From Fast Food to Home Cooking: A Journey to Better Eating (Part 2)

Another Piece to the Puzzle – Developing Self Awareness

We want to get healthier, to eat better, but how do we get from where we are to where we want to go? Last week we talked about desire and responsibility. This week were going to look at developing self awareness.

As any navigator would assure you, in order to find your ‘heading’ (the direction in which you need to travel to reach your desired destination) you must know two important things: where you are and where you want to go. In this instance we know where we want to go — healthier lifestyle and eating habits, we need to develop an awareness of where we are — our current habits. Identifying this will aid us in our ability to set our course and build a bridge to close any gaps. We need to take an inventory of what we are putting into our bodies on a regular basis. From here we can begin to identify changes we can make as we navigate the road to healthier eating. The easiest way to do this is to keep a food log/journal. There are many tools we have at our disposal to aid us in this; from small notebooks like these pocket notebooks, or food journals like these to apps such as myfitnesspal and FitBit we can choose the method that best suits our lifestyle.

While self awareness can be a wonderful aid it can also lead us to pitfalls, I know because I myself have fallen for them and watched clients fall for them as well. So as we take this step keep in mind the following traps. 

First, we want to avoid the trap of ‘I know what I eat.’ It is so tempting to believe this.  After all, we are the ones who feed ourselves right?! Except many times we vastly underestimate (or overestimate) the amount we eat, the hidden & empty calories we consume, and the nutritional value of our food choices. Almost without exception we find ourselves surprised when we take an honest look at what we are putting into our bodies. I know I was! 

Let’s take a look at what an early food log looked like for me…

Food Log Example (circa 2010)

Breakfast – Usually Nothing Or a Pop-tart

Lunch – Usually Nothing Or Hot Pocket/Ramen Noodles/Ravioli

Dinner – Take Out (Taco Bell/Wendy’s/Burger King/Pizza) Or Boxed/Freezer Meal (Pizza Rolls/Cheeseburger Helper/ Fish Sticks&Tater Tots)

Snacks – Chips/Oatmeal Cream Pies/Oreos/Popcorn/etc

Yikes! What a reality check I faced, I had been under the illusion that I knew what I ate and confidently told Tim (my health coach and mentor) I ate relatively well. What we discovered in truth was that most days I didn’t eat anything until 4-6pm. I often consumed large portions in the evenings because I felt like I was starving (gee I wonder why … rolls eyes), snacked late at night, and even though I was only eating usually once or twice a day, I was taking in a considerable number of calories and very few of them were providing much nutrition to my body if they even had any at all! Plus this was not even counting the monster energy drinks I would consume to get through the day. Fun fact a can of monster is actually 2 servings which includes over 200 calories and 30g of sugar! I never knew just how poor my eating habits were until I took an honest look at where I was. 

I fell into this trap again after I had achieved my initial results and began getting really into my fitness journey. I hit a wall and was seemingly stuck at 21% body fat, my goal was 17%.This was almost a year into my journey and I was so frustrated! I was sure I knew what I was eating but hadn’t tracked to check in on my direction in quite some time. When I finally did, low and behold … I wasn’t eating enough! While I was much better quality nutrition my activity had more than doubled and I had not accounted for that. I was only taking in 1500-1700 calories a day and was burning close to 2700 calories! My body thought I was starving and was therefore clinging to its precious body fat! No wonder my progress was hindered. Even with good quality foods my body didn’t have the resources it needed to thrive! Without checking in with my food logs I would not have been able to bridge the gap to my goals in either instance. 

Second, we want to avoid the trap of tracking “good days” or selectively omitting the “bad” items. Listen, until we are willing to get really honest with ourselves, we cannot hope to make true lasting life change. We must be willing to truly face where we are even when we don’t show up our best. I hit this trap hard. I don’t know about y’all but I can be a bit of a perfectionist and that is how this trap got me. Anytime I would ‘slip’ in my nutrition plan I would scrap the whole day! If I had meals with me but I forgot to eat them as so often happens in my busy schedule (yes meaning it still happens to me even now). I would get so frustrated with myself and toss in the towel for the whole day! I would not bother to track when I got home and ate everything I could find in my fridge because I was starving. I would tell myself I was just ‘making up’ the missed calories .. but if I had tracked I would have seen that I often over-ate in these scenarios. Conversely I wouldn’t track my ‘Cheat Days’ or my alcohol intake! For a time I followed a super strict plan 6 days a week and on the 7th … oh buddy did I let loose. Craft Beer, Pizza, Wine, Cheesecake, Brownies, Long Islands! .. I would eat/drink anything and everything I wanted. Again when I was finally willing to take a closer look I found I often way over indulged and disrupted any positive progress I had made through the week. Did you know a single Long Island is 276 calories?! A bottle of Dragon’s Milk (one of my favorite stouts); 325 calories! And I rarely had only one drink.  Beyond the extreme excess calorie intake, I was creating a super unhealthy mentality around my eating habits. Telling myself I can’t have this or that is bad for me, etc … if one thing holds true of us humans it is this … We crave what we ‘can’t’ have! Ultimately it was better to embrace that life is a imperfect and a little messy sometimes but a missed meal or an indulgence doesn’t have to equal a wasted day… unless we let it.

Which leads into the last trap, self-judgement. This is such a dangerous trap! Becoming self aware is NOT about using our current position as a club to beat ourselves up or to guilt and shame ourselves to better habits… Oh, how many times have I berrated myself for being ‘less than perfect’ in this whole healthy lifestyle journey! And ya know? That method may work for a time, but eventually it leads to resentment and disdain for the very habits we are trying to create. We can only think of ourselves as a failure so many times before we lose the will to keep trying. We find ourselves thinking ‘Why bother, we’ll just muff it up anyways!’ 

The process of developing self awareness is an honest, zero-judgement assessment of where WE are so we can set our navigation and begin moving in the direction we want to go. So we can build that bridge between where we are and our destination. It’s not about good or bad. It’s simply taking a look at where we are so we can choose to move in that new direction. It’s about learning that Food is not biased. Food is food. It has no agenda, no motive. I love something I heard Rachel Hollis say the other day on her podcast. When deciding what she eats she simply asks this: ‘Will this food bless my body?’ I’ve adopted the same mentality. If I’m feeling kinda junky from a weekend on the road or less nourishing food choices, I’ll choose wholesome nourishing options like a healthy meal shake and some aloe or a fresh salad with lots of veggies to blesses my body. If it’s been a crazy hectic and stressful day and I just need to unwind, I may indulge, a glass of wine and some chocolate may be just what I need to bless my body.

While it is true some food is more nourishing than others, that does not make the less nourishing foods ‘bad’ or ‘evil’. It just makes them less nourishing. It is also true however, that we are what we eat. If we put less nourishing, highly processed foods into our bodies consistently, then over time our bodies begin reflect that in decreased health, weight struggles, lower energy, etc. If we put wholesome nourishing foods into our bodies consistently, our bodies repay us by maintaining their health and vitality. Our Food is our fuel. Just like we wouldn’t put bad gasoline in a car and expect it to run we can not put poor quality food into our bodies and expect them to run. So what are we putting into our bodies?

Are you ready to begin practicing self awareness and take an honest look at what you’re putting into your body? To get an accurate snapshot try to track a minimum of 2-3 days a week for several weeks and share it with your health coach.  Include EVERYTHING! There’s no judgement here, change MUST start with honesty. From that honesty we can set a new course direction and accountability to maintain it! 🙂

Want to get connected with one of our health coaches? Email us at info@empowerrlw.org

Please Like and Subscribe if you find this helpful. Comment with any questions or feedback and join me next week as we talk about another piece to the puzzle; know your numbers – the unique needs of your body!

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From Fast Food to Home Cooking: A Journey to Better Eating Habits (Part One)

How did I make the transition from fast food to home cooked meals? This is a question I honestly had not really given much thought to until recently. A few months ago, Hilary and I were talking and this topic came up. Ever since it has intrigued me. Her question was simple, how did you get here? Having traveled the road to better eating habits you would think I should be able to eloquently put it into words. Yet, it’s complicated … the basic principles are simple, it’s true, but the actuality of walking through the process wasn’t an easy or straight path. 

It’s been years of one step forward and two steps back, meal prep mishaps, try, fail, try again … it’s been hard. But that’s the truth isn’t it? Life change is HARD! Hard to start, hard to stick with, just plain hard. Yet it is so worth it. So, here we are several months and numerous drafts later and I invite you to join me over the next few weeks as we see what we can discover from my journey. Keep in mind the following isn’t a step by step guide but rather each section is a piece of the puzzle that has lead to my life transformation.

A Piece to the Puzzle – Desire and Responsibility

Our journey starts here with a desire to change your life. You may find yourself thinking, “Duh! .. that’s obvious enough isn’t it?” However I would argue it isn’t. When I say desire to change I don’t mean a passing fancy. I’m not talking about a mild interest. Nor a reluctant begrudging desire because your spouse/family insists. In these instances when trial or temptation arises we will balk every time. These things are not strong enough to pull through the difficult days when your resolve starts to waiver and temptation to go back to old habits arise. 

I’ve been there though, actually was stuck there. For years. I day dreamed about being healthy and fit. I drooled over the idea of having a six pack (abs that is not beer 😜). Fantasized about being a fitness model and an athlete. I “wanted” to change my lifestyle… I envied the people I considered to be fit and healthy. Who ate clean and made cooking and healthy eating look easy. The people who had what I wanted. There was one problem though… I didn’t actually believe I could. I held the mentality of they are just lucky/superhuman. I believed that where I was was just my lot in life. Therefore I never really invested any emotional, mental or physical energy into the desire I had within myself.

If we do not believe we can, then we won’t put forth the effort required to truly change.  You need a real burning personal desire and that starts with actually believing you can achieve it. Only then will we be brave enough to look at ourselves in the mirror and accept full responsibility. “Nothing will change unless you change. But if you will change … Everything will change for you” Jim Rohn. You see nothing had changed in my life until I took responsibility onto myself to change. Until I realized that no one can change our life or our health for us. We have to take responsibility for ourselves.

I remember when I came to my mentor Tim with my list of excuses why I wasn’t making the changes we had discussed or following our nutrition plan. “It’s too complicated.. too expensive.. too time consuming.. Etc.” (I’m sure non of y’all relate 🤭🤫 I won’t tell, promise 😉😂) Initially he helped give me ideas to overcome my excuses but after our first few coaching sessions when I came to him with the same list…

Wouldn’t ya know, he just looked at me and asked this simple question: How bad do you want it? He didn’t argue any of my excuses. Instead he redirected my attention. Refocused me on why I wanted to make this change. Reminded me if it was going to be, it was up to me! I had to find it within myself to overcome my excuses.

The size of the obstacle matters little if the reasons are big enough. If we truly want something bad enough we will push through any excuse, we will gladly pay any price to reach our goal. I had to really dig deep to get over my obstacles to eating better. Move from ‘I want to be the one with the smokin hot bod!’ (what can I say, I was a teenager 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️) to ‘I want more energy to enjoy my life, and be the dog mom my husky’s deserved’. Finding why changing my lifestyle was important to me gave me power over my excuses and the will to keep myself accountable.

Here’s the trick though … I never stopped. It’s a continual process that I repeat over and over and over. I wish I could say that you will wake up one day and find that you have arrived and you have zero temptations. But, let’s be real with ourselves shall we? Of course, I still have days when I would much rather grab take out than cook (and sometimes I do 😱🤯!). Brownies and cheesecake? 🤤 Umm can you get in my belly please?! One year on my birthday I ate a whole pan of brownies in a single day! (My husband can vouch the truth of that). Six heaping plates of all the delish Holiday feast food? Yes Please! (No joke, I prided myself on being the bottomless pit of my family and frequently had competitions with my dad to see who could eat more! Lmao!) I still get tempted in these ways and so much more but I daily remind myself why my health is important to me. Remind myself how I feel when I do fall into these habits and that helps me to avoid the temptations.

My body is a temple and the only place I have to live. If I want to feel good. If I want to have energy to enjoy my days. If I want to have mental clarity to be present in each moment. If I want to show up better for my dogs and my husband. If I want to be a positive example for my friends, family, clients, and someday children… My old eating habits and lifestyle didn’t and doesn’t serve that desire for a better quality of life. Those choices did not bless my body. Once I got clear on why it mattered to me and realized I was the Only Thing standing in my way. The answer was simple. I can change me! But I have to truly want to change.

It’s not easy but it IS that simple … If I am my problem then I am also my solution and I have the power to do something about it. You can change and if you will embrace that truth; you will be amazed at how life will change for you. If your desire is strong… You Can Do Anything! (even eat healthy and cook!)

I hope y’all enjoyed this and find it inspiring and helpful. Please Like and Subscribe if you do and join me next week as we fit another into piece to the puzzle.

Work in Progress …

Whelp gang, it took me a whole 3 weeks and I’ve already done it… Yep… I’ve broken the number one blogging rule .. Post Consistently. No. Matter. What.

I missed being ready to release this post last Tuesday and here we are at 8:37 pm Tuesday October 29th and the next blog is still a work in progress y’all..

But ya know? I’ve never much been one for rules 🙅🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️😂. My rebel soul has always questioned the status quo; why should my blog be any different? 😉

I’m a believer that “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly until you learn to do it right” Les Brown. So I will keep plugging along and learn and grow as I go 😊☺️

Stay tuned gang! Next post “From Fast Food to Home Cooking: A Journey to Better Eating” is on its way!

How to Navigate your Now while you Pursue your Goals (Part 2)

Create Accountability. Set Goals. Start (and Stay) Simple.

Create Accountability

Before we dive into setting goals we want to recognize the importance of this one thing. See it is endlessly frustrating to go it alone (albeit not at all impossible, but why submit yourself to the added stress and frustration?) ‘Two are better than one because they have good reward for their toil. For if they fall one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!’ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. There is so much power in the group! To lock arms with someone is invaluable especially when we are trying to change habits that we’ve had for years, or decades! Surround yourself with others who can guide you as well as support you and stand for you on your journey. For me I found accountability in my health coach/mentor and the community of people at the Answer. Perhaps, the Empower community and our health coaches can be that for you too!

Set Goals

I know … Eye roll right (at least that was my response) … I already have a goal, to get healthy! However, my coach prompted me to dig deeper than that. 

What does get healthy mean as it pertains to you?

Now go even deeper, Why is that important for you?

What will achieving this goal change for your life?

…WOW… 

See this question that seems so basic has a breadth and depth beyond all others. Looking closer allows us to not only clearly define our target, (for truly it is impossible to hit a target we never aim at) it also allows us to discover our motives behind the goals. Properly harnessed our goals can pull us through any difficulty! But, if driven by the wrong reasons they can breed demons within us. These can take many forms; such as unhealthy relations with our food, our fitness, our bodies, and our minds. If left unchecked we then travel our journeys feeling guilty, incompetent, defeated, and ashamed. This ties back into accountability as having a coach or a friend to help keep your motives in check is a huge way to avoid this trap.

It also is a bridge for us to develop a solid why. Our why is what keeps us going when we have bad days. When we are tempted to take the easy approach or indulge in things that while delicious or fun don’t serve our mind/body/spirit. Our why is where our motivation to stick with it arises from. Without a solid reason to develop the discipline and habit of making a healthy lifestyle we will quit at the slightest resistance. This is where it stands alone. Others can inspire us for a time but if we don’t learn to be self motivated, to truly desire change for ourselves, then we can not hope to succeed.

For me my biggest driver was to regain energy. I was constantly exhausted and feeling horrible because I was not being a good dog mom to my young huskies, my lack of energy and focus was negatively affecting my schoolwork, not to mention my poor attitude impacted my relationships with those close to me. Getting healthy for me meant having the physical energy to provide the active lifestyle my huskies needed, having the mental energy to be able to focus and retain information in my classes, and having the emotional energy to show up better for my friends and family instead of being ill tempered and short with them because I constantly felt like crap.

Once we got clear on what my goal was, we were able to take the information from my wellness profile (my body’s current needs for protein, carbs, fats, etc and my current lifestyle) and construct a plan specific to me. There is not one single individual on this planet that is an exact duplicate of you. So why do we treat our health as if there were? Understanding how unique you are and accounting for that in your goals is HUGE in reducing the stress and frustration along the journey to a healthier and happier you.

Start (and Stay) Simple

This. If I had to pick one lesson to impart as the biggest and most important… this is it. As the saying goes ‘Don’t try to overhaul your life overnight.’ Taking the step to create a healthier lifestyle is a big deal and to be honest there is a lot to it, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact the more complicated we make it the less likely we are to stick to it. We are striving to break habits that some of us have had since we were children. Have patience with yourself, these things take time.

After we define our goals and our why it is important for us to create an action plan; pick 1 to 3 things to focus on. That’s it. 1 to 3 things that you can begin right now to change. Don’t miss the importance of that. Things You can change Right Now. Select small things and just focus on 1% better. Every day. Over time those small changes begin to accumulate and gain momentum. Before you know it you look back over the journey of many small changes and realize it has led you to incredible life transformation!

My first changes were adding a Herbalife Healthy Meal Shake and some Herbal Tea Concentrate into my morning routine (I was a notorious breakfast skipper .. or rather evening binge eater as I would ‘forget’ to eat all day!), and creating time twice a week to walk my huskies. That’s it. Baby steps. Looking back though that was really hard for me then. I had to get up an extra 10 mins early to make my shake (were talking a shaker cup shake, not even blended!) and tea before class …. it was torture (y’all I was NOT a morning person back then… I was the roll out of bed in time to toss on clothes, barely make it to class, and most likely zombie through the lesson in a half awake stupor kinda person). I cringed at the thought of etching out time to go for a 1 mile walk with my huskies … I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs in my house without being out of breath let alone walk a whole mile! But y’all … look at how far I have come! Beginning with those two simple changes I’ve built a whole new lifestyle. I now wake up at 4:30-5 am (still shake my shakes because let’s be real in this I am still lazy LOL), cook most of my meals from scratch (remember I started eating boxed meals/freezer meals/fast food), go for 5-10 mile bike rides with my now 6 huskies, run fitness classes daily, and have energy to spare! Over time, small changes add up to major life transformation! 1% better each day, keep going! Don’t give up!

*Herbalife products are not a cure all or magic solution. They can not treat or cure any disease. When taken in conjunction with healthy nourishing foods and exercise the body is capable of incredible things.*

Like and share if this is helpful to you and feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions. 🙂

For more information about Empower our community and our classes click here

To learn more about meeting with one of our Health Coaches for a free wellness profile to help you on your health journey email us at info@empowerrlw.org

How to Navigate your Now while you Pursue your Goals (Part 1)

I don’t know about y’all but when I first began my pursuit of ‘health’ … achieving it seemed like the most complicated and illusive thing on the planet! You are bombarded with a million messages; eat this, not that … cardio is king … strength training is the way to go … count your calories … count your macros … try this and that supplement … eat high protein … eat high fat … CARBS ARE THE DEVIL!!!

PHEW! I was overwhelmed and I had barely begun! Anyone relate?

How on God’s green earth was I a broke and exhausted college student with a full time job and new dog mom to 2 young Siberian huskies going to get from my current reality (Frozen/Boxed Meals and Fast Food and zero exercise) to a healthy lifestyle?! I knew nothing about cooking/nutrition, or exercise and good lord my mindset was Absolute Garbage!

Thankfully I truly believe in that old bible adage ‘Seek and Ye Shall Find’ as well as the words of Jim Rohn “Life change happens for two reasons … inspiration or desperation” and believe you me, I was Desperate!

It was around this time that my friend introduced me to a small nutrition club called, The Answer (after which our studio Empower is molded). Initially I thought I had entered the realm of nonsense as the culture was so far from what I was used to and I did not believe at all in diet shakes nor did I need to loose weight. And yet, something about it drew me in. The community was so energetic, and encouraging … and there was no judgement regardless of my hesitations.

I soon had my first wellness profile and during it (although it has taken me years to fully grasp them) I learned 3 incredibly important lessons that have been vital in the transition from my old reality to those initial goals and through years beyond.

Create Accountability. Set Goals. Start (and Stay) Simple.

Join me next week and we will dive into these three lessons and how they can help you embrace where you are while you move towards what you want.

Like and share if this is helpful to you and feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions. 🙂

For more information about Empower our community and our classes click here

To learn more about meeting with one of our Health Coaches for a free wellness profile to help you on your health journey email us at info@empowerrlw.org

Rediscover You: Healthy. Happy. Empowered!

If I asked you to picture yourself .. Truly Healthy and Happy .. Could you?



I don’t mean healthy as defined by society, your friends, or family. I don’t mean healthy like a younger version of yourself.

I mean healthy as the unique person that you are in the life you have Right Now. Eating foods that nourish your body AND leave you satisfied. Exercising in a way that challenges your body AND enriches your soul because it is in line with your passions and goals.

Living with Confidence and Energy. Pursuing a Life that you truly Love!

Can you picture it?

What if I told you that You Can Have This Life? It is possible to be healthy while also enjoying the process and journey. Not only that but you can embrace the imperfection and gain strength from the struggle rather than feeling frustration and shame.



I can say this because I am 9 years into my own health journey. Hi, my name is Katelynn Prause. I am a health coach and fitness instructor of 7 years as well as co-owner of Empower: Real Life Wellness LLC. Believe me, I do mean it when I say I’m on a journey, because our health, heck, our entire life for that matter is exactly that. A Journey. Our lives are not static. So why should our approach to health be?



This blog is intended to help people on their own journey. Our mission here at Empower is to inspire and encourage others to love themselves, their bodies, and their lives. To break free from the idea that Health is a look, or a weight, or an ability to adhere to some specific diet/exercise plan.

Our goal is to share thoughts and inspiration from the journeys and experience of our team. We will share thoughts on things like navigating healthy eating in real life, how to maintain your motivation, how to overcome challenges to a healthy lifestyle, how to find happiness in your right now as you move towards your ideal, and much more.

We invite you to join us on this Crazy Beautiful Journey and hope that you are Empowered to find your version of Health and Happiness along the way.