If you’re a business owner or busy working woman, I’m going to guess you rarely put yourself first. When’s the last time you evaluated how you feel day-to-day? I started a business in part to allow myself flexibility and freedom as most people do. I should be living my best life, right!? At the end of last year, I realized I needed to make some changes if I wanted to take advantage of the lifestyle I truly wanted.
In January, I began a one-on-one program with my friend Stephanie Burg, an amazing nutrition and lifestyle coach. Stephanie helps women feel comfortable and confident in their bodies, change their relationships to food, and live their dream lifestyle.
I’ve known Stephanie for a couple of years through Hatch Tribe, and I attended her workshop at Community Yoga last fall about leveraging your menstrual cycle for more ease and power in your life (read Woman Code ASAP- it’s a game-changer). This workshop wasn’t something I’d normally go to, but something kept telling me to go. Stephanie just GLOWS when she talks about what she does, and she had me hooked!
My Health & Lifestyle Goals
When I reached out to Stephanie about working with her one-on-one, I was feeling hungry all of the time and overall a little off. I felt like I could never keep up with my hunger and was always asking myself what I was going to eat next. This may sound like a dream to be able to eat whatever you want to some, but my constant hunger made me feel foggy, sluggish, and hangry more often than not. I wanted to feel more satisfied and in control.
Here were my goals with Stephanie (which, of course, turned into so much more!):
- Learn how to meal plan
- Try new foods (notorious picky eater over here!)
- Make exercise a natural part of my schedule
- Gain weight
- Introduce more flow into my everyday
- Improve my skin
I wanted less days where I plowed through work without taking breaks, non-filling meals, anxiety about work, and stress about my hunger levels. These things were all adding up to a constant undercurrent of not feeling my best everyday, which was affecting both my personal life and work.
Lifestyle Changes I’ve Made This Year
1. Eating Habits
Balance & Planning
The biggest changes I made while working with Stephanie were centered around my eating habits. I used to think I ate healthily in general, but I was really eating too many empty carbs and added sugars that weren’t sustaining me. Now, I focus on eating a better balance of protein, fat, and carbs in every meal. I eat as much healthy fat as I want to (avocados all day, every day!) and listen to my body when I’m hungry. Food is fuel, so if I don’t feed myself well I will not be my best self.
Planning has been the name of the game for dealing with my hunger levels and regulating my blood sugars. I’ve learned to always bring a snack with me if I’ll be on a shoot or running errands. I also try to maximize my efforts in the kitchen by making an extra serving or two of everything. I’ve found that if I don’t plan ahead things fall apart quickly (aka I take advantage of the Chick-fil-A right outside my neighborhood), so preparation is #1 for me.
I also started an elimination diet this month to fine-tune my food sensitivities. Hunter decided to join me too, God bless him. We are taking all known food allergy triggers for about 20 days, and slowly reintroducing them one by one. I already know that my body doesn’t love dairy and gluten, but I want to really test it out and see how I react to each. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been HARD, but we are close to re-introducing some of our favorite foods, so I’ll keep you posted!
I’ve always been hot and cold with exercise as most people are. Stephanie had me think about the types of movement I did as a kid, and translate those into enjoyable ways to exercise. The only sport I ever did as a kid was gymnastics, so I joined an adult gymnastics class in North Charleston and I am obsessed (if anyone wants to join me, PLEASE do!). I get to re-live my gymnastics days, bounce around on a trampoline, and get a workout in.
I’ve also loved yoga since high school, so I go to a yoga class once a week. Otherwise, I like to do at-home HIIT workouts (I like the Tone It Up girls and Jillian Michaels!). Hunter and I also like to get outside and take walks on the beach. Incorporating these ways to move into my exercise routine feels pretty effortless most days!
3. Work Habits
Many times my work and personal lives tend to become one, especially since I work for myself. It stems from a place of total excitement and love for what I do, but it inevitably causes burnout. Stephanie is great because she understands exactly what it feels like to be an entrepreneur. She helped me forge some new work habits that have helped keep my anxiety levels down and separate work and life a bit more.
My favorite habit I developed: no more phone in the bedroom! As soon as I woke up, I’d scroll emails, Instagram, and Facebook, and my heart rate would simultaneously rise. I started thinking about everything I had to do that day and comparing myself to everyone else on social media. My phone charger now lives in my kitchen and I find myself wanting to look at my phone less during the day. I also turned off my work email notifications. One email at 9pm would send me into a stress spiral, so now I only look at email during designated times during the day.
Designing My Day
I’ve also started using Google calendar to design my days. Lunch breaks, exercise, and time to work on the big picture items for my business were nowhere to be seen on my schedule, so Stephanie had me start blocking these out. I realized I should take advantage of the freedom working for myself allows me!
4. Lifestyle Habits
While working with Stephanie, I started taking more time out for myself. I read The Desire Map, which guides you in creating feeling-based goals. These aren’t your typical New Years Resolution-type goals, but rather goals based on how you truly want to feel in life. After doing the workbook in the back of the book (who doesn’t love a good workbook!?), my core feelings came to this: I want to feel free, vibrant, and in my flow. My goals are to finish my personal photo albums by the end of the year and plan a week-long vacation with Hunter. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it!
Stephanie referred me to the amazing Soca Day Spa in Charleston that uses all organic skincare products. Facials are one of my favorite things EVER, so I love taking the time out for them a few times a year. I have dealt with cystic and hormonal acne (still figuring out what foods cause my breakouts, too!) since I was in my early teens.
Talk to Me!
These changes took a lot of work, but in reality they’re all small changes and habits that make a huge difference. Do you have any health and lifestyle habits that keep you energized and your happiest self? Let me know in the comments! It’s important that we share these with each other especially as entrepreneurs and creatives!