Health for time-strapped moms. Replacing ‘never enough’ with ‘good enough’
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By Andrea Holwegner, For The Calgary Herald   October 6, 2011

I wanted it all: a rewarding career, a great husband and to be an exceptional mom. I’m learning that juggling these roles and still finding time for myself is the hardest thing I have ever done.

Being truly connected when I am with my son Saul and not worrying about work is harder than it seems. Similarly, being fully present at work and not feeling guilty about missing out on time with Saul is a dance I am still trying to learn.

The book Good Enough is the New Perfect; Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple (Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 2011, $19.95), is proving very helpful.

What I love about this book is that it is not about settling or getting everything you sort-of-kind-of want. I am starting to understand that you can do anything, but this doesn’t mean you have to do everything.

Many of the reflections in this book are also parallel principles when it comes to taking care of your personal wellness and family nutrition.

One size rarely fits all

There are many ways to be a good mom and take care of your own personal wellness and family nutrition.

One working mom I know belongs to a cooking group that prepares dozens of freezer meals once per month. Another mom uses many healthier convenience options such as pre-chopped raw veggies and pre-cooked roasted chicken.

If you end up throwing out rotten produce this week because life happened, start again fresh next week with the wellintended veggies you had hoped to prepare for your family.

Stop judging yourself and other women. There is a difference between being the best and doing your best.

Busy? Prioritize

Some of the busiest people I know are also some of the most successful with both their careers and health. These individuals have learned to say no more often and refuse to make choices based on guilt or fear.

I learned the hard way that all choices (even the good ones) also have consequences. By slowing down and simply asking myself what are the consequences of saying yes to whatever opportunity comes my way, I am learning to protect my time for what really matters.

If your family’s nutrition seems overwhelming and you don’t know what to prioritize, begin by making sure you are home to eat at least one meal per day with your kids. Supper is ideal, but if this isn’t possible for your family, begin with breakfast. Research strongly shows that families that eat together are more connected, eat healthier and are less likely to have overweight children or struggle with unhealthy body image.

Who knew that simply planning supper together could set the stage for such profound family health?

Don’t confuse hard with valuable

Overachievers like me need to be constantly reminded that not everything needs to involve hard work. In fact some of the easiest, most obvious things don’t involve much work at all.

Here are five speedy supper meals that rely on some pre-prepared ingredients but still provide you and your family with excellent nutrition:

1.  Homemade pizza using a prepared pizza shell, canned tomato sauce and toppings such as ham, canned pineapple, red/ green peppers, fresh tomatoes and pre-grated cheese. Serve with raw carrots and dip.

2.  Grilled chicken caesar salad using precooked grilled chicken breast or prepared roasted chicken, pre-washed salad, croutons and light caesar salad dressing. Serve with whole wheat garlic toast.

3.  Tuna melts on whole grain buns with canned tuna mixed with light mayonnaise topped with grated cheddar cheese and baked in the oven until warm. Serve with a salad.

4. Stir-fry using frozen peeled and de-veined shrimp (or alternatively firm tofu or pre-sliced beef, pork or chicken stir-fry strips) and your favourite stir-fry sauce. Also add a bag(s) of pre-chopped fresh or frozen Asian vegetables and serve with noodles or rice.

5. Precook ground meat (ground beef/turkey/ chicken/bison/pork) in bulk and freeze in convenient family-ready packs to add to tomato sauce with extra sliced veggies for a fast pasta meal. Alternatively, season precooked meat for taco night with peppers, onions, lettuce, salsa and sour cream as toppings.

Good advice

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed and out of balance, you may find the advice my friend Colleen had to be helpful: just because it feels gross doesn’t mean you are grossly inadequate.

Accept that balance means that each day some things will be in check, others will be anything but.

The bigger learning is to acknowledge your work, family and personal self all need to be taken care of – but just not every minute of each day.

Andrea Holwegner is the chocoholic dietitian and owner of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. Visit www.healthstandnutrition.com or phone 403-262-3466  to subscribe to her free monthly ezine. twitter: @chocoholicRD

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/6ena7ah

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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