I don’t make decisions easily (#libralife), I don’t take them lightly, and the decision I made two years ago felt like a life changer.   You see, I was absolutely miserable.  I hated my job.   Not in the way everyone says they hate their jobs. Like, crying-in-the-bathroom-on-a-random-Tuesday-afternoon hated my job. Like, so-depressed-I-can’t-get-out-of-bed hated my job.   And I knew it was time to do something about it.    So, I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and started training to become a certified  health coach.   I didn’t know where it would take me or what my life would look like — all I knew was that it was time for a change.  I was tired of sitting at my sad little desk with my sad little motivational quotes  (or, more accurately, Dilbert cartoons because someone totally got what working in an office was all about).   I’d already done a pretty  massive overhaul  of my lifestyle. Just ask my boyfriend about the progression of my diet. When we first met, I was still in my daily Diet Coke habit. Then, I moved to the  yogurt-and-banana  (he used to get a real kick out of how I said this) phase. And, eventually, I transitioned to a real foods kind of diet.   (There’s been lots of changes within that real foods thing as I’ve learned more and more about nutrition and what my body needs.  Lessons learned,  my friend.)  Because I was tired of leftover catered lunches being the best part of my day. (Did I ever tell you about that time I literally puked in the bathroom, too? That was a new experience, and one I didn’t want to repeat ever again.)  My life was filled with more fast food than real food, more booze-filled date nights than Medjool dates, and more loaded baked potatoes than oven-roasted sweet potatoes.  I was a little obsessive about what I ate. I’m pretty sure my calorie tracker was the most-used app on my phone. In my defense, that was before everyone and their mom’s friend’s sister’s next-door neighbor’s dog had an iPhone.  I used a fitness tracker, too, so I could be extra sure I counted every last step (just in case my phone quit on me mid-run, which was, like, the worst thing ever).  And you know I’ve always struggled with  digestive issues.  My sensitive stomach and I go way back. Mad dashes to the bathroom in high school. Bridesmaids-style gas station bathroom barge ins. Super stretchy sweat pants to give my food baby room to grow.  (These are all that fits me right now…)    I mean, honestly, I was tired of feeling like shit.   It took years, my friend. And it was not always easy. Sure,  drastic overnight overhauls  are doable. But are they sustainable? I’m inclined to think not so much…   When we make gradual, well-intentioned, well-thought-out changes, we give our bodies time to adjust, and we give ourselves time to understand if those changes are right for us.   Anyway, I became like a wellness-at-work poster child. If that poster existed. Which I kind of think it should now that I think about it.  I was that coworker you hate/admire — you know, both at the same time.  Revered disgust.    I had jars of  green smoothies  on my desk. I had vials of essential oils I whipped out from time to time. I brought my own food to working lunches, to meetings, and on trips. I made special requests for healthier food all the time. I Heisman-trophied the donuts and cookies and brownies and ice cream.   I was that coworker sitting in the afternoon meeting with wet hair because I went to the gym on my lunch break. (My hair was wet because I showered, not because I was a sweaty beast.  Although…I am a sweater…so…yeah. ) I sat on a yoga ball instead of a chair. I recruited coworkers for bootcamp and crossfit classes.  I ran half marathons  in my spare time.   I was a healthy badass.   And all of this was great. It was awesome.   But I had this feeling like it still wasn’t enough.   I was constantly stressed out, which was basically undoing all my healthy badassery. And, with some tough love and poking and prodding from my own health coach, I started to pay closer attention to what was causing me stress and what I could do about it.  Like…I was weighing myself daily. And it was super stressful, waiting for that number to pop up. I was trying to  make dinner  every night, instead of doubling or tripling a recipe and relying on leftovers. And I was freakin’ out over this job.  So, there I was, two years ago, sitting in my car about to make a decision to take control of my life. Because I realized that I had the power to make a change. I had already proved it to myself by cleaning up my diet and making exercise an essential.   I knew that I was destined for more than unnecessary meetings, sneaking cookies from the break room, and hoping and praying I got to actually leave at five o’clock. I deserved more than  going through the motions —  wake up, survive day, crash on couch, sleep, repeat, repeat, repeat.   I wanted nothing more to be happy and to do something that I actually enjoyed. And I decided that becoming a health coach was  the thing  so that I could show other people how to be the boss of their diet while being a total badass boss in the office.   To sum up: I hated my job. I was already passionate about health and wellness. I realized I had the power to make a change. So I became a health coach to help others make empowering, healthy changes.   If you’re feeling like  now is a good time  to make a change or you’re ready to be a healthy badass, let’s talk! I have five spots on my calendar this week for   (free!)    Healthy in a Hot Second  calls so we can figure out what gradual, well-intentioned, well-thought-out change would be awesome for you right now.      
 
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I was that coworker sitting in the afternoon meeting with wet hair because I went to the gym on my lunch break. (My hair was wet because I showered, not because I was a sweaty beast. Although…I am a sweater…so…yeah.) I sat on a yoga ball instead of a chair. I recruited coworkers for bootcamp and crossfit classes. I ran half marathons in my spare time.

I was a healthy badass.

And all of this was great. It was awesome.

But I had this feeling like it still wasn’t enough.

 

     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Snacking is kind of a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing. Some people swear by snacks, some people think snacking is  only for toddlers   (or people who act like toddlers) , and some people could give two shits what you call it as long as it involves food.  It’s no secret that  I’m a snacker.  It works for me, and I like knowing that I don’t have to wait six hours to eat again. Six hours is a long time. It’s like almost as long as you have to be at work, which is sort of ridiculous.  Both that you have to be at work that long and that you don’t eat for that long.    So, when you don’t want to wait six hours to eat but you also have to be at work longer than six hours, packing snacks is kind of a must.   Instead of lovingly  suggesting what kind of snacks  you might wanna eat, today, I am going through some dos and don’ts of packing snacks. Some might seem obvious, some might be brand-new information, and some you could give two shits about as long as it involves food.  All right, friend, enough of my silly repetition that I think makes my writing seem thought out and organized…on to the dos! And the don’ts!   The Dos    Know Your Snacking Style   The first rule of packing snacks (I promise this whole post won’t be in the style of Fight Club, although that is tempting, now that you mention it…) is to  know your snacking style.   Know you’ve got a tendency to hit the  candy dish  a little too hard when you’ve just come out of a meeting wherein you kinda sorta feel like you got ambushed?  Or maybe you’re like me — if you know it’s there, you’re like a kid on Christmas and just can’t freakin’ wait to dive in.   Whether you’re an emotional eater or you’re a master at eating only when you’re hungry, know thyself, grasshopper. And prepare accordingly.    Bring Snacks    Hear me out, hear me out!   Yes, this bringing snacks when we’re talking about packing snacks tip might seem obvious. But I bet you’ve been in one of these situations before:   You don’t pack any snacks for the day, thinking you’ll have a moment to step out mid-morning to grab a quick bite before you head in to your lunch meeting. Except…you’re at work and a shit storm goes down right as you’re headed out the door and no snack shopping for you lest your carefully plotted lunch meeting completely bombs.  You don’t pack any snacks for the day, thinking you won’t be hungry. Except…your body is a funny little thing and you can’t really predict when it’s going to be hungry. (I mean, yes, when you haven’t eaten for 13 days, you will be hungry and you know you’ll be hungry.) So you troll the break room or you window shop the vending machines or you have an extra big lunch that practically tucks you in to your afternoon snooze fest.    It’s seriously best to  be prepared  because you never really know what’s going to go down once you step inside the office. Seriously.    Keep It Clean   Go ahead. Get your dirty jokes out of the way now. I’ll wait…you done?  You know I’m a big proponent of  eating clean in your cubicle  so, of course, I’m going to suggest you keep your snacks clean. Obvs. That means ixnay on the drive-through donuts, the frappa-latte-cino, and that bucket of candy you confiscated from the neighbor’s kids after Halloween.  Need  some guidelines?  Aim for something between 150 and 300 calories, something that’s packed with nutrients, something that has a combo of protein, carbs, fiber, and fat, and something that’s not all sugar and salt.   Remember What Your Day’s All About   Maybe you’ve got a meeting across town and will be spending half the day  just driving.  That snack pack of veggies and dip don’t make for a good passenger.  Oh, and you’ve got some dressing on your shirt…   Maybe you’re going to be in a training session or at a conference all day with allotted bathroom breaks and lunch times. Probably not the best day to plan some avocado toast.  Or maybe your calendar is clear and you’ve got time to play Top Chef in the kitchen. I hope you packed your knives….   All the planning and prepping won’t do you much good if it’s not practical so make sure what you’re planning actually fits in to your day.     The Don’ts    Bring a Whole Bag   This goes without saying, right?  Right?!?   I used to see people toting in whole bags of chips and boxes of popcorn and family-sized bags of candy bars. I don’t need to tell you how that ends.  Sure,  portioning out some snacks  ahead of time might be an extra step. But would you rather spend five minutes prepping some snacks than an hour or two feeling shitty after plowing through an entire bag of cheesy crackers? The peanut-butter-in-the-middle kind?   Get yourself some reusable sandwich bags and pack an actual snack-sized portion instead of that whole bag.    Keep Them in Sight   I am the queen of eating what I see. There’s a bag of sweet, sweet barbecue chips meant as an accompaniment to a sandwich for dinner? There’s a bag of sweet, sweet chocolate chips destined to be a fold in to some banana muffins? What’s that you have there…a whole bag of cheese sticks?!?   Same?    Keep your snacks out of sight. Especially handy if you like to snack when bored or stressed, two things very, very common at work.    Store them in those drawers. Relegate them to the fridge. Keep that lunch bag zipped up and shoved in the furthest corner of your cubicle.    It’s a lot harder to resist something if it’s staring you in the face all day.     Think a Snack Has to Be a “Snack”   We’re very conditioned to think that a snack is something special. Like those pink-frosted animal crackers or something with sprinkles or everything dipped in chocolate. Or that a snack comes in a bag or a box or from your coworker’s lunch bag.   Think outside the snacking box, my friend.   If you’re the type that eats six mini meals a day, your snack could be a smaller serving of your breakfast or lunch. It could be a sandwich. Or toast. Or a smoothie.  Or overnight oats.   You do not have to get your snacks out of a certain aisle in the grocery store. A snack can be whatever you want it to be. As long as it’s not bigger than your actual mean because then I think you’re completely redefining snack…   Overthink It   Doing a little piggybacking off of thinking a snack has to be a snack, don’t make snacks complicated. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate snack platter with three different kinds of nut cheeses, four complementary crackers, a whole bunch of grapes, seven strategically placed strawberries, and,  oh, don’t forget the carefully drizzled sauce, of course.   It can be something  you’ve made yourself  or that  you’ve grabbed at the store.  (Yes , Dorothy, healthy store-bought snacks do exist.)  When you start thinking your snacks have to be elaborate or fancy or picture perfect, you’re crossing the line and putting yourself at risk of snack fatigue  (a totally new term I just came up with that I’m going to here forthwith define as follows: Being too tired to make and/or prepare snacks so you’re not a hangry ass hat because you believe a snack should have at least three layers, one of which should be homemade coconut yogurt.).    When in doubt, keep it simple. I’m pretty sure this is someone’s motto. And it should be yours, too. That apple’ll do just fine, friend.    Pack Something Just Because Someone Else Packs It    Gosh, there’s lots of comparison in the don’ts of Snack Land, huh?    Just because the person you share your office with who you refuse to acknowledge as a coworker because they can’t seem to ever spell your name correctly in an email or pronounce it anywhere near accurately packs two hardboiled eggs and a turkey rollup for a snack does not mean you have to.  Just because everyone on social media is making  snack balls  doesn’t mean that you have to.  (Although those things are a pretty solid snack, just sayin’.)   And just because  #toasttuesday  is the cool thing to do (guilty) does not mean you have to hop on the bandwagon and stake a claim on the toaster.  Maybe your snack is a little unconventional. Maybe it’s fancy-free. Maybe you’re a strong, confident woman and you just like what you like, dammit. Pack that.   Do you have any hard and fast snack packing rules? Do they involve Snack Packs? I wanna hear all about it!

It’s no secret that I’m a snacker. It works for me, and I like knowing that I don’t have to wait six hours to eat again. Six hours is a long time. It’s like almost as long as you have to be at work, which is sort of ridiculous. Both that you have to be at work that long and that you don’t eat for that long.

So, when you don’t want to wait six hours to eat but you also have to be at work longer than six hours, packing snacks is kind of a must.

     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     You know when you find something you like you just keep going back to it?  Maybe it’s a favorite song that always pumps you up for that dreaded Monday morning staff meeting. Maybe it’s an oversized sweater that wards off the office AC and your snarky coworker’s unsolicited criticism. Maybe it’s a  go-to lunch  that keeps you feeling freakin’ boss till you sprint out the door at 5 p.m.  While I’ve totally got all of these things, I get super excited about  smoothies.    Shocker, right?   This smoothie is one I’ve been enjoying practically every day. It’s ah-mazing  post-run,  post-beach, post-work,  post-yoga,  post-whenever-the-hell-I-want-it.   And it may have been dubbed “the best smoothie ever” by my not-incredibly-difficult-to-please boyfriend. He’s started requesting this one. When given the choice between this one and his old mainstay, a monkey, he’s started opting for this one.   I think we’ve got a winner.    Let’s break down what makes this smoothie awesome:    Cocoa powder — You know I love my chocolate, and it loves me back with minerals and flavonoids that protect my immune system. It’s also got some caffeine for a little boost and those feel-good chemicals for a big mood boost.   Hemp seeds — A favorite around these parts for their plant-powered protein (three tablespoons will net you about 10 grams) but also for their healthy fats and minerals.   Maple syrup — My go-to sweetener for so many reasons beyond just the fact that it’s delicious. It’s a natural form of sugar packed with antioxidants and inflammatories that’s also lower on the Glycemic Index (buh-bye, blood sugar spike). Also a hero for people with  sensitive little digestive systems.     It’s relatively simple with a short ingredient list and nothing that screams “AWESOME!” But just wait until you taste it. I think you’ll agree that — even if it’s not really the best smoothie ever — it’s pretty damn delicious and you’re gonna wanna add it to your regular smoothie rotation.      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Now, I wanna know: Do you have a go-to smoothie? A go-to cold-and-criticism-deflecting sweater? A song that makes you feel like you can conquer the world?   Right now, this is totally my go-to smoothie  (surprise, I know),  I’ve got a giant black cardigan that’s been with me through thick and thin, and I could listen to Kings of Leon croon  “Pickup Truck”  all day long. Or  “I Am Not a Robot”  by Marina and the Diamonds. Or  “Konstantine”  by Something Corporate…okay, I could do this all day…   Let’s compare notes!

You know when you find something you like you just keep going back to it?

Maybe it’s a favorite song that always pumps you up for that dreaded Monday morning staff meeting. Maybe it’s an oversized sweater that wards off the office AC and your snarky coworker’s unsolicited criticism. Maybe it’s a go-to lunch that keeps you feeling freakin’ boss till you sprint out the door at 5 p.m.

While I’ve totally got all of these things, I get super excited about smoothies.