Tag Archives: health coaching

My Personal Battle with an Eating Disorder

Hi friends, 

I’m taking a break from the usual recipes, workouts and random musings on this blog today to share with you something much more personal and raw. I’ve been working on this story – my story – for quite a while, and I finally – nervously – pushed the “publish” button today. 1097965_392214087544816_872314355_n

Writing out my story was therapeutic in a way. It’s encouraging for me to look back a few years and see how far I’ve come – especially since there were times I thought recovery was impossible.

I’m not by any means finished in this journey and I don’t claim to have it all figured out (far from it!), but I’ve learned a lot along the way that might be helpful to others who are where I was a few years ago – desperately wishing for a way out, but struggling to believe I could break free from these obsessions and compulsions.

I’ve tasted both ends of the spectrum – the starvation and obsessive exercise, as well as the bingeing and complete loss of control.

Today, because of what I’ve learned in my own recovery and my education as a Holistic Health Coach, I help other women develop a healthy relationship with food and fitness. I support my clients by helping them discover the underlying issues that are behind their eating habits, and develop balance and self-care in their lives. If you or someone you know is dealing with any of these things, please contact me at healthwithhope@gmail.com. I’d love to sit down with you for a (free) consultation and help you get started on the road to health.

Click here to read my story!

– Hope

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too (without guilt!)

Since we just came off of a holiday weekend, I should probably be posting some delicious recipe I made for the 4th but instead I want to address something that’s troubled me for awhile now about holiday festivities.

No, I’m not a Scrooge and my annoyance has nothing to do with the holidays themselves. But often around the time of a holiday, I hear a lot of food and body talk that is filled with GUILT and SHAME. You’ve probably heard it too:

Pre-holiday talk:
“Oh, there’s going to be so much bad food at the BBQ tonight…I need to really work hard at the gym this morning!!!”
“I want to be able to stuff my face without guilt on Thanksgiving so I have been really good all week!”
“I lost 3 pounds last month! I’ve earned a splurge at this family dinner!”

Post-holiday talk:
“Wow, I ate so badly last weekend!! I need to get back on track first thing tomorrow morning!”
“I am so mad at myself for eating so much dessert last night!! I’ll be working out every day this week to keep off any extra pounds!”
“I was really good at the BBQ on Saturday. I stuck to the salad and veggies and passed on dessert!”

I hear these kinds of comments quite frequently and I’m guessing you have as well.

It bothers me for (primarily) these 3 reasons:

1) I used to think and talk like this and it made my relationship with food incredibly stressful!
2) The words used in these comments are associating food with being either GOOD or BAD – when really, food is just that: food. It’s not evil to enjoy a piece of dessert; and it’s not righteous to fill yourself with veggies.
3) I believe food is for our nourishment and enjoyment, and it shouldn’t be about guilt and shame. Period.

Allow me to rant for a little bit, because this is an issue that is very close to my heart…

I understand that most people these days are intent on “looking good” (however that is defined), losing weight, and being “toned.” And I think it’s very acceptable to have goals and work toward achieving them. But I have to be honest, I’m not a fan of placing all this moral value on a piece of pie or a bowl of popcorn. It’s food. Eaten in moderation, I believe even dessert and french fries have a place in our lives!

I used to be so entrenched in all of the guilt and shame myself, but it’s sure not an enjoyable way to go through life. I know this is a fine line to walk because I understand that some people have definite weight to lose in order to be healthy, and maybe others just want to lose another few pounds to feel fit and toned. And that’s okay. But please don’t beat yourself up about what you eat and feel guilty for enjoying a delicious meal or special dessert.

I think women especially have a problem with this – it’s almost a game between us sometimes to share how “bad” or “good” we were at a holiday event and encourage each other in our guilt, shame, or perhaps pride (if we were “good”).

I’m not trying to judge anyone for talking like this; I’m just suggesting that maybe we should let go of the guilt and shame and instead learn to enjoy the food we eat – whether it’s a big salad or a big piece of cake.

As cheesy as it sounds, I truly feel like life is too short to miss out on cake and ice cream.

What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with feeling guilty for eating foods that are “bad”?
Do you have trouble enjoying indulgences without beating yourself up about it?
Can you start today to enjoy the treats you eat and stop buying into the guilt and shame?

Fueling After a Workout

Over the weekend, a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile was asking me for some health eating advice. We got talking about what to eat after a workout, and he asked me what I typically go for to refuel after a workout.

Refueling: What to Eat

My refueling food of choice definitely depends on what kind of workout I’ve just completed. Simply speaking: if it’s a weights day for me at the gym, I focus on protein in my refueling meal. If it’s a running day or some other form of cardio, I’m more intent on getting some good carbs in my system post-workout.

Lately, my favorite refueling protein snack is an amazing combination of Greek yogurt and fruit. I start with about a cup  Greek yogurt in a bowl and mix in some cocoa powder and a dash of Stevia…which makes it taste like chocolate mousse…yum! Then I dice an apple (Fuji is my favorite at the moment) into small pieces, toss it on top of the yogurt chocolate mousse, and sprinkle on some cinnamon. To add a little healthy fat and some delicious crunch, I top the bowl with a few peanuts or cashews and munch away!

Greek yogurt is a great source of protein – one serving can contain anywhere from 13 – 22 grams, depending on the brand. Greek yogurt has less sugar, less carbs and more protein than regular yogurt, and it’s now sold in most every grocery store. I’ve tried several different brands (here’s an article comparing the various options out there) but my favorite is definitely the Trader Joe’s brand, because of the consistency and creaminess!

For my post-run carb fueling, I usually opt for a bowl of oatmeal, with some frozen blueberries, cinnamon and peanut butter mixed in. There are lots of other good options for post-run refueling options – generally anything with (approximately) a 3-1 ratio of carbs to protein is  best! In the past, I’ve tried everything from toast with peanut butter to sweet potato fries dipped in Greek yogurt (sounds weird but tastes delicious!)  Don’t worry about getting the ratios exactly perfect…just focus on getting some healthy carbs into your system!

Refueling: When to Eat

Generally speaking, it’s best to refuel as soon as possible after a workout.  A lot of fitness experts even suggest that you start sipping on a protein shake toward the last 15 minutes of your strength training workout to get a jump-start on the refueling process and get the protein to your muscles as soon as possible. As for post-run/cardio refueling, it’s best to get the carbs (and a little protein too) into your system within 30 minutes because your muscles are best primed to assimilate and utilize the nutrients directly after a workout. Your goal is to replace the glycogen stores in your muscles that were depleted during the run, and the first hour after the workout is the best time for that! Here’s some more information about this optimal refueling window of time: Refueling at Its Best!

Refueling: What NOT to Do

Refueling can be a downfall for some people because they can easily go overboard with their post-workout feast snack. If you’re truly wanting to see results in your fitness and weight, you can’t go blowing all the progress you made during a workout with a refuel meal that sends you into a food coma! I’ve talked to a lot of people who are frustrated because they’re not seeing results from their workouts. Often, I find out that they’re going home after burning 300 calories on the elliptical and devouring a whole box of Girl Scout cookies or a huge plate of mac and cheese! Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the occasional Girl Scout cookie or other indulgent treat, but again, if you want to see RESULTS in your fitness and weight, you need to be smart about refueling! You may feel ravenous after a long run or strength training session at the gym, but start by just consuming an average refuel meal, sipping some water or tea, and waiting for your food to start digesting. It’s easy to scarf down a lot of unnecessary calories as soon as you get home because you feel like you could eat the whole fridge. Pace yourself, eat slowly, and chew well. Listen to your hunger cues and stop when you feel satisfied – not stuffed. And in general, choose healthier options for refueling like whole-grain toast, milk, oatmeal, yogurt, and eggs, rather than hitting IHOP for a huge plate of flapjacks. 😉

Another mistake that is on the other side of the spectrum, but just as easy to do, is the mentality that because you just worked out (i.e., did something healthy) you’re going to continue your healthy habits by not eating AT ALL after your workout. FAIL. This isn’t going to help you in any way! You’ve just finished exhausting your muscles and pushing them to their limits…the best thing you can do now is give those muscles some protein and carbs to help them rebuild and grow! Don’t think you’re being “healthy” by denying yourself food for hours after a workout – get some good calories in your system ASAP so your body can start the rebuilding and refueling process.

Wedding Pics!

There’s always more to say and write about this topic, but I’ll end here and leave you with some pictures from my sister’s wedding last weekend! It was a blast…everything went so smoothly and we had a great time party-ing it up! 😀 So happy for my sis and her new husband!

My family!

My sister and I right before she walked the aisle!


Goin’ to the Chapel…

My sister will be tying the knot on Saturday! Wedding Countdown: 4 days!

This past week has been crazy – a frenzied mixture of cleaning, running errands, making phone calls, and other last-minute details! I can hardly believe my sis’s big day is almost here!

The beautiful bride-to-be!

Saturday night, the bachelorette party commenced! First, the girls all gathered at our house and we started with wine and presents:

Around 6:30, we headed over to Maggiano’s for dinner, which was delicious! My sister and I both ordered the Grilled Salmon Salad and were delighted this meal! A lot of the girls ordered pasta dishes and we all raved about how much we enjoyed our dinner. Maggiano’s is a great restaurant with a very peaceful and elegant atmosphere – perfect!

One side of the table!









After a couple hours of giggling, wedding discussion, and delicious Italian food, we hit the road again and ended up at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Square. I had never been there before, but so many people have given it great reviews. My sister is a huge chocolate fan, so this was a perfect place to get dessert and drinks! The menu at the Chocolate Bar is amazing – unique, homemade desserts, fun drinks like Dark Chocolate Martinis, and much more! The lower level is more of a bar atmosphere but upstairs is very quiet more of a restaurant feel. The Chocolate Bar does also have a full dinner menu, although we stuck to dessert and drinks. I split the Flourless Malt Cake with my friend Sarah; it came with a scoop of coffee ice cream in the middle! I nibbled away at the cake for the most part, and Sarah took care of the ice cream – perfect set up for dessert sharing! The cake was rich and filling…just the way I like it! 🙂

Sporting our tiaras at The Chocolate Bar!

We made it home around 11:30…not the latest bachelorette party in the world, but we were all pretty tired and had almost lost our voices from talking and giggling for 6 hours! Sunday morning, I woke up with the worst headache, even though I didn’t drink at all at the party! (I was one of the drivers) I joked with my dad that it was a hangover without the alcohol. Not fun at all! I lazed around most of the morning and finally got dressed to join my family for lunch at Senor Pique. I felt so out of it during lunch and my stomach felt a little off, so I stuck with a marinated tilapia appetizer dish that was served with pico de gallo and avocado.

I knew I would feel better if I got in a short workout, so after lunch I headed to the gym to spend a little quality time on the

Spinach smoothie

elliptical. I ended up feeling inspired to pump some iron, so I knocked out a great upper-body workout that I made up as I went along. It felt so good to sweat and clear my head!

I came home and made another great spinach smoothie!These are my new go-to refreshment!


Despite the craziness with the wedding preparations, I’ve still found time to take pictures of the Beagle…

“Are you seriously taking ANOTHER picture of me?!”

Squirrel Sighting!

I’ve also managed to get my health coaching website set up! Check it out: HopeDarby.com!  I’m accepting clients now! So excited. 😀

I’m off to edit and finalize my Maid of Honor speech for the reception on Saturday! Eeek!

So, I’ve been thinking…

I feel like my mind is on the brink of explosion. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past several days, about a lot of different areas of my life. Mind is spinning.

It all began the day I was supposed to begin my internship in the event-planning field. I’d interviewed with an amazing lady who owns her own event-planning business, and she was ready to take me on as a short-term intern for the next few months. At first, I was thrilled about the idea, thinking, “This is something I’m actually excited to do! I’ve always thought event planning sounded fun!”  However, as she started emailing me with the dates of different events, wedding rehearsals, holiday parties, etc., that I would be expected to attend, I realized that not only was this new internship going to completely take over my evenings and weekends for the next several months, but I wasn’t even excited about it anymore. I was dreading it. Yes, I do think event planning sounds like a lot of fun. And yes, I do enjoy planning parties. But for some reason, I just didn’t have a good feeling about starting this internship right now.

A few hours before my first night, I was scheduled to have a phone call with my health coach, who is assigned to sort of mentor me throughout my education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is the most amazing woman and has been such an inspiration and blessing to me through our monthly conversations! Anyway, while I was on the phone with her, she was asking me how I was progressing with the various marketing and business aspects of starting my health coaching. I had to admit that I really hadn’t done much with that…at all. Gulp. I’m over half-way through the year at IIN, yet I’ve barely done any marketing or bothered to set up my own website, seek out clients, etc. To be short, I’ve just been doing the homework, taking the tests, and doing the necessary studying. As I was talking with Pam, my health coach, I realized, “What am I doing? I want to be a health coach, but I’m doing nothing to make that happen!”

As I told Pam about this new internship I was planning to start, (I was supposed to meet the lady that night to sign the paper and officially start the internship!) I realized that not only did I not WANT to do the internship anymore, but it was actually going to be a distraction in my life from what I really want to be doing with my time. Pam encouraged me to call the lady and be honest with her about my feelings; I was so nervous to do this, but the lady was actually so understanding and told me that if I was interested in interning for her after the holiday season or at any time in the future, I should give her a call. Whew. So, that went well! I felt so relieved as soon as I got off the phone with her. I knew I’d done the right thing.

This experience was a very good one for me, for many reasons. For the sake of keeping this at least somewhat concise, I’ve boiled them down to:

My 5 Realizations from This Past Week:

(catchy title, I know)  😛

1) I realized that I was just doing the internship to AVOID the tough work of starting my health coaching business, and to make myself feel good about “having a job” so I wouldn’t feel pressured to devote myself wholeheartedly to IIN.

2) I realized that it was FEAR that was holding me back from jumping into the marketing and business side of things with my health coaching. This is a whole other topic for another post. Fear has been really holding me back in several areas, and I’m just now starting to realize how widespread it has become in my life. Definitely going to be working on that!

3) I realized how much I DO want to be a health coach! When I allow myself to brainstorm about it, I get so excited and bombarded with tons of ideas for starting my business! I’m passionate about health; passionate about fitness; passionate about helping people live whole and happy lives! I DO want to make this my career; and I believe it is my calling.  🙂

4) I realized how many things in my life are holding me back from pursuing what I really want. Again, this could be a whole post on its own, but the general concept is that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my time management, my relationships, my habits and practices, and more. My mind is spinning from all of it.

5) Last, but definitely not least, I realized that with some of the time I would have been putting toward the internship, I can instead help out with my sister’s wedding planning! She is getting married in mid-November and has a lot of final details and projects that I am thrilled to tackle. It’ll be a fun adventure and definitely more memorable than planning weddings for brides I don’t even know. (as fun as that could still be!)  First up: planning the “welcome bags” for our out-of-town relatives, with sightseeing information and other fun gifts to welcome them to our city. 🙂

This post is already getting quite long, so I won’t drag it on too much longer.  😛

Suffice it to say that the past week has been very enlightening for me, shown me a lot about myself, revealed to me some things that are holding me back, and inspired me to press on toward my goals and dreams with new passion! All in all, it’s been a good thing. 🙂


That’s all for now!