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Wellness Wednesday: My Journey Towards Food Freedom + Introducing the HGG Reset

This Wellness Wednesday I’m opening up about my journey towards food freedom, and how it helped develop the Healthy Glow Co. HGG Reset nutrition program.

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It’s Christmas and I’m flying on a plane to Brisbane from Cairns. Tony and I are headed to Byron Bay for the final part of our time here in Australia.

I wanted to take time out to write this letter because frankly, I’ve had incredible nostalgia while being here, taking me back to a period in my life that while I’m not proud of, was most definitely a learning experience.

monique on a cliff overlooking the ocean

About four years ago, Tony and I came to Australia for a dear friend’s wedding. We had only been seriously dating for about three months, but I wanted him to come along and so he did.

What I didn’t know, or expect from myself, is how judgmental I’d be, or how embarrassed I was regarding my body. How I spent all my time thinking about food and exercise, having it consume my thoughts and occupy my time. Or how I didn’t want to wear shorts because I despised my legs.

My own legs that have carried me through life.

monique eating a smoothie bowl in front of a wall with a pineapple on it

Specifically I remember Tony and I went hiking in a few different spots and I didn’t want to take off my shorts or shirt, because I wanted to cover up the parts of me that were imperfect. The parts that were rigid, curvier or unsmooth. The parts of me that were simply human. Most of all I wanted to cover up the parts of me, that made me who I am.

During those moments and time in my life, I remember feeling so overwhelmed, depressed and consumed by food and also by my body image. I’d be distraught by the number on the scale and how heavily it weighed on my heart.

Since I was little, I’ve always used food as a coping mechanism for my stress and anxiety. But it wasn’t just food and body image driving my unhappiness, it was my desire for perfection.

monique on cliffs overlooking the ocean

Everything I did was to be perfect.

But we all know perfect doesn’t exist.

And while I completely admit that I’m still Type A, I’ve also become more accepting and compassionate of myself.

This time in Australia, I wear my swimsuit with confidence. I put on shorts daily because my legs are the ones that move me where I need to be. I don’t panic when I can’t workout because my mindset around food and my body has shifted. I recognize that being active can mean hiking or swimming and going to the gym doesn’t necessarily need to happen on a daily basis. I nourish my body with delicious fresh food like arugula fig and hazelnut salads, but enjoy a wagyu burger when I have a craving. I choose to have gelato and save room for it. I eat when I’m hungry and snack on trail mix, fruit and RXbars to replenish after a long hike.

monique in sydney

I understand that I can always workout when I’m back home and that my body won’t go through a metamorphosis of change in just a few weeks. I am patient with myself and learn that it’s okay to be present and enjoy the little moments that life is throwing my way.

Most of all I feel balanced. No longer guilty, overwhelmed or consumed.

So what changed over these four years?

1. Learning to love food again! Wow, has this been a challenge. I mean don’t get me wrong I’ve loved food for as long as I can remember but always used it in a pleasureful or comforting way when I was dealing with anxiety or areas of stress in my life. Over the past few years, I had to learn how to love food for nourishment instead of for only comfort. How to find a balance of eating more veggie based meals that provided my body with energy and nutrients, but also enjoying pizza and burgers when I had a craving. And this was never perfect. Some nights I eat a whole Trader Joe’s butternut squash pizza and other nights I made salmon with veggies or a chickpea stir fry. When I go out to restaurants, I learned how to choose between what my body and mind needed at the time. And yes, I know that this isn’t always easy to figure out what balance means to you, because it’s different for all of us. There is no secret answer to figuring out food, but there are baby steps like learning how to cook healthy meals (that’s why I’m here for you) and finding a food lifestyle that keeps you satisfied and content.

 monique holding a smoothie bowl

2. Self care and self love! This has been a HUGE step for me personally and has taught me to love myself for who I am. Over the past few years, I practiced a lot of yoga, particularly in times of stress. I also started seeing a therapist to sort out my emotions and childhood trauma that sometimes still haunts me. Most of all I realized that mental health is SO important and needs to be at the forefront of our wellness journeys. I’m not embarrassed to talk about the issues that I’ve struggled with in life because I think sharing them gives me the ability to inspire and empower others who are struggling.

Some of my biggest self care habits this year included: morning walks with music, baths with coconut oil and music, monthly massages, more girl time with friends, traveling, hiking and designing a space in my home to make me feel happy (my bedroom). But self care doesn’t necessarily have to be about spending money; it’s simply supposed to be about carving time into your days or weeks to reconnect with yourself.

My favorite relaxation and self-centering tip: For 5 minutes take deep breaths in and out, close your eyes and think of a place that makes you feel calm and refreshed. Questions to ask during this process: What does it smell like, what are the colors around you, how does it look, how does your skin feel, what noises do you hear in this space?

My special place is a lush green forest. The birds are chirping all around me and the air smells crisp and fresh, almost as if it just rained. There’s mud on the ground and I’m heading up a steep hill to a drop off point that overlooks a crystal clear lake. My skin feels a little damp and as I reach the top, I sit down on a rock and view the gorgeous water. I noticed the trees surrounding the lake and how they breath life into the place. It makes me feel calm and comforted.

monique riding a horse

3.Keeping an open mind, and practicing patience. When it comes to everything. And I am still working on this. I try to be open minded when it comes to my work, food, my body, my emotions and feelings, my heart and soul. But most of all, I want to feel okay in every moment and know that life just isn’t about going to the gym or about what I’m eating at a restaurant. That there’s more to life than food, and feeding the soul comes from time well spent.

I spent a lot of my time consumed by thoughts around food and exercise, and all I got in return was unnecessary stress. Now? I fill my days with creativity, goal-setting, spending time with people that lift me up and doing the things I love most. I open my mind to the things that make me feel good, and I’m unapologetic about those things.

 holding a bowl of oatmeal with banana slices, peanut butter, and blueberries

Introducing the HGG Reset

Through this process I’ve not only learned so much about myself, but also about the power of food and how it makes me feel. I understand that food can be overwhelming, and that relationships with food can be complicated. I’ve been there! That’s why Lee and I created the HGG Reset with our Healthy Glow Co. team – to show you that you can enjoy uncomplicated, delicious recipes that honor your body’s nutritional needs while satisfying your taste and hunger cues.

This is why I’ll be doing the reset right along with you! Because I truly believe in the power of these nourishing meals. As you know I’ve had years of experimenting in the kitchen – from cooking with my mom when I was younger to creating recipes that I get to share with you guys. This 4 week nutrition plan includes easy instructions that will not only help you learn how to cook nourishing, healthy meals, but also teach you how to meal prep and plan without feeling overwhelmed.

hgg reset graphic

About the reset:

We specifically chose ingredients and created 60 recipes that aren’t just “healthy.” The ingredients we selected are ones that will help power you through your day feeling good and with lots of energy. We’re all about including more of these feel-good foods, rather than focusing on what to remove like many resets, “detoxes,” or diet programs.

With these foods come recipes that are flavorful, creative and nourishing. They’ll leave you feeling satisfied and energized, rather than hungry and deprived. Technically the reset is only 28 days, but we hope that you’ll discover how much you love eating like this and want to incorporate these tools into your everyday life.

We want you to walk away with a renewed sense of confidence and better relationship with food – both in and out of the kitchen.

salad on a plate next to a glass of wine

What does the plan include?

1. 4-weeks worth of 60+ exclusive recipes – including snacks

2. Weekly grocery lists

3. Meal prep instructions for Sunday and Wednesday of each week

4. Each recipe is gluten-free, with options to make them dairy-free and vegetarian

Make 2018 your healthiest yet! Start by fueling your body with nourishing meals that it craves.

Grab your copy of the HGG Reset here, and use the code RESET10 to get $10 from now until Sunday, 1/7!

If you haven’t yet, sign up and join Lee and I for our LIVE webinar this Sunday, January 7th at 8:00pm (CST). We’ll be sharing our wellness journeys and tips, and answering all of your questions related to food, wellness and everything in-between. Can’t wait to see you there, xo!

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