eating

Ep 062: My Battle with Emotional Eating + Food Addiction

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Emotional eating and food addiction are just like any other addictions. But the biggest difference is that food is placed in front of us multiple times a day, because our body needs food as fuel. I admit I struggled with emotional eating, emotional bingeing and food addiction. I used food to fill a gap in my heart and in my life. I idolized food and it started to run my life. But now i can confidently tell you that I am winning this battle with emotional eating and food addiction. Everybody has struggles. This is mine. And if this is yours, I’m right there with you. So, let’s talk about it because if we don’t we feel alone and feel like we can’t conquer this thing but I know we can!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • What emotional eating is and how it differs from food addiction.

  • How emotional eating is like any other addiction, only it is something placed in front of you multiple times a day (food is everywhere and your body needs it).

  • What she does to win the battle over her emotional eating and food addiction (and how you can too!)

  • The power of adjusting your relationship with food as something that is needed to fuel your body, not an obsession.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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The Simplified Grocery Shopping List is something I have created (for free!) that will help you simplify the process of grocery shopping, planning your meals, food prepping, all that good stuff because we do have to eat so often during the day and it can be really complicated. So, if you're looking to make some healthy changes and simplify this area of your life, kind of take a minimalist approach to all of that, I've got you! 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is                   The Purpose Show.

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Hey friends! Today I want to talk about something that's kind of heavy, definitely raw and vulnerable and might be difficult to hear.

I think a few months ago it would've been difficult to share too, but today it's not. I'm ready. I feel peaceful. I even feel excited to let you in on this part of my life. I'm really hopeful that it'll help somebody out there listening.

But before I dive in, I want to let you know that we're going to be talking about emotional eating, emotional bingeing and food addiction.

This has been a struggle for me pretty much my entire adult life. I think this can be a really sensitive topic and I want you to know that I do not mean to point the finger at anyone or make you feel awful about yourself. If your health or your weight has been something that you've struggled with in your life, please know that this isn't directed at you.

I want you to know that this episode is just me sitting at my desk in front of my microphone sharing and opening up about a very private struggle in my life, something that has been a part of most of my life and has totally ruled me at many different points in my life.

This episode is about me and my struggle and I want you to know as the listener that you can do whatever you choose to do with this episode. You could take it to heart and make changes if that's where you feel led, if that's what you want to do after listening. You could turn it off right now and not listen to the rest of it. You could listen and do nothing because you don't struggle with this area of your life or you do struggle with it and you're not there yet. You're not ready to change.

My hope for this episode is that it would bring a light and shine it on this problem area that not a lot of people are talking about in our world and that it would uplift somebody. I don't want it to bring anyone down. I want it to be really open and honest and I want it to be a help to somebody.

A few months ago, I was doing a live stream in one of my Facebook groups and this topic came up. I casually shared a little bit about my history with emotional eating and food addiction and the response was so overwhelming. Even now, I get messages and emails from the women who happen to catch that live on a regular basis asking if I would ever consider opening up more, doing an episode about it, or a blog post, or even write a book or something.

I honestly had never really thought about it. I think I was so caught up in the battle, of actively fighting this battle in my life that I didn't really think about, “Oh, this is something that I'm dealing with. This is something that I could share about.”

But now I can confidently tell you that I'm winning this battle with emotional eating and food addiction. And I'm happy to open up and share now that I have a little bit of hindsight. It’s still very present. It's kind of like yelling. It's still something that I struggle with and I will probably always struggle with, but I know who I am, where I stand, and I know what I should and shouldn't do. I've got a good grip on this. So much has been done in my life in this area that I'm ready to share.

And so, I just want you to know what my intent is with this episode. I know that things like anorexia, bulimia, a negative body image and all those things are very, very real things. I just want to be really clear that my intent is simply to open up, kind of peel the curtain back on my own life. This episode is about me and my struggle.

So, let's first start with going over, what is emotional eating and what does it look like when it's lived out? I've read in the past that emotional eating is unavoidable, that it's just something that we do no matter what. And I would have to very strongly disagree that it's unavoidable.

I think that we absolutely have the choice of what we put into our bodies. I think that's a very hopeless statement. I remember reading that at a difficult time in my life when I was struggling with this, and feeling like I used it as an excuse, like, “See, even science says that it's unavoidable, so it's okay,” and it's not okay.

I was using food to fill a gap in my heart and in my life. I was basically idolizing food and it started to run my life. I would have a hard day or we would be going through something. This was  really prominent in the time of me and Brian's life when we were really broke. (If you haven't listened to Episode 6, you can get that story there.) Things were just really hard. It was a constant struggle and food was kind of my sanctuary. It was an escape.

Junk food is cheap. Having sugar and having junk food releases hormones and chemicals in you and it gives you a reaction. It is addictive. It gives you a high. And I was actively seeking out food - fast food, junk food like Oreos, candy, sweet, salty - all different types of food that was not good for me and was binge eating it.  

For a long time, it was pretty much every night. I'd go through little bouts where I would stop and then I'd come back to it. Maybe I'd stop for a few days, maybe a few weeks, maybe even a couple months. And then I would come back to it. It was an addiction and it absolutely had a hold on my life.

This is something that is embarrassing to me. It's embarrassing to admit that I binge ate food, when my closest friends are fit, skinny, health-minded and they've never struggled with this. I always felt like the only one. But I know I'm not.

And so, if you're listening to my voice right now and you struggle with this, please know that I wish with everything that I have right now that I could just hold onto your hand and look at you and tell you that you shouldn't be embarrassed.

Everybody has struggles. And this is ours and I'm right there with you.

So, going back to the source of the problem, it was using foods that taste good and are terrible for me, to cope with what I was feeling emotionally. That's kind of like the definition of emotional eating. That's what it looked like for me - actively seeking it out and going and getting junk to act like a salve to myself because I was feeling emotions that were difficult or not positive and fixing it “with food.”

What I have struggled with goes beyond a little bit of stress-eating. It was full on “pigging out” to avoid dealing with something that felt too big for me.

Side note: I have a really good metabolism. From what I can tell, it's great. I did emotional eating for most of my adult life and didn't really start to gain a lot of weight until after I got married, especially after I had kids. But for how badly I was eating and how much I was eating, I feel like I should have been much heavier. And because I wasn't, it was easy to just keep going.

I am not one of those people that has a slice of pizza and then you can see it on me the next day. Actually, my husband is like that and it really sucks and I feel so bad for him. He works so hard and he eats really well and he just has the hardest time losing weight. He has had tests done, doesn't have any thyroid issues or anything like that, but it's just his metabolism. It's just the way his body is. I don't have that, so it takes a lot for me to gain weight.

Having said that, I gained over 50 pounds at one point very quickly purely because I chose to be inactive, and I ate my emotions on a daily basis. I would wake up in the morning and decide today I'm done. Today I'm going to “be good.”

And then that night after dinner I'd be hungry. I didn’t want to make a mess in the kitchen again. The day was hard, there were stresses. I didn't want tomorrow to come because my life was so difficult at one point that I would just cave and get food.

I would actively seek out going and getting food. Brian would enable that and go and get it for me. We kind of just tag-teamed this unhealthiness. It was so, so bad and even as I'm saying it I'm embarrassed, but that's the reality and that's what addiction looks like. And we need to stop pretending that it doesn't exist, or that none of us have any of that.

Maybe you don't, but not everybody is like you and some of us have actual addictions. I want to address food addiction because it is one of the only, if not the only addiction where your vice is placed in front of you multiple times a day. You have to eat multiple times a day. There's no getting around it.

It's not like with alcohol that you have to drink alcohol multiple times a day and you just have to control how much you drink of it. It's not like with heroin that you have to get a certain amount of heroin every day to live a healthy life and you just have an addiction and you have to watch how much of it you take in.

Even with things like pornography, it's just not that way. Yes, temptation is there, it can be addictive and it's there all the time, but food is really the only addiction where you have to take in what you're addicted to on a regular basis and just control how much and what kind you put into your body.

And that is what makes it so incredibly addictive and difficult to overcome. And I think that's also what makes it not a big deal in our culture. Nobody really is talking about this.

I used food to avoid my problems for a long time. Specifically, when things got really hard. When we were in Arkansas, we had moved away from all of our friends and family. (Again, reference Episode 6 if you don't know this part of our story. It's very powerful and very real. And this kind of ties in with that.)

We were super broke. I didn't know why God had moved us out to Arkansas. I was angry with Him and was giving Him the silent treatment. Things were just really difficult. We had no friends and family. It was so hard. This is when I gained 50 pounds. Things just got so hard that at a lot of points there really was no solution. It was just a waiting game to see what the heck we were supposed to do.

Especially at night it got very difficult. It was just so much easier to eat than to deal with things and come up with solutions. The brain has a reward system that hard wires us to want to engage in behaviors that we find pleasurable, like eating tasty foods. So, when we eat junk foods, the reward circuits within our brains activate and release the chemical dopamine. Our brains can become overwhelmed by the pleasure from these rewarding foods. In response, the brain adapts and makes more receptors for dopamine. I hope this is making sense.

What this means is that a greater amount of junk food is needed to get the same kick, making us eat more and more, in the same way that an addict develops a tolerance to drugs and has to continue to increase the amount of drugs they're taking. So, our brains are hardwired to seek out and want rewarding foods making us crave and desire sweet and fatty foods.

I had to realize that I had a problem and as embarrassing as it was to admit what that problem was, that was my reality and it was owning me. Food had become this idol in my life. I started to plan my day around it. Everywhere I went, food was at the front of my mind.

I remember this one time I had to go to the mall to get something. I don't know what it was. I walked into the mall and I was in the Food Court. Just the sights and smells of the Food Court overwhelmed my senses. I had been trying to again “be good and be healthy” and I wasn't dealing with the heart issue.

It wasn't a self-control issue. I had an addiction that I was sweeping under the rug. You can't just decide to be healthy. You have to deal with the heart and the root problem which is addiction and addiction is serious.

I remember walking into that Food Court and just being so overwhelmed with all the smells. I started to act like an addict, the addict that I was. I got really hyped up and excited. “Oh my gosh, what can I eat? What am I going to eat for lunch? Okay. It's 11. I’m definitely going to be here at lunchtime, what am I going to eat?” And I started planning out my food, being obsessive about how I was to get to eat something really bad and really good.

And again, this is embarrassing for me to share. I don't like to sound like a cow, you know? I don't like to sound obsessed and food driven like that. It's unfeminine. It's embarrassing. It's humbling. But this is the reality and this is addiction.

Listen to the way that I'm talking about this. Listen to the way I'm talking about how I felt and how I reacted. That's addiction. That's what addicts act like. Just because it's food, it doesn't mean that I'm dramatic, “Stop calling yourself an addict, Allie. It's not what it is.” Yes, it is!

It's just that my addiction is something “normal.” It's not heroin. You know, it's not pot. It’s not sex. It's this thing that is normal every day that I have to deal with, and put in my body every day and I'm having a hard time. Everywhere I went food was at the front of my mind.

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So that gives you a really good idea of where I was at, what was going through my brain, what I mean by saying food addiction and emotional bingeing. That's where I was and that's where I stayed for years.

I bounced back and forth between doing good and stopping my habits, eating really healthy, not eating late at night, and then I would come right back to it. I flip-flopped between these habits. It made me just stay the same size and so no one really noticed that I had a problem.

It wasn't until in Arkansas when we moved away that I really gained a ton of weight because I just took it to a whole new level. I didn't have any of my family and friends around me, so nobody really knew. It was just really bad.

There is a photo. I have one photo of myself during this time and it's so hard for me to look at. I have one pair of jeans. I actually gave them to my mom because she is a sewer and she uses denim. She hasn't used the jeans yet, so sometimes when I'm over there I'll go into her sewing room and pull out those jeans and just hold them up and want to cry.

Not because, “Oh my God, I was so huge and I just looked so terrible!” But because I made my body alter its state so dramatically because I was addicted and I was seeking out food instead of Jesus and it was so hard. So, that's kind of where I was. That's the truth of this struggle and what food addiction looked like for me.

I want to talk about the process of coming out of this and how I'm winning this battle. I'm not getting into all the history because I don't want this episode to be five hours long, but there's little things from me growing up and to being a teenager, to being a young adult, to being married, and being broke and married, and then having kids, that all ties into how I got there. But that doesn't really matter. What matters is the struggle, the battle, the realization and how I got over that.

I had to take a hard look at my relationship with food and put it in its place. It's to be enjoyed. You can't look at the foods that God gave us and tell me that He didn't intend for food to be enjoyed, but it's supposed to fuel your body and not be an obsession. Anything that's taken like the way I took food is an idol, and it's not supposed to be that way.

And so, kind of summarizing this, basically we were going to move back. The business had started. The business had taken off. We were going to buy a camper and start traveling the country and come back to California to see our friends and family after being away for two years. And I panicked because I knew I was bigger. I knew no one had seen me and I didn't want to go back like that.

And so, I started to look into what are the ways that I could drop this healthfully but quickly. And I knew because I had gained so much weight that it would probably come off pretty quickly because, you know, typically if you're a pretty overweight for your normal self and you make like immediate dramatic changes, you'll drop the weight pretty quickly in the beginning.

And so, I started to research. Whole30 was becoming a really big thing at this time, but I hadn't done it yet. I looked up the Whole30. If you aren't familiar with it, it was created by Melissa Hartwig, co-created by her. Basically, it’s a way of eating where you're really just eating clean, whole foods. Vegetables. Meats that are not processed, meats that are organic, free-range and grass-fed finished. Really high quality good foods.

Thankfully at this time we were newly able to afford to eat this way. Brian and I did Whole30 together. I actually did it twice in a row and the weight just fell off. This is not about looking good, being thin and losing weight. That was my original intent and I'm just being honest with you about that.

The main drive for me, making this change in my life, was my appearance. My skin was awful. It was so broken out. I had gained over 50 pounds. I was multiple sizes bigger than I was when I left California. And here I was about to go back. I'm a blogger. Taking photos was a part of my job. I was embarrassed.

As you know the camera already adds weight, it really does. I still have goals and I have work that I'd like to do. I would like to continue to get healthy and hopefully, you know, smaller and fitter. But even now I will get photos done and I'm like, “That's not what I look like.” Just your posture or the angle, it’s so many different things. The last thing I needed was to truly be much bigger than I normally was. I just didn't feel good.

So, my original intent was definitely appearance-driven. I was just so embarrassed to go back that way, so I did the Whole30. I did it twice in a row, but I think we headed back from Arkansas about halfway through my second round, so it was like the Whole 60, I guess.

About halfway through my second round I felt much better. I had lost almost all the weight. It went very quickly. I was definitely working out too. We came back and nobody noticed anything. In fact, the first time that I saw everybody, my mom and then I saw my best friend, and every time I saw somebody new when we got back they commented that I looked really great and that felt really good.

But in the process of doing Whole30 twice in between leaving Arkansas and coming back to California, something had happened. My heart had shifted.

I went into this with the intent to look better and not let people know my embarrassing secret - that I was addicted to food and I had gone way off the deep end with that. Totally idolized it and let it take over my life. That I had gained so much weight. Let my skin get like that. Let my body get like that. That I just looked so different. I felt awful, you guys. I just felt so awful about myself.

And so that was the original intent. But through the process of this, my heart changed and the Lord really used Whole30 to get ahold of me.

The Whole30 is the opposite of how I was eating. It's clean vegetables, fruits, no sweetener of any kind, not even honey. It's basically created to help you revamp your relationship with food and realize if there's anything bothering you. Getting everything out so you can see, “Wow! Not having gluten, I feel so much better. I think I might have a gluten sensitivity.” It's kind of like almost an elimination diet of sorts. It's really clean and really wholesome and really good for you.

It was really hard coming off of eating Taco Bell every night and Oreos and “Hey, I really want some hot tamales. Let's go get some.” And binge eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Coming from that to Whole30 is really difficult. But I'm competitive. I cared about how I looked and I was determined to change.

As I went into this process, I started to have withdrawals. I remember many nights screaming and crying into my pillow because I wanted sugar and my body was aching. I was having a headache. I had fevers and chills. This is how bad I had let my food addiction get. This is how I was reacting from not eating the way I normally was. I would cry because I was embarrassed in front of my own self, in front of Brian, in front of God, that I was so addicted that this is my reaction to eating healthy, eating the way that He designed us to eat.

What happened in those couple of months was I realized that I had idolized food so much and Whole30 became an act of worship. It became me laying this idol down and giving it to the Lord and realizing that it was my everything. That I wasn't going and thinking through my problems, brainstorming, being a proactive person and coming up with new ideas. “How can we fix this? Okay, how can we make this better for ourselves?” I was just avoiding all of my problems and going to food.

I wasn't praying. I wasn't reading my Bible. I wasn't reading books. I am such a big reader. I had just gone all in with food.

Whole30 really taught me to lay that down and to give that up. It taught me how to be a person without being obsessive about my next meal, without going somewhere because of the food that's there like the mall situation that I told you guys about.

Now I do Whole30 every once in a while. I'm actually doing it right now. I'm in my last week and it is such an act of worship for me. Whole30 is kind of how I eat all the time now. This last round that I'm doing right now that I'm finishing up, I really decided you know what? I'm just gonna eat this way.

I'm not going to be crazy and not have honey. I like turmeric milk in the evenings and there's a little bit of honey in that and turmeric milk is incredibly beneficial for you. It really helps my skin and my gut. I need to put a little teaspoon of honey in there to make it drinkable, so I'm not going to do things like that.

But in general, I want to live on a clean, whole diet like Whole30 and Paleo because this is keeping my addiction in check. I needed to realize that I have an addiction, that I have a problem, that I can't mess around with food. I can't be like everybody else and just eat whatever and be okay. That if I'm choosing to go ahead and have a slice of pizza at a graduation party, I'm mentally having to work through like, “Okay, I'm going to have one slice and that's it because I can't handle having any more.” Or I don’t have any at all.  

Recently we did go to a graduation party (that’s where that example came from) and there was pizza from a restaurant that is new in our area that I have heard everybody that I know just raving about it. I had been dying to try this pizza. There was also cake and soda and beer. Those are all my favorite things basically. And I was doing the Whole30 and that night was so difficult for me, even now after overcoming this.

This is just the way that I am. I know it'll get easier as time goes on. As you know, a lot of people who overcome addiction say that. But this is the reality and I can't feel stupid about that and ignore it and shove it under the rug like it's not a problem because no one talks about that and I'm just being dramatic. This is me. This is where I've been and this is my struggle.

And so, I have to just be different. I love food. I enjoy food so much. Cheeseburgers are my favorite thing. I enjoy the things that I love in moderation. I try to eat Whole30 about 90 percent of the time. I'll have a little bit of honey. When I'm making dinners and stuff I always get Whole30 recipes, and for my lunches and my breakfast and stuff. When I'm at home I'm eating Whole30 all the time because my body just does so well eating that way.

There will be times where I will do an actual real Whole30 with no honey, no turmeric milk, no sweeteners of any kind and I will really do Whole30 again as a reminder of who I serve, as an act of worship, as a reminder to myself that “You're strong. You can do this.” And just kind of keeping myself in check in that way. And I really enjoy it.

So, I had just finished up another round of Whole30 and I was going to do it again, but I had a week in between where I was eating normal, just eating really clean and healthy, but you know, I'd have honey, be normal.

It was Sunday after church and we went to this place called Burger Lounge where I can get a Paleo Burger. It’s no cheese, no sauces. It's layered over Zucchini. It's really healthy and really good. But I was just in such a mood for a regular cheeseburger. That is my favorite food, hands down. I got a giant regular cheeseburger on a gluten-free bun because I didn't want it to bother my stomach. Sometimes a lot of gluten will bother my stomach.

It was a great quality, grass-fed burger with cheese and sauce and I devoured that thing and it was awesome. But it wasn't an obsession where my addiction was flaring up and I was like obsessive. Like, “I gotta get the cheeseburger. I'm going to leave at 10:30 PM and go and drive and get a cheeseburger because I just can't deal with these emotions. I can't go to sleep until I get that rush of dopamine.” It wasn't like that. It was just a girl who loves cheeseburgers, enjoying a nice big cheeseburger and that was it. I was satisfied. I was happy. I didn't have a soda with it or anything. I just enjoyed my lemon water with it and I was good. I didn't have fries or anything. I just enjoyed my burger and that was it.

It's about balance and practicing healthfulness, mindfulness, and self-control. I would encourage you to also go back and listen to my episode with Robin Long on this show because I love the way she talks about this. It's about balance. It’s not about punishing yourself or never having anything again. It's about balance and knowing yourself. Knowing when you can have a little bit and when you can't handle that.

Whole30 really taught me that. It really taught me to take care of my body as an act of worship and as an act of self-care. Laying down my flesh and my obsession and just saying, “This is hard, this is real, this is my struggle. This is really hard, but I don't have to live this way and this isn't going to own me. I'm going to take control back and at the same time give control over to God and have him help me through this addiction problem.”

I hope that's helpful. I know I didn't go over so many details of this is exactly what I did and exactly what I do now, but I just wanted to open up the door to this dark part of my life. Be honest and say this is something that I've struggled with. It's been really humbling and really difficult and this is what I learned and what I did to get control of it.

Now my life is very different. I'm actively getting healthier, losing weight. I'm learning to love to exercise. Because I eat so clean all the time, exercise is much easier for me. I think that was a big problem. I can handle little bits of gluten and dairy, but I don't do well when I am eating either of those things all the time. And so, when I'm eating Whole30 and I'm eating this way and I'm barely having anything like that my body functions way better and running is so much easier.

I think the problem was I never liked exercising because it was so difficult for me because I was eating so terribly. I felt like there was always a brick in my stomach and I just couldn't perform. And now I love to go for walks and runs. I love Pilates and Yoga. I do Pilates every single day. Yoga occasionally. I'll give you guys the link to where I do Pilates. It's at home, it's online. It's awesome. Robin is amazing. She's an incredible teacher. I'll give you guys that link.

I love kickboxing. I do that in my garage because we have a garage gym now. I'm active. I'm happy. I'm getting healthier and in turn getting smaller and fitter and noticing things like my strong arms. I’m loving my body better even though it has its imperfections and I wished it would go faster. I wish it was already smaller. I don't focus on those things anymore.

I love myself. I take care of myself and every time I'm going to make a meal, I think to myself, this is an act of worship. I used to be so different than this. I'm treating my body well because I have a job to do and I cannot live my purpose, take care of my kids, run my business, show up for you guys, show up in my marriage, be happy and healthy, go to speaking engagements, do all of these podcast interviews, if I don't feel good. That's a big deal to me.

So, that's my journey. That's what I have learned in this area of my life. That's how I used to be and where things are kind of at now. Oh my gosh, you guys. I hope that this was just a huge encouragement to somebody out there and if that's you, please, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

Okay. There is a freebie for you guys that goes with this episode. It's the Simplified Grocery and Meal Planning pdf. It's a fan favorite. It's been floating around on the Internet for a few months. People really like it and it's something that will help you simplify the process of grocery shopping, planning your meals, food prepping, all that good stuff because we do have to eat so often during the day and it can be really complicated. So, if you're looking to make some healthy changes and simplify this area of your life, kind of take a minimalist approach to all of that, go get it. It's totally free. You can find it at alliecasazza.com/shownotes/062.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

EP 051: Eating Well + Exercising in Motherhood with Amanda Wilson

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How am I supposed to be a mom who keeps humans alive all day, stays up all night with a baby, and focuses on living a healthy lifestyle? That sounds so overwhelming! Wellness, exercise and eating well should work with you, not against you. It all should fit into your life, not overwhelm you! And wellness looks different from season to season.We cannot put a standard on wellness that we expect to work in every season of our life. If we focus on obsessing over wellness we are putting more stress on ourselves, our kids and our husband because we are trying to squish a certain standard into something that's not going to fit.

Amanda Wilson is a well of wisdom when it comes to the mom life version of exercise, health, fitness, wellness and carving out that time for yourself. She strives to help others relieve the pressure of a wellness by sharing simplified approaches to living a healthy lifestyle.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Amanda Discuss:

  • Common misconceptions about a healthy lifestyle.

  • Simple healthy meals for families.

  • The difference between food prepping and meal prepping.

  • The importance of being aware of your capacity during the different seasons of your life so that wellness and healthy living work for you, not against you.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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DO YOU FEEL LIKE...

You are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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ALLIE: Hey ladies! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show! We have a guest interview today with my good friend, Amanda Wilson.

I think this is the first time that I've had you on for my whole audience. You were a Purpose Society guest, right? Amanda is a well of wisdom when it comes to the mom life version of exercise, health, fitness, wellness and carving out that time for yourself. I think my favorite thing about you (and you guys will see this if you follow her on Instagram, which you absolutely should and I'll link to that in the show notes) is you are very gracious and realistic.

It's nice to have a fitness feed on my Instagram that's modest and classy, so thanks for that. If you're looking for somebody to follow when you don't want to have to hide your phone when your husband or your son walks by, Amanda is the one. Tell us about yourself, your family and what you do.

AMANDA: Yes, so I am married and we have two biological boys and we are foster parents as well. I call myself a temporarily retired RN. I used to work full time as an RN until I stayed home with my kids. I still keep my license and one day might go back to it, but towards the end of my time as an RN, and my time as a mom, that's when the health part of my RN side, medical and health, came together in realizing what I put in my mouth and how I'm moving my body affected long term.

ALLIE: Did you find yourself thinking about that because of the patients that you saw?

AMANDA:  A little bit, I think. I did have a background growing up. My mom was pretty health conscious in a really balanced way. When I started practicing as an RN, I was a cardiac RN and so most of my patients were older and a lot, but not all of it was lifestyle. I did get to see that what I'm doing now with my body will matter later.

And then whenever I was talking to my patients about changing their lifestyle habits, how they move their body, what they put in their mouth, I realized that this is what needed to change.

But they were extremely overwhelmed by that because it seemed like an overhaul of their “normal” and they were already super overwhelmed with their sickness and illness.

And so that's when I realized this is overwhelming for the vast majority of people and it doesn't have to be complicated. I think right after my second was born, I realized a lot of friends would ask me about some food ideas and all that. And I started wanting to share it on Instagram, but I didn't want to be the annoying person, “This is what I ate today…”

But I realized that I really enjoyed educating people on it and that it wasn't just about how you looked, which was an awesome benefit.

Then I thought, “Oh I will create an Instagram account and if people want to they can follow me there.” And it was a little side thing that I enjoyed doing while being a stay at home mom.

ALLIE: Yeah. And you're so good at it. And just the way that you are as a person, as I've gotten to know you a little bit more since I came across you there, you're just really mellow. And that is a comforting thing. I think the overwhelming thing for mothers is that you eat so much during the day, like you have to eat so often. I think that's the first thing I'm going to ask God when I die. Like why though? Why do we have to eat so often during the day? It’s really kind of a pain. That's why it's so overwhelming to change it. It's not just like, you know, “oh, I can take a walk once a day.”  It's like, “I have to deal with this 3-5 times a day and I don't even know how to do it right and that’s overwhelming.

We were talking a little bit about this before we hit record, but I think a lot of the time mothers feel extra overwhelmed and since that's mainly who our audience is, I wanted you to speak to that. As a mom, you're taking care of other people. You've got all this stuff on your plate. You already have enough. What you said about what you're doing with your body and what you're putting into it now matters in the long run. How can you speak to that? I think it can bring a little bit of fear, because we feel like we don't have what we need in terms of time, energy, resources and maybe money to do that.

I don't want this episode to put fear into people. I love that about you; you don't do that in the way you talk about it. It removes that. So if you can maybe just speak a little bit to the overwhelmed mothers that are listening that want to be healthy long-term, but just feel like they don't have what it takes right now.

AMANDA: Yeah. I think it can feel overwhelming because you're already having to keep other humans alive. And like you said, it's something that you have to deal with multiple times a day. And then on top of it, apparently I'm supposed to exercise and how am I supposed to do that if I'm up all night with a baby or I'm just truly trying to survive myself and try to keep my eyes open? And I think another reason why it can be overwhelming is because we think there is a certain standard to how we're supposed to do it. That being healthy is making everything homemade and it's bland and it's boring and I have to work out several hours a day to be healthy. And so, I always tell people, and it's something that I learned is that wellness does not have a standard necessarily at all, but also to take your season of life into consideration.

I always tell people healthy does not have to be everyone's hobby because I think they think that when you're pursuing healthy, you all of a sudden have to be obsessed with it and go to the gym all the time and talk about it. It doesn't have to be your hobby, but it is your responsibility. And the responsibility looks different in every season of life and so that will require constant reassessment.

I think it's really important to be aware of your capacity at that time of your life because if you think healthy is what that girl is doing, whoever that girl is, that because you want to look like her, you want to eat like her or whatever, and you try to apply that to your season of life, if you guys are not in the same season of life, it may not work for you. So therefore, you're putting more stress on you, your kids and your husband because you're trying to squish a certain standard into something that's not going to fit.

I feel especially too, when you have young ones or even kids in general, seasons of life change really quickly because kids change really quickly. I think it's always reassessing and being aware of what you can do. Like I said, wellness or being fit or healthy is not necessarily going to the gym for two hours a day. Some people can do that in certain seasons of life and they might really enjoy it, but that's not always the case.

In the past two years I have gone from my cardio was taking my kids on walks and strength training was at home with a few different weights, with babies climbing on me. Then it got to the point where I wasn't nursing anymore so I had a little bit more freedom to leave the house, so now I work out early in the mornings before my husband goes to work. It's always being aware of your capacity and pursuing wellness with excellence within that season because then you're going to be able to enjoy it more and you are going to be content knowing that you are giving your best in that season.

I think that's why people get overwhelmed because they're constantly looking to the right or the left and they're like, “Well apparently she went to the gym for an hour. She made this. She prepped every single meal all day long for whatever. And I'm not doing that. I'm not healthy.” It just becomes overwhelming. I think that's why people pursue it really hard for a week and then they fall off, you know? And they go through this constant cycle of “I'm going to be healthy. Oh no, this is too much.” It’s always an unrealistic thing. People think being healthy is unrealistic and it's because of those things.

ALLIE: And I think that what you said about maybe the comparison thing and also that your health and wellness has to be up to a certain standard and then it can't ebb and flow with your season of life is probably one of the most misunderstood things for women, and moms in particular, about health and wellness. It's the comparison thing. Maybe you don't even realize that you're comparing but you subconsciously dogged yourself for not doing this.

I think it's really important to hear you talk about that “little babies” season of life and then up to a little bit older and how it changes. I think not even just with your kids' ages, but with your schedule. What if you have to go back to work all of a sudden? You need to make it something that you enjoy doing.

I do not like working out; I like what I feel after. I've tried for a while. I’ve let go of the trying to find something I like. Now I am just, “You know what? It feels good to take care of myself. And that is what I like.” I don't really love any particular thing.

I think accept that and make it about taking care of yourself and living a healthy life. Letting it be simple when it needs to be simple and letting it be more when it needs to be more. Committing to 10 minutes. And then who knows? Maybe it'll turn into 40, you just don't know. But just making time for something.

AMANDA: Yeah, I think that's so good that you said it that way. If you can come to terms with you don't know if you’re actually going to really enjoy a certain method of working out, but you love taking care of yourself and wellness.

I think over all of this, the mindset is what's going to carry you and sustain you. Because having goals, whether it's a weight goal or a strength goal or whatever is totally fine and great, but it cannot be your motivation because those things will fall off of the priority list. All of a sudden you won't be motivated because it seems too far-fetched.

I would say that you have to have healthy mindset and something that's grounded in purpose and grounded in something that's lasting. I always talk about stewardship. That your mindset has to be the fact that you are the caretaker and the manager of your body. That I am given one body to live this life, mom life and I'm going to steward it well so that I can do the roles that are set before me really well without avoidable barriers.

There's certain things about our health we can't control at all, but what we can control, steward that well and do that with excellence.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. Okay. If there was just maybe one thing that a mom who's overwhelmed and maybe in a particularly busy season could do to just start, like start feeling better? I think this is one thing too. I think we don't realize that if you just focus on the wellness, like you said, and you let go of that bathing suit goal or that toned thighs goal, it's going to come if you're focusing on wellness.

If you take the focus off the “I'm not this, I want to be that,” and you just focus on wellness, that's how you get there - by being well and making “well”choices. It's funny how we sabotage ourselves in that way.

But having said that, if there was one thing that a mom could focus on and started to track her health and get on the right track, what would you say that would be like? Step one?

AMANDA: Yeah. Well to that question first I always say our goal, our overarching goal for most is for wellness to become a lifestyle because we don't want to always have to be trying so hard.  So, pick one thing a month or whatever your timeline is that you feel like you can have the capacity to do. Or pick one thing for three weeks and do just that one thing and literally don't worry about any other aspect of wellness until you feel like you're comfortable with it and mastered it. Then you can move on.

That can look different for everybody. It can be literally as simple as water intake and then the next thing be like, “Okay, I've done that for three weeks, now I'm going to focus on breakfast only” and don't worry about the other meals. Just do that.

But I think as far as it becoming a lifestyle too, is just learning to love real food because if you don't ever learn to enjoy it or love it then it's always going to be a fight. I call myself kind of a foodie. I love food. I like good food and I'm not going to eat something if it doesn't taste good. For that part you're going to have to allow yourself time for your taste buds to change. And I'm not saying you're going to have to learn to like something that's gross. You're just going to have to give yourself some time to learn to love real food.

And the reason why we love the certain things we love now, whether it's processed or whatever junk food, is because we grew up on it or we learned to like it. I just told somebody today the reason why other people in other countries like certain foods is because they grew up with it and we would like their food too if we did. Learn to love real food and that's going to take time.

So maybe you focus on learning to love real food at breakfast. Or pick your hardest meal of the day, that's the hardest to eat real food. Or maybe it's the time of the day that you are the weakest as far self-control and pick that. Do that for three weeks or a month until all of a sudden you feel your taste buds changing, your habits changing, and then you can add something else to it. You can apply that with any little goal.

But if you don't ever learn to love food that's nourishing your body and fuels your body, then mealtime will always be a fight. You just can't sustain it if you're always fighting cravings and your norm or whatever. Allow clean eating or whatever to become your normal, your default.

ALLIE: That was really profound. So, this just popped into my head. It's kind of a selfish question, but I'm sure that people are thinking it. So, my biggest thing has always been (and we talked about this when you did my coaching call with me) late night snacking. Back in the day, when I was doing whatever and I was a lot heavier. I would want drive-through food. It’s the end of the day, the kids are in bed, I'm hanging out with Brian, Netflix or whatever, and I am so hungry all of a sudden. I know now to eat a very sustaining dinner and all of that. So, what's an actionable realistic solution to that? Maybe specific snacks or is it a mindset thing? Is there something else to eat or drink?

AMANDA: I think that's different for everybody. I think it can be different. Some people literally just didn't eat a sustaining dinner or something and so they truly are hungry. If you're really actually hungry, please eat. Your body's telling you to eat. But it also can be a habit where your body thinks you're hungry because you're used to eating at that time.

I think it's just being truly honest and aware. It can take time to change some habits. I guess just be honest with yourself.

Here is a good way to tell if you're actually really hungry or not. So, say after dinner kids are going to bed and you're sitting on the couch and you're like, “I really want something to eat.” Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or is my brain just used to eating something while I'm sitting on the couch?” Because our brain is really good at making us convinced that we're hungry.

I always down a huge glass of water. Wait 10 minutes. And then see, so that you can get to know your body, because sometimes you need a brain reset. Like, “Oh, I'm not actually hungry, that's just part of my routine.” Or maybe you are hungry. And if that's the case you can have a treat or whatever, but obviously we don't want to do that all the time because that's when we create those habits and all of that stuff.

I'm a big fan of just having something that is going to sustain your blood sugar through the night, so while you're sitting on the couch you don't keep eating. A very practical example, and I have put this on my Instagram feed before, I'll take plain Greek yogurt and I'll put some PFFit which is like peanut butter powder, cocoa powder, and a little bit of honey in there. I'll stir it up and it kind of tastes like you're eating something sweet, like chocolate pudding or whatever. The Greek yogurt has so much protein in there so it fills you up. It sustains your blood sugar through the night, so you're not waking up feeling drained or having weird cravings.

If I really want something sweet I go for that, if I feel like I've indulged enough that week. I think it's a lot of just being honest with yourself and having that very unpopular word of being disciplined. It's not a very fun word.

We can really be aware of our cravings and our mindset and that is when you have to know you are the choice maker of what you put in your mouth. The food is not your choice maker; you decided to put it in your mouth. And I know that makes food not sound fun or eating not sound fun, but it can be.

But when we're trying to shift actual habits, that’s what has to happen.

ALLIE: Yeah, I like that. Okay. So, talk to us about Collagen Coffee. I can't have lattes. I can have a little splash of cream in my coffee, but that straight up dairy just wrecks me. I can't do it.

AMANDA: I love comforting, warm drinks. I always want to drive through Starbucks and get one of those. Two years ago, I discovered Collagen Peptides, which is a powder form. What I really like about it is it can dissolve in hot or cold liquid. It's also really good for your blood sugar. There is also a lot of research about getting good fats in the morning for your brain and your blood sugar. Collagen peptides have a lot of protein. I do it in a blender. Some people use an immersion blender or a frother and they put it in their mug and do it that way, but I feel like it works better in a blender.

Then I put hot coffee, a scoop of collagen peptides (as you're doing this, you're like, this is disgusting.) Then I usually put half a tablespoon of ghee (some people do grass fed butter) and then I do a little Cinnamon for some taste. But the blender action is what gets it that texture of a latte and it gets thick and creamy and a little frothy on top. And it is so satisfying. It's like you ordered a latte in the coffee shop, but you're getting so much nutrients in it. Especially in the morning, you're getting all that good fat in the morning to sustain your blood sugar and it's so good for your brain right away in the morning.

Collagen itself, the reason why I am big on it is that it's the most abundant protein in our body, but it's the one that decreases as we age. It's different than if you're drinking protein powder after you work out. Collagen is good obviously for your skin, hair and nails, everyone thinks of it that way. That's probably what you'll notice the change in. But the other stuff that's more long-term is joints, your gut health, and your ligaments.

Collagen is what holds our body together and helps it function. Our organs are more healthy. A lot of people say that they feel more energy with it because it helps with energy metabolism. Everyone says they feel like their skin and nails are stronger and their hair is longer, but long-term it has awesome benefits.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. You turned me onto it last year. I don't know how many bins of that I've gone through, but it's a lot. And it has totally changed my hair; it never falls out. My nails are super strong and long now. And I actually didn't even really think that was why, but now that you're saying it, that's why I've had the best year of nails and skin ever. We’ll link that for you guys.

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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.

How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened

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ALLIE: Okay. So, you were the one who also introduced me to the idea of food prepping versus meal prepping, which I always talk about now. I always credit you for it, but I want them to hear it from you. You guys, this is basically the solution for those of us who don't want to pre-decide what we're going to eat. I always would meal prep and then that doesn't sound good and I would literally waste the meal because I go by mood. So, this really helped me.

AMANDA: Yes, I'm totally with you on that. Well first, my meal prep is such a good idea and it truly is worth it, but meal prep takes a little bit more time because you have to find recipes. There's more involved. You're going to be eating the same thing every day and some people are totally okay with that and that's great.

I'm with you Allie. It depends on my mood. I would make the same thing and on day three I'm like, “that sounds disgusting. I don't want to eat it.” And that's part of it. This is a lifestyle. Enjoy your food. It's really important.

So, I started doing food prepping, which I call it compared to meal prepping, because it has cut the time in half or maybe a quarter and it allows me some variety and creativity, which I feel like helps you own your clean eating a little better. I might spend an hour doing this. But you pick two proteins, three to four vegetables sources, and then if you want to go as far as having the elements of a snack ready and then maybe prep a breakfast. But really what I do most weeks is doing the protein and vegetables and maybe even healthy grain like Quinoa rice.

For example, I'll bake chicken breast and hard-boiled eggs and those are my proteins. Then I'll roast sweet potatoes and Brussel Sprouts with all sorts of seasonings on it. Then I might make some Quinoa in chicken broth and then I'll cut up raw veggies. Then you have elements of a meal ready. During the week I'll mix and match it. So, one day I'll do the chicken breast, Quinoa and roasted vegetables. The next day I'll do a salad and shred up the chicken with the raw vegetables and a salad. The next day I'll do a snack plate of hard-boiled eggs, raw veggies, hummus and whatever fruit I have on hand. You can get 3-4 different meals.

I think over time it helps you own clean eating. It allows you to get creative and to see what you like, what flavors you like together, which ones you don't really care for.

ALLIE: I started super basic because I didn't know what I was doing. And I wasn't creative yet. Chicken and hard-boiled eggs, super basic veggies, salad mix and that was it.

Now I'm making my own dressings. I can get creative. You want to because you get bored, but you've got the basics down so it's like stacking. You can stack a little bit more.  

AMANDA: Yeah. If that sounds overwhelming, you can just pick what is your hardest meal of the day. If breakfast is your hardest meal than just prep breakfast stuff.  Are snacks really hard for you? Then prep snacks. And then you can build on that too.

Part of the food prepping too is I don't prep every single meal because life happens. You might go out to eat one day or you might meet a friend for breakfast, you know? And you don't want to waste food. So, I have the elements available so that I can throw it all together if I need to.

ALLIE: Yeah. Would you mind sharing one or two of your favorite prep breakfast ideas? That's a hard one. It's not a hard one for me to make good choices. It's just a hard one for me to think of prep ideas.

AMANDA: I think that one was the hardest for me too. I really like overnight oats, which you can prep in a mason jar all together. I have different variations on my Instagram feed, but I like the basic one. It's just oats, banana, almond milk, and Chia seeds. Mix it all and the night before. You mash the banana and then you put the oats in the Mason Jar and the almond milk and Chia seeds. Stir it all together and then you put it in the refrigerator. In the morning you take it out.

People get grossed out by the thought of overnight oats because they think of cold oatmeal. But I think with the banana and stuff it makes it more like a pudding-type texture. But I'll add maybe a half a tablespoon of peanut butter and some pure maple syrup for sweetness if you want that. Or some people like to do berries. Literally all you do is put that in the Mason Jar.

That saved me, especially with babies, when my littles were really little because who has time in the morning to do that? So that was one of my favorites and it always has been.

Another one is that I've shared a lot on my Instagram is a sweet potato egg skillet. All the prep you have to do for that is to peel a sweet potato and shred it on a cheese grater. It makes a lot, but I take about ¼ to ½ of that in the morning, if you have probably 5-10 minutes in the morning to make something. Put a little coconut oil in the pan, throw the sweet potatoes on there and let them get soft and then you pat them down flat and then you crack an egg over it, cover it and let it cook until the egg is cooked to however you like. Some people like it all the way done and some people like it runny. I usually put some salt and pepper in there with the sweet potatoes. But the sweet potatoes get really crispy on the bottom. Lift it with a spatula onto your plate. I call it a sweet potato egg hash. That's one of my favorite breakfasts.

ALLIE: That’s one of my favorite breakfasts. I used to get grossed out when Brian would eat it. It’s a bit of a Crossfit-y breakfast because it has all the protein in it. It was always gross to me. I am not a person who likes to mix their foods. But it is probably my favorite now.

AMANDA: It's so good. I don't know what it is about those things. It's really simple; there's only three ingredients to that one.

And then I have so many smoothie variations, but I really also like making, if I can, as part of my weekly prep, egg muffins. It's pretty much like you are scrambling eggs and veggies in a muffin tin and you bake it. I might do the shredded sweet potatoes and then chopped up spinach with eggs. And then I love nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast (whether you're dairy free or if you're not) gives a nutty cheesy flavor.  1½ tablespoons has 8 grams of protein, which is insane. It's really good for all sorts of minerals and vitamins. I'll put that in there. Spray the muffin tin and then I'll put shredded sweet potatoes in there and some spinach, whisk up the eggs with all the seasonings and I pour it in the muffin tins, bake it and then you can store those in the fridge. All I have to do in the morning is warm it up.

Breakfast is a little bit harder, but those are some of my go-tos.

ALLIE: I think some of the breakfast foods that we think of are not very good prepped. I'm not a very breakfast person. Brian gave me two hard boiled eggs on a plate this morning and I couldn't finish the second one. I just don't get hungry until like 10:30. And I just fasted for like eight, nine hours. Like that's terrible. So those little breakfasts are easy for me to just have a little bit and I get something, especially with the Collagen Coffee having protein in it, I guess it's okay if I skip.

AMANDA: On that note, the Collagen coffee is bulletproof. I think a lot of people just have that for breakfast because it has a good enough fat and protein for them. But everyone's different.

ALLIE: One question that I always get asked whenever I'm talking about eating is about your kids. Do your kids eat what you eat or do you prep for yourself and then make meals for your family?

AMANDA: So when I prep I'm usually prepping for a lunch because being a stay at home mom for some reason, lunch is always a crazy time.

I'll usually give them some of the stuff I've prepared, especially some of the protein and stuff. At lunchtime we're pretty basic. For example, my oldest did not like sandwiches for three years and he just now likes them, so, yes, you can have a sandwich because this is great and simple and easy.

I always tell people don't make it so complicated for yourself. When you see kids eating roasted veggies and stuff for lunch, which I have it all prepped so sometimes I do give them that. But also if they like sandwiches, that's great. Just give them bread that's whole wheat and clean and give them turkey meat that doesn't have all sorts of stuff injected into it.

So, lunch is pretty basic. Overall when it comes to eating dinner and cooking, everyone eats what I cook. I don't make a kid-friendly dinner. One: that is super draining, long-term for mom. Dinnertime is already hard no matter if you're just making one meal. And other than that, simplifying it for yourself, make it easier for yourself.

My whole thought is kids have to be taught pretty much everything and you have to teach them to love real food because we already get enough opportunities throughout our week to not eat real food. You need to give that to them. Because my kids have cupcakes at school, someone's birthday or we’ll run through Chick-fil-A, or whatever. I'm pretty balanced but I want to teach their taste buds. I want to teach them to try new things and to teach their body to crave real food, and let that be their default.

I've realized it has to be the normal in the home for it to be something that's not always a fight. And also, I want them to be gracious where if they're eating at a friend's house when they're older and whatever someone gives you, you at least try to eat it.

I feel like I'm teaching. I don't want them to grow up eating a certain way and then have to relearn as an adult, to realize “oh my gosh, I'm eating so unhealthy.” It’s hard enough as an adult to teach yourself how to like certain foods and revamp this whole thing. If I can bypass that hard lesson for them, I would like to, because it's much easier to grow up craving and loving real food than having to do a whole switch-over when they're adults.

It's not super strict in our house. I'm not like “you have to eat all your vegetables” and all that stuff. I have a couple rules of thumb. I make sure that there's at least one or two things on their plate that I know they're going to eat or they have liked before. Kids are crazy; they eat all their broccoli one day and then the next day they're like, “I hate it!”

Don’t take that as, “Oh my gosh, my kid doesn't like broccoli; I'm never giving it to them again.” I think I read one time that it takes 20 times for a kid to try a food to actually form a preference before the age of three. So don't give up, just keep putting it on their plate. There’s going to be things that they may never like and that's okay. Everyone has their preferences, but just because they put something in their mouth, even babies, and they make the most disgusting face, it's not because they don't like it, it's because they've never had it maybe or they haven't learned to have the preference.

So, I always make sure to have at least one or two things on their plate I know they're going to eat. So obviously they're eating something. Then we have a rule that you have to have a try bite. And I always say, “You don't have to like it, you don't have to eat more than that, you just have to try it.” And if they put it in their mouth and they eat one bite and don't like that, “that's okay, thanks for trying.” But I'm still going to put it on their plate next time I have it because they may like it one day.

So even with our last foster placement. He was so cute. I didn't know how he ate before but probably a month in we were eating some kind of protein and I had broccoli. My boys don't really like broccoli but if we have it, I put it on there. But put it up to his mouth and, poor little guy, he was obviously disgusted by it. And it was really funny. Then a week later I put it on his plate again and he demolished the broccoli and asked for more. So, don't take whatever their first reaction is, don't settle on that because you never know.

We have to teach ourselves to form new habits and like things. We've got to do it for our kiddos too.

ALLIE: You have given me hope. Hudson is my only one who... how do I say this? He's definitely a foodie. And foods that aren't that good for you. He is always the one who is a little harder to get him to eat things, and we all love asparagus. We have asparagus almost every meal. It's my favorite vegetable. And he won't eat it. Yesterday it was Easter and I was like, “Look, just eat one asparagus stalk and I'll give you a chocolate egg.” But I wanted him to just taste it. He totally did it and I gave him a chocolate egg. Then he asked for another stalk of asparagus and then ate half of it and said he didn’t like it. I'm like, “okay, you tried it though and you ate more.” So, maybe next time.

AMANDA: Yes. My kids love Daniel Tiger and Daniel Tiger teaches a lot of great life lessons. There’s one about trying new foods and Daniel Tiger’s family was eating very healthy. So my oldest, he’ll be five in May, he was singing a Daniel Tiger song. I was like, “Okay, you remember you got to do a try bite before you get down.” And he was like, “Try something new; it might taste good.” I was like, “Yes! Daniel Tiger coming through. Yes!”

ALLIE:  It's so good to hear you talking about this. It's so encouraging and light. I told you guys, she's amazing.

Okay, so you are mostly Instagram-based. You don't have a website still? Right?

AMANDA: I have a website for the subscription offer and then I sometimes do a blog post on there but it's nothing big. It's just random little things. So most of my content is on Instagram.

ALLIE: It's amazing. And you're a mom and you're spending your time in one place and that's you. You don't just have an Instagram that is like a banner that you exist elsewhere. Your Instagram is very full. I go there probably maybe five or six times a week to get workouts. I follow your hashtag. We'll link to all of us for you guys too.

But her Instagram is amazing. If you don't have Instagram it is definitely worth downloading just to get on her stuff because you've got those workouts. They're super easy.

We've been building a gym in our garage, but I'll come out and I just don't know what to do and so I'll look up something from you and do that. I’ll find new recipes or smoothies and stuff. You lay it all out on Instagram posts. It's just amazing.

And then you also have, I have your monthly subscription and it's called A Wellness Note, right? So tell us a little bit more about that if people are interested in that because we'll link to it.

AMANDA: I referenced it earlier on, but through this whole process of teaching people and learning about people and how they approach health and wellness, I learned that they were extremely overwhelmed. I like simplified approaches to most everything anyways, but I always wanted to teach a simplified approach to wellness because it doesn't have to be complicated. So there was that.

And then also like I mentioned earlier, it doesn't have to be everyone's hobby, but it is your responsibility and having responsibility does require a little bit of knowledge. But we don't have time, or most people don't want to. Health is…I'm interested in it. It's my hobby. I like reading about it, learning about it, it's what I chose my career towards. So I like it, but people don't like it that way all the time and they don't want to spend the time researching stuff. There are so many things coming out of the health world…you need this supplement or whatever.

So, I formed what I call a bite-sized health resource and it's a monthly subscription. It's very concise. It's two pages, super easy to read, and I equip the reader with knowledge in order for them to make the best decision for their health journey.

I'm not really giving my opinion on things. I'm just giving you the facts about it, teaching you and keeping it really in layman's terms. I could go all medical on people but I'm not going to do that. I don't want it to be overwhelming or intimidating.

Like I said, knowledge is power. When you know better, you do better. For example, there's this section called Food Is Fuel on there that says you could just eat healthy, but if you know what that food is doing literally inside your body when you eat it, then you might eat it more and you might actually like it more.

ALLIE: It works. It's empowering and it makes me feel smart and like I'm going into this purposefully knowing what I'm eating. I don't feel the way that you feel about health. It sounds awful, but I just don't really care to research. And so I feel like you break it down into a paragraph of that for me. It's exactly what you call it, like a bite size health resource. It's really simplistic and out of all the monthly membership types of things that are out there that I have joined, that I'm a part of now or in the past, this is the most simplistic. I feel like even in my busiest season of life, I could have easily taken this on and been helped by it. It's really easy.

AMANDA: Good. Yes. That's exactly what I wanted. I didn't want it to be an extra thing on your to-do list. Like “oh darn, I need to read that”. You could skim through it a little bit and leave feeling like you have a little bit more knowledge in your health, especially with all the opinions and the recommendations for health... This diet or this workout or this supplement.

Also, I feel it is helpful to people trying to filter what is best for them is the What The Health section. It’s taking things that are popular, whether it’s micro counting or a supplement that you keep hearing about or a fitness regimen, or whatever. I break it down to what it is and if it's worth it, to say if it's the real deal, if it would be beneficial and why it's beneficial, this is probably for this kind of person or not for this kind of person.

ALLIE: It's like the opinion that you Google trying to find. Yeah, it's really good. I feel like every section that you have in there is perfect. It's not too much. It's not too little. It's just enough. It's perfect.

Okay guys. Well we will link to Amanda's Instagram and A Wellness Note and all the Collagen peptides. Just go and browse her Instagram feed. It's an amazing resource for sure.

Thank you, Amanda, for taking time out of your life to help us and talk to us and encourage us in this important area. I appreciate it.

AMANDA: Thank you for having me. I so enjoyed it.
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