Are you depriving yourself?

Deprivation: depriving oneself of something or someone

One cookie will not make you gain weight nor will one donut. It would take many cookies + many donuts that would make you pack on the pounds. You need to stop believing everything you hear + read on Google. You need to sift through the truth and “marketing tactics” these companies continue to convince their consumers about.

Is it hard? Yes because all our lives we're taught different things when it comes to nutrition. Forget what you learned! All you need to know is this:

  • eat less processed foods re: TV dinners, pre-packaged salads with “chicken,” or frozen chicken tenders

  • Less sugar

  • More grains (unless you have celiac disease)

  • More veggies

And, bam, that is IT! There’s no special formula, trick or tactic that you need to follow. You wouldn’t be depriving yourself and you can still lose weight.

We need to reminder food is fuel, food is medicine and stop thinking about it as our enemy. It’s hard to change your mindset around food. I know because I’m still trying to view food as fuel. But, it can happen.

That is IF you’re ready to change your mindset and be open to trying new foods. Are you willing to substitute plant-based food for animal products a few times a week in order to lose weight? Are you willing to start listening to your body? I mean REALLY listening. No, you cannot have a conversation with your body, but can determine if you’re hungry or thirsty.

It takes time and effort. You could put this energy into changing your mindset instead of “dieting” because let’s face it…. dieting SUCKS.

Most likely all you plan on consuming are salads, smoothies. But, you’re unable to eat fries, burgers, cookies or even cupcakes? Not even 1? Eating SALAD every single day as “punishment” is not a way to live. It just sounds horrifying! It doesn’t have to be that way - I promise.

If you’re ready to change your mindset + stop the dieting mentality, let’s chat! If you want to learn about balancing nutrition + healthy relationships and so much more, why not schedule a FREE health consultation? I promise it will be worthwhile if you’re ready + willing to change your ways. Let’s get you on the road to feeling healthier + happier.

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Are You Really Hungry? How Do You Know?

You’re out at a restaurant and order an appetizer & entree + you feel full to the max. I mean, bloated full, yet when the waitress asks you for a dessert menu, you say “yes.” You start reading all the desserts: ice cream with a chocolate brownie, molted lava cake, strawberry shortcake and the list goes on.

Are you hungry?

Nope, but you order dessert anyway.

A few reasons why could be:

  • Because it sounded good

  • You had a bad day

  • You’re craving ice cream

  • You’re an emotional eater

Food can serve as many purposes such as a stress reliever, entertainment, a reward, pleasure or even a punishment. Sometimes your relationship with food isn’t always straightforward. But, when it comes to food, it’s so much more than just “tasting” good.. Sometimes, we have emotional ties with food that we didn’t even know about. We use it to soothe ourselves when times are rough and don’t see it as fuel.

When it comes to food, I am not perfect. Sometimes, I eat when I’m not hungry because it looks good. But, it’s rare that that sort of thing occurs because I’ve learned to listen to my body and ask myself if I’m hungry or just thirsty. I mean, if I just ate a big meal and I feel hungry, I know that my body is begging for water. But, many people mistake that cue for more food and instead of stopping while they’re ahead, they keep eating. In turn, this could turn into a habit.

So, how can YOU tell when your hungry? Do you typically listen to your body? Do you follow a strict diet or schedule when it comes to eating?

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How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy does not need to cost you an arm + a leg! Most people believe that they're unable to buy healthy food because they simply cannot afford it + that's far from the truth.

There are plenty of ways to eat healthy on a budget + I'm going to provide you with those ways:

1) Buy canned or frozen veggies. Frozen fruit + canned veggies last longer than fresh produce. I suggest doing half and half. If you have certain foods that you know you’ll make the week of, I’d opt for fresh fruit. For foods you’ll make later on, just buy them in a can.

2) Buy 1-2 animal-based protein. Animal products are a bit expensive. So, I'd suggest buying only one or two animal-based protein whenever you go shopping. If you do buy chicken or beef, try to opt for organic grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chicken. I know they can be decently expensive, but it’s better than buying conventional meat because the animal is coped up and doesn’t have room to roam around and in turn they most likely contracted a disease, which in turn could be passed onto YOU.

3) Always read food labels. Before buying any food, be sure to check the ingredients. I cannot stress this enough. The rule of thumb is if you’re unable to understand ALL of the ingredients, you probably should not be putting said food in your body. Need help with understanding ingredients? I’m doing a Facebook live next Wednesday, May 8.. Click here to join my tribe!

4) Buy less junk food. It’s okay to splurge on chips once in a while, but try not to make it a habit. Chips are nothing but empty calories and they do nothing for you nutritionally. Instead, buy a bag of potatoes and make them yourself! Not only are they healthier, they might be cheaper.

5) Replace animal protein with plant-based protein. Chickpeas, black beans, legumes, lentils are a few options you can buy instead of chicken or beef. They’re way cheaper and you feel full aftward. You might be either skeptical or thinking you’ll still be hungry, but I can assure you if you eat the right amount of plant-based protein, you won’t! If you need suggestions, let’s chat!

6) Make a grocery list before you shop. Hunger + no grocery list makes for a bad combo. This might be something you do anyway, but for me, growing up, my mom wouldn’t make a grocery list and would end up going over budget. If you’re trying to stick to a certain amount of money, I’d suggest choosing recipes and only buying the ingredients for each one.

7) Buy in bulk. I didn’t think it was cheaper to buy in bulk, but really it is! Overtime, it will save you money. I buy healthy foods from Costco, which I personally like better than BJ’s & Sam’s Club. I think they have more organic & healthy foods.

8) Cook large portions. It’s awesome when you make a meal big enough to eat for lunch to next day! So, make foods that you know will be sure to yield leftovers. How about pasta with veggies? Homemade pizza? Rice with veggies?

9) Buy generic brands. Usually name brands are more expensive than generic brands. If you find that they have the same exact ingredients and the generic brand is cheaper, opt for generic. It will save you so much money in the long run!

10) Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. Be sure to eat lunch, dinner or a snack before food shopping because you’re more likely to pick up whatever looks good, which is usually junk food.

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

10 Ways to Stay Happy + Healthy

I used to think just by eating clean and healthy foods, it would equal to a guaranteed happy + healthy life and boy was I wrong!

Here’s the truth: eating all the salad & kale will not automatically make you happy + healthy because there are so many other components.

Sure - these foods WILL make you feel good, but they will not be the all end all because as humans, we crave companionship and if you’re not getting that in your life, in turn you might end up with an eating disorder, binge eating, etc. And, I’m NOT saying that just because you don’t have a boyfriend, you’re destined to be unhappy! All I’m saying is relationships of any kind are extremely important for your overall well-being along with a few other components.

Here are ways to stay healthy:

1) Eating healthy. Okay, again, this one is obvious. Eating bags of cheetos every night will not make you feel good. In fact, your stomach will probably HATE you. Eating those types of foods once in a while is fine, but not all the time. I always stick to the 80/20 rule. Most of the time, I’m eating salad, sweet potatoes, kale, etc and foods that will benefit my body instead of hurt it and then the other 20%, I eat chips or something considered “unhealthy.” Remember: we only get 1 body, so why punish it day in and day out?

2) Building relationships. Whether it’s a significant other, family or friends, surround yourself with loved ones. We all crave human interaction and making memories with people is SO good for your health. So, plan a girls night, a date night, or go out to dinner with your family ASAP!

3) Enjoying your job. Do you like your job? There are so many people who have stayed in their jobs because of the pay or they cannot find another job and it’s sad. If you’re finding you’re miserable with your job, it might be time to re-evaluate your job situation. Being miserable at a job will only bring on negative emotions, which could lead to depression. Try to make sure you’re happy at your job and if you’re not, sometimes happiness overpowers money!

4) Being financially stable. Do you feel as if you’re financially stable? This is a hard question for most because we always want more! The amount of money we earn isn’t always enough, but there’s a difference between living to work or working to live. When you’re financially stable, you’re less likely to feel stressed. I get that sometimes you feel like you don’t earn enough, and you’re looking for a way to earn more, consider taking on something you enjoy on the side! If you’ve always wanted to be a dog walker, baby sitter, blogger, vlogger, health coach, etc, why not go for it? But, if you’re happy with your situation, more power to you!

5) Going to trips. I find that traveling is good for the mind, body + spirit. Getting away from life for a few days clears your mind and makes you feel less stressed. And, besides, who doesn’t like to try new restaurants, explore different cities and decompress? It doesn’t have to be a long trip or that far, rather, you could go somewhere local and still feel the same way.

6) Get off social media. I say comparison might just be the death of Americans. Our whole lives are spent looking at other people’s lives, bodies, etc and feeling depressed. So…. stop scrolling for a few days and you might find yourself feeling happier + healthier.

7) Have sex. Okay, okay, no one wants to talk about sex + I get it, but it is healthy to have sex. It puts you in a good mood and the sensation is like nothing else, so as long as you’re safe, have all the sex you want!

8) Listen to music. Maybe this is a personal preference, but I find that listening to music definitely makes me happier!

9) Enjoy food. Try not to let food rule your entire life. If you’re craving a donut, have the damn donut. Don’t restrict yourself because you’ll end up binge eating. Please try not to punish yourself for listening to your body. Just enjoy every single bite of that donut and eat healthy the rest of the day. It DOES not have to be a recipe for disaster. Rather, think of it as a treat!

10) Spend time with your animals. I find that taking my dogs for a walk or simply cuddling with them puts me in a better mood. Whether you have a dog. cat, rabbit, etc, make sure they know how much you love them!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

How To Have A Healthy Pregnancy

Honestly, my pregnancy has been pretty flawless. I mean, sure I’m exhausted, nauseous, have heartburn, can’t sleep, cannot stand to sit at a desk like I used to and feel like a blimp, but I’m lucky that I’ve had a good pregnancy. And, I’ve always been health-conscious and knew that would still remain true during pregnancy. I promised myself that I’d give in to my cravings, but wouldn’t go too overboard.

I’ve gained about 25 pounds and I’m 30 weeks & a few days, but the weight has been in my breasts and my growing bump, but nowhere else, so again, I say I’m lucky. Every woman is different and I get that, but there are ways to can have a healthy pregnancy.

1) Exercise. You’re probably thinking two things: duh or I’m way too tired! Okay, okay, I get it. BUT, even if you go for a 10-15 minute walk, that still counts as exercise. You won’t want to do it every day because gosh, that fatigue is intense, but try to do it when you can! Or, hop on the elliptical, treadmill, walk around your office. ANY form of exercise is GREAT during pregnancy.

2) Listen to your body. I CANNOT stress this enough. Are you really hungry or are you thirsty? Do you really want to eat 3 cheeseburgers? Why not have 1 and then some fruit or veggies with it? I get it, we all have cravings. I know I do, but you should NOT go overboard. In my opinion, it doesn’t give you permission to overeat because then you’ll end up feeling like shit afterward. Eat the damn burger and fries, but try not continue on the greasy foods pattern the rest of the day.

3) Drink water. WATER, WATER, WATER! Is water boring? Put citrus in it to spice it up. Lemons, oranges, limes, cucumbers, whatever floats your boat. I promise, it won’t taste as bad. Plus, it will help cleanse and flush out the toxins.

4) Meal prep. This makes things soooo much easier on the days you’re exhausted. Lately, when I bake, I usually make more so I can freeze it eat later on. Most nights I come home and simply do not feel like cooking!

5) Spend time with family & friends. We all crave connecting with other human beings and there’s nothing healthier than spending an evening or afternoon surrounded by your loved ones. Go out to dinner, go shopping, do something that makes you happy.

6) Don’t obsess over your weight. Gosh, you have to practice what you preach, right? This is more like a reminder for myself more than anything! It might be hard to watch the scale go up and up, but just remember that you’re growing a human being! Your body is doing AMAZING things!

7) Don’t stress! Stressing about things you cannot control or work-related situations isn’t always preventable, but also isn’t good for the baby, so when you feel like you’re stressing, either walk away from the situation, meditate or do something that relaxes you!

8) Sit outside. I’ve found sitting outside not only gives me Vitamin D, but also makes me happy. Getting the fresh air does wonders for me. Just feeling the breeze will make you feel more content.

9) Sit down! So, you’ve been running around all day. You need to give your body rest and please reminder that it’s okay to sit down. When I sit for a long period of time, I feel guilty and lazy, but really I need to remember that growing a human being is HARD. It’s exhausting and not easy, so taking that time is extremely important.

10) Take a nap. Feeling tired? Well, I pretty much feel tired every single day and when I get a chance, I try to take a nap. I remind myself that it’s okay, just like sitting down and watching TV once in a while. So, if you’re tired, do it! You deserve it because you’re amazing!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

I'm Overcoming an Undiagnosed Eating Disorder....

**PLEASE NOTE THAT I’M DEALING WITH MY UNDIAGNOSED EATING DISORDER & NOT LETTING IT GET TO A POINT OF NO RETURN. Honestly, some days are worse than others. I wrote this in the hopes that it helps someone else in a similar situation. I’ve always told you I’ve be open & transparent with you, so here goes!

Growing up, I was always self-conscious about the way I looked.

In high school, I got a little heavier and by senior year, I knew I had to make a change. So, I lost weight, but there were days when I just didn’t think I was skinny enough.

I’ve carried that mentality ever since and I didn’t know why I felt this way - until I started attending Institute for Integrative Nutrition and found out I had an undiagnosed eating disorder.

That means I never binged or purged or did any self-conflicting damage, I would just tell myself that I wasn’t good enough and I could only eat a certain amount of calories. If I ate too much, I would NEED to work it off. If I didn’t, I would feel like absolute crap. I tried to change my mindset, but nothing worked.

Then, I got pregnant and KNEW if I did not change, I would be hurting my child.

I was nervous though because I knew my mind would creep in and potentially take over.

The first trimester was hard. Every time I would eat more than I usually do, my mind would say, “no, no, no you’re not allowed to eat that much.” I tried to fight what my mind was saying, but somehow, I couldn’t fight the urge to want to listen. Gosh, I was PETRIFIED of gaining weight. Every time I thought about gaining a pound or so, I would cringe.

“You are growing a freaking person inside of you, Hope, you need to stop,” my husband would remind me. Then, there was my mother who told me the same followed by one of my friends. And, I KNEW I had to listen.

I knew I was blessed because so many women cannot get pregnant and I was privileged enough to get pregnant, so I had to stop wasting my time on such a stupid matter. At the same time, I knew it was psychological and if I needed to seek help, now was the time to do so.

When my 2nd trimester began, my mindset started to change and I felt differently. Instead of constantly worrying about the amount of food I was consuming, I focused on my growing baby. I’m not saying I’m completely “over” it, but I’d definitely feel better about myself and am happy about being pregnant.

** Please note that there was NEVER a time I put my growing baby in danger due to my mind. I ate when I was hungry, but never overdid it.

If you’re struggling with an undiagnosed eating disorder that you had no idea you had, please talk to someone! Do not be afraid to ask for help or pretend that everything is okay.

I knew that if it got to a point where it was affecting my everyday routine and my life in general, I would seek help but at this time, I can handle it on my own and know how to talk myself out of feeling like I need to eat less. I’m NOT going to endanger my growing child just because my mind is telling me not to eat “too much.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Pay attention to your triggers. Does eating certain foods make you feel bad about yourself? Does a certain friend or family member make you feel about about yourself? Stay away from them because you DO NOT NEED that negative energy!

  2. You’re binge eating and then throwing up. RED Flag! It’s not normal, so you should probably find someone to talk to about why you’re doing this in the first place.

  3. If the thought of gaining weight concerns you, then you may want to seek help!

There are always people around to talk to. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a therapist YET, feel free to reach out to friends, family or a holistic health coach!

Sharing My LOVE STORY In Hopes That It Will Inspire You

October 6, 2013: Hey, that sounds like a really cool career path in writing but way to go in considering a pursuit of your health admiration!!!

I had no idea that the conversation I had with this guy on October 6, 2013 would turn into something even bigger than I EVER knew.

But, you have to start somewhere.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it or lie to you when I say that it has been easy because it hasn’t. When I first met my husband, he was closed off. He had never had a girlfriend and he was an angry person who bottled up his feelings. And, I’m not going to say I was perfect either because I was very immature and didn’t know how to handle situations in a mature manner.

We grew close very quickly and soon, he began to open up and his anger slowly began to diminish.

As for me, I was scared of my feelings. He was the first guy who I truly cared about. Sure, I had other boyfriends, but this was different.

Our love story is different because after 15 months of dating, we moved to another state that was 12+ hours away in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. and we were tested in more ways than 1.

It was then that we needed to see if we’d last.

There were days I’d doubt our relationship and felt breaking up was our best option. I pondered it one day as I lay in our apartment. And, he knew I had doubts.

Conversation after conversation drew me closer to the breaking point.

And, I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about my doubts for fear of the person telling me what I already knew - we needed a break.

Gosh, I was terrified.

But, there was always something there. There was something telling me that he was the one for me and reminding me that I was never going to find a flawless man. I would always find something to complain about. I would always find something about the person that drove me nuts.

And, then, just like that, the doubts were gone.

Then, in November 2015, he popped the question. But then, a few months later, we were presented with another test - he lost his job and we had to move back home.

Devastated and still immature, I handled it terribly instead of appreciating the fact that we had the option to move back home.

As time progressed, the doubts resurfaced.

In fact, the doubts resurfaced a few months before we got married. This is the part that no one knows about because I never disclosed this information. I held it in, but finally talked to him about it.

Did I believe it was a red flag. Duh. But, I also know myself and thinking that THE PERFECT MAN is out there for me WITHOUT FLAWS was ridiculous.

All I knew was I HAD to talk to him about my feelings.

We both had tears in our eyes as I explained to him that I wasn’t sure if we should get married due to his flaws.

Here were the 2 questions: would I ever be able to accept them OR would I dwell on them for the rest of my life?

I cried because I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I was madly in love with him and that I had to decide what I wanted.

He stressed the fact that he accepted my flaws and would love me no matter what. We barely spoke the rest of the evening and the next day, we revisited the conversation.

This was when I realized that I couldn’t keep doing this to him. It wasn’t fair that I kept questioning him as a person when he was the guy who would do anything for me and I saw through his actions that he was dependable and would always do his best to protect me and handle situations in a mature manner. You never had to ask him twice to do something because after you explained that you needed him, he would be there in a heartbeat and I never found that in another guy. So, I just knew.

We got married in November 2016.

But, there were still plenty more tests to endure.

In March 2017, we moved again without a plan. No concrete job. Then, he started his own business and I found a job.

A year later, we found a house, but money was always something that was concerning. All at the same time our heater broke, the windows in our house suddenly stopped working, our dog chewed my prescription glasses, we owed thousands of dollars for our income tax, and the list went on.

BUT.

One thing has remained the same. Our love for one another. Though, I’ve strayed from him a few times due to my insecurities, his flaws and my immaturity, at the end of the day, I still loved him.

Every couple has had ups and downs and has had to put out money they weren’t prepared for, but it’s all about finding a way to make it work.

Maybe your love story is a bit more complicated, simpler or easy to tell, but ours is nothing shy of a world-wind.

Just remembering at the end of the day that you’ll get through it together is the most important thing.

My hope is that this will inspire you. If your guy has flaws, just remember that NO ONE IS PERFECT and you will never find a man with every single characteristic that you’re looking for!

Every story has a different ending. If you can handle the bad along with the good, then more than likely it’s meant to be. But, if there’s something telling you that you’re making a mistake, you may want to ask yourself if it’s worth moving forward and starting your life with this person.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Does he make you feel warm & fuzzy?

Does he give you butterflies?

Does he make you feel good about yourself?

Does he tell you truth and not sugar-coat it?

Does he listen when you need him?

Does he lift you up when you’re feeling down?

Does he encourage you or support you no matter what?

Is he there when you need him the most?

Is my relationship with my husband perfect? Absolutely not! Do we argue? Yes. Do we bicker about stupid stuff? Yup! Don’t believe EVERYTHING you read and hear on social media because it’s not true! It’s a facade that people put on. No one ever tells you about the bad. They always want to talk about the good, but I want to remind you that there WILL BE bad. Not everything is picture-perfect.

Remember that having a happy and healthy relationship is extremely crucial for your well-being. If you feel like your relationship isn’t what you thought, let’s chat!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Simple Ways To Optimize Your Life

If you’re searching for simple ways to optimize your life, look no further! Check out the ways to do just that.

EATING HABITS

Chew your food – when eating, make sure you taste your food. Can you name a time you remember really tasting what you ate or do you find yourself just stuffing your face at your desk without acknowledging the texture and flavor? Start taking the time to focus on every aspect and component of the foods that enter your mouth.

Make every meal pleasurable – at the start of every meal, make sure you get a whiff of it and take a good long hard look at it.

Listen to your body and notice how it reacts to certain foods – almost every magazine is talking about the benefits of smoothies, oatmeal and overnight oats, but the question is can your body handle those foods? Just because the media bombards us with the foods “we should be eating” doesn’t mean that your body agrees.

RELATIONSHIPS

Communicate with your significant other, family and friends – when it comes to relationships, it takes work to maintain them. So, make sure you’re communicating your feelings, emotions and talk out your issues with your loved ones. The worst thing is bottling up your emotions only to explode later on.

Get a promotion? Celebrate with family and friends! It’s always nice to celebrate the small triumphs that life brings us. And, why not do it with the people you love?

Write out what you’re grateful for – feel like you haven’t spelled out what your grateful for when it comes to your friendships? Take the time to write a list of things and send it to your friend. You never know when he or she may need this sort of thing!

ATTITUDE

Honor negative thoughts – though your initial reaction is to avoid anything negative, dealing with those thoughts will help you learn what to do when you start feeling the negativity.

Develop a sense of humor – if you take life too seriously, you may end up barreling into a downward spiral. So, laugh at yourself every once in a while!

Take time to spend outside – Vitamin D + the sunshine will instantly make you feel better. Make sure you get fresh air every chance you get!

Enjoy your life – dance, take a yoga class, blast the radio – whatever makes you feel better after a long-hard day! It will put you in a better mood.

HOME PRACTICES

Make sure your house is clean – when we have a clean house, we just feel our mood perk up! Remember a clean home is a happy home.

Minimize technology time – if you find yourself on your phone or watching TV more than the average person, you may want to step back and read, exercise or meditate instead.

Buy plants for your home – including plants in your home may just be the ticket to happiness!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

5 Ways To Feel Less Suffocated At Work

If you work at a desk job, most of your day is spent sitting there getting projects done, eating your breakfast, lunch and possibly dinner, chugging down coffee, possibly soda to keep you going. And, if you have a very important deadline, you never really get up from your desk to move your body.

By the time you get home, you’re so exhausted that you skip your yoga class and the downward spiral begins.

Either way, you might feel suffocated at work.

Most of your day is spent indoors and if you don’t have a window, you’re not getting ANY sunlight.

So, if your office feels a tad stuffy most days, this is what I suggest:

1) Take 15 minutes out of your day to walk. Go to a local park. Walk around your work’s parking lot. Do something to get the heck out of the office.

2) Meet a friend for lunch. Do you find yourself needing some time to re-group? Use your lunch break to meet a friend and either do lunch or just take a walk.

3) Drive around for 15 minutes. Don’t have anywhere to go? Why not drive around with the windows down and get some fresh air? t will do you some good to get the heck out of the office.

4) Come home for lunch. Live close to your house and need a breather? If you feel yourself needing alone time or needing time away from the office, why not spend your lunch break at home?

5) Grab a coffee or a smoothie. Do you feel like you’re in a slump and need some caffeine or a refreshing drink? Grab a cup of joe or a smoothie!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Listening to Your Body & Deconstructing Your Cravings

When I was in college, I started restricting myself from eating certain foods such as donuts, bagels, pastries and anything else I considered “bad food.” At work when someone brought in donuts, I would take a cold, hard look at them and want one so badly, but deny myself the pleasure.

I would say I’m pretty good at controlling myself when it comes to food.

But, some people are not. For instance, if you restrict yourself from eating specific foods, more than likely, you’ll end up binge eating, which is worse than just eating the darn donut in the first place.

It wasn’t until I started attending IIN that I found denying myself was actually hurting more than helping, so I started LISTENING to my body. Was I in the mood for a sweet treat? If so, I would have something small. I never felt like I needed to eat a whole carton of say ice cream because I began tuning into my cravings.

Is it easy to listen to your body?

Hell no.

But, once you train yourself to tune into what your body WANTS, you’ll more than likely not feel the desire to eat an entire chocolate cake.

Do you know why you crave certain foods? This is why:

  1. Lack of Primary Food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship, having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little, or the wrong kind), being bored, stressed, or uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice can all cause emotional eating. Many people try to cope with uncomfortable emotions or difficult situations by seeking balance through food. Food can provide a form of relief, or even an escape, when you’re under stress. In this way, food is being used as a strategy to fulfill areas of primary food that aren’t being satisfied.

  2. Water. Staying hydrated is a great way to help reduce extreme cravings and may ultimately help regulate the amount eaten to match needs more closely. A glass of water before eating has actually been shown to reduce the amount of food consumed during a meal. Another factor to consider is that your hydration status affects your body’s electrolyte balance. When you sweat and lose water, you also lose electrolytes, like sodium. This may lead you to seek out sodium-rich foods following an intense workout.

  3. Lack of Nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it might produce odd cravings. An extreme example of this is a disorder called pica, which leads to extreme cravings of nonfood items, like clay. This condition may arise due to a chronic iron deficiency.

  4. Seasonal. The body often craves foods in accordance with the season. In the spring, people crave lighter foods, like leafy greens or citrus fruits. In the summer, people crave cooling foods, like raw foods and ice cream. In the fall, people tend to crave grounding foods, like squash, onions, and nuts, and many crave heat-producing foods, like meat, oil, and fat, in the winter. Cravings can also be associated with seasonal holidays. For example, turkey, eggnog, or Christmas cookies.

  5. Inside Coming Out. Cravings often come from foods you’ve recently eaten or foods from your childhood. Recently eaten foods tend to be fresh in your mind, so you’re more likely to crave that food in an attempt to re-create a positive eating experience. Similarly, when you crave foods from your childhood, you may really be seeking the feeling of comfort those foods may have provided when you were younger.

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

It's Been Two Years Since We Moved To Greenville And My Experience Has Been...

In 2015, we visited Greenville for an engagement shoot.

At the time, we were living in Tennessee and my now-husband had just lost his job, so we made the decision to move back to Pennsylvania.

It was a difficult time for both of us because we had been living on our own for about a year and I loved the freedom of having my own place. Did I miss my family? Hell yeah, but it was a choice we made.

So, two weeks after doing the shoot, we moved back to PA.

A few months later, we decided to move to Greenville permanently. Was I afraid the same thing would happen as Tennessee? Yes, but it was a risk I knew I had to take.

Around the time we moved here, my grandma passed away, so that made it 10 times harder because I knew it was a horrible time to leave my family. But, I had to go.

Gosh, these two years had been emotionally draining.

My husband started his own business, which took a while to gain traction. It only took me about a month to obtain a job, but still, we were not used to our surroundings and we only had 2 friends here. It was hard starting over again and not to mention, the people in the south are so much different than the north, so we had to get used to the personalities.

But, we made it.

Together, we worked as a team and adopted a dog, moved to a nicer apartment, then bought a house, found out I was pregnant and I started attended IIN to become a holistic health coach. No, these events didn’t happen all in the same year.

So, it’s safe to say that these past few years have had its ups and downs.

In terms of the emotional aspect, there are days I miss my family so much it hurts, but then I remind myself that we would NOT be living comfortably in the north. It’s too damn expensive to live here and I wasn’t getting ANY job opportunities.

In order to learn, you must go through rough patches! It will only make you a stronger person. And, people ask me all the time how I cope with not seeing my family. What do I say? I don’t think about it. If I do, I’ll become a blabbering mess and you won’t want to pick up the pieces, trust me.

I’ve learned so much about myself, my husband and our abilities to take situations in stride. I mean, this year has started off really rough with having to fork out SO MUCH money for our taxes, then having the washer break, the heater, and my dog eating my prescription glasses. So, it’s safe to say we’ve put out way more money than we anticipated, BUT…. I remind myself to focus on the positive aspects of my life. It could be so much worse.

I mean, compared to other women (knock on wood), my pregnancy has been a breeze. I often feel nauseous, exhausted, heartburn, but nothing too extreme, so I’m lucky.

What have I learned living here?

I’ve learned that there’s a little creative community that is willing to help. All you have to do is reach out!

My husband and I can get through anything.

Stay positive even when negative things are heading my way.

It gets better.

Believe in myself and my abilities.

Believe that I WILL obtain clients for my business.

Thanks GVL for the memories so far! I can’t wait to create more. ✌️


If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

How to Start Your Week on the Right Foot

Sunday nights.

They’re rough on all of us. The next day is Monday and so the circle of dread begins. I get it because I’m with you. The weekend is filled with laughter, fun & you can stay up late! But, on week days, you need to be responsible & go to bed at a reasonable hour in order to feel your best!

But, I’m here to tell you that Sunday night doesn’t have to be filled with dread. You can change your attitude and I’ll tell you how by focusing on the good things happening during the week.

1) Meal prep on Sunday. This will start your week on the right foot because you’re less likely to reach for processed foods. Bring foods you’ll look forward to eating!

2) Set your clothes out the night before. Want to catch some extra Zzz’s? Make sure you pick out your clothes the night before to avoid being late the next day & maybe you’ll get to sleep in for a few the next day.

3) Meditate on Monday morning. Before going to work on Monday morning, take 30 minutes out to meditate and cleanse your mind before heading into work.

4) Make plans after work. Get together with friends after work, so you have something to look forward to. Grab a coffee or a glass of wine & relax with your best gal pals.

5) Schedule a date night. Book a reservation at your favorite restaurant & surprise your significant other with a date night!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Want to know my story?

“We’re not going to conduct an allergy test because it wouldn’t make sense after hearing your symptoms,” said the doctor.

Okay.

Again, another dead end. I was back where I started and felt rather frustrated.

Over the last 6 years, I’ve gone to a total of 7 gastroenterologists. The issue I was having stemmed back to high school. I would eat a dairy product and feel my stomach start to gurgle and then gas would rear its ugly head and I couldn’t let it out because I was in school and felt embarrassed, so there I was spending the whole day keeping it in until I was able to release it. By the time, I let loose, my stomach had already felt like shit and I just didn’t get it.

I tried to avoid dairy, but then it started happening when I ate random food such as pasta sauce, pasta, sandwiches, etc.

In college, it got worse and that’s around the time I told my mother, who took me to a gastro. I’d describe my issues, they’d ask me a few questions, give me a pill and I went on my way. Did those pills work? Hell no!

So, I went to another one and they recommended a cat-scan and an ultrasound and found that I had an ovarian cyst, which they removed. “We’re hoping that that’s the issue,” said my doctor. So was I!

But, unfortunately, it wasn’t. I continued to suffer. I dealt with it for years and then went to see someone else, who gave me another dose of pills. OH, yay!

In 2015, I moved to Tennessee and went to see another gastro, who suggested I eliminate red meat from my diet. And, she was the ONLY doctor who suggested food being the healer, not medicine. A few months later, I went to another gastro, who asked me if I’ve ever had a colonoscopy. Nope! But, I was willing to try it.

They found NOTHING!

It was as if I was a rare medical case because NO ONE could figure out what I had. Someone suggested possibly a slight case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but she wasn’t sure.

When I went on a cruise for my honeymoon, I saw a nutritionist, who put me on an elimination diet. To my surprise, it helped a little bit. He explained that I had many toxins and chemicals in my body and told me to stick to these certain foods to see if my symptoms disappeared. They didn’t totally, but my stomach felt so much better!

In 2018, I started IIN and learned so much about elimination diets and how food IS medicine. Looking back had I known that I should have changed my diet instead of listening to the doctor, I might have gotten rid of my stomach problems. BUT, you live and you learn.

Have a similar experience? Let’s chat: adashofhopee@gmail.com!

Would you ever consider going on an elimination diet?

I Finally Found My Happiness

I’ve always wanted to help people, but wasn’t sure in what compacity.

In college, I felt drawn to the magazine industry and yearned to live in NYC to become a magazine writer. I did intern for Good Housekeeping and Family Circle Magazine, but changed my mind due to the competitiveness.

Instead, I went straight into content writing then became a social media coordinator, and finally a community manager. But, there was always something missing.

When it came to my career, I never felt settled.

I always felt the sense that I was meant for something greater. I always felt like there was something else out there for me. I would suggest a new career every week, but never followed through because it wasn’t meant to be. That was until I moved to Greenville a year ago and came across holistic health coaching.

Something clicked in my mind. The excitement started creeping up and that’s when I knew I finally found it. I’ve spent most of my 20’s confused as to what career I wanted. I’d start a job, love it and then all of a sudden, something would happen. And, in my heart, I knew it was a sign. I kept on looking and wondering when it would finally hit me.

So, now, after years of exploring career options, I’m becoming a holistic health coach and my goal is to help people – whether it be men or women – become their best selves. I want to see the smile on their face when they finally find their happiness. The joy I’ll feel will be overwhelming and for the first time in my life, I know I’ll be making a difference.

Via Hannah Kerr’s Little Pink Book

Nothing Was Enough, Until This Happened....

I was a miserable kid.

My mom and aunt both told me that and also, I’ve seen it with my own eyes because I watch home movies and I see myself pouting. In one home video, while we were having a family party, I laid on the front lawn refusing to socialize. I often got into arguments with my aunt, who admitted years later that we never got along because I always acted like a bitch. And, I’m glad she was honest with me because looking back, I was.

To add to my unhappiness, which I don’t understand what stemmed from because I never had any tragic experiences or any negatives events happen as a child, I never felt like anything was enough. I had supportive parents, brothers who I got along with, a roof over my head, food on the table, my own room, etc. Point being I didn’t have parents who neglected me or went to a school full of bullies, so I figured it was time for me to dig deep into my past.

I started looking at the jobs I had and began to re-evaluate what happened at each job that made me dislike them. Honestly, it wasn’t really the job itself, but rather, the boss I had that made it miserable for me to drive to the office every day.

I was either micromanaged or treated like I was dumb. Just when I’d think I was getting somewhere with either my job or my freelancing, something would happen and bring me back down. I was very easily upset and the downward spiral would start where I was too hard on myself. I would begin to ridicule my body, want to leave a job and so on and so forth.

I never felt like I could find a job that I genuinely enjoyed. And, I think that was a sign that all the jobs I had were just a stepping stone, not what I would be doing for the rest of my life.

So, I spent years focusing on what I didn’t have instead of what I do have.

I focused on all the negative things happening in my life and often felt compelled to say, “poor me.” Guess what though? My life was NOT bad enough to say, “poor me” because I was never homeless, I always had food to eat, I always had money coming in, I’ve always had a supportive family and then, in 2013, I met my now-husband, who loves me for who I am, so how dare I say “POOR ME?!” How dare I lump myself into that category and feel “sorry” for myself.

I wasted all this time complaining when I could have been using that energy to focus on more important things. I should have spent that time figuring out why I felt like nothing was ever enough and truly searching for my happiness.

Happiness does NOT come from money or fame or being thin. It comes from appreciating what you have and focusing on what you do have.

Know when my perception changed? On Thursday night I watched a lecture from Geneen Roth, who said she had all the money in the world, and yet, she still complained. She wanted more and never felt like it was enough until she lost all her savings and something inside of her changed. It clicked.

I sat in front of my computer in awe.

Damn, I said to myself. That’s me. My husband said to me the other day, “is there ever a day where you don’t complain about something?” Ouch. It’s true though.

Geneen experienced the same thing with her husband, who asked her if she was feeling okay after not complaining for a few days straight. So, that was my turning point.

So, when YOU feel like nothing is enough, this is what you can do:

1) Write down everything you DO have. Make a list of what you feel grateful for. Review the list daily and remind yourself not to focus on the negative.

2) Go for a walk. Use this time to reflect and ask yourself why you’re feeling this way.

3) Read a book. There are so many books out there such as Geneen Roth’s “Lost and Found: One Woman's Story of Losing Her Money and Finding Her Life.”

Instead of New Years Resolutions, Let's Come Up With a List of Goals

2019 is finally here.

And, I’m sure the gym is more packed than usual because most people’s resolutions will be to go to the gym. For about a month, they will be dedicated to working out and eating healthy , but once it becomes too hard for them and they feel like they’re unable to eat certain foods, they’ll end up binge eating, punishing themselves and falling off the wagon and unfortunately not hopping back on.

Then, they are disappointed in themselves and might in turn gain even more weight. The cycle continues and they either try again and fail or they feel frustrated that the weight isn’t coming off as quickly as they’d like.

Okay, well, I have a suggestion: instead of creating New Years Resolutions, let’s come up with a list of ATTAINABLE GOALS.

What are some goals you KNOW you can achieve this year?

Maybe one of your goals is to eat healthier. Okay, that is definitely doable. There are thousands of great recipes ideas online and in cookbooks. Maybe one of your goals is to feel confident. Well, what are some ways you can do that? Maybe by buying a few new outfits, wearing a little makeup, hanging out with friends more often or even going for a pamper session. Whatever makes you feel good inside, I would recommend doing in order to build your confidence.

If you need an accountability coach, I’d be more than happy to help you write a list of goals and stick to them this year! Please send me an email and let’s chat: adashofhopee@gmail.com!

A Letter to Myself in 2019

Dear Self:

In 2019, you will be happier because well, you’ll have your own business, which is something you’ve been wanting for so long now. You’ll also earn your certification, which is a huge accomplishment because you truly did not believe in yourself enough to go to school to begin with. You were too scared and used your learning disability as a crutch. But, let’s put the past behind us because we can’t go backwards, instead we’re going to move forward.

In 2018, you bought a house, a FREAKING house, which is amazing! You should be so proud of yourself. You also paid off your student loans, hit your 1-year mark at your job and in Greenville, celebrated your 2-year anniversary with your husband, got the news that you’re going to be an aunt, fought for happiness, flew home to surprise your mom for mother’s day/her birthday, and finally figured out what you want to do with your life. Lastly, you were blessed with another surprise, which I’m sure you’ll disclose within the next few weeks.

All in all, 2018 has treated you and Brett pretty well. His business finally took off and he earned decent money this year. Compared to all the years, 2018 has been the best year for you financially. And, I know you are so ready for 2019. It will be so much better than 2018 with all the blessings that I’m sure you’re looking forward to.

Mainly, I just wanted to say I’m so proud of you. Think about where you started until now. You’ve come a long way and you should be happy of your progress. Peace out 2018!

To The Women Who Call Themselves Ugly

As women, we’re always critiquing and picking apart our body. We constantly bash ourselves about our appearance. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re ugly. Here’s The ugly truth, we actually listen.

The other day, I read this status made from someone on my Facebook, “I might be ugly but at least I ain’t stupid cause ugly can be fixed and your stupidity can’t.” And, this absolutely disgusted me. As a woman, why do we need to call ourselves, “ugly?” Why is it necessary to put ourselves down? Everyone is attractive in their own way.

Your personality might be cute as a button and that’s why so many people like you. Or, you may always make a negative into a positive, making you beautiful. We need to stop labeling ourselves as “unworthy” “ugly” or “stupid.”

So what if you don’t wear a size 0 or have a rather large nose, that doesn’t mean you’re unworthy of love. Everyone deserves to be loved and to be happy. We need to start telling each other we’re beautiful. And, we must start believing and having confidence in ourselves.
In the past, only tall and thin-framed girls could be models.

But, now, you see plus size models are just as successful and still beautiful. So, whomever tells you you must be skinny to be attractive should go to hell! Feel comfortable in your own skin and feel proud of who you are.

Therefore, stop telling yourself you’re hideous when you look at yourself in the mirror. Post positive aspects of yourself and post it on your bathroom mirror. Then, after you write at least 5 positive characteristics of yourself, repeat them to yourself every single day. Don’t ever put yourself down. You are your worst enemy and nothing will change if you don’t alter the way you show yourself.

Don't Forgot About Yourself!

I’ve been married for a little over 2 years now.

And, I’ve been with my husband a total of 5 YEARS. In 2013, we met, which was a few months after I graduated. At that time, I thought I was at the peak of my career and yearned to be a New York City girl reason being I had my 2nd internship at a magazine. I wanted to become a magazine writer and be engrossed in the magazine industry. Later on, I figured out that it was no longer something I was interested in due to the competitiveness.

I’d only see my now-husband a few times a week and weekends because of our schedules. We only lived 30 minutes away, but it felt like so much farther.

We had our alone time and I was still Hope and he was still Brett. We each had separate lives and we were two different people. I would focus on what I had to do and my goals and he did the same.

In 2014, I moved in with him and his parents. Then, in 2015, we moved to Tennessee. In 2016, we moved back to PA temporarily until 2017 when we moved in SC and have been here since.

But, sometimes I feel like I lost myself. I used to write in a journal almost every night, workout, and spend time by myself. I still workout, but don’t write as often as I used to. Part of it is because I don’t have as much time and my full-time job takes up most of my time, but still, I definitely don’t manage my time well enough.

So, if you’re engaged, in a relationship or married, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t forget about yourself. I know at times you should put your partner first sometimes, but always remember to take care of yourself too!

Here are few ideas for self-care:

1) Book a Massage.

2) Take a Bath.

3) Get your hair done.

4) Go to a yoga class.

5) Go for a walk alone.

6) Get your nails done.

7) Meditate.

8) Write.

9) Book a facial.

10) Go for a run.

Now, these are just suggestions above and they do not have to cost an arm and a leg. If you’re on a budget, I suggest getting a french manicure or even spending 30 minutes to pamper yourself. Bottom line is if YOU feel good, then everything around you will feel good and you’ll feel happier, more content and feel closer to your partner.

You Gotta Try Hare & Field -- Like ASAP!

“I have a reservation for 5:30 on our anniversary,” I informed my husband a few days before our 2-year anniversary. I didn’t tell him where, just the fact that we were going out to eat at one of the restaurants we’ve been wanting to try since it opened in March.

It took us 30 minutes to get to Hare & Field in Travelers Rest, but it was worth every ounce of gas.

When we walked in, there was a table with a RESERVED sign that was for us, so we sat down. Upon being seated, we were greeted by a friendly waitress, who was very knowledgeable and sweet.

We asked our waitress what she recommended and we were told their Fish & Chips, Shrimp & Grits were popular. But, my husband was in the mood for a burger, so he ordered the Diablo Burger, which he noted was zesty. On the side, he ordered rabbit soup, which he described as having an earthy and flavorful broth. He also ordered a beer. Now, my hubby is not a beer drinker, but he said you didn’t get the rubbing alcohol taste like most beers. Instead, it was smooth, slightly fruity and bubbly.

I went for the “Go To” Vegan Burger with fries, which by the way were TO DIE FOR! The best part about this place is EVERYTHING is made from scratch, in-house and they hardly use their freezer. You can tell the difference between fresh ingredients vs “convenient foods” aka pre-packaged processed foods.

Now, getting back to the the vegan burger, it has the same consistency as a regular burger, but doesn’t taste exactly like a beef burger because it’s made from plants. It was really good, but for people who want beef, I probably wouldn’t recommend it. But, for me, it tasted delicious and had all the toppings I love! And, the FRIES, omg! They were crisped to perfection and again were fresh.

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For dessert, we ordered their Smores cake. Ya’ll - I’m partially lactose intolerance, but this cake was so worth a few bites. It was moist, sweet and the filling was even creamier. It was seriously heaven on a plate and I wished I could have more, but I didn’t want to piss my stomach off.

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I would HIGHLY recommend making a trip to Travelers Rest to check out this restaurant ASAP! They seriously know how to make good food and treat their customers right! I would go again in a heartbeat.