Last Saturday was absolutely beautiful! It's August, but that morning was a brisk 65 degrees outside and perfect weather for my daily walk. In fact, I was enjoying it so much that I walked a 10k instead of my typical four mile route.
During my walks, I think....a lot. Sure, I'm jamming to Beyonce or Def Leoppard (don't judge), but I also use that time to think about what is going on. School, family, kids....kids....kids, my business, my goals, my to-do-list, what I'm going to eat that day, is today the day I pick up the dry cleaning? You know, the typical stuff. It's what I normally do during those four miles.
But, that day, I walked six. The additional two miles I began thinking about other things that I don't typically get around to. My struggles. For weeks, I had been struggling with my nutrition. I was mentally trapped between wanting to see abs...and wanting to build abs.
Not a fun place to be. To see abs requires a calorie deficit. To build abs requires a calorie surplus. Both cannot be done. It's science.
For weeks, y'all, I had been trying to navigate this terrain by myself. I would see the scale go up a tad, freak out that I was gaining, then restrict calories to make it go back down. A vicious cycle of wanting to eat more so I could build muscles but then eat less because the scale moved.
I was frozen...and going nowhere.
Leading up to this point, I had considered signing up AGAIN for 12 weeks with a nutritionist to help me sort it out. But, I kept telling myself that it cost a lot of money, I didn't really know if I was ready to commit to another 12 weeks, I'm not even sure what my goal would be, I need to focus on homeschooling my kids, I'm too busy to deal with all of that right now, and on and on.
On this walk, I had an ah-ha moment. You know, one of those moments in our lives when a light bulb goes off....goes on? and we have this intense revelation about something. I thought about the what-ifs.
I invested in myself?
I actually got on a program and learned how to take better care of myself?
I stopped worrying all the time about food and just focused on my training? What would that look like?
I put my health first and removed this stress from my life?
One of my clients came to me with this EXACT same story? What would I tell them?
My kids came to me with this EXACT same story? What would I tell them?
And, then....the ah-ha moment. And, it applies to SO MUCH MORE than just nutrition and fitness.
I imagined sitting down and having the following conversation with my 16 year old son.
Me: "You know son, you're 16 years old now. Soon, you will start working and you will need to learn how to balance making good grades in school while managing to work a part-time job. It will be really hard. You will be tired, and it's going to be difficult to manage all the things you need to get done.
In fact, school and work should really be the ONLY two things you concern yourself with. They are of utmost importance for your future. I know you workout four days a week NOW, but the more you put on your plate, the more you just won't have time for that and you probably won't feel like working out because you will be so tired.
And, sure, you eat pretty healthy NOW, but the busier your life gets, the less time you will have to make that a priority. You will need to run over to Chick-fil-A or grab something from the vending machine...maybe even rip open a bag of Ramen when you get a chance.
Taking care of yourself will just have to wait. School and work. That's where you need to focus."
WHAT. PARENT IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD TELL THEIR KIDS THIS??!!
And, yet, we tell ourselves this all the time! We put work, kids, our spouse, friends, social events, gatherings, volunteering, anything and everything AHEAD of ourselves....and we actually think this is somehow heroic. Like we should be commended for sacrificing ourselves and putting everything else first.
Is this what you would tell your kids?
Is this what you would want for your kids?
Is this what you ARE telling your kids by the actions you are currently taking?
I want my kids to make their health a priority, and I know you do as well. I want them to eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, find activities they enjoy, laugh, find happiness, reduce stress, prep meals, enjoy beautiful Saturday morning walks, and live a complete and fulfilled life.
We want the absolute best for our kids, but are we telling them that by our actions? Do they see those behaviors in US? Do they see us make time for exercise, or do they see us make excuses? Do they see us working toward our goals, or giving up? Do they see us prep our meals, making healthy, balance choices, or haphazardly pull in to the closest fast food drive-thru because we are SO RUSHED to get to the next destination?
What you do will have so much more impact on your kids that what you say. You know this is true.
Encourage your kids to be the happiest and healthiest version of themselves and model for them what that looks like.
When I got home from my walk, I was fired up and immediately got on the computer and emailed my nutrition coach. I signed on for another 12 weeks. Later in the day, my kids asked my why I had signed up again. I told them, "Because, boys, I need help meeting my health goals. I want to really nail it at the gym, and I want my nutrition to be on point. Working with a coach keeps me accountable, and takes away the stress of trying to navigate it all by myself. I know how to do it, but I don't always do what I know I should do. Sometimes, I need a little help too." They nodded, and replied, "Cool."
So, I ask again, "Would you tell your kids what you tell yourselves?"
When people first hear that I love to do pantry makeovers, I can see a look of dread come over their faces. It's a look of "Oh, heck naw, she ain't coming all up in MY pantry! Forget that!"
So, allow me to explain what a pantry makeover actually looks like. If you invite me into your home, I can absolute assure you that there will be zero judgment. Zero. I'm not there to rummage through your things and then proceed to tell you that you've wasted your hard-earned money and that you should throw everything out. That would be a horrible mistake on my part, and one that I would never consider making.
So, what EXACTLY happens when I come to your home for a pantry makeover?
First, I take a very brief look at your pantry.
Then, we sit down at your kitchen table.
We will go over the Traffic Light Eating Method (or review it if you have already attended one of my L.E.A.N. workshops.). Then, we will go over how to read and analyze all the parts of a nutrition label. We look at everything from serving sizes to protein, fat, carbs, sugar, fiber, and end with the all-important ingredients list.
We will then review 12 ingredients that we especially want to look for and why. And, don't worry. You will get to keep the list because some of them are hard to remember!
After you have a clear understanding of traffic light eating and food labels, we will get started in your actual pantry. If you have kids at home, get them involved in the process and let them help out too! I have stickers that they can use to label items as either a green, yellow, or red light food (and don't worry - "red" does not mean "banned" or "bad" food.
After we have identified a number of traffic light options in your pantry, we will then look at the Healthy Substitutions Handout and talk about some possible substitution strategies that you can try.
It's important to remember that change is a process. You do not need to throw food away! As you work toward replenishing the items in your pantry, you will have the tools you need after our pantry makeover to know what to look for the next time you head to the grocery store.