CLIENT TESTIMONIAL/HIGHLIGHT RACHEL BRENKE

To say that I love this girl is an understatement - we just hit it off really well on a lot of different things. She inspires me every day to be the best version of myself, and boy, does she live it out. Just hold on because you're about to super inspired by this chick I call my friend. The way Rachel and I met was in a women's triathlon group when she posted last year that she was going to be doing Ironman North Carolina, and was a momma of 5 and wanted advice on whether to defer to another race due to the shortening of the bike course. 

My first thought was "okay, that one sentence is all I need-she's my hero!" haha! As I learned more about Rachel, I realized that was just the tip of the iceberg. She is a world renowned speaker with her expertise being in small business and online business legalities. As a lawyer and MBA, she is currently helping entrepreneurs all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction. She also makes all of this work while still having weekly date nights with her husband, being a loving, present, sweet momma, and THIS WEEK her priority is that she is headed to World Championship to represent Team USA. Rachel will compete in the Aquathlon at the Penticton 2017 ITU Multisport World Championships Festival.

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Through our friendship, Rachel decided to hire me for her nutrition, and I was honestly truly honored, and this is what she had to say about her coaching experience:

Katie revolutionized my eating. I tried to out run a diet with IRONMAN. Or didn't work. At all. Katie worked with me to get the right numbers. She offered grace and kindness when I faltered but helped me pick right back up. Thanks to her I'm faster, stronger and happier.

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The best part about Rachel and her transformation is that she has nothing insane or extreme to make these changes. She has taken GOOD care of her body, and her metabolism is strong. She executed exactly the plans that we had and if anything ever came up that didn't feel right, she let me know immediately and we made changes, and I'm so incredibly excited to see her in action this week at worlds.

Thankful for her friendship and her dedication to her job that inspires me every day! We are doing a podcast soon together, and can't wait to share that with you guys! 

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MAXIMIZING YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE

So, the topic of periods in every aspect is a hot topic at this time in the fitness industry. These topics range from:

  • How to keep your period
  • How to get your period back
  • How prevalent amenorrhea is among athletes and how that needs to change
  • Why it's important for health to have your period
  • Why birth control is not the answer to the lack of a period

The topic that I want to cover today is how to maximize your cycle to your potential, and what to know about it to help ease your mind in times where you might not be feeling as good, and to relax into that. I wrote an article about periods back in 2015 and if you want to check that out, you can find that HERE. It's about how important it is to have a period, but also why I think it's important to look at your situation individually, try not to panic and work through it with a reasonable outlook to get your period back and be a healthy vibrant kick butt woman! There was a study done in 2010 on endurance female athletes about the presence of low bone mineral density and osteoporosis and the appearance in over 30% of the patients. That makes it apparent that this is something we NEED to be talking more about, but again, the regaining of your period is not today's topic. A really useful book for this topic is: No Period, now What?

One last word on that topic is that you do NOT have to give up everything to be able to get your period back. Yes, that is the simplest way most likely because the amount of stress on your body is clearly too much, but you can do things in a way to continue doing the sports that you love and staying healthy, BUT I DIGRESS...

In my previous blog post, I did not go over the entire cycle and how much things change throughout the month and what to be aware of. It's important to recognize that even if you are not having a period, your body is still going through these cycles most likely, and most of the time this is in a 28 day window (weeks 1 - 4). This can vary and if you want to make goals in conjunction with your cycle then you can chart your temperature and your cycle to have a better idea of when you are going into the individual stages of hormone variation and performance.

There are two types of women who will read this blog:

  • "Oh, this will be fun! Let me track this and see if I can see a difference in my training!"
  • "Oh god..something else to worry about and track and IT'S JUST TOO MUCH!!!"

If you are #2-just don't read the blog-seriously-it's not worth it to worry yourself with something else, but it's interesting if you're interested! ;)

I'm going to keep this short, sweet, and TO THE POINT. Y'all, this is so exciting and interesting. Buckle up!

So I wanted this to be super simple, and think that it will help you to keep referencing this chart as you read along with the recommendations for each week of your cycle and what your hormones are doing during those respective weeks.

So I wanted this to be super simple, and think that it will help you to keep referencing this chart as you read along with the recommendations for each week of your cycle and what your hormones are doing during those respective weeks.

The first two weeks of your cycle is your follicular phase. The first week of your cycle is your actual period. This is when your hormones are both at the lowest coming right after your PMS week and once your menstration occurs, you should start to feel much better, less water retention.

  • Week 1 Training:

Give yourself grace in that you're bleeding and that's no fun but know that this is a week to start to capitalize on the exertion that you are able to give while your estrogen and progesterone are lower. Aim for maybe some slower tempo runs or solid strength building blocks during this time.

  • Week 1 Nutrition: 

                 **higher insulin sensitivity but lower metabolic rate (lowest at the end of week 2 going into ovulation)

                  **Increase carb intake but keeping calories moderate - your body will utilize the carbs for the increase amount of endurance during this first week than your PMS week prior   

  • Week 2 Training:

This should really be the best week of your entire cycle in terms of training. If you are someone who knows your cycle well, then you should let your coach know this in order to push your heaviest weights or your hardest speed drills / tempo workouts during this week.

  • Week 2 Nutrition:

This is when the egg is going to drop going into ovulation and when you are the most fertile. There will start to be an incline in estrogen and follicle stimulating hormone and is a great time! You should feel your best during this second week nutritionally as well as your metabolism starts to speed up (your core temperature is higher), and you are still insulin sensitive so aim for higher carbs.

OVULATION-

Wouldn't it be aperfect world if we could aim for a PR on these days when we are at our peak of wonder womanhood? Be careful though-injury risk is very high during this time ! (Hint: click that link if you wanna see the abstract from the study)

The second two weeks of your cycle is the luteal phase, with the final week of this cycle being your "PMS" week.

  • Week 3 Training:

Things are not going to feel as good as they did. You probably can even notice that workouts the week prior that seemed easy now seem hard, and the efforts of your workouts should decrease due to potential for injury with your estrogen decreasing and your progesterone increasing. Every article on this topic will tell you to do yoga during this time, but if you aren't a yogi and you're a runner or a strength athlete, it's just important to know that these two weeks are when you should be relaxing more, just getting in base mileage

  • Week 3 Nutrition:

Core temperature starts to rise (higher metabolism) but with reduced insulin sensitivity and more insulin resistance. You'll be able to eat more, and burn more calories, but you'll be better off if those calories come from fat and protein and reduce your carb intake during this time. If you are doing less stringent endurance type efforts, then this actually can be a really great time to lose fat (specifically this third week).

  • Week 4 Training:

It's just going to suck and that's okay. haha! Your heart rate is going to be higher during your workouts, your breathing is going to be more labored. You will benefit most from easy runs, low impact strength training and preparing your body to be able to utilize the following 2 weeks.

  • Week 4 Nutrition:

The trickiest part of this week in terms of nutrition is that your serotonin is going to lower, therefore your cravings for carbs will be higher. Your mood swings are cray cray, and you are holding water like a mother trucker. It's important during this phase to at least try to aim towards higher calorie foods that are mostly higher in fat. You should always have carbs, so don't mistake this for saying to go keto, but simply just to recognize what is going on in your body and moderate your carb intake with the increase in cravings.

I could say so much more on this topic and it's so so interesting. Women have it ROUGH is all I have to say about that, but you CAN do things to benefit from this cycle. So, I know that the hot topic has been GETTING that period, but once you get it, let's make it to our advantage! #GIRLPOWER

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The Beauty within NO GOALS

So the last post that I did was all about goals-pushing forward in the sight of pain just for all of those goals - new goals each week, each month, and each year! Well right now I'm sitting on my bed at 5:30pm on a day when I had plans to be in the gym running on the treadmill about to take a nap, and you know what? I'm okay with it! 

I even said in the last post "Who knows how long this will last?" because I didn't know. I want to always listen to how I'm feeling. I want to always be a voice of reason to say it's OKAY if you have an off day, an off week, and heck, it's okay if you have an off year. Maybe there is A LOT going on and races and goals are not something that is even possible for you. 

This is me-not hitting goals.haha!

This is me-not hitting goals.haha!

I think that, of course, social media shows all the highlights, but no one gets online to say "I skipped a workout" today without it being a big post...LIKE I'M DOING RIGHT NOW. 

It's like it's not okay to just skip your workout and it not be a big deal. Well, I've skipped like 7 this week. I legit have like not run this week going from 80 miles/week. Is that weird? Probably. Am I burnt out a little? probably. Will I make it to the marathon? Yep. I've done this enough times that I know that I'll pick it back up next week, my body will practice some muscle memory and the runs will suck at first but my body will rest into it. 

Yes, I appreciate those that never miss a workout, and I really think they are awesome. I think those that set PR goals for every marathon are my idols, but it's just not me. I just can't function that way. And I wanted you to know that if you are that person then that's okay too. We are all made differently, and need to know that the world can't revolve without it. 

Did you know that I didn't know sub 3 was a thing until instagram? I didn't even know 3:30 was what would get me to Boston until like 3 years ago when I did my first marathon and someone commented on one of my pictures that I could probably qualify on my first marathon. I was like "oh really? I wonder how you qualify for Boston. I've never even thought about that before." 

And now here I am 3 years later, running WAYYYY more miles than that, and some days wondering why the goals just get bigger and bigger. I know we have to progress, but when is enough enough? ya know? I have a 3:05, but yet I want more? That's totally fine as we should all strive to do our best and get better with each marathon, but also if you aren't feeling your goal one week, it's also okay to just take a nap after work and not run because #life. 

I've always been a huge goal oriented person. I feel like I can't really thrive in life unless I have some big goal that I'm working towards, but Tanner is the complete opposite. He wants to get better at the things that he does, but it's more long term. He's not like SOLELY focused on goals. He just lives, and if he doesn't feel like doing something some days...well he just doesn't. He doesn't miss things in life due to #grinding and he just is such a good example of balance but also working hard when needed, such as right now when he does have a short term goal of passing a board certification exam. 

Honor where you personally are at! And don't be ashamed if you have to take a step back and re-evaluate. Don't be ashamed if you change your mind 20 times. Don't be ashamed if you feel that the goal that you set for yourself might have been a little too big to reach. Keep working hard, developing your character, but also living your life to your enjoyment. Goals are there and hobbies are there so that you can enjoy them and when they aren't fun anymore, then that means that you need to re-evaluate things and decide next steps moving forward. 

Lastly, we should always be evolving and changing and becoming who we truly feel is right for us in that season of our lives. It might mean that in last season of life you were pushing for PR goals in the marathon and this season of your life, you are barely able to keep yourself afloat with your job, and you need to recognize that it's okay. It might be that you just simply changed and aren't enjoying what you're doing anymore, and that's okay too. You don't always have to keep yourself in one box. You might X out one box only to move back into that box, and you need to just be okay with the evolution. 

I've been wanting to write a blog about passion, and about how to harness your potential and really be living on fire every single day but I thought this was so much more appropriate-the REAL stuff of life that is really hard to work through sometimes! 

Just so you can be on the lookout, my next post is going to be about the different stages of your female reproductive cycle, the weeks that go along with different training and nutrition approaches and how it all plays a role in being a female. It's a super hot topic right now and I think it's important to recognize what you can and can't do within that to maximize your potential. 

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How to Push When You're Tired (Mentally and Physically)

I got an email yesterday that asked me to do this blog and it was very timely because I was going to write a blog about something else this week but I thought this was a GREAT topic so I thought I'd share what has worked for me.

This training cycle has actually really pushed me physically and mentally especially in the past 3 weeks. My job wasn't exactly full time until last week and I hadn't kicked up coaching again (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE being more back in the game and focused on coaching and growing my business again). I also have had a lot of orders with World Hunger Project and continuing to work that as much as I possibly have the time for as it's a huge passion. I don't say all this to say "Oo look at me I'm busy" because that is SOOOO overdone and outplayed and we are all sick ofhearing how everyone else is so busy. The reason I say it is just to say "Shew, I'm a bit tired but I'm still making training work and prioritizing it enough to get it done."

Also, it's worth noting I've never done that in the past. I've shared many times how I skip frequent workouts, but with this training cycle and wanting to get in a certain amount of miles per week to be able to build them safely and efficiently, I have finally dedicated to a training program and stuck with it. And it's a lot.

I think that the first thing for me is recognizing that it's a choice, and it's not overwhelming. I know that sounds contradictory because for some, they need the pressure of a race to get them out of the bed, but for me, I get really overcome by the "overwhelm" emotion. If I'm overwhelmed, I get really anxious and I feel like a slug and suffer from the "sit on my couch and watch Netflix instead" approach while I work through my anxiety of the thing that I'd actually planned to do. So I have to be able to chill out and recognize this is FOR FUN. JOT THAT DOWN. THIS IS FUN. WE ALL NEED A CHILL PILL! ;)

The second thing that I do that is related is that I detach emotion from things. I think that being able to control your mind and your emotions is not only helpful with being tired but still staying motivated, but also just a general life rule. I've shared in the past how before race days, I just don't think. I literally don't think about a marathon until I'm doing it. I don't plan it out either with paces and such. That stresses me out. I have to pull all emotion from it. If I start getting nervous, I will like meditate and stare at a wall and think "wall wall wall wall" to come back to my center and clear my brain. I stay super busy before long runs. I don't stay on my feet, but I busy my mind most of the time with work or blogging and am sitting down to do so. This helps you to not be mentally tired when a big training day arrives because you haven't let yourself get all emotionally invested in it.

The third thing that I do is "don't think, just do." This is part of detaching emotion and thought from things, but this has taken some practice and time. When my alarm goes off at 4:45 to get in my first run before work, most every morning I want to die a slow death and hate running (lolz). I'm a morning person, but I am NOT a morning workout person. Ever. Never. Never. I JUST started this with my new job because I have to. BUT, I bounce out of bed. IMMEDIATELY. No ifs, ands, butts and no choices given-UP UP UP! Once I death march out of my room hating life (#dramaqueen), I know that my change of clothes is waiting in the bathroom and I basically sleep walk through the motions of changing, walking to my car, and driving to the gym. I don't even allow myself to think. I just simply roll my body through the actions even to the point of those first steps on the treadmill. I keep my full out stank face mean mug face on because I do not have the energy for small talk at 5am. #BYEFELICIA Once my body finally gets moving, I am able to sink into my run while reading my Kindle and I'm good. Don't think. Just act. And then I have hot coffee or tea waiting for me when I get home because my husband is an angel and I'm like PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW! (and 6 miles is down for the day by 6:15 WOOOO).

I know that if I don't get out of bed, then I'm not going to make my mileage for the day because I'm definitely not running it all in the evening and I'm doing doubles most days to get in the mileage that I'm doing, so I'm either in this or I'm out of this and for right now, I'm in it. Who knows how long that'll last? LOL!

I practice the same tactic at night after work when I'm doing my second run. I know I have to do it IMMEDIATELY after work or I won't do it, so I walk in, change, and head RIGHT back out the door before I can even think about what I'm doing enough to get tired.

I've realized that in order to have energy, you have to forcibly create energy. It's like when you are at home all day in your sweatpants and then a friend says "Hey you want to go to the bar tonight?" Yea no thanks...I'm gonna just keep watching Netflix. However, if you've been busy all day then it sounds much more fun. It's the same thing. In order to move and get your body out the door for those runs, you have to go from one thing to the next creating and harnessing that energy to propel you forward. Don't allow your mind or your body to get tired? Just.Keep.On.Trucking. And then at night-CRASH. That's my approach.

I know this is going to sound like crazy talk, but it's important also to focus on your "center." I've read a lot about the psychology behind really sticking with goals, and continuing forward with goals, and you have to be able to focus on the short term and the long term. You know that your goal right now may be to complete this run, but the long term goal is that marathon that you want to do. Know that in order to do the marathon,  you HAVE to do the mundane day to day. You must feel the importance of that, while also detaching emotion, and just complete the small non stressful tasks day to day.

The last thing that I want to touch on because it does affect things is your diet, and hydration. I know that if I've ate crap, I am NOT energized and the last thing that I want to do is go for a run. If you have an important run coming up, then I won't give you tons of dietary tips but just rather eat things that make you feel good and that you know are going to be hydrating and cause you to have an effortless run.

NOW GO CONQUER THOSE RUNS. MAY YOU RUN AND NOT GROW WEARY - MAY YOU RUN AND NOT FAINT! (lol!)

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8 Marathons - 8 Different Training Plans

I was thinking about how much has changed since I ran my first marathon and how differently I train. I was thinking about how there is utility behind the training that I'm doing right now, and I am enjoying it but at the same time, I reminisce the days in the beginning when I didn't even know that sub 3 was a thing and completion was the only goal. There's stressors on both and I'll never forget the nerves before those first long runs (I still get butterflies every week), and how much more serious I was about NEVER missing a run. I also was running much less so I do think that it was valuable that I didn't miss the runs that I did have planned. 

The book "Grit" is not about athletic performance but much can be related. In one section a man says that he has been continuously running for years but never seen progress so what gives? Without even being a runner, the author asked him "Well what have you been doing to get better? Are you just running every day?" and he says "Well yes I guess so." I have a lot of people come to me and say their paces have never gotten better but they take winter and summers off and just run random races here and there and the training is not specific. It's just running miles. For you to get better, you have to have a specific training program tailored to you and your goals. Here are some of the different ways that I've trained. 

1st Marathon: Philly Marathon (3:27)

3 days per week running / 4 days per week lifting 

8 miles, 6 miles, long run, repeat - long runs alternate between long (12 miles) and long long (14-18 miles) - no 20 miler before race day - no specificity of training - no tempos no speed work 

2nd Marathon: Grandfather Mountain Marathon (3:51- but it was up a mountain)

4 days per week running/ 4 days per week lifting 

8 miles, 6 miles, 4 miles, long run - long runs alternating as before - no 20 milers before race day - no specificity of training - no tempos no speed work 

3rd Marathon: Charlotte Marathon (3:15) 

5 days per week running / 3 days per week lifting / just completed Ironman 70.3

Added speed drills & tempos 6 weeks out, one 20 miler

4th Marathon : Boston April 2016

Ran 4 days per week / Lifted 3 days per week - injured like 98% of training but it was Boston and wanted to make it to the finish line - didn't feel the injury at Boston nor any day after Boston - it magically disappeared???!! lol 

Ultra - 36 miles May 2016 

When I went to Boston I basically thought that I would have to give this race up because of the injury but then I was fine, and just did one more long run after boston and then did the ultra. It was one of those "Eh what the heck?" kind of things, and I ended up really enjoying it. 

5th Marathon (at the end of an ironman): Ironman NC 3:42 

Training consisted of zero strength training, capped at 50miles/week of running but this was in conjunction with 100's of bike miles and twice weekly 1 hour swims (intervals one day / steady long swim on another) - I also fell apart by the end due to starting the marathon too fast, and ended up walking like 2 miles at the end! ha! To be expected really! 

6th Marathon - Myrtle Beach Marathon March 2017 3:05 

6 days/week running (peaked at 70miles/week) + 3 days/week lifting (only one 20 miler and one 18 miler) - speed work started 4 weeks out and tempos 6 weeks out 

I've learned that if I add in speed work or tempos when I originally start my programming before getting a good base then I ALWAYS get injured so I just wait until right before

7th Marathon - Boston April 2017 4:05 

What a flop of a race after coming off the high of Myrtle Beach- literally 6 weeks after my PR of 3:05, I got a 4:05 in Boston - but we all know that race was just insane and I'm glad I even made it to the finish line to be honest - what a memory and one that I can't seem to shake and not sure that I'll be going back to Boston this year 

8th Marathon - Chicago Marathon Oct 2017 

This is obviously what I'm currently training for and I'm doing high mileage (~75miles/week at this point) added in tempos 2 weeks ago, adding in speed work starting next week - I do have a side left glute pain after my tempo this week (I'm telling you it NEVER fails when I do any sort of speed work I ALWAYS end up with something -it's hella frustrating so I'm going to monitor that this week and go from there- I know I had a tiny quad thing last week and that's gone so with high mileage training like this you just have to take it day by day and assess if it's actually a thing or not a thing lol). 

Goal Time: Sub 3 

If you look back, my training has scaled up and my times have scaled up accordingly. I used to do no specificity running only 3 days per week for that first marathon and each PR goal marathon (Philly, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Chicago), I have progressively gotten better, learned my body more and what works for me, and trained accordingly. 

I also have learned that I don't enjoy the pressures of a PR race. It's just not me. I have the rest of my life to try for them here and there, and this was the year of the marathon so I'm giving it my all, but next year is the year of just enjoying endurance and I probably won't do much specificity at all unless I just feel like it right before the races and will be doing much less mileage just to be able to get to the race day and enjoy. 

You choose how you want to train and the times that can be expected accordingly. I don't expect big time goals next year but I also will know why! :) 

Future Next Marathons & Races & Training Plans:

Myrtle Beach Marathon March 2018 - 40-60 miles/week peak with speed/tempo work 4-6 weeks out adding strength back in (not high mileage like I'm doing now at all)

 Ironman Maryland Oct 2018 - 12-14 weeks of keeping baseline running fitness up from running up until 3 months out and not starting tri training early because I burn out on this (would begin training July 9th probably (13 weeks out) with 2 weekly swims (one interval, one long), 2 bikes per week (one interval, one long), and 4 runs per week (variation of distance) with 2 lifts (lower/upper)

NYC Marathon Nov 2018 - I AM SO SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS RACE!! I will probably do like 1-2 long runs with 2-3 middle week mid distance runs coming off the Ironman to just glide into this race and just enjoy it - literally ZERO time or PR of any sort even to be contemplated! Could care less and just want to enjoy my favorite city in the world <3

I try to give my clients the same respect I give myself which is grace when you aren't feeling it, motivation when you need it, and writing every workout with the intention of YOU personally behind it and not the things that work for me or that work for others but what personally works for you to get to whatever your goal is whether that's finishing or PR! I do have some slots open if you are interested. Here is some info on this. HERE and HERE

This was fun to think back on! What's your race strategy of choice? 

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All You Need To Know About Pharmacy

I know I've shared a little here and there about my job, but I actually get a good amount of emails about how to get into pharmacy school, what all it entails, should you go that route?, how do you get into the field that I'm in (considered ambulatory care), etc etc and I started to just make an instagram caption and then that got really long really quick so here I am! :)

So, I'm just going to do it in a Q&A fashion so that's easier to answer!

  • How do you get into pharmacy school?

You do all of the pre requisites, take the PCAT (the standardized test for pharmacy school), apply through PharmCas to the various schools that you choose, and then do the interview process. There are some that are able to get in after two years without an undergraduate degree. I got in after three years but I do not have an undergrad. I do however have a doctorate. Pharmacy is weird like that and I suspect that soon in the future, it will change and you will need an undergrad.

  • How long is pharmacy school?

It was a 7 year path for me. 3 years undergrad, 4 years pharmacy school. All pharmacy school is 4 years however. 3 years didactic (classroom) and then 1 year on rotations/clinicals where you are able to "try out" different areas of pharmacy and see what you like. Tanner did one year residency after pharmacy school which is called a PGY-1 and is general. If you want to become more specialized, you would do a PGY-2. Specializations opens up doors just like in anything, and it's almost impossible to get a pharmacy job in the hospital setting with a residency at this point. Some get lucky but that's rare. Tanner got a more specialized position in oncology without that second year residency mostly because when we went to NYC, he worked at Sloan Kettering which is one of the top cancer centers in the US, but he still feels he could benefit from a PGY-2, soooo we will see what happens. haha!

  • Is pharmacy school worth it?

Yes and no. It just depends on you as a person. I hated school. But I look back now and that was so immature. I was such a drama queen and needed to chill the crap out. But I was young. My biggest thing is just that they give WAY TOO MUCH MONEY to you when you are so young and don't even know the gravity of the debt that you are incurring and that it could potentially follow you for the rest of your life. Because there is only one public school in NC (and I'm pretty sure it's the #1 school in the nation - Chapel Hill), the odds of getting in there are small. Kudos if you did. But private was what we did. And private is HELLA EXPENSIVE, so both Tanner and I both came out with crippling debt, so while it is a secure, great career and we both have found niches that we have great hours, it NEEDSSSS to be talked about more than it is because the salary we make does not offset the debt from private institutions.

Also, the world of pharmacy is shifting and changing, but I do think that it's stable. There is always a bubble and a bust with anything, but right now it is so saturated and therefore it's hard for graduates to find jobs. There was a need and a demand therefore tons of places opened up pharmacy schools (plus $$$$ is made) and now there are way more pharmacists than there are jobs. So, then it just gets more and more competitive and everyone is going to have to have a residency, etc etc. When I was in high school, there was talk of sign on bonuses and cars given. HAAAA NEGATIVE.

Speaking of debt and the income made - the amount that pharmacists make because of the supply/demand situation is less than it was 10 years ago but the world has definitely had inflation, so that's not to say that the salary is not still great, I just think it's something that needs to be considered. Will this salary stay the same for 20 more years? I don't know.

  • What are the different paths you can take?

So, I will get to my job in a moment, but I wanted to explain the different paths you can take in pharmacy. There are TONS but I'm going to address the major ones

#1- RETAIL - this is just your typical walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid

Retail pharmacists make the most (and these salaries are legit googleable so I mean whatever I'm just going to be frank here) ; Salary: approximately $115-130K - this varies state to state. Retail pharmacist also "work the hardest" if you will. Honestly, it can be a very toxic work environment, pushing pills to make money from the corporation, etc etc. I'm sure some love it and get a great job but it's HARD HARD work so they are compensated for that.

(I know that you're thinking about the statement above about the debt versus the income and I'm sounding like a brat here, but I want to point out that Tanner and I combined had $430,000 in debt coming out of school. I just wanted to be open and honest about that here, so that people truly know what it looks like because we had no clue going in).

Hospital "basement pharmacy"- this is much more chill as you are not dealing with the public but it could end up being potentially boring depending on where you work ; Salary: $90-110K (dependent on so many factors)

Hospital specialties - this is someone who has done that second year residency most of the time ; Salary: ~ $115-120K

Industry "big pharma"- SUPER DUPER hard to get into (like 20 years worth of experience type thing) ; Salary : $150-200K (again-it varies so much)

Those are the big ones. My job is very rare. My company is very rare, but it is the "way of the future" with pharmacy if you will. It's focused on outcomes and changes that don't have to do with medicine. It's based on prevention of heart attacks, strokes, etc by managing patient's meds, making sure they are taking them, understand them, they don't interact, and are making adequate lifestyle changes if they so desire and if not, then what do we need to do to prevent an event. This saves money for employers and insurance companies because the meds/lifestyle change is a lot cheaper than insurance for open heart surgery.

  • How do you get into my job setting?

If you are interested in this area or whatever area that you are interested in, you need to (most of the time) aim your career towards that from the beginning. You need to plan on most likely doing a residency (my path was very different in that I created my own business therefore my company found that to be of extreme value) but you need to set yourself apart in some way.

Do rotations that are geared towards ambulatory care, which is the technical name for the area of pharmacy that I'm in. Do your elective courses in topics related to this: lipids, diabetes management, blood pressure - 

Also, get involved with the initiative towards the legislation to make pharmacists providers so that we can bill for these services through insurance because right now, when you go to see a physician, they bill for a visit, but when my patient's come and see me, the insurance companies do not designate us as "providers" therefore the only loop hole is the fact that we have data to show the counties that we work with that it's worth their money. I offer this service at a cash price for people that find me on my blog to do a full medication review along with chronic disease state management and lifestyle counseling, but it's expensive and I would LOVE to be able to offer this service with patient's using their insurance in the future. 

With all of that said, I absolutely love my new job. I gave more details about the specifics of my job on my instagram post so if you want to check that HERE, you can do so! :) I am so thankful for the men that own this company to value me. It truly means a lot. I also read the book "Grit" this week, and I'm so inspired to continuing through the years to grow myself in this field of outcomes based ambulatory care pharmacy and marketing. We all don't have to be changing the world overnight, but if we commit to our goals that we will get there no matter how long it takes, and don't let the failures set us back but rather just learning curves, then we can ALL reach those big goals. 

So, with all that said, if pharmacy is something that you want to do then I think that you should go for it. The years are going to pass anyway so it's better to be growing and learning and changing versus staying stagnant right? Maybe you applied for pharmacy school and didn't get in? I didn't get in my first year, but here I am in my dream job. Sometimes it just takes time, and relaxing into that. Maybe you applied for a position like mine but didn't get it? Keep honing your skills and know that it is your end goal and that you aren't going to stop until you get there.

Tanner wants to be a highly specialized oncology pharmacist. He would love to be one of the best in the country (he'd kill me for saying this). That doesn't mean he's arrogant about it. Not at all. He just works step by step day by day making little inches of growth towards that. He is working on research and he is working on becoming board certified in oncology at the present moment. 

We talk a lot about how expensive pharmacy school was and how we didn't take that serious enough at the time when we were paying big bucks for it. What an incredible opportunity to get to go to school and learn? I wish I could go back through my late 20's (much more mature) perspective vs just wanting to get done. There's so many amazing things to be learned in the world of medicine and I want to fill up my brain with as much as I can! :) 

If you're a pharmacist and want to share your thoughts below, feel free to do so! :) 

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Passion + Integrity + Purpose

So, it's been a while since I've talked about passion or purpose or any of those things and how deeply I feel them and how much I think that it's important not just for the sport or activity in question but just by committing to these things, it creates character traits and optimistic viewpoints that you can carry with you in other times of hardship or trials of any kind. First off, it's August and how the heck did that happen? I was scheduling a patient three months from now and said "Wait, three months is November? That can't be right." Um, turns out-that's right.

So, this year was a year of HUGE change for me which led me into a season of intense "figuring out my ish" and it wasn't easy. I truly do finally feel that I'm at that steady point, back on the peak, back loving life. Part of the reason that I struggled during this time was lack of purpose. I didn't go from one purpose to the next, but rather was just in limbo. I am someone who wants to be working hard towards a goal and I'm very goal oriented.

I poured that into Chicago training basically, and it made my anxiety immediately reduce. I know yall probably think I'm a little bit crazy when I tell you that I just HAVE TO HAVE something, but I mean I was spending weekend days on the couch just like twiddling my thumbs I had so little to do, but I fell into this spot of like also not wanting to dive into anything because I didn't want to just do something to just do it. I wanted to FEEL the passion and the purpose to propel me forward.

I also know I've leaned out with all this running and plan to continue eating more to not be so lean (eek)

I also know I've leaned out with all this running and plan to continue eating more to not be so lean (eek)

I found I truly missed the connection with the blog. I kept trying to fight it because I had "quit" but then I thought "This is dumb. If this is something that you enjoy, then this is something that you should do. Period." I just enjoy sharing my life, the evidence in health and running related topics, and all the fun that blogging brings. I also have found a company that really values me, and I'm a huge part of their team now, and it's one of those jobs where you're like "Yep. I'm gonna work for them for 30 years" kind of thing, and I am so so thankful for that. I have had some HARD HARD pharmacy jobs in the past. I won't go into details, but Tanner just kept saying 'Dang girl, you can't catch a break' just from like boss/coworker experiences/work environment. So even if I wanted to feel passionate about pharmacy, the work environment was toxic and I never could.

I've also really enjoyed buying work clothes hehe

I've also really enjoyed buying work clothes hehe

The amount of purpose and passion that I feel for what I do now is like everything has come full circle. I think sometimes that happens in life. My life has just kind of tumbled one thing into another and I've never had to think about what I do. The "thinking about who I am" season that I had was so so hard and tough and messy but man was it fruitful. It really changed me and made me so much more confident, so much more purposeful and passionate knowing that I've landed and while I may change, my drive towards what I am doing both in blogging, coaching, and pharmacy will not.

It took me so long to find the integrity of my work. When I was just blogging, I also didn't have it. I felt like when people asked what I did, I didn't know what to say when they knew I was a pharmacist. Like, oh I am a pharmacist, but I do run coaching. I mean no one cares but me, but that's the point. It's my life, and if I care, I have to change that and be okay with it. I will not be able to have passion without my purpose being completely fulfilled. I know that it seems crazy like "Katie, you can't work all the time" and I know that. I don't, but the combination of both is what has made me feel the most alive.

I keep joking I'm manic/depressive (I know that is no joke to even make because I truly am so serious about mental health issues) however I truly had exhibited those types of behaviors small scale over the past few months, but you know when you can fail forward and then look forward and say "Okay I know that's behind me now." I was texting Tanner yesterday about how thrilled and passionate I feel about life and blogging and evidence based medicine in conjunction with nutrition plus pharmacy and training. He texted back that he feels that I've finally exited the season of anxiety and into just "mania". I am a naturally optimistic, make everything into a joke kind of person, but I have NOT been that lately....at all. As usual, through thick and thin, sickness and health Tanner stood by me, encouraging me, crying with me, hugging me, and at times also being very frustrated with me as I found my way.

This is literally me reading the part of my vows breaking down about how he's been there for me during this awful season when I was so unlovable. I'm tearing up seeing this photo too. Sheesh.

This is literally me reading the part of my vows breaking down about how he's been there for me during this awful season when I was so unlovable. I'm tearing up seeing this photo too. Sheesh.

Basically I've been that analogy where I was a square peg forcing myself into a round hole. It just wasn't working no matter what route that I took, and now I'm in the place where I know that I can just focus not on who I am, what I am, but just the growth and grit in the work which I LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I know that life is not about work and it's about relationships, and I think I kept coming back to that as well and feeling like a jerk that in spending more time with family and even friends and still feeling like my well was completely dry. Guys, that sounds awful, but we have to know that we are who we are and in order to be good for the people around us, we MUST be passionate about the life that we are living. We must water our own garden before we can be fruitful for others. That doesn't mean a job, because some don't have them for various reasons (stay at home mom comes to mind which of course IS a job but you know what I mean). We must be doing something for ourselves that allows us to be WHOLE for them.

Farmers market comes to work every Tuesday! I love it!

Farmers market comes to work every Tuesday! I love it!

We have to believe that what we are doing, we are doing with integrity. We have to know that what we are doing is right and it feels good. And sometimes, we find ourselves in a position where nothing is of interest and so we sit on the couch, watch tons of Netflix, joke about it, but really feel empty. We pray and those prayers feel like they just flop on the floor in front of us even though we know that's not the case. We can tell ourselves to LISTEN, but then we hear crickets. It's tough, y'all. These mid 20's ain't no joke of a time in life.

I also entered a season of knowing that this is in fact the time that people start having children. In the mix of all this madness, the LAST thing that I wanted to move towards was kids. It's literally like getting married because you think that's going to solve your problems, so "oh katie's bored and feeling purposeless-lets's have kids." No. I just refused. I wanted to find ME wholly, completely, passionately, purposefully, and with integrity and THEN I could move forward with bringing another human into this world. I want my future daughter to be like "Hell yea, my momma knows who she is." (and that's not in ANY way saying moms don't know themselves-I just knew for me personally it was the furthest thing from what I needed)

This is vulnerable, but this is what I do. I share my life, and for whatever reason when I release the energy into the world and hit publish, it gives me a high. It feels like such a release to say "wow. here's my heart yall. i'm a mess but i made it through"

I'm so thankful for this space to share my life, and I'm so thankful for those that keep coming back even though I said IM QUITTING and then have kept going and plan to continue and not stop and if anything, grow it more. Deleting katiesfitscript instagram however was THE BEST decision and I have no plans to reopen that. I want the people that are there not to be a number. I want them to WANT to follow me. Organically. Fully as I am. Genuinely. I do however plan to pursue online entreprenuership, coaching, blogging, and speaking opportunities and there's something to be said for saying "You know what? Maybe I goofed up. Maybe I did some rash things out of mid 20 mental crisis but I'm owning that truth and confident enough at this point to not NOT do something that I love just for pride of feeling silly."

I look to the people that have supported me and I look to the people who have brought me down, and I think "Wow. How did I ever let the negative nay sayers have a voice?" They just don't matter. I don't expect it to be what it was, and I expect it to look different. I am much more mature, I am much more organized, I am much more confident and changing the structure and organization on my end to provide the utmost coaching experience, I am screening nutrition clients so I know that we are RIGHT for one another. So many other things.

I needed this time. I needed this break. I needed this change to fully step into who I could be with passion, integrity and purpose.

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WHAT THE HEALTH [DIABETES EXPLAINED]

One of the biggest hang ups for those that are trying to debunk "What the Health" is the explanation of diabetes, and from a medical perspective, I just wanted to explain everything and what they meant, and their belief. As I have mentioned in other blog posts, a full agreeance across the board medically on just about every single topic is never going to happen so it is totally within the right of a professional (or a critically thinking individual) to say "You know what? I don't think that I agree with that and I agree with this instead" and that is okay. It is important however to look at the data from every angle and decide which party that you agree with. I feel it's pretty common knowledge that you also have to keep an open outlook on who funded the studies, yadda yadda, so that you know if there is bias there. 

Many times, there is a certain group of medical professionals in the "plant based" sector and they are ALL the same physicians. This creates this round robin of evidence, and causes everyone to think they have an agenda. They all started on their own, did tons of their own research and came to these conclusions therefore they all collectively have come together to try to get the word out. What else would you expect them to do? They aren't lobbying. They are just real people who are passionate about these topics. Many of the articles against "What the Health" say that they are cherry picking evidence to support their argument. I mean if we are getting real, don't we all do that? There are meta analysis and systemic reviews that try to collectively look at all of the evidence and it's important to look at all of that, but at the end of the day if you are trying to make a point then you are going to reference a study that supports your case. DUH. 

However, I also think that it's important to look at all of the evidence from every side including those "debunking" articles and look at the literature and data that they present as well and come to a decision that you feel is best for you and what you believe. We all have personal choices every day on what we eat and drink. So, let's get to it. 

Diabetes is a complex metabolic process if you get down to the actual mechanism of it which involves genetics and environmental factors that all come together for a sh** storm if you will. Diabetes is never something you want to have, so prophylaxis of diabetes especially if you have family predisposition or a creepingly higher A1C is a good plan. At no point in this blog do I want it to sound like I'm miss smartie pants and know it all, and many things that I may say, you might already know but I'm going to keep it as simple as possible so everyone can understand. Typically, when you have your blood drawn, they will take a fasting blood glucose and an A1C which is an average of the past 2-3 months of blood glucose levels, and it is more complexly measuring the amount of hemoglobin in the blood that has glucose attached to it, so it's sometimes called "Hemoglobin A1C". 

If your A1C is 5.7 to 6.4 then you are in the "pre diabetes" range, but honestly if your at 5.5, I think that you definitely need to start taking caution. Anything 5.6 and below is considered normal however. 

Want to know my opinion on type 2 diabetes and how to "cure/reverse"? This might not make anyone agree with me, but I think it's the super duper extremes in both directions. I will get to the physiology of this, but I think either a super low carb, high fat diet or a super low fat, whole foods plant based diet. The reason that I recommend/believe in the whole foods plant based diet is because of the things that come along with a low carb, high fat diet which are high cholesterol, cardiac disease, certain cancers, and "inflammation" (I really hate that term inflammation-it sounds so bro science but there are some things that are inflamed so we are gonna stick with that). However, the low carb diet seems to be the one of choice because of the short term effect of the effect of sugar on fasting blood glucose levels without getting down to the nitty gritty mechanism of diabetes. LEMME EXPLAIN! COMPLICATED ORDER. 

In "What the Health", in the very beginning, the physicians immediately throw out this blanket statement and even one rolls his eyes and says "Diabetes was never caused by sugar." And boy, did that set people off? I do have an issue with this statement because it's frustrating when you have such a position with such a huge documentary and you don't explain to the general population the nitty gritty of this because then it just makes it out like you're an idiot pushing an agenda and they aren't. They are basing this off evidence. He does explain and with a cute little graphic how the receptors are blocked by fat and then there is glucose in the bloodstream. Those receptors are insulin receptors and insulin is what allows the glucose to be shuttled from the bloodstream into the muscle cells which is where we want them to go! When they are blocked, insulin resistance happens. 

So, low and behold, when you eat sugar, your blood glucose levels go UP. And that makes sense. We have known that for a long time. But it's important to note a few things. This is short term, and it's also the fact that most of the time, we say "Oh I ate awful for my diabetes last night and had ice cream and cookies" and those things ALSO have terrible sources of fat in them as well. 

{{Another note here is that we do need fats, and we especially need fats as women for our hormonal health. This is where things get so confusing for most. So I don't need fats for diabetes but I also need fats for hormonal health as a woman. The scientific answer is that it's the type of fats and research has proven time and again that there is a difference in the sources of fat that you eat, however then it gets all muddy with the psychology of things because who eats perfect all the time-NO ONE! So then are we gonna track our fats forever? No. Are we only going to eat perfect fats? Most people NOT. So, then that moves into intuitive eating which isn't the point of this post, but you get the point-We all have to decide maybe even which issue is apparent in our lives at the moment and start there. If you have a chronic disease state then I do think that it's important to be knowledgeable and informed on the dietary changes that you can make to help yourself, while also not being coocoo for co co puffs obsessive about it). 

If you continue reading this and you're thinking "Man, that Katie. What an idiot. She's so stupid and has some many typos in her blog posts and hasn't got a clue about what she's talking about and this fat causes diabetes bs is idiotic", then hey! That's warranted. There's probably tons of typos and I hope you can get around that because I'm doing my best to compile all of this info. Here is a great example of how highly distinguished people in a community with high levels of research done and levels of education can have two totally different opinions. 

Here is a paper about how there is one diet that is best for all and it's really well written and interesting: https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2013nl/feb/pritikinarticle.pdf

Here is an article about the future of nutrition bioindividuality and how there is not a one-size-fits-all: http://mobile.foodnavigator-usa.com/R-D/Measuring-nutritional-status-makes-for-improved-nutrition-DSM

Am I allowed to agree with both? Who knows? But here I am. Okay back to diabetes. 

So how is diabetes caused by fat? 

I truly do want to keep this as simple as possible

Glucose wants in our muscle cells. Diabetes is higher levels of sugar in our BLOOD STREAM (wants to go to muscle cells). The glucose transporter attaches to the insulin receptor and INSULIN is what allows GLUCOSE into the MUSCLE CELL vs the BLOODSTREAM. When you eat fat, an intramyocelluar fat which breaks apart and then blocks the pathway of allowing INSULIN to allow GLUCOSE into the MUSCLE. I know I didn't have to make those all capital but I think it helps distinguish? No? Ok. haha! 

So, the next question that comes up is: 

But when you eat sugar, your sugar goes up so how does that even make sense? 

YES, and that's why it's so complex because you have to work in the extremes because if you just eliminate fat for one day then that's not going to totally reverse your diabetes therefore any sugar that you do eat is going to be blocked by the pathway not allowing insulin receptors to attach to the insulin therefore the sugar is still going to remain in your bloodstream and causes your sugar to go up. 

So, do I lower fat or sugar or both? 

Alright, so as I stated at one point, I think the best option for complete or near complete reversal of the disease is found in the extremes. If you go on a whole foods, plant based diet then you should see results in your diabetes within a few weeks. In all the diabetes classes, you are taught to eat a low fat diet, and the above explains why. However, that doesn't mean that you need to be pounding high sugar either. You want low glycemic index carb sources (healthier carbs) with some calorie deficit as well to reduce your adipose tissue. 

Next argument: 

SO THEN IT'S CALORIE RESTRICTION AND ANY KIND OF WEIGHT LOSS EVEN WITH ANIMAL PRODUCTS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!?

No and yes. If you restrict your calories and you lose weight, most likely your A1C will come down. If you decide to go the high protein and high fat route, then you are setting yourself up for other disease states in the future whereas the high carb route is clinically shown to work and you can eat in abundance, have tons of vitamins and minerals and reverse all diseases. When you eat a low carb diet, your blood glucose levels are low and your A1C is low, so they say that your diabetes is cured but the truth is that you still have the insulin resistance in place. The second that you start eating carbs again, your blood sugar will go right back up. AND WHO WANTS TO GO THE REST OF LIFE WITHOUT A CARB IF THEY ARE DIABETIC?!?! 

Next point made:

But animal protein is not strictly fat? It provides a great protein source!

From my perspective, animal protein consists of protein and fat. That truly is it. Animal protein components have been shown to cause many different disease states (again I feel it's so inadequate to JUST say that but I don't want this to get too lengthy) and fat is what we are discussing in reference to diabetics. I genuinely just want this blog to focus on the PRIMARY diet for diabetics specifically.

All of these topics bleed into one another therefore by talking about this, I feel that I should address high cholesterol as well, but I only wanted to go into this topic today. I don't think the documentary was perfect as nothing in life really is because I'm a total realist/skepticist when it comes to most everything, and I fully believe in a lifestyle of moderation. I come from the deep south, and everyone I know around me is going to eat meat forever no matter how great of an advocate that I am, but I do think that it's important to know the science that we have. I also hope that if you feel you disagree or have literature to support your viewpoint that you challenge me in a respectable professional way not "YOU'RE SO FREAKIN STUPID AND HAVE NO CLUE YOU CRAZY VEGAN WITH YOUR PROPAGANDA!" because I'm not crazy and I'm only like 82% vegan because I suck. LOL! 

UNTIL NEXT TIME... 

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BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

So, I've become quite the reader lately. It's interesting to come back to his part of me because as a child, I literally would never stop reading. I was obsessed as a little kid until I got so involved with sports that there just wasn't enough time, and I played sports traveling year round and then three sport athlete in high school plus as you can expect, I obsessed over grades (and boys cough cough) so reading has taken the back burner for a really long time. I forgot just how much joy it gives me, and there is not many things that give the satisfaction like reading a good book. I'm going to take you through the books that I've read, and the ones that I plan to read, and I'm going to rank them. This is going to be an arbitrary ranking system based on just about nothing, and be warned that I almost always like every book that I pick up so my recommendations might be higher than others. With TV shows, podcasts, and movies I'm the same way-if I watch it, I normally think it's great! haha! WITHOUT FURTHER ADU! 

MERE CHRISTIANITY

There's a lot of hype behind this novel by C.S. Lewis, and I think that it most definitely delivered. It's about his conversion to Christianity and all the thought process that went behind that. I will say that when I got the book, I was expecting the full reasons for her conversion, but I also would say that you have to be a Christian already to appreciate this novel because it seems that he answers the questions of Christianity with bible verses and well, if you were someone that didn't believe the bible, that wouldn't add up. However, it also felt really cool to see into the mind of C.S. Lewis after growing up with Chronicles of Narnia. 

RATING: 7 (eek that feels so mean and low lol) 

BIG MAGIC

This book is absolutely fantastic. I just loved it. It talks about the creative spirits within us all and how none of us truly hash that out most of the time due to the subconscious fears that we have, and how to move past these and just do what makes you happy even if it doesn't make a dime because we always relate things back to money and that's not what this life should be about. I truly didn't expect to love this book this much but I loved it. It made me want to continue to pursue photography which I've been doing just for the pure love of the art and no other reason. 

RATING: 10

THE CHINA STUDY

Oh gosh yall, I loved this book specifically because of the way that it was written. It looks as if it's going to be a textbook. I read it while in Miami and my best friend was like "WTF are you reading?" haha! But it was written so well to where I legit could not put it down. Obviously, I'm super interested in nutrition, but wow. It's about the plant based diet and his experience in the food industry of propaganda and lobbying. I'm adult enough to know that while I'm in agreeance with The China Study, there is an entirely different group of professionals that are against this book and many articles saying that it's skewed cherry-picked data. We all have the right to our professional, critically thought out opinion, and mine aligned with this book so I think I probably double loved it for that reason. 

RATING: 10 (I told yall, I give high ratings lol) 

COMMONWEALTH

This is a super popular book right now, and it is definitely a great one. It's about a blended family situation and I think that the only way to put it is that this book just feels like real life and so it's so easy to relate to. I will say that it's hard to get into just because there's nothing that really pulls you in but by the end, you can't stop reading and it's hard to get a popular book these days so BRAVO to the writer for this one.

RATING: 8 (the beginning was just really hard to get into for both me and brandy) 

HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT? 

I did an entire blog post on this. I won't belabor the point. This book is so good. If you're an athlete or really anyone that likes to work hard for your goals, READ DIS BOOK.

RATING: 10

THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F***

OBVIOUSLY, don't listen to this audiobook with kids in the room and if the f bomb offends you then you've been forewarned but I think you could gather that from the title. I honestly really loved this book. I reference is quite literally almost daily now with Tanner and felt it had a really big impact on the way that I live my life if I'm being honest. I know that I'm in the years where I'm coming into my "own" and accepting who I am and this book just allows you to rest in that. Like, it's okay to not care about some things and care about others and not do things you don't want to do. That doesn't make you a butt hole. You just are allowed to be you. I loved it. 

RATING: 10

ALL FEMALE COMEDIAN BOOKS

  • Yes, Please - Amy Poehler

This was my least favorite of the three. Amy talks a lot about how much she didn't want to write this book and how hard it was so I just feel it was forced and coming up with stories that weren't that interesting to fill a book. She is a lovely lady though and it made me like her more throughout the book but just wasn't some great book haha! 

  • Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick 

Anna just has such an inspirational story of how hard she worked and how poor she stayed to be able to chase the dream of becoming an actress and how she still feels like a nobody with all the stars that she's been able to meet. She's really cute and I loved hearing her story.

  • The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo 

This is the best of the three in my opinion. Amy Schumer also has had a lot of awful stuff happen to her (family affair, verbal abuse, physical abuse, fat shaming, etc etc) so I think that it really allows you to feel emotion with her as she tells her story. She also REALLY enjoys sex and talks about that a lot so if it's on audiobook, just be warned with kiddos! ;) 

I will say that I know that all of them are comedians but sometimes I felt book jokes were forced just because they felt they "had to be funny" like a line about kids followed up with "I can't even keep a plant alive" ... I mean "hehe haha" but sometimes the jokes just weren't that funny and cliche. HAAA! I'm such a hater. 

MAGNOLIA STORY

Oh Joanna and Chip, how you make everyone fall in love with you and your life and your love story. They are just so great and reading their story from start to finish makes me love them even more for how hard they have worked to get where they are. I think another wonderful part about them is that they don't pretend to have it all together. They talk about their flaws and how it makes them beautiful and complement one another. They are like #relationshipgoals as it gets! 

RATING: 10

INTO THIN AIR

This is about the most deadly summit to Everest where many died and many were injured. I know what you're thinking... that must be a gripping novel of pursuit, and honestly...not really. I felt like it was a story that could have been told in like 10 pages, but he wanted to write a book so the beginning is hard for me to get through where he talks just a lot about climbing and all of the different attempts of other people to summit in the past. I just think I don't care enough about climbing because Tanner loved this book, but I have to admit that it was not my favorite and I was glad when I was finished. Regardless, it was such a horrible experience for all of them and something that really shook up the climbing world to which I'm sure all of them are still affected today. 

RATING: 7

HANDMAKER'S TALE

Yall. Yall. Woah. This is a "futurist" novel about the government taking over the US and it becomes a totalitarian nation and the "handmakers" are those that can bear children for the women in power that cannot, and essentially they brainwash/force/rape them into having the leaders babies. They use scripture to justify the things that they do, and honestly I was a bit disgusted. It was "good" but also very weird. I mean I guess it's one of those 1984, "could this really happen?" things and that's absolutely terrifying to think about, so I'm going to just not. People murdered, abused, forced away from families and all by the government-WEIRD.

RATING: 9 (uhh it was still so good even in it's weirdness)

GRACE NOT PERFECTION-Emily Ley

This book is just so pretty and cute and has great life advice. It's not anything that you couldn't read in like a blog post, but I adore Emily so I loved every page. She's such a pure hearted woman and hearing her story of her start to where she is now was such an intriguing story and worth the buy for sure. I love supporting women like her anyway so I was happy to purchase this pretty book. 

RATING: 9 

INTUITIVE EATING

This is a book that I believe every women should read at least once in her life. It really has some revolutionary things to say about food, and I think that literally everyone could benefit from it whether fit or not or whether you are a healthy minded fit individual that has no interest in intuitive eating-you should STILL read it. It's a great great book. 

RATING: 10

THE ATONEMENT CHILD (Francine Rivers) 

This is the same author of one of my favorite books "Redeeming Love" and she definitely has a way with writing that will keep you captivated from beginning to end, however I will say it was very very predictable. That didn't stop me from wanting to read the entire thing, but I just pretty much knew how things were going to end up from the very beginning, even just based on the title. From a literary sense, is that a bad thing though? I don't think we need a shock factor in every book for it to be good. It was still great! 

RATING: 9 

Okay, I'm going to do one more explanation and then just tell you the other ones that I've read because this is getting long. 

THE NEW JIM CROW

As stated in the beginning of this novel, it's not for everyone. It's not for someone who is going to come at it with a suspicious conspiracy theorist eye, but rather a heart. I really feel it's so important to read these types of books. It really shakes up my white privilege and the things that I have been so fortunate to be given just by the color of my skin. It's EXTREMELY well written by a very educated author and I can't say enough good. If you are into racial justice, then you'll really like this book and appreciate it's efforts as well. 

RATING: 10

Okay, the other books that I've read with ratings are: 

  • The Passenger (Lisa Lutz) - 8
  • A Long Way Home (Movie: Lion)- 10 SO GOOD SO MANY TEARS
  • Two by Two (Nicholas Sparks) - 6 (maybe I'm too old for his novels lol-super cheesy)
  • Blue Like Jazz - 8 similar to Mere Christianity but better IMO! 
  • While the City Slept - 8 ! great book on mental health 
  • Brain on Fire - 10 another mental health book SO INTERESTING!!! 
  • The Good Girl (Mary Kubica)- 10 thrilling! 
  • Harry Potter #5 (working my way through)-10 out of 10 because it's HP AND #OBSESSION
  • A Life without Limits (Chrissie Wellington)-10 ! ironman athlete's story and SO inspiring 
  • How Not to Die (Michael Gregor)-9 another vegan one and such great info! 
  • Finding Ultra - 9! Rich Roll's book on plant based eating and .... finding ultra ;) 

I TOLD YALL I'VE BEEN READING!!! LOL! That's 27 books. I'm so proud! 

Documentaries: To the bone (eating disorder film-rating:8), What the Health (blog post coming soon-rating:7)

Books I have on my list to read next (I'm also competitive so I'm like #LETSDOTHIS to see how fast I can get through them all hahaha): 

  • Harry Potter #6
  • Same Kind of Different As Me
  • The Wonder
  • Girl Boss
  • Being Mortal
  • A Man Named Ove
  • Irresistible Revolution 
  • Small Great Things
  • Devoted: The story of a father's love for his son
  • Rich People Problems
  • The Kind Mama
  • Sure as the Dawn 
  • Peculiar Children
  • Echo in the darkness
  • Voice in the wind
  • Meaning of Marriage
  • Natural born heros
  • Reconstructing Amelia
  • The light between oceans
  • Everything everything
  • Nowhere Near First
  • How do you kill 11 million people
  • Good as gone
  • Chasing Grace
  • Surfacing
  • You and me Forever
  • Beautiful Ruins
  • Four Agreements
  • The gift of imperfection
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Into the water
  • Lean in 
  • Jenny
  • Grit
  • Outliers
  • The Nightinggale
  • I know why the Caged Bird Sings
  • The Stranger Beside Me
  • The Woman in cabin 10 
  • The couple next door
  • What she knew
  • The vanishing year
  • Unravel
  • Necessary Lies
  • Behind Closed Doors
  • Into the Woods
  • Fearless
  • Supernatural Birth
  • Big little liar
  • The Secrets of my Life
  • Talking as Fast as I can 
  • I Can't Make This Up
  • The little book of Hygge
  • Nothing to Prove
  • Black Edge
  • Anna Karenina

 

 

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Life & Training Lately

I know that I've given updates here and there about my training but I thought I'd dive more into the specifics of where I'm at, and what I'm planning on doing moving forward even post Chicago. For the first training cycle basically ever, I'm able to train at a high capacity and have not (knock on wood) had any sort of injuries. I have this slight pain in my left middle quad this week but I'm hopeful that it's a big muscle group which is highly vascular so that this will work itself out without having to worry with it too much. When these things arise, as they always will, I typically scale back my pacing and if I need to take the day off, well then of course I do that. I am never one to obsess over a missed workout. I truly don't care. I do like a million workouts. It'll all work out haha!

With that said, I do get really excited these weeks about racking up my mileage, and don't like to miss because it's just fun and encouraging and motivating for me to keep this thing going. I literally cannot believe I've made it 11 weeks so far into this and now I have 11 weeks to go. I have went to the beach and to Miami and kept up my high mileage, and have slowly scaled up from 50 miles per week to 75 miles per week last week (and 75 this week). As you can see, 50-75 miles is not THAT many more miles, but I have done it over the course of 11 weeks. I'm taking this slow with a huge base. I added a tempo last week and I'm going to do one probably Thursday with the hopeful notion that my quad isn't hurting, in which case I won't be doing a tempo. Many people are different, but I know for me personally, I value just the time on my feet vs worrying about specific workouts, but that's also never what I would plan for someone else. You have to learn your own tricks.

Starting in August, I'm scaling up again to doing 80 miles/week. At the end of August, I will move into 85-90 miles/week for September. Honestly, that kind of sounds miserable so I might not do that. It gets a bit excessive dontchathink? LOL! I'm trying to train like a pro but I AINT NO PRO so I'll bring myself back down a notch and just do what feels right at that time. YOLO. The reason that I think that I'm able to do so many miles without injuring myself thus far is that I don't have a life. HA! Unfortunately/fortunately #glasshalffull, that's basically the truth though. I used to really overextend myself with hosting friends at my house, and traveling all over the world, sleeping very little, working long hours, and taking on WAY more than I was capable of doing and just sacrificing rest of any kind. I've finally learned how to stop doing that ;) Tanner calls this my "literary" phase which is quite comical but what he means is-THE GIRL WON'T STOP READING! I think that I've read 20+ books in the past 2 months. I'll do a post on all that soon. Right now, I'm reading Magnolia Story by Joanna and chip Gaines #SWOON #OBSESSION. I have been reading so many nutrition studies and nerding out on that and learning more every day.

I'm such a douche bag and made my husband take this with me! HAAA! This is also one of my best friends bathrooms so I kinda hope she texts me to remind me what a tramp I am.

I'm such a douche bag and made my husband take this with me! HAAA! This is also one of my best friends bathrooms so I kinda hope she texts me to remind me what a tramp I am.

I am working my new job and I work and run and read. I'm someone who has become content with just Tanner and my dogs, and so I keep the house spotless, I organize everything, and I am happy as can be. I think a lot. I assess who I am a lot, and after months and months of breaking apart every aspect of my personality flaws in the stillness, I've found a happy landing spot here. I'm a constant dreamer, so here are some of the things that I think and dream about:

  • I want to write a book.

I'm going to sit on that one for awhile because I do think that it's important to make sure I actually want to do that. But I wanted to as a little girl, and I've revisited this lately.

  • I thrive in creativity.

The one thing that I will say that I truly feel in my heart is that I think I thrive as an entrepreneurial spirit. I get motivation and inspiration and I am so happy when I'm creating and coaching and growing, but I think that I needed this season. It helps me to realign with what is actually right and not with what just makes me busy so while I do plan on really putting my heart into some new things, I'm glad that I forced this season as it allowed me to be able to look at myself a little deeper. I am coaching again and not going to actively use instagram to promote myself because that makes me want to vom, but I do want to look to other avenues to let others know that I am still going to be coaching. I really do enjoy both nutrition and run coaching, and adding tri coaching to that as well.

This has nothing to do with anything but for the love of everything holy, my dog is so cute. I just love him so much that I think way too much about how short dogs lives are. Like every day I think about it. UGHHHHH...why aren't they immortal?

This has nothing to do with anything but for the love of everything holy, my dog is so cute. I just love him so much that I think way too much about how short dogs lives are. Like every day I think about it. UGHHHHH...why aren't they immortal?

  • I want to get the MOST out of every season of life!

Tanner and I are going to London and Paris in December so THATS EXCITING!!! The last time we went to Europe was two years ago and honestly, that trip wore us out so we knew we didn't want to go back for some time. The other day I found super cheap flights on Norwegian air on the same day I found cheap flights to NYC *where we leave for London* so it was like this perfect serendipity and I texted Tanner, told him to look on the calendar at work and then that day we booked. haha! We have learned our lesson about random cheap finds with travel. THEY.DONT.LAST. We have lost hundreds of dollars through the years by saying "okay we will book that tomorrow and then tomorrow the price is HUNDREDS more and then we cry. Okay I cry. We know nothing about these locations, so I'm happy and thrilled for any suggestions/if you live there and want to host us, WE WOULDN'T BE MAD ABOUT IT! lolol!

Our next pre planned trip is the pacific north west next summer with a few days in Vancouver!

  • I LOVE TO READ! And audiobooks!

There's so much more time in the day than we give credit. I no longer listen to the radio. I'm sure that might switch back because I do love music too but let's be real, the songs are just on repeat and I don't need to hear Despacito another time. So, I listen to audiobooks on overdrive. I don't have audible because I think only one credit is way expensive, so I use my library card and get them free. Sometimes you have to wait for them to become available but I always have a constant rotation going so it's all good. If you go to "Collections--> Available Now" you can always find a good one to listen to that moment.

So I've listened to Amy Poehler's, Tiny Fey's, Amy Schumer, and Anna Kendricks and I have to say that Amy's is not the best (Poehler). Bless her-she says a million times in the book she hates writing so maybe she shouldn't do what she hates? Amy Schumer says she LOVED it and hers was better. PASSION SHOWS UP IN EVERYTHING!

So I've listened to Amy Poehler's, Tiny Fey's, Amy Schumer, and Anna Kendricks and I have to say that Amy's is not the best (Poehler). Bless her-she says a million times in the book she hates writing so maybe she shouldn't do what she hates? Amy Schumer says she LOVED it and hers was better. PASSION SHOWS UP IN EVERYTHING!

  • I don't want to ONLY do endurance things

This has been a three year span which is the longest that I've really lasted in anything. HA! I have a lot of interests, and endurance takes up a lot of time. I guess that's why it has that term. duh. I just have other really big goals even in fitness, and I'd like to explore those while still running marathons. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I know how to run marathons on 20-40 miles/week, enjoy the runs, and then do some crossfitting/lifting/etc. But I also want to do an ironman because I do refuse to not bag the official 140.6. I worked too dang hard last year to not get that, so I am thinking either Maryland or Louisville next year but I'll probably only do a 12 week training cycle. Originally I said I wanted to really do well on that race but I'm just not going to dedicate 20 hours/week on top of everything else if I'm being 100% honest. I doubt I'll ever make Kona and while I want to do my best, I've always been way too chill in my athletic PR pursuits to get all wrapped up in that. I've come to learn that I actually hate PR attempts. I have had to let go of that mindset for chicago. It stresses me the crap out and overwhelms me. I just want to run lots of miles then see what happens basically. ha.

We built a deck. We made a gallery wall. We watched Lord of the Rings together because I've never been a fan (#harrypotterforme) but Tanner is suchhhh a huge fan so I promised him I'd watch them all with him. He literally stops the movies every few minutes and explains the history of the scenes and I want to gauge my eyeballs out, but I smile and listen and actively participate in his obsession. He won't read this blog, so this will be our little secret. HAHAHA!!! I'm always just dreaming of getting back to my Joanna Gaines or Jodi Picoult book, but I'm a good little sweet wife! ;)

I know this lighting is just awful and I wish I could show off the quality of these matte prints, but I can't. Sooo, just imagine their goodness in good lighting. I just keep walking through here to experience the glory hahaha! Also, Tanner would like everyone to know we have friends and aren't narcissistic but that we have no DSLR prints of high enough quality for 12x12 prints lol!

I know this lighting is just awful and I wish I could show off the quality of these matte prints, but I can't. Sooo, just imagine their goodness in good lighting. I just keep walking through here to experience the glory hahaha! Also, Tanner would like everyone to know we have friends and aren't narcissistic but that we have no DSLR prints of high enough quality for 12x12 prints lol!

Literally, that sums up my life right now. I dream. I do. I run. I work. I run again. but I'm different now. In a more mature, calm way I guess. I'll be 28 in 1 month 2 weeks, but who is counting? Yall, I love getting older. Maybe I'm alone in that, but it's so fun! Life is full of freakin ridiculous rollercoasters full of all of my first world problem drama filled brain, but I'm loving it! <3

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Tips for Plant Based Lifestyle Change

This is actually a highly requested question for me therefore I felt it best to just do a good ole blog post, and address all of the questions that come up with this topic. As many of you know, for the most part, Tanner and I are plant based. I say "for the most part" because as you also all know, I'm a wanna be hippy vegan living in Hawaii, but here I am in Shelby with limited options and cravings so I'm just putting that out there. lol! 

It's been a very slow transition, very very slow, like 2 years slow. And I'm specifically talking about me, because I'm a creature of habit and find habits really hard to break whereas my husband can literally snap his fingers overnight, have no emotional connection and just changes everything. It literally blows my mind. He literally has never even watched a documentary or read the books. I just have told him what I've learned and he's like "Yep, okay. Makes sense." Me on the other hand every other week is like "OKAY TANNER THIS WEEK IMMA BE VEGAN" and he's like "Yea okay" and I'm like "WATCH ME BUY THIS CRUELTY FREE DETERGENT LIKE A BOSS!" 

I say all that jokingly, but I truly believe in the ENTIRE vegan message to be honest (the no leather, compassionate caring for the animals and the environment vegan message), but I do ride the struggle bus at times, and so I want you to know that I'm WITH YOU. I get it. 

"I need protein. But the data shows I don't ACTUALLY need protein. I'm craving meat. But is this really a craving due to something internal or just habitual cultural societal norm stuff? This meal doesn't feel complete. I'm not satisfied. I don't want to eat soy filled fake meats at every meal so what do I do? I REALLY LIKE MY FREAKING WAFFLES. (See HERE)

I say all of this to say that you definitely need to give yourself grace in a big life change and also recognize that sustainable long lasting change is made with the enjoyment of the change and not forcible change, and that you also don't have to be perfect EVER if that's what you so choose. You are still making an impact by just one meal that you decide to go meat free! :) 

I'm sure that most that are reading this blog are also wondering about tips of going plant based that have previously tracked macros, and I think that it's totally possible to make that transition as well. Know that your protein is probably not going to be the same, and if that makes you uncomfortable then you can reduce your protein slowly, but I know from experience with both Tanner and myself that we noticed ZERO change in our body's by doing the change in protein, same calories, overnight with the same training so I don't want to really bring body image into this, but I know that's something many girls are afraid of so I'm here to tell ya, YOUR'E GOOD! ;) 

Second, your calories don't need to change, but you can just make adjustments in the ratios of calories. You might find that you can actually handle more calories because all of your food is "good calories" and most of the time, the body tends to handle this better due to de novo lipogenesis, which is actually a complex metabolic pathway that shows that carbs can not in fact be turned into adipose tissue as long as the caloric intake does not exceed TEE (total energy expenditure). INTERESTING RIGHT? Pub Med Reference

De novo lipogenesis actually gave me a lot of confidence in changing my macros. Fat and carbs and protein are INDEPENDENT of one another and are utilized for different functions of the body but our body's are not these specific calculators that says "Oh you had the perfect X number of protein grams today therefore your body will look like THIS!" Nope. The evidence supports that the recommended amount of protein is actually only 5% but they give the 10% for good measure to sustain the amount of muscle mass that you currently have AS LONG AS caloric intake is high enough (that's the important part). 

The amount of protein that is recommended by the RDA is actually 10-35% and I won't get into the reasons behind why they give that number all the way up to 35%. There is no real study that shows either 10% or 35% or anywhere in between that I'm aware of (please link below if you have one) because nutritional studies are so complicated, but this complete review of protein done in 1989 is actually really great (REFERENCE) if you want to read through it all. One thing to note at the end is the need for certain studies which since this time have been done to show that animal protein does in fact cause cancer and foster the growth of foci (the little ball or group of cancerous cells), form atherosclerosis and hypercholesterolemia independent of adipose tissue (aka overweight) BUTTTTT, I know you gotta live your life #YOLO and I know that many reading will say that everything is toxic. Blah blah. Well, the studies are here, so I think it's good to be educated vs blissfully ignorant but das just me. 

Back to the adequate calories part-YOU GOTTA HAVE ADEQUATE CALORIES when you make this change. That is the #1 tip that anyone will give you across the board. The foods in vegan foods are going to have a lower glycemic index therefore that means that they are going to keep you full for longer so honestly if you are not wanting to lose weight or muscle mass, you probably need to track your calories at least in the beginning. Tanner did that and he doesn't track but he didn't want to lose weight. 

One question I get a lot is "HOW DOES HE STAY FULL. MY HUSBAND IS SO HUNGRY!" 

And it probably is that the types of foods chosen are not what is keeping him full. Here are some good examples to keep you full: 

  • Smoothies filled with peanut butter, tons of fruits, regular coconut milk, honey, flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil 
  • PASTA PASTA PASTA with tons of yummy sauces 
  • Rice & Beans of course 
  • Granola (pinterest some high calorie granola recipes) 
  • Dates- lots of them 
  • #peanutbutter 
  • Lentils (so many fun pasta + lentil combos)

I found this super cool website called "eatthismuch" and you can put in the calories that you would like to eat, the type of diet (vegan) and the number of meals that you want to have, and it will generate meals for you.

I'm going to address the questions that a former client asked me now and I think those are ones that come up frequently and are great questions. 

Rice paper sesame tofu wraps with rice noodles and peanut sauce- peanut sauce is super high calorie and this is a recipe I would have never tried this previously but YUMYUM! 

Rice paper sesame tofu wraps with rice noodles and peanut sauce- peanut sauce is super high calorie and this is a recipe I would have never tried this previously but YUMYUM! 

1) How do you do it in a small town with limited vegan options? 

There is not ONE even vegetarian restaurant in Shelby. There is actually weirdly enough a place that opened up that has a vegetarian pita which is actually really good but I'm like super impressed by that because it's meat city up in here. The brewery that has food as well also has some vegetarian options as the managers are super progressive, but that's it. The thing is though, something doesn't have to be called vegan or vegetarian or plant based to actually be so. You can adjust things and make it that way. It's not that you have to be obnoxious because again, for us, if I eat something not plant based, I'm not going to freak out, but we do ask for things in restaurants, like no cheese on the black bean quesadilla at the mexican restaurant. As much as we want to enjoy the eating out experience, we also understand that every meal is not going to be perfect. Some nights we are feeling more "vegan" and we might just sacrifice taste for that. I might order a freakin house salad no cheese and eat before I go and when I leave. There's ALWAYS a way if you want it bad enough, and that's not to ensue guilt (no no no no) but just to let you know that you CAN DO IT! :) 

Lastly, we don't eat out that much so there's that. 

2 ) How do you make it work with a family? 

WELP-it's just me and Tanner and I'm lucky that the man will eat anything and I'm also lucky that I enjoy trying out new meals. If you are wanting to make this change and want to enjoy it, then you are going to have to experiment. There are SO many new foods that we have discovered that I never knew how much I loved, but I'm so glad that I went out of my comfort zone to try these new recipes. I know that kids are not that easy. They don't want to make the transition as easily as adults, and I know that getting kids to eat their veggies is tough. I have actually listened to a lot of podcasts on this for our future kids, and here are their tips 

  • Always keep a variety available (I know that's tough but they have to find their favorites just like we do) 
  • Don't put emotion into their food choices "I HATE BRUSSELS" ... "Oh okay cool **puts brussels on the table every night that week along with other choices and kid sees parents and other siblings eating brussels and maybe tries them again** I know that age matters and I know that all kids are vastly different. I also am just sharing tips from VEGAN parents, so I'm not just coming from non-parenting land 
  • Let them be apart of the grocery and cooking process and let them pick their favorites even if it's freaking spaghetti every night! haha! 

I think one of the biggest tips that I can give in the whole journey of making it work for the family is knowing that you are going to have to sit down, write out some meal plans, write out how much food is needed (which will be vastly more than normal) and just MAKE THE TIME. We ALL make time for things we want to do. 30 minutes here and there to plan some things can make a world of difference. Give yourself grace in that if you don't take the time to make these changes, they will not happen. You just have to force it for a hot minute until it becomes more natural. Lastly, I know I said it will be vastly more food and you are thinking "Uh more money" and that's NOT what I mean. Yes, some produce is more (thank God for Aldi) but for the most part, all of the foods that are keeping you full (lentils, beans, pasta, oats, grains) are really cheap and you don't need luscious expensive fruits to sustain a happy plant based lifestyle. 

3) What are the best resources that you find helpful? 

The best resource that I have found is actually youtube. There are a lot of really passionate youtubers that want to help people make this positive change. Here are some really helpful channels: 

  • Bite Sized Vegan (videos for children to watch to help them change as well) 
  • Ellen Fisher (she's my vegan crush) 
  • Supreme Banana (she shows you how you can literally eat vegan ANYWHERE - all fast food restaurants) 
  • That Vegan Couple (they try to be nice and are a bit obnoxious but they address a lot of different issues) 
  • Liv's Healthy Life (she gives you super duper easy vegan meals) 
  • Bonny Rebecca (she's honestly just adorable and vegan LOL) 

Some other helpful resources I've found are books and websites that really help encourage me on the reasons that I have made the change and to keep trying to make little small changes towards less animal products: 

  • The China Study 
  • NutritionFacts.org 

These websites are HIGHLY divisive in the medical community, and the China Study has a lot of critiques on the way that the information was presented as well as the studies that are included. Everyone wants to say BIAS and propaganda, and they are literally saying the exact opposite and the physician behind nutritionfacts.org actually does not earn money from the site just to basically prove that he's not there for the money but for the information to get out. Neither of these physicians grew up vegan. They simply learned the data and made the change and then dedicated their careers to it. Obviously, I am more on their side, but I do think that it's really valuable to take ALL information that is presented to you and critically evaluate it. If something bothers you, then look up the freakin study on pubmed and read it. Evaluate it. See who is the person or group that funded the study. Think about the lobbying that might be behind an agenda. You are more than allowed to think through those things, and there are certain "vegan things" that I giggle at because they go a littleeeeee too extreme, but I also think that many meat eaters are very close minded to actual data and just keep screaming the word "AGENDA AND BIAS". 

Lastly, if I hear one more person debunk the entire documentary "What the Health" from the simple one liner in it that states "I saw a study once that one egg is the equivalent of smoking 5 cigarettes" then I'm going to punch someone. HA! I wish they had NOT included that line, and I wish that it didn't make the entire world just put that documentary as ALL COMPLETELY FALSE because of that one line. BUT I DIGRESS! I hope to do a full review of the entire documentary and link up studies to what was found soon. It's going to take me for-freakin-ever, but I want to do it right and I'm hopeful I can when I find some time soon. 

I'm never going to press veganism or plant based living on anyone. I actually want to be a medium as a person who DOES still occasionally eat meat, still has some egg whites, but tries really hard to live a whole foods plant based vegan and compassionate lifestyle as much as I can and find reasonable to my situation and my life in those moments each day <3 It makes me feel really at peace and I think it's a beautiful lifestyle. 

 

 

 

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Saying YES doesn't mean you can't say NO

There is a new wave towards "Say your best yes" and that we genuinely don't know how to say no. I'd have to agree with that, and really enjoyed reading "The Best Yes"! However, again, I have to be one that stands up for the notion that ITS OKAY TO WORK HARD and it's okay to say yes. Just as in anything in culture, there is always a bubble and then people say "Hey wait a second" and things swing in the opposite direction (just like when I went to pharmacy school it was all the rage that people got sign on bonuses and cars because there was such a shortage and then they built a ton of schools and now students come out hardly able to find jobs and pay their massive student debt). I won't get on a soap box today, but I guess that's what I'm here for right! ;) 

We said yes to this deck and it was quite literally a very crazy yes that took a lot of work haha!

We said yes to this deck and it was quite literally a very crazy yes that took a lot of work haha!

I say "YES" to a lot of things, but honestly I say no to a lot more. I listened to a book called "The Subtle Art of not giving a f***" and while it's not the most Chiristian of novels, I really appreciated the things that it brought to light for me, ways for me to improve and other ways to really appreciate the way that I'd been living and that there was nothing wrong with it. 

At any time and at any point, you are free to walk away from literally anything that you are doing except maybe parenting or your marriage because that would be kinda crappy, but you are not bound to AN-Y-THING. I don't know why but I feel so liberated within that. I am the QUEEN of creating anxiety for myself when it's completely unnecessary (I would have to guess I'm not alone on that), and so just even knowing that I can walk away from things allows me freedom from overwhelm. 

But that doesn't mean that I have to say no to things that I genuinely want to do and we don't all to have be mediating in the quietness of every day to be restful and ready to take on the next days. Everyone is different and that's how this world turns around and around, and I think it's such a beautiful thing. There are people that HAVE to be surgeons or what else would we do but that life is not the life that I could have seen for myself? I think it's so amazing, but I can easily say no to going to med school. I can easily say no to being in investment banking, and I can say no to joining the local softball team because I have no hand eye coordination (which is actually a relatively new revelation as I realized the sports I suck at - golf, softball, beer pong, ping pong, and bagmitten). I am able to self assess and say that I really do not enjoy those things. 

We do NOT need to be everyone in one. We all unique interests and passions and talents that make us who we are. Many people don't enjoy running, but I do. I want to be a susie homemaker, but honestly I've realized that I'm just not. I love to cook but most of the time it just doesn't happen and my husband and I eat separately because we want to eat at separate times. I want to be able to say that I'm good with interior design but really I just look at pinterest long enough and copy it exactly. I want to be good at hosting events at my house and I WAS for a season, but I actually think that I'm in a season that it stresses me out a little too much so I stopped. Your destiny is NOT to be every thing in one. 

In the midst of a season of "detoxing" myself from being an "influencer" whatever the crap that means anymore, I have had to learn what and who I am. I have even had to look my egotistical narcissistic side in the face and say "Did you do this because it looked good for a blog or because you actually enjoy being the busiest person on the planet?" #truths 

I've truly tried to evaluate these things, and if there is one thing this season has been for, it's been truly finding me separate from internet validation and all that jazz. It's like literally incredible to know YOU and know that when you say yes, you mean yes. And when you say no, you mean no. It does make you a butt hole to say no. ABSOLUTELY NOT. GET THAT OUT OF YOUR BRAIN. You need to know yourself enough to be able to say "Nope, not for me" and that way when you say YES YES! It's much more meaningful.

My current new audiobook is called "Yes please" by Amy Poehler, and ironically I just realized how fitting that is for this blog post when it was completely unintentional. HOW PERFECT! haha! She said that she loves the "yes" because she loves to say yes because she loves so many things, and she loves the "please" because it's indicative that someone else is involved and that we can't do it all alone in this life. How freakin fantastic right? I LOVE THAT! It's okay to say yes and it's okay to ask for help in that yes because we are all in this together and we are here to enjoy this life as best that we can because we get ONE chance at it!

One of my best friends in NYC was just on a TED talk. CRAZY RIGHT? Here is the link to that: 

He was and still is SUCH a Godly man. I learned so much from him as our small group leader and he shaped a lot of who Tanner and I am today so I respect him a lot and he said something to me once that hangs with me all the time. He says that his dad told him this because he's also super humble and would never want to take credit for a statement that wasn't his. haha! 

Buttttt, his statement was about humbleness. He said that being humble is literally thinking so little of yourself that you are able to recognize your gifts and give them freely without thinking "Do I look humble?" It's not arrogant to say YES in a situation because you are confident enough in who you are that you know that this is a position and a place that you are spiritually gifted and therefore would be totally awesome at. If you would be bad at it, then DUH say no! 

It's okay to say yes. It's okay to be someone who really enjoys doing things, so you say yes a lot. I'm one of those people that truly enjoys being busy and not in a stressful crazy way. I like organized busy and for the first time I've finally figured out how that looks every day with more of a routine than I used to have with the chicken with my head cut off problem. I have learned to say no, and I've said no to many things. I actually probably have probably hurt some feelings but I also know that I had to let some things go for me so that I could say yes to things that were more appropriate for me. I think that mid to late 20's is a time in your life where you learn the most about yourself. Did you know that the brain is not fully developed until you are 25? Crazy right?! So I'm not saying that if you are younger than that that you haven't truly figured out life, but I'm saying that we go through a lot of change during this period of time and finally end up "landing" in a place that we are comfortable. 

I say yes to work. I say yes to more than 40 hours per week of work. I say yes to running 70+ miles a week. I say yes to volunteering in many different organizations that give me joy. I say yes to hosting family. I say yes to doing ironman events, and ultra marathons. I say yes to many marathons every year. I say yes to reading as much as humanly possible lately. I say yes to coffee dates and dinner dates. I say yes to travel-far, far away and will pay for that within reason. I say yes to almost all trips. I say yes to almost all endurance events. I say yes to business endeavors of any kind. THAT IS ME.

It's a time also where the pressures of life are real. Are you married? Do you have a blossoming career? Are you having kids? And the pressures of these things are all around you. You have the ability to decide which things are right for you and which are not. I chose marriage but I also don't chose children right now. I actually think that we are finally at a place where we have said "okay we are pumping the brakes again for another few years" and we are comfortable in that, we know ourselves well enough now, and can confidently make these decisions of NO while also confidently making some decisions of YES in other areas of our life! 

Yall, I wouldn't have wrote this blog even 2 weeks ago. I posted something on instagram about all the questions in life because that's the tricky stage of life that I'm in with lots of transition, but each day I'm learning and growing. Sometimes I tell Tanner I'm manic anxious. I don't really get depressive, but boy I go from HIGH ON LIFE to ANXIOUS AS HECK ABOUT LIFE in like 0 to 60. Is that a thing? It should be a thing. But today and for the last two weeks have been a high, so I'm going to take that and run with it. Speaking of running, 76 miles for this week and 90 miles in 7 days will be complete as of tomorrow at 9am!!! HOLY FREAKIN WOW I'M SO PROUD OF MYSELF!!!!

I told Tanner that even if I don't get this sub 3, I can at least say that I made it through this high mileage training cycle and for that, I am proud. I can't even think about the actual goal of this training program I've designed for myself because if I do, I'll get overwhelmed. I just take it day by day! :) And after chicago, I'm taking a BREAK and my butt is going to London and Paris!!!! More on life lately to come and all the things that we have said YES YES to! :) And girlfriend (or boyfriend lol), if you want to say YES to everything that comes this way because it's right for you then say YES. Don't be afraid. Know that you love those things and say YES. 

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Nutrition Confusion and Reductionist Theory

The coaching that I did before my recent day job provided me with a certain population of patients. It compromised those that wanted to learn but those that typically had some form of knowledge of health to begin with therefore the questions were a bit different. Sometimes people come to me in the setting I'm in now and say that they do not know of anything that they can do to change their lifestyle to affect their blood sugar or high cholesterol and for weight loss, they want to get a surgery they can't afford. I'm not sure where the gap is, but I've seen comments on threads about Kim Kardashian and those that believe that she was only able to lose weight after having children due to money. I hate this. I hate that there is such confusion on health that people aren't able to really take ownership of the things that they can do. I recognize that things are maybe easier with money and I fully get that, but I think that there is a lot of confusion on health and fitness and how extreme it needs to be in order to get results for an overall wellbeing.

Are eggs good for you? Are eggs bad for you? Is coffee good for you? Is coffee bad for you? Should you limit carbs but then also eat fruit? Are those the same carbs? Are they processed the same? These questions are SO confusing, and it seems as if the more that you dive into health, the more confusing and muddy the water becomes. I heard on the radio this morning a study about the antioxidants in coffee and why they are swinging back the other way and saying coffee is good for you. I have never thought that coffee was bad, but nevertheless, people come into my office and think that they need to give up things that they don't actually need to give up. They are confused on the topic of health and it all comes down to the reductionist theory. I'll get to that. ha!

Nutrition Confusion.png

First, let's break down the topic of an egg real quick. Eggs are comprised of a great bio available protein source, cholesterol, and nutrients within the yolk. There are a blue million studies done on eggs, and most of the time the culprit of target is the egg yolk with a medium sized yolk having about 68% of your daily value of cholesterol in it. So, if you have high cholesterol, you shouldn't eat eggs? From my medical perspective and the literature that I agree with, I think that yes, if you have high cholesterol then you should avoid but there are tons of practitioners that would say that dietary cholesterol does not lead to LDL increase. I think that the FASTING cholesterol levels are what is tested in cholesterol but if we are to in fact test cholesterol levels directly after the intake of the egg then by all means, there is cholesterol increase. You also can't refute the fact that vegans have the lowest cholesterol across the board and this is due to their lack of cholesterol in their diets. However, the yolk also has some vitamin A, B-6, B-12, vitamin D and calcium in marginal amounts and protein and is termed the "most nutrient dense part of the egg" which you can't deny either. So, is the egg good or is the egg bad?

TOO MUCH REDUCTIONISM. We don't even need to know if the egg is good or the egg is bad but that we need to focus on an overarching theme of balanced nutrition.  It is important to recognize so that you are KNOWLEDGEABLE about the subject. It is important that you know things about different foods items but when you label things as good vs evil, that's when an unhealthy relationship with food and can lead to orthorexia (the new eating disorder distinction of those that are obsessed with only eating foods that are "healthy" and disguise this as healthy living).

Science is also confusing when it should be finite, but it's not and it's ever changing. There are also many studies ran that are interpreted in different ways, have different compounding factors with different agendas and support from different organizations. If a company wants to design a study that they want to look legit, then they can create a double blind placebo trial which is the most respected model that will show certain statistics in whatever light they want to even if the evidence isn't truly there. Propaganda is everywhere within hashtag science, so many times in nutrition or medicine in general, science is this term that gets thrown around a lot but science is only as good as each individual study and if there is bias in the study then this is going to be flawed.

All foods are made up of individual components which also make it complicated to give this distinction between good and bad, which we shouldn't be doing regardless, however if someone is to look at the literature on a piece of meat then they need to look at the fat content, as well as the animal protein. That's just one example. In many of the foods that we eat, they are comprised of fat, carbs, and protein and each one of them might be beneficial while the other harmful. Coffee has antioxidants, but also high levels of caffeine. Is caffeine good for you? Is caffeine bad for you? It gets so confusing so fast, and this is where we HAVE to remember the reductionist theory.

You must look at a "diet" and when I say diet I simply mean the way that you eat your food, you need to look at things from a wholistic perspective and not just a holistic. I just made that up and it's not even that clever, but I'm proud. lol! Basically, look at the WHOLE DIET from day to day and month to month, and not just the egg that you are about to eat. This creates a much more fluid, realistic, long term, flexible, and enjoyable diet. If you have convinced yourself that the only thing that you should eat are bananas and green beans, and those are the only safe foods then what kind of a life is that.

 

 

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The Problem with Purpose

Ever feel like all anyone ever talks about is purpose and how we need to be fulfilling it? Yea, me too. It's exhausting. If you aren't feeling happy with your current situation, then just quit and find the job of your dreams right? I think that I was literally one of those people, and this was during a time that it made sense. I was succeeding in the job of my dreams, which was when I was doing blogging full time. You may ask, "but Katie, didn't you quit that full time?" And the answer would be "Yep, sure did. What was I thinking?" 

Of course I could go into all of the reasons that I did it, and I do know those full well. I know that the decision that I made was not taken lightly and that I maturely thought it through. I didn't just take a leap of faith out of nowhere. I had been considering it for a long time and a lot of things came into play, but I also let things get into my head that should not have and now that I'm separated from all the noise, I realize what an incredible opportunity that had been given to me and I walked away. I literally used to live in New York City on the Hudson looking at the Statue of Liberty from my living room window as a full time blogger working at home doing really well financially, and now I'm in Shelby working an 8-5. I'm trying yall. I'm trying to see this silver lining purpose but just keeping.it.real. HA! 

A few months ago, I actually probably would have told you that I was fulfilling some form of greater purpose to which I'm sure I am, and the job that I have now kind of landed in my lap and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. When I asked those that had "quit social media" if they were glad that they did it, I pretty much got a resounding YES! It gave me the confidence that I needed to take the step moving in that direction. I've had a few people ask me this question and while I recognize all the good and the bad, I like to let them know that you have to deal with A LOT of regret and working through that and continually letting yourself know that the decision that you made was for good reason and that you know for sure in your heart that it's right for you. 

The problem with purpose is that things can't get mundane or things can't have a little bump in the road before we want to jump ship searching for our purpose. Maybe that's just me though? I think that there is a difference between praying about a situation and really getting clarity and trusting yourself as you seek your greater purpose. I'm not saying that we don't all have a purpose, but I think that we also can make ourselves purposeful in any situation (job or life) that we land ourselves in. We end up being less satisfied because we are always striving. Purpose is not finite. It's ever changing, and ever reaching further.

The age of social media has everyone searching for the ways in which they are going to change the world, and some people are able to fight this but others with personalities such as mine get overwhelmed and want to actually attempt to do so. When you recognize that the day to day is NOT saving the world or building some massive business of your own and that going to a 8-5 is okay and that you can make yourself purposeful right where you are, then you begin to relax into it.

I wrote an instagram post last week about just dealing with where I'm at and not being happy with it, and I think it's okay to say these things. I think that it's okay to admit when we are struggling and so that's something that I've had to deal with. I've had to once again sit back and think "What in the world did I do that for? It was rash, emotional, and immature." But here we are. 

I look at purpose now differently because as much as I love my job, I don't feel this ever ending purpose of saving the world the way that I felt when I was doing my own thing, but I also think that it's okay and it's good for me. Life in blogging is a lot of extreme ups and downs and I didn't handle it well. I have to not just look at life through this rearview and say it was all good because I remember the lows as well. The purpose that I'm living now is just more steady, less drama, and just day to day 8-5. It's a really quiet season so therefore it feels lacking in purpose, because unfortunately our society (or maybe just me) has gotten so used to these extreme highs and LOOK WHAT I DID TO ACHIEVE MY PURPOSE TODAY! That does not mean that I don't live each day with passion because that is something I'm really huge on and I really do try really hard in every moment no matter what the task at hand is because I feel that's important and have valued for a long time.

There's purpose in every moment of every day if you choose to be purposeful, and it doesn't have to be this big extravagant thing. There is purpose in explaining to your children why they shouldn't do certain things so that they can grow up to be awesome adults. There is purpose in making dinner for your spouse because you are fostering that relationship with them. There is purpose in the paperwork that has to be done at your job because this leads you to be a good employee and steward of the job that has been afforded to you and what is helping you to pay your bills/do fun things/save for the future. I believe there is purpose in the vulnerability of this post to say "You know what? I made a choice that I have some regrets about" because that allows me to cultivate connections with those around me who might be afraid to say the same. There is purpose in literally every moment if you allow yourself to think that way. It's a shift and one that's worth taking.

Even if 98% of the people that I have appointments with now are there for their incentive check (and openly tell me this lol), there is purpose in the 2% of people that I can make a difference in their lives by showing them positive change through nutrition in their disease states and continue to show the 98% the benefit of doing so as well. 

I've also found that I find my purpose in my career, and I find purpose in my athletics, but those are not the things that we should find purpose in. That's what the world tells us to find purpose in, but those are not the things of eternity and rather just the purposes of this Earth. When I remember THOSE facts, I'm humbled. I realize that the purpose of eternity is just to rest and know that just as I am right now is purposeful enough, and that this isn't an never-achieved far reaching thing that none of us ever seem to achieve. I would venture to say that there are a few people that can say "I am living my #1 purpose driven life" but rather we all have this notion of "if I could just get to THIS point, then I would be satisfied." And that's a fallacy. 

{{Psalm 138:8 - The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord endures forever.}}

Every single moment in our lives in a decision of attitude. So today, in our 8-5's, in our after hour lives with our husbands and our wives and our daughters and our sons lives, let's make every single moment purposeful vs the never ending search for our purpose. 

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Firecracker July 4th 5K

So, I don't think in the years that I've been blogging that I've ever done a 5K race recap. How funny is that? I just don't race 5K's and there are reasons for that, that I will explain and then how the race went, the mistakes that I made, and how I do want to get in another 5K this summer to try and improve on those things, but the stars have to align before I will do it. 

The reasons that I never race 5K's are: 

  • I always have something that is hurting (as I explained this is the best training cycle that I've had but after coming back from all the car riding from Miami, I had some major hip issues and calf knots so I was like daggumit!!!)
  • My marathon is my focus and if I do a 5K, many times I'm scared I'll pull something. I know that's probably a little unwarranted but just a true fear of mine 
  • With all base mileage, I have not been doing speed work at all and I don't do speed work much (I always know I need to do better) but then I just think a 5K is a waste with the money that it costs if I'm not trained for it
I've been trying out this new braiding for workouts and I love it!

I've been trying out this new braiding for workouts and I love it!

This morning's race was 1.25 hours from us, and the website said that packet pick up was at 6:15am and I truly thought it meant we had to be there so I left my house at 5am. BARF! Turns out the 5K didn't start until 7:45am and the race was right at the packet pickup so I could have literally got there at like 7:20am and been fine. I was kinda annoyed. I read Harry Potter while I waited ha! 

I was super nervous for this race as I don't run speed like this but knew that if anything I could easily do 6min/mile as I've done MANY times in training and be fine, but I didn't even do that. 

I got to the start line, warmed up a little bit (aka jogging in place basically) and literally felt like my blood sugar bottomed out. I think I had so much nervous energy that my normal morning breakfast just wasn't enough but it was too late at that point and only 3 miles to run so whatever, right?

At 7:45am, we lined up at the start and I jumped up and down like people do. I always feel super awkward like when people warm up. I know it's so so stupid but I don't warm up. When I did a few little movements at the start, I was like "okay this is weird" and just stood there. HAHA! When it was time, I shot out of the gate at 4:15min/mile until about 400m when I looked down at my watch. I realized what I was doing and how much of a NEWBIE I am at 5K's and was like "why oh whyyyyy did I just do that?" INSTANT.REGRET. There is only so much energy you get in a 5k and I had just burned up so much going that fast. 

For the rest of the first mile, I scaled back to 5:30-5:45min/mile, and landed at mile 1 at 5:42. I realized how awful I felt already and knew that I wasn't going to last going that fast, but just kept pumping. I felt I was going 4min/mile and kept looking at my watch and it was reading 6:15-6:20. I hit the second mile at 6:22. 

When I saw that time on my watch after the second mile feeling like death and knowing I have run 6min/miles SO MANY TIMES and was in so much pain, I was so annoyed with myself. I wanted to legit walk off right there which is so childish and egotistical and stupid so of course I didn't, but my head was NOT in the game. I just wanted to be done and still had another mile to go. 

I kept telling myself to ease into the motion of things and just to let the fast speeds come out of me but every step felt like death. My heart rate was so so high, which is to be expected. I thought during this mile about how I would rather run a marathon and how that was totally more my kind of race and then around mile 2.5, I reminded myself of the book that I had read called "How bad do you want it?" I remembered all the literature that supports that your heart and your head can do so much more than your body if you allow it to do so and I kept running. I thought if I can just make it a bit further then I will be done. I thought that mile would never end.

I saw this corner that led into the finishing corral that was about 0.5 mile from the finish but I could see it and so then I just turned on the full throttle going into the finish as best that I could at that point feeling completely and totally gassed. I ran with all of my heart for that final half mile. Pumping in and out of my arms. I finished the third mile in 6:08 so my splits were 5:42, 6:22, 6:08 and that's so silly. Your paces should never be that different for a three mile stretch and just goes to show how much of a newbie I am in the 5K. 

I reached the finish line and was so done. All the nervous energy shakiness overtook me and my legs were quivering. I asked for a banana and laid back on the ground because I.was.done.as.burnt.toast.

Carlos made this and I just love it! SO FUNNY! He's the best! @carlostherunner on instagram!

Carlos made this and I just love it! SO FUNNY! He's the best! @carlostherunner on instagram!

And just like that, it was done. It was done with lessons learned, memories made, and things to know to do for the future. That's why we do these races and events is to better ourselves and get to know ourselves as athletes. It's crazy how much I learned about myself today and I was so happy with an overall female finish and excitingly enough a $50 gift card to omega sports which I'm so grateful for. 

After the race, I did run another 6 miles at an easy 8:30ish pace around Matthews NC before I met up with my best friends that just moved there for lunch since I'm deep in Chicago Marathon training and wanted to get my miles in. I got to spend a good portion of the rest of the day with my best girlfriend Rachel too which made my day (she let me borrow her shoes by the way and I had just given them back-I'm not shoeless LOL)

There are 12.5 weeks left, and I'm bound and determined to give it my all. Thank you all for following along in my journey! :) I'll do a training update soon but right now I'm at about 70 miles/week and will bump that up to 75 next week finishing off July the last week with around 80miles/week. Tanner is cute and keeps asking me how I'm fueling, how I'm hydrating, and making sure that I'm foam rolling so that I'm healthy all around.

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Self Assessment VS Self Loathing

Ever look at yourself and just think "Man, I am a hot mess express right now"? That's how I feel sometimes (well-a lot of times). The past year has really tested me in many ways that comes in waves. I think we all know that we share our best times, and that's only natural. No one wants to hear about others bad times, and it requires some vulnerability to admit those things, but I like to be vulnerable in that, my self assessments weren't too kind to myself. 

I'm really huge on really evaluating your life and seeing the things that I can do better. I listened to an audiobook called "The subtle art of not giving a f***" and while I really didn't enjoy hearing that word so many times, I think that he makes some really valid points about the way that we should live our lives, and one of those is that always striving for big goals actually makes you less happy. I know myself well enough personally that I know that goals do make me happy and reaching those goals make me happy but relaxing in the person that you are and not always striving to do this and that can actually make you a more relaxed, happier person and I would have to agree with that. 

I think there is a happy line as well between taking self assessments to the next level and just being down right rude to yourself. We all do it, and it's easy to sink into but it's also just really silly and purposeless. Many times however, people won't let you self assess. We all know ourselves well enough to know we have crossed that line but I think it's okay to say "I'm a hot mess. I messed up. I need to fix this." and the other person doesn't have to say "Oh nooooo. It's okayyyy. You didn't mess up!! Life is grand!" It's human nature for the other person to not know what to say if someone is self assessing, but sometimes I think a valid answer would be: If you feel that this is something that you are struggling with, then I'd love to walk with you through that and help you in any way that I can. 

There are all levels of friendships but the people who can say the above, well, you know you're close to them because they just get it. Many times with Tanner, I will say the words "this is objective so don't caddle me" before I go into a self assessment. He knows the difference. haha! I'm like "Yo. Don't feed me a line to try and pity me when I genuinely need to work on this area of my life." or even if I say "Yo. I look horrible" and he's like "Oh no sweetie, you look great!" That's nice in theory but like no, I look a mess. I need a shower. haha! 

My line has become blurred over the past year because I just really have been disappointed in myself for many reasons that I feel are valid. I'm human. I mess up. I make mistakes. We all know this. haha! There isn't one thing that happened but many mess ups. For example, I am either 100% organized or 100% in another world. I have always thought "Oh I can multitask" but the truth is that none of us can. I joke about losing my keys but I don't like the fact that it's because I'm not present and paying attention. I almost lost my keys in Miami the day we were leaving. That would have been a disaster. I lost my debit card right before I left for Miami. I cracked my phone not too long ago. I had a bump up in my car. I forgot to update clients/friends on things when coming back from Miami. Your natural inclination is to say "Oh no Katie, we all do these things. Don't be so hard on yourself." and I, of course, agree to an extent but there's a moment where we have to look at ourselves and say "This is not self loathing. I'm just simply saying these are things that have to change. I must be more present. I must be more responsible. I must be more organized." 

And then you make change. That's the only way that I've been able to have positive change throughout my life is with blunt, brutal force. I don't change things and habits well. It's hard for me and I think it's hard for most people. My husband makes positive change quickly and really well, and maybe that's a guy thing. I don't know. haha! I'm like "hey will you eat vegan?" and he's like YEA! and goes from 6 eggs and oats in the morning to a banana kale smoothie with flax seed and spirulina in literally a day and never looks back. Like what? haha!

The point of all of this is to say that I think we have become a culture obsessed with "accepting ourselves" and if you aren't accepting yourself then you're hating yourself. I know there's all kinds of variances of that, and it's not that black and white, but I think that it's okay to really look at your life and changes that you need to make and that doesn't mean that you hate yourself. If you cross that line, and you only know you best, then it might be something that you want to work on with someone more qualified than your own thoughts. 

I wrote a post a while back that I'm sure if you are a regular follower then you know about and that is when I organized my life, and it made a HUGE difference in the way that I approach my organization and I still have many of those habits in place. I started doing things IMMEDIATELY when they would come up and it shifted my stress levels so much. But, of course, we fall back into those things and have to revisit. Life is a beautiful mess that always gives us the opportunity to hit restart on most things. I think part of the reason that I've been so hard on myself in the past year is the amount of change, and the amount of times that I CAN'T restart things that I've given up, but I go back to those being the best for me at the time through lots of thought and prayer and am resting in that and doing my best moving forward. 

I'm so excited for this weekend fun and Fourth of July! I'm thankful and proud to live in this country even if our country could use some self assessments as well right now! ;) ;) 

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WHEN TO STOP WEIGHT LOSS OBSESSION

The longer that I go into this health coaching area of life and experience different types of people, I learn more and more just about how weight loss is not black and white and it's not really about just "dieting" but so much more about psychology as well.

I am really big on allowing yourself to have goals-reasonable, well thought out and good intentioned goals. I believe that you can do this without obsession and I believe that healthy foods make me feel good and I do not eat them because I'm obsessive. If I want a cookie, I have a cookie. I have glasses of wine. I don't track anymore. I intuitively eat, and I actually eat healthier now than ever before, mostly plant based. But the point of this is that it was a journey to get to where I am. And I think that it's okay to allow yourself that grace to go on your journey too to find your happy place.

selfie because whatever i needed a photo lol

selfie because whatever i needed a photo lol

(I will be getting to the point soon about the title but it needs a lead in)

You know your heart. You know what is making you crazy, and I think it's really important to evaluate that at each step of your journey. I think that we need to LISTEN TO OURSELVES and honor those emotions. Over the past year, I've had quite a journey with food simply because I really wanted to be more vegan because I ethically believe in it, but it was hard. It was uncomfortable, and it took lots of new tries. That's life, and if you want something sometimes you are going to have to work for it. The same goes for running. I don't always love my runs, but most of the time I do. I know that the finish line is always worth it, so I stick through the hard times.

I told yall my training program not long ago, and that I was doing 70 miles/week. Well I got to Miami, and yea right, that wasn't happening there because it's hot, and I straight up didn't feel like it. So, absolutely no guilt needed, I just ran the mornings I felt like it on this 8 mile loop. I love 8 miles. It just feels so good and lasts one hour. It's perfect. Sure, I could have obsessed over getting more miles in, but that's the kind of behavior that I'm talking about-it's silly and unnecessary and takes the fun out of everything that you are doing. WHY oh WHY would you do something that you didn't enjoy for a PR? Like legit no one cares about your PR but you. And no one cares about your weight but you. It's tough love but I think you know this.

That doesn't mean you don't try though. That doesn't mean you throw your hands up in the air. It doesn't have to be this all or nothing. But you need to be able to trust your instincts and know that you mentally got your ish together to be able to do just that.

You need to recognize that your ideal weight may not be your natural weight.

This is a concept that is the hardest to accept, but you NEED to really think this through. You can force weight loss. Absolutely. But what is the point of that if your body is just going to fight you the entire time to get back up to a more regular weight for you? You will be living in the back and forth instead of just accepting it as is because you WILL gain it back if your body doesn't like sitting lower. If you have existed on the internet then you have seen transformations on instagram, and sometimes those transformations take years, and sometimes people seemingly transform over night, but you have to remember that your genetic make up is NOT theirs. The way that you were raised, the sports that you played as a child, the culture that you geographically happen to be in have all come together to form what is your body now. You CAN continuously work towards maybe some arbitrary end goal that you have, but you need to be reasonable.

Some of the things that are a red flag are:

  • Do you feel constantly hungry but not losing weight?
  • Do you feel faint/dizzy while dieting? (I mean I feel this is a DUH but some girls will force past this point)
  • Do you keep lowering calories with no weight loss?
  • Do you feel as if you eat a small amount of food and gain weight instantly?

All of this points to basically the same thing-you are trying really really hard and it's just not happening. You start lowering calories more and more to hit this ideal body weight that you for yourself, and it's just not happening. You won't accept it, so you add in more cardio. You stay at the gym two hours. You literally don't care what you have to do. We have all seen this happen. I'm going to let you know sister that it's ALL a WASTE.OF.YOUR.TIME. There is no one, and I mean no one who can last in this type of "famine". Our biology is simply not designed for it. If you are dieting and dieting and dieting then you are just messing with your metabolism, and forcing something that you aren't meant to be and that's when you experience the "I gain weight by looking at a cookie." Well because you're forcing a weight that is not yours or have messed up your metabolism. That's NOT normal.

Let this be my battle cry for you to just sit down, have a good cry and let go of the dieting. Seriously. Just stop. Live your life. Are you going to be 85 years old pushing low calories? NO. I'm not a good example of this, and I understand that. My natural frame is small. I can get abs with higher calories, and I feel this sets women up with a false expectation of what might not be okay for them personally.

Research shows over and over again that dieting like this always ends in failure, and that intuitively eating in the long run with a healthier twist is what is best. That's what we are all going to go towards eventually. I mean really, you think we are going to count macros at age 70. Yea no. lolz. Just be you NOW and don't waste all these years. I think it's really important to add that intuitive eating from my early years means literally only fast food. Like that would be my choice. every day. every meal. And growing up that's all I ate. My body didn't intuitively tell me that it wanted greens...like ever. So, I think that you need to learn about food. Nutrition is important, and a healthy weight for chronic disease is important, but sometimes...

You just gotta let go and let live. Stop forcing the body that is not yours <3

 

 

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Plant Based VS Veganism

So, every once in awhile, I like to revisit why in January of 2015, I started to pursue a life of less meat. And this week was one of those weeks. It's always an earth shattering, eye opening, rock my world kind of days when I decide to do it, revitalizing the beliefs I have on this topic as well as the passion within it. This is not meant to be a self righteous or judgmental decision and not one that I impose or even talk about with anyone (except on my blog). EVERY single person has their individual convictions and this is just one of mine.

I think I know what you expect me to say, and that is that I'm plant based, and that's not true. I'm neither vegan nor plant based because I'm not good at either one, but I also know that the rules are not concrete nor do they have to be perfect therefore I have grace within that knowing that every decision that I make as a conscious one is better for my health, the environment, world hunger, and animals. But what's the difference? Plant based eaters are those that chose to do so for their health. It's really trendy and it doesn't carry as much "negative connotation" with it. 

Vegans notoriously have a bad name. They are envisioned as the door to door knockers of how to live your life all up in your face, self righteously screaming at you about 'free the nipple' with dreadlocks and female arm pit hair (which all are fine- you do you boo boo). I think that veganism has gained a little traction in places like LA where it's a bit more trendy, as the world is becoming more accepting and more "woke" or awakened if you will. There's big time famous people and seemingly "cool" people that are becoming vegans and they aren't shoving it down people's throats. But veganism is more than plant based. It's a connection to the lifestyle of choosing options that evade animal products in every use (products in your home and clothes that you wear). 

For the longest time, I've openly said I'm working on becoming more plant based, but I always made sure to use that word. I never wanted to say I'm vegan and openly even told people I was not vegan, but lately I am a bit turned off by myself. I was thinking today... What does the word vegan even mean? The only phrases that came to my mind were "ethical, compassionate, and empathy." You hear the phrase "ethical vegan" a lot in the health world and that means that they choose to do so because of animals, and this immediately gives you a certain feeling about them and most of them never cheat, ever. Like. Ever. When they decide, their entire world shifts into this, and therefore I think that they are seen as extreme, and casting their views upon others and I do think that some have done that in the past, but I'm hopeful that this will start to change. 

Ethical vegans are vegans because they care. They care about what is going on in the world, they care about animals, the environment, and world hunger. It's compassion. That's all. They sometimes get overwhelmed because this is not how the world operates, and I think that sometimes they feel as if they are going to bust from the seams from the information that they know that everyone else seems to ignore. Most of them were not born into ethical veganism therefore they went through a transformation where they made the connection and the realization that it doesn't make sense that we love dogs as much as we do but yet we allow ungodly things happen to pigs and cows for our meals, and how we are appalled when someone leaves a dog on the side of the road but put a big dead turkey on the middle of the table every year for Thanksgiving, and it BOTHERS them. They feel as if as they see you post a juicy hamburger that you are mauling a dog in front of them, and they feel as if they have to tell you what they know. But you aren't in the mindset and you aren't ready to hear it, just as I wasn't for a very very long time and most of my life. 

I have struggled with being plant based/vegan for the past month for various reasons, but when I think about the heart of those around me that are vegan, my heart has shifted and I hope that through reading this that you'll maybe see them in a new light. 

Why is it that people full of compassion are seen as self righteous? Why is that people full of empathy are seen as weird and over the top? Don't get me wrong. There is a little bit of a personality that comes along with vegans just like there's a personality that comes along with women who become pharmacists (typically Type A, super organized, detail oriented women lol). It just comes with the package so you might have experienced a judgmental vegan, but all of that is shifting as culture begins to shift. My hope is that it will allow people to change the way they do everything not just the way that they eat because they aren't afraid to say, "You know what? I love animals and THAT'S why." 

I texted Tanner my thoughts about this and how it's weird that the world sees empathy as such a meek or "non manly" thing, and I could have just hugged him when he said "Oh that's not me. I can't stand the thought of harm done to animals. It bothers me so much no matter the animal." YES!!! THAT'S MY MAN! And my hope is that people will continue to see that this does not make someone less 'manly' just because they aren't BBQing or grilling up a juicy steak, but just someone who cares, and that's okay. 

Again, I must emphasize, I needed this week because I had slipped right back into eating meat for the past month (yepppp sure did after I was for sure I wouldn't EVER again) and I also always value my money over the cost of vegan household items which is a shame to me. My hope is that you'll know that this is not a blog of judging you but just knowing that I'm in the boat with you, riding it out, trying to do the best I can for this world and the people and the animals that inhabit it and that there is nothing that feels more right to my soul then to be a compassionate vegan, and that each step that we take together is a great one. There is nothing wrong or weird or "too much/extreme" about veganism. It's a decision of recognizing the things of this world that you won't put your dollar towards, and every attempt and every dollar you put elsewhere is more than enough. DO NOT be consumed with doing everything that you do nothing.

<3 this is one of my favorite quotes about it <3

<3 this is one of my favorite quotes about it <3

Some fun facts and people/podcasts to follow to wrap this up: 

It takes 1000 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk

There is enough food to feed 10 billion people, and the world only inhabits 7 billion, but because we are giving food to agriculture, there are 800 million people (so almost 1 billion) that are going hungry, even though we have enough food and grain to feed 3 billion more than what inhabits the earth. 

Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon deforestation. 

There are 4.6 BILLION animals slaughtered yearly for our enjoyment. That literally brings tears to my eyes. 

Humans eat 45 billion pounds of food per day. Cows eat 130 billion. (The problem with this is not that I mind feeding cows but that cows are being bred just to be slaughtered)

Male chicks born in factory farms are literally just put into a grinder because they serve no purpose. The females beaks are almost always cut off immediately. 

Newborn calves are immediately taken from their mothers (and I witnessed first hand the EXTREME instinct of Zoey when she had her puppies and how INTENSE her love of her puppies were-it's INTENSE how much animals love their babies). 

Favorite youtuber: Ellen Fisher (I legit think I love this woman and she has no idea I exist) 

Favorite Food blogger: Oh She Glows

Favorite Podcast: Earth to Us (Ellen Fisher's sister lol) 

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The Evolution of Five Years of Marriage

Today is five years of marriage with my husband. If you can't tell from my obsessive posts about him, I'm crazy about him. blah blah blah. ha. However, I haven't always been this crazy about him. He and I both know that this year, more than ever before, we have fallen crazy in love with one another and it's just the best thing ever. 

We were both in pharmacy school and fresh to living with someone of the opposite sex. He had some really anal qualities like unplugging everything I owned before bed to save the batteries and never throwing away mail unless it was shredded and being CRAZY clean but somehow leaving his dirty socks in weird places, like the kitchen table. It was like this attempt to not forget to take them to the dirty clothes. We fixed that one quick ! ;) I lost my keys and everything else I own at least 5000 times. It drove him crazy so instead of yelling at me, he provided systems for me to keep up with them specifying where I would leave things so I would know. I decided to slowly over time let go of the fact that my iphone can't charge overnight. Homeboy will unplug my junk to "save my battery life in the long run." 

Somewhere in all these years, the qualities that drove me nuts, I started to love about him. His attention to detail no longer annoyed me but showed me how much he truly cared about me, about our dogs, about our life. 

The truth is, Tanner and I have never really fought. Sure, we would go through a two week period where I'm like "Yo what's up? You're getting on my nerves alot more" and he's like "yea you're annoying me too" but nothing serious. We have had a pretty stable and happy marriage, but it wasn't the kind of good that you dream about in the beginning. It was pretend good at times I believe. It was "Ignore this because I am in pharmacy school and residency and who even cares to fight about this because I'm working on my life goals" kind of thing. 

We said we didn't really do PDA (which we don't-no problem if you do-just not our thing). We didn't necessarily disagree on much but we also hadn't gone through 2016 when everyone discussed everything to learn together and grow together to be on almost 100% on every topic on the same page.

The point of the above is to say that our marriage has not been rocky but our marriage was not as good as it could be. There were things that investment and commitment and communication formed that you can't form in any other place. The age that I see in Tanner's face just a little bit from when we first meet makes my heart sing. I've been HERE, RIGHT HERE IN HIS LIFE, through all of it. I've grown up. He's grown up. We've grown up together through baby 20's to almost 30's, and the investment in the relationship is what has made it so pure. That's something that at 20 years married, I'll know even more and I can't wait to grow old with him.

Through a lot of stress and anxiety over trivial things and the beginning stages of wrinkles in our faces, we have navigated this thing called marriage that we lept into and made it the best thing in both of our lives.

We have talked a lot recently about how our marriage became as good as it is. I don't say that to brag at all, I promise, but just like "how did we fall so much for one another and keep it this way?" and we don't know. One thing we do is that we talk all the time. All.The.Time. Literally if I can't text him, I write down essentially my almost every thought on a pad to talk to him about later. Every single thought that passes through my mind-that kid knows, and it has made us make rash decisions because we don't PAUSE before talking sometimes but it also has made us really close. 

In our 3rd and 4th year, we talked a lot about natural touching of one another like at home and in public. I know that sounds weird, but just like natural flow of loving one another, and we didn't do it well. So, we started to force it and try. It was even more awkward and lame and forced. So, one or the other would stop. This continued. We would talk. Try again. Same thing. And then just like that, after so many discussions and forced efforts, it was like one day it just all fell into place and now it's not forced. We touch when it's natural, and sometimes I come home and I walk in and say "yo." and some days I walk in like today and he says "I MISSED YOU TODAY!" and grabs me and gives me a kiss. It's just the natural flow of life and it's wonderful to not have to try so hard for it anymore, but knowing that we walked through the mud puddles to get it here. 

Commitment and investment and time - it's a beautiful thing

Five years and as many as God will grace us on this Earth together to go <3 <3

He still wads up kitchen towels and leaves them dirty on the counter and I still lose my keys ;)

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Psychosocial Behaviors of Chronic Disease

This is a really hard topic to discuss but I think that it's worth discussing and to have dialogue on how we can help people to live their best lives based on the way that we approach the way that they eat. This is more about the psycho social pressures vs anything to do with the actual consumption of food and the guilt and shame that patients feel in relation to these events which in turn just make it harder for them to eat well.

As I've switched from being solely an online coach into a full time pharmacy health coach with nutrition coaching on the side , but doing a lot of the same type coaching in person, I've noticed some key differences. I think that it is of note that patients are referred to me due to their risk factors or current presence of chronic disease states such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and sometimes anxiety and depression.

1) Many of the patients that come to see me don't necessarily WANT to be there. Some most definitely do, but some just want to get the incentive debit card and know that they have to do these appointments to do so. If someone comes to me for nutrition coaching, they pay me because they WANT to be doing the work. 

2) There's a huge element of mistrust in the beginning. When patients are coming to see me, they are literally talking to me for the first time and most of the time, I'm younger than they are. I'm this tiny little chick sitting behind a big office desk, and it's intimidating. Then, I'm all like "let's get vulnerable and talk about your health problems that are mostly related to diet." Yea, no. It doesn't work well. (I think they think I'm going to tell them to start eating kale shakes but I know they don't know me yet haha). With my coaching online, the internet and email provided a space for women to be free to be vulnerable with me. They had got to know me through my blog and in turn trusted me with their deepest secrets.

I have noticed that most of the time (and it's only human nature), the blame game starts. Everyone is embarrassed to tell me their height and weight, and then go into the reasons of why they weigh what they do. I am literally not mocking this. This is just literally what everyone does. Sometimes I preface the question with the disclaimer that no matter what they say, I will not be judging them and that I just need it for data purposes. It's almost like when the photographer tells you to just act natural. You make a goofy face anyway. haha! It's just what people do. 

But, what I've noticed is pain and suffering in their eyes when they tell me about their weight gain. I won't say MOST but a large percentage of the people that I'm going to be working with need to lose a pretty significant amount of weight and it's to the point that it's caused disease. I have a dietician on staff that I can refer them to, but many times patients aren't even interested in this service. I can remember three instances of women telling me about their 50-100pound weight gain, and I can almost SEE visible tears in their eyes, but when I say that I want to help them to make big changes, the first thing they say is: 

"My mom is overweight." "It's hereditary." "This medicine caused it." "My metabolism has been slow since I was a child" 

... and on and on and on.

The problem with this, as a culture, patients have begun to believe this 100%. They are not just saying these things to me just to feed me a line or they wouldn't be looking at me with tears in their eyes. They truly believe that the weight that they have gained is from things that are outside of their control, and in many circumstances, there are things that ARE outside of their control therefore not trying at all seems to be the most viable and reasonable option. But there is unfortunately a victim mentality (again please hear my HEART and finding ways to help NOT judge but that is the truth).

I begin to ask if there is any anxiety or depression present and patients start to open up. This isn't always the case, but then slowly it might come out that there is some emotional eating going on that they can't get a handle on. Being from the deep south, everything is deep fried here and if it's not, then people think it's healthy. Yall, my family just discovered how much they love guacamole and I love them, but I have lovingly laughed at them that I KNOW the reason that they "haven't liked guac" is because something such as avocado in Shelby is considered healthy and is then considered gross (quinoa & hummus are other examples of such foods that "sound healthy therefore = gross lol). All of that to say, intuitive eating for most everyone here is not one of true balance that has any form of good nutrition. Most patients tell me they eat oatmeal, grilled chicken and veggies and same for dinner and of course, that just doesn't add up. I don't want to say they lie to me, but it's funny how everyone says this.

As a health coach, I think there needs to be more dialogue about all of this. Where does self acceptance/hatred end and health begin? There has to be the balance, and I think that we are a culture of self acceptance and body love and if you are feeding your body CORRECTLY to prevent disease then that's wonderful, but we all want to live happy and healthy lives with the ones that we love so how do we do both and not believe all the lies that society feeds us to make us feel better about all the things that we are doing to ourselves? In the exact opposite, there are people that hate themselves so much that they see no point in the things that they KNOW they should be doing or they have disease states (PCOS, Hashimotos) and it becomes very VERY difficult and meticulously watching their diet is not the way they want to live their life.

I would love to foster better relationships with food in this town, but I know that's also a big dream. I would love for people to know that it doesn't have to be all diet or nothing. They hear that, but I'd love for the concept of intuitive eating to really sink in. A patient yesterday was explaining that any time she eats McDonalds, she feels disgusted with herself, she orders 2 cheeseburgers and fries when she doesn't even have the desire to eat that much but it's "off the diet" so she almost feels she "has to" eat more. It's this never ending cycle, and an unhealthy relationship with food is what is causing our obesity epidemic. We have magazines with decadent cakes but also diet plans on the same page. They preach balance, but what does that even really mean? Why do my patients think that they have to drink shakes and wrap themselves in aluminum foil to get their blood glucose and high blood pressure down.

I believe that as I continue to foster relationships with these individuals, I will hopefully allow a space of trust and for them to open up to me and allow me to hopefully help them, but until they want to, of course as we know, there will be no change which is a shame. They deserve more. They deserve to know that sometimes just "accepting" genetics and disease states is not something they have to do. They CAN feel better, but they have stopped trying because they don't believe in a system of success and stopped believing in themselves to be able to get there.

After listening to the book that I referenced in my last blog post, there was a large section about how individuals will do better time and again when they believe that they are going to be successful. They do better when they have an audience watching (i.e. social media) and they will do better in communities. I'm hoping that I can build a community that lifts one another up to say I KNOW THAT THIS IS HARD BUT I KNOW THAT YOU DESERVE THIS. 

It's not about weight because I don't think that weight is causation for the disease at all. I don't think that the actual adipose tissue is what leads to the diabetes or the hyperlipidemia or hypertension. The unhealthy eating habits of course, but it's this unbalanced eating habit of all or nothing with the fluctuations, which have been shown in clinical trial to lead to MORE weight and early death. As I tell my patients, I'm not concerned that they have a 120/80 blood pressure because who cares about that number. What I care about is that a patient doesn't end up with a heart attack or stroke so that they can love on their people for a full long and happy life!!! 

Regardless, I feel as if this is going to be something that I enjoy SO much. I have so many ideas to implement into this county (if they will let me lol) and I think the first step is helping others to see that it's just me empowering them to do the things that they could always do on their own. As one patient said yesterday, "All fat people know how to lose weight. We need YOU to encourage, motivate, and cheer us on." GIRL, I GOT CHU.

I would love dialogue in the comments about how we can bridge this gap and any ideas that anyone has on how to better serve a community of people who genuinely do not believe that they are even capable of pressing START. (I LOVED the comments on my last post and getting to chat with everyone so feel free to comment if you have thoughts)

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