Getting Your Pre-Baby Body “Back”

In Part 2 of this two-part MAKING YOUR WORKOUTS WORK FOR YOU series, we’ll be talking about your postpartum return to exercise and getting your pre-baby body “back” (my own being the pic below).

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IMG_7903After we’ve had a baby, one of the first thoughts that cross our mommy minds is getting back to “our old self” – physically, mentally and in our capacity to “do what we used to”. Even though we’ve had the baby, the feeling of “heaviness” still exists as we find ourselves in a body that doesn’t feel like our own. On top of that, we are exhausted from interrupted sleep and totally depleted from labor + all the new demands of motherhood. Regardless of being completely wiped, though, we are anxious to take action. Action to get back to feeling more like ourselves. Action to “get our body back” and to have control over something [in a time where we can literally control almost nothing].

Can you relate? The first 6 months of motherhood certainly rocked my world [and body].

What we don’t realize and what we’re not told – by the media, by our fellow mama friends, by our doctors and seemingly almost everyone around us – is that the practice + pressure of jumping back in to exercise too soon {or with too vigorous of a practice} is not only counterproductive to weight loss efforts, but it can and most likely will sabotage your health + well-being both in the present and down the road.

Screenshot_2015-12-08-10-28-25Let me explain — from the outside, we see that the baby is gone. Society tells us that it’s time to lose the baby weight and, in a sense, act like the biggest event of our lives {pregnancy, labor + birth} never happened. Since the concept of immediately taking action to lose ‘the weight’ is socially accepted as “normal”, we mamas also assume that our bodies ARE ready to jump back into action, returning to the form of exercise we did before pregnancy – or perhaps an even more rigorous practice. Because after all, we’ve got some weight to lose.

But while we may look “ready” to move from the outside, my dear friend Jen, a midwife once put it to me this way – if you’ve ever seen a placenta when it comes out [or even take a look at your baby], remember that was just INSIDE your body. Meaning that it left behind a big, open wound where it once was. A sacred space that held your precious baby for those growing 9 months and one I believe we should honor and treat with the utmost reverence and respect. Now if that wound were on the OUTSIDE of your body, imagine how long it would take to heal. And imagine the attitude we’d have towards even being out of the house with that kind of wound, let alone working out. I also think that if we had a wound like that to look at on the outside, we would intuitively know that perhaps working out is something we shouldn’t jump into just yet.

Even so, our culture puts pressure on women to immediately return to our “pre-baby body”, to act as if pregnancy, labor + birth are not the physical, spiritual and emotional events that they truly are. To wave aside our need to heal and pretend like our lives and bodies have not been turned upside down. Or to act like we immediately have this motherhood thing down pat – and that it’s super easy to just go back to our old way of being – including working out. We mamas know that type of thinking is ass-backwards. We know we’re not the same. Yet, women are praised for looking polished and “back to baby weight” weeks or even days post-birth. We know it’s not reality, we know it shouldn’t be this way and yet, it’s hard not to fall victim to this mentality. Because it’s literally EVERYWHERE – on blogs, in the media, on social media or walking around our neighborhoods. And it’s hard not to feel anxious for not having control over our time or our bodies. And in truth, at least for myself, although I had this beautiful baby boy, I didn’t feel comfortable in my new skin and it’s {still} taking me awhile to figure out this “new me”.

My Body Made A BabyBut there’s good reason for that — because my body is not the same body. The body I am living in now made a new life. Like #mybodymadeababy, hello?! And it not only made a new life, but it brought that life into the world as well {I believe this holds true whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section}. Brought my little Will into this world naturally, at home with 12 hours of labor and about 3.5 hours of pushing. My body bears witness – internally and externally, to these amazing feats. The uber fit, exceptionally strong and trim body I had before my baby didn’t do anything awesome like grow + birth a baby. Didn’t do anything as physical as that. As if pregnancy and birth weren’t amazing enough, now that my baby boy is in my world, my body creates and gives him everything he needs for survival – comfort, warmth, nutrition, movement and love {with countless other things left unmentioned}.

My old self didn’t have {even close-to} the huge responsibility of caring for an entirely separate human being. Pre-Will, I spent hours on my own self-care. With Will, I spend quadruple those hours on his care. My life has never been so full. My body has never been so drained. I have never EVER been so freaking tired or had so much “to do”. Never felt so out of balance and disconnected from who I “knew” as myself, yet somehow closer to connection than I’ve ever been.  I’ve never enjoyed waking up to a face this much. The amount of time I have for my self-care has never been so low. The amount that I smile, laugh and am filled with joy every day has never been so great. Has my life changed? Oh boy! How hasn’t it? Everything’s different and nothing’s the same – including my body. Somehow, life is better. My heart is fuller. I have more love to give and more gratitude than ever. It’s also a daily work-in-progress to figure out how to manage my time, reserve space for myself and be a mom, wife and entrepreneur.

So to ask my body – this new body, this “baby body” to morph back into my old pre-baby body is preposterous {in my humble personal + professional opinion}. I’ve outgrown that skin – physically, emotionally, physiologically and in every possible way I can think of. I’m no longer the same person. To go backwards means a life without Will; or rather a body that didn’t create my amazing Will. To go backwards means grasping for a space in time that’s past and no longer exists. It leaves most of us mamas searching, frustrated and in a constant state of self-deprecation, beating ourselves up for not being the same as we once were physically.

Working Out + Losing WeightAnd here’s the whole truth about “working out”, coming from an Integrative Nutrition certified Health Coach and fitness professional who helps people move as part of my living. Although fitness and movement are without-a-doubt important for overall health, it doesn’t really help you lose weight {postpartum or not}. It can support weight loss, helping to create the momentum and energy to motivate healthier choices in your life, but it alone will not make you lose weight. #truth. And postpartum, certain exercise modalities are actually counter-productive to losing weight and instead drain needed energy, can affect our milk supply, cause excess bleeding, leave us with plaguing injuries [knee, shoulder, hip and low back] and the overall feeling of a body that’s unable to support us.

Contrary to popular belief – the only REAL path to natural, lasting weight loss is proper nutrition and addressing lifestyle factors that REALLY influence our choices and time (including sleep, stress, work – and how we’re adjusting to all the shifts in those arenas, self-care, + meditation/stillness, to name a few). Focusing on eating high-quality, whole and real foods will go so much further than fitness ever could. Plus, eating is something you already do every day – so it’s nothing extra you have to worry about “adding in”, you have to do it anyway.

Below are four pictures – me at 41 weeks + 2 days (photo cred: Sarah Heitman), then 6 months, 8 and 10 months postpartum. During my pregnancy, I gained almost 40 lbs. onto my previously 138 lbs. body – while eating well and engaging in a two-fold “exercise” approach of both moving and napping. 🙂

PP Blog Collage
At 6 months, I had been walking, resting and doing my physical therapy exercises 2-3x per week. I’d worked out a total of 5 times, doing some light strength training, nothing high impact. Each of these 5 times were a “check-in”, to see how my body was feeling and how it responded to various exercises. Each time – I learned {again} that my body wasn’t yet ready for that type of movement. At 8 months, I was two weeks into a “routine” of low-impact strength training 2x/week and doing 1-2 yoga classes each week.

And today, at 10 months postpartum, that’s what I’m still doing – and even that doesn’t happen every week. I have, however, since Postpartum Day #1 insisted on fueling my body with good, real + healthy food – no deprivation, no diet, no counting calories or even entertaining ideas of eating to lose weight – simply eating whole foods that made me feel good. Since the beginning, I’ve also made {some form of} self-care a daily top priority. I’ve had more massage {abdominal + regular}, acupuncture, physical therapy and chiropractic sessions in the last 10 months then in my entire 30 years prior. I’ve also taken more baths, gone on more walks and put in some serious nap time [like serious].

The reason I wanted to show you these photos was so you could know what’s possible when you love up on your body [versus hate on it], listen to its needs and trust that with time, it will heal and naturally shed weight. Doing so with less effort, less pressure and less stress – without the need to engage in any vigorous exercise and without needing to push or force what doesn’t feel good or what our body isn’t ready for.

Baby Will PP BlogBecause with the gift of holding our babies comes some unavoidable challenges – interrupted sleep, stress and a whole lot less time. So, with less time, less energy and higher stress levels {remember what my last blog post said about high stress levels?}, we should be engaging in practices (fitness and otherwise) that maximize our time and efforts to feel good on a daily basis, ones that build UP our energy stores versus deplete them. And you may have guessed by now that this does not include hard workouts and killing yourself at the gym. And personally, even if I’d had the desire to do more vigorous or more consistent exercise before 10 months, I don’t think I could have. I had a hard enough time mustering up the energy to be a new “mom”, let alone expending more energy to engage in exercise that depleted my body. And that’s the key – because if something {like exercise} isn’t supporting your body, it’s depleting it. Postpartum, if we really tune IN to our bodies, instead of making the decision to push through because we “have to” and feel anxious to get the weight off, working out {especially at high intensities, doing high impact movements or lifting heavy weights} doesn’t actually really FEEL good – and there are real, physical reasons for that.

The common recommendation by doctors and most literature is that mamas can return to exercise 6-8 weeks postpartum (of course, with the caution of asking your healthcare professional first). However, in reality, your body is not physically ready to support the load of heavy weights, high impact or high-stress workouts. To explain why, I turned to April Bolding, a foremost expert on woman’s health, local West Seattleite, doula, birth educator, mother of 2 sweet girls and {my} physical therapist. She explains:

This 6-8 weeks is a guideline that we quote and re-quote.  I think it has set women up to think: ‘After two months, I can start running or (insert vigorous exercise here) again.’ The fact of the matter is that a woman’s body is still healing and her ligaments are still loose at 8 weeks postpartum.”

April BoldingApril further explained that to accommodate the exponential growth of the uterus + baby, the ligaments that support the uterus and surround the pelvis stretch during pregnancy. When we are post-birth, it takes time {months!} for those uterine ligaments to shorten and firm up enough to support the uterus again like it did before pregnancy – even longer for women who have hypermobile joints to begin with. Your ligaments strengthen as your menstrual cycle returns, then more when you eventually ween from breastfeeding. So when we begin vigorous exercise that involves running, jumping and lifting heavy loads, this can cause the uterus or bladder to move downward with this force. Combine that with the constant force of gravity and perhaps a pelvic floor that is not adequately supporting the pelvic organs from below, you can cause a uterine or bladder prolapse (where these organs descend into the vaginal canal).

Weak pelvic floor muscles + vigorous exercises can also cause stress incontinence (the inability to stop the flow of urine.). This means peeing [even leaking a little pee] when we exercise, run, dance, walk, sneeze, cough or go about our lives. If you talk to your peers or most women who have children, incontinence is super common. However, I think it’s super important for us {women} to understand that while it’s common, we need to reject the idea that it’s normal. It’s a sign of pelvic floor weakness and/or dysfunction that needs to be addressed in order to have a body that’s balanced, strong and functions at its optimal level from the inside out. In terms of our “core”, the pelvic floor is like the foundation of a house – and if that foundation is weak or leaks, we know that’s a serious problem. It’s no different with the pelvic floor. It’s something we need to address now to help avoid chronic injuries, pain or accidental peeing moving forward. A lot of the same principles hold true for diastasis recti (abdominal separation); while common in pregnancy and early postpartum, it’s important to make sure that you’re able to maintain tension in the linea alba (connective tissue that runs between the two sides of the Rectus Abdominis) and that your Transverse Abdominis is firing properly – both of which I encourage you get assessed by a women’s health PT!

Lastly, during pregnancy, the spine and pelvis shift to make space for the baby – this shift creates an exaggerated arch in the low back and forward tilt of the pelvis, while moving our center of gravity forward. This results in the stretching of ligaments, the tightening of the hamstrings and other muscles, thus leaving us with a body that quite literally “out of balance” after we give birth. This is also a primary reason for not returning to vigorous exercise before the body is back into balance, as we can not only exacerbate the imbalances, but also sustain unneeded injuries in the process.

Given adequate time to heal and the right supportive exercises, a good majority of these adaptations our bodies made in pregnancy can shift back post-birth. The key is TIME. Combine that with sleep + rest {naps!!!}, consistent healthy eating habits and dedicated self-care and you’ll be setting your body up to innately heal. I definitely recommend adding in specialized women’s health physical therapy {starting at 6 weeks postpartum}, bodywork and some gentle, stress-free exercises prescribed specifically for your healing to just keep feeling better and better without added stress.

April concluded by telling me that over time, you can progress your exercise from gentle and intermittent to gentle and regular. Then into more moderate exercise. Tami Lynn Kent, Women’s Health PT in Oregon and author of Wild Feminine, recommends not returning to running until a year post-birth. That’s hard for a lot of women to hear. There are many reasons for it beyond prolapse and it’s a sensible recommendation. However, that’s one recommendation. We each are responsible for knowing our body best. No health care practitioner or doctor of physical therapy can trump your knowing of your own body. We (physical therapists) are just here as a resource for you. Listen to how your body responds and reacts to what exercise you try and it’s up to you to have the courage to back off of an activity if it could push you into injury. Think long-term pelvic bowl and joint health instead of trying to fit into your old jeans. After giving birth, we’ve grown out of our old skin and our former selves for that matter. We are certainly worthy of some new jeans and new way of working with our bodies.

Right? Gosh I love her. Like I said earlier, we know. We know, IF we listen. If we give ourselves the grace and permission to listen. IMG_20151212_141734428The permission to let that silly and unrealistic “ideal” go that we must “get our body back”. It doesn’t mean that we can’t move towards creating a body that (realistically) looks the way we desire, but I think it’s important we know it will never be the same body – just as you’re not the same person. What if we allowed ourselves time to just figure out this mama thing? Because it’s the freaking hardest {and most rewarding} thing on Earth. And to give ourselves the space to not just survive mommyhood, but learn to thrive again. If you happened to take a different postpartum fitness path, know that this blog post is in no way meant to shame you, I celebrate and appreciate your own journey. And you DO know your body best. So, in conclusion, my hope is that this post can support you in that knowing, while giving you some information as to why you know what you know. Why you feel what you feel. Why, if you’re like me and you think that the concept of “getting your body back” is not only silly, but insulting for your new amazing body, that you can stand in your power and do what IS best for you. Whatever that looks like and however it manifests itself. It’s a journey, and one that I’m STILL on. And finally, my hope is that instead of loathing your new body, you can learn to love it and to honor it. Because it is freaking amazing. And so are you, mama. xoxo – Whitney

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For reading this post, I thank you. It took me {literally} 14 months to write – as I planned it’s creation even before Will was born, knowing my postpartum intention to love my body and let it heal on its own time. If you like this post, please share! If you can relate to it or have a comment/question, I’d love to hear from you! Together mama’s, we are stronger. So much love to you, all my readers!

{For more information on women’s health or to schedule an appointment with April, visit her website:}. She’s one of the most empowering + inspiring women I’ve ever met. Her teachings + love have been a priceless resource for me.

How to Get Mo(re) – From Your Life, Body, Mind + Spirit

Do you want to be feel better in your own skin? Have more energy? Lose some weight? Clear mental fog? Be more connected to your life + body? Whatever your M.O. for living a healthier + happier life, my goal within Macks Mo is to provide you with tools to engage in the journey without deprivation, negative connotations or restrictions. Because I’m of the belief that if you focus on ADDING IN MO(re) good stuff [versus operating from a “can’t do” or “can’t have” mentality], it will create a ripple effect that permeates into all aspects of your life. Meaning more goodness all around.

Which is why I felt compelled to make a list of some of the best things you could add in to start 2016 FULL of feel-good tools that you can keep coming back to. Designed to help you GET MO(re) out of your life, your body, your mind + spirit. Simple + small, but effective and power-packed. Try adding one or a few of these things in today and see what a difference it makes!

  1. Add MO(re) Water. Did you know that cravings for “uppers” like coffee, sugar and alcohol can actually be your body crying out for water? Aim for at least 60 oz. before lunch and 100 total on the day.
  2. Add MO(re) Greens + Vegetables. These are your greatest source of energy and vitality. Try to incorporate them into every meal if possible. The more, the better!
  3. Add MO(re) Chews! Chewing your food starts the process of digestion and makes nutrients more easily assimilated by your body. Try counting 30-50 chews before swallowing and set your for down between bites. Savor, pause and give thanks!
  4. Add MO(re) Gratitude. Recited in your head, written in a journal, spoken out loud to those around you and whenever you think of it – practice being thankful for the blessings in your life. You’ll feel fuller + more satisfed with your life RIGHT NOW.
  5. Add MO(re) Joy + Laughter. Even more important than the food we feed our body is the food we feed our SOUL. Surround yourself with people that make your mouth ache from smiling, belly hurt from laughing and engage in practices that bring you joy. And make it a point to incorporate these on a DAILY basis.
  6. Add MO(re) Self-Care, not Punishment. Shift your focus to how you’re taking care of your body + mind with every decision you make. Ditch the shame + punishment mentality for past decisions and instead think of what you can do NOW to feel your best. {Hint hint, lots of answers are in this list!}.
  7. Add MO(re) Love. Open your heart to giving it without condition. Know you are worthy of any + all love you receive. And definitely love up on yourself and use that love to guide your actions, thoughts and behaviors.
  8. Add MO(re) Quiet + Stillness: Set the device down, turn off the TV, stop the busy {at least for a few moments each day}. Give yourself the space to hear your thoughts and feel your body. Meditate, walk, breathe. Connect with God and create space to live in the highest vibration of your self.
  9. Add MO(re) Intention: Take yourself off autopilot and start tuning in to your body + thoughts. Notice how things + food make you feel and how your mind has the ability to put a positive {or negative} spin on almost any situation. Set the intention to make conscious decisions from a place of self-love with the goal of filling yourself up with all the feel-good’s you can.
  10. Add MO(re) Macks Mo! I am always here to support and lift you up. Because you deserve the very best and you’re part of our family. And it’s my passion to deliver you content, love + tools to live the most vibrant life possible in a body you love.
Sending love to you today and always, xoxo. – Whitney

Say Goodbye to Sugar Cravings!

Winter blues can tend to bring sweet cravings – as we miss the energy, lightness and joy of summer – but did you know that these can often be helped or eliminated by increasing our uptake in sweet vegetables? God knew what he was doing when he made most winter vegetables hearty (comforting) and sweet!!! I’m talking squash, yams, parsnips and beets baby! And speaking of… THIS. My newest winter salad.

So. Freaking. Good.

The Sweet Winter Wonder Salad. Please, please make it today. ‪#‎winnerwinnerHEALTHYdinner‬.


  • 1 bunch roasted beets + 2 parsnips + 2 carrots, all organic, all peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Quinoa, soaked, sprouted and cooked
  • Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed by cutting pom in half, placing face down in bowl of water and opening/pulling seeds out)
  • Feta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Currants
  • 1/2 cup sliced Almonds
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Dash of Coconut Oil to toast almonds
  • Olive Oil + Sea Salt for vegetables
  • Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar whisked for dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Toss vegetables with EVOO + salt. Roast for 60 min.
  3. Combine {cooked} quinoa, pomegranate, currants and feta.
  4. Toast almonds, add to salad.
  5. Toss finished vegetables and dressing with salad, then top with fresh basil.
  6. Be prepared for your tastebuds to die and go to heaven. 🙂


After months of letting our Macks Mo social media presence {including my blog posts} take a small hiatus, I’m super excited to let you in on our *new* free weekly Q+A series that we’re launching on the blog TODAY! Each week, I’ll be answering a question from our Macks Mo Community about how to make you fit for life – physically fit, yes, but even more importantly – emotionally, mentally, spiritually AND physically fit, for anything life throws at you.

This week, we’re talking MOTIVATION. If you’re like myself and so many others during the holiday season {or anytime really}, you might find yourself lacking the motivation, energy or “willpower” to maintain your workouts and eat healthy consistently. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this week’s video, learn how to make both working out and eating healthy a routine practice with 3 strategies you can implement RIGHT NOW!

Sending love to you today and always, xoxo. – Whitney

And now, I want to hear from you… Are you struggling with motivation? Do you want to make healthy eating and moving your body a routine habit? I’m here to support you. In the blog comments, let me know the biggest barriers that stand in your way and we can work together to find a solution that fits YOUR life.

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Do you have a fitness, food or health-related question you’d like me to answer? Email me anytime at: I’m passionate about bringing you relevant content that adds ease, simplicity and love to your life; and even MORE excited to connect with you weekly.

*Did you like this video? Please share and help spread our MOvement to make you [and your community] fit for life!*

When Working Out Isn’t “Working Out”

IMG_1579Hey friends! It’s been a hot second. While settling into this new motherhood thing, I made the decision to put the business slightly on the backburner. But while Macks Mo’s online presence has been sleeping a bit [unlike myself and Regan ;)], I’ve been behind the scenes working on some really awesome new projects for you coming in 2016. And my blog topic inspiration has been through the roof, so you’ll be hearing from me more frequently. Thanks for the opportunity to grace your inbox and be part of your day. It means the world to me to be able to do the work I love.


I’m often asked how it’s possible to establish a regular habit of exercising without getting burnt out or how to stay consistent when motivation wanes. I believe [as with most things], it boils down to a shift in mindset and a commitment to tuning IN versus out. Our Macks Mo business philosophy has always been to create workouts that functionally support your life. While it’s easy to be drawn to exercise for aesthetic benefits – using it with weight loss goals in mind, lasting fitness is so much more than that.

When we exercise solely for weight loss, fat loss, or physical reasons, we will, at some point experience that burnout and loss of motivation. Because this type of exercise comes from a negative place and is motivated by external factors. It drives us to push and push to create results while simultaneously punishing ourselves for not getting or maintaining results. This external push blinds our ability to let our body and internal compass be our guide. Even worse, this cycle of “shame—punish—repeat” is not sustainable, nor is it a method that achieves that which we desire most – to feel GOOD in our skin. And so, we find that the non-aesthetic reasons for working out are the ONLY way we’ll make it a consistent practice.

Functional [for life] fitness should create energy in your body, give you mental clarity and build better body awareness while creating a stronger + more balanced physique. It should serve as an opportunity to mentally connect with your physical body and be present versus zoning out and “pushing through”. Bottom line – it should be something you enjoy, something that breaths life into your body rather than depleting it.

— So, if your current exercise routine isn’t doing that, it’s time to ask —
are your workouts working for you? —

Choosing exercise that supports the place we’re at in our lives can be tough because sometimes it means going against the grain. The current societal approach to fitness lives within two beliefs – the “no pain, no gain” syndrome and the “my workouts not worth it if it doesn’t kill me” mentality. Both of these cause us to tune OUT and just “push through”. Don’t get me wrong – in order to continue to make fitness gains, we must allow ourselves to get uncomfortable and lean into the work, often breaking through mental plateaus that block our ability to grow {or shrink}. *However*, there is a fine line between being mentally present to this “change” versus throwing caution, body awareness + form to the wind or not feeling physically accomplished until we’ve gotten our asses kicked.

IMG_7817In my work as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, the majority of my clients come to me because they want to learn to be healthier. Generally speaking, this often translates into a desire to lose weight. A huge piece of our work together involves individualizing their physical, mental and lifestyle needs + practices to actually create that health. Doing so requires a willingness to look at the daily choices they make. It means tuning IN to what our body needs versus what we think we need to do to get what we want. And so often, what we think we need to do is completely counterproductive to what our body truly needs to be healthy.

The thing is – no one person is the same {thank goodness!} and there is no one form of exercise that’s going to work for everyone {phew!}. And within each of our individual lives, things are constantly changing; so in order to create vibrant health that moves with us, we must be willing to examine all aspects of our lives and engage in practices that serve and support us in the here and now – and that includes our workout(s) of choice.

For example – if your job is high stress, time-intensive and energetically demanding {whose isn’t these days, right?}, then coupling that with only high-intensity exercise is likely counterproductive to your well-being + weight loss. You see, exercise causes physical stress in the body and as you raise the intensity level, you also raise the stress level. And the body makes no distinction between physical “exercise” stress and emotional or mental “work” stress. So although we may view our workouts as a stress relief, in actuality, we may be compounding the stress in our lives. Interesting, right? On the flipside, if you’re lacking stability, strength and balance, it might be beneficial to add a regular weight lifting practice into your life to help ground you.

As humans, we tend to gravitate towards what’s comfortable and what we know. If we are an “intense” personality – used to working hard and putting our nose to the grindstone – we are naturally attracted to types of movement that require the same intensity. Because it’s familiar. Because we’re good at it. Building on the above example, however, what we might really need is something to counteract all that life/work stress; a physical practice that forces us to calm the mind, slow down and really be present in our body instead of continuing to push. This can mean a change in your exercise modality – from high-intensity exercise to non-impact options [or vise-versa]; or it can simply be a mental shift of slowing down and performing each exercise you do with intention, perfect form and a mind that’s fully present to how you’re moving.

For me, when I’m feeling energized – it’s a good day to expend extra energy in a higher-intensity workout of metabolic strength training. If I’m feeling tense and wound up – yoga, meditation or core-focused movement can help me feel centered and open. And if I’m feeling totally wiped – a walk, getting outside or taking a nap {seriously} will better support my body. And in truth, a blend of many different types of movement – adaptable to the phase of life you’re in, the type of day you’ve had or your current physical, mental + emotional state – is when you’ll find your workouts working FOR you.

11.30So if you’re not feeling your best, not feeling energized, having trouble dragging yourself to the gym or finding an exercise schedule or modality that sticks, my hope for you is that you can let go of the belief that you have to kill yourself in the gym to make physical gains and know that this practice is most likely sabotaging your long-term fitness, weight loss and well-being. I challenge you to make the conscious decision to be present in your body with each workout + each movement. If you can engage in the mental practice of turning your attention inward, I promise that you’ll create more clarity while boosting your ability to follow your intuition. That innate knowing is your best guide to finding your own version of health.

I also hope that you can begin to question why you do what you do {like why you workout}. Your “why” is one of the most powerful tools in your healthy living toolbox. Your why should connect you to your purpose, your values, your lifelong goals and boost your health on a daily basis. Making you feel good. Because when you’re in the business of feeling good, your choices have the power to lift you above the noise of what you “should do” or what you think you need to do, allowing you to make empowered decisions that create change. Change that lasts. #movebetter #feelbetter

Creating a Healthier You {5 Tips}

Today I came across an article from a fellow graduate of mine from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition {click here to read her original}, Robyn Youkilis that inspired this blog post. Her “5 Tips to a Healthier You”, featured in the Huffington Post, are foundational principles for our 2015 Celebration Challenge that just ended. But I wanted to share + expand on them for you so you can get a better idea of what you can expect and learn what we help you cultivate through our various Macks Mo programs {nutrition, lifestyle coaching and fitness-based}.

Creating a Healthier You#1: Declare Yourself Healthy NOW – unique to our Challenges + programs, we include lifestyle programming that helps you address internal roadblocks holding you back from experiencing vibrant health now {most of us tend to focus on external factors like food + fitness, but this is just one piece of the puzzle!} In our programming, we take you through creating present-tense affirmations {mantras} to help you manifest what you want right now instead of pushing it off into something you “want to do” but are “unable to”. We firmly believe in the Law of Attraction and the power of the thoughts you hold on a daily basis – whatever you believe will find a way to manifest itself into your life, both positive and negative. So, by focusing on how you want to FEEL, holding that close and using it as a compass to guide decisions, we can create what you want immediately versus seeing it something you’ll “get to” eventually. While creating vibrant health is a process, focusing on the now and affirming what you want in the present-tense works with your subconscious to make this your reality.

#2: Get Support – Health is a very personal journey. I both understand this and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with our clients on an intimate level along their journey, in whatever capacity s/he needs + desires. The truth is, it’s hard to go-it alone. Having support around you makes the journey and your long-term success so much easier. Over the past few years, I’ve worked to cultivate a supportive community in my own life {friends + family} and it’s made sustaining my health more fun, simpler and even more enjoyable. Community is also what Regan and I have built our business on – both in our work in Seattle and online; because we know that there is power in numbers. And if you’re struggling with something, it’s likely that others are too. That’s why I LOVE our group Challenges and group Health Coaching Series – because the support is built-in. Regan and I can support you on an individual level, providing the framework for your transformation, while the buzz, excitement and honest discussions of the group can help accelerate your own progress exponentially.

#3: Take Your Time – As I said earlier, health is a journey. One where the deeper we dig, the more benefits we gain. One where the more patience, acceptance and grace we practice for ourselves, the easier changes stick. And certainly one where time is on our side. I can personally tell you that in regards to my own health, the years have been good to me – the more I learn about myself, the more open my heart is, the more willing I am to listen to my body’s needs – the more my vitality has grown, the clearer my head is and the more consistent my energy is. I believe that’s SO important to know and embrace. The less in a rush you are and the more focused you can be on how you want to feel, your inner power grows.

10389467_636560177046_1740788755850607128_n#4: Create Your Non-Negotiable’s – To me, non-negotiables mean defining your “normal”. Normal meaning the things you do on a daily basis because you just know they make you feel better. For me, I have three:

  • Daily affirmations and visualization {my meditation practice} that are included within my morning wake-up and evening wind-down routines.
  • {Almost} daily movement. We use the word “movement” because exercise is just a piece. We believe that the workouts you do should help cultivate energy, strength, body awareness, a deeper inner connection, balance {both physical + emotional} and both develop and maintain muscular + cardiovascular health, but movement also includes all the ways to move your body that you love – biking, skiing, hiking, chasing after your kids, walking or running, playing sports – not just hitting the gym for your usual 30-60 minute workout.
  • Eating food that makes me feel and look good inside and out. For me personally, that’s vegetables and greens whenever and wherever possible I can put them. It also means a variety of local, organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meats and wild seafood, whole grains and an assortment of healthy fats. It means real, seasonal food that I cook in my kitchen and buy locally.

These are my “normal”, things I do {almost} daily and are an integral part of my life; essentially the foundation for my health. I practice them as daily self-care because I know their significance. It’s this shift – defining or perhaps re-defining your NORMAL to include the things you want to do because you know the difference in how they make you feel, think and act.

#5: Accept Yourself – Our 2015 Celebration Challenge in particular was built-on accepting yourself as you are RIGHT NOW and looking at each day as an opportunity to act based on how you want to feel – in this current moment. Living in the now brings your focus away from vanity and into vitality – and all the small changes and decisions you make in order to feel great will add up to lasting vibrant health. If you commit to cultivating it in your now, from where you are, any weight you’re holding onto {physical, emotional or otherwise} will begin to melt away without resistance. We believe that you are a gift and you are enough – regardless of how you look, what job you hold, what habits you’d like to kick or what changes you’d like to cultivate in your life. And through our Celebration Challenge and all Macks Mo programming, we help you celebrate that so you can grow from a place of self-love and nourishment.

If you missed the Challenge, but are still interested in the content, you’re in luck! The 5-week programming is still available for purchase. We decided to keep the program available because the content and concepts are near + dear to my heart and ones I am passionate about sharing with you because I want you to know how special you are {as you are} and to help you cultivate the health you desire. If you’d like more information about the Celebration Challenge content, visit to get all the details and then shoot an email to to get started. Sending love.

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!

What’s Food Got to Do with It?

When it comes to creating vibrant health and feeling great in your own skin, what you eat {and how you move your body} is definitely imperative; crucial in fact. The food you eat literally becomes your body – your blood, your cells, your tissues, your organs, your skin, your hair and even your thoughts. In essence, movement facilitates a flow of energy that permeates into all aspects of your life and your body is a compilation of everything you’ve taken in [all the food you’ve eaten] up to this point in time.

Celebration Food Collage #1Our 2015 Celebration Challenge is all about helping you cipher through all the confusing [and misleading] information about both food and movement, to find what works best for YOU. It means stepping outside any exclusive diet, way of eating or method of exercise and simply asking yourself – “how does this make me feel?” In the Challenge, I guide you through this process so that you can begin to create your own unique blueprint of vibrant health. From that, you’ll experience a ripple effect of positive energy + vibrancy that permeates into all aspects of your life – far beyond food and fitness.

The Celebration online nutrition programming provides you with a starting point, but it’s no diet plan. In it, you’ll find over 40 brand new recipes and guidelines that teach you the optimal foods for vitality + digestion,  how to shop and set up your kitchen for ease + quick go-to meals, along with tons of supporting articles +support to improve your real food IQ and make you the expert of your own health {so you can stop worrying about everything you “should do” and instead tune in to what makes you feel best!}.

You might be wondering — what kind of recipes would you be eating? All recipes are naturally gluten-free and mostly dairy-free Celebration Collage #2[with options to adjust based on your needs]. They are loaded with seasonal + fresh vegetables and rooted in real, whole foods created to energetically warm you up from the inside-out {and keep you in harmony with your environment}. Expect lots of crockpot {make-ahead} dishes, one-pot meals and warm winter 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. Regan and 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:

  • Crockpot Coconut Red Curry Soup
  • Maple Glazed Salmon
  • Honey-Lemon Crockpot Chicken
  • Marinara Baked Eggs over Wilted Chard
  • Adobe Shredded Pork in Yam Sammies
  • Crunchy Sesame-Almond Fish Sticks
  • Spicy Sausage, Chard + White Bean Chowder
  • Heart-Warming Vegetable Minestrone
  • Macks Mo Gum-balaya
  • Rosemary + Garlic Coconut Cream Sauce over Spaghetti Squash
  • Simple Garlic-Ginger Stir Fry
  • Carrot Ginger Soup
  • My Mom’s Famous Spaghetti {Squash} Pie
  • Beef Root Vegetable Stew
  • Pear, Butternut Squash + Crab Bisque
  • Toasted Brussels Sprouts Saute with Shittake Mushrooms
  • White Bean + Pesto Kale
  • Asian Stir-Fried Broccoli with Arame
  • Cauliflower Pilaf with Currants + Almonds
  • Warm Winter Slaw with Tahini Dressing
  • Creamy Garlic Mashed “Potatoes”
  • Roasted Root Vegetables over Balsamic Beet Greens
  • PLUS 13 Breakfast Recipes
  • And 10 Snack Recipes!

Learn more about the nutrition program {+ online workout programming} and the Celebration Challenge as a whole by CLICKING HERE. We offer 4 different levels at which you can join based on your needs.

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!

Why It’s Important to Celebrate You.

In my line of work – as a fitness professional and holistic lifestyle + nutrition coach, the New Year brings about a time of business excitement and growth. People have “made it through” the holiday season and are ready to commit [or re-commit] to a healthy lifestyle rooted within daily movement and eating “better”. Although, I enjoy the renewed excitement around health, most of the propaganda and language that surround the beginning of a new year just rubs me the wrong way.

Little SecretWhere Regan and I differ from a great majority of fitness and health businesses is that we believe that any action you take towards health should serve your life in a functional, positive way. I’m going to let you in on a little something the fitness and health industry don’t want you to know — working out doesn’t really help you lose weight. It definitely helps create energy and can certainly aide in your efforts to build muscle definition, but the constant state of “killing yourself” at the gym and punishing yourself for food eaten will never, ever help you lose weight. And dieting certainly won’t help you keep weight off in the long haul either. The only way to create lasting health is to find movement you enjoy that supports your body to make you feel better and to eat from a place of self-love vs. self-loathing. And that’s where most New Year’s diet + exercise programs fail you. They draw you in with the language that “you’re not good enough” as you are right now – capitalizing on the fact that you believe you’ll be happier when you’re slimmer with a different body than you have right now. And I have a problem with that.

Why? Because if we’re constantly seeking to change ourselves from a place of belief that we’re not beautiful and enough as we are right now, then we will never be able to create lasting health and happiness. It’s this belief that the diet + exercise industries are banking on in order to continue to generate revenue – you believing that you need them to help you create health because you can’t do it on your own and you’re not enough as you are right now. At Macks Mo, Regan and I are on a mission to change that. And it’s what this year’s annual group challenge is all about. Celebrating you as you are right now, nourishing your body from the inside out with self-love and empowering you to become the master of your own health. No one knows what feels and works best in your body better than you – and trying to force dietary changes or exercise modalities that don’t feel good will never last. So in creating this Challenge, it was our goal to give you to the tools to love + listen. To celebrate you – as you are and also empower you to wherever you want to go, but in a supportive and lasting way. The 2015 Macks Mo Celebration Challenge equips you with the knowledge + support to take full responsibility for your own health + happiness, instead of having to rely on or even pay attention to the latest diet or exercise trend.

You are a GiftWhen we sat down to create this year’s challenge, our main goal was to show our clients that the pursuit of their own health didn’t need to come in extreme ways. And in fact, engaging in extreme measures is often counter-productive to long-lasting changes. We wanted to demonstrate that in order to truly create a life you love – where you’re fit to handle anything life throws at you [physically, emotionally + mentally] – that you have to stop waiting on the weight and instead start celebrating all you can do right now and who you are right now. You are a gift and you are enough — regardless of how you look, what job you hold, what habits you’d like to kick or what changes you’d like to create [physical or otherwise]. And this Challenge is our way of throwing you a New Year’s party to celebrate that.

Unique to Macks Mo programming, the 2015 Celebration Challenge contains lifestyle + health coaching videos that center around deepening your connection to your body’s intuition, empowering you to become an expert in your own health while shedding excess [physical + emotional] weight along the way. We’ll teach you to live more fully by tuning into the bio-individual signs + signals your body sends, which helps create your own unique blueprint of what vibrant health looks like.

As always, our Challenges consist of online nutrition + workout components. Regan and I do this because we understand that sometimes we all need a little help to begin our journey and add ease to the process of stepping into better health + creating lasting, positive habits. The nutrition program is rooted in delicious, seasonal recipes that create glowing energy and support your body’s needs. The programming is vegetarian-friendly and primarily gluten- + dairy free [with modifications to make it completely so if needed] with weekly grocery lists and guided prep work to maximize your time. For our workout programming, Regan wanted to guide you in the process of finding what movement feels best in your body. As such, he created 8 brand new workouts [complete with beginner’s modifications] of varying exercise modalities – there’s yoga, strength training, high-intensity power circuits, full-body endurance training and even a safe Crossfit-style workout – each workout complete with exercise video tutorials + written guidelines. There’s also specific challenges at the end of each workout that give you a baseline to measure progress and get you out of your comfort zone, into the heart-pumping space of feeling alive in the strength + possibilities your body has right now.

This Challenge is for YOU if:

  • You’re tired of trying {fad} diet after diet with no lasting results. Sick of the yo-yo diet cycle, you’re fed up with feeling out of control in your food choices + emotions.
  • Negative emotions – like worry, guilt, shame, stress and fear are an integral part of your daily life, along with negative self-talk. You beat yourself up for how you look, how you eat + decisions you make, then punish yourself with extreme exercise or restrictive measures.
  • You think you’re healthy, but you don’t feel vibrant and struggle to find the energy to get through the day. You 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 “know what to do” to be healthy, but struggle with finding the motivation to consistently follow through.
  • You’re confused and overwhelmed by all the exercise + diet information out there and need help deciphering the information to create a plan of what physically works for you.
  • You want to upgrade or spice up your food choices, learn to eat seasonally and experience the difference of eating in line with food energetics that support your body.
  • You sleep “well”, but still wake up fatigued, needing pick-me-ups like coffee and sweets to get you through.
  • You want to increase your productivity + mental clarity.
  • 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.
  • You “do good” during the week, but struggle to maintain balance on the weekends – thus feel like you’re starting over every Monday.

If you are any or all of these things, this Challenge was created for you. Created not so that you can experience “health” as you know it now, but to instead create a dynamic balance in your life that shifts and changes as you do, unique to your individualized needs. You see, at Macks Mo, know how important it is to make you fit for life and all it throws at you. We understand our circumstances change and we go through various stages of growth + stressors. And you need a health plan that’s meant to weather all the seasons of your life — allowing you to have vibrant energy amidst both the easer and more challenging times.

Celebrate Who You Are and Where You're GoingCreating this vibrant energy 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. That’s why we think it’s time to approach the New Year from a different perspective — time to celebrate where you’re at and where you desire to go, not to loathe the process of creating it with extreme measures that don’t even last through January. 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 2015 Celebration Challenge.

To sign up for the Challenge and learn more about the various levels at which you can enter [based on your needs], CLICK HERE! The Challenge begins Wednesday, January 7th when you’ll begin receiving your material and officially kicks off Monday, Jan 12th, running 5 weeks to Saturday, Feb. 14th.

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 and Twitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!

14 Tips to Support a Thriving Holiday Season

Thriving. How many of you would describe your holidays like this?
Vibrant. Is this a good description of your health at the moment?

During the holidays, more often than not, we’re just trying to “get through” to the new year. Letting the bustle of the holidays interfere with our self-care, healthful eating and daily movement that keep us feeling nourished from the inside-out. I get it. The holidays can be tough and there’s certainly a lot going on. But we believe that it doesn’t have to be that way. Like all things, we have the power to choose our “busy” and decide [to some degree] the things we do and don’t have time for. In November, we launched our Holiday Helper series – our first-ever free 2-week series to create a thriving holiday season. Included in it were 2 free bodyweight workouts [that included exercise video tutorials + written guidelines to measure and track progress], 5 delicious real-food, seasonal recipes and 14 tips + tools to help you feel vibrant.

We created this series because we think your holidays should be filled with the people + things you love instead of the worry, guilt, shame and punishment that often accompany this season when it comes to food, fitness and your lifestyle choices. Like all things we do at Macks Mo, my heart went into creating this series because it’s my passion to help you create a life you love and a body you feel good in – now and always. As you are and in support of any goals you have. And it’s so important to me that this information reaches you that I decided to also share it on our blog today. To serve you in creating vibrant health right now and as we move into the New Year. And if you like these tips + tools, I have even better news. We think that your WHOLE year should be like this, so come 2015, for our annual group challenge, we’re going to be celebrating you. You as you are, you in what you wish to create in your life and the goals you’re striving towards. Stay tuned post-Christmas for more details — you won’t want to miss this, trust me.

– Read each tip in detail by CLICKING HERE to view our Holiday Helpers Closing packet. Or reach each individual tip below. –

  1. The greatest power you have is the power to choose. Read more here:
  2. Examine the road blocks holding you back from experiencing vibrant health. Read more here:
  3. Feed your body with a different type of food. Read more here:
  4. Eat REAL food. Read more here:
  5. Preparation is key, set yourself up for success at the beginning of each week. Read more here:
  6. Don’t skip meals. Read more here:
  7. Stop giving energy to the things you don’t want. Read more here:
  8. Get moving. Engage in [almost] daily movement. Read more here:
  9. Grab your partner or a buddy! Read more here:
  10. Love what you love. And leave the rest. Read more here:
  11. Establish a morning wake-up and evening wind-down routine. Read more here:
  12. Sleep. Read more here:
  13. Make self-care a priority. Read more here:
  14. Practice gratitude. Read more here:

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 and Twitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!

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!