5 Tips for Busy Moms on Slowing Down and Savoring Your Food

Take a moment to think about your absolute favorite food.  Close your eyes and imagine you are eating it. Okay, open your eyes now so you can read this blog, lol.

I bet you can taste it in your mind, right?  Now think about the texture of the food.  Is it creamy? Crunchy? Now imagine feeling peaceful after eating it.  You are totally satisfied because you ate exactly what your body needed.

Was that difficult to do?  Imagine if we actually did that while eating our food.  If we slowed down and really savored the taste of our food.  If we paid attention to what our body is telling us and stopped when we feel satisfied.  If after we eat, we  felt grateful for the food instead of guilty for eating it.

What I just described is what experts call, Mindful Eating.

Mindful Eating is certainly not a new trend.  Before Fast Food restaurants and TV dinners, I’m sure it was much easier to sit down, slow down, and savor our food (hey, the “3 S’s!).

Now is the time where I may start to lose some people.  You may be thinking, “yeah right…this is the real world. I can’t always slow down with my food.”  Or, “I am not sure that I would even know when I am ready to stop eating.”

Those are both valid points.  To which I would say, it just takes PRACTICE.  Like with anything, if we condition our body and mind to think/behave a certain way, it’s not going to change over night.  Just like with exercising to increase strength, we need to “exercise” our mind by forming a new ritual, so to speak.

Before I go on, let me clarify what Mindful Eating Is and what it is NOT.

Mindful Eating Is:

1. A way of life

2. For every one- even kids!

3. Dependent on your own body wisdom (not the latest diet guru)

4. About providing a PLEASURABLE experience with food

Mindful Eating is NOT:

1. A typical “diet”

2. only for Buddhists

3. an excuse to eat whatever the heck you want all the time

4. a weight loss plan (though some have used it to aid in weight loss)

Mindful Eating is..

So what are some quick tips for busy moms (and anyone really!) to incorporate Mindful Eating into their lives?

1. Sit down and eat with your family as often as possible (I know, sports events make it hard.  Start off with even just 2 or 3 times during the week)

2. Take 3 deep breaths before eating.

3. Even if you are not the praying type, it helps to say a word of gratitude toward the food you will be eating.

4. Pause to take deep breaths BETWEEN bites.

5.  Half way through your meal, pause and ask yourself how full you are from a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being stuffed and 5 being ravenous.  The aim is to stop at a 1, 2, or 3, depending on what our body needs.  Will you always be using a rating system the rest of your life?  No, of course not, but this is a good tool to get you into the habit of paying attention to your body.

The bonus? This is a good example for your KIDS to follow as well!  In fact, I wrote an article about teaching mindful eating to kids (last year) click HERE to read that one.

Still feeling overwhelmed?  As a Holistic Health Coach,  I can personally guide you and give you the tools to be able to start paying better attention to your body, so you can find a peaceful relationship with food.  Click here to learn more and to sign up for a Breakthrough Session! ($37).

In Peace,

Kellie McGarry



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


5 reasons why Willpower is NOT okay

Today started out like any other day.  I dropped the kids off to school, and inhaled the nice, cool air (okay, that’s not typical for Phoenix but it just rained last night) and proceeded to drive home, where a nice cup of black coffee was waiting for me.

As I drove home, Starbucks was calling my name (okay, not literally).  I have to admit- I’m a Starbucks snob.  Even though we are not rich by any means, I will gladly spend the money on coffee beans from Starbucks (I’ll try coffee from other stores too- I’m not THAT bad).  I used to put out a boatload of money on lattes every week (before black coffee started to grow on me). Now,  I don’t spend nearly as much on the popular coffee chain, as I used to, but every once in awhile it’s a nice treat.

So I waited in the drive through and lo and behold–there was a sign that said Pumpkin Spice Latte- here early!  I felt like I had gone to heaven.  This happens to be my favorite drink, so I just had to buy it and I am enjoying it now , as I type.

Photo on 8-29-13 at 10.34 AM

What is the point of this story? Well, because I happen to be a Health Coach… I went to nutrition school…. in fact, I just had a big talk on the dangers of too much sugar and even used a Frappuccino as an example.

I could use these points to shame myself; to feel guilty and like a failure.  I could ask myself, “who do you think you are, telling people to be healthy when you are enjoying this delicious latte?”

In fact, today on my personal Facebook page, I used the word “weakness” out of habit.   I stated that my “weakness” is pumpkin spice lattes.  So now you can guess what led me to write this blog post.  I started thinking about the word “weakness”.  What does it imply?  That I have no self-control, right? I realize now how shaming that word is.

 Actually, I DID have control.  I made a CHOICE to pull up, and wait in a 10 minute line for a drink that contains sugar.

Many clients in this situation will tell me that they didn’t have enough “will power”, which is essentially implying that they were “weak” in that moment.

I want to totally debunk that notion.  No, we are not “weak” for craving sugary foods and we do not have a will power problem.  What we  have is a guilt and shame epidemic.

I recently came across THIS article and love what it says about will power.

“The problem with willpower is that it doesn’t give you a guide for change,” says Albert Bandura, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Stanford University. “You need to develop your own self-management skills.”

What happens when we try our hardest to say “no” to a certain food?  We restrict and our life becomes a theme of constant lack.  Sure, it may be fulfilling in other ways, and we don’t “need” sweet foods to enjoy our life.  However, I think that restriction has a ripple effect.  If we feel restricted in one area, we will either make up for it by becoming obsessed with something else, or we will go the opposite direction and try to control everything else in our life as well.

After awhile, we can no longer use will power and we may end up binging or over eating on the very food that we had craved.  Even when I had anorexia, I could no longer sustain that and quickly turned to bulimia after I took a bite of a brownie.

If we occasionally give ourselves permission to enjoy that pumpkin spice latte…. or that cookie… whatever it may be…. we will actually be telling our brain that we are not in starvation mode which ultimately leads to greater digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s NOT okay to have will power.

1.  If we continually say no, eventually we will say yes and that may lead to a binge. Relying on will power alone doesn’t last.

2.  It teaches us that we should always be restricting food, which leads to a punishment mentality.

3.  You may inadvertently be depriving yourself of certain nutrients that you need.

4. It takes the enjoyment out of the eating experience!

5. If you  become too obsessed with will power, it may actually lead to a condition called “orthoexia” which is an extreme obsession with nutrients and healthy eating.

Now, this does NOT mean that I am giving you permission to continually eat junk food all day, every day.  Moderation is key, and of course we need to strive to eat natural, whole foods.  But when we take the focus off of will power, and onto the power of CHOICE, we end up enjoying our food a whole heck of a lot more, which is nothing to be ashamed of AT ALL.

Now, back to my delicious latte. 🙂

To enjoying our food,

Kellie McGarry

Certified Holistic Health Coach


4 Reasons Behind Cravings

Recently, as part of my monthly Ladies Healthy Happy Hour program, I spoke on Deconstructing our Cravings.

As I have mentioned in a past blog post on cravings, we ALL have cravings.  It’s very normal.  I would be concerned if you told me that you didn’t crave food at all.  Sadly,  we can try to artificially supress our cravings, but I don’t agree with doing that.  I think us women become conditioned to believe that all cravings lead to lack of will power, therefore we should ban them from our body, like it’s something that we can just say adios to.   We buy things all sorts of things that claim to knock out our craving.  However, cravings are like the warning light of a car.  We are not sure what exactly is wrong with the car, but thankfully, we know that there is something that we need to get resolved.   We need to figure out how solve the problem instead of resisting the messages that our body is telling us.  I REALLY believe that listening to our intuition is where it’s at and that we shouldn’t be afraid to do a quick mental check-in and step inside ourselves to try to figure out what it is that we really need.

There are 4 main reasons for cravings:

1. We are imbalanced nutritionally.

2. We are imbalanced emotionally.

3.  We are allergic to the food that we crave.

4. We associate that food with a special memory.

The 4 main foods that we crave are SUGAR, DAIRY, SALT and CHOCOLATE.

As I mentioned in this blog about salt cravings, SALT, is my major craving, so today I will write again about this one. If you already read the other post, consider this one a reminder!  I always joke about my “pretzel gene” as we have always had them in the house growing up and they have become my go-to snack.

The  4 reasons behind salt cravings are:

salt packet

1. You could be mineral deficient

2. You could crave the crunch because you are stressed or angry. (ever have a fight with your spouse and find yourself in the middle of a chip bag?)

3. You could be dehydrated

4. Rarely, you could have adrenal fatigue, as salt cravings is one of the symptoms

4 Tips on managing salt cravings:

1 Drink a big glass of water

2. Eat crunchy vegetables with dip such as hummus

3. Put your chips on a plate and focus on the taste.

4. If stressed or angry, stop and take deep breaths or do something physical (a punching bag would be nice at times!)

Stay tuned for my next blog post on SUGAR cravings!

Now, I want to hear from YOU! What do you crave the most? Salt, Sugar, Dairy or Chocolate?

In peace,

Kellie McGarry

certified holistic health coach


Cravings: Good or Evil?

Cravings.  We all have them.  Some of us may be more prone to food cravings then others.  However, unless you lose your sense of smell or taste, you are always going to have them.

We can all relate to the pregnant woman who craves pickles and ice cream.  Okay- maybe that’s just in TV shows, but admit it– us women probably had some kind of craving during pregnancy.  For me, I craved hamburgers, pretzels and cheese.  Do you ever stop to think about exactly where cravings come from?

There are a few different reasons for cravings.

1.  We have become conditioned to craving a certain food, based on our child hood.  Say, whenever you were sick your mom made you chicken noodle soup, so now when you get sick,that is what you crave.  Or maybe you had cookies every day after school, and now you are wondering why you are eating sweets every afternoon.  Maybe you grew up eating pretzels all the time like me.  So my pretzel craving is more out of habit.

2.  There is an emotional component. We crave creamy foods when we are depressed. Ice cream is a typical go-to comfort food.  Carbohydrates (especially baked goods) also aide us in depression, as eating it actually increases our feel good hormone, serotonin.   Craving crunchy, salty foods may mean we have some anger to deal with. The act of crunching is our subconscious way of soothing our anger.

3. There is a physical reason.  Did you know that a major salt craving could be due to lack of mineral, specifically magnesium?  If salt is your weakness, try taking a magnesium supplement and see what happens.  Craving sweets or carbs could be due to a lack of serotonin.  (the feel good hormone I mentioned)

Now that you know that there are real reasons for cravings, how would you feel if somebody told you that your cravings are bad?  Being made to feel less-than for having a craving is like telling someone that they are a bad person for breathing.  Cravings are as natural as breathing.

So what do we do?  We fall into the trap of thinking that we need to suppress our appetite with pills.  We think if only I didn’t crave a certain food in the first place, my life would be wonderful.  Sure, maybe losing your appetite for a certain food will help you to not eat as much and even lose weight, but what happens when your favorite tool gets taken away?

I am all for trying things that don’t seem like punishment.  I admit to have not tried this but some people swear by a tongue cleaner.  They are not just for dental purposes– they can actually help with cravings by removing some of the left over food from before.  However, what if your cravings are due to a mineral deficiency?  You are not getting to the root of the problem.

Look, I get it.  I have both starved myself, and binged on food.  My craving has always been for chips and pretzels.  However, I have learned to stop and ask myself before hand if it’s something I really need.  If I feel that it’s okay to eat at the time, I am mindful of my food and I put it on a plate and eat it slowly. I savor every bite so that i feel satisfied when I am done eating.  I enjoy the food because pretzels are not evil.  (maybe not a health food, but I practice the 80/20 rule… strive for mostly “clean” foods)

The mind is a powerful thing and I feel that before we try to suppress our cravings, we need to learn tools for handling them, as well as figure out if there is a deeper reason, weather it be physical or emotional.

By the way, I focus a lot on Mindful Eating with my clients, and this is a lot of what we talk about.   I am so excited to have my friend from Your Photo Solutions  helping me make a “Mindful Eating Journal” for YOU…. stay tuned for more details! 🙂

Kellie McGarry
Certified Health Coach

Preventing Weight Gain This Holiday…. with a slice of pie?

Are you ready for the Holidays? 
I’m sure you are experiencing mixed emotions.  Excitement. Dread. Child-like wonder. STRESS! Worried about gaining weight!

Is this you? Studies show that it’s not uncommon to gain an average of 7 pounds during the  holidays.

If you dread gaining those holiday pounds, then read on.

First, realize that being healthy and losing weight (or maintaining your weight) is not about deprivation.  We don’t need to go on some silly fad diet or even drink a special shake.  We can enjoy REAL food… and even desserts on occasion.

The key is being mindful of the food on our plate, how much we are eating and how we are feeling at the moment.  Check in with your hunger levels.  Do you really want that second helping of pie or are you just mindlessly reaching for it?

If you do decide to enjoy a slice of pie or some other kind of dessert, then really savor it and do not feel guilty!  It’s normal to enjoy dessert!

If you do feel guilty– do NOT fast the next day– that is a recipe for disaster as you could end up binging out of hunger.  Just eat lighter meals, but make sure you are eating enough.

Now, this advice is not a free pass to just eat whatever you want whenever you want. Respect yourself and your body enough to listen to your cravings, to understand WHY you are craving something, and then really own your choice.  Will you decide to eat a small bite of dessert, or will you choose to replace your craving with something else?

These are just a few tips from my recent Webinar: “Happy HEALTHY Holidays: Indulge this season without guilt, stress or shame!” If this intrigues you, then read on for the link to my recorded Webinar.

I wanted to open up the recording to anyone who is interested.  However, please note that the free recipes that I mention, as well as the private FB group are ONLY  available for those who already registered for the Webinar.

Here is the URL: http://www.anymeeting.com/healthcoachkell/EC54D988824F

Please let me know what you think!

Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! 

With Gratitude,


Crunching Away Our Stress!

So many health experts like to focus on sugar cravings.  I even have an ebook-let on how to prevent sugar binges (see here).  However, what about the person who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth?  What about the busy, stressed out woman who craves pretzels and salty potato chips?

For me, I tend to crave sweet foods AND salty foods… yet, when am super stressed or hormonal… what do I turn to?  SALT!!  The more salt the better. 🙂  I think I was born loving pretzels.  In the past, it was not uncommon for me to eat up all those little salt crystals at the bottom of the pretzel bag.

Just as there are many different personalities, there are different types of cravings as well.

Why do some people crave salty foods?

Here are some possible reasons:

  • You have been conditioned from birth.  Simple as that.  You know the saying “you are what you eat?”  Well, there is also some truth to the saying “you are what your mother ate during pregnancy.”  If she ate lots of salty foods chances are, you have a high tendency to crave those kinds of foods as well.
  • You are lacking in minerals.  A major salt craving could mean your body is lacking minerals such as magnesium, potassium and zinc.  If that is  the case, try adding more leafy greens to your diet such as spinach and kale.
  • It could be more than just the salt.  Most salty foods are also crunchy foods.  When we crave crunchy foods it could stem from anger and stress.  Crunching on foods is our subconscious way to let out our anger.
What should you do the next time you are tempted to eat a whole bag of chips?  
1. Drink water
2. Ask yourself if you are really hungry or just eating out of stress
3.  If you really need to eat something salty, then at least put the food on a plate.  Being mindful of our portions may keep us from over eating.
Do you crave salt? Let me know your experiences here in the comments below!

Is Craving Carbs A Good Thing?

Today is a nice, cloudy day in Phoenix- I’m lovin’ it!!

Okay- it is time for the NEXT  question!!

Gail, from Phoenix asks:

 “When I am extra tired during the day, I want to eat carbs like pasta and sometimes I feel better. Am I confusing being tired with being hungry or listening to my body that I may need carbs?”


That is an excellent question! 

Most people crave carbs for one of two reasons: 1. They are tired or 2. They are depressed. 
First let me explain why it is normal to crave carbs when we are tired.  All carbs turn into glucose in the body, just like a candy bar.  Carbs can be considered low-glycemic or high glycemic. Any carbohydrate that is made from white, refined flour is considered high glycemic. That means that the glucose (sugar) from the carb is processed very quickly in the body. So one reason people may get into the habit of craving carbs is because they are tired and in need of that “sugar rush”. However, what happens after that?  Normally the blood sugar drops and the person is tired again.  
If the carb makes you feel better, then i would guess that either it is because you were temporarily in need of glucose, or because your body is needing serotonin. 
Serotonin is considered the “feel-good” hormone and is produced when one eats carbs.  Many people who are depressed are naturally low in serotonin.  A person does not have to labeled as “depressed” to be considered low in this hormone. However, it is normally the go-to food of choice when a person is in need of comfort food.
It sounds like you are mainly craving it because you really are  tired and in need of some extra energy.  Craving pasta is totally normal.  However, I would encourage you to replace  your pasta with either some kind of whole grain such as quinoa (which is low glycemic meaning there is no sugar rush and crash) or a natural pick me up such as a banana or raw almonds.  
If you do find you are eating when you aren’t hungry, try a different kind of pick me up, such as putting on some upbeat music, or calling a friend.

Take care!



How to stop sweet cravings

Time for my next question!

The “Best” Way To Stop Sweet Cravings

Lisa from CA writes:

“What is the best and healthiest thing to stop the sweet cravings?”


Great question!  We all deal with cravings. It’s only natural.  Some crave salty foods, some crave sweet foods and some even crave more bitter tasting foods.

I think sweet cravings are the most common craving as we are all born with a sweet tooth.  We become accustomed to sweet things from the time we drink our mother’s milk.  The truth is, there is nothing wrong with having cravings.  However, depending on how that craving effects your life, there may be some deeper areas we need to explore and discuss how we can handle those cravings when they arise.  Some people may crave sweet foods and be fine with just one cookie, or they may even crave sweet foods, yet be able to resist the craving and eat a piece of fruit instead.  Most people who deal with sweet cravings, find that they are addicted to sugar, and this is where the cravings may become a problem. The sugary foods may start to effect how they feel. They may be dealing with fatigue, headaches or weight gain.

The truth is, there really is no one answer to this, because what works for one person may not work for another.  I will say though, that if you are serious about eliminating sugar from your diet (aside from natural sugars in fruit), and are up for a challenge, I would encourage you to eliminate sugar for 2 whole weeks.  This does not include foods that naturally contain sugar such as milk and fruit- only added sugars, especially any food made with white, refined carbohydrates.  If you are seriously addicted, you may experience some withdrawl symptoms, but after awhile it gets pretty easy.  Most importantly, you will notice how much different you feel and that is the main reason for doing this.  In fact, one of my clients just got done with a two week no-sugar challenge and she did great! She really noticed a big difference and after awhile, she didn’t really crave it.

So if you are willing to go this route, simply don’t buy anything with added sugar. Out of sight, out of mind.

If you would rather explore the deeper reasons behind your sugar cravings, then instead of eliminating it, I would suggest starting a Food/Mood Journal.  My clients have done this with great success.  There is usually an emotional component behind sugar cravings, such as depression, anxiety or loneliness. So a journal helps you really get in touch with why you are craving certain foods and helps you become more aware  the next time you are dealing with that craving.  All you have to do is jot down the foods you eat during the day, make notice what you are craving, and then your mood at the time.  This should give you some good insight.  At that point, you can try to replace those cravings with something else such as taking a walk or calling a friend.

Some other practical tips to ward off a sugar binge would be:

1.  Drink water.   Your body could be mistaking hunger for thirst.
2. Crowd out your diet with whole foods such as green leafy veggies and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.
3. Use a tongue cleaner.  I am not kidding.  It’s not just for bad breath! As it scrapes off the bacteria, it also removes any left over taste.  Some people crave foods because of what they ate recently, so they end up binging based on the foods they had remembered eating.  You can find tongue cleaners at major stores such as Walmart or Walgreens.

So, as you can see, there really is no “best” way….however, eliminating sugar completely can help train your palate to where you no longer crave it.  Also, realize that cravings are normal and just part of being human.  It’s how you handle the cravings that really make the difference.

In Health,

Sign up for your FREE Fit And Fabulous Breakthrough Session today!  Email Kellie at healthcoachkellie@gmail.com