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Burn It to Earn It, Right? WRONG.

Christmas is just around the corner. All the holiday cookies, parties and gatherings are coming to a climax. All around me during this time of year, I hear people talking about burning off the calories they’ve consumed [or plan to]. It’s engrained into our psyche that in order to eat + enjoy food during the holiday season, we have to “earn it” by “burning it”.

And it drives. me. nuts.

Pardon my French, but this way of thinking is complete bullsh*t. That’s right – a big crock of BS — and one that certainly won’t leave you feeling good in your own skin, tuned into your body’s needs, desires + signals. 

Move Your Body to Feel GoodAt Macks Mo, Regan and I believe that there is room for enjoying the things you love without having to worry about how or where you’re going to burn that love off. You see, this burn to earn mentality is part of a shame cycle that creates negative energy around both food and fitness. You feel guilty about the foods you eat, so believe you must “punish yourself” for enjoying them. I am of the philosophy that you should move your body to feel good – to create energy, increase blood flow + oxygen, deepen your breathing, balance out your body and feel the vibrance of being alive + strong. I don’t believe in practice or mentality of “killing yourself in the gym”  – and believe that this just adds more tension + stress to your life vs. letting movement be an outlet that gives you access to a deeper connection with your body.

And that’s what we need more of – connecting deeper to our body’s needs, desires and signals to learn how to better support our own personal health journey. To know that in order to increase our well-being, we must approach health from a positive, enriched and nourished place instead of a negative, self-deprecating and shame-inducing space.

So as we move through the end of the holiday season and into a new year, I ask that you give yourself the gift of approaching your health from a little different perspective. First, determine the things you love about the holiday season. What fills you up? Determine the food and/or drinks that you truly LOVE and make room for those, but be willing to let go of the others. Then let yourself feel good about enjoying them without guilt or shame. When you move your body [which we encourage you to do in some way on an {almost} daily basis], choose things you look forward to. Be it a walk, hike, skiing, lifting weights, yoga or chasing after your kids, let it lift you up and be surrounded with feelings of your inner strength, power and love. Give yourself grace to grow, make mistakes and forgive. And most of all, listen. Listen to all the wonderful ways in which your body communicates with you on a daily basis. If you’re feeling sluggish, be your own health detective and seek out ways to energize your mind + body. Engage in activities + decisions that come from a place of self-love and you’ll never have to feel bad about making them. I promise. Love your body and it will love you back. Celebrate all the blessings in your life and the fact that you have the power to choose.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas + Happy Holidays and sending MY love to you. 

Did you like this post? If so, share the love! 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 and Twitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!

Reframing Thanks + Giving

I subscribe to a lot of health-based newsletters [like a lot]. So my inbox has been filled lately with articles on how to navigate the holidays this year, strategies to eat well on Turkey Day, among many other tips + “how to” lists for not letting this day create a snowball effect that negatively impacts your health for the rest of our holiday season. So, what do I, as a fitness expert and holistic nutrition coach have to add to the conversation?

Thanks + givingA simple challenge — what would happen if you reframed Thanksgiving? What if this holiday could be less about the pressure to not “blow it”, less emphasis on the potential detriment of food, the guilt, the indulgence and more about the thanks + giving? In truth, Thanksgiving dinner is no different than any other celebratory gathering; it’s just another meal. There are usually appetizers, dinner and dessert, right? In my home, I am lucky enough to have gatherings like this all the time. I LOVE having people in my home to share in good food, wine and conversation. And while providing those I love with good-for-you, delicious foods is one of the ways in which I express my love, the reason behind said get-togethers – and the reason for THIS season is for thanks + giving. To step back, look around and express gratitude for the multitude of blessings in your life, while being able to share quality time with loved ones. The food, the drinks are background noise – or they should be. Because happiness isn’t found in food. Sure, we can experience pleasure from the way flavors dance on our tastebuds or nostalgia from the memories certain dishes bring back, but at the end of the day, the meal is just a meal. But the reason for the meal is amazing and powerful. A moment in time for you to fill up your cup with love, connection and meaningful relationships — and that’s what really matters in life. Slowing down, appreciating the moment and choosing to be fulfilled in a different way this year [vs. a stuffed belly].

And within that, there is of course, room to enjoy the things you love. As my friend and fellow health coach Sarah Adler says – you can always approach the same situations with fresh eyes. There are always ways to upgrade your favorite dishes with real food ingredients that not only TASTE better, but are nutrient-rich and another blessing you can add to your book {for example, nitrate-free organic bacon with Brussels Sprouts, organic sausage added to your stuffing, your broccoli casserole made with real, grass-fed + organic cream, butter & cheese or your pecan pie made with maple syrup instead of corn syrup} – the possibilities are REAL and endless. The trick is to first determine what you’re most looking forward to {what you love} and know there is space for those; then, leave the rest. As I said earlier, let’s reframe the day to be about thanks + giving — could we be thankful for our favorites and give ourselves the space to consider what we consume out of habit vs. love? There’s a difference – both in the “why” behind consumption and how it’ll make you feel afterwards.

One great tool to reframe the day? Visualization. Wake-up and take a moment to visualize exactly what you want your day to look like – how you want to feel all day long; and while you’re at it, count your blessings. Visualize the things, people and circumstances you’re grateful for [don’t forget about yourself!] and be present in that feeling, soak it up. See yourself cultivating that deeper throughout the day and perhaps even take some time to express that appreciation to others. Sometimes the only thing we need to do things differently is a different mindset – a way to reframe our experiences to be richer, more meaningful and more in line with what we really want out of our lives.

HH PromoAnd since we’re on the subject, I want to tell you that I am grateful for YOU. For your support, for being here, for reading this and for allowing yourself the chance to create vibrant health alongside us. And in light of such, I have a small gift for you. Coming back by popular demand December 8th, we’re going to be re-launching our FREE Holiday Helpers series. So while the tips don’t start until then, you can get the recipes {including our Curried Pumpkin soup – a great appetizer/starter dish} and the workouts {all bodyweight so perfect for your Thanksgiving travels or need for a quick pick-me-up} NOW. Sign up here: www.macksmo.com/holidayhelpers to get the packet right to your inbox.

Last, because I do love real food so much {and want you to experience it’s divinity as well}, here are some great recipes ideas from some of my own favorite real-food resources to try on your table this Thanksgiving:
Salted Caramel Pecan Pie {from the Spunky Coconut}
Roasted Root Vegetables with Turkey {Dr. Mark Hyman}
Citrus Crab Salad {Dr. Mark Hyman}
Cranberry Sauce with Orange + Ginger {Joyful Belly Ayurveda}
Kale, Butternut Squash + Organic Sausage Stuffing {The Greatist}
– Twice Baked Yams with Pecan Crumble {Simply Real Health}

Or try a Macks Mo favorite – Caramelized Brussels Sprouts: 1 lbs. Brussels Sprouts, 1 Tbls. coconut oil, 2 handful shiitake mushrooms, 3 heads of garlic {or 1.5 tsp.}, sea salt, pepper + red chili flakes AND organic, nitrate-free bacon!

  1. Cut bacon into small pieces and saute first. When crisp, remove from pan and set aside.
  2. While bacon is cooking, mince garlic finely and thinly slice the Brussels Sprouts [make sure to chop ends off first + discard].
  3. Add garlic to bacon grease + coconut oil and saute for 1-2 minutes, until brown but careful not to burn.
  4. Next add mushrooms and Brussels, sautéing until brown but not mushy [about 8 minutes on medium heat].
  5. Season with sea salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste and add bacon back in at the end. YUM!

 

What It Means to Have Health Freedom

This past Saturday, Regan and I launched the Freedom Prescription (Rx) Challenge – and are so excited to share our newest edition of Macks Mo Nutrition + Workout Programming, along with Lifestyle Coaching Techniques with you.

The Freedom Rx Pic.jpgIn the January 2014 Momentum Challenge, as a group, we lost 318 lbs., 212 inches & had a 48% average improvement on fitness tests in just 4 weeks [check out their stories + our experience here]. Inspired by this and due to popular demand, we created the Freedom Rx Challenge for the season where you want to feel & look your best in a body you’re proud to bare.

Now before you write off the idea of taking it on [because you have no time to “fit it in”], let me tell you we created this Challenge precisely to meet you there – in the midst of your busy social calendar, with Memorial Day + 4th of July, the end of school and fun in the sun.We created it for all the moments you’ll be traveling and the times spent at weddings and summer BBQ’s with drink in hand – this Challenge was designed to help you achieve vibrant health, in a way you’ve never experienced, without having to compromise any other important areas [or events] in your life.

This Challenge is for YOU if:

  • You think you’re healthy, but you don’t feel vibrant and struggle to find the energy to get through the day. You’re know you’re irritable and moody, unmotivated and lack mental focus but can’t seem to get “out of the funk”.
  • You feel like you eat well and know you workout hard, but still aren’t seeing the results you want. You’re frustrated and constantly beating yourself up for not being able to “get it right”.
  • You want to upgrade or spice up your food choices and/or find a balanced exercise routine that WORKS.
  • You sleep “well”, but still wake up fatigued, needing pick-me-ups like coffee and sweets to get you through.
  • You’re sick of yo-yo dieting and feeling out of control with your food choices + emotions.
  • You’re tired of feeling heavy and bloated or suffering from other physical issues like indigestion, gas, headaches + overall body fatigue.
  • You’re always thinking about food – categorizing it as “good” or “bad” and are constantly worried about the repercussions of your food decisions.
  • You feel like a teenager again, but not in a good way – suffering from acne or other skin related issues.
  • Cravings rule your life – you have a “sweet tooth that’s out of control” or images of carbs that dance in your head. You need coffee in the AM to get you moving and PM to keep you going.
  • You want to make health an integral part of your life, but not have it “rule” your life and suck up all your time.
  • You feel like “something is missing” from your life, but can’t figure it out. You want to add meaning and purpose to your life.
  • You struggle with balancing the “fun” in your life – eating out, hanging out and eating healthy don’t fit together.

If you are any or all of these things, this Challenge was created for you. Created not so that you can experience “health” but instead VIBRANT health. You see, at Macks Mo, we don’t believe that the absence of disease or an “illness” = health. We don’t even think that exercising hard or eating real, whole foods fully constitutes health or makes you “healthy”.

We believe vibrant health stems from an inner energy that doesn’t stop. It involves a whole health approach that encompasses your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It focuses on changing your inner landscape so that the external changes you make [like eating healthy + working out] actually stick and make a difference. We want you to be inspired and full of energy all the live long days – because if you’re always tired, feeling like crap or frustrated with where you’re “at”, then life is no fun. And who wants to live a life that’s no fun? Even if you fill your life with “fun things”, living in a body that’s weighing you down – physically, energetically and emotionally, will always limit the amount of true happiness you can experience. So if you’re ready to finally let that go – let go of the control you’re trying to exercise on your life to “be” healthy and instead learn the steps to actually LIVE it, then I would love to have you join us for the Freedom Rx Challenge.

Check out this promo video to learn more here, then check out these extra details below:

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT BY MERELY PARTICIPATING IN THE CHALLENGE (Level #1):

  • Coaching videos + handouts with exercises and information to set you free of health barriers holding you captive and bring you towards vibrant health from the inside-out.
  • The tools to create a richer, more meaningful life lived in the freedom of boundless energy and rooted in radical self-acceptance & love.
  • Macks Mo Skin Care 101 – a guide to transitioning your beauty products from toxic to ones that support glowing skin and healthy hair.
  • Food Rules – the “skinny” on need-to-know food information to empower your decisions behind knowledge that makes sense and is applicable into your busy life.
  • Learn how to live a life that supports goals for your body + life without the need to compromise, but instead teaching how to get MORE out of your life while shedding excess physical + emotional weight.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE ONLINE NUTRITIONAL PROGRAMMING (Level #2A):

  • 6 weeks of nutritional programming – including over 40 new, seasonal new recipes from Macks Mo and featuring recipes from local Seattle chef Aubrey Jenkins of drumbeets.com – we’re talking breakfast, lunch, brunch, party + BBQ favorites, dinner, snacks, drinks and sweet treats.
  • 6 weeks of grocery lists + prep to set you up for success every week.
  • Gain confidence in the kitchen and freedom from low energy, wasted food and stubborn weight – all while eating delicious, real food combinations that make you feel amazing!
  • Macks Mo Pantry Basics – a guide to having the food you need on hand at all times so you can whip up a healthy meal in record time without needing to run to the grocery store.
  • Making Meals Work – a guide to repurposing leftovers; cooking once, but reaping the benefits of that effort to recreate two to three different meals beyond that; meaning less time over the stove for you.
  • The Macks Mo Plate – a guide to understanding how the things we bring to the table [food + more] affect the way we assimilate that food into our bodies. Leads you through the process of intuitive eating and understanding portions.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE ONLINE WORKOUT PROGRAMMING (Level #2B):

  • 9 New Macks Mo workouts that can be done anywhere – your home, at the gym, in a park, at a track or in your hotel room that take 30 minutes or less and require just your body weight or dumbbells.
  • The workouts vary in intensity and are designed to meet you where you’re at, regardless of fitness level. Each full-body workout was created to build balanced muscle definition, a stronger core, while challenging & increasing your strength and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Online video tutorials for every workout so that you understand form + posture on exercises and know which muscles you’re targeting. This allows you to maximize your time + effort into efficient movement that WORK every time.
  • Written guidelines to understand the workout formats + journal to track your results and progress.
  • Videos and articles to support you in learning how to maximize your metabolic turn while teaching you the Macks Mo Method of getting the most out of your workouts.
  • Increase your body awareness, improve your posture, gain confidence and experience the freedom of moving your body in a balanced way that leaves you feeling taller, more tuned in and energized.

The Challenge has 4 Levels to Enter:
   – #1: Level 1 includes challenge entry [which makes you or your group eligible for prizes] and also the “what you can expect” material for just joining the Challenge. A $500 value for just $40.
– #2A: Level 1 + Online Nutritional Programming. An $700 value for just $125.
– #2B: Level 1 + Online Workout Programming. A $650 value for just $125.
– #3: Level 1 + both Online Nutrition + Workout Programming. An $800 value for just $220.

Group ShotHOWEVER…we know it’s more fun to work in groups or with a partner – not to mention the added accountability + support that comes with working towards to same goal, so for this challenge we are excited to offer PARTNER + GROUP DISCOUNTS. Get together with your significant other or make a group of 3+ people and receive 30% off whichever level you choose. And group members can participate at different levels – some could just enter at Level #1, while others choose #2 or #3. It doesn’t matter what level you choose or where you’re at – everyone in your group gets 30% off their total purchase.

At checkout, enter “getmosupport” to receive the Group Discount or “sexyrexy” for the Couples Discount [please note that couples need to purchase an additional Level #1 on top of whatever level they choose to participate in].

Like always, we determine Challenge Winners based on measurements [inches lost], weight loss and the percentage improvement made on fitness tests [for couples and groups, we combine your team’s improvements for a total percentage]. We will be offering over $750 worth of prizes to:

  • The #1 and #2 individual finishers
  • The Top Couple
  • The Top Group

We hope that you’ll join us and make the decision to finally free yourself from the things holding you back from experiencing vibrant health. It’s our passion to share this message with you – and we look forward to sharing in your journey!

Visit macksmo.com and join by clicking “Sign Up”, then selecting your Level of Choice. If you’re participating in a group or as a couple, make sure to send us a note to let you know whose on your team! Please email with questions. Challenge begins Monday, May 19th as a “prep week”. If you’re participating in Levels #2A, #2B or #3, you’ll receive the materials to get you started on Saturday, 5/17. Everyone participating will receive your “Freedom Rx” packet on Monday 5/19. Challenge ends on Wednesday, July 3rd.

The Stories – 2014 Momentum Challenge

Momentum ChallengeSometimes in life, we have the opportunity to participate in something really special. When Regan & I created the 2014 Momentum Challenge, we wanted it to be different than anything we’d done up to that point in our careers. It was a reflection of our life, our work, our passions and our expertise all wrapped into one 4-week package. I knew it was special, but the way it came to life – thanks to all our amazing participants, was far beyond my wildest dreams. I was inspired, humbled and uplifted daily – from the Challenger’s personal stories of success + growth and the support they provided each other on our closed group Facebook page, to the accomplishments the group was able to achieve as a whole [we lost 318 lbs., 212 inches & had a 48% average improvement on our fitness tests!]. It honestly, transformed my life – and helped me dig deeper into my own personal growth, for which I am grateful beyond words. Their stories, I believe are so powerful – so whether you’re thinking about making some changes in our life, need a little support or a little inspiration, I wanted to share the experiences of our Challengers with you, in their own words [and don’t miss our special offer at the bottom!]:

“I joined the Momentum Challenge [after doing the Macks Mo Partner Program earlier in 2013] because I knew I could only improve – not just physically, but mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I’ve had food issues since I can remember – and the Partner Program + Momentum Challenge, reminded me to taste my food, eat a balanced diet and not beat myself up (ever) if I slip or cheat. Not only did I physically lose weight, but mentally lost baggage and self-doubt. What I enjoyed the most about working with Regan & Whitney was their support throughout the program via Facebook, text, email, phone calls – I felt like I was training right alongside them even though I live thousands of miles away in NYC.  I also loved the recipes and the workout videos were amazing – so much detail. I would recommend it to everyone (no, seriously).  Someone looking to get back in touch with his/her body.  Someone looking to transform eating habits and physical appearance.  Someone getting back into working out.  Someone looking to connect on a more meaningful level.  This program really has something for everyone!” – Claire G., NYC, Fitness Instructor + Trainer

“This challenge has been amazing for me. I am finding a way to balance what I put in to my body which has always been hard for me. I am making better decisions about what I know will be beneficial to how my body and my mind feels as it is fueled by good wholesome food and exercise. I was on vacation last week and had an incredible week. I exercised almost every day (using the Macks Mo workouts plus running), ate 85/15 and slept so well. I woke up this morning and felt so happy and content with where I am. I tend to not be a very optimistic or happy person and have a hard time living in the present and something has just clicked in the last month to turn that around for me. I have always known that eating better and exercising regularly is a good thing for my well-being and mental health but I’ve always had a hard time keeping the momentum after the initial motivation has worn off. I really want to thank you for your programming because I feel like I have such a positive foundation right now that I will be able to sustain it. I feel like when I focus on myself (I have a hard time taking care of myself and always take care of everyone else instead), even when it is small things like getting a 30 min workout in and being mindful about what I put in my body, I have a different perspective about life and the life I want to lead.” – Katie S., Seattle

“I’m feeling fantastic. I’m eating smarter and I think my body is really responding to the work-outs. I know this is not about weight loss but I got on the scale today and I saw a number that I haven’t seen in a couple of years! It was pretty encouraging. Your posts have been really good and have helped me focus more on mind, body and spirit. One gigantic THANK YOU!  I swear working with you has been such a fantastic experience. I feel challenged, motivated and supported.  You have created such a positive environment; it makes it hard to not want to work out and eat healthy.  I’m still doing the work outs from the challenge and each day I feel stronger and have found a deeper understanding of the exercises. I’M LOVING IT!! Thank you again, you have truly made a huge difference in my life.” – Megan M.

“I cannot believe how great I feel.  The afternoon fatigue is completely gone which has been amazing.  I’ve cut out soda cold turkey and it’s nice that my office has Talking Rain so I can drink that natural kind for the fizz (sometimes I need a little more than still water).  I think for the healthy/unhealthy routine, I don’t know if I ever felt the changes as much as I have with the challenge.  I knew I was eating healthier and working out but didn’t feel any changes in my energy/how I feel in my body (regardless of weight).  Now I feel lighter, I haven’t weighed myself but I feel more comfortable in my own skin. This has been a great month and I’m excited to continue this life style! I think taking what I learned and using it outside of a ‘challenge’ and in my daily life will be great.  Having my jeans get a little looser and maybe having to go shopping isn’t such a bad thing either 🙂 Thank you so much for fostering such a supportive group on Facebook.  It’s amazing how much I hear people talk about ‘bad’ food and feeling guilty about what they eat.  It’s crazy!  Like you’ve said many times, this is a journey and I can’t be perfect from the get-go but I’m excited to continue learning and working on my health.”  – Amanda T.

“My top 3 goals starting were to eat better, lose weight and firm up. You both helped me to get there by holding me accountable.  Through your encouraging emails, education and healthy recipes you kept me thinking about me — how to be strong in mind and body. You made it fun and interesting to stay focused on health. I would encourage anyone who wishes to discover or reclaim their inner athlete to try MacksMo because it’s not your typical workout. The personal attention, education and motivation to reach your limits make it unique.  The workouts are hard but immediately rewarding in physical fitness and mental toughness.  Whitney and Regan have really changed the way I feel about working out — instead of dreading it, I now completely look forward to it!!”  – JoAnn D.

“I love your messages about loving yourself now and not waiting to be a certain number on the scale.  I’ve been meditating in the AM and filling my head with positive messages instead of everything I need to do.  I also started yoga again and am trying to get there 3-4 times a week.  Still loving all your recipes.  I double a few so I have meals ready and can rotate.  My original goal was to lose 10 lbs and sleep better.  I’ve adjusted it to feeling sassier and sleeping better.  I’m getting there and enjoying the process.” – Nancy E.

“I feel great! I am really starting to notice increased energy! This is my 3rd 12-hour shift in a row and I have been making it to the gym after work every day…when I get home I actually have more energy than normal!  I’ve realized even more that you can’t “ruin” your healthy habits by having one unhealthy meal or missing a day of exercise…you can’t beat yourself up about it. You just need to try to make a healthy choice the next time.  I recommend the MOmentum Challenge not only a weight loss program but an outline to follow for a healthy and maintainable routine.” – Elyse R., Boston, Nurse

“I wanted to let you know that I am SO glad I participated in your challenge this past month. While I thought I would joining just for the “physical reasons,” (i.e. try to firm up a bit, lose a pound or two) I found that instead, the challenge was WAY more challenging and beneficial for me mentally. First, being part of the challenge was always in the back of my mind when I was making certain decisions about my health/wellness each day. And, the challenge really forced me to think about some of the habits and not-so-great decisions I had been used to making. It made me THINK and made me take some time to re-evaluate where I was in my life and where I wanted to go.” – Krista U., Seattle, Registered Dietitian

“Since I started the program, I’ve felt stronger, my skin looks so much better and I feel more focused on myself.   Plus I’m definitely losing weight! I’ve really been concentrating on doing little things that make me happy every day.  I’m focused on trying to keep positive thoughts and catch myself when I’m not.  I’m in a great frame of mind right now and some really positive things have come my way in the past couple weeks…this challenge :), asked to be in my best friend’s wedding, and my company is sending me on an all-expense paid trip to the Super Bowl!! 2014 is looking good!” – Jessica M.

“I feel like I have learned so much about nutrition and what I should be eating that I know I am set up for success. I am happy to realize that I am already seeing results even though I haven’t been able to workout as much as I want! You may think I am crazy because I feel like I can’t get a half hour workout done in a day (just wait until you have a baby!)! 🙂 Thanks for all of your support.  I am really thankful for this challenge because it has put me in a place that I know I will be able to move forward from and reach the goals that I have set for myself.”  – Lauren P., Helena MT, Physical Therapist

“I very much enjoyed your words of wisdom included with the challenge, and the sense of acceptance and compassion they contained. It is a refreshing change from the usual fitness/ beauty advice for women which is predicated on present inadequacy and the need for change rather than an acceptance of our imperfect perfection. So thank you for that.” – Josie A., Seattle

“Thank so much for your positivity and guidance! It really is much appreciated. I have needed to make this type of shift in my life for quite some time but have not had the motivation to do it. The most significant overall change I have noticed has been my perspective. I honestly didn’t think the challenge was going to “work” for me because in the past I’ve had a difficult time when I make mistakes, slip up, have one too many drinks, etc. Changing my way of thinking has really helped me get past this. I woke up the other day and felt so empowered and simply good in my own skin. You helped me realize that finding a healthy balance in day-to-day living is key…so what if I slipped up? Move on and face the next day, taking into account how the previous day felt to me physically and mentally.”

“I have really loved doing the challenge bc it has grounded me and made me more conscious about food and other decisions.  I have been breathing in the mornings and feel like I have been able to eat more consciously.”  – Sarah H.

“I like your philosophy of living clean 85% of the time and being okay with 15% of things that may not be the best choice, but they fill you up in other ways.  Thanks for that!” – Emily V.

————— —————
If these stories resonated with you and you’d like to begin building your own health momentum, I am so excited to tell you that last week we announced the re-launch of our Momentum Challenge for March in 3 separate flights (you can join starting 3/3, 3/10 or 3/17). Because of our desire to meet you where you’re at, so created 3 separate levels to participate based on your needs: 

  • Level 1 – $30: Includes Building Momentum [opening] and Maintaining Momentum [closing] packets that provide you with the tools to transform your world, while creating a body and life you love. Plus bonus articles, along with group support and discussions created through our closed Facebook group and online access to myself and Regan 24/7 to answer your questions and help facilitate a personal experience for you; complete with individualized check-ins and health coaching.
  • Level 2A – $75: NUTRITION PACKAGE includes Level 1 + plus 4-week complete Nutrition Program with grocery list, 30+ new recipes and articles to change your relationship with food and increase your knowledge ($75 savings from typical Macks Mo pricing!).
  • Level 2B – $75: WORKOUT PACKAGE includes Level 1 + 4-week Online Workout Program with exercise video tutorials and tools to create body-transforming results. All workouts take under 30 minutes, require only dumbbells and are designed so you can do them in the comfort of your home ($25 savings!).
  • Level 3 – $150: MOMENTUM COMBO includes both Nutrition + Workout Programming and 2 Challenge Packets ($30 savings!).

*If you’re ready to take the steps towards transforming your life all while creating a life and body you love, the Momentum Challenge is waiting for you, just click here: SIGN ME UP!

The Weight Loss Secret No One is Telling You

There is something I have to tell you. And it’s what no one else in the weight loss, fitness or health industry is telling you. Why? Because it would mean the eminent death of the “big business” that is health today. shape magHave you ever stood in line at the grocery store and read all the headlines for various health, fitness and weight loss magazines:
– “Lose Stubborn Belly Fat Once and For All!
–  “Love Your Lower Body – Lift & Tone Your Way to Shapely Legs”
– “The 5 Day Diet – The New Foods Plan to Help You Lose Weight FAST”
– “Slim for Life – 7 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss”

Or gone to your local bookstore and been bombarded with the countless number of diet books that all claim to be the be-all, end-all “scientifically-proven, only way to lose weight and keep it off”? Sound familiar? I have to say, I pity the writer who has to constantly come up with these “hot new stories” every month or write the newest diet fad, must be exhausting. But let’s be real – if these mags, books or other media sources didn’t make these catchy claims, would you buy it? Why did you decide to read this blog I am writing? Because of the title? In truth, every media headline and corresponding article like those written above, every marketing claim made on packaged food, every “guaranteed” solution to your fast weight loss is a farce. And in most cases, a flat out lie.

For all my clients [past, present & future], friends, family and everyone I know – I want you to able to make the best, most well-informed choices for your health, so in order to do so, I want to provide you with the knowledge. And you can only have knowledge if you have the whole truth – the big picture. More Important Than FoodMoving your body and what we eat is definitely important. The food we eat literally becomes our body – our blood, our cells, our tissues, our organs, our skin, our hair and even our thoughts. In essence, your body is a compilation of everything you’ve taken in – all the food you’ve eaten up to this point in time.

But here’s the truth – even more important to health + happiness are the things that feed us on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level. Believe it or not, all the organic, non-GMO broccoli, kale and spinach won’t make a world of difference if you don’t address what’s going on in your heart and your life. kale The reasons why diets, weight loss plans and our best intentions to make workouts part of our daily life don’t stick is because they all fail to address the elephant in the room – the “WHY” behind what we do.

Anyone in the world who has [including myself] struggled or currently struggles with weight loss all have perfectly good and justifiable reasons for eating the way we do. And it’s not “the what” [FOOD] we’re eating that matters SO much [although it’s of course an important piece of the puzzle], but what’s making us eat the way we do that counts. And those “what’s and why’s” are all wrapped up in our individual lifestyle choices + habits, along with our emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.Essentially – every diet, fitness or weight loss plan out there doesn’t address YOU. You in all your uniqueness, beautiful imperfections and meet you where you’re at in your life right now. food-fill-you

So the fact is, you can upgrade your food all you want, but it doesn’t feed your soul and it doesn’t make you happy. Don’t get me wrong – as a Board Certified Health Coach and ACE + AFFA certified fitness professional, I firmly believe and advocate that eating true, clean food [grown from the ground or humanely-raised on green grass in pastures] will definitely upgrade your life – increase your energy, help you lose weight and create a positive ripple effect into other areas of your being. But what stops those changes from “sticking” and what holds you back from achieving all the happiness possible for your life goes farther than fork to mouth.

There are many “food associated” factors that lead to weight gain – such as inadequate nutrition, chronic dieting, poor digestion and really, just consuming too much processed, chemicalized, toxic junk. But changing those doesn’t eliminate the stress, change your limiting beliefs, alleviate your emotional suffering. It doesn’t fill in for the lack of a fulfilling career, substitute for a spiritual practice, change lifestyle habits, create meaningful connection & relationships in your life OR help you find a form of movement you enjoy that works for your body. Upgrading your food choices can be revolutionary, but what makes those food upgrades life-altering is by actually addressing all the “lifestyle concerns” first. uprading your food

Every BODY is different – we have different physical needs [fitness and food-wise]. We carry around different emotional “stories” that sabotage our progress and limit our potential for happiness; and we certainly all have different demands placed on our lives + time by various people and situations. And there is only one person who can truly know what works best for you – and that is YOURSELF! To me, that’s exciting. To some, it’s overwhelming [okay, it’s overwhelming to me sometimes too] – because it means that instead of the quick-fix, you have to do a little digging. You have to be a detective and you have to decipher through all the headlines and “personal stories of success” to figure out whether or not the healthy habit, fitness plan or way of eating serves you.

It ultimately means that you have to slow down and get to know you. It takes time, effort and sometimes, tough self-reflection and choices – which some people aren’t ready for…yet or maybe ever. But IT IS the weight loss secret that no one is telling you. My school – the Institute for Integrative Nutrition calls these essential lifestyle pieces your “primary food” – they are fundamentally the real food that will transform your life. Being fulfilled in your primary food means having [or at least actively working towards]:
– meaningful relationships
– a rewarding career
– a spiritual practice
– engaging in [almost] daily physical movement you enjoy

…and it’s where the magic happens – where your ability to lose weight is super-charged by your focus on figuring out what really makes you happy and being willing to address and let go of the real “life weight” that’s been holding you down.   It my passion and life’s mission to support clients in finding this for themselves. And it’s my desire in wanting to help you too.

So I am writing this article to share the truth with you and perhaps shed some light on why your efforts to lose weight or find a maintainable healthy lifestyle haven’t been successful in the past. I encourage you to stop “waiting on the weight” to find your happiness and begin living your life. Instead, shift your focus to addressing your primary food and weight loss will become a non-issue…it just happens. Sometimes it happens right away – depending on where you or any of our the clients are at in his/her life and sometimes it happens months down the road. But like I said earlier – I want you to know the truth, to have the knowledge and the tools to make the best, most well-informed choices for your health. And that’s what our 2014 Momentum Challenge and all our programs are about was about and why we create them – and truly what ALL mine and Regan’s work is about – about you getting to know YOU and what works FOR you; while having our support and guidance in the process. And we’re learning right alongside you. I can tell you that I learn more from my clients every day than I ever could’ve imagined. We are in the journey together. So whether it’s via social media, coaching, in classes + training or through one of our programs, I hope this blog can move you away from “media-driven solutions” and towards a road of life-transforming self-reflection as you dig deeper into your own primary food.

— If you liked this blog, share the love! And connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. If you have questions about programs or offerings, feel free to email me at whitney@macksmo.com or check out our website www.macksmo.com to sign up today! — 

My Confession…

I have a confession to make. I talk about this with my clients, friends, and family all the time, but it is the first time I am sharing it publicly. In reality, this has taken me over a year to write; mostly because I wanted to convey the right message – but also because sometimes it’s difficult to look back at past “learnings” when you’ve come so far. But, I believe the need to share my story with others outweighs the desire to let it be…

If you are like me, supplement companies like Advocare, Shakeology, Isagenix and others are blowing up your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram news feeds. You’ve probably wondered what these are and whether they’re right for you – my opinion [personal & professional], I want to share with you today.

6-pack absMost all fitness professionals (including myself when I first started training), get their nutrition information from the media and “hearsay” – like magazines, published books, articles or blogs, fellow co-workers/instructors/trainers, the professional you trained under (who heard it from someone else) and so on. The number of exercise-based nutrition myths floating out there without any real proof are outrageous… but we’ll get to that. 🙂

One of the things that I find the most inspiring, yet disparaging about the science of nutrition is its intrigue and accessibility to everyone. It’s something that gets people fired up, feeling good and excited to share – which is awesome! However, because it’s so accessible, sometimes we forget that it IS an actual profession with experts, one that’s been exploited by the media and publishing industry and diluted by its conflicting messages. And the most challenging part as a fitness professional is that people WANT nutrition advice from you – and do need some guidance in order to see lasting physical results. So instead of either gaining the expertise from further education or referring out, most fitness professionals decide to create their own programs, based on things they’ve heard or personally experienced; and some, delve into the realm of supplement sales.

I believe [most of] those selling these supplement products have the best intentions – the storyline of “helping people” with “superior nutritional products” is inspiring and powerful. The draw of being able to make a lot of money, create your own schedule AND have financial freedom while “improving other’s well-being” is tempting for anyone. The unfortunate thing, however, is that these individuals – your trainers, your group fitness instructors, your neighbor and your co-worker, have all been misled and just don’t know that these products are unnecessary and possibly even harmful to your health. Why? Because they have no expertise or training in the topic of nutrition. How do I know? Because I used to be one of them.

And I am not writing this to shame or put down anyone selling Advocare [or any other supplement brand], who is aspiring to help people get healthy. It is a noble cause indeed and I appreciate people’s passion for it. However, I believe that knowledge is power and with it we can make the best, most educated decisions. So, without further ado [and a little nervousness on my part], my confession…

Over three years ago, I was approached by a fitness professional whom I trusted and respected about selling Advocare. She told me how amazing the products were, how they were created by a collection of leading doctors and scientists; she raved about the high-quality, superior ingredients that rounded out the “nutritional gaps everyone has, no matter how healthy they eat” to make sure that all the bases were covered. She said it would improve my own athletic performance and help me lose weight, with the amazing perk that I could make a lot of money on the side “helping people get healthy”.

Many  bundle of US 100 dollars bank notesOf course anytime someone tells you that you can make a lot of money while helping people [and not working very hard], the concept is intriguing. Especially for myself as fitness professional, I use my body a lot. So the goal eventually, for all of us fitness pros, is to find a way where we can make money without physically being present – because eventually, we cap out the money we can make on an hourly basis and in all honesty, albeit intensely rewarding, it’s very physically draining work.

As such, I hesitantly agreed to try selling Advocare. I say “hesitantly” because from the beginning, I had an unsettling feeling. Three main reasons caused this:
#1: Regan [my husband] was skeptical from the get-go (and never would try the products);
#2: in my gut, I felt there was a conflict of interest peddling “health” products; and
#3: anytime I asked questions about the ingredients or exactly what the products did, I never got a straight answer.

For me, in order to sell something to my clients and those around me, I wanted to know exactly what every product did and why someone needed it. The fact that I could never get a straight answer and that finding these answers online was difficult, also raised some red flags. I can [thankfully] and gratefully say that I never went to “Success School”, never had any “mixers” and never had any “distributors” under me from which I made money; but as the story goes [and as you may have guessed], I decided to ignore my intuition + the red flags and move forward in my own personal selling of the product.

At that time in my life, I was doing a lot of research about nutrition on my own – learning through both experience and personal findings. I developed my signature 28 Day Nutrition Program, based in real food recipes developed in my own kitchen and “kind of” sold Advocare on the side. I would mention it to clients as an option to “add-in”, but never forced a sale.

In a year, I had over 50 people participate in my nutrition program with an average weight loss of 10 lbs. and 9 inches in those 28 days. Of those 50+ people, only 8 opted to supplement with Advocare products.

Drum roll please.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding — those 15% who chose Advocare didn’t lose any more weight than those who simply followed my real-food meal plan. And in fact, the biggest difference in the scale came from those who didn’t use the products. So, does the product make a difference? The answer — is NO.

It’s not about the supplements; it’s about the food you’re taking in, daily movement, the thoughts you’re holding, the life you’re creating and the love you’re giving. And I believe that real food is the best way *and only way* for everyone’s body to receive the nutrition it needs. My goal – and what I teach clients, is to eat real food [at least for 85% of the time] and stay away from processed, chemical-ized junk whenever possible.

So, the next logical question would be to ask – what is IN the supplements; are they real food or processed, chemical-ized junk?

When I finally made the decision to trust my intuition and quit selling the products, my “advisor” [in Advocare-speak, that’s the person who brings you onto their selling team] told me that I was making a mistake. As I said from the beginning I never felt good about it. And when I started looking deeper into the ingredients that made up Advocare’s staple products – such as Spark, the Herbal Cleanse, Catalyst and MNS 3 [all part of their 24 Day Challenge], the same ingredients I was telling clients to avoid in their FOOD – like those found in all the processed food and chemicalized junk found on grocery store shelves – were in Advocare products.

If I personally practice and tell clients to stay away from artificial anything as a ruling guideline for eating, then the same would hold true when prescribing supplements. And on top of that, I believe real food trumps scientifically-extracted or chemically-created nutrients anytime. A real food is much more than the sum of its nutrient parts [like the Vitamin C or beta-carotene inside it]; and there are so many phytochemicals, antioxidants and nutritional benefits that are at work inside that whole food, outside the “measurable, big time” vitamins & minerals we hear about. If you isolate nutrients and remove them from their “whole” real food state, the nutrients aren’t alive anymore and we really have no idea how they act outside the whole food they were created to exist in. In essence, most supplement formulas are composed of these dead nutrients – removed from their natural state and isolated from their real food state.

So, the answer you’re looking for is in all the information I’ve provided and something you intuitively know. Food is better. Real food is better. If I tell a client to avoid ingredients in their food that s/he can’t pronounce and/or don’t recognize [such as aspartamesucralosemaltodextrinmagnesium stearate and silicon dioxide to name  a few], then the same holds true for all things that enter their bodies – including supplements.

Catalyst  MNS

Spark 5 Hour Energy

In case you’re wondering how the story ends, post-Advocare and over the last three years, in my own personal journey of health and also my career journey as a fitness professional, I have done extensive research on food, food psychology, food theories, living the fullest & happiest life, fitness methods, the human body and nutrition science [as it relates to food]. In May 2013, I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition [the largest nutrition school in the world] to become a holistic health coach. Over those three years, my relationship with food has shifted, my perception of myself has grown, my body has become stronger & more balanced, and my life has expanded with happiness and gratitude. I have maintained the same [healthy] weight for over 3 years, while increasing muscle tone and strength, lost body fat and increased my energy levels ten-fold.

But it was ALL a journey. There were ups, downs, detours and hiccups. I decided that I wanted to learn more about health & nutrition, but that I also wanted to figure out what worked FOR ME. Believe it or not, there is no blanket approach, theory or method that works for everyone. One person’s food could be another’s poison; and my choice method of exercise could be counterproductive to your body’s needs. And that’s just another reason why these “blanket” supplements aren’t the answer. Personally, today, I take a living probiotic (fermented coconut water) and on the recommendation of my acupuncturist – a food-based iron supplement. I think it’s important to note that “supplements” in general are not bad or good; but quality and ingredients matter; and we shouldn’t be taking them without reason or professional recommendation. Regardless of where you fall on the “supplement spectrum”, I encourage you to always be a health detective. Don’t just believe what you hear or read – experiment and be willing to toss aside that which does not serve you. Ask if what you’re hearing makes sense and above all things, trust your gut and listen to how your body feels.

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A FEW EXTRA NOTES:
THE SCIENCE: The truth is, we have no idea what putting processed and chemicalized junk in our food does – but based on our common sense and the health crisis around us, we can make the connection that when science began messing with our food’s ingredients 30 years ago and moving away from real food, it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. But somehow this chemicalized food “product” has become our “normal”, staple way of eating – invading our grocery stores, restaurants and homes.

Think back to when cigarettes were “normal” – people had an idea that it wasn’t good for you, but it wasn’t until 30 years later when research finally came out that we understood and the medical community followed. Right now, at this moment in time, we are about 20 to 30 years out from when we began adding all these artificial ingredients to our food. You might have noticed that some research IS starting to emerge on these things – for example, the surmounting evidence starting to build against high fructose corn syrup [which was once considered as a good alternative to sugar] is now being touted as one of the biggest health concerns and mistakes of our time.

So, what do we do about the research? It might not be in place yet fully, but we can use our common sense to know that eating real food, that is grown or raised with care, is just better. Real, living, whole nutrients are far superior to those dead ones found in a pill. And we as humans are all different and all have different needs, so one blanket nutrition strategy or supplement strategy does not work for everyone.

MY VIEW FROM A FITNESS PERSPECTIVE, I have to say that it saddens me to see how many “fitness professionals” have jumped on the tiered marking supplement train – making the same mistake I did; and in the same token, it worries me that non-fitness professionals [those without certification or acquired knowledge] are also prescribing certain fitness, nutrition and supplement methods to friends, family and acquaintances. I think we all fall victim to the [misguided] assumption that if something falls under the “health and fitness” tree or is promoted as such, then it IS in fact, healthy. But the question that always plagued me when I explored selling or using Advocare, was WHY do I need this? And the answer is, YOU DON’T. Really. See, the argument for taking supplements is that they “round out the gaps in your nutrition”, but if you’re eating a healthy, balanced, real food based diet, than blanket supplements aren’t necessary.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering – no, you don’t need protein powder either. 99.9% of ALL protein powder is just another form of over-processed junk; and if it’s not, the price tag per ounce is more than you’d pay for high-quality, grass-fed, pastured humanely raised animal meat, so again – I vote for the real food, unprocessed options [and for my vegetarians/vegans out there, there are so many great plant-based proteins out there that have a smaller price tag too!]. And plus, honestly, I don’t know a single person – including myself AND my husband (who is a ridiculous athlete, btw) who work out hard enough & for long enough to need more protein than you could eat through your daily diet. Professional athletes – a different story, perhaps, but let’s be real – you and me, we don’t workout and compete as a career and rely on our athletic performance to earn a living. Our 30-60 minute workouts, no matter how much weight we’re lifting or how much we’re sprinting, pale in comparison to the training regime of professional athletes. In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret – what you really need is a lot more vegetables, not protein (I dare you to try that and not feel the difference!). I know what I’m telling you might be contradictory to everything you’ve heard about supplements from trainers and fitness professionals in the past, but it’s the truth. Protein from real food is not only higher quality and more easily metabolized by our body [because it’s REAL FOOD], but it’s also the real deal and all you need. And most people don’t need more protein – they just need more actual food. The best thing you could do for your body post-workout is to refuel it with a nutrient-dense meal [breakfast, lunch or dinner].

To my fellow trainers: I know the pull of money making potential within all MLM supplement opportunities is tempting; and not just tempting, but downright hard to turn down when you’re given actual dollar amounts. But before you jump on, I encourage you to do some research and soul-searching. Just because everyone around you is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s the answer. In 6 months of non-pushy, hardly-talking-about-it, “sales”, I made an extra $5000 – and I know if I had actually put my heart into it, I could’ve been making 6 figures (as my “advisor” is now). But money doesn’t mean happiness; and personally, I had to ask myself: at what cost would I be making money? The answer for me was clear: there is a better way to help people and we have the opportunity to lead. If you’d like to discuss further, have an open discussion with me about it or just get more information – I am here. My door is open, without judgement at all times.

Like this article? Share with your social circle and make sure to “FOLLOW” our blog! If you’d like to learn more about the Seattle-based or online programs [group + individual health coaching, nutrition +/or exercise programming] we offer, check out our website. We also post articles, inspirational messages, workouts and recipes to our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts – come join the fun! 

MMo Testimonial: An amazing story and one incredible human.

A Note From Whitney:  The impact of this testimonial on myself was unspeakably profound and one of those life-changing moments to say the least. To say that Shirley means a lot to me is an understatement, in the same way that telling you: “people are my passion” hardly gives insight to the magnitude of the joy it brings me. In creating Macks Mo, it was Regan & my goal to help people get MO(re) out of their lives through fitness + nutrition, with some inspiration on the side. However, our lives have been the ones truly changed by our clients. Shirley is one such (very special) inspiration and here’s her story…

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I did not want to sign up for Whitney’s class. I signed up because I had to. I’d been sort-of-not-really going to a gym for several years, and I was sort of really frustrated with the lack of results, and how boring elliptical machines are, and how I could not find the time or the energy after working long days at an fast-paced ad agency, and with my persistent, decade-long struggle with depression.

Three years after barely surviving my first class with Whitney, I haven’t looked back.

Here’s what to expect. You show up sleepy; she shows up bright-eyed and bushy-ponytailed. You have no idea what’s next — you just go. After she warms you up, you basically maintain a consistent sensation of about-to-throw-up-ness for roughly 45 minutes. You use muscles you never thought you had, until you have to use them. Whitney is by your side, nudging your form, nudging you to go harder, cranking up the music, cranking up the intensity. Her energy keeps you going at the exact point you feel like giving up. At the end, you are both utterly exhausted and strangely invigorated.

Once the first few weeks of can’t-sit-down-right pain have subsided (it will, don’t worry) your body just… changes. You wake up one day, and you can see it. You can feel it. You fit into things again, and those things look better on you. You have contours and definition where shapeless blobs used to be.

But more than that, what forever changed my perspective on exercise — and, really, my life — is what Whitney’s approach does to your mood, your posture, your energy. She challenges you to ask your body to do new, unfamiliar things — and it can do them, and you are amazed. You feel strong, and capable. You finally know what good form feels like. The aliveness you begin to feel reminds you of being a kid. If this feeling hasn’t sufficiently hooked you to the point of die-hard obsession, and you decide to skip a few classes, Whitney will, very lovingly, get on your case with a friendly text or encouraging Facebook message. Because with her, you don’t just get a great coach and motivator — you get a friend.

Because of Whitney, I’m in the best shape of my life. For the first time, I know proper form — I know when my body feels right, and I know when my body feels wrong. I am instinctively in touch with how I move and how I sit in a way that makes my body feel strong, and confident that it can do almost anything I ask it. I can do real pushups. I sleep better. I am happier.

This last part is important. I was recently diagnosed with bipolar, having suffered from severe depression for most of my life. Whitney’s class was instrumental in starting my road to an accurate diagnosis and treatment. I finally got the boost of energy to tackle my disease once and for all, at a time when it was progressively and hopelessly getting worse. Moving my body and feeling its strength gave me the self-confidence I desperately needed to get out of an increasingly dark hole. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the winning recipe of Whitney + medication + therapy saved my life. And that’s why I’ll never go back. Exercise now, for me, is not a luxury, or a maybe, or an if-I-have-time. It is a permanent part of my life, and it always will be. I can’t and won’t go back — now, I can only get stronger, I can only go forward.

Shirley Blog