3 healthy leadership tips for a more motivated team

3 healthy leadership tips for a more motivated team

Monday, May 1, 2017

Like many of you, Christina is a busy professional who is in a position of leadership. She was a pretty healthy gal before she started coming to see me, but she wanted to do even better, especially as a leader in the office. Her wellness WINS are highlighted below. Her story is a reminder of how our behaviors not only impact our own lives but also those with whom we work. 

Making self-care a priority

Christina hates running but she found that training for a 5K and 10K race last year kept her inspired to exercise consistently. She pushed herself because she knew being active was important for her health. To fuel her life she enjoys healthy vegetarian foods. She especially loves anything with chickpeas and fresh vegetables.

Inspiring and encouraging others

Not only do Christina’s coworkers notice and get inspired by her healthy meals she brings from home every day but they also see her taking an active role on the employee wellness team. Plus, after enjoying a fun well-balanced walking session with me around downtown Durham, she incorporated walking meetings with her staff. How fun is that!?

She also cares about her friends and encourages them to adopt healthy habits. One example includes suggesting busy professional friends invest in a meal delivery service, which can make it easier to prepare fresh and well-balanced meals at home. Click here if a meal delivery service sound interesting to you.

Now it’s your turn.

A healthy and happy team is a more motivated and productive team. Here are 3 healthy leadership tips we can all learn from Christina.

  1. Lead by example – It starts with you. Christina found an exercise strategy that worked for her. She also packs her lunch with leftovers and keeps healthy balanced options in her desk, like that can of chickpeas :-P. 
  2. Make it fun and do what you can – Would you rather sit windowless office for meetings or enjoy some sunshine? Take your team out for a walk like Christina or break up your long meeting with a fun mini activity break. It does not need to be a sweat session, just let everyone get up or get out and move their bodies. 
  3. Provide/create a nurturing environment– Donuts and candy dishes look fun but often leave people feeling guilty or sluggish after the sugar buzz wears off. Do you have sliced veggies and a fruit for an easy colorful side dish with lunch or dinner? To live healthy and happy we need to set ourselves (and others) up for success, y’all. Check out Kristen’s blog for a few more ideas.

Food for thought 

We have an opportunity to positively impact those around us, whether it’s our family, friends or coworkers. How are you leading yourself and others to healthy habits?

Which healthy leadership strategy are you already rocking?! Let us know in comments below or give a shout out to the healthy role model in your life!


3 steps to flip upside down eating

3 steps to flip upside down eating

Monday, March 20, 2017

It’s Monday morning, you’ve decided this is the week, “I’m going to be healthy and lose weight!”

You start with a fruit and vegetable smoothie, a handful of 7 almonds for a mid-morning, a tossed salad with grilled chicken and light dressing at lunch, and a piece of fruit in the afternoon.

Then you arrive home, it’s 5:30 PM, what’s your first stop? Straight to the pantry… because you’re starving!! 

  • Handful of pretzels, check
  • A bag of snack size Doritos (bought for the kid’s lunches), check
  • Leftover cookie from the weekend, check

Now it’s time to cook dinner. Still trying to eat right, you prepare broiled salmon with asparagus and brown rice. Feeling hungry and unsatisfied at the end of the night you find yourself back in the pantry for couple more handfuls of this and that and you’re finally done. 

You ask yourself, “What happened?? Today was supposed to be different!” This is what I call upside down eating as shown in the inverted pyramid.

When we start the day trying so hard to be good we typically deny our body calories.

What is a calorie? More specifically, what does a calorie give you?


When we deny our bodies the energy they require to do life we end up getting hungry signals from our body to make up for the calorie deficit at the end of the day. 

Flip your pyramid upside down

  1. Eat more energy in the morning. Yes, that means breakfast. Some find benefit by eating breakfast like a king but for people that are not hungry I recommend breakfast 1 and breakfast 2 – these include light options such as yogurt, a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, whole-grain crackers with peanut butter, or oatmeal.
  2. Eat when you’re hungry. The first step, identify what hunger feels like in your body. If you just ate, it might just be thirst. I recommend having 16 oz of water and reevaluating after 15 minutes. For the mid-afternoon crash, have high protein non-trigger foods such as unsalted nuts, cheese stick, or low-sodium deli meat. Drinking coffee or tea to postpone eating will likely lead to overeating later.
  3. Become more mindful. If you’re standing at the desk, answering emails, taking phone calls, or rushing to a meeting you are likely not in tune with the calories you are consuming. Can you take 30-60 seconds to pause before inhaling the food to thank your body and the creator for providing this nourishment? 

Food for thought: 

As a non-breakfast eater for 3 years I know this can be a challenging concept. For me, it was all about starting small – that’s where breakfast 1 and 2 helped! 

When are you eating the most energy (calories)?

When do you need more energy?

Tell us in the comments below what you’ll do to flip your pyramid this week!

A Simple 2-Step System For Ending Dinnertime Chaos

A Simple 2-Step System For Ending Dinnertime Chaos

Why is dinner time so daunting?

Kristen shares some sanity-saving strategies she uses to make cooking at home a more feasible task.

Dinner time is crazy time in my house. On the days I work in the clinic I don’t pick up the kids until 5:30. We get home around 6pm and then I have to scramble to get dinner on the table. I do not exaggerate when I say that my kids will cling to my legs or be stuck at my side from the moment we get in the door until they have food on their plates. They will be asking for a snack, to be held, for a drink of juice, a piece of candy…. They want all the things… and they want them NOW.  It’s really a mad house and it’s dreadful if I don’t already have a plan to get dinner on the table and do it fast!

Whether you have young kids at home or not, making food decisions at the end of the day can be daunting. Our will power has run dry from already making thousands of decisions, we’re exhausted from the responsibilities of our day, and we might be feeling famished. Not a great combination.

I don’t enjoy the madness of not having a dinner plan ready to execute and it has really motivated me to become more efficient and consistent with meal planning. So here I share what has helped me save time and sanity around dinner. Maybe they can work for you too!

My Two Step Plan and How I Make it Work

  • I create a very flexible meal plan 3-5 days at a time. I simply jot down some ideas based on what we have in the kitchen and what was fresh and affordable at the store. This is a good first step if you are used to “winging it” at dinner time.
  • I chop and prep as much as possible before work rather than after work. In the morning, before I check all those emails or notifcations popping up on my phone, I take a second to jot down my thoughts, my to-dos, my projects, and what I’m having for dinner. Then I pick out things I can do that morning to get dinner started. Can I chop up some vegetables? Can I use the crockpot? (Chopping and prepping can be done on the weekends, too, if there isn’t enough time in the mornings.) Sometimes mornings are crazy but I’m so committed to getting dinner on the table quickly and making it healthy, that on one occasion I actually brought my vegetables to work and chopped them in the break room on one of my breaks. When there is a will, there is a way. =)

I keep it simple.

I used to think I needed to make a fancy meal every night, especially after using the Blue Apron service for awhile. Fancy and well-plated meals are awesome but a healthy meal does not have to be all those things. Furthermore, when you have kids, you kind of have to keep it simple or they will turn up their nose to whatever you make. For a well-balanced meal, you simply need to toss together 1. a protein-rich food, 2.  a complex carbohydrate, 3. a bit of healthy fat and 4. a big helping of vegetables.

I use theme nights.

Having a theme night makes the dinner decision so easy. Everyone knows what to expect and makes planning a breeze. We have pizza every Friday. Some days we order the pizza, some days we go out, and other days we make our own. Taco nights, spaghetti, and pizza can all be healthy with the concept of balance and wholesome ingredients.

Here are some themes to consider

  • Meatless Monday – Eating more plant-based meals can help us live longer so why not start off your week with a meatless meal?
  • Marinated Monday – Simply throw chicken breast or pork chops in a Ziploc bag with your favorite marinade, like Tessemaes Green Goddess or make your own. Pair them with one cup of veggies and a complex carbohydrate and you’ve got a simple, healthy meal.
  • Taco or TexMex Tuesday – This needs no explanation. Just try to keep your plate balanced and not overwhelmed with toppings. We like taco salads so we can keep our veggie portions big. Be mindful of your cheese, sour cream, and avocado as they can add up in calories. Double up on your cilantro, tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce.
  • Pizza Friday – have a side salad or pile on the veggies to make it balanced.
  • Soup and Salad Sunday – Light and easy!

I’d love to hear from you.

What tricks and tools help you get a healthy, homemade dinner on the table more often?