I live in Asheville, NC with my husband, Kirk, kids Will and Lidia, and dog, Weezy. I have a passion for eating, cooking, and living clean. I love finding new ways to make the healthiest foods approachable and delicious. My approach to living my best life involves not only diet, but many types of exercise, a clean environment (non-toxic personal care and household products), goal setting, visualization, and meditation.
I found my passion for cooking early in life, and attended The New England Culinary Institute of Vermont. I have worked in restaurants, café’s, grocery stores, farmer’s market’s, and I have extensive catering experience, including opening and co-owning Sugarsnap, LLC.
I am currently working as a personal chef, working with clients who have diet-specific needs and goals. I also offer classes, workshops, and catering for retreats at the OM Sanctuary in Asheville, and Bend of Ivy Lodge in Marshall, NC.
About My Journey to Living Well
My husband and I have been athletes since a young age, and we are both chefs. We always thought we had the inside track when it came to nutrition, eating healthy, and losing weight. Having studied food for at least half our lives, and having logged hundreds of miles running, biking, and skiing, (including marathons, ultra-marathons, and 50 plus mile mountain bike races); we found ourselves overweight and unhappy about it.
I had given birth to two beautiful children, and had been trying to shave off that extra 20 pounds I had gained. The problem was that my youngest child was five years old, and I was still toting around that extra 20. My husband had battled his weight for years, and had ballooned to 215 lbs.
We decided it was time to change. The puzzling part was that we did have very healthy diets. We never ate processed foods or sugar, we ate limited amounts of meat and dairy, and never ate cream-based or fried foods. Kirk decided that we should start with eating 1500 calories/day. We kept daily food journals, keeping track of every calorie. We quickly realized what the problem was. We had been eating too much, and drinking alcohol almost every night – even though it was just one glass. In the beginning, it took a good amount of schooling. We were constantly checking calorie counting websites, calculating and totaling.
We soon got into a pattern and were able to set up some rules. My basic template was three meals a day at 300 calories and two snacks at 200 calories. Three meals at 300 = 900. Two 200 snacks = 400. That adds up to 1300 calories/day (which leaves me a bit of wiggle room).
Breakfast: Between 6 and 8 am = 300-350 calories
Snack: Between 10 am and 12 pm = 150-200 calories
Lunch: Between 1:30 and 3 pm = 300-400 calories
Snack: Between 3:30 and 5:30 pm = 150-200 calories
Dinner: Between 6:30 and 8:30 pm = 350-500 calories
Stay within your range of calories, depending on how much you weigh and how much activity you do. I weigh 135 lbs. If I sit on the couch all day and do nothing, I shoot for about 1300 calories. If I exercise 1 hour I shoot for around 1500. If I exercise for 2 hours I shoot for around 1600-1800 calories. Taylor your plan to your needs and how you are feeling.
Rule #1 – Prepare and plan your meals ahead of time. If you don’t plan, you will make bad choices. Hungry people don’t think straight. If you already know what you are going to eat, and have it there, you will succeed.
Rule #2 – Measure or weigh your portions.
Rule #3 – Don’t miss your window (don’t go too far past the time you are supposed to eat )
Rule #4 – Do not skip meals or snacks. Again, this will throw off your whole day. I realize we have busy schedules. Some days I have to swap meals and snacks around, but I always try and eat when it is time.
Rule #5 – Limit alcohol to once or twice a week.
Rule #6 – Exercise at least one hour a day, five or six days a week.
Rule #7 – Indulge Once a Week – Treat Yourself!
I admit. In the beginning, it was really hard. I felt like I was starving. Once we got the hang of it, however, we were eating better than ever. We were choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables simply because we could eat more of them. I would gladly trade three cups of broccoli for one measly ounce of cheese. I lost that 20 pounds in two and a half months. Kirk is weighing in at 157! That’s 55 pounds. We are both more fit than we ever have been in our lives.
Maintaining the weight loss has been pretty easy. We have gotten into such a habit of eating a certain way that it has become second nature. We both feel great. The best part is that if we stay disciplined during the week, we treat ourselves to a night of indulgence. One night a week we eat and drink whatever we want.
The indulgence meals are so much fun. Before we got on the program, we were very conservative in what we ate. We would never dream of eating foie gras or even a cheeseburger unless we were on on vacation or treating ourselves to a birthday dinner. Now we can eat like that every week. Being a chef, it is great fun to give yourself a night to cook and eat whatever you want. We look forward to it all week, thinking about what we want to make. It has (along with our hot new bods) put quite a spark back into our marriage. We feel confident and proud.
This journey led me to discover “clean eating.” Clean eating is basically omitting any refined sugar, processed foods, or foods that contain additives and preservatives. The emphasis is on lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and complex carbs in small amounts. I still measure my food, but I don’t have to count calories so much. It gives me a bit of wiggle room, and I feel great. Counting calories got me to my goal, and clean eating helps me maintain and live well.