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Do You Crash Post-Workout?

I had to share something with you all today. Because I think it’s SUCH an important conversation that we’re *not* having – as women {you and me} and as fitness professionals {my colleagues} – at least not in the mainstream media. One #lifechanging fact that I share with my one-on-one health coaching clients all the time, but don’t really talk about here as much {obviously I should more}. About your workouts. And IF they’re serving you {read: working FOR you versus against your goals + desires}.

In a group I’m apart of on Facebook, someone wrote a post with the fantastic question of asking for tips on how to avoid crashing post-morning workout (she was struggling to stay awake at her desk, even after a large coffee after working out in the early morning).

Can you relate to this? I hear this struggle SO. MUCH. – from clients, from pregnant mommas, from new mommas, from working mommas, from women. So if this is you — know that you’re not alone sister and here’s what I want you to know (and what my response was):

“First of all, above all things – listen to your body. It feels the way it does for a reason and is sending you a message. The more you can tune in versus resolving to push through no matter what, the better it will serve you and perform for you. Period. When we do any type of workout  – which I know high-intensity interval training isn’t new for you (and likely you, my sweet blog reader also!!!)- there is of course an adaptation period.

With that said, in my work {as a holistic nutrition + health coach and fitness pro}, most people don’t get enough rest and don’t realize that the body actually needs a break from stress. The body doesn’t differentiate between different types of stress – emotional, mental, work, traffic, relationship, or physical. A high-intensity workout is super stressful on the body – not necessarily bad stress, but it depends on when you do it and also what the rest of your life looks like. If your job is high-stress, you’re feeling emotionally vulnerable or insecure, your day is a constant go-go-go and you rarely stop until your head hits the pillow, adding high-intensity workouts to the mix will only deplete energy stores you don’t have (read: sooner or later, it will move you farther away from your goals and how you want to feel).

Exercise will always create an immediate “high” from the endorphins produced afterwards, but the telltale sign of whether your workouts are working FOR you is what happens a few hours after or in the afternoon — is your energy sustained or are you dog-tired? Do you feel stronger and better equipped for your day or like you’re dragging your body around? H O N E S T L Y.

Being in the fitness industry for almost ten years, I can tell you with 100% confidence that pushing and killing yourself in the gym (when your body is calling for something else) is counterproductive to weight loss, to your health, to your energy, your nourishment and your vibrancy.

And here’s a little known but crucial known fact (especially for you cutie Type A’s out there): if your life consists of being in constant “push mode” and you thrive on a fast-paced work life with deadlines + goals, working out hard WILL feel good to you (even when your body needs something else) — because it’s familiar. Because you’re good at pushing, it’s what you do. BUT that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you in the moment. Or that it’s going to take you where you want to go. #truthbomb #realtalk

Being an integral part of and writing the workouts for a high-intensity interval training studio, obviously I’m a fan of these types of workouts. There are most certainly benefits and I think understanding how to physically tap into our body’s strength better equips us to know our capabilities in life — but, there’s a time and place. And it’s not always. And sometimes {okay, always in my opinion}, rest is more important, as in low impact movement. Because we don’t do it enough. We undervalue it. Because it’s harder for us to slow down and feel and honor versus push through, ignore and stuff down. But it’s essential to our well-being.

So, if it’s possible {and I know sometimes it’s not}, maybe sleep instead of workout. And if you’re feeling good as the day progresses, maybe workout later in the morning, at noon or after work. Or if you resolve yourself to do a HIIT class, maybe adapt your strategies to being there.

Don’t *always* run your hardest if you’re coming more than 3x per week.

Don’t *always* lift your heaviest and go to fatigue if you’re coming multiple days in a row.

Accept that just being there is the benefit and then gauge the effort you have to give based on how you’re feeling that day. There is JUST as much benefit (more, I believe, truly) to focusing on your breathing and working on flowing the reps of exercises together and trying to engage more muscles and be hyper-focused on form versus rushing and pushing. #trust

The benefit to interval training is just that – interval training. So maybe back off your paces on the treadmill and still let the heart rate go up and down, just to a lesser degree. It’s the increasing of breath that will benefit you most and just moving.

This is a hard mental shift to make. Believe me, I’ve been there. But I can promise you that honoring where your body is (which changes daily and yearly and seasonally and cyclically) instead of pushing what it doesn’t have will always, always make you feel better. And that’s the whole point, right? — to FEEL GOOD. When you walk in and hopefully better when you walk out (which includes the whole day, not just right after).”

So consider this your permission (from a fitness + healthy living pro) to just move. To move in many different ways, at many different speeds and (hopefully) for many different reasons (namely, of course, to feel good). Permission to know that going for a walk IS good enough. That going to yoga IS worth it (likely even moreso than your HIIT class, especially if you’re anti-yoga or anything high-intensity).

I encourage you to drop the “if it doesn’t kill me, it’s not worth it mentality”, because honestly that’s what WILL kill you / break your body / cause chronic pain / injure you to a degree that slows you down way more than doing yoga here and there ever would. #sir-ee-ously

But even those moments – where we experience less-than-optimal physical injuries – are a gift in and of themselves. Another way the body is saying, “Hey sister, I’m serious. You weren’t slowing down, so I made it happen. Can we figure out  a different strategy here?”

So like I said — consider this permission. Permission to do less and know that you’re probably going to get more in the long run. To daily assess, “how do I feel today and what does my body need?”

{To know, momma, that the more you focus on “getting your body back”, likely, the harder it will be to sink into your (new) life and (new) body. That although it might feel familiar and like you finally feel like yourself again to push hard in workouts, that that’s not actually the goal or what will move you closer towards your own goals – to return to the “old you” and way of being isn’t actually your truth. This is the time for honoring what your body has done, tuning in to her new needs and listening with your whole being instead of pushing. Truly and from the bottom of my heart, I need you to know this, because it’s at this moment in our lives – in becoming a mother that we draw closest to our unique feminine power.}

Sometimes the body needs to be pushed, to be challenged. Sometimes it needs to be gently guided through a more meditative + flowing movement. Ask yourself: what does my life MOST look like of the two scenarios I just mentioned — pushing or flowing. Likely, your workouts should be (or at least include) the opposite of what your day-to-day consists of.

So, back to the original question posed, just to recap: if your workouts are serving you, if they’re supporting your body versus depleting it, you should not crash post-workout. The energy generated from your movement should make you feel more connected, more rooted, stronger and more vibrant.

Do you feel me sister? Just think about it at least, and know it’s okay to say: “namaste in bed” to your morning workouts once in awhile. 😉

{I also wrote two separate blog posts on this topic that dive a little deeper into this topic awhile back: Making Your Workouts Work FOR You, which you can check out here: http://wp.me/p2Y0Cn-r8 and Getting Your Pre-Baby Body “Back”: http://wp.me/p2Y0Cn-ri}.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: Have you struggled with crashing post-workout? Are you exercising regularly and energy levels not where you desire? What could slowing down and listening to what type of movement your body needs versus pushing and dictating mean for you?

Photos taken by: Sarah Heitman Photography

Get The Meaningful, Fulfilled (Soulful, Joyful, Healthful) Life You Want. Simplified + Supported.

As women, we tend to be constantly pushing the envelope of exhaustion. We rarely create time and space to recharge outside of working out and perhaps, eating well.

For me, I move often and eat well to FEEL amazing in and connected to my body. These are the foundations of healthy living (and truthfully, non-negotiables if we wish to feel our best); but we are SO much bigger than our bodies and too often, even the source of movement we choose and our relationship to food is another stressor and takes energy versus serving to recharge us.

Photo credit: Kate Porter Photography

In order to bring your best self to the table and create a life and body you are excited about, you must be willing to look deeper than surface level. You must be nourished on all levels – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. You must seek inspiration and embrace growth. And yes, this often involves doing hard things. Digging under what’s holding you back so that you can move forward – with self-love and grace. But you and me? We were made for this work, we are strong. And we must take a stand for this so that we can live a FULLfilled life: joyFULL, soulFULL, healthFULL, meaningFULL + grateFULL.

Because when your LIFE is fulfilled, you can stop searching outside yourself for health and happiness. The need to fill the holes with food dissipates. You’ll begin to heal your relationship with food, inviting joy + pleasure back to the table and into your life on the daily. Food can become a way you love yourself up versus tear yourself down, beat yourself up. You’ll no longer seek fullness in belly for what’s missing in life. Most important of all, the love that’s so often sought outside yourself will be found within. So that you begin to create new standards of living for yourself and the emptiness that once invited food in, will be eternally filled with self-love, grace + gratitude (and believe it or not, my sweet sister, no one else can ever do this for you, it’s a solo journey).

This way of being is what I call Living FULLy: living from your gut – your place of intuition and inner wisdom – versus up in your head where the “to do’s”, “should’s” and stories you tell yourself that keep you busy, starved (emotionally + physically for nourishment) and exhausted. Living Fully connects the desires of your mind + heart to manifestation: the actual creation of a life where you are nourished and connected from the inside-out. Which, as it turns out, is how you also create a body and life you are excited about with more ease, joy and simplicity.

I know what you’re thinking – this all sounds nice, but how is it possible? And where do you start?

The truth is, you already have everything you need inside you right now; and you always have. The problem is that you’ve been bossing your body around for so long – telling her when + what to eat, how to exercise, what to feel and what to stuff down, what’s “acceptable” and what’s beautiful (I could keep going forever here…) – that you’ve forgotten where your power comes from: within. Within the quiet whisperings of your soul, the innate wisdom of your body and the fierce desires of your heart. Tuning IN to that power is the key to unlocking your natural vibrancy and creating a life + body you love.

For reals, friends: I’ve been in the health + wellness industry for almost ten years. I’ve whit-nessed all the ways and crazy things people do in the name of “getting healthy” or losing weight. And how all these well-intended women (and men) directly tie their (lack of) “success” and reaching of their goals to their self-worth; beating themselves up and sliding (yet again) into a shame + guilt spiral that never seems to end and keeps them stuck. Can you relate? Have you been there?

Photo credit: Sarah Heitman Photography

Me too. For a long time, I thought being healthy meant working out hard and eating all the “right” foods. It meant meal prepping, only high intensity exercise, post-workout nutrient timing and staying away from “bad” foods. And within that thinking, I also believed that happiness was created and came from that same space. But the hard, no-way-around-it truth is this: having a body and life that you’re excited about won’t be found in going to the gym daily or even in eating all the kale and veggies you can stomach. If you want to make impactFULL shifts in your life, that inspire joy and create meaning, you’ve got to start small, not big. You’ve got to start inside, not out.

I’ve been there and seen it all: frustrated + stuck, feeling like nothing done ever works; that achieving desires isn’t possible (physically yes, but truthfully, in all areas of life), being on and off the wagon, doing everything we “should” to be healthy + happy, but not actually ever feeling healthy + happy. Sound familiar? I personally know how utterly hopeless it can feel and can empathize fully in the desire to throw up your hands and say “screw it”. Except for the fact that you really, really want it – for things to just be simple + to feel good in your own skin, to not feel like you’re constantly chasing vibrant health.

Here’s what I know: contrary to popular belief, it’s not about what you know or what you do. If it were, you’d already have #allthethings figured out, right? Instead, it’s about your why. WHY you desire _________ (to lose weight, make more money, get that promotion, fall in love) and how you want to FEEL on the daily that will actually inspire a beautiful, soulful, joyful and healthful life.

Photo credit: Kate Porter Photography

And that, my lovelies, is my favorite work. Most of my clients seek out my health coaching services because they’ve “tried everything”. And that right there, is both the problem and also where my work begins. Instead of trying so hard, what we all really need is to slow down, stop doing more and start listening; to begin the lifelong journey of tuning in and acting on that wisdom that’s been inside you all along. But if you’ve never done that before or been avoiding it, beginning can be intimidating…and paralyzing. And also so easy to keep putting off, because you’ve been taught that there’s always a quick fix. But if your track record is anything like mine was, in the back of your mind, you know there isn’t. You want to believe there is, because, well, that’d be so much easier, right?

So I’m here to help bridge that gap: the gap between the unknown of how to begin Living Fully and to help you shut out all the noise of what you “should” be doing. To provide you with the space TO feel and listen to your desires, while being supported + heard. This work doesn’t happen in big, audacious ways – no big diet overhauls or eliminating food groups, no working out every day or killing yourself at the gym. It’s done in the quiet, on the daily, in small ways where we become tuned into the whisperings of our soul + intuition.

And beyond that, perhaps even before that, it’s about choosing (self-) love over (self-) loathing. Nourishment over starvation. Grace over exhaustion. The path towards Living Fully involves taking yourself off autopilot and into mindful awareness, learning the standards you’ve set for yourself that are keeping you stuck and being honest about what you’ve been avoiding + stuffing down. Because at the end of the day, there are two approaches: effective ones (where you love yourself forward to be nourished on all levels) and destructive ones (where you self-loathe yourself into change that doesn’t stick).

I believe you are here, (still) reading this, because you want that. You desire to take up a new path that is simplified and supported. Intuitive and doable. One that makes you feel GOOD every. step. of the way.

You desire a life that’s FULL of joy, meaning, success, flavor, impact, soul, zest and ease.

You yearn to FEEL wonderful, healthful, playful, powerful (and empowered), grateful, mindful, restful and beautiful.

You know there’s a better way, a way that involves less stress, but the results you want. And you’re right. There is.

I’m here because I want to support you in that journey. To be, if you will, the guiding light and sounding board to get you started and re-introduce you to your magnificence, your vibrance, your intuition and desires. To help you learn to Live FULLy by empowering your inner knowing so that you can begin trusting yourself and listening to your body’s wisdom. Ultimately, it’s about thriving.

Photo credit: Kate Porter Photography

You were made to thrive. To experience outrageous joy. To feel good in your own skin and be excited about both your body + life. And so my newest program, Living Fully: JoyFULL, SoulFULL and HealthFULL was created for you, to do just that, my love. Created to show you how to love up and nourish your body through amazing, delicious and simple food that makes you feel great without food restrictions or cutting out the things you love {yes, wine, chocolate and buttery popcorn are all invited to this thrive-fest}. Designed to guide you through the step-by-step process of how to manifest an inspired, soulful way of living in just six short weeks.

More details to come {like recipes + weekly game changing topics we’ll cover}, but here’s what you can expect to have created when you’re done: more confidence. more ease. more clarity, freedom and pleasure around food and your relationship to it. more rested. more rejuvenated. more connected (to yourself and others). more self-love and grace. more energy + focus. more power + strength. more empowered to listen to your body’s needs + desires and know what to do with those messages to create a life and body you LOVE.

Photo credit: Kate Porter Photography

This program will change your life. It’s not a quick fix, it’s not a diet and it’s doesn’t deal in extremes. It’s for being able to weather all of life’s seasons + cycles, both the highs and the lows. It’s my final “challenge” – where you get all the amazing things you’ve come to expect from my programs {like grocery lists, meal plans, delicious recipes + countless bonuses on how to simplify your time + work in the kitchen, to name a few}, but with the guidance + support that’s usually exclusive to my one-on-one health coaching clients.

I’m SO excited {like giddy} for sign-ups to open next week. The party starts Wed, June 14th. I can’t wait to do this with you!

Also available, at the same time will be two other options, depending on where you’re currently at in your journey: a digital recipe book or the full spring + summer meal plan (for those seeking inspiration in their kitchen, but not quite ready to dig deeper into their relationship with body, soul and food). 

Cycles + Seasons

So today, I’m getting super vulnerable. And wondering — do you ever feel “off”, momma? And can’t pinpoint the specific reason? Or do know, the reason but don’t know what to do about it? Me too. Can I talk to you about it?

Last week was super challenging for me. 10 days ago was my final day breastfeeding Will. For 2 years, we’ve shared countless moments, connecting over the nourishment my body was able to provide him. Sometimes, breastfeeding felt like a chain. Most times, it allowed me to do my favorite thing in the world – hold him, sharing love over looks, snuggles and still, soft moments. So being “done” has been both heartbreaking and freeing, definitely hard and emotional. All last week I felt off, like I was sunk down inside my usually enthusiastic body with a heaviness I couldn’t shake. Like there was an untouchable weight on my soul that nothing could soothe.

Although I knew I was inexplicably sad, it wasn’t until two things happened that I was able to offer myself the nourishment + grace I needed. Earlier in the week, I saw the moon, and it reminded me that it was the week before my period {did you know our cycles are connected to the moon’s cycles? 🌕} – it’s a naturally intuitive time built for introspection, rest and self-care. I felt like I’d been fighting my body because I was: it was asking me to slow down, feel and honor this huge change in my life. Instead, I’d been trying to “deal with it” by moving on (seriously ladies, how often and *why* do we always do this?!). But truthfully, I wasn’t ready to move on, my soul yearned to mourn this shift, this “end of a season”. Luckily, I met up with my soul sister Hilary Paris {for a business meeting turned heart-sharing sesh} and she held the space for me to speak, to cry, to allow myself to FEEL and heal. 💖

Photo Credit: Heather Brincko Photography.

Feeling leads to healing, leads to growth and love. Leads to the ability to offer grace and nourishment, which ultimately allows me to harness my feminine power. Having the knowledge of understanding my cycle {and thus the unique needs of my body}, along with honoring and truly *feeling* this changing “season” of my life allowed me to find my flow again. And so, I’m continually learning that it’s listening + honoring, not pushing through that ultimately brings me peace, joy + ease. Provided through an understanding of and connection to my body.

I’ve spent the last four years dedicated to honoring my uniquely feminine qualities, abilities and purpose. The knowledge I’ve gained in this journey has allowed me to not just survive, but thrive during both the hardest and best times of my life – being a #ladyboss before Will, during pregnancy, postpartum and as a #mompreneur. All these “seasons” brought with them new challenges + joys, highs and lots of lows. What allowed me to harness my power in all these seasons was the ability to read my body’s signals and know what she needed. Which just so happens to always be what *I* need in order to move closer to love, fulfillment and purpose. What we all need. More listening, less bossing our body around {cause it’s she that knows best}.

I want that for you too, sister. To give you all my tools, tricks + knowledge about harnessing your own feminine power so that you can better love yourself and feel more at home in and in tune with your body. On the daily, no matter the “season”. It’s why I do the work I do and why it’s my mission to empower busy women and moms to love up their body towards a full {SOULfull} and purpose-driven life through grace + nourishment (versus pushing + self-loathing}. Because it turns out that as your love grows (for your life, for yourself, your spirit), your body intuitively sheds the emotional + physical weight holding you back from a life & body you’re excited about. Which allows you to feel more inspired, more at home, more able to give love and shine your light to the world.

If you desire freedom, joy and ease, an inner vibrancy and energy that weathers all seasons + cycles {both of life and in your feminine body}, I invite you to join me for two very special events – my RISE workshop and NourishYOU Retreat – created to empower and nourish every inch of you – body, mind and spirit {see details below}. If you can’t make these events, then I invite you to join my tribe to get inspiration, delicious recipes, support and love to your inbox weekly along with tools, tips + tricks to macks-imize the life and body you were given {click here to get MO(re)}.. One big thing I’m learning in this life is that there’s no substitute for sisterhood and having a strong tribe of inspiring + empowering women around you with whom you can be real, heard, seen or understood. I have an amazingly supportive husband who also holds space for me and loves me deeply. Personally though, there are just some things no one but a woman (and momma) can understand or empathize with – this particular season of breastfeeding included. And for me, it’s been connecting with other women – in books, online and in-person that’s really helped crack my heart wide-open to fully feeling all the feels again. I want to hold that space for you too, sister. ❤

– – – – – – – – – –
RISE: Harness Your Feminine Power by Tuning In To Your Cycle

In this workshop, you’ll learn how tuning in to the natural rhythms of your cycle will help boost your confidence, ease and energy while reducing stress and PMS symptoms (moodiness, cravings, pain, bloating, the general feeling of being “off”)! You’ll leave the workshop feeling empowered with knowledge, tools + tricks to harness your feminine power to maximize your life, efforts and flow! This information changed my life, my periods and my ability to *always* feel good in my body.

The event begins with Whitney’s 30 minute vigorous barre class to awaken + strengthen the body followed by yin yoga with Hilary to nourish + open. Whitney will then lead an active discussion sharing the tools to boost your vibrance, strengthen your intuition and harness your full power + potential as a woman (whether you experience PMS or not!). Most importantly, this knowledge will empower you towards greater acceptance and love of your amazing body.

WHEN: Saturday, March 18th
WHERE: Limber Yoga in West Seattle
COST: $40 pre-registration, $45 day-of drop-in {pay here:https://www.paypal.me/whitneymack}
REGISTER by RSVP’ing to the event HERE.

– – – – – – – – – – 
NourishYou Retreat with myself + soul sister Hilary Paris
April 21-23rd at Na-Mu Lodge in Leavenworth, WA 

Do you feel nourished? Right now, in this moment? Body, mind, heart and soul? Do you desire to feel nourished, rejuvenated or refreshed from the inside-out?

Nourished in BODY with food that energizes + lightens, combined with movement that supports and makes your body buzz? Nourished in MIND with rich discussion and topics that expand your perspective, your life and creativity? Nourished in 💗 and SOUL through meaningful connection, supportive relationships + belly laughs, by surrounding yourself in natural beauty 🗻 and the space to feel, be heard and seen?

If you’re desiring these sources of nourishment {plus tools to manifest this on the daily}, if you’re craving more freedom, joy and fulfillment in your life, I invite to retreat to Leavenworth, WA with myself and Hilary Paris on April 21-23 at Na-Mu Lodge. The weekend was carefully crafted for the modern woman {YOU} to replenish mind, body and soul. Delicious food {cooked by me!}, energizing and restorative movement, meaningful discussions and endless love + support await you.

Are you in?! Email me: whitney@macksmo.com to snag your spot {there’s only a few left!}. Get all the details on this incredible weekend experience HERE.

 

Add Some MOjo to Your Morning

::: Let’s talk ☕ coffee ::: I love it. It’s a ritual I look forward to EVERY morning, and have spent lots of time figuring out how to get the MOst out of it {stay tuned for my MOjo Coffee recipe below}. It’s also something that I want to continue to love, but not *need*. You know what I mean? 

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Before I had my son Will (now almost 2), I would drink a cup of coffee a day. Beyond its buzz, coffee has quite a few benefits — but too much can increase stress + cortisol in the body {too much being more than 8 oz./day}; working against your metabolism and stable energy levels. If we find ourselves in a situation where we crave it or need it, its a sign that our body is actually calling out for authentic forms of energy: like rest, sleep, better nutrition, more supportive exercises or decreased stress, to name a few. See, coffee is kind of this catch-22: it makes us feel alert and on top of our game, when in reality, (when we drink too much) we’re further depleting energy stores we didn’t have to begin with – like over-drafting your bank account and covering up our true exhaustion versus doing something proactive about it.

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If we want to feel our best (which ultimately is the goal), understanding what boosts versus drains our energy is key; and it’s unique for all of us (plus always changing with age, seasons of life, stress levels, etc.). Since Will’s birth, I have drank a lot more coffee, usually at least 2 cups in the morning. I knew to feel better that I needed more sleep, but for a long time, that was out of my control – the “season” I was in. With the possibility of more sleep off the table, I did two things: first, consciously chose to drink more coffee to increase my alertness and ability to feel like a normal, functioning human {#mushymamabrain is no joke} while knowing that ultimately, I was still exhausted regardless of coffee making me feel otherwise; and second, I engaged in daily practices that authentically boosted my energy + health like weekly acupuncture or massage, physical therapy, lots of naps, a diet rooted in whole foods, drinking bone broth + taking grass-fed collagen, Epsom salts baths, practicing stillness + meditation, walks outside + connecting with others, and eventually, gentle movement and working out.

Fast-forward to now and Will’s been sleeping through the night for about 9 months. It’s taken me about that long to take advantage of this new sleeping pattern and not just use it to “do more” {like work more and hack away at the never-ending amount of household tasks}. I’ve also re-implemented a solid morning wake-up and evening wind-down routine that helps focus my mind in the morning and prepare my body + mind for sleep at night – which helps sooo much.

So, as I’m nearing 2 years of motherhood under my belt, I feel as though I’m entering into a new season. A season that requires a heck of a lot less coffee, with more time for rejuvenation and self-care. Maybe you’ve just recently entered into a new season yourself?: New mom or “seasoned” mom, new house or new move, new job or work project, more stress or less stress, new level of connection or awareness to your body and daily actions. Or perhaps you can see yourself deeply rooted into a specific season. Whatever the season, know it is a gift {seriously}. And then get real. First figure out what, at this point in your life, is out of your control (because there’s usually something: be it schedule, commute, sleep when you’ve got a new baby, eating out when you’re on working trips, etc.). Second, decide how you want to FEEL and action from there. I wanted to feel energized and empowered into my new role as a mom and while sleep was out of my control, self-care and other forms of boosting my body were not.

Every season of life is an opportunity to see your path in a new light, with a new perspective and a new challenge. Don’t shy away from the discomfort of a new season or challenge, instead – ask what you can learn, where you can grow, expand or live bigger. Examine what you can “shed” that isn’t/hasn’t been serving you and what you can add-in to boost your energy, stamina, connection and nourishment. Our life is one big experiment to flow with constant changes while drawing closer to our most authentic, energized and vibrant self.

In case you’re wondering, I’m still going to be all about my coffee over here; just filling up cup up with extra sleep and other forms of self-care versus one more pour. 🙂 If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ve probably seen the ways I “soup-up” my coffee {with grass-fed heavy whipping cream + collagen peptides plus organic + cold-pressed coconut oil  – either blended with a milk frother or blender}. But there are a few other things I’ve been doing that helped to make my transition to less coffee easier while additionally boosting my energy + brain power.

20170224_154154.jpgEnter: mushroom extract powder {I use Narturealm’s Sacred 7 Mushroom Powder} and the Anti-Coffee by wolves & sage. The Anti-Coffee is actually a non-caffeinated herbal blend that you can use to gradually to {or eventually, fully} replace some of your coffee grounds. Just start by replacing 1 Tbls. of coffee with the Anti-Coffee and you can slowly add more from there if desired. It has a similar taste to coffee, but includes herbs that energize, boost immunity, promote skin healing and hormone balancing, while helping detoxify the liver. {And BONUS: Sandra of wolves & sage has offered Macks Mo clients at 20% discount off their total order with the code 123MACKSMO – seriously friends, all their stuff is AMAZING}. Mushrooms have so many benefits, a few of which also include boosting energy + brain function, providing Vitamin D {aka coping with winter blues!}, while supporting immunity and skin health. I brew the mushroom powder into my coffee with the grounds {just stir it in and no, you can’t taste it this way!}. Check out my MOjo Coffee recipe below for a How-To on how to soup-up your morning brew!

20170223_184735.jpgMOjo Coffee: This builds off the bulletproof coffee concept, but with the addition of grass-fed collagen peptides and medicinal mushroom powder extract. You can blend everything in a blender (best option for multiple servings), OR for a less loud option, use a handheld milk frother (available on Amazon). Last and best news – this isn’t just for coffee. You can do it with tea too! For an afternoon (less or non-caffeinated boost), brew your tea per usual, then blend (I do recommend blending versus frothing tea) and enjoy! My faves are adding the “individual cup” ingredients below to matcha tea, Yerba Mate or peppermint tea with raw cacao for a peppermint mocha feel!

INGREDIENTS:
FOR BREWING:

  • 1+ Tbls. of the Anti-Coffee {optional} to replace equal amount of coffee beans
  • 1+ Tbls. of medicinal mushroom extract powder (I use Naturealm’s Sacred 7 Organic mushroom powder)

PER INDIVIDUAL CUP:

  • 1 Tbls. organic, cold-pressed coconut oil (option to also add grass-fed butter – between the two, totaling around 1 Tbls.)
  • 1 scoop of 100% grass-fed collagen (I like Dr. Axe or Vital Proteins brand)
  • Organic, grass-fed heavy whipping cream (could also use ¼ can of organic, full-fat canned coconut or almond milk or dollop of coconut cream)
  • 1 cup freshly brewed organic hot coffee
  • Optional: a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg; a touch of raw honey or maple syrup; raw, organic maca or organic, raw cacao powder (mocha anyone?) #endlesspossibilities


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Replace 1 Tbls. {or more} of your coffee beans with the Anti-Coffee, then grind per usual.
  2. Add grounds to coffee filter and stir in the mushroom extract powder.
  3. Brew coffee per usual.
  4. One coffee is finished, add “individual cup” ingredients to blender (increase servings as needed; best for multiple servings) and blend for one minute OR place ingredients in a cup and use milk frother to blend and create desired amount of foam.

NOTE: Sometimes (if I remember), I also heat my heavy whipping cream in my mug for 10-20 seconds on the microwave, then add my coffee, then pour in the blender. Pre-heating the cream can help keep the coffee hotter for longer.

Did you like this post? Please share! I appreciate all your love, time and support!

Gratitude Living – My Newest Challenge to You

Bodies are my business. They have been for over 8 years now. And during that time, working with hundreds of different types of bodies through fitness, nutrition and health coaching, I’m constantly asked two things: “What exercise should I be doing + how much (to change my body/lose weight)?” and “What should I be eating?” Everyone wants to be told what to do. To receive a simple black and white instruction that they can follow and see results. I get it. That way would be *so much* easier. At least, that’s what all the lovelies who’ve asked me these questions think.

But, {spoiler alert} that’s actually not the easy way. Living in the black and white of “best exercise”, “good” and “bad” food makes you constantly at war with your body and real life. This way of moving and eating forces you to override your body’s innate signs + signals in telling you when you’re hungry, what feels good in your body, what foods and movement drive your energy (versus deplete it) and worst of all, it crashes and burns against life’s natural flow. Because life, especially the good parts, are not black and white. It’s colorful, ever-changing, grey even – but definitely not black and white (or certain).

And when we try to force rigid black and white rules onto a body that’s neither, you’ll find yourself in a constant spiral of defeat, shame + guilt, chasing results but never achieving or maintaining them, your body at war with your head. Sound familiar?

img_2795What most people don’t know (or fail to realize) is the depth of factors at play when it comes to losing stubborn weight and creating a life and body you love (because the two are one in the same, in case you didn’t know). Your metabolic potential (literally the efficiency of your metabolism) is impacted by a confluence both inner and outer conditions. To name just a few, these can include: the food you eat, the way you move, your stress levels and sleep, what you’re thinking and feeling when you’re eating or exercising, the amount of joy and purpose in your life, your fulfillment in areas I call soul food – relationships, career, spirituality and self-care – how much water you drink, how fast-paced your life is and how much time you spend in gratitude.

And that last one – GRATITUDE – is a big one. Maybe even *the* big one. Because living in a state of the opposite (being ungrateful) is the root of unhappiness (and a good majority of the metabolism busters mentioned above too). Lack of appreciation blinds us to all of life’s goodness, ultimately impeding the exact progress we’re trying to make.

  • We cannot uncover what works best for our body (food, fitness and otherwise) if the language we use always conveys that we not enough. As is. Right now.
  • We cannot hope to lose weight if we’re ungrateful for the signs + signals our body sends to lovingly convey that what we’re currently doing isn’t working. It does this in host of ways, like: stubborn weight, injuries, poor sleep, scattered focus, mental fog, skin issues, digestive issues, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, inflammation, chronic diseases…(and more!).
  • We’ll remain (wholly) unfulfilled in this life if we’re constantly searching for the “next best” instead of being grateful for our selves, our body, our soul, our life in this moment. As is. Right now. And know, gratitude doesn’t mean we can’t move forward towards goals, it only means we are content with and present to the goodness right now.
  • No one and nothing will EVER be enough if we don’t start living gratitude on the daily in all facets of our life – those we see as both positive or not ideal. I cannot self-loathe my body into change (you know this, we’ve all tried it and failed), but I can self-love it forward.

It’s for this one big reason – gratitude – that I was inspired to create a new Challenge (after admittedly “forever” resigning from them 20 months ago)…

After Will was born, I didn’t feel 100% comfortable in my own skin. Regardless of the amazing feats of my birth and growing Will, I had to get used to my new body. Because let’s be honest – my postpartum body was very different then my pre-pregnancy body {physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and in every way I can possibly think of}. And something that I had to get used to living and loving in.

gratitude-collage-3My appreciation for my body runs deep, built over time through a commitment to engaging in practices that make me feel good. I knew that the one constant source of feeling good in my skin, increasing energy + “lightness” in my body, while creating ease + connection was rooted in my real food foundation. And it’s from that foundation that I was able to grow into gratitude living in a whole new way.

Because believe it or not, the first (and best) place to start – when we want to feel better in our body, have more energy, be more connected to our life – is with food. I’m not talking about eating in straightjacket fashion with rules and restrictions, but rather with an open heart + mind to uncover what vibrant health looks like on you. When we make eating real food our baseline, with the pursuit of feeling good as our guide, the barriers of what we “can”, “cannot”, “should” and “shouldn’t” eat fall away. They lose their power and become irrelevant. We can begin to move through the rest of our lives with more ease and joy (in life and around food) and less to no worry, shame + guilt.

The difference? Being in tune with your body – versus overriding its intuition, being open to discovery – versus trying to force change, is rooted in gratitude and love where we become the expert of our own body. There is no right or wrong, good or bad food, black or white, instead we have choice: The choice to pursue that which makes us feel, look and be our best. The choice to heal our relationship to food + body and take that first step in self-loving forward action. Because it’s the only way we really can move forward and create lasting shifts – in weight, in our lives, in inspiration, in fulfillment.

And so the GRATITUDE CHALLENGE is just that. A starting point – to guide you in establishing your own real food foundation, while offering inspiration through delicious recipes and building momentum via 8 weeks of practice in meal planning, tuning in to your intuition and learning optimal foods for vitality. We’ll talk real food, eating psychology (more on what effects your metabolic potential), gratitude and at the end of the day what really fills you up {spoiler: it’s not food}. I hope you’ll join for me this wonderful 8 week journey. But let me warn you – your life will be forever changed if you complete it. This program is not a quick fix and certainly not a diet. It’s a real food plan for real life and real, lasting shifts – rooted in gratitude, created with love. A different path, you might say. Because in order to change your results, you have to be willing to change the approach, right?

gratitude-challenge-collage-1

img_2713You might be wondering — what kind of recipes would you be eating? All recipes are naturally gluten-free, mostly dairy-free [with options to adjust based on your needs] and vegetarian-friendly. They are loaded with seasonal + fresh vegetables and rooted in real, whole foods created to energetically warm you up from the inside-out. Expect lots of crockpot {make-ahead} dishes, soups + chowders, one-pot meals and warm salads. There is no going to the grocery store to get tons of ingredients you’ll never use again – each recipe consists of simple ingredients you always have on hand. There are no restrictions and no extremes. I believe that keeping space for the things you love is not only imperative, but crucial in creating a balanced lifestyle where you both enjoy your food AND feel awesome all the time. To get your tastebuds watering, here’s a sampling of what you’ll see:

  • Zoodle Pizza Pie
  • Ginger Maple Glazed Salmon
  • Cumin Grilled Fish Tacos with Fiesta Mango Salsa
  • Nourishing Homemade Bone Broth
  • Curry Cashew Cream Chicken Salad Wrapped in Collards
  • Crunchy Sesame-Almond Fish Sticks
  • Roasted Stuffed Peppers
  • Heart-Warming Vegetable Minestrone
  • Peanut-Thai Stir Fry over Summer Squash Noodles
  • Open-Faced Shredded Pork Yam-Wich with Cashew Aioli
  • Simple Garlic-Ginger Stir Fry
  • Melt-In-Your-Mouth Fajita Yoodle Bowl
  • My Mom’s Famous Spaghetti {Squash} Pie
  • Beef Root Vegetable Stew
  • Roasted Pesto Fish + Green Vegetable Goodness – Tin Foil Dinner
  • New Age Chicken Soup
  • White Bean + Pesto Kale
  • Coconut Fish Chowder
  • Cream of Broccoli Chowder
  • Roasted Cauliflower Panzanella
  • Cucumber, Heirloom Tomato and Olive Anitpasto
  • Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
  • Coconut Creamed Yams
  • PLUS over 20 Breakfast + Brunch Recipes like the Quinoa + Pumpkin Parfait, Bom Dia Muffins and Almond Butter Cacao Nibs Chia Seed Pudding!
  • And Snack, Dessert, Appetizer + Drink Recipes!

Learn more about the Gratitude Challenge Challenge as a whole by CLICKING HERE. Early bird sign ups (15% off) run until Sept. 15th. Challenge content for Week #1 gets sent out Friday, Sept. 23 and we offically begin Monday, 9.26!

sign-me-up

Did you like this post? Join our email list to receive inspirational posts like this one and stay up-to-date on new recipes, workouts and get the inside track + specials on Macks Mo upcoming programs [CLICK HERE]As always, I’d love to hear from you – post any questions, comments or feedback below and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook andTwitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!

Gratitude – As a Lifestyle, not a “Practice”.

IMG_0714So, I’m 18 months into this mom-preneur thing. And there’s definitely never a shortage of things on my plate (as all you moms and women out there know). In life, in motherhood, in our careers, in our relationships, we all wear many hats. It’s hard not to be everything to everyone, hard not to want to “do it all” (even though we can’t – if we’re being honest). It’s hard not to be upset with myself for this being my first blog post in months – even though I have a million lessons, thoughts and life+game-changing things to share with you that I’m learning, breathing and creating, but just can’t seem to get to paper. #idigress

But there’s one practice that has made all the difference in the level of ease and joy in my life these past 18 months. A concept so simple, yet so impactful that it can flip overwhelm into immediate happiness, self-wallowing into smiling and the pity party of feeling like a workhorse into a heart that melts with love. It’s gratitude, friends – and it’s a #gamechanger.

Having a “gratitude practice” isn’t a new concept – for me, or probably your uber-hip self. In fact, before Will, I used to write down at least 3 things {almost} daily that I was grateful for in a journal. Yeah, that’s right, I’ve got years of things I’m grateful for. But, until recently, I didn’t *truly* implement this practice into a lifestyle. And doing versus living are two very different things.

LIVING gratitude means choosing to be grateful… for everything. Every thing. Failures, setbacks, sleepless nights, disagreements with Regan, overwhelm, a dirty house, my “to do” list. All those things. The things that usually weigh us down, make us feel sorry for ourselves and send us into fill the hole/void/problem with food + guilt + shame cycle. I know what you’re thinking – “no one is grateful for those things” – and you’re right. But that’s where this whole living gratitude thing is different than practicing. When I look around and see things that aren’t optimal, are stress-inducing or have blood-pressure-rising potential, I can see that they are all glaring signs that my life is being lived, not practiced. Not an act of “going through the motions” or being on autopilot. Living gratitude means being able to actively step back and see life for what it is – a beautiful, chaotic and lovely mess. One where things aren’t perfect and they never will be {duh}.

13653479_693036198646_897276604293597774_oLiving gratitude means that I accept most things are out of my control, except for my reactions to those things, to life. And I’ve found it’s literally impossible to be remain in a state of overwhelm or self-wallowing of “all I do” or need to do if I take a deep breath, close my eyes and instead think of the things I’m grateful for within that same realm versus what’s got me in a tizzy. This suboptimal state – of being in my head, seeing everything that’s wrong {or how I’ve been wronged}, viewing things that don’t go my way or as planned as negative – essentially blocks out the ability to experience joy and be present in the moment, it inhibits the ability to connect and be compassionate and limits the soul’s ability to grow and be open for love. Ultimately, it affects my perceived reality, health and happiness. All those last few things are where the goodness of life lives. And it’s also the root of being fulfilled or empty in this life. The root of why we turn to food to fill the void {consciously or not}, why we can’t stick with any “diet” or exercise program for the long haul, why we find ourselves either on or off the wagon or don’t understand why we’re irritable, unhappy or dragging for “no reason”.

Every moment has the potential to expand our lives or shrink them. Every moment – both the gut-wrenching, challenging moments AND the amazing, joyful moments – are essential for soul growth and really living life. You can’t have one without the other. And so we are left with two choices: to be grateful for both or to fight both. Because you can’t fully experience joy if you’re fighting life’s challenges. We can’t numb or avoid one and not impact the other; it’s just not how this beautiful life works. So next time you’re in a state of overwhelm, caught up in all you “have” to do {or do do}, step back and choose to live gratitude. To slow down, smile and know that we’re all doing our best. And we could all use a little more grace, a little more patience and a LOT more love. Life is good, God is good and you’ll find me being grateful for it all. #allthethings

Because as it turns out, I can choose that life. And that life is where it’s at.

A New Way to Spark Postpartum {and All} Weight Loss

Last week I had the honor of being featured as a specialist at an event called Mother Soulstice. The event was created to provide a space for women to find power in their journey of postpartum healing and change the conversation of how we view and treat ourselves. #inspiration I was asked to share my work in postpartum fitness and nutrition as a Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and while this was written for the women who attended, I couldn’t help but share this with all my followers {and beyond}. Because this information is relative to all mamas [and all women for that matter], and I hope it can make an impact on your life as well!

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When we become a mother, there is *so much* pressure to act like we’ve got it all together, to be perfect and to get our bodies and lives “back”. But what if we changed the conversation; changed the approach? What if instead of self-loathing our way “back”, we self-loved ourselves forward? Forward into a relationship with ourselves that embraced the changes we’ve been through {physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and in every way I can think possibly of} and focused on creating joy, confidence and energy through radical self-love and acceptance? What if the key to feeling good in your own skin RIGHT NOW and postpartum weight loss was by following that exact path? Would you take it?

WHERE TO START:

CULTIVATE JOY DAILY: When we experience a lack of joy at anytime in our lives {which we’re especially prone to postpartum as we step into a new life and way of being}, we tend to seek solace in food and engage in behaviors that aren’t actually supportive to our health + well-being. We crave sweets – namely baked sweets, chocolate, ice cream, soft + filling starches, ice cream and cheese. Behind each craving is a 100% legitimate reason that essentially boils down to an internal need that we’re neglecting; and cravings are one of the body’s only ways of telling us this. We interpret these needs as food-based cravings, so indulge in them, then still wonder why we don’t actually feel better afterwards (not to mention the shame + guilt cycle we enter into). Try this instead – CREATE A FEEL GOOD LIST. Write down as many things as you can think of – big and small – that make you feel good and bring you joy (physically and emotionally). It can be as simple as drinking more water and eating more vegetables at every meal to a spa day, date night (or sex!) with your significant other, meeting up with girlfriends, moving your body, meditating, taking deep breaths or reading a book. Anything and everything that makes you feel good that you could do RIGHT NOW. Then try to do at least one thing from this list every day and be sure to add in at least one thing (just for you) that you can look forward to!

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WHEN YOUR WEIGHT IS STUCK, LOOK AT WHERE IN LIFE YOUR “STUCK”: How often do we women find ourselves “waiting on the weight” before we fully embrace life and do all the things we want to do? Or how much time do we spend imagining how awesome life would be if we were 10 pounds lighter? 40 pounds lighter? Here’s the truth – you’re never going to get “there” – and even *if* you lose the weight you’d like, it doesn’t make your life full. Just as your body grows and regenerates every day, your soul needs growth as well. So I want to ask you – are you truly *living* your life right now or are you just surviving? Believe me, I know there’s definitely an element of surviving those first few months PP, but in order to bring ourselves out of the fog, out of the overwhelm, out of the wallowing in “loss” of self or body, we must (we must!) spend time cultivating the needs of our soul (see below for some ideas on this!) in order to become “unstuck” in negative habits, thoughts patterns and beliefs that ALL stall weight loss efforts. So if you feel like you’ve tried everything and are still struggling, maybe it’s not your outer body that needs addressing. As a fitness professional and health coach, I can tell you with 100% conviction that it’s not the physical landscape (ex. food and fitness) that needs changing in order to make that stubborn weight budge; it’s an honest look at what emotional weight (which I believe we all come to bear in some capacity as a mother) that we’re holding onto; the stories we keep telling ourselves about our bodies and the attitude in which we approach our life and it’s worth. We can’t keep waiting on the weight, waiting for things to slow down or get easier, for life to happen for us – every season has its struggles, every season passes in the blink of an eye. So instead of forcing change through nutrition or exercise, what if we engaged in self-loving practices that made our life full? And by full, I mean that it’s imperative as moms to take time for our own growth and care. Will (my son) fills up my heart in ways I’d never known or experienced, but that’s not a substitute for taking time for myself to recharge all the energy I output (physically, mentally, emotionally and on a soul-level).

FILL UP ON SOUL FOOD. Our soul foods are what really feed us and drive our happiness. They “fill us up” from the inside so that we don’t seek comfort, solace and fulfillment from the “outside” (in food or superficial things). Your SOUL FOOD includes:

  • being surrounded with loving, deep relationships (with yourself and others)
  • having a fulfilling, balanced work life and career (“career” being an interchangeable word with your life’s work and purpose)
  • self-care – simply put, caring for yourself daily; doing things that make you feel good + recharge your energy, increase your vitality and create mental space
  • engaging in a spiritual practice that gives purpose and meaning to your life

So if you’re frustrated and “stuck”, I encourage you to try these methods and take a look at your soul food. It’s a new path that involves loving yourself (as you are) and filling yourself up from the inside. It’s your answer to ditching diets, extreme exercise and actually getting the results you want. For reals. Let’s take up this new way together; change the conversation of how we treat ourselves so we can bring a fuller, more joyful self to every aspect of our life. You deserve it, mama. Sending love and light. -Whitney

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Did you like this post? Please share! If you can relate to it or have a comment/question, I’d love to hear from you! {whitney @ macksmo.com}. Together mama’s, we are stronger and we deserve MO(re). #macksmomma So much love to you, all my readers!