Mummy Dogs and an Apology

I am a holistic health coach.  I am also a regular mom.  I have my struggles with my body.  I have my struggles with feeling guilty over eating food that I have been conditioned to thinking are “bad”. (ie. – not healthy)

Many of you who have talked with me know that I am not extreme.  I do not care  to focus solely on nutrition when I work with clients.  Being healthy is not just about eating healthy food.  Sometimes being healthy means eating that piece of dessert that you have been craving.

I didn’t always think this way. I must admit that for a time, I was pretty extreme in my eating and in my thinking.  Still, not as extreme as some, yet I was still pretty rigid.  I started off my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition ready to learn how to become a health coach.  I didn’t quite know what that meant, yet I knew that if i could help someone learn to eat healthy, they could feel so much better.  They could lose weight without a fad diet, they could possibly reduce chronic pain, and  they could prevent sickness and disease.   I was on a mission.   Meanwhile, as a student, we were taught about 200 different dietary theories, ranging from Raw Food to Macrobiotic,  to South Beach to everything in between.   In the end, we learned that ” no one diet works for everyone”.

So where am I getting at with this?  As I went through training,  I became so focused on eating the “right” foods that I had become judgmental of those who were not eating what I deemed was the “correct” way.   I started eyeing those who were overweight, wondering what they were eating and how I could help them.  They became my targets.  I assumed that they were eating junk food.

Friends may have seen me eying them as they gave their kids such “horrible” foods as Goldfish crackers and kool-aid.   I wonder if  the disapproving look was obvious?   I wonder if I made them feel guilty or “less than” as a mom?

Going to the school was like being a happy Newlywed.  I was elated with how I felt when I ate  healthy.  I had found a way to manage my Fibromyalgia symptoms, I had more energy and I just felt better all around.  Therefore, I was overly zealous about converting others to  a healthy diet.

It’s interesting what can happen over time.  If you have followed me ever since I started as a student, you may have noticed a bit of a shift.  I started off only talking about food and nutrition, then I talked more about stress and why we have cravings, and the concept of Mindful Eating.  I still talk about those things, but I now focus a lot on how we feel about our body, and reducing stress so we can enjoy life.  I don’t even make weight loss the most important goal.  And my clients are still very happy!  I even encourage eating the occasional junk food.  I have NOT thrown in the towel in regards to healthy eating…. heck,  everyone knows me at my near by Whole Foods Market…. yet, I don’t fret if my kids bring home candy from school, of if they are eating too many gluten filled pretzels.  Life is all about balance- listening to our body and enjoying the moments as they come.

I had the ultimate realization about how much my mind set has changed when recently I decided to make “Mummy Dogs” for Halloween. (inspired by an online search for Halloween meals for kids)

I wanted to do something fun for the kids.  So I decided instead of taking the time to make gluten free crescent rolls , I bought Pillsbury Crescent rolls to wrap around the hot dogs.  Guess what ingredients are in the crescent rolls?  F’*#*#ing  Hydrogenated Oil, Red 40 and Yellow 6 for damn’s sakes.  In that moment, in the grocery store,  as I read the label as a good, health conscious person does, I hesitated.  Do I put the thing down in the name of all that is healthy and good, or do I keep my promise to my kids, because, after all, it’s just one day?


Obviously, I bought the Pillsbury crap.  But… instead of continuing to think of it as crap, I looked at it as “fun food”.  Fun, because …well….it puts the “Mummy” in “Mummy Dogs”… I knew that my kids would get a kick out of it.

So I want to conclude this post with an open apology to all those who I may have hurt in the past.

–I apologize for the disapproving looks.

–I apologize for coming on too strong regarding “evil” ingredients.

–I apologize for subconsciously keeping you at arms’ length because you did not fit my world.

When it all boils down to it, yes, eating  a lot of crap will possibly make you feel just like that….. like crap.  It may make you gain weight.  It may contribute to heart disease or cancer.

Yet, stress also does that.  Stress plays a HUGE role in how we feel.  Heck, some people eat super clean and still cannot lose weight.  These super clean eaters even get diseases.  Obsessing about healthy eating is also stressful.

This does NOT mean that I encourage anyone to say, “I give up.  Who cares about spinach and kale and quinoa?”  However, I don’t think many of you are saying that.  I feel like many of you DO know what to eat.  But, you also know that eating the occasional junk food is not going to kill you.

My kids ate the Mummy Dogs.  Maybe eating scary ingredients was fitting for Halloween. They are still here. They survived.  And we made some really good memories together.

HalloweenPicMonkey Collage

What did you do for Halloween? 

By the way, Happy November!! October seemed to fly by!


Certified Holistic Health and Body Image Coach


3 Tips on teaching your CHILDREN to eat mindfully

Hello beautiful people. 🙂  Can you believe it is already December?? We just got our tree up and are getting into the Christmas Spirit.

So, for all you parents out there, how are you handling this busy season? Are you pulling your hair out? Does this time of year cause you to be LESS mindful of what you are eating?

How about what you are feeding your children?

I focus a lot on the amazing moms and dads out there (mostly moms are the ones who reach out to me), but not as much on how WE can apply what we are learning and teach it to our CHILDREN!

Just a re cap on Mindful Eating:  funny enough-  I would call it the WHAT, WHEN, WHY AND HOW of eating!

1. You are aware of WHAT you are eating.
2. You are aware of HOW much you are eating.
3. You are aware of WHY you are eating.
4. You are aware of your hunger levels (the WHEN–are you hungry when you eat?)

You may think that number 1 is a no-brainer.  “Of course, I know what I am eating.”  But how many times do we mindlessly reach for that bag of candy, or that second helping without giving it much thought?
Number 2 and 4 go pretty much hand in hand. When you are aware of how hungry (or full) you are, you can easily base that on HOW much to eat.  Our eyes can be bigger than our stomachs, right?
Number 3 is probably the most important reason…. if we are aware of WHY we are eating, we can be more in tune with our body and change course if need be.  For example, if you just came home from work and all of a sudden you are craving potato chips, first ask yourself, if you are eating out of hunger or stress.

Helping Children Be Aware

Children can practice Mindful Eating as well!

Growing up, were you taught to “clean your plate”, even if you weren’t hungry?
Or did your parents pretty much let you  eat whatever you wanted?
Were you given food as a reward, or even as a punishment? (if you misbehave, you are eating more broccoli! lol)
Guess what. I think we ALL grew up with one of these statements in one form or another.  It’s natural for us parents to think that way.  I know I, myself, have been guilty of doing these things with my children in the past.
However, the time is NOW to turn that around.  If a child gets into the  habit of having an unhealthy relationship with food when he/she is young, it may increase his/her chance of getting an eating disorder in the future.   Eating disorders among children are on the rise.
” A study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed that hospitalizations for eating disorders in children under 12 increased by 119% between 1999 and 2006. More recent numbers are unavailable, but experts say the problem isn’t getting any better.”

I, myself, suffered from anorexia and bulimia in college.  Many others suffer from Binge Eating Disorder where there is no throwing up or restricting–but binging on large quantities of food.

Now, I am in NO WAY blaming parents.  We all do the best that we can with good intentions.
But…we CAN start NOW toward helping our children form a healthy relationship with food (and with themselves!)

Here are 3 things I do with my children:

1. Do NOT give in every time they say they are hungry and want to eat.  After school, they are allowed to eat one piece of fruit (always first to make sure they get it in) and then a salty snack (natural chips or crackers).   They usually whine and complain and say “I’m huuungrry!!!”  But I stick to my guns.  I even tell them that it’s okay to feel a little bit hungry.
2. Don’t make them clean their plate.  They do need to try a little pile of each thing on their plate.  I make sure and give them a small amount- something that I know they can eat.  When they were young I only made them eat one bite of their vegetable. (Thankfully, now they gobble most of them up!)
3. After dinner, if they want seconds, I  tell them to “listen to their body.”  When I think of it, I have them tell me how hungry they are on a scale of 0-5 (0 being stuffed and 5 being ravenous) .  I think they are catching on.  Do they sometimes say they are still hungry when maybe they really aren’t?  Sure! I know I can’t get inside their stomachs and REALLY know if they are telling the truth.  So this is where I also have to do my part and learn to trust them and just trust the process.

Oh, and what about rewards?  The short answer is:  we don’t bribe at all.  However, if it is celebrating a school accomplishment, we DO make dessert or go out to eat.  That’s not the same as saying “if you do something, you will get a piece of candy.”

As parents, we have such a big responsibility and there WILL be slip ups.  Nobody is perfect- I know for sure I am NOT!!  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Stay consistent and before long, your child may be begging to eat KALE, like my son! 🙂

With Peace and Love,
Kellie , Certified Health Coach

*Don’t forget my Christmas Special!!*   A FREE “Fit And Fabulous Breakthough Session” (valued at $47) and 20% off any of my 1:1 programs, if you decide to use my services.

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Spinach for breakfast?!

Spinach For Breakfast? 

Do you have a case of the “shoulds and shouldnts?”  A lot of us go through out our day thinking, “I SHOULD eat but it’s not lunch time yet.” ” I SHOULD eat this salad, but I’d rather eat this sandwich.”  “I SHOULD exercise but I”m not feeling too well.”

Sound familiar?  We beat ourself up because we have this notion of what we think we are supposed to do… like there is some Food Police in the sky keeping watch of our every move (or bite).

We even have notions of certain foods that go along with certain parts of the day.  I had a funny reminder of this today.  You would think as a health coach, that I shouldn’t be surprised.  My 7 year old daughter can be a bit picky when it comes to breakfast.  She doesn’t like the “normal” breakfast foods such as cereal.  I even made some home ade cereal bars which she didn’t care for.  So today, she asked for spinach salad.   Now this was nothing new- as she had eaten it for breakfast a couple of times before.  But it made me wonder why I didn’t offer it to her in the beginning.  I am so conditioned to thinking that only certain foods are eaten at certain times.

So I gave her the spinach salad (with natural ranch from Whole Foods) and she gobbled it all up!  Am I worried that she will be too hungry?  Not really.  It’s certainly better than her not eating at all, and I”m sure the fiber in the spinach as well as the calories in the dressing will fill her up.  Fun fact: also, the protein content in spinach is 42%!

And, who can complain about a child who wants to eat spinach?!

The next time you feel yourself caught up in the case of the SHOULDS… ask yourself, “is this REALLY want I want to eat?”  No, it should not be an excuse to just eat whatever we want, but healthy eating should not be drudgery.

Spend time finding recipes for healthy foods that you really enjoy and even tweak them to make them your own!

Let go of the notion that everyone’s diet and eating schedule should look the same, and focus on your body’s intuition.

Questions for YOU:  what foods do you think you SHOULD try, but really have no desire to?  On the other hand… what foods do you REALLY desire to try but just need that extra little nudge and motivation?


Listening to our body

Do you listen to your body?

If you sit with my family and I at the dinner table, chances are you might hear  my 7 or 8 year old say, “I’m full. I can’t eat another bite. I”m listening to my body!”

How many of you listen to your body when you are eating? I know many of us grow up being taught to finish what is on our plate.  Or when visiting a family member or friend, it is only polite to have seconds or even thirds.

How about when we go out to eat and we are given that huge plate of pasta? Do we feel obligated to eat it all?

I am reading a fantastic book called “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, both in the nutrition field.

In this book, they list 10 principles, such as Honor Your Hunger, Feel Your Fullness and Challenge the Food Police.

Intuitive Eating basically means trusting your body in regards to food.   If it is telling you to stop eating, then stop.  If you are hungry, don’t ignore  your hunger because you feel you are not supposed to eat at that particular time.

Really stop and think, “why am I craving this food?”  Is this something my body is telling me to eat?

Next time you sit down with your meal, stop half way through and really feel what you are feeling.  Assess your hunger level from 1-5.  Five would be completely stuffed and 1 would  be ravenous.  I would suggest eating until you are about a 3 or 4.

Is this something you are aware of when you eat?  Do you feel like you “listen to your body?”

I welcome all comments! Let’s hear from YOU!

Kellie McGarry, Certified Health Coach

Healthy Snacks Workshop

Healthy Snacks Workshop!

We had a lot of fun on Saturday– I had 9 kids at my house (with their parents) and we did a lot of learning and sampling tasty, healthy treats. First, we played a game called “Traffic Light Eating” where we learned about Green Foods, Yellow Foods and Red Foods. Green foods would be those that are fine to eat as much as you want of, such as broccoli and kale. Yellow foods means foods you can eat every day but you need to slow down with- they are foods that are not normally in their whole state such as pasta and applesauce. Red foods are foods that make you stop and think  if you really need this right now- such as ice cream or cookies. I made sure and told the kids it is fine to have those treats once in awhile but as nutrition detectives we can learn to make better choices. Choices that give us energy and “super powers”. 🙂

We also sampled a “green smoothie” which the kids LOVED…. .they asked for seconds and thirds! It didn’t matter to them that it contained spinach! Moms, this is a great way to get your kids to eat extra veggies… and for you, moms as well!  Most people aren’t eating raw spinach and kale every day.  For a video of my daughter and I making a green smoothie, check out this video.

We also made kale chips, raw chocolate bars and granola energy bites. Stay tuned for the next workshop!