Embrace: A Call to Fully Live

Can one word set the tone for an entire year? Can one word guide us as we refine our ideas and philosophies? This is a challenge I am taking on for the year 2021. One single word to be my focus; the lens through which to view my goals and be my guiding light. I wanted to find something that would cast a fresh perspective on the beliefs and values that I have been developing and refining these last few years. Something that would continue to drive growth in my life in all realms; personal, relational, entrepreneurial, and spiritual.  

The word I chose is Embrace. Let’s start  by exploring the word itself;

Per Webster’s Dictionary:

Embrace – transitive verb

  1. To enclose in arms
  2. Encircle, enclose
  3. to take up especially readily or gladly
  4. To avail (help, benefit, use or take advantage of) oneself of
  5. To take in or include as a part, item, or element of a more inclusive whole

The last two parts of the definition resonate and captivate something deep within me…

To avail (help, benefit, use or take advantage of) oneself of; To take in or include as a part, item, or element of a more inclusive whole. 

Here I think is where I find the means to set my sail for the coming year. The catalyst for the refinement of ideas. Proverbs 3:5-6 comes to mind:

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your paths. 

Is this not also a call to Embrace? To embrace God’s plan for our lives? To avail ourselves of both trials and opportunities? To view both blessings and burdens/brokenness as an element of a more inclusive whole? To trust in the grand tapestry that he is weaving from the stories of our lives? 

…and I’m sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion

Philippians 1:6s3

And so I will use Embrace to set my sail as we continue this voyage of life and enter yet another trip around the sun.

One thing to note; I am not using this as a New Years Resolution; I do not believe in pursuing New Year New Me, but rather New Year better, stronger, wiser me. I have participated in the New Year, New Me ideology many times but I’ve come to the question; do we not gain infinitely more from investing our past experiences and knowledge into our future selves? I digress, such could be a whole topic in its own, for another time perhaps. 

So what does it look like? To view  and refine my beliefs and values through this focus? 

Embrace Uncertainty. Embrace the Gray. Embrace the Art of Being. Embrace the Beautiful Chaos of Motherhood. Embrace My Body. 

Some of these ideas build on beliefs I’ve been refining for years now, some are new revelations from just this past year. Lets dive deeper.

  Embrace Uncertainty. Revel in the wonder of possibility rather than be ruled by the fear of the unknown. I am a bit of a control freak in some ways. I like to have a plan and have a good idea of what to expect. The one thing that rings true is that when I felt like I couldn’t control anything I could always control my response. I can choose optimism. This is not to say ignore the hard and challenging and pretend everything is fine. I love how Simon Sinek put it in his podcast the other day “optimism is not a denial of the current state, optimism is the belief that the future is bright but it accepts current darkness…optimism says … this is a dark time, this is gonna hurt … but I know that if we come together and work together that we will come through this better and stronger than when we went in.” I choose to be optimistic in the face of continuing uncertainty. 

Embrace the Gray. Society today has a tendency to be so polarized. Everything is black and white anymore. Politics. Religious Views. Fitness Styles. Dietary Habits. Car Preferences. Parenting Styles. etc.etc.etc… Taylor Kulik said it well “We have lost the ability to respectfully disagree with each other… the ability to value other perspectives and points of view… the ability to engage in dialogue with people who live differently than us… the ability to approach others who have different views with curiosity and compassion.” I want to be more curious and compassionate with others. However I also wish to do this while still standing firm in the essence of my own beliefs and values. I know I have a tendency in many arenas to opt for silence rather than risk rejection or argument. I want to resist the temptation to change or dilute myself to fit into the box others set for me or out of fear of not being accepted. Instead my aim is to acknowledge and respect those around me for exactly who they are and hopefully be accepted for myself as I am but know that if not, that’s okay too.

Embrace the Art of Being. It can be so hard to feel balanced with the plethora of roles/identities we juggle. As a Wife, Mother, Husky Mom, Daughter, Christian, Business Owner, Fitness Instructor, Blogger, and an Individual sometimes trying to be present in every role leaves me overwhelmed and paralyzed until I am really present in none of them. Being home with my daughter I am constantly thinking about what I should be doing for the business or outside doing chores in the dog yard/chicken coop/garden. When we are out being social (on the rare occasion that actually happens anymore) I find my thoughts lingering on things that need to be done at home. This year I want to truly seek to be present where I am in each moment by being intentional about setting time aside for the different hats I wear and holding space for gratitude in each moment. 

Embrace the Beautiful Chaos of Motherhood. I had a clear and clean vision for what life as a mother would look like… Since the moment we found out she was on the way the reality has been nothing like the vision; except the fact that I love her more than words can express and am beyond blessed to have the honor of being her mother. Throughout the pregnancy and into the fourth trimester the discrepancy between my vision and the reality invited an incredible amount of stress for both me and my husband. We have since made many adjustments to our approach and expectation and I hope to continue on this path as we journey the road of parenthood. To continue to lean into what feels right and works for us as a family.

Embrace My Body. This one is definitely in a season of refinement. I have successfully maintained a relatively positive view of my body since 2012 when I first started my health journey, but pregnancy was HARD for me. It left me feeling in many ways that I couldn’t trust my body to do what a woman’s body should naturally be able to do. From the nightmare depths of Hyperemesis Gravidarum to the unplanned cesarean delivery I am left with the temptation to feel like my body failed me. I choose daily to fight this temptation with the truths that hard as it was I conceived and carried my beautiful baby girl to term and have since continued to sustain her. I choose to have grace while my body recovers and excitement for all my body is capable of. 

There are many other ways we could explore how Embrace colors my life but in essence; 

Embrace calls me to fully live.

I invite you to take this journey with me and instead of another New Year’s Resolution, identify a Word of the Year that will be your guide in the year ahead. I’d love to hear what words you choose and even help you in your journey. 

Follow me on FB @Katelynn.Cordero /Insta @katelynn_prause. Email me at kc.healthcoach24@gmail.com

Stick. Stack. Stuck! Making Fitness a Habit for Life!

What does it take to start and actually stick to a fitness plan?

It may seem hard to believe for those that know me now but once upon a time … fitness was a struggle for me! Like paid for a gym membership for over 2.5 years without setting foot in the gym more than 3 times hard (2 of those were signing up and 1 was my free consult with a trainer which kicked my butt!! 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️) So how is it that if we fast forward to now that I am able to maintain a fitness plan despite being busier than ever running my own business? Despite also working 30+ hours on the side as a server? Despite the last three year battle with chronic sinus infections, a surgery and the return of my childhood asthma (with a vengeance I might add!)? The answer is quite simple. Shall I divulge?

I’m assuming you’re still reading which indicates you’re interested. The secret to my continued focus on fitness comes in 4 parts.

Identify Fitness Goals

Develop A Bulletproof Why

Map Out A Game Plan

Create Accountability

Each of these things has been key to helping me stay the course with my fitness over the last 10 years (7.5 if we are being honest and don’t count the 2.5 years I had a gym membership I didn’t use 😂)

Identify Your Fitness Goal

While Fitness, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means “the quality or state of being fit” for us as individuals, it’s not so black and white. Fitness means something different to everyone.

For the new mom it could mean having the mental and emotional energy to keep up with her new baby. For the person who has struggled with weight their whole life it may mean losing that weight and keeping it off. For the seasoned athlete it may mean pushing their bodies to peak physical performance. For me as a college student it meant having the energy to provide the active lifestyle required by my two huskies.

What does Fitness mean for you?

“Most people fail in life not because they aim to high and miss, but because they aim to low and hit, or they never aim at all” Les Brown. It is impossible to hit a target we can’t see. Defining our fitness goal puts our target in front of us so we can see it clearly and take aim for it.

Develop a Bulletproof Why

Our why is ultimately what moves us to action. If our why is strong enough, we will gladly pay any price to hit the goal. If our why is weak then so our resolve will also be weak and it will crumble at the first sign of opposition. We gotta dig deep here. Find that reason that tugs at our heart strings. The reason that drives us even when it gets tough (and believe me it WILL get tough!) To develop a strong why we need to ask ourselves the following question: what will achieving this fitness goal mean for us? For the people and animals around us? How will my life or theirs be changed in a positive way by achieving this goal?

For me back then in college I was at a crossroads. I found myself with two young huskies. I loved them dearly but I knew I wasn’t providing the life they needed or deserved. They spent most of their days in their kennel while I was either at school or work and when I came home they wanted to play but I was always to tired. I knew I had to make a choice, I had to either step up and become the dog mom they needed or find them a home that could. The idea of giving up my dogs broke my heart. They were and still are the most precious thing in my life. To this day the thought still brings tears to my eyes. Those dogs deserved the world from me because they are my world. They are my why. To provide the activity they need. To have the physical and emotional energy to be a great dog mom to them. I would move heaven and earth to show up for them. Always.

🐾💕 My FurBabies 💕🐾

So what is your why? My coach and mentor Tim Hendricks played a huge role in helping me get to the core of my why. Beyond my superficial reason of I just want to be healthy. Email us or comment below and we can set up a Free Wellness Profile to help you find yours! 💕💎

Me and my coach and mentor Tim And his wife Rita 💎

Map Out A Game Plan

In my experience with many things fitness included; either we run the day or the day runs us. When I was younger I naively believed some day I would find time for a fitness routine. The truth however is we will never find time. We must instead make time. Now that we have a Bulletproof why it will help us overcome the excuse mountain and carve out time that we mark as sacred. We must be honest with ourselves and schedule it where and when it makes sense but we must also be stern and strong with ourselves. This is where most people fall off. If we are going to avoid that than we must be willing to find our No Excuse, No Matter What Times. Have your coach help you break it down based on your goal and current schedule. How much time do you need to achieve your goal? How much time can you give? We must evaluate both sides to create a sustainable and successful plan.

My first goal was to increase activity for my dogs so Tim and I went to work and made my plan. According to the breed standard for Siberian Huskies they require a minimum of 1 hour of exercise DAILY! I was currently providing them ZERO exercise daily… yikes that’s a big gap to close!

However, we broke it down into steps to help me get from Zero to 60 (minutes that is 😂)! We mapped out a 3 month plan. Starting with setting aside 1 hour 3 days a week for the first month we gradually built up over those three months by adding 2 more days each month. My “homework” was to literally schedule the walks into my addenda around my work and school schedules. The act of setting aside and designating a specific time exponentially increases our likelihood of following through.

Create Accountability

We are the sum of the 5 people we are around the most. Seek out friends/family/health coach/community that is on a similar path as you, that energizes and inspires you. I can not tell you how many times I on my own would have skipped a workout had it not been for a friend waiting for me at the gym, or knowing my coach Tim would call me on it, or because my community (Fist the Answer in Adrian and now Empower!) motivated me to show up even when I was feeling down. Having that comradery not only helps pull us out of our slumps but also make fitness so much more enjoyable!

Fitness. Friendship. Fun

As we continue on our life’s journey our fitness needs will evolve with it. This process is one that is continual as our lives are continually changing. You will want to revisit these steps as your life shifts overtime but no matter where life takes you, following these simple steps will set you up for success in your fitness!

Speaking of the awesome power of Accountability! Join us for our year end Body Transformation Challenge! Why wait until January to start in on your health and fitness goals?! Let’s kick off the new year from the top of the mountain instead of crawling out of the valley. This 6 week challenge will help us enjoy the holiday season yet love ourselves enough to stay on track with our health.

Challenge registration open Monday 12/16 – Wednesday 12/18. $30 entry fee ($10 of every entry donated to RiverHouse in Grayling and the rest goes into a cash prize pot!)

Email us at info@empowerrlw.org for more information and to join the preregistration list!

From Fast Food to Home Cooking: A Journey to Better Eating (Part 4)

After learning what our bodies need, we are able to begin fine tuning what we are eating to bring us in line with those needs. Having a health coach, friend, or community, such as Empower Real Life Wellness, to plug into to keep us accountable as well as help guide us on the way is invaluable for this. On my own I don’t know if I could have figured out what swaps to make or stuck with it long enough to see it truly develop into a healthier lifestyle and the same holds true today as I walked through the health issues and move toward recovering. The Empower community continually holds me accountable to how I think about and care for myself.

While I don’t remember my exact numbers from my original wellness profile all those years ago, based on where my body was at that time and my goal to gain better energy we set goals for Calories, Protein, and Water intake. I knew from my logs I needed to increase my protein intake (I was only eating around 50-70g of protein a day) and begin swapping out higher calorie nutrient deficient foods for lower calorie nutrient dense foods (I was generally eating 2500+ calories a day and no exercise!). You may find yourself thinking, great advice but what does that even mean?! I know I was!

So what is Real Food? According to the Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA), real food is properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods. Whole foods are foods that are found in nature with only one ingredient that are not processed. By focusing on getting more real foods into our diets we ensure maximum nutritional density. 

My college diet had consisted mainly of take out (Wendys/Burger King/Taco Bell/Chinese), boxed or frozen meals (hamburger helper/fish sticks/pizza), and snacky foods (chips/cheetos/cookies) etc. AKA highly processed hyper palatable foods. With the help of Tim we began making small changes to bring more nutritious foods into my diet (no small task as I was a full time college student with 2 jobs and 2 huskies! Talk about busy!) 

He showed me how to adjust the quality of the foods I consumed by teaching me to read nutrition labels. Check out this video from Susan Bowerman, Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife for more information on understanding nutrition labels. 

Here’s an example of one of the first switches I made. Swapping my beloved Jr Bacon Cheese Burger (which I often ate two of plus a side of fries) with a turkey burger and sweet potato fries using pre-made frozen patties and pre-cut frozen fries. 

Wendys Jr Bacon Cheese Burger

Bacon Turkey Burger (MyFitness Pal Data)

The ones I made at home were more satisfying plus they were way less calories and much better nutrition (nutrition info from my fitness pal app). Notice the turkey burger has only 18g of fat compared to the Wendy’s burgers with 23g. Only 5g of saturated compared to 8g! (Saturated fats are known to elevate cholesterol).  Has a whole 71.6mg less sodium, 3g less sugar, 2 grams less carbs and 12 more grams of protein! And I only needed to eat 1 instead of 2! Not only am I getting better quality nutrition, in reality I’m still saving 342 calories because I am only eating 1 instead of 2 burgers. Even though the Turkey Burger has 418 calories and the Jr Bacon CheeseBurger has 380 calories. (This was mind-blowing for me as it is easy to assume higher calorie is bad but we always want to consider the quality of the nutrition in the calories!)

So now, let us look at the fries then shall we? I would eat a large fry with my two Jr Bacon CheeseBurgers, I substituted Sweet Potato Fries. 

Wendys Large Fry

Alexia Sweet Potato Fries

Now we do need to again remember servings because let’s be honest, 12 fries?!, not happening! Lmao. I usually doubled up on the sweet fries. So my 2 servings of sweet fries was 280 calories, 10g fat, 280mg sodium, 48 carbs, and 2g protein. Compare that to 530 calories, 24g fat, 520mg sodium, 70g carbs. 

With this single meal swap I decreased my caloric intake by almost 600 calories (⅓ of my daily calories)! Decreased my fat intake by 42 grams (¾ of my daily fat intake). Decreased my carbohydrates by 50 gram (about ⅓ of my daily goal) and increased the nutritional value of the food I was eating!   

Let’s look at some other swaps we can make. 

Here is a snapshot of what my logs have looked like over the years to give y’all an insight into the small changes made and how overtime they add up to a whole new lifestyle.

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

Food Log Example (circa 2011-2012)

Breakfast – Healthy Meal Shake & Herbal Tea Concentrate

Lunch – Subway/Quiznos

Dinner – Salad @ Restaurant/Frozen Skillet Meals/PastaRoni with Chicken

Food Log Example (circa 2013-2014)

Breakfast – Healthy Meal Shake & Herbal Tea Concentrate

Lunch – Lunch-meat Sandwich/ Simple Salad

Snack – Trail Mix/Granola Bar

Dinner – Frozen Meat (Chicken Breast/Turkey Burger/Fish) with Instant Side (Rice/Potatoes/Suddenly Pasta Salad) and Canned Veggie (corn/green beans)

Food Log Example (circa 2014-2016)

Breakfast – Healthy Meal Shake & Tea/Overnight Oatmeal/Yogurt & Granola

Snack – Fruit & 2oz Nut Butter/ 2oz Hummus & 1/2 cup cut Veggies/ 1 Fruit & 1-2oz Nuts

Lunch – 4oz Chicken/Turkey/Fish & 1 cup Rice/Sweet Potato/Quinoa & 1 cup Broccoli/Brussel Sprouts/Corn

Snack – Beverage Mix & Tea & Active Fiber

Dinner – 8oz Chicken/Turkey/Fish & 1/2 cup Rice/Sweet Potato/Quinoa & 1 cup leafy greens

Foor Log Example (Circa 2016)

Breakfast – Coffee/Tea & Healthy Meal Shake/Overnight Oats/Breakfast Bake

Snack – Rice cakes & Nut Butter/Tuna Salad & Cucumber

Lunch – Chicken & Rice & Veg/Turkey Burger & Veg

Snack – Beverage Mix & Tea & Active Fiber

Dinner – Stirfry/Tacos/Flatbread Chicken Pizza

Food Log Example (Circa 2017-Present)

Breakfast – Coffee mixed with Tea & Healthy Meal Shake

Snack – Fruit & Nuts/ Apple & Cheese/Beverage Mix & Rice Cakes/Trail Mix

Lunch – Leftovers (Spaghetti& Brussels Sprouts/Butternut Squash Bake& Chicken/Enchiladas/Pulled Pork over spinach and rice with balsalmic vinegar)

Snack -Homemade – Protein Snack Bites/Gluten & Dairy Free Pumpkin Mini Muffin/Oatmeal Bars

Dinner – Homemade – Chicken & Wild Rice Soup/ AuGratin Sweet Potatoes & Herb’d Pork Chops & Broccoli/Lemon Garlic Talapia & Rice & Brussle Sprouts/Chicken Stirfry etc

Keep in mind these are not hard transitions. Its fluid. Although I gave specific years for each example there was a lot of overlap. The snapshots are just meant to give an overview of the transitions.

Notice the progression. Small changes. Baby Steps. First adding a few of the Herbalife supplements to get into the habit of eating regularly throughout the day. (Supplementation is not a cure-all and may not be for everyone, but for me and my crazy busy lifestyle it helps me fill nutritional gaps and get good nutrition even when I am on the go)

Swapping fast food for healthier fast food.

Starting to cook more at home with pre-made meals. 

Swapping those boxed and frozen meals for simple homemade meals as I gained confidence. 

Experimenting with fresh ingredients – this was quite possibly the most challenging stage as I struggled with what to do with them and learning how to efficiently use them without having them go bad! I can not tell you how many times I have had to throw away produce and meats because they spoil… it’s no fun (and quite smelly) but as I continued to learn more I have reduced the waste and now I rarely experience the disappointment of rotten foods (notice I didn’t say never though!) 

Exploring new spices and seasonings. Thankfully spices have a much longer shelf life than fresh meats and produce, but they can seem overwhelming and good lord some are pricey! Yet little by little I added to my ‘toolkit’. Starting with the basics of salt and pepper. Some of my earliest additions were Garlic Powder, Chilli Powder, and Paprika when I tried my hand at chili for the first time. Each spice I added brought new depth and possibility to my cooking and now I have a cupboard full of spices and enjoy endless variety in my cooking.

Notice also, the small steps followed things I already liked to eat, mexican, american, chineese, etc. 

Throughout the whole process I leaned on my health coach and community to help me learn more about nutrition and get ideas for healthier alternatives. I also frequently used other awesome resources like pintrest! Over the years I’ve accumulated quite the board, I call it my Culinary Creativity board. It has given me tons of inspiration in my day to day meals. Some of the things I have tried, some of the things I have not, yet ;). Regardless, everything on there has added to my knowledge of cooking.

There were mess-ups in the beginning, yet, little by little, you learn from those experiences. You pay closer attention to the details of recipes you want to try, purchase only what is needed, plan meals around fresh meats/produce that needs to be used, and slowly become more comfortable with the healthy swaps you can make, and how spices can be used different ways.

So there we have it. A basic guide from Fast Food to Home Cooking. Of course, your journey will be just as unique as you are, but remember the fun is in the process. Embrace it and know you aren’t alone. Lean on your health coach, the Empower community, and awesome resources like pinterest to help you along the way. And don’t forget, there will be mess ups, we will fall off the horse from time to time. When you fall down, get back up and keep trying to be the best, most healthy version of you that you can be! Its not about being perfect, its about effort and heart. <3

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From Fast Food To Home Cooking: A Journey to Better Eating (Part 3)

Individual Body Needs

Another piece to our proverbial puzzle is knowing what our bodies need. In my earlier days I had no concept (and I mean zero) of what nutrition meant. I didn’t even grasp that my body needed anything from the foods I ate at all if I’m being brutally honest with myself. My thoughts on the topic were simple … food is food, right? Oh, bless my innocent soul!! Every wellness profile I have every done (from my very first one to the most recent one I did) has given me valuable insight into my body’s specific needs.

You see, our bodies are truly fascinating organisms that are vastly complex. We are made up of a hundred trillion cells! There are over 200 different kinds of cells and those cells make up 9 major organ systems. Each of those systems then works together to make living breathing human being! It’s absolutely incredible! (For more info on the human body check out this article from the Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Our bodies are so intricately connected that from the smallest cell to the largest organ no part can function without the rest. Even though we all share the same basic systems within our bodies, every human body’s needs are incredibly unique. Despite this in today’s culture we are taught the principle of conformity, molded and told to be the same, that different is not acceptable (evidenced by our societal acceptance of ‘ideal’ body shape, size, fitness and nutrition plans).  But y’all– different is Natural! There is not one body that is exactly the same or has exactly the same needs. Therefore, how can we expect to be able to treat our health as one size fits all? We simply can’t. Every-Body is unique and so are its needs. We can identify basic needs such as water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc., but the amounts needed by each individual are just that; individual. The wellness profile provides us a snapshot of our body’s needs so we can give our bodies the best chance possible to thrive by providing the nutrition we need.

Whether you function best with a detailed meal plan telling you exactly what to eat and when or if you prefer to just have a guideline to what your body needs you can use the information in whatever way makes sense for YOU and let it guide YOUR eating in a positive way.

My very first wellness profile was very basic but gave me a goal for calories and protein and got me started on my journey. As time has gone on both the scientific understanding of the needs of the human body has progressed, as well as my knowledge base. Thus, the wellness profile has provided continual insight into my body’s needs. Below is a recent profile I did for myself, Yep, I still do them periodically to guide me as my life, goals, and body changes. 😉

Goals: Lose 10lbs and rebuild immune health post sinus surgery

Current Stats

Age: 28 Weight: 145lbs Height: 5’7” BMI: 22  Adult Body Fat: 27.5%

Lean Mass: 103lbs  Fat Mass: 39lbs  Resting Metabolism (RMR): 1520cal 

Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE): 2325cal

Nutritional Goals

Net Calories: 1800cal  Protein: 135g  Carbs: 180g  Fats: 60g

Over the last few years I have had some health issues centered around my sinuses. I have experienced chronic sinus infections which caused severe asthma. With the frustration of chronic illness my mindset, fitness and eating habits have all been impacted which has lead to me adding about 10 extra pounds and my body fat percent to go up about 7%. Again, as we discussed in developing awareness, this is not something I view as good or bad. It is life, the above profile gives me insight into how to adjust my nutrition to help support my body meet my current goals as I recover from those health issues. It allows me to set up the following guidelines for my daily meals and aids in the Herbalife products I use. Below is an example of my current meal plan. Keep in mind I use this as a generalized guide not a strict step by step program but it can work either way based on how you best function. 

If you want to fine tune your nutrition with knowledge of your body’s specific needs you can get started with a free wellness profile. Email us at info@empowerrlw.org to schedule yours.

Join us next week for another piece to the puzzle. Making Healthy Swaps.

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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!

From Fast Food to Home Cooking: A Journey to Better Eating Habits (Part 1)

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?


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.