Tag: fire starter sessions

Recognized as One of the Top 10 in Health Promotion!

I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS NEWS!

A panel of wellness industry experts selected me as one of the Top 10 Health Promotion Professionals in the COUNTRY! EEEK!

I’m pretty sure I was smiling ear to ear the whole day yesterday when I found out 🙂

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210 nominees applied for the award, 100 Health Promotion Professionals were chosen as the best of the best, and I made it into the top 10!

On January 29, 2015, less than one week ago, I was inspired to write this in my journal during my morning quiet time:

Something BIG is about to happen, and I’m ready for it. Bring it on!

I had no idea things would move SO QUICKLY or that a “big” recognition like this would be coming my way.

But if I’ve learned anything in the past 5 months from visionaries who make things happen – Vani Hari (the Food Babe), Meghan Telpner, and Danielle LaPorte – it’s that you have to OWN what you want in your life and pursue it with passion.

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Over the past 8+ years in my role as the Wellness Director at Silberstein Insurance Group, I’ve had the privilege of working with companies and their employees, guiding them to build healthier workplace cultures and teaching them how to eat for nourishment, energy, and vitality. A healthier workplace can promote great mental wellbeing as well as efficient work output. There is more here about this and what interest and input into a workforce can do for companies.

I get to share my story, what I’ve learned, and how I’ve healed and deliver a refreshing message of hope and inspiration that sparks people to make themselves and their health a priority.

Since setting my intentions this year about how I want to FEEL, I’ve been actively pursuing things that generate these feelings:

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When I’m speaking, presenting, teaching, cooking or writing, I feel those things. I come alive, get “in the zone.” and feel purposeful and “on fire.”

I am the best and most authentic version of myself, doing what I know I am meant to be doing with my life.

It’s an immensely gratifying feeling.

Yesterday, I had a special opportunity to feel fully alive as I spoke at the Carroll County SHRM‘s quarterly meeting about Creating a Culture of Health at Work to an engaged group of HR professionals and business leaders.

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Tomorrow I’m teaching my co-workers the tips and tricks to Meal Planning 101, and next Tuesday I’ll be visiting a client in Delaware to talk about Decoding Food Labels and Debunking Health Claims Hype.

At the end of the month, I’m leading a workshop at a women’s retreat in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to share what I’ve learned about how to eat for energy, beauty, and optimal health. Click here to learn more about the retreat or to register.

With each of these opportunities, I feel more vibrant, connected, and radiant and clear about my life’s purpose.

I’m also working with my web designer to brand and completely revamp the look and feel of this website, and I can’t wait for you to see the unveiling in March! It’s going to be amazing 🙂

This has already been an incredible year, and I am SO grateful for your support, kind words, and encouragement. I look forward to sharing more delicious recipes, tips and tricks for healthy living, and inspirations to encourage you to go after what you want and be bold about what is truly possible in your life.

Here’s to 2015 – the year of being radiant and making great things happen!

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Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions {And What I Do Instead}

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.

For someone whose job is centered around inspiring and guiding other people to be well and improve or change their lives and health, that might seem odd.

After reading this, I guarantee you’ll think about New Year’s Resolutions differently than you ever have before.

Two years ago, my husband and I were walking around Hamden, an eclectic neighborhood in the heart of Baltimore, on New Year’s Eve. We ventured into a bookstore/cafĂ©, and I stumbled upon a book that would forever change the way I thought about the concept of resolutions.

It was called The Desire Map.

As I flipped through the first few pages, I came upon the author Danielle’s story of turning away from the checklist style many of our New Year’s Resolutions tend to take.

Instead of focusing on what she wanted to DO that year, she asked herself a different question.

How do I want to feel?

Inspired by that question, my husband Bill and I reflected on our own responses at our annual New Year’s brunch after first recapping all of the fun memories and moments from 2014 in our gratitude jar, a tradition we started two years ago.

Our gratitude jar. We collect memories in it throughout the year and write them out in a journal at the end of the year.

Our gratitude jar. We collect memories in it throughout the year and write them out in a journal at the end of the year.

After brainstorming words that capture how I want to feel, I narrowed them down to the top five words that energize me the most and came up with my “core desired feelings.”

It’s different than making a fleeting resolution because it gets at “WHY,” what’s really driving my desire to make changes in my life.

Here are my 5 core desired feelings:

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When we get clear on how we want to feel and why, we can be more intentional about deciding what we can do to generate those feelings.

So, that’s what I did.

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“Sending out light; shining or glowing brightly”

Luster, light, brightness, brilliance, flow, joy, elation, delight

I did a visualization exercise a month or so ago and imagined my “ideal day” – what it felt like, what it looked like, how I would spend it. In that exercise, I pictured lots of physical openness and light in the spaces around me.

Not only do I want to bring light into my physical space (by expanding and opening up our kitchen – I can’t wait!), but I also want to be someone who has a glow and sense of joy about me.

We all know people like that. They literally light up a room, have a physical glow about them, and just seem to bring light and life wherever they go. I want to be that kind of person. I want to radiate in that way.

To be radiant is to be unapologetically bright, bold, and intentional. When something is radiant, it overflows with light that can’t help but spread. This year, I’m going to “go for it,” put myself out there, and be me.

How do I generate feelings of radiance?

By spending time with other people who are on fire about what they do and are passionate about making the world a better place. Continuing to take a positive, building approach to health vs. instilling fear in people about their health choices. Sharing my story and health journey and how I’ve overcome and learned from my challenges. Regularly expressing gratitude and appreciation for the people and things in my life. Nourishing my body with foods that heal me and help my skin glow.

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“The quality of being certain or definite”

Clearness, lucidity, sharpness, crispness, definition, precision, purity

I’ve taken on a lot over the past year. In addition to having a full-time job, I started a health coaching and consulting business on the side, began writing this blog, regularly blogged for two other companies, and completed two certification programs, one of which lasted almost four months.

I’ve learned a lot this year, but at times, I’ve felt distracted, unfocused, and frenzied.

I’ve fallen into the comparison trap of paying more attention to what other people are doing to find success rather than laser focusing on my unique gifts and skills and on what I can offer. Someone else is farther along than me or has more clients or has created some super cool product or program I “should have” created.

Comparing ourselves is incredibly draining.

For the first time in almost six years, I’m taking a break from certifications and school. I’m going to look back on ALL the incredible things I’ve learned.

Instead of trying to be all things to all people, I’m going to get clear on what makes me come alive, what intensely interests me, what best uses my gifts, skills and knowledge.

How do I generate feelings of clarity?

Spending time with mentors who know me, believe in me and respect me and who will ask me tough questions about how I can best put my passion, skills, and knowledge to use. “Unplugging” and stepping away (sometimes physically getting away) to refocus and give my mind a break. Taking stock of my strengths and focusing my time and attention on improving those rather than comparing myself to other people. Getting better at what I’m best at. Because my faith is important to me, praying and asking for direction and discernment and then being still enough to hear the response. Doing less of the things that drain me, rob me of my energy, and aren’t the best uses of my time or skills.

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“Proceeding smoothly, continuously, effortlessly”

Free-flowing, effortless, easy, natural, smooth, free, unconfined

As I’ve struggled to arrive at a sense of clarity, I’ve felt the opposite of “flowing.” I’ve felt confined, stuck, pushing through just to get through.

It hasn’t felt smooth. It hasn’t seemed effortless. It hasn’t been easy.

“Flow” is also a concept in positive psychology. We might better know it as “being in the zone.”

When we’re “in the zone,” we’re fully immersed in what we’re doing. We feel and perform our best. We’re laser-focused, fully present, aware and involved, oblivious to time, creative and confident.

Flow feels effortless.

How can I generate feelings of flowing?

I experience “flow” when I’m giving a nutrition presentation to a group, teaching a cooking class, talking and teaching about food and health, cooking, spending time with others who are passionate about their work and purpose and whose missions align with mine, writing, singing, taking morning walks and doing yoga.

Instead of feeling stuck or clogged – physically, emotionally, and mentally – I want to feel like what I’m doing is effortless, free-flowing, and unconfined. Also don’t solely think this is the only way people can work through their flow troubles, I’ve known authors that have previously had deals that still look to try and confirm future contracts for their upcoming book as they’re still writing it, with the likes of literary agents or going straight to a publishing house. Some people can still feel like they are free and unconfined within different boundaries. Ultimately it’s how you know yourself to be able to continue reaching your next milestone.

(Want to learn more about flow? Check out this TED Talk from the man who came up with the concept).

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“Forming a relationship or feeling an affinity”

Linked, banded together, coupled, joined, united, related

As someone who has historically been content doing things on my own and being independent, I’ve learned that seeking connection with others is one of the ways I can be my best self.

When I feel connected, I feel close, safe, wanted, supported, understood. We were meant to be connected, to be in community with others.

How do I generate feelings of connection?

Really listening to Bill and giving him my undivided attention when we’re talking. Being fully present when we’re together. Going on trips together to new places. Checking out new restaurants or trying new recipes at home. Making alone time and date nights a priority. Taking Sunday evening walks and catching up about the week. Making our weekly small group a priority, as we “do life together” with our friends from church, opening up about our vulnerabilities and sharing our joys. Surrounding ourselves with other couples who love each other well and build each other and us up.

Spending time with people who “get me” and know me – people who don’t judge me but who see all of the light and potential in me and do what they can to support it and help it grow. Serving others by volunteering in the community. Networking with people who are passionate, supportive, and encouraging. Being open to learning something from everyone I meet. My final core feeling triggered an emotional response in me that I wasn’t expecting.

When I arrived at my final feeling – WORTHY – I stumbled across this definition:

“Good enough”

And that’s where I stopped, and the tears started welling up.

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THIS has been my wound and my struggle throughout my life, since I was a kid.

Feeling worth it. Feeling good enough.

I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and information and would be a perpetual student if I could. But it goes deeper than that. The drive to consume more knowledge is fueled in part by my feeling of inadequacy and the sense that I’m not enough – that I don’t know enough, am not capable enough, am not skilled enough, am not good enough.

“If only I learned this thing, THEN I’d be ready. Then, people would respect me. Then people would take me seriously. Then people would want to work with me and pay me what I believe my time and effort is worth.”

It’s exhausting to feel like I’m constantly trying to prove myself.

How do I generate feelings of worthiness?

Talking to people who believe in me, respect me, know me and my heart, and want the best for me…and then embracing what they tell me. My friend Erin is particularly amazing at doing this for me. We all need a friend like that.

Writing it down or literally speaking it out loud to myself – YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE WORTHY of fill in the blank (love, sacrifice, success, forgiveness, praise, money, your deepest desires).

But most importantly, by reminding myself of the TRUTH – even if I never “accomplish” anything else in my life, I have value and worth because I am.

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If I want to have a sense of clarity, be radiant, experience flow, and feel connected, I have to first believe that I’m worthy, that I’m good enough.

So there you have it. Those are my core desired feelings, my intentions for the new year.

How about you? Are you done with New Year’s Resolutions? Tired of feeling discouraged by February about all the things you didn’t quite accomplish despite the best of plans?

Check out this guide to walk you through the process of mapping out YOUR core desired feelings. You might be surprised by what comes up for you!

What are three to five words that capture how YOU want to feel in the coming year? Feel free to share your words in the comment section below!

I Met The Food Babe: 6 Lessons I Learned About Living On Purpose

When a once in a lifetime opportunity comes along, we don’t want to miss it.

Last week was one of those moments for me.

I had the privilege, honor and joy of meeting Vani Hari AKA the Food Babe and spending one-on-one time with her.

I met her earlier in the day in the press room at the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore – an event showcasing the up and coming trends and products in the natural products industry. I had wanted to go for years, but it’s expensive, and prior to this year, I didn’t have the credentials needed to get in to the event.

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As a blogger, I found out that I’m considered “press” and got to attend for free! 🙂

I was like a kid on Christmas, brimming with excitement about what I would learn and thrilled that I would be spending the day with other like-minded people who share my passion. (Stay tuned for a post on my favorite food finds at the expo!)

About a week before the event, I saw a post on the Food Babe’s Facebook page about an exclusive fundraising dinner for GMO-labeling that would be held in Baltimore the Thursday of the expo.

Had I read that right?

I couldn’t believe that one of THE leaders, mover shakers and change agents in the health and food industry was going to be in my hometown of Baltimore…and that I might have the chance to meet her!

Millions of people have rallied behind Vani in what is known as the Food Babe Army to support the charge she is leading to get the junk out of our food supply and demand that the food industry be transparent about and remove the harmful chemicals they’ve put in our food.

Subway, Kraft, Chick-fil-a and most recently, Starbucks, have felt the restlessness and discontent of the Food Babe’s followers and the collective power they have to spark change.

Despite my initial reservations about the cost of the dinner and the fact that I wouldn’t know anyone, I had a feeling it would be worth it, so I bought my ticket to what would ultimately be a sold out event.

It was a perfect late summer night, as all of the attendees gathered on the rooftop level of The Inn at the Black Olive restaurant with a delicious, local, organic spread laid out before us.

We listened intently as several of the speakers shared updates about what is happening in the movement to demand labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply.

As dinner was winding down, I finished my conversation with my neighbor and looked to the other side of the room where Vani was chatting with a few other people.

I met the Food Babe!

I met the Food Babe!

Hoping I might have the chance to talk with her one-on-one, I lingered a bit. She signaled to me that she wanted to talk with me as she mouthed, “Are you leaving?” from across the room. I turned to the side, assuming she must have been talking to someone other than me.

I realized she wasn’t.

“Who, me?? Nope, not going anywhere!”

I was beyond thrilled that she was going to make time for me.

For the next 20 minutes or so, Vani sat with me, giving me her undivided attention, as she graciously listened to me recount some of my health journey and share my passion for why I do what I do and how I pursue my calling to help others transform their lives through food.

I asked her if she had any words of wisdom to share with me, any lessons she had learned along the way.

I tried to take in what she shared and store it in my memory for later, as I wasn’t writing anything down while we talked. I’ve captured the gist of our conversation below.

6 Lessons I Learned from The Food Babe

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Vani experiences this first hand just about everyday.

Whether it’s Starbucks telling her they don’t want to meet with her or a grocery store kicking her out, she doesn’t let rejection or dismissals like that dismay her.

They just fuel her fire even more and give her yet another reason to keep fighting for what she and many others know is right.

No matter what you’re going through or what fight you’re fighting, be encouraged that you are doing it for a reason. Don’t let anybody tell you no if you’re fighting for what’s right.

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One of the things Vani told me was that she held herself back more than anyone else.

Prior to going into blogging and activism full-time, she was working at a bank but was repeatedly encouraged by family and friends to drop the corporate gig and pursue her passion for food and health as a career.

She had been reading the book The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte at the time and developing clarity around her purpose and what she really wanted to do with her life.

Vani said the book asks questions that help you “get real” with yourself about what you’re meant to do, which is exactly what she was trying to do two years ago in the midst of a career transition.

After going through the questions in the book, she said she felt SO clear about what she was supposed to do with her life. She just hadn’t taken that next step to make it happen.

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The tipping point came on New Year’s Eve two years ago when she and her husband were at the top of Machu Picchu in Peru. Her phone (which hadn’t been working for days) suddenly came on, and in her email inbox was a notice from her job indicating that her current contract was about to expire.

She had to let them know whether she wanted to renew it.

With encouragement and affirmation from her husband, Vani made the decision in that moment not to renew her contract and to go after her passion as an activist and consumer advocate full-time.

If there’s something that makes your soul come alive and fuels your passion, go after it! You have been given that desire and that fire for a reason.

Following Vani’s recommendation, I ordered the book and am already loving what I’m reading! You can find it on Amazon if you want to order it for yourself to help you develop clarity about what you’re meant to do.

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Vani got a little choked up when we got to this part.

In her corporate job, she said all she was doing was making more money for the bank. That wasn’t cutting it – not for someone as purpose-driven and intentional as she is.

She wanted to do something that would impact people’s lives and make the world a better place.

“How do we want to be remembered when we’re gone?” she asked.

“I do this because I want to help people. I want to make a difference.”

Whatever you do with your life – whether you’re raising the next generation as a stay-at-home parent, nurturing and training kids as a teacher, guiding and coaching people through challenging areas of life, like finance or health, or simply serving people with kindness and humility – commit to making the world a better place just by being in it.

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I took some creative liberty with the exact wording on this one, but here’s the gist of what Vani said in a speech earlier that night:

“The more progress we make, the more haters come out.”

All the more reason to keep fighting.

Vani shared with me that one of the challenges she runs into is that people question her credibility and qualifications to do what she does.

“I’m not a doctor or a food scientist,” she acknowledged.

But, you don’t have to be a doctor to impact people’s health and change their lives.

I face a similar feeling of inadequacy at times. “I’m not a dietitian or a nutritionist,” I tell myself. Some could use that as a reason to dismiss what I have to say about food and nutrition.

My dad? He’s an organizational consultant who is an expert at helping people and businesses get “unstuck.” He’s so good at what he does, he could have his own TV show and easily write a book. His background? Secondary Education and American History.

People come to us for guidance, advice or a listening ear because they can are inspired by our passion, know how voraciously we pursue knowledge and see our commitment to excellence.

But, most importantly, because they know we genuinely care.

So, no matter who we are or what our training is or isn’t, here’s the truth:

We know enough to help someone.

We don’t have to have a particular title or training to make a difference in the world. 

What we do need are passion, intellect, a desire to relentlessly pursue TRUTH, and persistence to “stick with it” when times get tough or we’re discouraged.

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It’s going to take all of us coming together to make change happen.

It can’t be up to one person.

Sharing information is how we spread messages about what is true, right and good. Share what you learn with your friends, family, workplace, community, etc.

The Food Babe knows that much of her reach and success are due in large part to the Food Babe Army rallying behind her on social media and in their communities, doing their part to get the message out to their circles of influence.

The more we share information intended to make the world a better place and help people, the greater our likelihood of having an impact.

If you have information or a skill or tool that can help another person, share it!

My hope is that you walk away from this post inspired and ready to stand up for whatever you believe in,  whatever fuels your fire, whatever makes you come alive.

One person can make a difference. The more we support each other, the greater the ripple effect each of us can have on the world.

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