By Toni Carey
This post is sponsored by the American Heart Association Healthy For Good movement. All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own.
Cleaning up my diet hasn’t happened overnight. It’s been a long arduous journey, that quite frankly, I’m still navigating.
As an running junkie, yogi and moonlight weightlifter, healthy eating has (and will probably always be) somewhat of a struggle. Why? Simply put, I love to eat. Like, it’s my JAM!
When I’m happy….I eat.
When I’m sad…. I eat.
[Insert any other emotion you can think of]....I eat
And for me, my diet has become something I have to keep a watchful eye on, maybe more so than most. Why? Hello, I love to eat!! After a happy (or stressful day), I’m the first one to say, “Hey! Let’s grab some French fries and celebrate (or wallow in our sorrow).”
About a year ago, it all came full circle when I discovered that over consuming heavily processed and packaged foods were not helping me towards my health goals and I accepted that the key to health really begins and ends in the kitchen. Sure, exercise is very important, but, I’m a true believer that food has a major impact, too. I’ve experienced first-hand how good foodscan completely transform your life, and nourish you on the inside and out!
So, you can see how this could pose a little conundrum in life. I believe when you know better, you should do better. But, how do you balance your love for Netflix + chill (with a bag of chips) with knowing that everything you put in your mouth is ultimately what you become?
It’s tough, but here’s a few things that helped me to arrive at a more balanced place to incorporate more healthy foods and cut out the over processed stuff.
Just Knowing Your Triggers Makes All The Difference
First, for emotional eaters, like myself, heavily processed foods were (and are) my number one go-to. I mean, let’s get real, who says, “I’m so stressed! I think I’ll binge on carrots,” or “Celery would be REALLY great while I watch an entire season of the “next must watch series.” At least that’s probably not the immediate reaction.
But, the great news is, I know that I’m an emotional eater and I know what situations might make me want to indulge in not-so-healthy foods. Knowing is half the battle! Once you know what triggers might make you want to jump in those bag of cookies, you can recognize them and decide to make better choices! At least that’s the hope (or at least maybe just indulge in a moderate portion size). Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way and that’s okay. Better luck next time! But at least you were aware!
It’s Not “I Can’t,” it’s “I Get To”
Okay, let’s get real. Whenever we think about eating healthy, we think, “Sheesh, I can’t have this or I can’t have that,” but honestly that’s not the case. I realized that I was taking for granted my ability to go to the grocery store and have access to tasty fruits and vegetables. It’s truly a privilege. Why on earth would I opt for a bag of chips when I could get nourishment directly from the source? So instead of thinking that you are depriving yourself, realize you actually get an opportunity to eat Earth’s best fast food...fruits and veggies!
Have You Looked at the Ingredient Lists Lately?? Scary stuff.
Because I have a ton of food sensitivities and allergies, I started paying much closer attention to ingredient labels on packaged foods. I was sickened by the long laundry list of man-made chemicals and other things I couldn’t pronounce that were being hocked as “good for you” or “quick and easy family meals.” We have a new house rule. If we can’t pronounce it, we don’t eat it. Let’s not even start on serving sizes! One too many times, I’ve “accidentally” eaten six servings of something when I thought I was only eating one.
Once, I was determined to choose my health over emotions and attachment to my beloved comfort foods, it was a game changer.
I’m definitely a go hard or go home kind of girl. I love extremes, but when it came to changing my snacking game, I knew it was going to be marathon, not a sprint. Large, sweeping changes, never, ever stick. Slow changes, day-by-day, do. Slowly, but surely, I started subbing out my favorite indulges with healthier options.
Here are some of my favorite substitutions:
Roasted chickpeas (get crazy with the seasonings!)
Carrots with hummus or fresh guacamole
Baked apple or pear sprinkled with cinnamon
Sliced apples with natural peanut butter spread
Fried French Fries
Roasted sweet potato wedges seasoned to perfection
Sweet potato hash with roasted potatoes
Sliced baked potatoes with salt and pepper
The American Heart Association’s (AHA) Healthy For Good website offers an extensive suite of recipes, videos, and articles to help you slowly add more healthy, tasty foods! What I love about AHA’s approach is that it’s ultimate goal is to help people navigate barriers so they can create and maintain behavior change -- they don’t just tell people what to do, they show people how to do it! You can also find other snack swaps if you have children!
June is National Fresh Fruits and Veggie Month and I want to challenge everyone to commit to one food swap! Again, baby steps! Also, join the Healthy For Good movement to get tips, tools & hacks you can actually use!
Yep, that’s right, Luvvie Ajayi, New York Times best-selling author of “I’m Judging You,” and the voice behind the wildly popular blog, www.awesomeyluvvie.com, will be joining us as this year’s Sweat with Your Sole, keynote speaker!
Ladies, we can barely contain the excitement, and we can’t wait to hear all that she will have to share.
Keep reading to learn more about Luvvie!
Her first book I'm Judging You released by Henry Holt & Co. (division of MacMillan) debuted at #5 on the New York Times best-seller list and has gained major media mentions including NPR, Chicago Tribune, Mashable, and NBC News. Her book was recently optioned by Shonda Rhimes for television. Luvvie has spoken at the UN's Social Good Summit, Consumer Reports, MAKERS Conference, Twitter, Pennsylvania Conference for Women and Facebook, among others"
Join Luvvie at SWYS, 2017. www.sweatwithyoursole.com
If you read the blog regularly or you follow me on social media, you know that for the past year and a half, I’ve really cleaned up the way I eat! As I continued to uncover food intolerances that were making it impossible to function like a normal person, I started to take better inventory of everything I put on and in my body. From switching to natural deodorants and making my own body butters, to opting to homeopathic remedies to treat the occasional cough or cold. And while, there’s still other things that I haven’t quite tackled yet, I’m committed to reading labels and make sure that I’m making the best choices for my body and health from the inside out.
When I heard about Metamucil Free, I was excited to see more and more companies take steps to offer products and solutions for people like me….people who read the labels and who want products free of artificial ingredients or additives.
Metamucil Free is free of artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors or gluten. It works naturally with your body by forming a gel that bulks, retains water, and softens the stool, making your poop experience gentler and easier.*
Metamucil Free also helps curb your cravings between meals and promotes digestive health* (perfect for the times when it’s hard for me to “go”). Since it’s flavor free, it can be added into freshly pressed juices, smoothies or water. It’s also an easy way to get your daily fiber intake.
I can’t wait to share more “free” products with you as we all become a little more conscious about making good choices on the inside and out.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
I'm a sponsored Meta Influencer, but all opinions are my own. Meta partnered with bloggers, such as me, to get the word out about its great product benefits. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Meta believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Meta’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
Hey ladies Hey!
Sweat With Your Sole 5k l 10k Race x Conference is the 5th annual race and conference weekend hosted by Black Girls RUN! This annual event has quickly grown into a highly anticipated healthy living event. Our combination of conference and race delivers the perfect balance of a mental and physical journey, and it's a completely memorable experience!
We would love for each of to join us for this years conference.
May 31 is the last day to get early bird registration for this year’s Sweat with your Sole Conference x Race. That means you only have 14 more days to take advantage of the reduced pricing options.
Just like last year, we have a host of health, wellness, and fitness professionals who are committed to opening your mind and challenging your body.
Also, ladies don’t forget the payment plan is still available. Remember, the payment plan allows you to break up your registration into 5 equal monthly installments. You pay $50 down today, and we divide the balance over 5 months and invoice you for equal payments every month.
Visit: www.sweatwithyoursole.com to learn more and REGISTER!
By: LaTamera Woodley
REI reinforces empowerment and inclusion with their Force of Nature Campaign. One word best describes this movement, empowerment. Recognizing women have power to be free and explore their adventurous side. This campaign applauds the fact that women are a force of nature to be admired and celebrated. It promotes freedom of choice and encourages women to get outside and play.
Women are powerful beings. We have always had to fight for that power, to gain it, maintain it, and are constantly walking a fine line between being feminine and negatively typecast for having that power. Now is the time to break free from the stereotypes and enjoy all that life has to offer. Explore that cave you have been wondering about, hike that mountain you have posted on your vision board. Go out and play in the mud! It is a great way to destress and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Beginning Saturday, May 6th, REI will kick off their campaign with over 1,000 events nationwide designed specifically for women. Great events such as intro to backpacking, hiking, trail running, bike maintenance, and camping.
With this campaign and the many intro classes offered, I am looking forward to taking my first adult camping trip complete with tent, sleeping bag, and cooking dinner over an open fire. Anxious to hear water flow downstream as I fall asleep under the stars. Smiling at the thought of hot coffee percolating over the fire pit and taking that first sip from my blue and white speckled mug.
I’m looking forward to going on fishing trips, boating, swimming, and learning to canoe down an open river. Sitting idle in the middle of the lake letting the breeze sweep over my face and through my naturally curly hair. Looking forward to the sun shining down with early morning kisses just to wake you for another day of hiking, rock climbing, or yoga on the mountain top.
Anticipating opportunities to meeting new and adventurous ladies in their late to early 40s and beyond who know what it means to be fearful yet continue to press towards the things they fear the most, enjoying life, making memories, and absorbing all mother nature has to offer in the great and beautiful outdoors.
REI has me excited about the new Force of Nature power movement! Women ROCK! Our time has come. The adventure scene is long overdue for a revamp in status quo, myths, and norms. It’s time for a new chapter and new face on the outdoorsman –woman -person!
About LaTamera Woodley
LaTamera has been an active member of Black Girls Run for over 5 years. She currently serves as co-ambassador in Nashville, TN. She completed her first half marathon within 6 months of joining BGR! Began trail running in August 2016 and ran her first full marathon November 2016.
This year REI commissioned a national study and the results showed that more than 85% of all women surveyed believe the outdoors positively affects mental health, physical health, happiness and overall well-being, and 70% reported that being outdoors is liberating.
• 63% of women said they could not think of an outdoor female role model
• 6 in 10 women say that men’s interests in outdoor activities are taken more seriously than women’s
From gear to experiences and from nonprofit partnerships to powerful women-first storytelling, Force of Nature aims to ensure that women are just as inspired and equipped as men to embrace life outside.
Force of Nature features four components: a comprehensive effort to change the male-dominated imagery of people in the outdoors; a $1 million commitment in 2017 to support nonprofits that create opportunities for women in the outdoors; a stepped-up effort to develop and offer high-quality technical gear and apparel for women; and the launch of over 1,000 events designed for women, beginning May 6.Since late March, REI opened registration to hundreds of REI Outdoor School classes and experiences across the country designed for women.
Also, be sure to check out their special-edition bandana and gear. They're donating 72% of the proceeds to nonprofits helping women and girls get outside.
Why the oddly specific number? Because in a recent national survey, 72% of women said that when they're outdoors they feel liberated and free.
See you on May 6!