, an acquaintance who shares the same goals as you, a coach, trainer, therapist, or mentor.

So what is that mountain that you are hoping to move this year? And what sort of help do you need to make it happen? Let’s be honest, none of us are islands - we are created to need each other. So reaching out for support doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human. Once you’ve figured out what you need, take one small action today to put that in place. Start a friendly challenge with friends to stay on course with your health goals (I have some friends doing this now who have been an incredible support to each other). Ask your mom to check in with you to see if you are flossing (umm….yeah...that’s me). Convince your HR Manager at work to provide fun incentives for a healthier work environment (and tell her to call Folk Fitness! I would loooove to partner on a project that brings fun wellness opportunities to offices!). And if you feel stuck about how to even begin, start by asking someone just to brainstorm with you about how to get un-stuck. Once you are OK asking for help, support can be found and the possibilities are limitless.

Here’s to persevering, together, to move those mountains in 2018!

Goodbye and Hello

Well, Folks - we made it. For better or for worse (hopefully better!) Christmas has come and gone another year - the shopping, the dining, the parties, the families, the presents, the chaos, the magic, the awesome, the sacred, the wonder, and...WE. MADE. IT.

And here we are now, on the precipice of the next year...2018: filled 365 new opportunities. Countless potential energy, just waiting for us to arrive.

This week is such an interesting one, and one that I think doesn't get enough credit. The days (weeks? months?) leading up to Christmas are generally SO hectic, and this week is a welcome break from that. Many of us are still off work or on vacation, but even if we have returned to our jobs, it is likely that the load is not as full or frantic as usual. Here we are, still in "downtime" mode, without a massive event (i.e. Christmas day) to get ready for. Because of that, this week makes for an excellent time take stock of where we are, look ahead, and prepare for the coming New Year.

Now to many, that may sound like this has become a “Let’s all make resolutions!” post, and I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a resolution junkie (I’m on Team “LOVE them!”). But this is not quite that, so stick with me.

In this Insta-World we live in, we are often much better at starting something new rather than resolving what we’ve just done. So in that spirit, I want to offer up an thought exercise to do this weekend that gives us a chance to say a proper “goodbye” to 2017 before plunging ahead. Then once we’ve done so, we can take that same spirit and dream a bit about the future. So grab a pen & paper and take a moment to think through some of the ideas below:

FIRST, start with where you've come FROM: what happened to you this year, the awesome and the hard?...

  1. What went well? What were the feel-good accomplishments, the things you are most proud of?
  2. What were the challenges of the year? What hasn't come to fruition yet, or where do you still see room to grow?
  3. What were the big events? What things took up your time and brain space & how did you feel about that?

This is not a time for berating yourself, but rather taking an honest look at the shape of your 2017 so you can use that knowledge to jump confidently into 2018. It is ALSO a time to give yourself honestly-earned props for your accomplishments - don't leave those "little" things out...they matter! You may be surprised to discover just how many books you read, or remember some small-but-significant milestones you passed. Laying out all the events of your year (many probably which were unexpected) may also make it easier for you to see why you may not have completed every ambitious goal you had set.

NEXT, look ahead to the new year. Try to imagine yourself at this point next December...what is it you hope your year would have been filled with? What great things do you want to make sure you keep with you from this past year? What is important for you to keep working at to reach your goals? What do you need to make those dreams a reality?

It may be helpful to think of this in terms of:

  • New habits / rhythms
  • Mindset and mindfulness
  • Planning
  • Creating space (i.e. creating time in your day for YOU, for exercise, for cooking, etc.)

...instead of just outcomes like, for example, “lose 20 pounds,” or “fit into size 10 jeans.”

But why is that? And why bother with this exercise - how is this different from writing down resolutions? Here’s the thing:

No matter what we call it - resolutions, goal-setting, hopes, dreams - the reality is that these things do not just happen - ever. January may feel shiny and new, but eventually sick kids happen, unexpected happens, work and stress happens...LIFE happens. These things we want...we  have to chase them - hunt them down, make a plan, alter the plan, keep at it, fall down and get back up, and (over time) these goals become ours, not (just) because we wrote them down, but because we persisted. But it starts with mindfully making a plan.

So this idea of using this week to “Say Goodbye, then Say Hello” is about:

  • Realistically looking at our lives,
  • Naming what it is we want, and
  • Making a plan for how to START.

...Not “How to arrive.” Likely, your plan may have to change a million times this year to get to your goals....but you don’t have to worry about that right now. The important thing is STARTING. Starting honestly, mindfully, and positively.

For better or for worse, 2017 is coming to a close - give yourself some well-deserved praise for making it through another year. Here’s to the journey of 2018!

Making a List and Checking It Twice…

Remember how fun making Christmas lists used to be as a kid? I’d grab a toy catalog and get to work circling every other picture with my red pen, then happily write it all out into one, long list.

Somewhere down the line, Christmas list-making became a lot less fun and a lot more stressful.

With so many presents to buy, decorations to put up, and events to attend, it’s hard to think about what I personally want for Christmas. Then when I do, it’s often something incredibly lame, like “replacement shoes for the ones that are worn out,” or “a handyman to fix our fireplace” (by the way, if anyone knows a good handyman, please let me know).

So much of “Adulting” means putting others’ needs before your own. This is not an entirely terrible idea in theory, as I am all about working to live a more selfless life. But there is a difference between selflessness and an abandonment of self-care; between being mindful of others’ needs and losing a sense of what YOU need. The reality is, we can only help others to the extent that we ourselves are healthy; so in that sense, investing in yourself is also investing in the ones you love.

Adults, UNITE! It’s time to reclaim our Christmas lists! Not with remote-controlled cars or toy trains (unless that’s your thing; no judgement), but with ADULT indulgences: splurges to make your life happier and healthier. Here’s the thing - most people find it hard to spend money on the items below; so why not ask for some of these things for Christmas instead of getting one more sweater that you only half-like? Below is a Christmas list I’ve actually ENJOYED coming up with. Some of the links below are Raleigh-specific, but the ideas can be applied anywhere:


Healthy Gifts to Ask Santa (or Aunt Etna) for this Christmas:

 

CLASSES

Classes are a chance to explore something you love that you probably don’t give yourself enough time to do...they are also an excellent excuse to get out of the house, let someone else handle dinner, and have some me-time at least once a week for 6-8 weeks. Hobby classes are awesome (I have taken sewing & cooking classes that I looooved), and regular exercise classes are always a great idea. Below are a few other movement-type ideas you may not have considered:

  • Ballroom Dancing. Admit it: you think about doing this every time you watch “Dancing with the Stars.” That is precisely why my husband just gave me this present for my birthday! Check out Southern Star Ballroom in North Raleigh.
  • Circus Techniques. These places are getting more and more popular, which is so fun! Places like Cirque de Vol can teach you how to hang from a trapeze or twist yourself up into silks! A childhood dream come true!
  • Parkour. Yeeeeessssssss…..doesn’t this sound crazy? CRAZY-AWESOME: Check out Enso Movement with locations in Raleigh and Durham.

 

EQUIPMENT

We don’t always have the time or money to make it to a gym. The good news is, it doesn’t take much to turn your home into your own personal gym. Seriously: no giant treadmills or large-scale workout systems required (but totally cool if that’s what you’re into!). There are tons of great workout programs where the below equipment is all you need (Want some help getting started? Let’s have a quick convo…). At minimum, here’s what to ask for:

  • A set (or two) of dumbbells. These dumbbells should be heavy enough to be as challenging as possible while still maintaining good form. Grab one set of two equal weights, then one more single dumbbell that’s just a little heavier.
  • A band, or set of bands. Having a band allows you to do a workout anywhere: on the go, in a hotel room, at your Aunt Etna’s house. Having a few bands on hand allows you greater flexibility when an exercise feels more or less challenging. This set is a little pricey, but they are super-versatile and I love them.
  • A mat. Not absolutely essential, but a mat makes floor work feel better than using an old beach towel or laying on your dog-hair-laden carpet.

 

SELF-CARE

Sure, everyone loves to feel pampered, but remember, this is more than just pampering: the below may be a much-needed stress relief, muscle relaxation, or brain break for YOU…

  • Massage. Lately, I have been seeing Ityra at Capital Massage for a Thai-style massage to get some extra flexibility in tight muscles. A-MAZ-ING.
  • Chiropractor. Have some lingering pain that just won’t go away and you can’t figure out what's going on? It may be something that could be easily worked out with a few visits to a good chiropractor. I can’t recommend Jess at Oak City Chiropractic enough!
  • Babysitting. Yes, I mean it. Parents, this is SELF-CARE. You don’t have to have a great excuse or a big event: ask for babysitting for a few hours to just sit in a coffee shop, enjoy the peace, journal, or do nothing at all.

 

EXERCISE AND NUTRITION SESSIONS

  • Personal Training. For many of us, classes just don’t fit into our chaotic schedules. Heck, driving to a gym might not even fit into the chaos! If you don’t feel ready to tackle exercise on your own, consider trying at-home personal training! I travel with a gym in my trunk and bring the workouts to you: all you have to do is roll out of bed and answer the door. Personal training may feel like a big indulgence for you to pay for year-round, but I have a great “jump start” package to help you feel confident and set up with your own workout and nutrition plan so you can take off on your own.
  • Online Coaching. This is an incredible way to find daily accountability and a nutrition/exercise plan for the entire year. My online coaching program starts in January, and spots are limited; if you have questions, I’d love to tell you more!

 

SUPPLEMENTS

I’ve jumped on the supplement train late in life because my general viewpoint on such things is that we should all just eat healthy foods and get our nutrients the old-fashioned way. The reality, however, is that we DON’T always eat the healthiest, and even when we do, there are important nutrients our diet benefits from getting a little extra help with. I will write a more extensive post about this later, but below are some ideas and info to help get you started on what to ask for:

 

KITCHEN MAKEOVER

If you find cooking at home extremely difficult, perhaps the reason is your environment is working against you. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • "Do I have basic cooking staples in my pantry/fridge that are included in most recipes?"
  • "Do I have kitchen equipment that makes cooking easier and more enjoyable?"
  • "Do I know what to cook and how to prep, or do I need some help learning these skills?"

Look for another post on this later in the year, but for now, here are a few cooking items to consider putting on your Christmas list:

  • A good set of pots and pans. “Good” is subjective, as everyone’s price point will differ. But if you are using the same pots and pans you inherited from Aunt Etna while in college, it may be time for an upgrade.
  • A good set of knives. Same story as above: if your knives aren’t actually cutting anymore, it’s time to get new knives.
  • A healthy assortment of spices. Spices are a great way to make cooking more fun and add variety to your dishes without adding calories. You can ask for a box of spices without even knowing what to do with half of them, then make it an adventure to slowly begin trying them out on new Pinterest recipes.
  • A pantry/fridge re-stock. If money is super-tight, it makes flipping your kitchen into “healthy and user-friendly” very difficult. Use Christmas as a way to get your kitchen ready for action by making it a gift from someone to help fill it with the essential basics. Not sure what those are? Reach out and I can send you a list!
  • Meal delivery services. If cooking every meal is just not where you are right now, online companies like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron offer an easy way to have meals delivered right to your doorstep.
  • Help learning how to prep, plan, and cook. If the main problem is a knowledge one, this is a good time to reach out and ask for help! I offer nitty-gritty nutrition sessions where we tackle whatever it is you are struggling most with and find a way to move through it. Sessions are super-practical and individualized to your life; they can take place in your kitchen or mine.

...So there you have it: your fun and healthy Adult Christmas List. Aunt Etna may be a little perplexed when you tell her what you really want (please, no more socks), but she loves you anyway.