Tips

Q & A: How do I lose belly fat?

First clue: skip the bagels! I know. So hard!!

First clue: skip the bagels! I know. So hard!!

A very common question I get as a health coach is “how do I lose belly fat?”.

[Note: I’m not going to evaluate the validity of the question- if it matters to you, it matters to me! I’m here to support you the best I can!]

Well unfortunately, there is not a simple answer. There is a lot of information out there, a lot of it is nonsense. Please skip the “teatoxes” or anything that guarantees fast results. Furthermore, no amount of crunches will eliminate that extra cushion in the front! You may have heard that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym– and that is absolutely true!

I believe the best approach is one with slow, sustainable progress. That’s not what most people want to hear, but that will leave you with lasting results. It’s important to remember that it is very common that belly fat is the last to go! You need to be consistent, and put in the time to even approach losing excess from your midsection!

The Shed program is designed to help you tackle this issue! You eliminate and scale back on some of the most problematic foods for your middle!

Foods that can hinder belly fat loss:

  • white or refined carbohydrates (see above bagel)

  • sugar

  • dairy

  • alcohol (beer especially can be problematic!)

You don’t need to eliminate these from your diet forever. But skipping them for a concentrated period of time will help push your body out of it’s current de facto state and will allow you to start losing.

But if you are skipping the foods above- what do you eat? Prioritize eating lots of vegetables, protein at each meal, and healthy fats! (If you are looking for guidance on this- the Shed program has meal plans included!)

You may eventually hit a plateau. There are a variety of ways to tackle a plateau– it really depends on your body and circumstances. Oftentimes you just need to change up your exercise routine. Doing more or LESS may be the solution. If you are putting too much stress on your body, it releases cortisol- which is the enemy to weight loss! If you have been doing light exercise like walking, it may be time to add an extra boost. Plateaus are really where coaching is the most helpful– everyone’s life is unique and what may be causing your plateau may be completely unique to you. (Shoot me an email if you are interested in one-on-one coaching!)

Back to cortisol– if you perpetually feel stressed– this could be your biggest issue with losing weight around your tummy. Try to find ways to manage your stress. I highly recommend meditation and yoga to bring some calm to the chaos! Other people manage their stress with running or other cardio. Just try to find something that can consistently bring you some zen!

In summary, the steps to losing that pesky tummy:

  1. Eliminate problematic foods (white/refined carbs, sugar, dairy, alcohol) from your diet for a period of time

  2. Eat a healthy diet filled with lots of vegetables, protein and healthy fats!

  3. Push past plateaus

  4. Manage your stress

  5. Have patience and enjoy the journey of changing your lifestyle for the better!

Wellness is not exclusive

This week Kourtney Kardashian unveiled her new lifestyle and wellness site, Poosh. Well this brought up all kinds of feels for me and so I thought it was time I finally tackled the topic of wellness elitism.

My first impressions of the Poosh website was that it did a good job tackling a variety of topics, but was disappointed in the depth of the articles. I was impressed to see ”Tapping into your spiritual side” but was unsatisfied with the 3 uninspired paragraphs on the topics that really made one valid suggestion. It seems like they are attempting to grow their content and adding other authors which will be sure to increase the quality of the content, but in the meantime, it seems like Poosh is not really filling any void in the market. There is no shortage for lifestyle content, and I expected more than fluff. Beyond that, in true Kardashian fashion, they are perpetuating an unattainable body image. “An instant butt lift with Coach Joe” and “How to look good naked”–their headlines alone imply you need to change how you look. Beyond that, there are almost-naked photos of Kourtney of everywhere.

But this post was not meant as a critic of Poosh, or the Kardashians (not that they don’t deserve some critiquing!). When I read the name “Poosh” (apparently it’s so named for the nickname of one of Kourtney’s children) it immediately made me think of “Bloosh” the lifestyle trend app featured in a few episodes of the show Parks and Recreation. The CEO of Bloosh, Annabel Porter is maybe my favorite depiction of the absurdity that the wellness community espouses at times. A great example of this is from the episode “Recall Vote” she mentions that “in her home, they do not eat meals. They have ‘food teases,’ such as oat wedges and seaweed lozenges.” Enough said, right? I have no evidence of this, but I always felt that the writer’s were using Gwyneth Paltrow and her wellness site/brand, Goop as their inspiration for unattainable wellness.

Now, Goop has expanded over the years, and has become more inclusive of a diversity of price points, but it’s elitism is really what makes it stand out as a brand. By touting high end skin care regimes, designer fashion, and unique (read expensive) travel destinations–it’s a lifestyle brand that’s foundation is built on aspirational living. And wellness is no exception– with Goop branded vitamin packs retailing at $90/month– Goop defines wellness as exclusive. I appreciate Goop’s unique content, but it is definitely not created to be accessible for all. As it’s founder, through out the years, Gwyneth Paltrow has been criticized for being out of touch with the masses and being unaware of her privilege.

While dear Gwynnie has been out in the stratosphere in terms of her connection to the “every woman”, there is another public figure that is even more disconnected than our dear Gwen.

… and that’s Amanda Chantal Bacon (the irony of her name is not lost on me), the founder of Moon Juice. Elle magazine published her food diary in 2015, and I reference it whenever I need a good laugh. She is the real life Annabel Porter. Her daily diet–from ho shou wu to Shilajit resin–consists of foods that most of the population have never even heard of. It’s next level elite, and that’s how it’s intended. Rare, globally sourced ingredients are a huge money maker.

This parody of the article also continues to make me chuckle (but read the article first!):

So we now have:

  • Poosh

  • the fake, “Bloosh”

  • Goop

  • and Moon Juice

…coincidence? I think not. I’m not exactly sure why double Os mean elite wellness, but there is definitely a trend here (not to mention Well + Good. You could take it a step further and include dominant tech giants, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook!).

But I digress. These three (real :)) women and their empires are built on sharing their elite standard of living with the masses. To quote my current muse, Jameela Jamil,

“Let’s get real about money for a second. Because money is the reason most people don’t look as thin and young as celebrities. These people have trainers, chefs, access to the best organic food, they have the best beauticians, staff to help them do everything, a MUCH less stressful life, the best doctors, many have talented surgeons, they have make up artists and hair stylists. And then ON TOP of that, they are airbrushed without telling you they are. You are being set up for a fall with this comparison porn culture. Swerve the lies and just do you.”

Calling attention to these extreme examples in the wellness community is important because they set an unrealistic expectation of what the average person can do to make their lives healthier. Beyond the sheer expense of living the way they do, they overcomplicate what it means to be healthy. You don’t have to live like the 1% to have a healthy existence. Icons like Kourtney and Gwyneth set an unrealistic example of what wellness is for the every woman. While drinking adaptogens and cordyceps every morning can make you feel awesome, not everyone has the means to add this into their diets daily. Superfoods are great, but by no means are they a requirement to live a healthy life!

As a person who owns a wellness based business, I like to show you new trends, but I never want anyone to feel like they can live a healthy lifestyle if they can’t use a certain product. Because it’s NOT TRUE!! Wellness is truly accessible to all.

“Eat (real) food, not too much, mostly plants” - Michael Pollan

Don’t let the wellness elite make you think it’s more complicated than that.

Your body is beautiful

I’m sharing this photo as an act of self love. Even though I see my faults, I also see a strong healthy woman!

I’m sharing this photo as an act of self love. Even though I see my faults, I also see a strong healthy woman!

I was having coffee with a friend last week and I had a realization that I have a low tolerance for talking about weight loss. Upon reflection, I think that’s because no matter what your shape or size is, I truly think you are beautiful no matter what your size is. And obsessing and following extreme diets and exercise regimes to change you… well it upsets me, to be honest. While that may sound contrarian to what my name implies; “Shed” for the Wed, is really about making Soulful Healthy Eating Decisions. It’s so much more than seeing a certain number on the scale.

I’ve made it very clear that I am not about counting calories, weighing food portions, or restricting whole food categories for an extended period of time. I want to teach you how to eat healthfully to make you feel your best on the big day–but more importantly for the rest of your life! And that requires making healthy living sustainable for the long term.

But while you are learning about healthy eats (which will in 99% of the time help you lose weight if that is your objective), I want you to know you are already “wedding ready”. You are a radiant human just as you are right this very moment. If you have a hard time believing that–as so many of us do–I want you to be actively working on loving your body. By showing love for your body, you are showing love for yourself, and when you love yourself, you can truly love others fully and without judgement. And isn’t that what life is all about?

Another incredibly important point–when you love your body you have a healthy relationship with food. You don’t look at cake with disgust or with lust (okay maybe sometimes with lust 😂), but it is neutral. There will always be options that are healthier and options that are less healthy. Foods do not have the labels of “good” or “bad”.

All of this is easier said than done. This work does not happen overnight. Sometimes it can take years of our lives to decondition ourselves from the years of torment we (and society) have placed on ourselves. I’m for sure still working on it, and probably will be for a long time! I’ve compiled some easy actionable tips to start you on the right path:

  1. Look in the mirror and say something nice about what you see once a day (at least!)

  2. Eat vegetables and fruits. By feeding yourself nourishing foods, you are honoring yourself and showing your body love.

  3. Whenever you think a menu item is “bad,” active try to change your mindset in that moment to that it is neutral. Bonus points if someone orders it and you eat some!

  4. Meditate. Take 5 minutes out of your day to just be.

  5. Move your body joyfully. Turn on the happiest song in your Spotify library and have a dance party for one. Or ride your bike outside. Whatever it is, make sure it puts a smile on your face.

What are you doing to show your body some love this week? Leave me a note below or on Instagram/Facebook! With love, AHS

Finding balance: How to Juggle Healthy Eating, Exercise, Insanely Busy Work Life, a Seemingly Endless Social Calendar, and Planning a Wedding!

finding balance shed for the wed healthy eating exercise

If you read this headline and got very excited, well, I’m sorry to disappoint. Before you keep reading looking for the solve, know that there is no miracle solution to finding balance. “Work-life balance” is a myth. You just have one life. Work is a part of that life. It reminds me of what they used to say about working mothers– “she wants to have it all!” well the reality is you can’t have it ALL. Something will always feel like it is out of whack in some capacity. But what you can do is find routine and ritual to keep what matters most to you moving.

I decided to write this post because one of the most put together people I know was one of the people requesting it. If I couldn’t ask her to be a guest blogger on this topic, I was fairly certain there isn’t a clear answer.

This is coming from someone who searched for the answer for years! I remember my first real job out of college. I was working super late every night and really it was my first time really living on my own. I always felt too tired for the gym or to cook when I got home. I ordered takeout nonstop. I craved balance so badly. I kept saying there had to be another way. Well I can tell you, that led me to quit said job and move to another continent for a year in search of a better way of life. And I can say I learned a lot in that one year from the way that the Aussies live their lives in work and play. But moving to another continent is not really an option for most people, nor is it desired! The real question is how to make the life you have right now feel more ideal.

Here are my 3 steps to help you reclaim “balance” in your life.

1) Determine what feels off to you

If you are searching for balance that implies that something is imbalanced. Do you just feel like you are struggling to reach your goals? Do you feel exhausted with your current lifestyle? There is a tool I use with my one-on-one coaching clients called the Circle of Life. It helps you identify where you feel off in your current day-to-day life. What’s amazing is that it can change entirely from one week to the next. But it’s a great place to start if you are struggling to identify what feels off in your day to day. I’ve included it here for you, just because! Note: it includes a variety of facets to life. Those may be applicable to what comprises your circle, or you may need to make an adjustment to fit your life! Ask yourself, “what does balance mean to you?”

Do the exercise and see where your gaps come up for you right now!

2) Set a goal (or not)

Once you are clear on what is off, you can move forward deciding with what is most important that you would like to change. If goals are your thing, you could make yourself a goal to help correct the imbalance. Sometimes I feel like setting goals for everything takes away their power, so I would most likely give myself some weekly objectives (in my world they are different!) I would like to aim for.

An example of my weekly objectives: exercise 4x/week and meditating daily. I have check boxes in my planner for them both. I don’t always hit them, but that is okay too!

If it is something you really care about, you need to make it a priority. If you don’t really want to make it a priority, think about why that is. Maybe it’s that you feel like you should do something, but in your heart, you just don’t care. THAT IS 100% OKAY! But don’t beat yourself up about not working out everyday if it’s not something that you really don’t have any interest in prioritizing.

3) Be Prepared

Now that we are clear on where our imbalance lies, and what we would like to change, now it’s time to make sure it happens. If you have a typical 9-5 the weekend is a great way to get on top of it. Carve out time for yourself during the weekend or whenever your off days are. It’s easy to load up on social events, but make sure you have time for a bit of productivity. I have one friend who says “Sunday’s are sacred”– and it’s become my favorite phrase! For many people it’s meal planning and doing cooking for the week on Sundays. For others it’s plotting out and signing up for their work out classes for the week. Make that time a part of your ritual and then the Sunday scaries become empowering!

I’ll be honest with you, this step is my weakness. Because I work for myself, I’ve just gotten good at doing things that matter on the fly, and that works for me. I wouldn’t aim for that, but know that success looks different to everyone.

As I am all about the healthy eats, I will tell you the number one way to ensure success is to prepare in advance. The Shed nutrition plans have meal plans built in for 8 weeks. If you use one weekend day to really make meals in advance and portion things out for the week, you will be on the right track from the very beginning of the week! It’s all about making that a priority, if that is what matters to you!

Allowing for grace

For me, living intuitively within my body is the goal. I listen to my body and give it room to process. This goes for eating (I eat mindfully, and try to listen to the cues my body gives me) and exercise (if I’ve worked out 3 days in a row, and my muscles are telling me they need a break, I give them a break!). But it also is a part of the bigger picture in my life. Sometimes life is going to be madness, and you need to step it up to make everything come together. But then, you need to allow for time to recoup. We live in a world where productivity is the metric of living a successful life. We’ve been trained to think that way, but really, there is more to life than checking off every item on your to do list. If you don’t make it to the grocery store because you are spending time with people you care about and having meaningful connections with them, then you know what, I would consider that more productive than meal prepping for the week! It all comes down to what really matters to you. And depending on your phase of life this can fluctuate.

Why I love working with brides is because they have a definitive time frame to when they would like to reach their goals. They are highly motivated in the moment that they find me! That being said a bride’s goals and mindset is not the same as a new mother’s, etc. Each phase of life you are in, a new balance becomes clear. Allow yourself to be comfortable in the place that you are in right now!

There isn’t a one size fits all answer

Every individual has their own, unique set of challenges. This is why I have a coaching business and not just online programs that run without me. Because at the end of the day, finding that balance in our day to day lives is hard! Sometimes you need someone there to help you deal with your particular set of circumstances (the Shed platinum program is the best for this!). Following a program works for some people, but other people have more challenges that they need to overcome in order to reach their goals. Your experience is unique to you, and your job is to find what a balanced healthy lifestyle means in the context of your life!


So what does living a balanced life mean to you? Where do you prioritize your time? I want to hear! Leave me a note below or on Insta/FB. -AHS

A Guide to Taking a Break from Booze

A lovely sparkling water, with a dash of cucumber shrub and splash of simple syrup.

A lovely sparkling water, with a dash of cucumber shrub and splash of simple syrup.

I always thought that when I became pregnant, I was going to hate not drinking. I don’t think I drink very much compared to the general population, but I enjoy the social component that accompanies drinking and I love an occasional glass (or 2) of red to unwind during the week. Spoiler: it hasn’t been that hard!

If you are considering skipping booze before the wedding this post is for you! The second month of the Shed program is booze-free. While it is not required for longer than a month, I highly recommend skipping booze for the few months before your wedding. It will really bring out that bridal glow! Below, I’m sharing my experience and tips on skipping booze from over the past few months!


Day-to-Day Sans Alcohol

In general I wake up with more energy. I can only imagine how wonderful I would feel if I wasn’t pregnant (AKA not waking up in the middle of the night to pee every night and the general exhaustion that goes along with it!). In all honesty, I think that most of the benefits of not drinking are somewhat compromised by pregnancy symptoms (for me at least)– so non-prego brides-to-be take advantage of this time! More on this in section 3!

While I do miss the occasional relaxed buzz vibe from a nice glass of shiraz, I really have been amazed at how little it has affected my overall enjoyment of social events. I’ve been to several large parties and weddings sober now and have been able to really enjoy them. Here is how I have taken them on to maximize my enjoyment:

  • I always carry a drink- preferably similar to what I typically drink. Like a soda water with a splash of cranberry (all I’m missing is the vodka!). Before I was showing, people had no idea, and I even felt like I was drinking with them. My mom was laughing at me on the dance floor at a wedding, still holding my drink. Holding a drink, alcohol or not, is a part of my party persona and it really makes me feel like my normal self. Pro tip: ask the bartender to use the same glass that they are serving alcoholic drinks in especially if you are not public with you news yet! It can be a dead giveaway (I’ve busted several friends this way!).

  • The above works until the witching hour- which is now what I refer to the period of time when everyone’s eyes begin to glaze over and don’t make sense anymore. That is now the time I know its time to GTFO. It’s no longer fun when your people don’t make sense. I find that leaving around 12:30 on average is probably the best call.

  • I also have been able to chill at crazy bars and have an amazing time, but at the end of the day it comes down to the company! I don’t need to be drinking to enjoy hanging with my friends!


What to drink

It is really nice to find any beverage besides water to drink - it can be really boring drinking water all day every day (including sparkling!).

If you are shedding for the wedding, you’ll want to avoid sugary mocktails:

  • Go for soda water with a splash of juice of your choice.

  • You can always add a dash of cucumber shrub (vinegar based flavor) or a tiny bit of bitters to change things up. But it’s really easy to overdo it! Gotta keep it in very small amounts!

  • If you want an extra caffeine boost- unsweetened iced tea is great and looks like it could be boozy.

  • You can enjoy kombucha just make sure the sugar content isn’t higher than 4g.

If you are shedding for the preg, all of the above works but be mindful, kombucha can have trace amounts of alcohol, so be mindful about your consumption. Feel free to enjoy those mocktails, but treat them as a dessert and enjoy them on occasion. Just don’t make them habitual.


Sober but still having hangovers

Oddly, I haven’t stopped getting hangovers! What?! How is that possible you say?

Well, what I’ve learned is that what I always thought was a standard hangover is a combination of either 2-4 things:

  1. Dehydration

  2. Fatigue

  3. Previous high sugar consumption

  4. Alcohol

Typically it just takes 2 (of the 4) to make it feel like a hangover. Obviously, #4 isn’t an issue for me right now, but if three happen, I’m really in trouble. So my number 1 objective is to drink enough water consistently throughout the day so I don’t need to drink a lot before bed. Number 2 objective- I now get like 9 hours of sleep- yeah I know that’s a luxurious amount. If I have less than that it’s problematic. I chalk it up to growing a human. But that being said this is why I feel like I’m hungover all the time. It’s hard to get that 9 hours. Lastly, I try not to overdo the sugar. It’s very easy to do if you are not being 100% active in keeping it down. Added sugars are in everything, and then if you are allowing for a treat most days, it can add up and really negate all of those positive benefits from skipping the booze!

If you are shedding for the wedding, added sugars are out and probably won’t need quite as much sleep. So hopefully, if you drink enough water, you should feel “hangover”-free, energized, and fabulous!


Overall, I think I may be choosing to skip the booze even after baby arrives! What do you think? Are you sober curious? Let me know if you are tempted to take a drinking hiatus or if you have any questions on the drink-free life! -AHS

Celery Juice

16oz of the good stuff!

16oz of the good stuff!

What is the celery juice fad? Why is everyone doing it?

The “global celery juice movement” has been popularized by the Medical Medium (MM). If you haven’t heard of him, there is lot to process there. As a medium, he receives all of his information from the “spirit of compassion” on the other side. Let me tell you, I am all into the woowoo. I don’t doubt that people can communicate with other planes, spirits, or even with God. But whenever there is too much celebrity involved (he has a whole half page of testimonials only from celebrities), I just get a little skeptical. I haven’t read any of his books, but I did read one of his diets when my step-dad was really sick and no one knew what was wrong with him for almost 2 years (he tried the diet for 3 weeks it didn’t help). While I have reservations about the Medical Medium himself, he touts the power of fruits and vegetables, and in that we are 100% aligned. I will cover the basics in this post, but to get a full understanding on all things celery juice from the main source, I recommend reading Celery Juice 101.

The basics

What to do:

Drink 8-16oz of fresh celery juice every morning before eating or drinking anything else. Wait 15-30 minutes before eating breakfast.

Use organic celery, and rinse it. I also cut off the ends. If using conventional celery, wash with clear fragrance-free dish soap. Juice it in a juicer, or blend and then filter through a cheese cloth. Drink up.

Working your way up to 16oz is advised, because it can have a cleansing effect (which is your body eliminating toxins). If you prepare in advance, it will only keep for 24 hours. Seal it in a mason jar with a lid.

What not to do:

If you do any of the following it will take away from the “medicinal properties”, per MM:

  • Make more than 24 hours worth in advance. It won’t keep.

  • Add anything else (ice, or other fruits or vegetables)

  • Drink with the fiber (like if you blended it and then skipped the filtering)


My experience

The process:

I drank the celery juice for about 6 days in total non-consecutively.

It was also recommended to me to use a blender and use a cheese cloth instead of a juicer. I never bought the cheese cloth so I just kept using my juicer. I love my juicer but it needs to be cleaned almost immediately after use– time consuming and annoying. Because of that I didn’t do it every morning.

I did add ice sometimes, it made it super delicious to me (that was before I knew it was a no no!). A couple of times when I made it for me and hubby, I added other things (apple and cucumber) to make it more palatable. It was super yummy we both couldn’t get enough of it–but I did notice that it didn’t feel quite as awesome as when I drank it plain.

How I felt:

benefits of celery juice

I felt very clear and light when I drank the juice in the am. It also made me crave healthier things throughout the day. During this time, I had some dental work done and my gums were sore. Unintentionally, I realized that the juice was totally soothing on my gums.

It really did “cleanse,” even with just 8oz- so starting slow was important. I did work my way up to the 16oz and didn’t notice a huge difference.

Overall, it just made me feel just, good. Its hard to explain, but it definitely felt like my system was very pleased to have the green boost!

 

Final thoughts

Ideally, I would have done it for a longer period and sequentially, but it just didn’t work out that way. I think I would have been able to see stronger results. Without a doubt, when I drank the juice as prescribed, I felt good. Very good. And that is never something to discount. I know now that it is a great thing to do when I just need to feel good in my body.

The question I kept asking myself was how to make this a tangible apart of my daily routine. And is it worth the time. It can be a bit of a pain making it fresh every morning. Just time consuming. I recommend washing and trimming ends in advance to save some time.

Also, as a generally healthy person, I question if I need to be drinking it every day. It is supposedly very healing, and great for breastfeeding, but I just can’t imagine a world I make this juice every day. I do know that if I was suffering from an illness, I would prioritize making it.

My net takeaway: it definitely doesn’t hurt. Especially if you feel like your body needs a serious pick me up. If you can find the time to add it into your routine, I would definitely recommend it.

Have you tried celery juice? I would love to hear your thoughts! Send me a DM on Instagram or Facebook to let me know what you think. Chin chin! - AHS

A (last minute) Gift Guide for the Bride-to-Be

Looking for a gift for your fave bride-to-be, but aren’t looking for a standard bride gift? Well this is the list for you! No bride-to-be mugs or ring dishes on this list! These gifts your gal will love today or long into her marriage! These are all products I use and love myself.

Disclaimer- this post includes some affiliate links which I may receive a commission from.

Mizu Aura Crystal Water Bottle

Mizu Aura Crystal Quartz Water bottle Shed for the Wed

One of my biggest health challenges is drinking enough water. I absolutely adore my clear quartz water bottle. It inspires me to keep chugging all day, and I swear the crystal gives the water a pure taste. I chose clear quartz because of the benefits: “Natural Clear Quartz Crystal helps to break through mental and emotional blocks, opening up the heart and mind to insight and higher guidance.” They also offer rose quartz “to create connection, encouraging unconditional love and attracting new or stronger relationships” - my pick for the bride in your life. They also have amethyst and smoky quartz!

Use promo code: SHEDFORTHEWED for $15 off your first order!

a high quality Spiralizer

For the health conscious bride, a spiralizer will take you far! The easy, cost efficient way to make veggie noodles apart of the weekly dinner repertoire! This is the most updated version of the spiralizer I use at home! I use the Paderno brand. This version has more blade options! Fancy, huh?!




Shed for the wed program

Shed for the Wed Cookbook ipad image

Give the gift of health this Christmas! Heading into the new year, we all could use an extra health boost! Help the bride and bridesmaids in your life to start the year off with healthy eats and recipes. Use code CHRISTMAS18 for 20% off ANY order including coaching with me!! Say wha?! Also, it’s all digital, so no worries about receiving a package in time!

Shop Novaa - Clothing, jewelry, and accessories

Hello, ethical, sustainable fashion! Buy your bride a cozy sweater or a piece of cool jewelry and support a local midwest start up dedicated to shopping sweatshop free! Use promo code: Shed15 for 15% off entire order! AND they are doing free 2-day shipping to get your gifts in before Christmas!

Still drooling over this wrap dress. (click to shop!) Photo from NOVAA

Still drooling over this wrap dress. (click to shop!) Photo from NOVAA

Yeah, I’m a sucker for stripes. (click to shop!) Photo from NOVAA

Yeah, I’m a sucker for stripes. (click to shop!) Photo from NOVAA

Erin Condren Life Planner

Erin Condren Life Planner 2019 goal setting new years resolution

I have been using Erin Condren life planners for the past 4 years. There are so many planners out there- but this one really has the perfect formula. Monthly views, and weekly page views help for plotting the big picture and the nitty gritty details- perfect when you are planning a wedding! Bonus points- the covers are customizable and interchangeable! And do you see that rose gold?! 😍😍😍 They also have a beautiful wedding planner option if your bride doesn’t have one yet!

Use this referral link for $10 off your purchase!


That’s it for my last minute gifts! What are you most looking forward to this holiday? Wishing you a cozy, happy, love filled Christmas! -AHS

Intuitive Eating

Yeah, that’s me being a lovely example of not practicing mindful eating! Or am I? 3 bite rule?! Side note: I love the dapper groomsman strutting across the floor! Photo by Kristin LaVoie

Yeah, that’s me being a lovely example of not practicing mindful eating! Or am I? 3 bite rule?! Side note: I love the dapper groomsman strutting across the floor! Photo by Kristin LaVoie

Hello bride tribe!!

Today I wanted to talk to you about one of my favorite things to work on when I coach clients one-on-one, Intuitive Eating. Also, often referred to as “Mindful Eating,” it’s all about finding your own flow.

It’s interesting, because my coaching clients tend to fall into one of two camps. The first: “tell me what to do and I’ll do it” and the second, “I already know what to do but I have trouble executing.” In all actuality, both types of clients are desperately in need of more mindfulness in their own lives and routines. Client one is great at doing whatever they need to do to “see results”- and often times ignore their bodily cues. Client two may recognize their body cues more easily - but have a hard time finding the right rhythm of mindfulness in their day-to-day lives. Either way- we end up working on becoming more mindful and intuitive, especially in regards to consumption!

If you had a standard American childhood (I’m sure this applies to many places outside of America as well, but not sure where to draw the line, lol) you grew up on three main meals and then several snacks throughout the day. You may have dropped one or two of those as you grew up and life became busy and hectic- but I’m guessing you probably still think in terms of 3 meals a day (even if you’re consciously skipping one)! We have a societal routine of breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. It’s just what we do! And nothing is wrong with eating 3 meals–in fact, the Shed program is built around it! But the key here is - if you are having three square meals a day- are you actually hungry when you eat? Or are you forcing it? Are you starving by mealtime? Are you eating quickly to get all the food in on your lunch break? I often have three meals a day, but I listen to my body cues to tell me when to eat and how much. We need to tune into our bodies to figure out what it needs! Vs what it’s scheduled for.

But before we look inward, we need to clear out some of the bad habits that make it difficult to assess our bodily needs! It’s easier to follow your body’s cues when you aren’t exhausted, or surrounded by other people. For example, I am horrible at listening to it when I am at parties or around my mother (lol, seriously though), but I’m great at it during the work week when I’m predominantly by myself. The following includes some of the biggest culprits to preventing mindful, intuitive eating.

Basically, you want to avoid and break these habits:

emotional eating

Don’t eat when you are overly stressed, sad, or mad. 1) It’s hard to feel hunger (or it subsiding) when you are in extreme emotional states. 2) It can create a bad connection between food and emotion. You never want to rely on any substance to make feelings go away. This goes for wine too!

Eating because “it’s time to eat”

If you eat just because it’s lunch time but you are still full from breakfast, you are doing your body a disservice by eating. If you can, wait until you start to feel those hunger cues before starting the next meal. If work makes that tricky for you, try having small snacks on hand so that if you do get hungry and you are in a meeting you have something to hold you over.

Grazing

Similarly to above, grazing is a similar form of non-mindful eating. Have you ever been completely non-aware and you snap out of it when you are looking in the refrigerator? Boredom and eating just because are the opposite of mindful eating. Make sure you are actually interested in eating a snack before proceeding.

Technology at meal times

Eating while watching tv or looking at your phone is basically the death of mindfulness. It is very difficult to process what you’re eating when you are zoning out. It’s also a great way to get in the habit of eating dinner with your fiancé/e! Romance bonus points!

over eating because something is too delicious

By eating slowly, you will be able to listen to your hunger cues and not over indulge. If you are eating dessert- this is a great time to use the three-bite rule. Have three bites of the deliciousness and then stop. Most of the time, you will feel totally satisfied!


Seriously, this work can take a lifetime, so don’t beat yourself up if you catch yourself doing any of those things. Pick one to work on for the next two weeks, and then once you feel good about it, add another one to your healthy habit to do!

Now that you’ve cleared out your anti-mindful habits, now it’s time to add in some of the good stuff!

Things to incorporate:

1-minute body scans

Before eating, take one minute and close your eyes, and focus on every part of your body, one part at a time, from head to toes. You will be able to identify if you are tense, or stressed, famished, full, bored, or tired (or anything else!). So many times we turn to food when we are looking for a distraction. This will help you realize if you actually are hungry or if you are just looking for something to pass the time. It is maybe the biggest step in becoming in tune with your body, and in turn your eating habits!

drinking lots of water

Many times we think we are hungry when in fact, we are just dehydrated! The cue is very often confused in the body! Water will make you feel great and will make sure you are tuning into your real hunger!

Eat slowly

Which also means, try to prevent extreme hunger when you can- because it is difficult to slow down when you are hangry! But when you slow down, you can fully appreciate all of the flavors of the wonderful meal you are eating, you will know when you are full, because your stomach will have time to communicate with the brain, you won’t overeat and you will enjoy more! What’s not to love about all of that??


There, for sure, is an art to becoming more mindful and intuitive around your eating habits. And even if you are tuned in–it doesn’t always mean you listen! Mindfulness is a practice just like anything else. It’s not something that is easily checked off on your list of to dos. But, when you add the practice to your life you will be able to listen to yourself and know what you need. No long term coaching required. Once you find your own internal rhythm and know how to listen to your body, you will never have to go on a diet again! It is hands down maybe the best habit to get into for living a healthy lifestyle for the long run!

What are you going to switch up to have more mindfulness in your routine? Leave me a note below or on social! -AHS

FREEBIE Alert! I'm giving away one of my favorite coaching tools for free!

free food and wellness tracker health coaching experience

A lot of times when I tell people I’m a health coach, they don’t know what exactly it is what I do. They say, “Like a nutritionist?” or “so you’re a personal trainer.” I respond, “Kinda!”

Yes, I focus on foundational nutrition and activity but there is a large part of the title that people seem to miss– “coach”.

When I work with clients one on one, I coach them, first and foremost. Some of my job is sharing resources and education, but really it is about YOUR life and meeting you where you’re at. Everyone is different and each person has their own challenges in meeting their health goals. Coaching is a personalized tailored experience to you- so we base it around where you are at in your life right now.

The first thing I do when coaching clients is I have them fill out one week of this food and wellness tracker–100% accurately and judgement free. That means writing down every single thing you put in your mouth. It is an incredible tool. After one week of using it - it becomes super clear to me, and to most of my clients, where they need to clean up their routine. You would be surprised how many people walk into it thinking they know the positive and negatives of their routines, but a week later have completely different findings. If you are just getting started on your health journey this is the perfect place to start. Good news for you: if you sign up to be on my email newsletter- I’m giving it to you for free!!

how to use the journal:

I fold up the journal and tuck it in my planner (which comes everywhere with me!). The key is to keep it on you- whatever is convenient for you. If you prefer to be paperless, it’s an interactive pdf- so you can type in each box.

After you eat or drink anything, write it down. It’s important to also document your water intake (it’s programed for your standard 8 glasses a day), work outs and self care too. There is a box dedicated to gratitude- and I like to set a gratitude mantra for the week, such as, “I am grateful that my body supports me in all that I do.”

When you do this exercise for the first time, don’t let the fact that you have to write it down deter you from your current habits. It just skews your data. For example, a coworker has Starbursts on their desk to share. You normally would grab one, but the thought of writing down one Starburst is just annoying so you choose not to have it. That’s a missed opportunity to see how often this happens throughout your day and week!

At the end of the week, go through the journal, day by day, and see what stands out to you. Are you having a lot of carbs at lunch? Are there more snacks than you realized? Do you not do any self care? Were you nowhere close to hitting 8 glasses of water a day? Are you skipping breakfast?

Pick one thing to focus on during the next week and set a goal for yourself. Bonus points if you tell someone else the goal so you have an accountability buddy! If you hit the goal, see if you can do it again the next week, and maybe add one more item to your goals for the week. See how quickly you begin to reform your habits!

You can continue to use the tracker as you make progress towards your goals, but try not to get too reliant on tracking. It isn’t sustainable forever, and sometimes can lead to obsessive behavior.


Are you going to try the wellness planner out? Have questions? Want to tell me your new goals? Slide into my DMs on the gram or shoot me an email alexandra@shedforthewed.com. XX -AHS

It's okay to not feel amazing when you get engaged

anxiety about wedding

I have something to talk about that is not often discussed in the wedding industry. In fact, it's very rare to read or hear about it at all. I'm bringing it up, because I think it is important for brides to be to hear and I want to be a voice to help you stay grounded during your engagement. You ready?

It's okay to not feel absolutely wonderful every day of your engagement. In fact, it's even okay to feel sad! 

I've talked to enough women to know that while we want our engagement periods to be one of sheer bliss - there are moments that are harder to deal with. And I'm not just talking about wedding planning stress, although that doesn't make it any easier!

I think there is this stigma about talking about other emotions when you are getting married. Like somehow if you are not swooning with affection for your fiancé/e every day, you love them less, or even worse, that you shouldn't be getting married.

I need to debunk this. There are so so so many reasons that you could be feeling anything but happy during your wedding "season". 

You could feel sad about not being your parents little girl any longer. You could feel weird because everyone says "you just know" and you didn't know. Or maybe your nervous because your parents were divorced and you know you don't want that fate for yourself. Or maybe you are overwhelmed because there are a lot of life changes happening at once. Maybe you're sad about the loss of your single life. Maybe you're sad about having to split holidays. Maybe you're sad that your life as you knew it is changing forever. Maybe it's that you have been dreaming of your wedding your whole life and you aren't ready for the dream to be over. Maybe it's every one of those things or none of them. 

It is possible to feel joy, love, and excitement–and also sadness, loss, and anxiety during your engagement.

Getting married is one of the biggest life events you will experience. Sometimes it's a huge adjustment, sometimes it's just a formality. What I want you to walk away with, is that it is okay to feel any of these emotions during this time. Make space for yourself to process your emotions. Feel how you feel, and don't be ashamed or scared about feeling more than just joy during this time in your life.


Have you felt like this at all during your engagement? If you feel this way it can be incredibly isolating. I know this is a sensitive topic, but I want you to know I am here for you if you need to talk about this with someone. If you want to talk about it, please, send me a message on social media or drop me an email in the form below and I will get back to you shortly. This is not an email sign up, just an opportunity to chat with an unbiased party. :)

If talking isn't up your alley. Be sure to check out some of the other posts to help keep you "Zen for the Wed." Xx - AHS