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Eating across America – Wellness Wednesdays

One of the hardest parts of changing my eating habits was finding an acceptable place to eat when I travelled, especially for work or vacation as I may go to an area that I’m not as familiar with. So today I’m doing something different than my other posts. Let’s chat about great places to eat that may meet dietary restrictions.

As I mentioned before, I follow a cross between the paleo diet and the AIP protocol, focusing on nutrients like iron, my continued problem child 😃. So I can’t just say- oh let me grab a breakfast sandwich from this chicken place that has wonderful biscuits and chicken! And that can create a problem. I have quite literally sat and started crying because I’m hungry but have no idea of what food is in an area that I won’t have a reaction to later. whew!

So…let’s share recommendations of where we can eat. I’ll start with what have been go to places for me.

  • Whole Foods market. Prior to the pandemic, this was by far the best place for me to go. The hot bar lists what is in the food so it was an easy choice. I went to Whole Foods in: Manchester, NH; Chapel Hill/Raleigh/Durham, NC; Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA; Long Island, NY; Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Orlando, FL; Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, OH; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Huntsville, AL; Nashville, TN; San Antonio, TX; Santa Cruz, CA; Sacramento, CA. Yes, it’s that’s serious!
  • Restoration Cafe in Manchester, NH has great smoothies. I cannot do almond butter and almond milk but this place carried other nut butters and coconut milk.
  • Founding Farmers in the Washington DC area. I love love love this place. The menu is seasonal and always super fresh.
  • Zoe’s kitchen is one of the only chain restaurants that I frequent but the quality isn’t consistent. Some are always great but others aren’t so good.
  • First Watch is probably the only other chain restaurant that I go to and only for very specific items. Quality is always consistent so when I get a quinoa bowl in Franklin, Tennessee, it tastes the same in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  • Green District Salads in Louisville, KY. A relatively newer place with a few locations around the area. You can customize salads or wraps and they’re always tasty and fast.
  • Zameen at the Point in Capitola, CA. This is a small Mediterranean spot that I came across while in the area. It was soooo good and very fresh.

What places do you recommend? If you live outside of the United States, I invite you to share your recommendations as well – have passport, will travel! And if you have enjoyed the wellness Wednesday series, let me know and I’ll keep posting. The series was to be limited to summer so this may be the last post; let me know!

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Beyond Work – Wellness Wednesdays

Even before the pandemic, I worked in a remote position. BUT I had a good deal of travel in my previous job so I wasn’t at home all of the time unlike my current situation. One thing that remote work has really pushed me to do is have a life outside of work!

For far too many years, work has been everything and outside interests were a tiny speck in my life. Sure, I went on vacation, but I didn’t take the time to pursue things that I was truly interested in. Well being at home alllllll the time definitely changed that up. I have always enjoyed being out in nature but now it truly has purpose. And I’m able to finally explore the area that I moved to last year but couldn’t.

In my quest for physical health, I had to realize that other aspects of life play a part in wellness too. And then I had to act on that, which can be easier said than done. I even attended a session today sponsored by my job on burnout and that can affect everything in your life- body aches and pains, minor illnesses, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia …the list went on and on.

Some things that I’ve done for self-care that have absolutely nothing to do with my job include:

  • Spa day! 🧖🏾‍♀️
  • Visiting family monthly since I live less than 90 minutes away, the first time in YEARS
  • Visit the art museum
  • Find walking trails to check out
  • Visit nature areas, and more

So I encourage you to join me in celebrating life outside the confines of work if you have not and do what brings you joy. I’m sharing a couple of pictures from my recent adventures below. See you next week!

At the overlook
At an area park
In front of the art museum

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Ergonomically Working from Home

Today’s blog post will be the last installment of working remotely as multiple states seek to re-open soon. I believe that many employees who did not have the opportunity to work remotely prior to coronavirus may be able to moving forward as companies see that employees can be productive and save on overhead while working from home.

One of the aspects of working from home that I did not consider when I began is ensuring that I used ergonomic products. Now, I’m the beginning, my health was not 100% so I worked from the comfort of being in bed …or so I thought. Not using the appropriate office furniture and equipment definitely took a physical toll on me – even to the point of now doing physical therapy for spine and neck. Yikes!

What would I have done differently if I could go back on time? I would have actually used the desk that I had but rarely used. Then maybe I would’ve noticed other products that could help along the way. I’ll share the two that I purchased since beginning physical therapy.

This is my stand to hold my laptop. It ensures that my eyes are actually at the appropriate level so my neck, shoulders and spine can attempt to be in alignment. The stand is adjustable in height as well and can work for either laptops or computer monitors. While this is not an endorsement, I purchased it at Staples before the outbreak of coronavirus.

My desk has a keyboard holder that slides out as well. Purchasing a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse was a game changer. Before I held my shoulders up as I placed my forearms on the desk to type. Wrong, wrong, wrong said my physical therapist. Using the keyboard has decreased neck and shoulder tightness and tension. Again, game changer. This is not a super fancy keyboard. I picked them up at Target immediately after a physical therapy appointment. The combination of both purchases was well under $100 so I consider them great investment tools.

Health is a priceless wealth. Invest while you can.

Bryant McGill

What suggestions might you have regarding ergonomic products? Has anything helped you? We would love to hear your feedback! As always 🥂 to your good health. Until next time …

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Remote work, part 2

I work remotely 75% of the time so I am sharing tips from my “normal” as so many are adjusting to this current reality.

This week’s advice:

– show your manager that you are working by picking up a side project.

Yes, that may sound odd when you have your regular work responsibilities so let me give you my example. When I am not working from home, I travel a great deal, sometimes every week for months at a time. Since all of my travel has been canceled through at least the end of April, I have much more time to fill during work hours. I decided to work on a procedure manual for my role. The job that I hold never existed before so I know there is nothing written down documenting what I do, how things are accomplished, the appropriate contact people, etc.

Not only does this self-given project fill my work hours, it also demonstrates initiative, being a self-starter, makes a great use of time- and your manager will know that you have been working. You may not travel, but you could use the time typically spent on meetings that are now conducted via email.

I hope this helps. Any other suggestions that may assist others?

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Working Remotely

I work from home about 75% of the time so I’m sharing tips as a remote employee during coronavirus.

If your job has moved to remote working during this crisis, these tips may help-

  1. Keep a schedule closely aligned with your regular schedule;
  2. Do not work in the bedroom to keep work/life separate;
  3. Find time to exercise – a walk around the block to get fresh air and a change of scenery;
  4. Make time for lunch. Sometimes, I blow right through lunch without realizing it because it’s so easy to do at home;
  5. Keep in touch with others. Working at home can be isolating so I make sure to call, text or video chat with some one during work breaks. And it might brighten their day!
  6. Use your normal commute time to pursue something that you would love to do but usually don’t have time for;
  7. Get dressed. It seems simple but it helps put me in the mindset for work.

I hope this helps! Any other suggestions that may assist others? Add yours as we adjust to this new “normal.” It is a blessing to be able to have to the option to work from when so many in the service and hospitality industries have not been able to. Stay healthy, maintain social distancing and until next time …🥂

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Excuse or No Excuse

One of the things that I hear the most is that eating healthy is expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Now, I choose to eat as much organic that I can when purchasing groceries but I’m a singleton and make enough to do so. I’m not bragging; before my current position, I only got organic produce when it was on sale but I still tried to buy healthy food. And you may still think- but healthier food is still more! But is it? Let me explain.

My aunt has really bad acid reflux. I mean, she’s had to go to urgent care several times. And she doesn’t make much money with super crappy insurance. (I could write lots of blogs on how bad insurance is but I digress…) so each urgent care visit has an unexpected associated cost plus time missed from work. This is in addition to the monthly premium that she pays, any meds needed and follow up care. Thankfully after her last visit, she listened to the doc and has not had more crisis events. But these events add up!

She eats healthier and more appropriate foods that avoid illness. She’s also started losing weight as a result. And I totally get that. She’s not allowing excuses to stop her progress. And that’s my goal. I travel all the time for work, my sleep patterns can be all over the place, I don’t always have access to quality food… the list can go on and on. But I decided that I didn’t want to be in pain forever, getting sicker and weaker. And I had to literally write down the excuses that I was telling myself every day and then counter them with true statements. It’s so easy for the mind to resist change, even if it’s positive change, and hang on to hang ups.

So everyday I have to make a choice to be healthier, regardless of the piece of chocolate that I had yesterday or the egg biscuit sandwich I had while at the airport; true from this morning in Atlanta! I will still take my supplements because they help in the long run. I’ll still make sure to get in at least a mile of walking even though I’m on a 5 hour flight; not doing so will leave my joints way too stiff and painful. And I will do what I can to continue to be healthier, without falling back on excuses.

So have you let excuses stop you from moving forward? Have you found a way to mitigate excuses? Share and let’s discuss. 🥂 to your good health. Until next time …

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Flashback Friday

April 2017 / November 2019

I am so thankful for the transformation that has occurred; I am BEYOND thankful. I never thought that I could be in a healthier place but that didn’t keep me from searching. It took time, work, patience and self-care, but it was possible. And it’s worth it because I AM WORTH IT! That’s the one thing you have to tell yourself every day when you’re facing a challenge – you are worth it. You can do this. Don’t listen to the negative people questioning how or telling you that you can’t. I have those people in my life too (they’re in the family) but I had to learn how to check them appropriately and keep pushing toward my goals. You’ve got this! Share with someone else who needs to realize that they are worth it.

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Work, travel and exercise

For about half of the year, I travel a good deal for work. As I write this, I am on a train to New York penn station so that I can head out to Long Island. I enjoy the flexibility of working from various locations but it can interfere with attempts to be healthy and, especially, to work out.

Initially, I just considered the additional movement of the day as exercise. You know- airport walking, train platform walking, wandering the stores, campuses, basically anything that got me moving while out for travel. But now I try to be more intentional about actually exercising while I’m on travel. I pack my workout clothes so that even if the hotel gym has only one treadmill, I’m going to use that one treadmill. I prefer the recumbent bike but it’s not available everywhere. I also use amazon prime to do a couple of easy stretch videos if that works better.

And when the weather is warmer, I’ll incorporate intentional walking outdoors and walking in the pool before anyone gets in. A coworker even looked up exercise classes at the local YMCA while we were in training for a week- wow, that’s dedication!! What tips do you have for exercising while working and traveling? Share your experiences; I look forward to hearing from you. Until next time 🥂…

My newest tip…pack a light sweatshirt for the gym because it can be chilly in there!

Scenes from recent gym adventures-

Watching Home Alone while on the bike
Heading down to the gym
Post bike workout
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Plateau

So I haven’t written in a bit- my work travel schedule has been INSANE lately. And that kinda leads to today’s blog- the dreaded plateau!

Schools are back in session and field teams are having lots of meetings so my travel has skyrocketed since Labor Day. This poses a challenge to eating properly, getting enough rest, exercising – you know, all the stuff that I did to have these results! I don’t want all the hard work to be for nothing.

I’ve been hovering around the same weight, within 2 pounds, for about 5 weeks. Tempting foods are everywhere and because I lean so heavily to Paleo, it can be a challenge to eat at the meetings that I attend which tend to have sandwiches. I am thankful that I haven’t GAINED weight 👏🏽👏🏽. So I’m trying to devise better strategies for road health. Here are some that I’m trying:

– no flights before 11 am, when possible. This allows me to get enough sleep and stay on a more consistent schedule. And no flights that arrive after 9 pm for the same reason; this one is a little tricker but still a goal to shoot for

– book hotels near the meeting site to stay with a decent sleep schedule and minimize anxiety for rushing in the morning

– find a hotel that has a restaurant on site for breakfast or has room service. Don’t knock the convenience of room service. In past travel jobs, I would miss breakfast every morning until I started using room service to ensure that I made time for it

– stay near Whole Foods Market or similar healthy food options. 💜 Whole Foods hot bar and other food options. It’s rare that I don’t find something that I like when I grab a bite and if the hotel has a fridge and microwave/stove, then I get enough for two meals so I don’t have to guess again later. This is today’s Whole Foods that I Uber-ed to

– stay at a hotel with a gym or pool and MAKE time to do it. I actually did that today 🤩. It’s not the most extensive gym but I did both the elliptical machine and the treadmill just to stay on target for 3 workouts a week, improve digestion and increase movement for the day

What about you? What tips or techniques do you use when traveling to continue to work toward your goals? Even if the above mentioned don’t get me to my target weight (6 more pounds to go), I’m at positioning myself for overall improvements. 🥂 until next time …

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Emotions

Writing about emotional health is probably the hardest for me to write. Emotional health has definitely been on the back burner for a while. It’s easy to be buried in busyness- work, family, friends, commitments- and so emotional health gets neglected. 🙋🏽‍♀️ does that describe you too?

So I buried myself in work, which was easy because the majority of my jobs have involved some level of travel. It’s harder to form relationships and build anything when you’re always gone. In one job, I would be away from home all month, come in for the last weekend and then repeat the next. Crazy, right? And for a time, that’s great- I went to many places that I would never have visited; I was even sent to Brazil for a week for my job. Who wouldn’t love that?! But in all this travel, connections suffer and are harder to maintain.

Instead, I just didn’t deal with emotional health. I put time and effort into other aspects of life but didn’t properly process issues, feelings or concerns that would come up for me. Ignoring it just doesn’t make something go away. What I learned what it grows bigger because it was never dealt with.

And that’s what I’ve been trying to do as my level of travel has decreased. It’s not always comfortable and takes time to not fall back into default thinking leading to an emotional misadventure- at some point, I wanted to get off out of that loop. So cheers 🥂 to emotional wellness. Until next time!

(The pic is from the trip to Brazil)