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How to Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season

Oh the holiday season that is upon us! This most wonderful (yet busy) time of year is filled with food, festivities, gathering, decorating, shopping, and traveling. If you are anything like me, the sights, smells, and music all make this time of year so nostalgic and magical. But along with all of the magic comes the inevitable stress, overeating, last minute shopping, planning/hosting parties, and full calendars for the entirety of the month of December it feels like. 

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK, which is crazy! But there is a 5 week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that we need to plan and prepare for. We all want to enjoy the holiday season and all of the fun and joy it brings, but we also want to do our best to maintain our healthy lifestyle that we’ve worked so hard for. And 6 weeks of festivities and parties and eating can sure do a number to our waistlines and all the hard work we’ve put in. 

The goal of today’s post is to help you feel confident going into this season and ready to take head on the temptations, reduce the stress, and simply enjoy! We’re going to talk about three of the most common “problems” people face this time and year when it comes to maintaining health and wellness and a few tips on how to maintain health given these potential barriers. I think everyone can agree that some of the biggest struggles in staying fit and healthy this time of year revolve around our time, food and drink, and overall stress

TIME

This time of year always seems to fly by. There are never enough hours in a day to get all of the items checked off our list it seems. In order for this season to not become overwhelming and no longer joy-full, we need to make a PLAN to maximize our time and priorities. 

If one of your priorities this holiday season is to continue to exercise and move your body, make a plan for it. Our bodies need just as much exercise during the holiday season as any other time of year. Plan your workouts/movement around travel or plan to move while you travel. Pack a pair of running shoes and some resistance bands. Even walking for just 30 minutes a day will keep you feeling good and keep you active and well. 

Here are some common “problems” or barriers around exercise that arise for people during this time of year and some solutions.

PROBLEM: There isn’t a gym at the hotel or grandma’s house (or wherever you are staying).

SOLUTION:  Body weight exercises are a great way to exercise when you have no equipment. Body weight exercises help to improve balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility. Stair climbing, walking outside, lunges up and down the driveway, squats while you brush your teeth. 

Travel Tips- Pack those running sneakers and easy to carry equipment like a workout DVD or a jump rope. Those things easily can fit in your carry on or check on luggage. 

PROBLEM: There simply isn’t time to workout, Meghan! Shopping, decorating, cooking, running around…there is no time left for working out. 

SOLUTION: Use a Tabata Timer to do a quick HIIT routine. 

You can download a Tabata timer app on your phone. It’s simple- you do 8 rounds of exercise in 4 minutes. You can choose to do one exercise or two and alternate back and forth. You will complete 20 seconds of all out work followed by a 10 second rest for 8 rounds for a total of 4 minutes. Do a couple of tabata’s and I promise you will be sweating and your heart rate will be elevated…and you’ll feel so good afterwards! Exercises like squats, jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips, mountain climbers, and jumping rope are perfect to do with the Tabata timer. 

Second- plan your workouts! Because this season can be so hectic, it may be a good idea to institute early morning workouts for these few weeks. Getting a good morning sweat in will also help you to maintain those healthy habits and choices the rest of the day! If you can’t do 30 minutes to an hour at one go, split up your workout into 10 minute bouts throughout the day. 

PROBLEM: You’re family and friends don’t understand why you want to exercise. 

SOLUTION: Stick to YOUR goals! Don’t let others detract you from your plan and your wellness goals. Stay firm. Maybe invite them along. It’s a good way to de-stress and can be a fun family activity. 

Another family fun activity is to sign up and hit the road for your local Turkey Trot, which is typically a 5K race that you can run/walk. It’s a great way to get in some movement before you put on your stretch pants for your big dinner! 

FOOD AND DRINK

Cookies. Egg Nog. Casseroles. There is always plenty…and plenty of temptation. How can you overcome these temptations around all of the yummy foods and drinks this season?!

 

    Eat a pre-party snack. One trick I tell my clients if they are going to a party or out to a dinner where they know they could splurge and over-eat is to eat an apple before going! Apples are full of fiber and will help fill you up a bit before you even go to dinner, therefore you will consume fewer calories. This will help you to not overeat the bad stuff and keep your appetite in check. 

     Choose your beverages wisely. The holiday season inevitably comes with lots of alcohol consumption between the eggnog, wine, fancy cocktails, and social drinking. Drinking alcohol is consuming empty calories because it won’t curb those hunger pangs. Alcohol doesn’t provide satiety. It’s best to avoid mixed drinks that have a lot of sugar. The number of calories isn’t the issue per say, but rather the number of grams of sugar in these fancy holiday drinks. For example, 1 cup of eggnog typically contains 30-50 grams of sugar depending on the brand. Let’s remember that the daily recommended sugar intake is 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men according to the American Heart Association.

Eat your protein first. When we eat our main protein source first, we help to curb our hunger and keep our blood sugar in check. Eating protein can help to keep your insulin levels lower. Eating protein before a party or first thing at the party will help you to control your cravings for the other high calorie foods. 

Drink plenty of water. Drinking water helps to fill your stomach so that you feel fuller and won’t cave to those cravings as much. Try to drink a bottle of water en route to your party or drink several glasses throughout the party. 

Pick your cheat or “treat” meals and fully enjoy it. We all need a cheat meal! That is key to any sustainable life changes and finding balance. We can’t deprive ourselves all of the time, otherwise we will go off the deep end eventually and lose all progress. Each day during the holiday season, we are tempted with treats- whether leftover at home or sitting in the lobby at our office. We could easily consume cookies and pie everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year, which is 37 days by the way for 2020. Let’s say you are consuming an extra 300 calories per day of sweets and goodies, which is equal to about 2 cookies or a piece of cake or pie. This adds up to just over 11,000 calories which equals 3 pounds of fat! The average already overweight person gains about 5 pounds during the holiday season according to NY Times. A survey by Fitness Magazine and Jenny Craig in 2013 found that 47% of women gain 4-5 lbs during the holiday season. So what is the key? My suggestion is to enjoy those holiday parties and get together’s, which typically happen on the weekend, but that will require sacrifice throughout the week. Leave the cookies in the jar at the office and say no to any treats at home or that your kids bring back from school. Eating a reduced-calorie diet, higher-protein diet five days per week and enjoying a couple of holiday parties or get-togethers each week can easily result in maintenance of body weight through the holidays. 

  1. Try new recipes or try replacing ingredients in your favorite recipes with healthier ingredients.Try replacing the not so great ingredients with healthier options. It can be pretty simple to clean up your favorite recipes. Some of my favorite swaps include swapping oil for Greek yogurt in breads, applesauce instead of butter or margarine, whole wheat flour instead of bleached white all-purpose flour, veganaise instead of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, honey or maple syrup instead of pure cane sugar. 
  2. Eat mindfully. Eating mindfully might be a new concept for you. Eating mindfully is simply being more aware of your eating experience. Paying closer attention, notice your thoughts, feelings, sensations of the food. Oftentimes we eat so mindlessly and just put whatever in our mouths and don’t think anything at all about the sensation, taste, texture, etc. Give your body 15-20 minutes to recognize if it is full or not before going back for seconds. 

STRESS

Over the years, this joyful time of year has transpired into a stressful, chaotic time of year for many. The holiday season shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be stress-filled. By using these 5 tips, hopefully you can reclaim your sanity and the season and say good riddance to the stress that every other year has brought you. 

 

  1. Be Realistic. Oftentimes we enter the holiday season with expectation in mind as to how things will go with certain family members, what food we will eat, what fun we will have, etc. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. Try to keep those expectations in check so that you don’t come away feeling disappointed and upset and so that you can be fully present and enjoy the time with family. 
  2. Plan Ahead. Planning ahead does take forethought and time but in doing so, it will greatly reduce your stress you feel later on once the crunch time comes. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup. Also, plan ahead with your budget! Our budget can easily fly out the window this time of year and then create immense stress come January. Think ahead, talk with your spouse or other family members and come up with a plan for your budget so you aren’t overspending and having to pay the repercussions of that later. Maybe instead of gifting to everyone this year, you can start a family gift exchange, or make homemade gifts for friends and co-workers. 
  3. Set Aside Differences. Everytime families come together, there will be differences in opinion, tradition, sometimes values, etc. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  4. Take a Breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include: Taking a walk at night and stargazing .Listening to soothing music. Getting a massage. Reading a book.
  5. Learn to Say ‘No’. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time. Learning to say no is very powerful and freeing. Learning to say No then allows us the freedom to say yes to the things that really matter!

“The more you live in the extremes of all or none, good or bad, the more likely that’s going to get you into difficulty,” says Gary Foster, chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International. “The key is that this is a lifestyle. When it’s an on-or-off diet or a boot camp mentality, that’s a short-term behavior. It’s destined not to work out very well.”

We don’t have to live in an all-or-nothing state of mind around the holidays. Starving to over-indulging. Feelings of deprivation to feelings of guilt. 

 Give yourself permission to enjoy but in reasonable portions and reasonable frequencies- not all the time and not the whole cheesecake. The goal is to strike a balance.  

I hope these tips will help lead you into a life-giving, balanced, and enjoyable holiday season.  If you need other accountability, book a health coaching session with me by emailing me at hello@homebodysoul.com. I offer a FREE 30-minute health coaching consult call if you’d like to set a plan in place for your holiday season.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! I know this post is coming a few days late, but better late than never, especially on an important topic like this. 2020 has been anything but a normal year and with that I feel like October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month didn’t get nearly the attention it typically does. But, I am here today to hopefully shed some light on the subject and show you the importance of FOOD and NUTRITION when it comes to fighting and preventing breast cancer and really, any cancer.

This month is very near and dear to my heart given my mom’s survival of Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer and her subsequent need for a double mastectomy to hopefully prevent breast cancer in her future because of her predisposition as a BRCA1 gene carrier. Praise God for miracles! 

Today I want to share about a cancer fighting diet! There are foods that have been proven to help fight against cancer, prevent it, and even cure it! The food we put into our bodies has such drastic effects on our health and wellbeing. Food can be and is a very powerful tool when it comes to our health! I fully believe that food is medicine!

A FEW BREAST CANCER STATISTICS:

  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2020, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to known gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2genes are the most common. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%. Breast cancer that is positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations tends to develop more often in younger women. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6.8%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men.

Data via breastcancer.org

So, where does this leave us? It leaves us with a conviction to fight this horrible disease. Together as women, through education, empowerment, and self-care, I believe we can beat this. Today I want to focus on the power of food and how food can help us to combat this cancer and many others.

WHAT DOES FOOD HAVE TO DO WITH CANCER?

Cancer is really just abnormal cell growth. Inflammation is the underlying issue that precipitates cancerous tumor initiation, progression, and growth. Studies have found that 30-40% of all cancers can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and through dietary measures.

The root causes of cancer are often times complex and unknown, but possible causes include:

  • Poor diet
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Genetics
  • High stress levels
  • Poor digestion and nutrient absorption- Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Lack of physical activity

LET’S TALK ABOUT FOOD

In general, eating a plant based diet has been shown to decrease the risk of cancer. Strive to eat more whole foods instead of processed foods. Below is a list of some of the top cancer fighting foods that have been listed on many reputable sites and throughout research articles, etc.

LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES

We all know we should be eating more greens. Eating green vegetables is ingrained in us from a young age thanks to our mama’s. Well, looks like there is a good reason after all. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, collard greens, etc. are all rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vitamin A and Vitamin C (beta-carotene) are the most common vitamins found in leafy greens and contribute to their cancer fighting effects. “And the benefits keep coming; as natural sources of glucosinolates, they also contain antibacterial and antiviral properties, inactivate carcinogens, help reprogram cancer cells to die off, and prevent tumor formation and metastasis. These powerhouse chemicals are known to break down during the chewing and digestion process into biologically active compounds that prevent cancer cells growth, which are referred to as indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanate.” – Dr. Axe

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Eat up those Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, and cauliflower! The cancer preventing effect comes through the chewing of these vegetables, surprisingly. Cruciferous vegetables are chock full of all different kinds of antioxidants like glutathione, sulforaphanes and insoles. You can roast these vegetables, add them to stir-fry, eat raw with hummus, or add them to soup.

BRIGHT ORANGE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

The bright orange pigment in fruits and vegetables means they are radiating phytochemicals! The main phytochemical found in bright orange fruits and veggies is carotenoids. Carotenoids are derived from Vitamin A and include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, and lutein. Beta-carotene in particular has been found to help fight cancers of the skin, eyes, and organs, along with promoting detoxification and liver health. Eat sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, pumpkin, squash, and carrots- just to name a few.

GARLIC

Bring on the stinky breath! Again, phytochemicals to the rescue. The phytochemicals found in garlic have been found to stop the formation of carcinogens such as nitrosamines from growing in the stomach and intestines. Nitrosamines enter our system when we eat nitrates, which are a common food preservative and are oftentimes found in deli meat, bacon, sausage, etc. Garlic can help fight against stomach, esophageal, colon, and breast cancers.

NUTS AND SEEDS

Because seeds and nuts are low in saturated fat, they are a great addition to a plant based diet. “Chia seeds and flaxseeds are two of the most nutrient-dense seeds in the world. They provide fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and a range of important minerals. Hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also beneficial and full of healthy fatty acids, as are walnuts, brazil nuts and almonds. Their health benefits are best sprouted and can be used easily in smoothies, baked goods and with yogurt. Aim for two tablespoons daily.”- Dr. Axe. Flaxseed also contains a beneficial plant compound, lignin, which helps fight against cancer. Eating nuts and seeds has been shown to decrease the incidence rates of colorectal and breast cancers.

MUSHROOMS

Any kind of mushroom in the mushroom family has been linked to help immune health and fight against cancer. Reishi, cordyceps and maitake in particular can improve immune function and cell regeneration. If you aren’t into eating these funky fungi, you can find them in pill/capsule form and in some supplements!

TRADITIONAL TEAS

Tea contains many flavonoids, which are known for their antioxidants. Kaempferol, a flavonoid, has been shown to have a protective nature against cancer. “Researcher Margaret Gates, a doctoral candidate at Harvard’s School of Public Health, suggests that consuming between 10 milligrams and 12 milligrams daily of kaempferol — the amount found in four cups of tea –offers protection against ovarian cancer.”

Source via WebMD

FRESH HERBS AND SPICES

Turmeric in particular is a super-spice! Turmeric contains curcumin which is the main ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric is often used as a flavor/spice in Indian dishes. Turmeric can be added to rice, chicken, lentils, and vegetables. Turmeric and curcumin have been proven to fight against bladder, gastrointestinal, colon, and breast cancers. Turmeric mainly helps to prevent and decrease inflammation. Try adding 1 tsp. of turmeric into your daily meals. It can be added to eggs, a stir fry, or used in a chicken seasoning blend.

BERRIES

Berries are some of the most antioxidant filled foods on this planet! Berries contain a plethora of the proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which are known to help reduce free radicals and the damage of free radicals. So many berries are included in this category too- blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, goji berries, and blackberries.

OTHER IMPORTANT SUPPLEMENTS

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that not only helps build strong bones through its ability to help absorb calcium, but it also can prevent cancer. A recent report by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) showed a link between increased vitamin D intake and reduced breast cancer risk. It found vitamin D to lower the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 50%. Researchers believe that Vitamin D helps prevent cancer by lowering and prohibiting the growth of cancerous cells. Vitamin D can be found in supplement form but you can also meet the recommended amount through sunshine, seafoods such as cod, shrimp, and salmon, and through eggs. The RDA of Vitamin D is 1,000 IU. By soaking up 10 minutes of sunshine each day, you can get approximately 5,000 IU’s of Vitamin D (with 40% of your body exposed).

PROBIOTICS

Remember how I mentioned our gut flora as a risk factor  at the beginning of this post? So many of us have (to some degree) leaky gut syndrome and suffer from inflammation in our gut which leads to negative health effects. “The human gut microbiota has a significant effect on many aspects of human physiology such as metabolism, nutrient absorption, and immune function. Imbalance of the microbiota has been implicated in many disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, asthma, psychiatric illnesses, and cancers. As a kind of functional foods, probiotics have been shown to play a protective role against cancer development in animal models. Clinical application of probiotics indicated that some probiotic strains could diminish the incidence of postoperative inflammation in cancer patients. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy-related diarrhea was relieved in patients who were administered oral probiotics. By modulating intestinal microbiota and immune response, some strains of probiotics can be used as an adjuvant for cancer prevention or/and treatment.” – NCBI Pub Med

Food is medicine! What we eat and put into our bodies matters for our immediate and long-term health. Don’t underestimate the POWER of whole foods…it could be life or death. Eat well to BE WELL!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Quick And Easy Healthy Snacks

Quick and easy healthy snacks…Snacking! It’s so fun and easy to do. But if we aren’t careful and mindful, it can quickly get out of hand and have a negative impact on our health/wellness goals. Admittedly, I am a grazer throughout the day, so I need to have options readily available so that I am making healthy choices as I “graze” and not just simply eating whatever because I am so famished, which can very easily happen. As a mama to a toddler, it’s also very tempting sometimes to reach for his snacks- ya know, the goldfish crackers, fig bars, animal crackers. But- if I am exercising self-awareness and mindful eating AND have healthy snacks on hand, this is less likely to happen. I’ve found that if I keep these favorite items of mine stocked in the pantry and refrigerator, I am more prone to eat them throughout the day instead of reaching for something unhealthy and nutrient void. 

Thankfully, my husband and I are pretty health conscious, so we don’t typically have a lot of “bad” food in the house, which definitely helps! Although the toddler snacks can be oh so tempting!  If it’s not there tempting you and having a stare down with you as you battle in your mind whether or not to eat it, then the better you are able to stick to your health goals. So, we just don’t even tempt ourselves, (especially with items like cookies, ice cream, chips, etc.). 

Here are some of my personal favorite snacks that are my go-to. Some of them are Paleo and if they aren’t, we always try to steer towards gluten free at a minimum. 

Hummus: Hummus is a great choice because it can be paired with so much- cut up veggies, baby carrots, crackers, pita bread, the list goes on. I typically eat hummus with fresh cut up veggies like carrots, baby bell peppers, or cucumbers. I also like hummus with gluten free rice crackers. 

Greek yogurt: We really don’t eat a lot of dairy in our household, but this is one staple I always have on hand. I love Greek yogurt because it is naturally fat-free and is loaded with protein! Now, if you really want the healthy option, you’ll need to opt for the plain greek yogurt. I know those flavored Chobani’s are so tasty but they are loaded with sugar- like 18 grams or something crazy! I know some of it is “natural” sugar from the fruit, but when you are most likely going to add more sugar with granola or another topper, I think it’s just best to go with the plain. You can dress up the plain very easily. Add some honey, fresh berries, Paleo cereal, granola and you’re set with a tasty and super healthy-protein rich snack. You can even use greek yogurt in smoothies or shakes! In fact, I’ve even substituted greek yogurt for sour cream in spinach dip and used it in banana bread too! 

Fruit: I always like to have a plethora of fruit available in our home. Our typical fruit list is this: Cuties (clementines), apples, bananas, mangoes, strawberries (or some other type of berry). Occasionally we will mix it up and get pineapple or pears or a melon of sorts. Fruit is great because you can eat it alone or use it as a topper on oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, and many other options. And it’s easy to grab and go and take with you to the office or as you run errands. Pair an apple or banana with peanut butter to get a combination of healthy fats and fiber. 

Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole: This is probably my least healthy snack that I eat, but it’s really not too bad. I LOVE salsa and guacamole! I could eat it everyday no problem! I always make sure to get gluten free corn tortilla chips or gluten free sweet potato tortilla chips. Recently, I’ve been really into the  blue corn tortilla chips. Yum! Newman’s Own has a great salsa that tastes so fresh and is full of different veggies so I feel like it’s not too terrible for me! Trader Joe’s also has some delicious, fresh salsa options. And if you are looking for the BEST guacamole recipe, hands down Alton Brown’s recipe on The Food Network is amazing! I use it every time!

Nuts and Dried Fruit: This is another great snack for on-the-go. Almonds are so incredibly good for you (within reason, of course). Grab a handful and snack away. I love dried fruit too! I love raisins on Ants on a Log or on top of a rice cake with peanut butter. I also love dried apricots, but I can only eat a few at a time because they are high in sugar. Instead of getting the generic store trail mix that isn’t the healthiest, opt to make your own. It’s really quite simple. Choose 1-2 nut varieties (think almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts), 1-2 dried fruit options (choose from dried banana chips, dried apricots, dried pineapple, dried apple, dried berries, raisins, craisins, etc.), 1-2 seed varieties (pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds are great), and if you are feeling adventurous, you can add in some yogurt chips or dark chocolate chips. 

Chia Seed Pudding: This simple to make snack is chalk full of fiber! Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Basically to make chia seed pudding, you soak your seeds in liquid and the seeds soak up the liquid to make a jelly-like consistency. You can add in a variety of add-ins such as berries, nut butter, cocoa powder or cinnamon. 

Prosciutto and Cheese: Nothing sounds better to me than a little meat and cheese platter. I love charcuterie boards and could literally eat them everyday! Make your own little snack board with some dried meats, high quality cheese, veggies, and fruit. 

It’s important to have healthy snacks available because there are always those moments when we “forget” to eat lunch or are just really hungry and it’s in those moments of feeling famished where we are the most vulnerable to blow our “diets” and grab for the Snickers or bag of potato chips. Creating snacks ahead of time or having something readily available and easy to make or grab helps us to maintain our healthy eating goals! Nowadays there are so many “healthy” packaged snack items. Try to stay away from too many packaged items (within reason) and aim for whole food options. Bars and healthy chip-like items may be “healthier” but they are still processed and not as nutrient dense as say an apple and peanut/nut butter. 

There are other great, healthy snack options out there but I just wanted to share some of my personal favorites and go-to snacks with y’all! Enjoy!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer
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The Journey Of Health

The journey of health..

Have you ever felt like you are swinging on a pendulum- back and forth- in regards to your weight loss journey or in the area of your health and wellness goals? Maybe you have goals of going to the gym x number of times per week, eating this and not that, and choosing self-stewardship over self-negligence. But, oftentimes we find it’s only a matter of time before these well intentioned goals fly out the window, or rather get lost due to our busy and demanding lifestyles. It’s not that we do it on purpose, of course not. We WANT to succeed with our goals. We WANT to be healthier and feel better. Rather, our time and energy are in a tug of war with our self-stewardship and our personal wellness goals. And you can guess which one almost always wins.

This yo-yo back and forth is not only discouraging but also causes us to feel like we take one step forward and three steps back. And when we take three steps back, it’s that much further of a step forward to get back on track.

Can I admit that I struggle with my journey of health too? I love fitness and challenging my body with a tough workout, but there are so many days where it’s a sheer fight for me to get myself out of the house and off to the gym….or up out of bed an hour earlier than before my son wakes up to get it done. None of us can do it perfectly, and those that are doing it perfectly, I would bargain are struggling with some deep seated insecurities or are running themselves ragged and will eventually burn out.

Ultimately, for sustained success, we have to find a balance. So, what does that look like? How do we step off of this unstable pendulum and into a place of grace-fillled routine on this journey of health we find ourselves on? The reality is, our routine will be imperfect- that’s simply the nature of life. But we can find and build a routine that has breathing room for days when we don’t feel well, or are home with sick kiddos, or didn’t get a good night’s sleep before. We need flexibility in our life and in our journey of health, especially if we want to maintain these goals and this lifestyle for the long haul. So how do we get there?

Here are 5 tips for helping you on your journey to health through all the different seasons of life. These tips will help you start right where you are; whether that’s helping you refine your current routine or helping you to get on your feet and get active for the first time. These tips are meant for you, exactly where you are. When I find myself in a season of unpredictability or a season of plateau or boredom, I come back to these exact tips and figure out what I need to do personally to reset my mindset and my routine.

Find Accountability– This is key! And this is what I do a majority of my time as a health coach. I come alongside my lovely client’s and help them to stay on track. Because when we have someone who we know will ask us if we completed that spin class or how we fared at the work party, we are more likely to stay on track because we know we will have to answer those questions. And the only one we hurt by answering dishonestly, is ourselves. Accountability can come in many forms. Maybe you sign up for a boutique fitness studio that only offers Barre classes or Spin classes and if you don’t attend, you are still charged or charged an extra fee for not attending. Or maybe you begin to work with a personal trainer. Another idea is to schedule your workouts with a friend or co-worker and the two of you together can keep each other on track and cheer each other on. Finding ways to incorporate accountability into your fitness and health goals for this year will have drastic effects on your commitment and your progress. If you are interested in working with me for accountability and one-on-one coaching, you can book a FREE 30 minute consultation call here.

 

Find the Why- Before you even begin your new routine or program, I want you to sit down in a quiet place with just your mind or maybe a journal and reflect on a few questions. Ask yourself: Why do I want to accomplish this goal? Why is this goal important to me? How will I feel if I reach my goal? What if I don’t reach it? How will I realistically accomplish this goal or work towards progress? Will this goal get me closer to where I want to be and how I want to live my life? When we assign value and purpose to our goals, suddenly they take on a whole new meaning. People are far more motivated to stick to their goals when they are keenly aware of the purpose connected to their goals. For me, taking care of myself and investing in my health and physical well being makes me feel better, I am more productive throughout the rest of my day, I have energy, and I am a better wife. There are moments where I need to remind myself of my ‘why’ while I am begrudgingly doing my warm up. I remind myself of all of the times before that I felt this way yet still pushed through and how amazing my body and my mind felt afterwards. What is your ‘why’? Find it, hold fast to it, and constantly remind yourself of it. This will help you stay consistent which is key!

Find What You Enjoy- No one wants to do something they despise. I loathe running and therefore I barely run. I simply do not enjoy it. Finding an activity that excites you and energizes you will help you to actually attend and not skip your workouts. You can find multiple activities that you enjoy and switch it up so that you aren’t getting bored with your workout routine. I personally enjoy creating HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuits, teaching Body Pump, and hiking! The main thing is that we get out there, do something that brings us joy, and also helps us make progress on our goals.

 

Find Creativity and Flexibility– Living a holistic and healthy lifestyle is far greater than what we consume at each meal and the amount of exercise we do. If we only do those things, we are pigeon-holding ourselves into a box and missing out on so many little ways to live healthfully and wholly. Each of our daily decisions add up and either help to cultivate a healthy lifestyle or cause us to remain stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling discouraged. Just a few simple, daily decisions we can make that lend to an overall healthier lifestyle include taking the stairs, parking further away at the store, taking a walk after dinner with your family, or getting outside with your kiddos after school and playing tag. If we limit ourselves to only the gym in order to get a workout in, we are missing out on so many joy filled and creative ways to fit exercise and fitness into our daily lives. If you can’t make it to the gym one day, that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Maybe when the kids get off the bus from school you all take the dog for a walk or go out back and run around together for twenty minutes. Get creative, think outside the box. I think when we shift our mindset and begin incorporating creative ways to be active into our daily lives, our goals will become more attainable. Remember, progress not perfection. Little by little our daily steps and choices add up.

Find Reason to Celebrate– Celebrate the big and small wins! Baby steps are okay! Changing your lifestyle is not an easy feat. It will take time and many stumbles and falls along the way. But that’s ok- get back up and keep moving forward. It’s important that we celebrate our little victories (and big ones, too) along the way. When we celebrate our progress, it encourages us to keep going. Celebrate by taking a day off, going to your favorite restaurant for a cheat meal, or going for a massage- you deserve it after all! Be cautious not to reward yourself with things or food that directly contradict the goals you’ve set for yourself. Now, I am not saying that you can’t ever indulge, but when it comes to rewarding ourselves for our small victories, we need to be cautious how we approach it and be mindful of the current state of our hearts and minds, for those emotions will either help us in our journey or de-rail us. Even if you miss some steps along the way, that is normal. Let’s not get into the habit of taking an all-or-nothing approach, but rather approach our goals and fitness routines with grace and the correct mindset.

I want to encourage you that our fitness and health goals are a journey, a journey that will last a lifetime and ebb and flow given the different seasons of life we find ourselves in. We don’t have to do it all perfectly- that is a lie. I want you to know that I struggle with some of the same things as the woman next to me, and simply because I am a personal trainer and health coach, doesn’t dismiss me from experiencing these same feelings or barriers. I eat ice cream just like the next person. And I skip workouts too. And I also work hard to stay consistent and make sacrifices to choose stewardship over negligence when it comes to caring for my body. It’s an ever evolving, ebbing and flowing practice for me and for all of us but it’s worth working at and seeking to find what works for each of us. I hope these 5 tips help you to reset how you view your goals and your own wellness journey. We are on this trip together, day by day!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

How To Build The Perfect Smoothie

A smoothie is a great way to get a boost of important nutrients in a fast and convenient way. They are also a great way to increase your protein intake, something I think we all likely struggle with. The goal for the average female should be to consume around 80-100 grams of protein per day. Adding protein to your smoothie is an effective way to get over 20 grams of protein in one go! You can use flavored protein powders or collagen powder to get that boost of important protein. 

Crafting a tasty and nutrient dense smoothie is not always as easy as we think. Whether we make it too runny, too thick, it tastes too much like kale, or it’s just hard to get down, making smoothies can be tricky. 

The key components of a healthy and delicious smoothie include your base liquid, vegetables/fruit, healthy fats, protein, and fiber. You can make them even fancier by adding in fresh herbs/spices like mint or cinnamon, and adding in superfoods like goji berries, maca powder, or bee pollen just to name a few. 

So, why all of these ingredients. Well, let me explain.

 

  • We add in greens/vegetables to increase our intake of important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This is especially helpful if you struggle to eat enough greens and vegetables in your diet. 
  • We add in healthy fat to help us to stay full longer, help aid in brain health, and keep our bodies and hormones functioning optimally. 
  • Good ol’ fiber helps our gut to do what it’s supposed to do, if you know what I mean. 😉
  • Protein helps build and maintain lean muscle. 

 

Adding in these key components not only boosts our nutrient intake but it is also designed to help maintain a stable blood sugar level. When we don’t eat protein, healthy fat, and fiber in every meal, we are more prone to blood sugar spikes and dips which impacts our energy levels as well as our cravings. Including these components in our smoothies will help us stay full longer and mitigate these blood sugar spikes or other cravings which don’t align with our health goals. 

Here are a few tips to help your smoothie be as smooth as possible!

  1. Add frozen cauliflower or avocado to make your smoothie nice and creamy!
  2. Frozen fruit tends to blend better than fresh fruit and makes it thicker. 
  3. Put your frozen ingredients in the bottom of your blender first and then cover with other ingredients and liquid. 

 

Here are two smoothie recipes that you can make at home TODAY! 

 

Strawberry Banana Nut Smoothie:

1-2 cups Cashew Milk

½ to 1 cup Fresh/Frozen Strawberries

½ Fresh/Frozen Banana

½ cup Frozen Cauliflower

1-2 tbsp Nut Butter

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder or Collagen Powder

1-2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed

 

Tropical Smoothie: 

1-2 cups Coconut Milk

½ Frozen Banana

½ cup Fresh/Frozen Pineapple

Handful of Fresh Spinach

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder or Collagen Powder

1-2 tbsp. Hemp Seeds

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Mornings Matter For Your Health & Wellness

Mornings can be tough. I don’t know about you but getting out of bed in the morning can be a STRUGGLE. I’ve never been a natural morning person. Developing a morning routine has taken years and years of practice, trial and error, and certain life circumstances to get me on board with being more of a morning person. I by no means am perfect and still struggle, BUT I’ve found a rhythm and routine where the pros definitely outweigh the cons. 

Our mornings truly set the tone for our entire day. Are your mornings marked by rushing and running out the door? Are you stressed out before your feet even hit the ground out of bed? Are you tired of being tired and overwhelmed and exhausted as you go through your days? When we start our morning, our day this way, it only lends to more stress, more unrest, more frustration. And this has a great impact on our health and wellness- physically and mentally. When we don’t start our mornings well, we typically grab a fast breakfast that may not be the most nutritious to fuel our bodies. Perhaps we drink too much caffeine and don’t start our day hydrating our dehydrated bodies with good ‘ol water. Maybe you’re already so stressed out from the morning madness that you make unhealthy choices the rest of the day. 

Our mornings matter! And it matters how we steward them because it affects every single aspect of our lives and overall health and wellness.In order to live a life of stewardship and simplicity, it starts with our morning! Your morning routine doesn’t need to be complicated or get you out of bed at 5 AM. It just needs to be CONSISTENT and PLANNED. A morning well spent brings a day of content. You don’t even need to work-out first thing if that really isn’t your jam and isn’t life giving for you. Perhaps the BEST way to spend your morning is catching up on dishes or laundry or sitting still and meditating/praying over your day. Whatever it is that will fuel you and fill you for the day, do that! 

When we begin our day making healthy choices, we will naturally continue those healthy decisions the remainder of the day. When you wake up feeling energized and rested, you will make your daily choices out of a place of peace and wellness versus making brash decisions rooted in immediate gratification and just trying to survive the next hour. 

I’m on a mission to help women reclaim their days by reclaiming their mornings. I so desire to see you live a life of wellness rooted in joy and peace. If this non-morning person can figure out a life-giving, grace-filled, morning routine, YOU can too! 

I want to invite you to join me for my BRAND NEW FREE 5-day workshop series called Mornings Well Designed. You can join here

Here is what we’ll cover:

 

  • Discover hidden time in your day so you can get all the things done you need to AND want to!
  • Learn how to steward your mornings well so you can BEST steward your home, body, and soul.
  • Find a flexible, sustainable, grace-filled morning routine that will serve you and your family in your unique lifestyle.
  • Leverage your mornings so your days go from rushed and ragged to productive and peaceful. 

 

Are you in?? We will begin the LIVE workshop TODAY, Monday Aug. 24 and continue each day this week. Join me for live trainings each day this week at 2 PM EST (if you cannot make it live that is ok. The videos will be saved and posted for you to watch when it is convenient for you). I hope you’ll join me on transforming your mornings! See you in class!

Sign Up Here: homebodysoul.lpages.co/mornings-well-designed-workshop

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

 

How To Stay Healthy On Vacation

Summer is the vacation season. Whether you are traveling to the beach, the mountains, to visit friends and family, or abroad, the summertime is the time when most people pack up their bags and head for adventure. I love traveling and experiencing new places and cultures. While traveling and vacationing are very fun activities to break up the year and get us out of our normal routine rut, it can also pose challenges when it comes to maintaining our health and wellness. 

Vacation brings with it delicious food, alcoholic drinks, fancy desserts, snacks galore, and lots of R&R, none of which are BAD things. In fact, all of these things can be very good and fun and enjoyable….but within reason of course. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that vacation where we overdid it and came home several pounds heavier and feeling a little sluggish. And then we feel discouraged and beat ourselves up because we worked SO hard to lose the weight, or make the strength gains, or increase our fitness, or cut out that irritating food and now it seems we’ve just undid all of that work on a week long vacay. 

So, how do we maintain our healthy choices and lifestyle while still enjoying our vacation? Here are 3 tips to help you enjoy all the fun that vacation brings AND return home feeling healthy and like you didn’t sabotage all of your goals and hard work.

*Plan A Little- All it takes is a little bit of forethought to help you maintain your health goals when you are away. Perhaps before going out to dinner you take a look at the menu online and decide what you will order ahead of time. This will help you make an informed decision versus being swayed by the atmosphere or what others are ordering at the restaurant. You are more likely to stick to your goals when you know your game plan ahead of time. Likewise, think about your daily meals and activities. If you know you are going out to dinner and will want to have a glass of wine and dessert, then try to eat lighter and healthier earlier in the day. Or perhaps you decide you will have a few drinks poolside but then forfeit dessert that night. Your plan could also include deciding before you leave for vacation what some parameters will look like (i.e. only drinking 1 drink a day, eating a salad at one meal a day, doing 25 burpees a day or going on a walk, etc.). Make a plan and you’ll be way more likely to stick to it! 

*Keep 1-3 Habits/Routines– Try to keep one to three of your normal routines going while you are away. It can be as simple as drinking 16 oz of water first thing in the morning before your coffee. Or remembering to take your supplements. Perhaps you carve out 20-30 minutes to exercise if you decide you’d like to maintain that on vacation so you can more freely eat and drink. Decide what routines/habits mean the most to you and are the most reasonable to sustain during vacation. Setting ourselves up for success on vacation means having clear expectations and setting realistic goals that are attainable. 

*Be Mindful– This is key! You don’t have to be a slave to your health and wellness goals because that is no fun and also not healthy long-term. But simply being more mindful goes a long way. Having a plan, thinking through your day and what you plan to eat/drink, asking yourself if you are really hungry for that snack or perhaps just thirsty…all of these little mindset shifts impact our decision making process. Take a moment before mindlessly eating the snacks everyone else is eating and exercise a moment of mindfulness and ask yourself if you really want that and if it is worth it. And if it is to you in that moment, that is fine, but at least give yourself a few moments to think before mindlessly eating or drinking. It’s so easy to get swept away in the sea of vacation mode that we lose all sense of control because we simply aren’t being mindful and thinking through the little things and little decisions. 

Maybe instead of sitting on the beach all afternoon you talk a walk along the water to get in some movement. Or you do ten pushups first thing in the morning to get the blood flowing and to inspire you to make healthy decisions the rest of the day. You don’t have to do it perfectly on vacation but practicing mindfulness will have a huge impact on the decisions you make and whether or not you come home from vacation feeling like you enjoyed yourself but didn’t sabotage or feeling crummy because you gained several pounds and went backwards on your goals. 

You will likely lose the few pounds and get back on track but it will be harder. So, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to you to have a week-long vacation that’s a ‘free for all’ or exercise some semblance of self-control and be able to easily fall back into your routines when you return home.  You don’t have to say to heck with all of your progress, hard work, and routines when on vacation. By using these 3 tips you can maintain your health and wellness goals, enjoy yourself, and come home feeling GOOD- inside and out! Don’t sabotage months worth of work for a few days of indulgence. You’ve worked too hard. It is possible to exercise balance and self-control on vacation while still FULLY enjoying yourself.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

TWSM Book Review ‘I Know How She Does It’

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time

by Laura Vanderkam

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for helpful time management tips. I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam delivers. Vanderkam takes the unique approach of reviewing actual data — time logs from the women in her Mosaic Project. Each woman recorded how she spent her time 24 hours a day for one week. Her participants each “have it all”, something she defines as earning over $100k per year and having at least one child under the age of 18 years old.

Don’t worry! You do not have to fit this definition to find the book helpful, and relationship status is not part of her definition of “having it all”. Yes, Vanderkam includes a few examples of women who have incredibly helpful husbands (and some of them have nannies, too), but many of them don’t. And real life examples like needing to work and having a sick child at the same time are universal parental experiences regardless of important tools like having a supportive partner, paid leave time, or the ability to work from home.

The math itself is empowering. As Vanderkam points out,

“There are 168 hours in a week. If you work 50, and sleep 8 per night (56 hours per week in total), that leaves 62 hours for other things. If you work 60 hours and sleep 8 hours per night, that leaves 52 hours for other things.” (Introduction) 

Yes, the other things may include activities like eating lunch while checking your work email, doing laundry, or waiting in line at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for that sick child after getting up in the middle of the night with her, but there are still other things, too. Things like having a meal (not necessarily dinner!) with family members, exercise, and hobbies.

I tried the time log for a week, and I was surprised at how grateful and empowered it helped me to feel. I was also shocked at how much time I spent driving my daughters around (although some of our best conversations happen in the car which balanced this out). That week I also spent time visiting with friends and family (while social distancing), reading, and practicing yoga.

Vanderkam encourages her readers to recognize that they have leisure time and to take charge of this and enjoy it.

“Think through your leisure time. People are generally good about setting work goals, but we’re not as good about personal ones. In five minutes, you could decide that next week 

you’ll make dinner plans with friends, watch a favorite movie with your family, and make your famous apple pie over the weekend.” (Chapter 9) 

Regardless of the obligations you have in your own 168 hours each week, I recommend taking the time to read I Know How She Does It. It will help you to create a beautiful mosaic of your own.

Rating 5 stars out of 5

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time Copyright 2015, 2017 by Laura Vanderkam

Liz is a technical writer by day and a humor writer by night. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. When Liz is not reading, writing, or searching for new books to review, she can be found practicing yoga or enjoying time with friends and family — usually around a fireplace or a lake. She is savoring the time that she still has with her daughters under her roof, yet she secretly dreams of being an empty nester who can travel more and not have to worry about other people borrowing her socks.

 

 

TWSM Fitness Tips For Beginners

Fitness Tips For Beginners

It’s a new day and you’ve decided it’s time to take back your life starting with your health. You are determined to exercise and get back into shape. You signed up for that online fitness program that you heard about on Instagram, got yourself a new pair of sneakers dropped off at your door from Prime, and you’re ready and raring to go! You’re super motivated day 1, 2, and even day 3 but then you begin to lose momentum and your body is tired! What do you do? How do you maintain the momentum and motivation to stick with your fitness and health goals? Here are 5 fitness tips for beginners to help you stay motivated. The goal is to keep you in the game for not just the first few days, but for the long haul. Because it’s about creating a lifestyle after all, right?!

Tip 1: Plan ahead! When we are beginning to implement new habits and routines whether fitness related or not, it’s important to minimise the excuses that could arise and derail us from our well intentioned goals. When it comes to exercise, I’ve found the best success for myself and my clients is to plan it. Literally schedule your workout. Put it on your calendar at work, your personal planner, whatever you need to do but SCHEDULE and PLAN it or else it won’t happen. And speaking of planning ahead- go ahead and set out your workout clothes the night before or pack your gym bag and put it in your car so you are ready to go and the excuse of not having your things together isn’t even an option.

Tip 2: Set realistic goals and start slow. Slow and steady wins the race. And this is precisely the approach and attitude you should have when it comes to your fitness regiment. There is nothing wrong with easing into your program and taking it slow or taking rest breaks as needed. Here’s the thing- if you go all out in your workouts and aren’t realistic about where your fitness level is at, you are setting yourself up to potentially burn out or injure yourself, setting you further back. Pushing too hard too fast isn’t going to get you to your goals faster, in fact it could actually do more harm than good. Remember- slow, steady, and CONSISTENCY is key! Set a goal that you can gradually work towards and track your progress such as running a 5K in a certain amount of time or doing a certain number of push-ups on your toes. Start with small, attainable goals and once you achieve those and feel stronger and more confident, you can add on to those goals.

Tip 3: Listen to your body. If you are new to working out or jumping back in after several months off, be mindful of your limitations. Experiencing some level of soreness is to be expected but don’t overdo it so much that you cannot walk the next day. Harder and faster is not necessarily better and won’t get you to your goals faster as mentioned in tip #2 above. Be sure to stay hydrated, cool down, stretch, and have an active recovery day to keep your muscles from getting too sore and fatigued. You have to be feeling good in order to stay consistent so listen to your body and take care so you can continue your program.

Tip 4: Find a buddy. Accountability is HUGE when it comes to maintaining consistency and motivation and truly making fitness and health a lifestyle. There is nothing like going through the suck with someone else right by your side. Find a group exercise class to attend or ask a co-worker or friend if they want to exercise together and be your workout buddy.

Tip 5: Know your ‘why’. Knowing why you are doing what you are doing is quite possibly THE most important component to making sustainable, lasting change. Take some time to sit down and write out or think about why you want to incorporate fitness into your life? Ask yourself these questions before embarking on your fitness and health journey.

  • Why is my health important to me?
  • Why do I want to be healthy and how do I want to feel?
  • How will my life be different with fitness and health incorporated?
  • How will I maintain this lifestyle and why do I want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Once you’ve thought through those questions, it will be so much easier to re-ignite yourself and get back on track if you fall off. Knowing our greater WHY and our purpose is key to maintaining and sustaining healthy lifestyle goals.

With these 5 tips in your back pocket along with your new sneakers and online program, you are primed for success- long-term success! Now, like the popular Nike motto says, ‘Just Do It’!

Meghan Meredith

HomeBodySoul, Founder

Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us @homebodysoul

Tips For A Successful Job Interview

Searching for a job can be intimidating, especially if it has been awhile since you have had to put yourself out there and especially since now a lot of initial resume ‘reviewing’ is done by software—at least in larger companies—it seems like the ‘human’ element has gone out of a lot of things.

However, in my opinion humanity will never go out of style meaning that there are things you can do that will set you apart from everyone else.  Each person has a unique gift that they are meant to share with the world, and you have to trust that fact even when you are stressed out and searching for a job…

In my 51 years I have interviewed many people for many different job positions, I have used temp agencies as well as skilled headhunters to find appropriate candidates and I can honestly say that there are a few tips for how to ensure a job interview is successful…keep in mind that every job interview is a chance for you to make an impression and make a connection…even if that particular job doesn’t pan out, you never know how that connection may bless you in the future.

That said it is always important that you present yourself well no matter what you are interviewing for.  Here are some pointers that might be helpful:

 

  • Present yourself well as first impressions actually DO matter, make sure that your appearance is neat and clean— tucked in shirts, no chipped nail polish, no runs in your stockings, no stained clothes etc—you get the idea. How you present yourself and your attention to detail speaks volumes to people—pay attention to how you are coming across.
  • Always be a few minutes early, it shows that it is important to you.
  • Keep your cell phone out of sight, give your undivided attention to the task at hand.
  • Do your homework—take time to research the company that you are interviewing with and perhaps the person if you have been given their information ahead of time. Doing a little intel prior to your interview can help you ask informed questions and it also shows that you are thorough.
  • Be yourself—you have to be authentic, do not try to please people or behave in some way that you think others would ‘like’—- believe in yourself and your worth.
  • If you are ‘on the hunt’ for a job remember that your prospective company is also doing their pre-interview homework on you too—meaning be mindful of what you post on social media or on the internet in general—just because you think your profile is ‘private’ does not always mean that it is…
  • Be fearless…remember your value and that you are in essence interviewing them too—don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak your mind in a respectful way.
  • Stay away from discussing or bringing up divisive subjects, nothing good will come from that unless it directly relates to the work that you would be doing.
  • Be positive—nobody wants to hire a negative/toxic person, there is enough of that in the world, be part of the solution.

Lastly, have fun with the process…ultimately you want to look forward to the work that you do—nobody wants to go to a job they hate with people that they don’t like—do not create that for yourself—have fun and be open to learning new things and having new experiences—if you keep yourself in a positive, peaceful place the unexpected blessing can find you.

 

XO, N.