food

Ep 067: How I Simplified Meal Planning + Grocery Shopping

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Just being honest, this is not my favorite topic. I have an adult-long-life struggle with the whole shebang of preparing food and planning to eat. But, something I have learned is that there's so much power in your thoughts and the way you look at something. So when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping, I started to look at it as a positive thing and something that I get to totally bless my family with. I also realized that with everything going on in my life, I have no choice but to meal plan and food prep. It works best for me and my family! Trust me, I don’t have it all together. We still eat out, order in, and all the other things that happen in the business of life. But I have found these tips truly simplify my grocery shopping and meal planning that make food prep so much easier and enjoyable!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • The difference between food prep and meal prep.

  • Choosing a few pre-planned meals and how it will help relieve the pressure of knowing exactly what you will be serving every day of the week.

  • The value of meal planning one day and grocery shopping a different day (and why you shouldn’t do it all on the same day!)

  • How removing the fear of repeating meals will make meal planning so much easier on your and your family.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Hey friend! I'm so excited to tell you about my upcoming free online class: 3 Weeks To Minimalist Motherhood.

In this class, you are going to learn the secret to not living your life in a state of constant overwhelm. It's minimalism and it's going to have you cleaning, yelling, stressing, and nagging a whole lot less. I'm also going to show you how you can take a bite out of this secret process and start right away.

We're going to go over the three biggest time and energy sucking areas of your home and I'm going to show you how to get started in those areas – Now!

In 3 weeks, you will have a much more minimal motherhood and you'll be feeling a lot lighter.

I'm also going to give you an exclusive discount on my course, Your Uncluttered Home, and show you the next step after you get started so you can go all the way and change your home and your life for good.


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 beauty! Today we're gonna dive into 10 ways to simplify your groceries and meal planning. Just being honest, this is not my favorite topic. I get asked about it all the time. I've been forced to figure some hacks out for my own life, but man, I have an adult-long-life struggle with the whole shebang of preparing food and planning to eat. And why in the sweet name of the Lord do we have to eat so many times a day? Like I can't. I feel like it would have been much more organized for us to not need to eat as often, but whatevs.

So, I've grown to like cooking a lot more this year, but I still just…it’s just not my thing. Some of you might message me later today like “yes, me too” and others might send me a virtual slap across the face for saying this, but I truly would rather get my Nike's on, get my hair tied up and clean all day than do meal planning, prepping, cooking and all that. It's just not my favorite thing.

However, I have learned that there's so much power in your thoughts and the way you look at something, and I really had to come at meal planning as a positive thing and something that I get to totally bless my family with. Brian does help me now too now that he quit his job about two years ago now. (Oh man, it's crazy that it's been that long.) And so we do tag team things…we both work, we both homeschool, we both help with house stuff. So that helps. But really, the meals are on me. If I don't plan it, organize it and say “this is what we're going to eat and this is when we're going to go shopping for it,” it's not going to happen and we're going end up having takeout. So, this is still totally on me.

It's just something that I've had to accept. It's just the way that my life is. But with all those things I just mentioned - running the business, homeschooling the kids, running the house, being a person who likes to be busy, likes to be social and do things (I'm really active and my life is full) - there's no way I can do all those things without planning ahead for my meals.

So, these are just some things that I've figured out that I've simplified the area of groceries and meal planning for me. Not really talking about like actually cooking and all that, just talking about like planning. Maybe we'll do another episode about those other things. So here we go. 10 ways to simplify groceries and meal planning.

Number one, choose a few pre-planned meals and just get staple ingredients for the others. Here's kind of what I mean by that. I think that a lot of us feel the need to know exactly what we'll be serving for dinner every day of the week. And if that works for you, girl stick with it! I am no expert here. But for me, I’m a little sporadic and that doesn't work for me. And whenever I plan my week that way, we end up not cooking one or two of the planned dinners and groceries get wasted.

So now I only choose about 2 or 3 exact specific dinners. This is where I'll try new recipes. Full disclosure: I could eat the same meals all the time forever. Brian is a very picky dude and he's a food snob. Which is why in the past, one of our biggest, most common arguments was, “Well, then you cook!” But now we've just compromised, we've talked it out and this is where we've landed. He does help with the cooking. Man, he loves to cook and he's a great cook. But for planning and all that it's gotta be me or it’s just not going to get done.

He just gets bored and we've got to mix it up. So, I do 2 or 3 specifically planned dinners. And then I'll get basic ingredients like chicken breast, organic bacon, sweet potato and other veggies to make spur-of-the-moment, throw it together, simple meals the other nights. I might also make those other nights repeat meals that we have all the time, like lettuce wrap tacos. That's something that's a staple. There's a Thai dish that we have with pork and cauliflower rice and Bok Choy. That’s something that is a way to get veggies that the kids love. So, we'll make that a lot. Everyone has their staples.

So just 2 or 3, really specifically planned, “Okay on this night we're going to have this recipe from Pinterest,” but the other nights are just like there's basic ingredients that we can make anything out of. And that's kind of how we do the other meals.

This is basically just my alternative of pre-planning every single meal. Very specifically getting the recipe, writing down the ingredients, going shopping for it, just doing every single meal like that doesn't work for us.

Number two, get all your planning done in one day each week. So every Sunday night I pour myself a glass of wine and sit down with a notebook and a pen. I choose our 2 - 3 meals and the basic ingredients that I'm going to get for the others, I make a shopping list and map out what we will be buying for breakfast, lunches, dinners, snacks, all of it. I make sure that I'm planning all the way through till the following Monday, which is usually the day I shop and that leads me to my next point.

Number three, choose another day for all the shopping. So, this has ebbed and flowed, so I don't want you guys to be like, “Why aren’t you meal planning? It’s Sunday night,” if I'm on Instagram stories and I'm sharing that I am doing something else, because that happens. And it's like, “whoa, relax.”

Typically, Sunday nights I plan our meals and our grocery list and I get it all written down and typically Mondays I'll do the grocery shopping, but this ebbs and flows. Basically one day plan, another day go get or have it delivered if you have Instacart or whatever. Basically you're splitting it up so you're not doing it all in one day and that lightens the load a lot.

I will also say too, I've written a blog post about this and I'll link to it in the show notes, but Sundays are a preparation day in general for us. It's not just grocery lists.  Brian and I have a weekly meeting on Sunday nights. I do my grocery lists and planning. I look at my calendar and look at like what do I have going on this week? And I kind of just mentally get into that headspace.

So I'm kind of “batching” my tasks. Grocery planning is like planning my week, so I do that all in one night. But grocery shopping is totally different. That makes me leave the house, so I do that on a different day. Again this is just what works for me. You might try this and be like, “I'm a mess. This isn't working for me at all. I hate this.” That's totally fine. I'm just saying all the other tips out there are totally different than this and they never worked for me, and these are the things that have helped me.

Number four, prep immediately after shopping whenever it's humanly possible. What I mean by that is instead of bringing in the groceries and putting them straight in the fridge, I've started to wash, slice and prep everything as soon as I'm home from errands. So, when I get home from the store I will bring everything in, set it on the counter. Then I will get the raspberries, wash them, dry them, store them in an airtight Tupperware. Same thing with the strawberries, blueberries, blackberries. The potatoes will get washed and sliced up and I'll saute them with a little bit of grass fed butter and garlic and then I'll put those in an airtight Tupperware.

And this is awesome because then everything is literally grabbable. In our house we definitely do get a few packaged snacks, but really our snacks are fruit and veggies. So, if everything is prepped, it's like grabbing a bag of goldfish for the kids as a snack on the go, but instead I'm grabbing some sliced berries or carrots, whatever it is. Everything is snackable and prepped and ready to grab. This reduces the waste so much because the stuff is already prepped and it's more likely that we're going to grab it and actually consume it.


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Hey friend! I'm so excited to tell you about my upcoming free online class: 3 Weeks To Minimalist Motherhood.

In this class, you are going to learn the secret to not living your life in a state of constant overwhelm. It's minimalism and it's going to have you cleaning, yelling, stressing, and nagging a whole lot less. I'm also going to show you how you can take a bite out of this secret process and start right away.

We're going to go over the three biggest time and energy sucking areas of your home and I'm going to show you how to get started in those areas – Now!

In 3 weeks, you will have a much more minimal motherhood and you'll be feeling a lot lighter.

I'm also going to give you an exclusive discount on my course, Your Uncluttered Home, and show you the next step after you get started so you can go all the way and change your home and your life for good.

These online classes are always in serious demand and they don't come around too often, so I want you to snag a spot. Make sure you get one and sign up.

You can go to alliecasazza.com/freeclass. It's totally free!

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Number five, food prep; don't meal prep. So, I've shared this before. This incredible tip changed my life and it's from Amanda Wilson of A Wilson Wellness. I will link to her Instagram. I actually did a couple of coaching calls with her about a year and a half ago and this girl changed my life. She's been on the show before. We’ll link to her episode as well. It’s incredible. She gives doable tips and you know, that's my style. I love that.

But she told me that it's okay that meal prepping doesn't work for everyone. We've found that food prepping is much more doable. Food prepping looks like sauteed potatoes, sliced fruit, cooked and shredded chicken, baked sweet potato fries, all stored in the fridge, ready to use. It's pieces of meals that you can grab, reheat and eat based on what sounds good now and how much time you have versus preparing the whole meal. It just doesn't work for everybody. So food prep; don't meal prep.

Number six, base it on your schedule. So, if you know that Wednesday nights are super crazy for your family, have that be a crockpot or take out night every week. Know what works for you.

Number seven, keep a running list of everything you're out of. This is huge. I think this is the thing that I'm the worst at practicing in real life out of this whole list and it's so frustrating. I can't even tell you how much easier my life is when I actually do just keep a running list of everything that I'm out of and I'm really diligent about it instead of trying to make the list from scratch every week. It takes me forever. It's a huge waste of time.

It's worth it. I'm just so bad at practicing it and I'm constantly working on it. You can keep a list on your fridge and one on your phone so that you have one physically when you're looking in your fridge and you notice you took the last of the raspberries, and when you're out and you think of something you can have your phone with you. Then you check both lists on Sunday nights when you're making your shopping list and you can say, “Okay, we're out of this, these things and these things. I'm going to add it to my shopping list.”

Number eight, subscribe to some sort of grocery delivery service, if there's one in your area. If you live somewhere really rural or it's just not available to you, I totally understand. Amazon Fresh was in my area and now it's gone, which I guess is okay because sometimes the stuff wasn't so great. But things like Instacart, it's usually like $20 to $30 for me to pay somebody to go and pick up my shopping list for me. That's money well spent in my opinion, because that's time that I'm not leaving. I'm not having to pack my kids up and schlepp them to the store and do the whole thing.

I've got my list. I can sit on the couch and shop online while the kids are doing their homeschool stuff and then somebody comes and delivers it to my house. It's amazing, so that has been huge for me. We do it often. It's just really, really a huge time saver. There's  few things that are really worth it for a family on a budget to really spend money on, but I do think that's one of them because not only is it time you're saving, but it's energy that you're saving. It's not those frustrating trips with all your kids that it's hot outside, or freezing outside depending on when you're listening to this. And it's just a lot getting everyone ready, having them go through the store, you forget things because you're telling the kids to stop pinching each other and it's just chaos. If you can save yourself a little bit of that for $25 bucks, I say do it.

Number nine, don't overthink it and know what works. I think so much of the time we overcomplicate things for ourselves. Big Time. Don't overcomplicate meal planning because it's daunting or you don't like it. I've been there. Trust me. Streamline. Simplify. Cut out the things that aren't working and stick to what is.

And number 10, stop being afraid of repeating meals. There is no shame in repeats my friend. I have a friend who rotates like 10 meals exactly that way all the time. They never eat anything else. It's been that way for years and her family has no complaints. It’s easier for her too, which is a huge win, win. So, if that works for you and you don't have a food snob husband, like I do, embrace it and count yourself as one of the lucky ones.

That was my top 10 things that have helped me simplify groceries in meal planning.

Here are a few other random things that work for our family. Just a few tips that I am going to spout off that I've learned recently and I just hope that it maybe will help someone else listening.

Okay, the first thing is prepped food becomes lunch plates that we can fix up in less than 10 minutes. What I mean by that is when we do our food prepping, for lunch we don't really like make a meal. We put together a plate of things, I call them protein plates. The kids are always asking, “Mom, can we have protein plates for lunch?” We'll just put a little bit of shredded chicken, some sliced carrots, some fresh sliced fruit, a little bit of salad with some leftover homemade dressing all together on a plate and just kind of nibble at that. It's almost like a protein snack plate. Maybe a hard-boiled egg or something like that. And it's awesome.

We don't even have to think about lunch, which is huge for us because we're home all the time. My kids are here for lunch, my husband's here for lunch, so we're all here and lunch could basically become another dinner which is stressful, and it's not because we do like “snacky plates” like that.

Another tip is for breakfast, we keep it so simple and the same meals are rotated because nobody really seems to care if breakfasts are the same all the time. So maybe like a coffee and a protein bar for me and Brian. Actually, Brian doesn't eat breakfast and I don't usually either, but if we are going to it'll be something like that, and then maybe cereal for the kids. So we have like our super simple, bare minimum day. Then smoothies are big for us.

And then we call them “big healthy plates” which is like eggs topped with avocado, uncured bacon, grilled tomatoes with salt and pepper and sweet potato hash. These are for the weekends or days where maybe we got up super early. The mornings that Brian and I get up at 5:00 to bust out a bunch of work before the kids get up, we’re usually pretty hungry for breakfast. So we'll do that.

Then also a weekend meal, pancakes, bacon, eggs. We've got our fun meals and we've got our super basic, get the day going meals like coffee and a bar, cereal for the kids, smoothies, things like that.

Also take note of prepped foods that work on the go. So like fresh sliced fruits, grilled chicken cold in a Ziploc baggie, snackable veggies. I actually really like cooked steak, just lightly seasoned, cold. I'll take that with me if I know that I'm going to be out and I'm going to be hungry and need some really good protein.

Also we always have a couple of really easy frozen meals on hand for emergencies like when the babysitter shows up on time and we were so excited for date night that we have kids that we need to feed and we just want to go. So like Annie's mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas. If you don't want to feed your kids that stuff ever, that is your thing. Go ahead. You do you. But for us we do like to have some of those basic frozen things on hand for emergencies to make our lives easier. We try to pick our battles and sometimes that battle is not dinner for the kids.

And also, I try to always, always, always have kid and adult snacks as well as water bottles in my bag or in the car. We have this leather backpack that is just kind of like our family bag. We don't have babies right now so I wouldn't say it's a diaper bag, but it's like our family bag and I always have a couple of water bottles in there, some bars, like an Rx bar for me or Brian, a couple of bars for the kids, things like that, just in case. It really cuts down on quick drive-through trips and it makes sure that no one's cranky or freaking out because they're starving when we're on the go or when we are out later than we realized. You know, kids are going to get hungry.

I think that pretty much sums up what I've been doing to keep meal prep, grocery shopping and food stuff simplified.


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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.

 


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READY TO SIMPLIFY EVEN MORE? MY GLOBALLY-PRAISED COURSE, YOUR UNCLUTTERED HOME, INCLUDES A SECTION ON MINIMALIST MEAL PLANNING.


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


Don't have time to listen_.png

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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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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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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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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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 021: Food, Exercise & Perfectionism (feat. Robin Long)

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Robin Long is the founder of The Balanced Life, which started as an online platform for her to teach Pilates but has grown to much more than that. She is a well of wisdom when it comes to living in the balance of food + exercise. We often get into the mindset that “exercise equals all of these hard things, so I can’t exercise” or “well, if I licked a donut, then I might as well just eat burgers, fries and a milkshake for lunch, and also have pizza for dinner, and two beers.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Having exercise fit into your life is the key to actually getting something done and making progress. My goal for this episode is to get you to actually do something. Anyone can listen, get inspired, and think they are going to do that. But I really want you to do it!

Disclaimer: In this episode, we discuss some things that you may not want your kids to hear, especially if you have a little girl who might be receptive to some of the things we are discussing. I encourage you to pop those headphones in and enjoy this episode. Robin is amazing and I am so excited for you to hear what she has to share!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Robin Discuss:

  • What “whole health” really means.

  • How to overcome the “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to food + exercise.

  • Practical ways you can implement small workouts into your daily routine.

  • How to get back on track after things fall off track (from vacations or busyness).  

  • Meal planning + tips for healthier choices (especially with kids!)

Mentioned in this Episode:

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A library of inspiration

Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you want videos? Do you want pdf’s? Do you want to download things and get your hands on something to really get you started when it comes to minimalism and simplifying your motherhood?

The Supermom Vault is for you! 


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Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com and let us know you left an iTunes review. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's mini 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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Hey friends! I wanted to pop in and talk a bit with you before I bring Robin on. Robin Long runs The Balanced Life.  She is really special to me and holds a really close space in my heart. Robin had said “yes” when I asked to write a guest post for her. She was just so sweet and so excited about my message before everything took off.

My post actually ended up going viral.  It was the one that was really crazy and was trending over the first Presidential Debate in 2016.  It was such a big deal and it was so fun to watch it unfold. That guest post was on Robin’s website and we rode that wave together.  It was really a neat experience.

She is so dear to me. She is such a sweet person, one of those people that you wished you live near so you could be really good friends and have coffee all of the time. Her philosophy of ditching diet culture, taking good care of yourself because you deserve to feel great, is something that I really love about her.

This conversation is really, really good. I encourage you to create the time and space you need to listen to it. We do discuss some things that you may not want your kids to hear, especially if you have a little girl who might be receptive to some of the things we are discussing. I encourage you to pop those headphones in and enjoy this episode. Robin is amazing and I am so excited to have her on!

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ALLIE:  Hey ladies!  Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show! I am here with Robin Long, my friend who runs The Balanced Life. Hey Robin!

ROBIN:  Hello! I am really excited to be here!

ALLIE: I have some real practical questions to ask you. I am looking forward to getting your expertise on exercise, healthy eating, and balancing all of that with motherhood.

Guys, The Balanced Life is really the perfect name for Robin’s business, your blog, and everything that you do. That’s your whole thing! It’s not “eat whatever, who cares?” And not working out, sweating an hour every day. Not “if this is what you want, you have to work hard, and sweat it out.” And also not “running so you can eat tacos”. It is a lot of hope, grace, and realistic advice.  It is so real. I really appreciate your voice, especially as a busy mom. It is very grace-laced.

ROBIN: Thank you! That is exactly I was hoping people would experience, so thank you!

ALLIE:  Robin runs The Balanced Life, which is a Pilates- based blog. Tell us what you do and a little bit about you.

ROBIN:  Sure! I started as a Pilates instructor. I took that online originally as a blog and it has evolved into a membership site for Pilates’ workouts, specifically for busy women. That is the “meat and potatoes” of it. There are lots of great, efficient, work-at-home Pilates workouts.

In addition to that, my heart, passion, and what I have learned is that it is not just about the workouts in terms of what “whole health” is. There is a much bigger approach and picture that we incorporate into everything, a balanced approach, and what that practically looks like. It is one thing to say, “life balance” but what does that actually look like when it comes to how you feel about food, your workouts, how you talk to yourself. That’s what the Balanced Life site is about. My membership is called the Balanced Life Sisterhood. That’s where the majority of all of this takes place.

ALLIE:  I am in the Sisterhood. It is such an encouraging space. Even from a business standpoint, I have often wanted to ask you how you keep it so positive. I feel like you are dealing with a niche that is very, maybe not controversial, but opinionated. You are talking about bodies and health.

What is organic. What is OK and not OK. It is just a really amazing space. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging and they are all at different levels. Some of these women have been doing Pilates with you for years.  I saw one girl that was in there for 4-5 years! It is really neat. When they come, it seems like they just stay. They love it there because it is such a supportive community. It is really a neat place to spend time.

ROBIN: Thank you! We work really, really hard to keep it that way. It is helpful whether you are Vegan or Paleo. Whether you believe cardio is or isn’t essential. On top of that, it is related to spirituality for a lot of people. Emotion, relationships. It is definitely a challenge in terms of that but we are so dedicated to making sure that it is a safe place. It is something that I am really grateful for and proud of. We have great people.

ALLIE: You should be proud. It is such an amazing space. I recently took a trip to Santa Monica and it was nice in the hotel room to do even a 5-minute workout. It calms you down, and relieves your stress. You just feel like you got something done. Something is better than nothing which is a huge part of what you teach.

We would love to know, in general, how you fit in exercise in the midst of such a busy life?

ROBIN:  I get this question a lot. It is funny how it has shifted over the years. As a Pilates instructor people assume you just do Pilates all day. The reality is even when I was teaching 8 hours of Pilates all day in the studio, once I started actually turning this into my career it became a lot harder for me to fit in my workouts.

Just like anything, you spend eight hours at the gym training other people, the last thing you want to do is spend another hour at the gym; you just want to go home. That challenge for me has increased in a lot of ways since this has become my career, adding children to the picture, and working from home.

For me, I really practice what I preach, which is small, short, effective workouts and really having to embrace that mentality that something is better than nothing. I still have to remind myself of that on a regular basis.

What does that looks like practically for me? Sunday, I spent most of the day thinking “I have got to do something today.”  “I have got to work out somehow.” I was thinking that it was just not going to happen. We had church, lunch and then it was bath time. I gave the kids a bath around 3 in the afternoon, I propped up my phone, and told myself, “ten minutes at a time.”  You know with kids you can barely get ten minutes before they are fighting in the bath. But you can at least try and I think that is the main thing.

I did ten minutes and they were still playing, so I did another ten minutes. Before I knew it, I had 30 minutes literally in the bathroom while they were doing their bath.  It was a mixture of Pilates, triceps dips on the edge of the bathtub, bar, and then some light weights. And I felt so good when I was done. When I could have spent that time on Instagram thinking, “I really need to workout today.” It’s just that. It’s always about getting started.

Realistically again, Tuesday night I hadn’t done anything and it was 8 o’clock. So, I went in the bedroom, opened my laptop, and told myself 30 minutes of Pilates. I ended up doing 45 because it felt so good. Went to bed.

Yesterday, I sat my timer on my phone. My son was waking up from his nap. I didn’t think I would have time since he was already crying. We went out in the backyard so he could play quietly and I got my whole 20 minutes in.

For me, it is just that - sneaking it in. Obviously, I try to go to the studio when I can, when it works with my husband’s schedule, but that’s definitely not what I can rely on in this season of my life.

ALLIE:  It feels good to hear you saying that because I respect you so much for the way you incorporate fitness into your life. You turned your livelihood into your business and you can’t even find the time to get dressed, leave the house, childcare, the whole thing. And it’s also really expensive.

You get the kids at the gym with the childcare. We did that for a while. And honestly, my kids have never been so sick! They were sick all of the time. You feel like “this is not worth it.”  And you fall off the wagon.

You get into that mindset of “exercise equals all of these hard things, so I can’t exercise.” Then I would get into this phase, “well I will just eat in a way where I don’t need to move my body at all”, which is eating nothing. That sucks and takes away your joy. It is just this cycle of trying all of these different things, getting motivated, and trying something else.

The only thing that I have found that works is being in the Sisterhood. Sometimes I just put my headphones in sitting in the living room, with the kids going psycho around me. Whatever works and just fitting it in right where I am at, before I start the day or in the middle of the day.  It’s not every day. Having it fit into my life is the key to actually getting something done and making progress.

ROBIN:  Two things to mention really quick. Season of life matters so much. When the kids were little, I could throw them in the stroller and go for a walk or a long run. I am in the season right now where they just won’t sit in the stroller, so that is out.  Unless I have someone to watch them, I have to be here at the house. Childcare is hard to come by. To use 1 ½ to 2 hours to get to a studio or a gym is time I could have spent working or getting things done, so that’s not an option right now either. But do something.

ALLIE:  And feeling that your season of life won’t always be forever. Motherhood seasons are pretty brief. Your kids change and things ebb and flow all of the time.

I would like to know how you overcome that “all or nothing” mentality that comes after you eat something that you shouldn’t have, or you miss a workout?  That “well, if I licked a donut, then I might as well just eat burgers, fries and a milkshake for lunch, and also have pizza for dinner, and two beers.” You get into that mode of “well, I already messed up.”  How would you overcome that, because that’s a struggle for me.

ROBIN:  I was thinking about that this morning because that was a huge struggle for me. I was always doing good or bad. Either doing good with my workouts or food. Usually it was never both at the same time. I can definitely relate to that.  I was thinking, “why don’t I struggle with that anymore?” It’s what I teach, but I was thinking what practically happened that I don’t struggle with that anymore?”

I think in a lot of ways it is just literally putting the “ditching the all or nothing idea” into practice. The idea of doing a 10-minute workout every day. I am still tempted to not do it. Until I finish that 10 or 15-minute workout and I am reminded every time of the shift in the way I feel.  After that workout, my energy is up. I felt proud of myself. There is a shift every single time.

I honestly believe that shift does help reframe your mind each time. Each time you do that it is like reinforced behavior. It does reinforce the belief that it does have a positive effect. It does overwrite those old beliefs and patterns that it has to be a killer long workout. I think a lot of times it is rewiring the story we have been telling ourselves for so long.

What that looks like is really just changing the story each day, over and over. I think its first the awareness of that conversation you are  having and realizing that it doesn’t have to be your story. It’s continuing to change that conversation each time. It’s making it always about how you are going to feel after. After that 10-minute workout. After you decide, “instead I am going to drink some water, go for a walk, and see if I can overcome that ice cream.”

ALLIE: Sure. You can have things in moderation and live your life. I don’t subscribe to the whole diet way of doing things. It doesn’t work, at least not for me or anyone else I have ever talked to.  Also, if you want to feel good, and you want to be happy with the way you look and feel, then you can’t just keep getting in that cycle.

What do you do, especially with things like traveling or moving?  When we were moving it sent me into this 2-3 week spiral. I couldn’t get my house set up to get groceries and get back into it. That was really hard. Then coming out of that I felt myself almost feeling addicted to junk food. Getting back to how I used to be is hard.

ROBIN:  You learn to trust that you will get back to your meal planning. For a long time I never had that trust in myself. Maybe I was just young and couldn’t see the whole picture. Maybe I hadn’t lived through enough seasons yet.  You can get that belief back in yourself that this isn’t forever, then you can trust that and then follow through with that.

ALLIE:  Going back to the workout part, I wanted to know why Pilates?  What is that your main thing? What are the benefits of that? Maybe it is just me, but before finding you, Pilates is one thing I didn’t know a lot about. I always knew the benefits of Yoga. To me, Yoga is definitely less of a workout than Pilates. I just didn’t know much about Pilates until I found you. Can you maybe talk a little about the benefits of Pilates and why you are such an advocate of it?

ROBIN: Absolutely. Pilates doesn’t get as much “air time.” I can’t even tell you how many people, even that are close to me, still call me a Yoga instructor.  A lot of the reasons for that is that it is not very accessible to take Pilates classes. Pilates classes, especially when you incorporate the equipment, is very expensive.

For a long time, it has been reserved for celebrities, people with a lot of money, people that can spend that money because they are in need of it for an injury or whatever. I think that’s one reason it hasn’t been as mainstream as Yoga.

What I love about Pilates, is it teaches you how to use your muscles, essentially to get the most bang for your buck. Every exercise focuses on alignment and proper muscle engagement. You are not just powering through doing exercises and 100 crunches. Instead you are doing 10 repetitions of one exercise.  You are striving for proper form, proper muscle engagement.

But you are never really there. You can always lengthen your legs a bit more. You can always lift your chest a little higher. That’s what I love about it. You are always working and challenging those muscles.  I fell in love with it because I saw results so fast because of that. You are actually using the proper muscles with proper timing and engagement.

You can get an hour of forced exercise in 10 minutes of intentional, precise, Pilates movement.  In addition to that it is a mind to muscle connection. Because you are thinking about your form, your breath, what muscle, you are constantly thinking about what you are doing.

Essentially, you get the benefits of meditation while working out because you are focused.  You are not doing Pilates right if you are just going through the motions and thinking about your to-do list. Instead you are thinking about your breath and your movements so when you are done, you feel surprisingly rejuvenated and energized every time.  You literally get a high because you have trained your body and your mind at the same time.

ALLIE: That makes total sense. Thank you for clarifying that. I have always wondered about that.

What’s a way that you would say we could be active throughout our normal day routine.  I know you said just focusing on the 10-minutes. Are there certain exercises that you will do anywhere?  I started to do squats while I am waiting for my espresso machine to make the coffee because it takes forever. Unfortunately, I found that I can get in 45 good squats, so now every morning I am dying.  We both work from home on a computer and we sit often. Is there anything that you would suggest like that. Maybe if you are not even in workout clothes.

ROBIN: First of all, I workout in non-workout clothes all of the time. I work out in dresses all of the time.  We just have to overcome those excuses. We can’t be Pinterest people all of the time.

ALLIE:  That was such a hard shift for me, but that’s how it needs to be so we can actually fit it in.

ROBIN:  The big thing is that you don’t sweat that much with Pilates. When my kids were little and we would hang out on the floor, I would sneak in some ab exercises that I know from Pilates, or a few planks. I used to do that all of the time. Also, take the kids out to ride their bike or their tricycle, and I would get a walk in. And I do a lot during bath time.  Bath time is gold.

ALLIE:  Well, they’re contained. Any time the kids are contained is great.

One of my goals with this podcast is to get women to actually do things. Anyone can listen, get inspired, and think they are going to do that, but I really want them to do it.  I think that was really helpful.

ROBIN:  In a season of life where you are having trouble just getting those workouts in, I just commit to do pushups and maybe a plank every night before bed.  Then if nothing else, that consistency adds up. You would be so surprised. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

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Hey friend!  It’s Allie! Have you heard of the Supermom Vault yet?

The Supermom Vault is a library of inspiration I created for you.  It holds replays of my very best online workshops that aren’t available anywhere else, tons of really actionable pdf’s that are downloadable with just one click, more than 20 audio and video trainings from me, and professionally designed printables for your home to keep you focused and inspired.

The Supermom Vault is only $39.00 and is available at alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

Check it out!  It’s a really good simple start.

Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you wish there were more episodes?  Want more details? Do you want videos? Do you want pdf’s? Do you want to download things and get your hands on something to really get you started when it comes to minimalism and simplifying your motherhood?

This is definitely the place to go!

Check it out!  Alliecasazza.com/allcourses

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ALLIE:  Ok, so let’s circle back to food before we wrap up. What is it like feeding your family healthy? What is your rule of thumb or go to? How do you handle healthy with kids and yourself?

ROBIN:  We have always had an extra challenge because we are trying to work through some food allergies. For that reason, we have been forced to be really intentional. We can’t wing it that much because we always have to have something on hand for my son. He is off gluten, dairy, and all nuts. That’s pretty much everything.

At some point since I have been breastfeeding for the last five years, we have been on some kind of restrictive diet. That has really forced me to be a planner, to plan ahead. To make sure that we always have the kitchen stocked with options for everyone.

Pretty much every time we leave the house, I have a snack and waters. If we go to restaurants with my son, we have to have something for him because he can’t eat anything there. I would say in that way, just getting in that habit of always having a stocked kitchen with your healthy go-tos that your kids love. Always think one step ahead with what you might want to have on hand. That has been huge and helpful with keeping the kids fairly healthy.  We are getting to the point with my daughter of trying to balance healthy food and not healthy food.

ALLIE:  I can relate to that. My daughter has realized we have a scale now in the bathroom.  She got on it one day and said, “Oh, 60, is that normal? Should I eat less?” We ended up having a really good conversation about food not being good or bad, but everything in moderation. It is such a hard balance with girls. Bella just turned 9 yesterday and it is so hard. I think what you just said is a good way to come at it.  I feel like we could do a separate episode about girls and food.

ROBIN:  You’re ahead of me in that. Your daughter has more of an awareness of that than mine.

One of the things we are doing (I honestly think this is from Sesame Street) we talk about what are the “all the time foods” and what are the “sometime foods.” If you follow me on Instagram you might think my kids eat all healthy, all of the time. That is not true. To me, I don’t want them growing up totally restricted in their life.  We eat like normal kids sometimes. We use that “all of the time foods” and “sometime foods.” For example, apples are an “all the time food.” The gummy fruit snacks are a “sometime foods”. We are using that and trying to get away from that good/bad.

ALLIE:  How do you do meal planning in your house?

ROBIN:  Our routine is I will typically do it Sunday mornings. I write out Sunday through Thursday, breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. I pick a meal for each day. I figure after Thursday, we will figure it out. We will either eat leftovers or do take out because by Friday night I am ready for a break. Then I write down what I need to get and go to the grocery store on Sunday and stock up the house. Then ideally, if I can, I will come home and wash all the fruits and veggies, prep a meal or two and something that I can use for lunches. Something that I can grab and go – chicken salad, Lentil salad, egg salad.

In my four-week programs, this is the stuff that I really teach, what this looks like practically.  We all do it together. I will do live videos from my kitchen. This is definitely something I have perfected over the years.  It has become my world.

ALLIE: It is so helpful to talk with you about this.  What do you do for breakfast? Any ideas?

ROBIN:  I do a lot of eggs because they are healthy.  It literally takes 3 minutes. With breakfast, I think “how can I throw in some nutrients?”  Eggs are a great way. I throw in some spinach or peppers. Smoothies, because you can sneak in all kinds of things – greens,  protein powder, chia seeds. Both are quick and packed with nutrients. And both put you in a great frame of mind. Rather than having a bowl of cereal while you are running out the door.

ALLIE:  That’s the thing - you take in so many bad things but you never really get full.

ROBIN:  That is the chemistry in our body.  That’s something that I also teach in my programs.  When you start your day with something that is more protein, fat, and good carbs heavy, you will stay more stable the rest of the day. I know when I have cereal in the morning that I will be more hungry the rest of the day.  That’s just our bodies responding to what we eat. Having that protein and fat in the morning, less sugar, is going to help me all the way until bedtime.

ALLIE:  What’s your take on coffee and caffeine?

ROBIN:  I am a decaffeinated coffee drinker. I went through a season in my life where I really struggled with anxiety. It’s pretty paralyzing.  When I went through that, I made some dietary changes and one of them was trying to eat more proteins and fats to keep my blood sugar and my mood stable. That had a huge impact to make sure I didn’t get that “sugar drop” during the day. I also cut out caffeine.  I never really thought I was affected by caffeine because I wasn’t jittery or anything like that. But I noticed a huge difference in my ability to handle my anxiety and stress when I took out caffeine. I think that and being pregnant and breastfeeding, I never went back.  But I don’t think caffeine is bad in moderation. Your coffee in the morning is not going to make or break your health or your weight unless you are doing the frappuccino with whip every morning.

Have your coffee. That’s not going to make or break you.

ALLIE:  I used to have coffee with cream and sweetener. I would go and get the pumps at Starbucks and buy them for the house, but I got myself all the way down to eventually having black coffee.  But then the acidity started to mess with my teeth and my stomach. Now I do a dot of raw cream and it’s fine. But I enjoy having something in the morning and in the middle of the day.

ROBIN:  I think we all have our things like that.  You just have to know what things in our lives we hold onto and balance that out in other ways.

ALLIE:  Thank you so much!  Where can people connect with you deeper?

ROBIN:  My website it thebalancedlifeonline.com.  There you will find my blog which has links to Youtube workouts, resources, articles.  Then I am on Instagram quite a bit. @thebalancedlife.  I run three Pilates challenges throughout the year.  It’s a good way to give it a try. There is always a way to give it a try and get involved.  Then you can decide if the membership feels like a good fit and something you would like to try.

ALLIE:  We will link to everything that Robin mentioned and her Sisterhood.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  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, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!