How To Get Out of a Funk & Feel More Like YOU Again

Hi my lovely!

OH MAN... what a winter this has been.

If you've been following me over the last month or so, you know that 2019 has been off to a bit of a rough start for me. From the highs of visiting Florida for a few days and seeing my fam/friends, to the lows of being sick for 2+ weeks and dealing with seasonal depression...

Despite all my goal setting, planning, organization, and good intentions to start off 2019 with a BANG, life doesn't always go according to plan.

Even though 2019 has been off to a slow start, I'm making a very serious effort to overcome alllll the things that I've let hold me back and get into a positive frame of mind to start #GSD SISTA.

I've shared my experiences on Instagram, but in case you missed how I'm getting out of this funk, you can listen to this podcast episode or this one.

I’m really glad I shared my lows and how I was moving through them, because those are the exact things that moved me from sulking, being sad, feeling sorry for myself — to completely lighting a fire under my azz to move forward and get past my funk.

There’s a fine line between extending grace to yourself when you’re at a low point — allowing yourself to feel sad, go through the motions and not beat yourself up.

But there came a point where I KNEW I could do better, be better, FEEL better. And even though I didn’t freakin feel like it 99% of the time, every day I’d force myself to do the things I knew I needed to in order to stop feelin funkay.

The biggest dial movers have been:

  • setting strict boundaries around social media

  • going outside for walks even if the weather suxxx

  • moving my body every single day (minimum 30 min)

  • eating mostly clean and GPF

  • journaling

  • speaking about it (hello, podcast aka my form of therapy! ha)

  • and MOVING. TF. ON. / not dwelling on the fact that I didn’t feel good 👏🏼👏🏼

Sometimes when you’re feeling down, you have to pull in the reigns a little bit more in certain areas.

For me, that’s looked like setting an actual schedule for when I’m on social and deleting it the rest of the time, taking pics of my food to stay accountable to my meals, planning out my days BY THE HOUR and filling it with all the necessary self-care things that I usually make the excuse “I don’t have time for these today” and therefore end up feeling like a bag of POO. 💩

If you’re feeling low, I feel you.

But sister hear me when I say this — YA GOTTA DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

The world needs that bright, joyful, confident version of you, and alllll the wonderful gifts you bring to this world, k? 💕🔥🤗

If you need to chat about it, I AM HERE. Reach out to me with what's going on and we can chat.

Let’s get you back on the path to being the strongest, healthiest, happiest version of YOU — don’t settle for any less!

Sending you so much love. Let's finish out the winter on a BRIGHT note!

xo

Julie

REAL TALK: Seasonal Depression & Feelin' Funky

Can I be 100% real with you?

This winter has been really freakin hard for me.

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I never believed that seasonal depression was a real thing. As a Florida girl, I saw the sun 360/365 days per year.

When I moved to Canada last year and experienced my first winter, I noticed that toward the end of winter (February specifically)... I didn’t want to do ANYTHING.

I no longer felt motivated to work out, eat healthy, go to work, clean my house... I literally would just sit and stare out the window for what felt like hours (and sleep, a lot 😴)

Fast forward to this year, I’m experiencing the same thing. I went to Florida, came home and was sick for two weeks, and thought that’s where my lack of zest for life was stemming from.

But truthfully it’s bugging the CRAPOLA out of me because I’m usually super motivated, driven, and going at full speed ahead. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Y’all know I’m not one to just sit around and sulk in my own misery, so I’m trying to do a few things to help:

☀️ take vitamin D religiously
☀️ move my body for at least 30 minutes every day, preferably in the morning
☀️ focus on eating greens, protein and healthy fats at every meal (GPF style)
☀️ meditating and journaling
☀️ spending time with people I love
☀️ and honestly just giving myself the space and grace to feel down, understanding that this season will pass

Mental health is something we often shy away from talking about, for fear of seeming weak or feeling exposed (like omgz, u mean she doesn’t have her shiz together alwayzz? 🙄)

But I want to share the GOOD and BAD on here.

I am human. You are human. We’re all just trying to figure it out.

If you’re struggling, I’m sending you a BIG HUG. 💕 please reach out and confide in someone, no matter how hard that may feel.

And if you want to learn more about what I’m doing to get out of this funk, you can listen to my latest podcast episodes:

I hope it offers you some comfort knowing that you’re NORMAL and you’re definitely not alone.

Sending you a BIG OLE VIRTUAL HUG. We can get through this!

xo

Julie

3 Easy Ways to Set Goals and Actually STICK TO THEM

Hello my gorgeous!

As we head into the end of the year, there's no doubt you'll be getting a lot of messages that encourage you to set goals for 2019.

A lot of people hate on New Years resolutions, but I actually really like the intention behind resolutions: to set a goal that you'd like to achieve.

But the unfortunate downside to resolutions is that 90% of people give up on their resolutions before January is even OVER! 

Maybe this sounds like you... and maybe you're feeling discouraged about your track record with resolutions so you feel like "what's the point in even setting resolutions this year?"

Here's the thing: if you go about it in the right way, setting intentions for yourself can be POWERFUL and a surefire guarantee that you'll reach your goals.

Why You Fail at Resolutions

I spoke about this in my recent podcast episode about goal setting (I loved recording the 2018 reflection episode as well as the 2019 planning episode — definitely go check them out!) But the problem lies when people set a very vague goal (i.e. lose weight), they attach no meaning to it (aka WHY you're doing it in the first place and why it's important for you to accomplish that goal), and they try to go TOO HARD, TOO SOON.

Instead of doing what you've always done and expecting different results in 2019, I want you to start thinking about resolutions differently so that when the New Year comes around, you're more prepared than ever before to be successful!

3 Easy Ways to Set Goals & Actually STICK TO THEM!

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1. SET A CLEAR, SPECIFIC GOAL.

Bad example of a goal: I want to start running.

Great example of a goal: I want to start running, so I'm going to sign up for a 5k at the end of February. I'm going to run 3 times per week for X amount of miles each day, and I'm going to schedule them into my calendar like they're appointments.

See the difference? When you set a very vague goal (I want to lose weight, get in shape, start running, lift heavy, heal my relationship with my body and food)... ask the follow up question: what does that actually LOOK like? How long will it take to achieve the goal, roughly? How will I know I've been successful?

Here's an example:

  • I want to run two half marathons in 2019.

  • I'm going to run 3 times per week for X amount of miles. I'm going to create accountability by running with my friend Jill on Tuesday and Thursday at 7 a.m., and doing my long run with a running group on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m.

  • I'll know I've been successful because I found two races I want to complete in June and October, which I've already signed up for to put myself on the hook!

Once you know what you want to accomplish, then it’s important to break the goal down into monthly, weekly and daily habits. What will you have to achieve on a monthly basis to make sure you reach your goal by December 31, 2019? What do you have to do weekly to make it happen? What are the daily habits you need to have in place?

Let’s use running as an example again (can you tell I’m getting back into running?! haha)

Yearly goal: I want to run 2 half marathons in 2019.

Monthly goal: Plan out which half marathons I’ll be running and establish a training plan, broken down week by week. Check in with myself at the end of each month to make sure I’ve hit a certain # of miles, based on what my training program prescribes.

Weekly goal: Based on my training plan, I have to run X amount of miles this week. That means I’m going to run on X amount of miles this week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 am (VERY SPECIFIC SO THERE’S NO GUESSING!)

Daily goal: Making sure I’m hydrated and fuelling my body with nutritious foods each day to make my runs feel easier and stronger. Actually getting out there and running — lacing up my shoes and getting out the door, even when I don’t wanna (because that’s the hardest part, right?) However, as I always say — self integrity (aka doing what you say you’re going to do) is what builds trust in yourself and therefore builds confidence. So each day it’s my responsibility to do what I said I was going to do and RUN!

I break this down into even more detail in my 2019 goal setting podcast episode, so go check it out if you want more ideas!

2. MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT ACHIEVING THE GOAL.

I can't tell you how many times I've worked with people (I'm guilty of this, too!) who have set goals with no real meaning attached to it. They want to lose weight because they think it's what they "should" do. They saw an Instagram model doing weight training, so now they think that's what they "have to do" in order to be in shape. Or they have to try the new diet that so-and-so said was the "miracle solution" to all their problems.

But whenever you set a goal, you need to dig a bit deeper: WHY do you want to achieve this goal? And not just for the superficial reasons, but what meaning will you attach to the goal to ensure you stick to it? 

It's only when you have a strong WHY in place behind your goal that you're able to see it through to the finish, especially when life gets tough and curve balls are thrown your way *because they inevitably will be.* 

Make sure that the reason you want to achieve a goal is because it's meaningful to YOU, no one else. Because if you're doing it for someone else, the motivation will fade faaaaast.

What do YOU like to do? What does happiness and success look like to you in every area of your life: body, career, finances, relationships, etc.? 

All that matters is that you set goals that are in alignment with YOUR version of success, and no one else's. 

3. BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND / CHEERLEADER. 

Sometimes you just gotta be your own hype man, ya know what I'm sayin?

That means pumping yourself up to go after your goals every single day, even when you don't feel like it. Especially when you don't feel like it.

It's great to set up accountability systems for yourself: a coach to check in with every week, a personal trainer, a training partner, a co-worker or friend to hold you accountable. 

But what happens in the meantime when those people aren't around?

YOU GOTTA HYPE YOURSELF UP, SIS!

Establish a solid morning routine that keeps you in a positive head space all day long. Dance around your house while you're making breakfast or getting ready for the day. Jam out in your car like no one's watching. Find ways to make yourself happy all. day. long. and this will make you even MORE likely to achieve your goals.

That being said, this also requires a level of knowing when to be tough on yourself (like sometimes you don't feel like working out, but ya just gotta get it done), balanced with being GENTLE with yourself. 

You're not going to take the perfect steps toward your goals 100% of the time. And that's TOTALLY OK! In fact, it's encouraged, because it means you're trying. 100% of your best is going to look different every day.

When it comes to working out, sometimes that looks like a hardcore HIIT session, and other days it looks like a long, relaxing walk. But as long as you keep trying, keep showing up, and keep doing your personal best every single day, you'll end up at your goal eventually. 

The worst thing you can do is go too hard, too soon (which a lot of us tend to do when we set resolutions or goals for ourselves). Instead, start with one simple habit and work on mastering that every single day. Once that habit becomes natural to you, work on another habit. 

For example, if you're eating fast food and drinking 12 sodas every day, going completely vegan Paleo carb-free Keto probably isn't the best option. It's probably wise to start with replacing ONE soda with water, then two, then three.... and go from there. 

Consistency is Queen, my darling.

So keep chipping away and taking those small baby steps every single day.

Instead of getting discouraged when you get off track, be gentle with yourself, HYPE YOURSELF back up again and get back on track immediately.

That is taking care of yourself.

I hope you found these tips helpful! These are the steps I take whenever I'm setting goals so ensure that I'm successful and actually follow through with them.

Reply to this email and let me know what goals you want to work on in 2019.

And if you need accountability to reach those goals, sign up for one of my 8-week nutrition coaching mentorship spots (we’re on a waitlist at the moment, so if you want to reserve a spot when the next round opens up, book your call ASAP sis!) You can register here for a free call where we'll chat about your goals and see if it's a good fit.

Sending you tons of love, light, happiness, determination and all around BADASSERY in 2019!

TIME TO LEVEL UP and become the YOU you know you can be!!!

xo

Julie

I'm now accepting applications for my 8-week Nutrition Mentorship program. There are a very limited number of spots available (I only work with 5 girls at a time and we’re currently on a waitlist for the next round), so if you're interested in reserving your spot, sign up for a coaching call and fill out the form  here .    This is  p erfect for you if 2019 is the year you want to completely transform your relationship to food and your body!!

I'm now accepting applications for my 8-week Nutrition Mentorship program. There are a very limited number of spots available (I only work with 5 girls at a time and we’re currently on a waitlist for the next round), so if you're interested in reserving your spot, sign up for a coaching call and fill out the form here.

This is perfect for you if 2019 is the year you want to completely transform your relationship to food and your body!!

Intuitive Eating: How I Found Freedom from Food & Transformed My Body

*Click here to listen to this blog post as a podcast. PART 1 | PART 2

I’ll never forget it.

I woke up in the middle of the night with cold sweats — likely a sign of my body going crazy from trying to digest all the food from the binge I had before I went to sleep.

It was 3 a.m., and I couldn’t wait until the morning so I could wake up, go to the gym, do cardio and ‘burn off’ all the food I ate when I seemingly blacked out the night before.

“What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I stop doing this? Why can’t I just stick to my damn meal plan?” I would ask myself every day, and feel even MORE guilty every time it happened. I was getting more and more frustrated, because despite sticking to a super strict meal plan most days of the week (until I couldn’t sustain it any more and I would overeat on the weekends), I was actually GAINING weight.

“THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY,” I thought to myself. “I can’t keep sticking to this rigid meal plan of chicken and broccoli — it’s not even giving me the results I want!”

Ironically enough, I thought I was a walking billboard of the epitome of health: giving advice to my friends and family about the importance of eating veggies and protein, spending hours a day glued to my phone tracking every single calorie on My Fitness Pal, even throwing out an Oreo my boyfriend gave me because I was too scared to eat it (only to go home and secretly binge that night because I felt so restricted, of course).

Little did I know, my obsession with my ‘healthy’ diet was destroying my life:

My relationships with friends and family suffered — I had no social life because I was too scared to go out to eat for fear that I would eat ‘off my meal plan’. I became distracted from my job because I was ALWAYS thinking about food: what am I going to eat next? OMG my co-workers want to go to lunch — QUICK! GIVE ME MY PHONE! I HAVE TO TRY TO FIT THAT INTO MY MACROS!!!

And most importantly, my relationship with myself suffered. I completely lost trust in myself. I felt out of control around food. I hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror (even when I probably looked ‘normal’ to the outside world). I was constantly obsessing over food and my body, and spent every moment of my day: from the minute I woke up, to the minute I went to sleep, thinking some form of thought about food or exercise.

It’s taken me 5 years and TONS of trial and error, but I can confidently say I’m at a place where I have a healthy relationship to food now: one where I’m not controlled my counting calories, following a meal plan, or jumping around from diet to diet.

And that’s what I want to share with you today. <3

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Why Meal Plans Don’t Work

Before we get into all the practices I used to find true food freedom, can we just be real about something?

Following a strict meal plan is unsustainable.

You can only eat chicken and broccoli or spend hours every day glued to your phone tracking macros for so long before you want to raid the fridge, cover yourself in peanut butter and chocolate syrup, and dip pretzels into the gooey delicious goodness until you’re so full you physically can’t breathe.

No but seriously — not only is following a strict meal plan BORRRRING, it deprives us of many of the essential micronutrients our bodies need to function and thrive. I know personally when I was on a strict meal plan, it was pretty low in calories (especially healthy fats), and I actually stopped getting my period for a WHOLE YEAR.

Putting things into perspective, I didn’t want to risk never being able to have children for the sake of being a tiny bit smaller, so I knew it was time to change things up and not be so rigid with what I was feeding myself.

To find out if your current diet or way if eating is sustainable, check in with yourself:

Can you eat the way you’re eating now, 5 years from now?

If the answer is no, simply put: what you’re doing is unsustainable.

Does this sound like you?:

  • Maybe you’ve realized you don’t want to be stuck on a rigid meal plan or counting calories/macros for the next few years of your life, and you want to learn how to eat in a way that supports your goals and healthy lifestyle.

  • Maybe you’re currently stuck in the binge/deprive cycle and are scared that if you DO get off your strict meal plan during the week, it will make the binges that much worse and you’ll never be able to stop eating.

  • Maybe you don’t want to be tracking macros or religiously following a meal plan forever (ask yourself the sustainability question: Can I eat this way 5 years, 10 years down the road? If the answer is no, it’s unsustainable and it would serve you to explore ways of healthy eating that you can actually stick to enjoy with minimal effort).

If that sounds like you, I want you to know you’re not alone. I felt stuck in the binge/deprive, all-or-nothing, completely ON the bandwagon or face down in a bag of chips cycle for YEARS.

There IS a better way. With some time and patience, along with the tips I’m going to share with you today, you CAN live a genuinely healthy lifestyle and create a body and life you love — free from drama and stress surrounding food and your body.

Making Health a Lifestyle Instead of a Diet

SO, how can you create a truly sustainable healthy lifestyle? One where you can eat healthy, but also indulge and not feel guilty? One where you don’t have to obsess over calories or carbs or fats or protein? One where you’re not glued to a strict meal plan and go completely off the rails if you ever ‘cheat’ on your diet? And one where you can control your weight almost effortlessly by following some light, not overly intense structure?

I’m going to share with you the top tips that have helped me ditch the drama surrounding food, create a healthy relationship to food, fuel my body, go out to eat with my friends, eat well without being restrictive, and weigh what I want with minimal effort once I established healthy habits.

Here are the practices that helped me go from diet and body obsessed, to intuitive eating with light structure.

Boy oh boy does FOOD FREEDOM feel so good. Can’t wait for you to experience it.

Disclaimer About My “Style” Of Intuitive Eating

Just to be upfront, I don’t follow ‘intuitive eating’ 100% by the book. I believe each of us has a personal, unique relationship to food, and while some people may love the idea of being liberated to eat whatever they want, I’ve found that having some light structure works well for me to stay on track and have energy throughout the day.

Biologically, if we eat more sugar, we tend to crave more sugar — which is why I’m not a huge fan of ‘eating whatever you want, whenever you want,’ because that can lend to creating unhealthy habits on the opposite end of the spectrum and create a whole other host of health issues: heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, weight gain and high cholesterol to name a few.

That being said, if I want a donut occasionally, I eat it without guilt — I just don’t feel the need to eat a dozen donuts like I would’ve back in my all-or-nothing, binge and deprive days.

I don’t label or pigeon-hole myself into one category of eating. I’m not paleo, gluten free, an intuitive eating pro, yada yada… I just eat in a way that feels good for my body, and I deeply respect anyone who has to follow a certain style of eating for health reasons (i.e. gluten free because of Celiac).

I will never stand on a high horse and say “my way of eating is the ONLY way.” It’s not. This is simply me sharing my experience of ditching meal plans and diets, and learning to eat in a way that keeps me looking and feeling my best.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive in to the good stuff!

My Top Tips to Help You Eat Intuitively with Light Structure, Ditch the Food Drama and Weigh What You Want

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Some of these tips are more philosophical and will cause you to dig deep and really think about your life (grab yo journal and let’s dive deep, hunny!) Others are very simple and practical — little habits that you can start implementing into your life immediately.

I recommend reading through all of the tips and seeing what really hits home with you right now. We’re all unique individuals with different relationships to food, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating freedom from food. This is not intended to diagnose or cure anyone from an eating disorder — please seek professional help if you believe you have patterns of disordered eating. This is simply to help you ditch the drama surrounding food, and start creating true freedom and happiness in your life so that you don’t waste another minute obsessing over things that aren’t serving you.

BIG HUGS, friend. I’m here to guide you along this journey if you need me.

1. MINDFULNESS: Am I truly hungry?

A lot of times, we eat out of reasons other than true hunger: we’re bored, lonely, anxious, celebrating something special, or it’s a random Tuesday night and work was hard and you feel like you ‘deserve’ that ice cream even though you’re not actually hungry. Tuning in to your body’s signs of TRUE hunger takes practice and it takes time, so don’t expect to become a master of this over night. And everyone’s body is different: some people may feel a slight rumbling in their stomach when it’s time to eat, other people tend to experience a bit of lightheadedness or dizziness because their blood sugar gets a bit too low.


When I’m hungry, I can FEEL it. My stomach starts to growl (even after I’ve had a glass of water), I get a bit lightheaded, and despite my best efforts — I tend to get a bit “hangry.” When you’re wondering whether you’re actually hungry or just bored/tired/anxious/excited/stressed/eating out of any other emotion, take a second to take a deep belly breath and ask yourself, “What am I really hungry for right now?” Sometimes you’ll find it’s not food at all — maybe you’re bored, so go for a walk. Maybe you’re lonely: call a friend. Maybe you’re anxious: take a bubble bath and read, or do the task you’ve been putting off. If you’re truly physically hungry, EAT of course! But check in with yourself first to see if you’re physically hungry or emotionally hungry.

2. FINDING A PURPOSE: What fills me up, other than food?

This is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that’s changed my relationship to food. Let’s be real: sometimes when we eat (maybe a lot of the time), it’s not food we’re really hungry for. We use food in place of connection, when we’re feeling anxious or lonely, when we’re bored, when we’re not happy with our job, as a temporary escape from all our struggles and stresses, and for many other reasons that don’t involve true hunger.

That’s why I love the concept of primary foods (you can listen to this podcast about primary foods v. secondary foods, and using things other than food — friends, hobbies, relationships, time with ourselves — to truly fill us up).

Essentially, primary foods aren’t actually ‘food’ at all, but rather the things that fill us up other than food. For example, have you ever worked on something you’re passionate for hours and forgotten to eat? Or you’re so deeply in love that you don’t even really think about food? THAT is the place we want to operate from the most — where we’re so deeply involved with what we’re doing that food is no longer the primary focus and thing we obsess about ALL day long.

There have certainly been points in my life where ALL I’ve thought about is food: how much should I eat? When is my next meal? Is this the right food to eat? Not to mention the HOURS I’d spend on my phone every day trying to fit all my macros into one magical little puzzle piece. When your focus and energy is consumed by FOOD all the time, you have little time and space left for things in life that really matter: relationships, hobbies, your job, and other things that can fill you up. I also found that when I wasn’t truly happy in a certain area of my life (my job, for example), I tended to micromanage my food even more — because I thought if I could just control my food and the way my body looked, it would make everything in my life ‘better.’ Hint: it did not. I just made me even LESS happy.

If you find yourself obsessing over food, it’s usually because you’re trying to avoid a BIGGER problem you have going on in your life right now. It takes a lot of courage to confront what you need to change, but it will ultimately make you a happier, healthier person — and chances are, it will solve a huge chunk of the ‘food problems’ you have right now, that are acting as a mask to cover up what you’re avoiding.

3. Do a Social Media Audit

You may be thinking, “How does social media correlate to my body? I just need to eat better and I’ll lose weight.” But a lot of our perceptions are influenced by social media, our news feeds, what we see in magazines and TV shows, and anything else we consume on a daily basis.

When we fill our social feeds with ‘inspiration’ of our ‘dream body,’ sometimes it can actually work against us when we don’t already have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies.

Take an audit of your social media right now: how much time are you spending on your apps every day? Who are you following? How do you feel after you’ve been mindlessly consuming your social media feed for way longer than you’d like to?

The key is to unfollow anyone who makes you feel less than your best — even if it’s someone you look up to but subconsciously compare yourself to. Ask yourself, “Does this person make me feel better about myself?” and if the answer is NO — unfollow them. You can always follow them again in the future after you’ve established a healthier relationship with food and your body and no longer feel tempted to compare yourself to them (which is very hard to do… we’re all human).

I do social media cleanses on the regular, because just like you, I get sucked into the comparison trap. Whenever I find that I’m more anxious and less happy than usual, I delete my apps for a few days and I quickly realize that my happiness increases by 100% (because I’m focusing on my REAL life that’s right here in front of me and taking the time to appreciate what I have in my life right here, right now).

If you want to learn more about doing social media audits or my cleanses, I created a whole FREE e-book for you called Unplug: 7 Days to Declutter Your Inbox, Stop the Obsessive Scrolling, and Become Stress-Free, Relaxed & Happy. You can download it right here. It was also one of the first few episodes I did on my podcast — make sure you’re subscribed on iTunes or Spotify because I plan to do an updated one soon!

4. GPF: Creating light structure around food choices.

This is where the traditional “intuitive eaters” may not agree with my approach, but that’s OK. As I mentioned in the intuitive eating disclaimer in the beginning of this, I don’t follow ‘intuitive eating’ 100% by the book. I believe each of us has a personal, unique relationship to food, and while some people may love the idea of being liberated to eat whatever they want, I’ve found that having some light structure works well for me to stay on track and have energy throughout the day.

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Biologically, if we eat more sugar, we tend to crave more sugar — which is why I’m not a huge fan of ‘eating whatever you want, whenever you want,’ because that can lend to creating unhealthy habits on the opposite end of the spectrum and create a whole other host of health issues: heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and high cholesterol. That being said, if I want a donut occasionally, I eat it without guilt — I just don’t feel the need to eat a dozen donuts like I would’ve back in my all-or-nothing, binge and deprive days.

That’s why I created the GPF style of eating, which stands for Greens, Protein, and Fat. It’s how I create every single meal so that I’m getting all the nutrition I need, without eating too little or too much. It’s not meant to be restrictive — in fact, I eat a lot MORE with this way of eating than I ever did when I was measuring out every grain of rice I was consuming. Instead, you eat as many veggies as you want, add some protein and healthy fats to keep your hormones humming and happy, and add a serving of fiber/carbs if you’re active and you need it.

I also make sure that 90% of my nutritional choices come from real, whole foods: if it has 1 ingredient, it’s probably good for you. I eat an abundance of veggies, fruits, proteins, nuts, seeds, and some grains like oatmeal or rice. I mostly shop the perimeter of the grocery store, as that’s where you’ll find all the fresh produce and meats with minimal added/processed ingredients. No matter what, I always make sure my plate has a ton of colour on it. When in doubt, EAT THE RAINBOW :) The more colour, the better.

I’ve spoken in depth about GPF on my podcast and in this blog if you’d like to dig in, as I could go on and on and rave about this style of eating for 928347 years — that’s how transformative this style of eating has been for my life!

5. Eat Bigger Meals Instead of Snacks

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As I mentioned in my last point, the GPF style of eating is created to help you eat a variety of foods and stay full for a longer period of time: I’m talking 4-5 hours. The GPF smoothie I make in the morning literally keeps me full for a few hours until lunch, which is INSANE for a girl who loves to eat and used to eat little mini portions every 1-2 hours.

Here’s the truth: you’re probably consuming way more calories with your “snack” than if you were to just have a smaller portion of a meal. Here’s what I mean: let’s say you reach for almonds as a snack. I don’t know about you, but I can literally eat 10 handfuls of almonds and STILL feel hungry. Almonds are a great source of healthy fats, but that doesn’t mean they’re a free-for-all if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight. They’re very easy to overeat, and it’s easy to eat 500+ calories in just a few handfuls. For that amount of calories, you could be WAY more full and satisfied with a meal consisting of 6 oz. chicken, 1 avocado, 1/2 cup of rice, and an abundance of veggies.

At first it seems counterintuitive to have a meal instead of a snack, because we think, “Oh, this will take too much time.” or “I just ate, I shouldn’t have a meal again.” But it really doesn’t take much more time and like I said, it’s probably less calories than you’re consuming as a snack.

Instead of snacking, start to think of it as a ‘mini meal.’ Incorporate protein, veggies, healthy fats and maybe a carb source into every snack you have. And when you make your GPF meals appropriately, you won’t usually feel hungry for a snack — you can just stick to 3 bigger meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner. But if you ARE physically hungry (see tip #1!), here are a few ‘mini meal’ ideas you can use in place of snacks:

  • 2 hardboiled eggs + sliced veggies and 2 tbsp. hummus

  • 4 oz. chicken, turkey or any kind of meat + 1/2 avocado + any veggies you want

  • a salad full of veggies + chicken + olive oil and balsamic vinegar

  • 1 apple or banana with 1-2 true tablespoons of peanut or almond butter

It may take some time and preparation to have these healthier alternatives on hand, but it’s well worth the effort when you have something healthy and nutritious ready to eat.

Always remember to check in with yourself and ask, “What am I really hungry for?” before reaching for a snack. Often times we snack because we’re bored or trying to procrastinate instead of eating for true, physical hunger. Try drinking a full glass of water, waiting 20 minutes, and THEN eating if you still feel physically hungry.

6. Stay Accountable to Portion Sizes

As I mentioned, just because something is healthy or a whole food, doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want of it with no consequences. Although foods like avocados, nuts, and nut butters are great sources of healthy fats — eating them (or any food) in excess can cause you to gain weight.

If your goal is to maintain or lose weight, it’s important to stay accountable to your portion sizes. Having a food scale is a good way to do this, but if you don’t want to feel like you’re micromanaging your food, being obsessive about it, or you’re simply traveling and don’t want to bring a food scale, using your hand is an amazing way to keep yourself accountable to accurate portion sizes.

This is an infographic I love from Precision Nutrition (source: Precision Nutrition Calorie Control Guide):

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7. Adopt an Abundance Mindset Surrounding Food

Something I tell myself whenever I eat is: There’s more where that came from. (Side note: I also use this mantra whenever I spend money to reinforce that whenever I spend, it will come back to me. This mantra has helped me develop a healthier relationship to food AND money, which are actually more closely related than you may think.)

Adopting an abundance has helped me ditch the all-or-nothing mindset surrounding food more than anything else, because it reinforces the fact that I don’t need to eat it all RIGHT NOW — I can always eat it tomorrow.

I always like to use this analogy with my clients: Imagine you dropped your phone on the ground and it cracked. Would you pick it up and continue throwing it on the ground — smashing it into a million pieces? Or would you accept that the damage is done, and that you don’t need to do any more damage?

It’s the same with our diet — just because you ate a donut, spaghetti, pizza, whatever the heck you wanted at the time — does NOT mean you need to eat everything else in your kitchen because this is the last time you will ever see those foods. The donut, spaghetti, pizza, popcorn, ice cream will ALL exist tomorrow. You can ALWAYS eat the second cookie tomorrow. You do not need to eat it all right now.

If I could get all the hours back after someone says, “f* it, I’ll just start again tomorrow/on Monday”, I could’ve saved the person MONTHS of frustration of trying to reach their goals without getting anywhere.

Don’t start again on Monday or tomorrow. Start at your very next meal. Chug a glass of water. Walk away. Remove yourself from the situation. And MOVE. ON.

8. Keep a Food Journal/Habit Tracker to Stay Consistent

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One of my favorite ways to stay consistent in my training and nutrition is through journaling. I track all my workouts in a notebook so that I can see my progress over time, and the same applies to my nutrition when I want to dial things in and really get back on track.

You can use a physical journal or an app like MyFitnessPal, but to be honest, if we’re trying to get over the obsessive tendencies surrounding food and you’re triggered by numbers (i.e. how many protein, fats, carbs you’re consuming), it’s probably best to use a physical food journal where you don’t keep track of calories.

Keeping the food journal/habit tracker helps in ways beyond sticking to ‘healthy eating.’ It helps me identify different food patterns — for example, if I have a lot of carbs like oatmeal for breakfast, even though it’s good for me, I tend to crave carbs for the rest of the day. It’s also a good way to note your reaction to your meals. How do you feel after you eat? Does your skin break out? Do you feel bloated? Do you feel like you need a nap? All of these can be signals that you have sensitivities to certain foods, which may play a part in keeping you from reaching your goals.

Here’s an example of my food journal/habit tracking practice:

  • Breakfast (10 am): GPF smoothie with 1 scoop protein powder, 2 handfuls of spinach, 2 tbsp. chia seeds, cinnamon, cocoa powder, 1 tbsp. almond butter

    • feeling energized and full, but not overly stuffed.

    • stayed full for 4 hours until lunch

  • Lunch (2 pm): big a** salad with a bunch of romaine, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, 1 can of salmon, 1 small avocado, balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp. hummus

You get the point… and on a not-so-ideal day, it may look like this:

  • 3 pm: donut from the break room at work. didn’t get much sleep last night so started crashing and craving sugar. I feel bloated and lethargic after eating it — it made me feel better for a few minutes but now I’m crashing again. (and the next day I may notice my skin is breaking out or the bags under my eyes are bigger, for example)

Then, at the bottom of my food journal/habit tracker for the day, I keep track of these other variables:

  • Number of steps on my Fitbit

  • How my skin looks

  • How much water I drank

  • The workout I did

  • My mood throughout the day (this can be greatly affected by how well I eat!)

  • Overall thoughts, feelings or things I need to note, i.e. cravings because of my period

I go through phases where I track all of these variables religiously if I’m trying to figure out something specific — like why I’m getting headaches every day, why I’m so tired, why my skin is breaking out, etc. And then there are other times where I just live my life and don’t track anything at all — mostly when I’m in maintenance mode and trying to just enjoy my life.

If you’re trying to get to the bottom of a medical condition (skin problems, hair falling out, low energy, bloating, weight gain), it’s worth a try to keep one of these food journals/habit trackers so you can show your doctor or nutrition coach. I find that this way of tracking doesn’t make me obsessive, but I think of myself as a detective that’s trying to get to the bottom of something — my health! It’s something fun and enjoyable to me because I genuinely love journaling and tracking things, but if I ever find it gets too be too much or I’m too dependent on it, I stop doing it. Simple as that. :)

9. Be Discerning: Grandma’s Homemade Pie > Stale Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is it really worth it to eat the stale grocery-store baked cookies that have been in the break room at work for 5 days now? Probably not. Being discerning means actively choosing what you’re going to indulge in, versus just eating something you don’t even really want just because it’s there.

Being discerning allows you to indulge without guilt because it’s going to be an amazing sensory experience and totally worth it — think: grandma’s fresh apple pie that you only get to eat once per year at Thanksgiving. Or making homemade pizzas at home with your partner as a date night.

Being discerning can also be translated to DON’T SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY. Ain’t nobody got time for stale relationships, a stale career, a stale sex life — so why settle for stale food that you don’t even really want? Delay the instant gratification of what you want NOW for what you want MOST. Indulge when it feels good to you, make it something special, and have the confidence to say no to something you know won’t make you feel good in the long run.

10. SLEEP, Relax and Reduce Stress

I know, I know — this is likely the point in the article where you start to roll your eyes. “I don’t have time to sleep.” “Sleep isn’t really that important, is it?”

As much as I wish we could stay up into the wee hours of the night and wake up super early and still see results in our bodies, such is not the case. Not only does a lack of sleep increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance and heart disease (among many others), just look at your own personal experience when you’re lacking sleep. Chances are, you’re craving sugar or high-carb foods, and you reach for a donut or a third cup of coffee at 3 pm because you’re crashing and burning hard. And maybe the most painful fact of all — you feel like you’re doing everything ‘right’ in terms of your workouts and nutrition, but you’re still not seeing the results you’re looking for.

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Along with sleep, stress management plays a HUGE role in your overall health. If you find yourself constantly stressed or anxious, look at your sleeping patterns — they are likely correlated (you lack sleep, so you feel more stressed and anxious, and vice versa, fueling the vicious cycle).

Just as you hopefully have a morning routine by now, it will serve you to also have a nighttime routine. For me, this looks like no screen time (TV, phone or computer) an hour before bed, washing my face with my fave non-toxic skincare products, reading a book, writing in my journal, and sleeping like a baby.


11. Increase Your Activity Outside the Gym

Spending time in the gym is important if you’re trying to change your body composition. But let’s say you spend an hour in the gym a few days per week — what about the other 23 hours in the day? You’re likely sitting in your car driving to/from work, sitting on your computer at work, coming home and sitting and watching TV.

There’s a magical thing called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which is the amount of calories we burn doing things throughout the day. This means that by increasing your NEAT, you increase the overall amount of calories you burn throughout the day — which is great news and a pretty easy habit to get on board with if your goal is weight loss.

There are so many ways to increase NEAT, even if you have a full-time desk job. For example: park in the farthest parking spot wherever you go, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike to work, go for a walk on your lunch break, do some squats in the bathroom stall at work, create a stand-up desk at your computer, do laundry, clean your house, garden, take up an active hobby like an intramural league, take dance classes, do yoga, stretch… the possibilities are endless, and it doesn’t have to be super tough physical activity that’s going to leave you exhausted.

Moral of the story: move your body more and it will thank you!

Side note: you don’t HAVE to go to the gym if you don’t like it. Weight training is super trendy right now, but if it’s not your jam, don’t try to fit yourself into that mold and end up doing nothing at all! Dance, do yoga, go for long walks or hikes — whatever floats your boat, makes you happy, and you can be consistent with for the long haul, DO MORE OF THAT, SISTA.

12. Check In: What’s the Best Choice I Can Make Right Now?

Along with my other favorite mantra, “What am I really hungry for right now?” I also like to check in with myself to see what my body really needs at this moment by asking, “What’s the best choice I can make right now?”

This comes in handy if you’re traveling or out of your usual environment, and maybe you’re not really sure what you should order at a restaurant. Ask yourself, “What’s the best choice I can make in this moment?” — maybe that’s a bunless burger with a side of sweet potato fries. Maybe that’s your grandma’s homemade pie because that’s what your soul is craving. Maybe it’s a grilled chicken salad with avocado because you didn’t sleep well last night and you’re trying to beat those dreaded sleep-deprived sugar cravings.

100% of your best is going to be different every day — do not let that stop you from making progress. What’s ONE small step you can take today in the direction of your goals? And to break it down even farther: what’s the best choice you can make for yourself at each meal?

Sometimes all it takes to make positive changes in your life is awareness of your current habits, and a willingness to change and correct course when what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working for you. Asking yourself, “What’s the best choice I can make right now?” is a simple way to start doing that.

13. Develop a Healthier Mindset About Food

This one could really be at the top of the list, because it’s one of the most important things that dictate your relationship to food.

After spending time around Mark’s family, I realized something remarkable about food. His mom takes love and care to prepare the food — sometimes taking all day to create various parts of a meal. This is something I was never exposed to as a child; I was raised by a single mom and a lot of the time we would just grab whatever was easiest and most convenient, and sit down at the TV to eat dinner.

I’m not blaming my mom — she’s an incredible human who absolutely gave me the best childhood she possibly could have. But after seeing a family sit around a dinner table and bond over a delicious meal that they’ve spent time preparing, I quickly realized that it’s not about the food at all. It’s about the connections you make, the laughs you share, and the topics you bond over while eating the food.

Think about some of the food rules that you hold as truth right now. Maybe it’s “bread is bad for you” or “carbs make you fat” or “fat makes you fat.” Then take a look at cultures around the world, like Italians who eat pasta and olive oil every day. Or Asian cultures whose main staple of a meal is rice. And ironically enough, Americans are the ones with the highest rate of obesity and heart disease, despite the fact that other cultures are eating what some of us may consider “bad” foods every single day.

So, expand your horizon. Travel to expose yourself to new cultures if you can. Watch Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix. Buy a cookbook or check one out at the library so you can experience what it’s like to put a little labor of love into a meal.

Food is a part of our lives that will never go away — we HAVE to eat every day. So why not ENJOY it and use food as a way to bond, connect and celebrate, instead of something we demonize as bad, and spend our time obsessing over? *food for thought, no pun intended :)


Before we go, I want to manage expectations for you:

THIS. TAKES. PRACTICE. It won’t be a walk in the park. In fact, it will feel difficult at times — and you’ll feel pulled to revert back to a meal plan because that’s what feels ‘easier.’ Avoid that temptation, because that’s what got you to this point in the first place.

THIS WAY OF EATING TAKES TRIAL AND ERROR in the beginning. The first few months/years of eating this way does require a decent amount of mindfulness and effort, like the first year of going to the gym. Maybe you don’t want to wake up and lace up your shoes at 5 a.m., but do it for long enough and it becomes second nature and something you actually look forward to. The same is true with ditching food rules — it is HARD at first. You’re attached to tracking or counting or your way of doing things, even if you know it’s not working in your favor. Understand that you won’t be perfect at first. You WILL f*ck things up. And that’s ok… because the sooner you get back on track (and not feel guilty about it), the closer you are to living a life free from drama or stress surrounding food and your body.

And in the grander scheme of your whole life, taking a year to figure out a way to eat that will last the next 20, 30, 60 years of your life is worth it, wouldn’t you agree? :)

I want to hear from you!

Did you find these tips helpful? What does your relationship with food currently look like?

If you want someone to walk by your side for the year that you’re changing your relationship to food, I would be honoured to help. Apply for coaching here to schedule a free consultation with me and I’ll be in touch very soon!

Sending you so much love and positive vibes on this journey.

We’re all just here trying to be happy, healthy and free from the drama surrounding things that shouldn’t steal our energy. I hope you can take some tips away from this article to make your life even just 10% better, starting today.

All my love,

xo

Julie

>> All photos in this blog post were taken by the lovely Ellie. <<

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CREATIVITY 101 💫 How to Reduce Stress, Become Happier & Create Magic

Hello, my love!

It's been a while since I've popped into your inbox. How have you been?!

As you probably know, I've been speaking my little heart out on my podcast every week. But writing has been (and likely always will be) my #1 love, so I'm happy to be back here with ya today.

It got me thinking: what is it that actually inspires us to SHOW UP to create something — be it a podcast, art, writing, or any creative venture? And why is it that sometimes we feel SUPER inspired/creative and the art just flows right through us, and other times it feels forced and awkward?

(First of all: I highly recommend the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert who speaks BRILLIANTLY about our relationship to creativity.)

It comes down to this: we are in a relationship with everything in our lives, including our creativity.

Just as we have relationships with our family, friends and significant other, we have a similar relationship to the work that create.

I know, sounds crazy. But look basis of ANY strong relationship and you'll quickly see how it can relate to creativity:

You have to SHOW UP, even when you don't want to

You have to GIVE IT SPACE and avoid controlling or manipulating it

Sometimes you have to DISCONNECT to reconnect — meaning having other points of interest outside of your relationship which ultimately grounds you (and makes you a more interesting partner with loads to talk about)

You have to SPEND TIME on the relationship in order for it to blossom and grow

Now, obviously this isn't a *lovey dovey, let's hold hands with our paintings and writing* kind of thing LOL.

This just demonstrates that the more you show up for your relationship to your creativity, the more easily ideas and creativity will flow through you.

And the opposite is also true: if you say you want to write a book but don't schedule in the time to write DAILY, you are neverrrr ever going to all of a sudden get *inspired* to sit down and write it... you just have to do it.

So many of us are waiting for the PERFECT circumstances to be creative (or change our bodies, relationships, etc.)

*Oh, I am going to take 3 months off of work, lock myself away in a cabin and write this novel FOR SURE.*

*Oh, I wish I had time to [write, draw, paint, read], but my schedule is just sooo busy I couldn't possibly fit it in* (PSSST: BS alert! Listen to my podcast about how you can fit in everything you WANT TO DO into your already busy schedule.)

*Oh, I would write/make a video or podcast, but I'm working full time and I just don't have the space to be creative. I only really feel creative when I can go to yoga for 3 hours, sit outside and meditate for an hour, cleanse my chakras and THEN I might feel inspired to write.*

The question isn't whether or not you have time to do something creative, the question is whether or not it's a priority for you.

As with anything, discipline = freedom.

So, as 'unsexy' as it might sound to schedule Creative Time into your hourly planner for the day, that's what you have to do to make it happen.

Because it's only when you SHOW UP and sit down with the intention of being creative, that the ideas finally start to flow. But you have to actually show up for that to happen.

Trust me, I'm a huge fan of taking INSPIRED action. But if we all just waited around for inspiration to strike before we changed our [bodies, relationships, creativity, etc.], we will never actually make any progress.

Here are a few final tips to help get you *in the zone* and creating whatever your heart desires:

Schedule it into your calendar and make it a non-negotiable. If you don't schedule it, it ain't real. You'll make up excuses like "oh, tomorrow. I'm too tired." but when it's in your schedule, you have no choice but to show up.

SHOW UP, even if you aren't feeling *super creative.* I can't tell you how many times I've sat down to write (like right now, ahem), with NO IDEA what I'm going to write about, but the simple act of starting to type leads to a long ass blog post or email. It's all about taking action, THEN the ideas will come.

Prepare yourself: what relaxes you and puts you 'in the zone?' For me, it's a cup of coffee, acoustic music playing in the background, a candle lit and my phone faaaar away from me so I'm not distracted. Do what you need to do to create a *sacred space* for your creativity: is there a space in your house where you can create your art that makes you feel calm and centered? If not, create it. Listen to music, take a bath, meditate, do what you gotta to do feel GOOD before you sit down to be creative.

Let it flow with no judgment! So many of us procrastinate because of our need to be perfect. We don't want to write or draw or paint because we're not sure how the finished product will turn out. But it's not about the OUTCOME. It's about doing it because your soul is calling you to, and most importantly: because you ENJOY IT. And that, my friends, is a win in my book :)

So, I hope you found these tips helpful!

Even if you don't identify as a "creative" person in the literal sense (a writer, painter, or someone who creates art), we are ALL creative. We've just let the creative candle burn out as we've grown up because we've gotten too busy, too overworked and too tired.

Truly, whatever it is you want to create, whatever idea you have — you can bring ANY and ALL of it to life. You just have to make the time for it, show up and take action.

And even if you never share it with the world, you've created it for yourself, and you will start to feel that childlike sense of joy that all of us *serious adults* are desperately missing and craving these days.

<3

xo

Julie