How To Get Off The Mom-Stress-Eating Hamster Wheel

Let me know if any of this sounds familiar:

  • spend all day tending to the needs of others
  • feel stressed and tired/anxious/upset
  • overeat
  • feel guilty for overeating
  • feel more stressed for overeating
  • tell yourself you’ll “do better” tomorrow
  • “white knuckle” a restrictive program for a few days/weeks
  • still experience everyday stressors and end up falling off your strict plan
  • feel stressed/tired/anxious/upset for “cheating”
  • Repeat


Mamas, you’re not alone! I like to call this the Mom-Stress-Eating Hamster Wheel. Once you’re in/on it it feels all consuming and like you are getting no where. Your days are filled to the brim, and while you want change, it feels like there is no room to wiggle and that you are stuck on the track you’re on.

Deep breath.

Let’s break out of the cycle.

Part One: Identify what is happening in those initial overindulgent moments and look for patterns.

  • Who are you with?
  • What are you feeling?
  • What is going on around you?
  • What happened a few hours before? What’s happening a few hours later?
  • What are you thinking?

Even if it’s just mental notes, focus on being mindful of what is leading you to those moments of uncontrolled, guilt ridden moments.

“It’s that time of the month, I want to eat everything in sight”

“I just left a get together with ________ and now I need to pull through the drive thru for a shake and large fry”

“I didn’t sleep well last night, have to swing through the bagel place on the way to work”

“I just got off the phone with _________ now I need that bar of chocolate I keep in the freezer”

Are just a few examples of scenarios that might pop up.


Part Two: Focus on small changes that you can make to redirect your energy to a healthier outlet.

Is there something you can replace the stress induced eating with that you know is a healthier choice?

“I know that this week of the month is when I’ll get my period, I’ll be sure to have healthy snacks in the house and keep the tempting foods out”

“Next time I have a get together with __________ I’ll be sure to have a healthy meal beforehand, and go for walk afterwards to unwind.”

“I need to go to bed a little earlier tonight, I know tomorrow is a crazy day.”

“Next time I get off the phone with ________ I’ll go workout to release some tension.”

Next, let’s look at being consistent with your goals.

“I want to be able to stick with something, and I’ve tried EVERYTHING”

That right there might the problem. There are a LOT of programs out there, and they’re awesome, but they don’t take into consideration your everyday life; the unexpected schedule changes, the trips, the sick kids, etc etc.

Choose a program that holds you accountable, and that recognizes that you live in the real world, and not an uber controlled bubble where your whole world revolves around a diet and workout schedule.


Some things to look for in a lasting program:

  • It recognizes that you have a real, often hectic, life
  • It meets you where you’re at and offers small changes you can make each day
  • It holds you accountable-doesn’t just spit a graphic or meal plan at you and wish you good luck
  • It can be customized to your lifestyle
  • It preaches lasting, like lifelong lasting, change
  • It’s fun! You should enjoy doing it
  • It’s scalable, meaning that you can grow with the program and as your goals change so does the program
  • Offers structure AND flexibility

The big kicker, though:: Make yourself accountable to a real person, who really cares.

It’s one thing to look up workout and diet info on Pinterest or buy into DVD programs that promise a brand new bod in 60 days. But when you have someone you trust in your corner, keeping your head in the game, picking you back up when you fall (because you will), and checking in with you along the way. Social support and accountability from a REAL person can make all the difference. Don’t do it alone! You’ve got a lot going on with being a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, chauffeur, cook, nurse, maid, etc etc…you don’t need to be your own coach too.

With all that being said, you CAN get off the wheel. You CAN make the changes you want to make. You CAN get control back and feel amazing.

SPELL Fitness offers customized, sustainable, accountable, affordable and FUN coaching. If you’re ready to make lasting change, contact me today!


Why I Don’t (And Probably Never Will) Have A Six-Pack

We see those pictures on the covers of magazines and workout DVD ads, glistening abs, ripped and shredded biceps, nothing jiggles whatsoever.


“I want that” we think, as we look at ourselves in the mirror. Stretch marks, cellulite, loose skin all screaming back at us.


But do we really?Is is it even real?



First question first. Do you really want that? I mean, obviously, if we could snap our fingers and instantly be all ripped and shreddy, that’d be awesome! But when you step back and think about what goes into it–the concept doesn’t seem as awesome.

Those lean, ripped, non-jiggling people you see are sacrificing in just about every area of their everyday lives. They are having to avoid a lot of social situations, restrict their food intake to an extreme, their workouts take precedence over spending time with loved ones. Aside from socially restricted, their bodies also take a toll. Rest is often a struggle and fatigue is real, women struggle with hormone imbalances and often lose their monthly cycles once they reach a certain body fat percentage, sex drives plummet, men struggle with low testosterone, the list goes on. BUT they look good in a picture!

Emphasis on IN A PICTURE. Those shots you see on magazine covers are airbrushed and photoshopped to perfection. The bodies in the DVD’s are spritzed with oils and water for a glistening shine. They are flexing and water depleted and are spray tanned and made up to look perfect. It’s not how those people walk around every day, and that’s what you need to keep in mind.

If you’re looking to achieve an extreme level of leanness, you have to be mentally prepared for it to influence all areas of your life. Are you ready to avoid social outings with friends and family for a certain body fat percentage?

“But you’re a trainer, a coach, a nutrition specialist…why don’t you have ripped abs?”

Because I also am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter who enjoys spending time with the people she loves. I like a spontaneous pizza dinner with friends. I have a glass of wine with my husband several nights a week. My kids and I often will swing through the drive thru for a milk shake on a whim. This is what makes up a happy, balanced, life (for me).

I workout regularly, I train 20+ clients a month on average-coaching them in fitness and nutrition and changing their lifestyle. But I never preach restriction or abandonment of living life to the fullest. Abs would probably be fun, but the cost doesn’t outweigh the benefits for me.

Moral of the story, abs can be painted on for a photoshoot. They can be flexed and edited with software on a computer. For the majority of us, they are HARD to achieve, let alone maintain just walking around. To reach a level of body fat to have them visible requires quite a bit of restriction and sacrifice. If you’re up for that challenge, GREAT! If you’re not, AWESOME! Health can be achieved, you can look good in a bathing suit, you can feel great–without a six pack.

Off Plan For The Holidays?

It is a busy time of year.

Christmas parties, gingerbread houses, sugar cookies, egg nog, etc…nothing seems to fit your macros and you are stressing!! 

Pro tip:: STOP!
It is perfectly acceptable to eat off your nutrition plan and to skip workouts over the holidays. 

A few things to remember though-

  1. You’re not exempt from the consequences of your off plan choices::chances are you will gain a few pounds, and experience some reduced progress. Don’t freak out, it’s not ALL fat and it will come off. 
  2. Think moderate thoughts. There is a theme of either restriction or going rogue over the holidays. And you need to meet in the middle. Enjoy a celebratory meal, the occasional cocktail, etc. Balance it out, however, with plenty of water, some clean lean protein and a sweat session here and there to keep your head in the game. 
  3. Relax! It’s only food! No one is shoving it down your throats, and chances are you’ll be able to have it again in the future. So you don’t need to eat it ALL. 

Merry Christmas! 

It Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

We are bombarded with diets, fitness trends, weight loss pills and wraps and shakes, etc.

It can get to be overwhelming, or lead us to spend thousands of dollars on products and programs that were setting us up to fail from the get go.

Here are my “secrets” for creating lasting change when it comes to your diet and exercise (and overall health).

  1. Eat. Food is your friend. Understand what makes up the foods that you eat and aim to include as much whole (think fruits and veggies-raw, lean fresh meats, things that have expiration dates, bright natural colors, etc) food into your diet as possible. If it grows on a tree, in the ground or on a bush–eat it. If it swims, runs, gallops, flies in it’s former life–eat it. If it can sit on a shelf for a decade and never change–skip. 😉
  2. Drink. Water, that is. Skip the carbonated drinks, the sugar and chemical laden addictive cans and bottles that line the shelves. And flood your body with good, old, plain H2O. Dehydration, even mild, can and will disguise itself as hunger first–so while you might feel hungry, you probably just need a big glass of ice water!
  3. Lift Weights. Don’t be afraid to step off of the treadmill or the elliptical and pick up some dumbbells. Building lean muscle helps to increase your metabolism, build up some nice strong curves, improves posture, reduces risk of injury and can help to reduce pain.
  4. Be patient. Good things don’t happen overnight. Healthy fat loss comes at a rate of 1-2lbs per week–so if your neighbor lost 10lbs in a week, chances are her body is completely depleted, she has lost water, some muscle mass, maybe a little fat, and she’s starving. It’s hard to keep weight like that off long term…fuel your body with appropriate nutrients (if you need help figuring out how much to eat, contact me here for customized macronutrient breakdowns), drink LOTS (like more than 3 glasses, something closer to 10-12 is good 😉 ) of water, and include resistance training to build up your lean mass.




Dumb it down



Why Do You Need Fish Oil?

Lets face it, “fish oil” just sounds nasty.

Fish can be stinky, and ingesting their “oil” sounds downright yuck…right?

Wrong. This is something that you need to do a double take on.




The American diet has moved SO far from what it was a hundred or two hundred years ago, and it’s even vastly different than diets in other countries in the world today. We consume a lot of crap. Our food has been so over processed and filled with fake ingredients our bodies are a hot mess most of the time. Now, that’s not to say that you need to freak out and go vegan…instead, take a deep breath and let’s look at some ways to get things back to where they should be.

Back to fish oil, our bodes need certain fatty acids to function optimally. There are different kinds of fats, some better (and some way worse) than others. Omega 3 specifically are ones that can be tough for the average american eater to get through their diet. In fact, a Harvard study has shown that Omega 3 deficiency is one of the top 10 causes of death in America today.

The other fatty acid that is worth mentioning is Omega 6’s, which aren’t bad, but the secret to health is found in the ratio between the 3 and the 6. A lot of health problems are linked to  an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats aren’t necessarily bad for you but if they are consumed in large amounts without omega-3’s they cause inflammation which leads to chronic illness.

The biggest cause of omega-3 deficiency comes with the overconsumption of fried foods, fast foods and boxed foods that contain vegetables oils (soybean, canola, and corn oil) Which, maybe surprisingly, are found in a LOT of foods that we eat daily.

Fish oil (a leading source of Omega 3’s) has a host of benefits including the treatment of many health issues like: heart disease, ADHD, anxiety, depression, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, alzheimer’s disease, eczema, diabetes, cancer, weakened immunity, autoimmune disease and macular degeneration…to name a few!

Increasing the amount of DHA/EPA omega 3’s in your diet can help to offset any of the following that may be caused by an imbalance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 in your diet

  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Look for a high quality fish oil that is minimally processed and contains properly sourced fish. 1,000mg a day is a good place to start.  Look for something that contains DHA/EPA as these are what can be tough to increase in your diet. Try putting them in your fridge or freezer to help with any aftertaste you may experience, this brand has not given me any problems at room temperature, however.


And now, that fish oil isn’t no nasty, eh? 🙂




::Recipe:: Spaghetti Squash Pie

Spaghetti squash pie.

The squash:

1 spaghetti squash cooked and scooped. (Cut in half and remove the seeds before, place cut sides down in a baking dish and pour a little water in your dish, I microwave mine for 10-15 min, scraping between sessions–but you can also bake it at 350 until the flesh is tender and can be scraped out easily)
Add one egg (or, to eliminate fat here, use the equivalent of an egg worth of Egg Beaters)

1/4 cup mozzarella (reduced fat if you’ve got it).

Season with garlic and Italian seasoning.

The Meat Sauce:

Brown 3 sweet Italian turkey links with casings removed.

Add in one jar marinara

The Pie:

Place squash mixture in 13×9 pan, top with meat sauce and 1 1/2 cup mozzarella. 

Bake at 350 until cheese is bubbly.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: F 13 C 13 P 15 (these macros reflect using a whole egg and full fat cheese–you can reduce the fat by using Egg Beaters and low fat cheese)

I also made an apple carrot salad with shredded carrots and apples tossed in vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of sugar substitute.

My kids all had seconds of both. 


Is Something Hiding That’s Keeping You From Being Successful In Your Fitness Journey?

So this could be a little deep. Just throwing that out there before I begin.

Do you have some little “secrets”? Not like straight up naughty skeletons in the closet, but things that maybe you’ve told yourself so many times that now it’s just part of your normal way of thinking?

Some examples:

  • I could never run a marathon, I’m just not an athlete.
  • I could never track my food or cut out x, y, z…I just don’t have the self control.
  • My schedule would never allow for me to workout.
  • I’ve had (insert your number) kids, my body will just look like it does now forever.

Anyone? Pretty sure most of us have thought, or convinced ourselves of one of the above at one point or another. I’m here to help remind you that Christ doesn’t want you to believe those silent, or maybe not so silent, “deals” you’ve made with yourself to justify why you can’t lead a healthier life.

Take this story in John 5: 5 “One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

Here is a story of a man who had justified in his mind that he was destined to be where and what he was already, and Jesus spoke truth and conviction to him. Once the man snapped out of his silent deal he’d made with himself, he was able to overcome his situation instantly.

Find someone that you can trust to hold you accountable, someone who is a believer and can support and encourage you to stay the course. (If you need someone who meets those criteria, message me) Let go of whatever it is that you’ve convinced yourself is the reason for your lack of action, and trust that God wants you to lead a healthy and joyful life.


Stocking Your Home Gym

Choosing fitness equipment to have on hand in your home gym can be extremely overwhelming to an exercise newbie. Here are some staples to have on hand for effective at home workouts. 


  • Dumbbells of varying weights. Resistance training is your best friend, especially as a woman and especially as we age. Skip over the 1 and 2 lb weights and opt for some ranging in size from 5-15lbs (Adjustable ones are really cost effective and efficient to use as well). Since different muscle groups can handle heavier weights and others require lighter ones, having a variety on hand is key.



  • Resistance bands/tubes. While lifting dumbbells is an important part of a fitness routine, adding movements that work against an unstable force, like a band, are also amazing movements. That, and if you travel often resistance bands are much easier to pack and take with you. The bands, I use for a lot of lower body movements by tying them into a loop and working to maintain tension in the band during exercises, and the tubes are great if you can fix them to a beam or heavy piece of furniture to pull against.


  • Ankle weights. Adding weight to your body while you perform what would otherwise be “bodyweight” exercises ups the ante for intensity and muscle building. Again, I would suggest looking for an adjustable variety so that you can remove or add weight to it as your fitness level grows.


  • A stability ball, while I don’t use this frequently, it is a great addition to any home gym for core and chest work. I prefer a variety that has a little weight (sand usually) inside of it that prevents the ball from rolling too easily.



  • A kettle bell or sandbag. If you don’t want to spend the money on a fancy shmancy one, you can just add books or weights to a sturdy backpack or duffel and use that instead. I use both of these often for full body exercises.



  • A sturdy bench or box. Something that can safely hold your weight and won’t tip over easily. I would suggest something about knee high for beginners, and a little higher for more advanced exercisers. I use mine for elevated planks, step ups, step overs, ab work, etc.


Got Protein?

I’ve touched on in the past, the importance of protein intake in ones diet. But increasing the amount of protein you consume in a day can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to thinking about it.

Protein is vital for overall health. It works to build up hair, skin and nails. And functions to rebuild damaged tissues and promote healing. In addition, it is crucial for increasing lean mass and building muscle. Protein also has thermogenic effects, meaning that it requires energy (calories) to digest, and therefore can boost your metabolism during the digestion process.

Contrary to popular belief, protein powder on its own will not “bulk you up” as a woman. Females don’t have the hormonal makeup like men do to drastically increase their muscle mass, that and eating more protein on it’s own doesn’t cause your muscles to grow–that requires a lot of conditioning and focused weight training, with a lot of patience 😉

Please note that I’m not saying that you should ONLY consume protein in your diet, the body needs a balanced intake of all three macronutrients (see previous post) . Consuming a diet that is too low in carbohydrates can result in what’s caused ketosiswhich can be dangerous long term. But increasing your overall intake of protein can provide plenty of health benefits. Protein is more satiating and therefore can help with appetite control, it helps with immunity and recovery from exercise.

So now the big question is how or what does one do to increase your protein intake?

Whey protein is a great place to start. Drinking a protein shake is an easy, and can be extremely delicious way, to increase your protein intake. And whey protein provides a host of benefits besides just the protein. Finding a delicious, high quality whey powder can boost daily intake quickly and easily (this is one of my favorite brands, minimal ingredients, great macronutrient profile, and excellent flavor and mixability.)

Whey provides health benefits like boosting immunity, supporting bone health, and overall wellbeing (studies have shown that protein can boost serotonin levels).

Women especially need all the help they can get to keep their bones strong and supportive. Plus overall health is not a bad thing either. Whey protein also is full of amino acids, because amino acids are ‘building blocks’ for the human body they are sometimes used speed up the healing of wounds or burns.

Other high protein food sources include chicken breast, tuna, egg whites, lean beef, wild game, bison, turkey and cottage cheese.

There are a lot of varying opinions out there on just how much protein is enough, for me personally I like to aim for 1g/lb of bodyweight (if you are overweight, aim for 1g per pound of your goal/ideal bodyweight).



What the Heck Are Macros?!



  • All calories are made up of 3 nutrients. Carbs, fat and protein. A lot of diets will give you a “calorie amount” but they do not go into the specifics of what, exactly, those calories should be comprised of.
  • Eat nutrient has a different function.
  • Carbs: provide energy for the body.
  • Fat: are essential for the transport of certain, fat soluble, vitamins. They also are involved in hormone regulation, can be used as energy, and help with insulation and protection of our organs.
  • Protein: the building blocks of the body. They help with overall function of body systems, and promote lean muscle tissue growth and recovery.
  • For every gram of carbs, there are 4 calories.
  • For every gram of fat, there are 9 calories.
  • For every gram of protein, there are 4 calories.

Flexible dieting (this is the “diet” that SPELL clients are encouraged to follow) allows for any foods to be consumed, so long as they fall into your “macro” ranges. (There are lots of formulas and requirements that go into how to calculate just how many calories overall, and how many of eat macronutrient you would need. They take into consideration your age, body composition, activity level and goals. There are several websites that you can use, SPELL clients enjoy a customized macro breakdown with their health and fitness program)

  • Increasing your total protein intake to between 0.8-1g protein/lb of bodyweight (or, if you are obese/overweight, set it to 0.8-1g protein/lb of goal or desired bodyweight) can help to boost your metabolism as protein is slightly thermogenic in the way it is digested, it also helps with appetite control as it generally takes longer to digest than simple carbohydrates do.
  • Embracing the 80/20 rule. This says that 80% of what you eat should be whole, clean, nutrient dense foods. Things that are as close to their natural state as possible (Raw veggies, lean proteins, whole grains) should make up the majority of your diet. Then, when an occasion should arise where you are presented with a food that is more indulgent, you are going to be able to enjoy it with less guilt because you have been giving your body plenty of nutrients already.
  • Water. Increasing your water intake can make massive improvements in just about every body system. Dehydration often will disguise itself as hunger before you will feel thirsty. And being a nation of coffee and soda drinkers, along with lots of sodium laden foods…most Americans are in a constant state of mild dehydration. **the pee test, your urine throughout the day should be a very pale yellow to almost clear vs dark. It should be fairly odorless as well. This is a good way to determine if you are well hydrated**


What are some other things that you feel help to keep you on track? Are there any other questions I can answer for you when it comes to nutrition or macros??

Leave me a comment or shoot me an email at 🙂

Sweat Pray Eat Lift Love