Normal Eating – The Dietitian’s Diet

These days, it seems like everyone wants to put a label on their eating. Vegan. Paleo. Gluten free. Clean. When people find out I’m a dietitian, I often get a lot of speculation about what kind of eater I am.

“You must be a healthy eater.”

“I bet your diet is perfect.”

Nope. I never quite know what to say, because being grilled about your eating habits is…uncomfortable.  But, if I had to be known for a certain eating label, I would just want to be a normal eater.

Unfortunately, in our world of weight stigma, a thin ideal, and diet culture; normal eating has become abnormal. It’s hard to know what’s “normal” anymore because most people engage in disordered eating behaviors of some form. Think about the 10 people you last spoke with today and how many of them are trying to manage their weight at some level… illustrates my point quite nicely, doesn’t it?

Dieting and disordered eating have become normal eating. Both are so prevalent, that we often label concerning eating behaviors as normal.

Skipping meals to save up for a big dinner. Normal.

Avoiding entire food groups. Normal.

Spending an hour each day tracking calorie intake. Normal.

That’s not normal. It may be common but it’s not normal. So, what’s the normal eating I strive for?

Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It’s being able to choose the food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it – not just stop eating because you think you should.

Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food Ellyn Satter’s, Registered Dietitian

Normal eating may be eating something sweet every day. It may be eating a few sweet foods in a day. Or maybe for you, normal eating is eating sweets a couple times a week. Normal eating may mean eating a brownie (or two!) today, or leaving them on the plate because you know it’ll be available tomorrow.

Normal eating means eating out of hunger most of the time, but not always.

Normal eating is occasionally drowning your sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or mindlessly eating leftover stale donuts a coworker brought into work. You may feel a hint of guilt, but rather than saying “to hell with it,” you are able to look at the situation objectively and brainstorm a better way of dealing with the trigger in the future. Because there will always be stressful days and coworkers who like to bring in donuts.

Normal eating is nourishing yourself regularly throughout the day. Perhaps it’s with three meals a day, or maybe for you it’s usually 5 smaller meals. There may be busy days when you find you’ve gone too long without eating and feel ravenously hungry. There may be days where you just don’t have much of an appetite, and miss meals or snacks. There may be days where you feel very hungry and eat more meals and snacks than usual. Some days you may miss the mark, but for the most part, you’re giving your body what it needs.

Normal eating means adapting to what food is available in the situation. Maybe that means eating at a restaurant you don’t like because that’s where your friends want to go. Maybe that means ordering takeout because you don’t have time to cook. Maybe that means throwing a ton of random snack foods together to make a meal and even though it isn’t super satisfying, you know you have plenty of opportunity for tasty meals in the future.

Normal eating means food is part of life, but it isn’t all of life. Food may, or may not be an interest. But normal eating leaves room for other interests too.

Normal eating means making decisions based on what you want and need in the moment, and what’s available to you. In order to have options available, they may plan or prep, but the goal of planning/prepping is to have options, not to subtract options.

Normal eating is flexible.

Normal may value nutrition – or not! There’s no rule that you have to eat healthy.

Normal eating knows that nutrition is one form of self care, and not one everyone is morally obligated to engage in.

If you zoom out on normal eating, you’ll see lots of nutritious foods – and plenty of fun foods. Some days may have a higher ratio of nutritious foods. Other days you might just eat cheese sticks, french fries and a fried shrimp po’boy.

But it’s okay because neither is good or bad it’s just what felt good and right at that time. Normal eating balances out “mistakes” in eating over time, so they aren’t really mistakes.

Mostly, normal eating is knowing food isn’t your enemy.

Normal eaters know food is there to nourish your body, and your soul.

Normal eating means food is your friend, an ally who is there to support you in living a good life.

If this doesn’t sound normal to you or  your ready to not let food, dieting, and weight management control your life and consume your time, reach out, I’m happy to help you find your own version of normal eating.


Vanessa Lennick
Registered Dietitian

(Adapted from View link for full copyright statement)

25 Ways to Take Care of You

25 Ways to Take Care of You

1. Go for a walk
2. Write down what you are grateful for once/wk or everyday.
3. Write a letter of forgiveness.
4. Make a vision board.
5. Create a morning routine that works for YOU.
6. Stretch every day!
7. Make a list of your strengths.
8. Perform a random act of kindness.
9. Watch your favorite movie.
10. Try a new recipe.
11. Treat yourself to a “spa day” – whether that is at home or going to a spa!
12. Spend time with someone who lifts you up.
13. Get a good nights sleep. (Set aside that to-do list!)
14. Write a “thank you” message to someone who has impacted your life.
15. Give someone a compliment or just smile at a stranger!
16. Find your way of meditating.
17. Stop feeling stressed by x, y, and z. Will it really matter in 2 weeks or 2 years?
18. Change your perspective on your self doubts. What you are self-conscious about may be something other people admire in you.
19. Get your water in for the day! (Shoot for 64oz)
20. Pick a day, and smile every time you look in the mirror. Don’t let yourself think negative thoughts – for just that day! Think “you are beautiful and enough”.
21. If you like to break a sweat, make sure it is something you LIKE to do. If you don’t have anything you like to do, try something new! Working out shouldn’t feel (or be used as) punishment.
22. Set a limit for how much time you spend on your phone and/or social media. (Bonus: Don’t follow people that make you feel bad. Search accounts that make you smile!)
23. Take 10 deep breaths when you start to get upset, mad or frustrated.
24. Say “No” when you need to!
25. Eat some chocolate (or a favorite treat) and enjoy every second of it! And DON’T regret it.

Kim’s Full Body Workout

Full Body Workout
Kim Feiring, Certified Personal Trainer

Complete 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps using a weight that will challenge in the last few reps.

Bicep Extensions

  • Arms at 90 degrees, palms facing up
  • Extend arms out in front of you (don’t lock out elbows)
  • Bring arms back to 90 degrees, starting position

Single Arm Bent Over Rows

  • Bent Over Position or One hand/one knee on bench
  • Pull weight up to chest, driving elbow up

Back Extensions

  • Use either stability ball or extension bench
  • Lean over onto either the ball or bench, with feet planted. Should hit about hip level
  • Use lower back and engage core to pull yourself up
  • Slowly lower yourself and return to starting

Leg Extension Machine

  • Set machine, kick legs out in front of you

Walking Lunges

  • Hold light dumbbells
  • Step one foot forward and drop into lunge, step back foot up to meet the front foot
  • Step forward with the other foot and repeat

Hip Bridges

  • Lay on back with knees bent, feet flat on floor
  • Push through heels and lift and squeeze butt

Single Arm Cable Press

  • Start with handle on cables at about chest height
  • Face away from the machine, keep hand/arm close to body
  • Press straight out, not locking out elbow

Triceps Extensions

  • Hold dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands overhead
  • Lower the weight behind you, keeping core tight
  • Push/press weight using triceps straight back overhead

Band Upright Rows

  • Stand on band with both feet and cross band in front to make “x”
  • Alternate sides, pulling handle up to chest, leading with elbow

Crossover Crunches on BOSU

  • Lay on bosu with lower back toward front of bosu, hands behind head
  • Bring opposite elbow toward opposite knee
  • Alternate sides

Plank with feet on BOSU

  • Choose either high plank (hands) or plank (elbows)
  • Put balls of feet on top/center of bosu
  • Hold plank keeping butt in line with ankles and shoulders

Toe Touches

  • Lay on back with legs straight in air
  • Reach both hands as high toward your feet as you can
  • Return to start


A Healthier Holiday Menu

A Healthier Holiday

Vanessa Lennick, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Licensed & Registered Dietitian

A healthier holiday article from a Registered Dietitian and you’re probably expecting a lot of “eat this, not that” advice. Or “here’s how to make your favorites healthier” type recipes… am I right?! Here’s the reality, Thanksgiving and Christmas are only a few days out of the year and instead of over-restricting, enjoy your favorite foods. Let’s be honest, mashed cauliflower does not taste as good as my mom’s mashed potatoes!

As a Registered Dietitian, if I could make-over your holiday meals it would be to simply add more vegetables. Don’t complicate it. Look for simple ways to add more vegetables. You will add quality to your meals that will actually fuel your body and even keep you from overeating. (It’s hard to overeat on broccoli!) Here are three recipes to do just that.


Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

This Roasted Beet & Carrot Salad is not only pretty to look at, it’s also bursting with flavour and nutrients! The perfect salad for entertaining during the holidays! Serves: 4


  • A can of sliced beets or 2 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, quartered and sliced a ¼ inch thick
  • Bag of fresh pre cut carrot chips or 2 large carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • ¼ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • Package of Pre Cut and clean kale or 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed and cut into smaller pieces)
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • Optional Add Ins:
  • 4 oz. goats cheese


  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine beets, carrots, 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and salt and pepper. Add carrots and beets to a baking sheet and roast in oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and toss the shallots and pumpkin seeds with the beets and carrots on the baking sheet. Roast for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.
  3. Meanwhile, place the chopped kale in the same bowl where the beets and carrots were. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and massage into kale leaves with your hands until the leaves are bright green and tender, about 2-5 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing.
  5. Remove vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Add vegetable mixture to the bowl with the kale and toss with the dressing until well combined. Add the dried cranberries. Allow salad to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Spinach Cheese Balls


  • 1 frozen package of spinach (10 oz), thawed and thoroughly drained
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (may need more depending on moistness of spinach)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Marinara sauce for dipping


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.  (Don’t use wax paper 😉 that’s what I did accidently and the fire alarms were blasting)
  2. Mix all ingredients (except marinara dipping sauce) in a medium bowl. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Herbed Ricotta and Walnut Appetizer


  • 1 large sweet potatoes sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon Grapeseed or olive oil
  • Ground cinnamon

Herbed Ricotta:

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1-½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt or to taste

For Serving:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts roasted pre-chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • honey


  1. Add all of the ingredients for the herbed ricotta to a small bowl and stir well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the sweet potato slices to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with grapeseed or olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt and ground cinnamon over rounds. Use your hands to rub the oil and seasoning on both sides of the sweet potato rounds. Arrange rounds on a large baking sheet (or two if necessary). Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the rounds, then bake for another 17 to 20 minutes, or until rounds are cooked through and crispy on the edges
  3. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. 10 minutes before the potato rounds are finished cooking, place the walnuts in the oven to roast.
  4. Remove sweet potato rounds and walnuts from the oven. Place walnuts on a cutting board and chop.
  5. Place oven on high broil setting and move the oven wrack second to the top shelf. Place a dollop of herbed ricotta on each sweet potato round and place in the oven for 2 minutes, just until ricotta is melty and warm.
  6. Add chopped walnuts and dried cranberries to the rounds. Drizzle with honey and serve!

Make Time Before You’re Forced to Find Time

Coaching Food for Thought

Having now seen hundreds of people walk through our doors with the goal of getting healthier, losing weight, getting stronger, feeling better, having more energy (the list goes on and on), I can safely state this with 100% confidence: if you don’t MAKE the time for your health now, you will be forced to FIND the time later in life.

It’s easy to skip the yoga class or run you planned on taking when there’s work to be done or a house to be cleaned.

It’s easy to skip planning and prepping healthy meals for your family and hit up the drive night after night instead.

It’s easy to stay up late watching Netflix instead of prioritizing bedtime and hitting the hay.

But, here’s the rub – if you keep taking the easy way(s) out and don’t MAKE the time for your health NOW, I can confidently say you will, at some point, be FORCED to FIND the time down the road.

Don’t let a health scare or diagnosis be the wake-up call you need. Carve out the time you need now to start making deposits into your future healthy self today – the investment is worth it!

Wellness Coaching will help – together we will determine what the priorities are and why and then HOW you will carve out the time needed to make it happen.

Call 751-2974 or email me at email me to schedule a free coaching consult.

Lindsey Peterson
Certified Wellness Coach
Proximal50 Life Center

3 Tips for a Healthy School Year

It’s back-to-school time! Here are some tips from Callie, P50’s Registered Nurse, for a healthy school year!

Develop a Sleep Routine
Getting enough sleep is critical for a child to be successful in school. Children who do not get enough sleep have difficulty concentrating and learning as well as they can.

  • Set a consistent bedtime for your child and stick with it every night. Having a bedtime routine that is consistent will help your child settle down and fall asleep. Components of a calming pre-bedtime routine may involve a bath/shower, reading with them, and tucking them in and saying good-night to them.
  • Have your child turn off electronic devices well before bedtime.
  • Try to have the home as quiet and calm as possible when younger children are trying to fall asleep.

Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college; as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. Here are your target for optimal amount of sleep:

  • Younger children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night
  • Elementary kids need 9-12 hours of sleep per night
  • Teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep per night
  • Parents need 7-8 hours of sleep per night – you being rested is important too!


Wash Hands, Sing a Song

According to Mayo Clinic, the most effective way to avoid spreading or catching germs is hand washing.

To encourage kids and make sure they’ve spent enough time on this healthful task, ask them to sing the alphabet song or “Happy Birthday to You” from start to finish as they wash the fronts and backs of their hands and in-between fingers.

Simple soap and water is best, but hand sanitizers will do when soap and water aren’t available.

Remind your children to always cough or sneeze into the crooks of their elbows or into their sleeves.


Food is Fuel
Teach kids that fuel for playing and learning comes from the food they eat.

Fruits, vegetables, protein, complex carbohydrates are all important to growing bodies and expanding minds. Start with a healthy breakfast – yogurt & fruit , oatmeal. Keep the fridge stocked with fruits, vegetables, string cheese for after-school snacks.

We know dinner can be chaotic, but it can also be a great time to disconnect so you can reconnect as a family.

Callie Stein
Registered Nurse
Proximal50 Life Center

What IS a “Wellness Coach”, anyway?

What IS a “Wellness Coach,” anyway?

If you’ve been following Proximal50 for any duration of time, you likely know that what part of what sets us apart from any other “gym” is our list of professional services. Our list includes Physical Therapists, a Registered Nurse, a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, certified personal trainers, a licensed massage therapist…and a Wellcoaches(r) Certified Health and Wellness Coach (hereinafter referred to as “wellness coach”). What exactly IS that and how can she help you? 

Our clients come to us in search of better health – wanting to start an exercise program, wanting to make better food choices, wanting to treat chronic pain, wanting to better manage chronic illness, and overall just wanting to FEEL BETTER. The tricky thing is that it’s not necessarily that people don’t want to be healthy or innately know more or less what to do. Often they do know, but then will try the latest diet or intense exercise strategy as a quick fix. The problem is that these solutions don’t stick and people end up feeling frustrated, defeated, and alone.

You likely know our Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist is going to help you with what you eat. Our massage therapist is going to massage your muscles. Our personal trainers are going to take you through a workout. What does a wellness coach do? A wellness coach guides clients through the process of creating a vision for their health and well-being. A wellness coach helps a client develop a healthy mindset and helps with them work on actually implementing healthy habits (instead of just thinking about them). A wellness coach works to encourage and empower the client every step of the way, always from a judgement-free zone, to reach their personalized goals.

Simply put, our wellness coach has a different tool belt than our other professionals, she is specially trained to help clients CONSTRUCT a plan to reach their goals, equipped to dredge up emotion to make clients feel CONNECTED to their goals, and help BUILD the motivation to get them there. Coaching is about having an accountability partner who will support and encourage even when you feel ready to quit (ESPECIALLY when you feel ready to quit).

Are you wondering if YOU could benefit from some wellness coaching? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have trouble sticking to health-related goals?
  • Do you struggle to keep a calm and positive mindset?
  • Are you always low on energy and motivation?
  • Do you struggle with work-life balance?
  • Do you find it difficult to prioritize your health?
  • Do you rarely let yourself relax?
  • Do you want to make healthy changes to your lifestyle but you’re not sure where to start?

If you answered yes to any of these questions and are READY to make some changes, wellness coaching would be a great option for you. Contact Lindsey to schedule a free consult today! 

Lindsey Peterson
Certified Wellness Coach

Take a Better Bite: Healthy Grain Bowls

Healthy Grain Bowl = Grain + Green + Protein + Produce + Enhancement 


Pain. The Good. The Bad. What’s the Difference?

There is a sort of spectrum when it comes to how people interrupt pain: there are those that do not tolerate discomfort of any kind and then there are those that don’t think they are going to see progress until they work themselves into an injury. There is a fine line between these two groups and it is that sweet spot that we find strength, flexibility and endurance to tolerate all of our desired activities.

When working on flexibility and strength, we must push past our current level of strength and flexibility which leads to muscles burning from fatigue or muscles straining because of an increased stretch. This will likely cause some muscle soreness the following day showing that your muscles were challenged in a way that will encourage them to build. It is important when working on an exercise program to differentiate these types of discomfort from true and harmful pain.

On the other side, if you are repeatedly performing activities that cause sharp, shooting or pinching pain, you are inevitably going to hurt that muscle/joint leading to restricted motion all together. Too often, we meet with new physical therapy patients to learn that they continue to perform the exercises that hurt them simply because they think that is normal. We cannot say it enough: PAIN IS NOT NORMAL. When it is more than just discomfort, when it comes back again and again, when it just doesn’t go away – that’s the harmful type of pain. The good news is, we can help. Not only can physical therapy relieve pain but it can be help avoid pain in the future!

Call 751-2974 to schedule a consult with a P50 Physical Therapist

3 Ways to Find TIME for Fitness

As a Certified Wellness Coach and Exercise Physiologist, one of the biggest barriers I commonly hear with starting or sticking with an exercise plan is TIME. We live in a fast-paced, busy world and it can be daunting to think about how exercise can or will fit in with all your other obligations. Luckily, there is a 3-step process you can go through to make regular exercise a part of your reality.

1. FIND the Time
The first step is to map out your regular routine on a weekly planner or calendar, ideally one that is broken down into thirty-minute blocks. Begin by filling in your regular obligations – work (including any breaks!), sleep, recurring appointments or meetings, etc. Once you’ve filled in all of your regular obligations, look for the empty chunks of time. Notice where you may have an extra thirty minutes or an hour and look at these spaces as opportunities for fitness. This is the first step of finding time for fitness.

[Note: this could and should be done on a weekly basis so you can set yourself up for success. If you have a busier than normal schedule one week, you may realize you might not have time to get to the gym, but you might be more inclined to take a 20 minute walk around the block (and lose the “guilt” for not going to the gym because it wasn’t part of your plan!) On the flip side, your next week might not be as busy and you have more time to get to the gym. It really is all about balance, even when it comes to our time!]

2. MAKE the Time
Next, examine where the gaps in your schedule are and how these might align with some of the activities you are interested in. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try Yoga, your work schedule is flexible and you notice your gym has a Wednesday Body Flow class over the lunch hour (hint, hint!). You might notice you have a gap every day when you get off work at 4:15 and before you pick the kids up at 5:30 that there’s a 30 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class you could hit up (pun intended) at 4:30pm (another hint hint!). Or, you might see you have time for a 15 minute walk with the kids a few nights per week. Once you have found some activities that interest you, and that would fit into your schedule, make the time for them.

3. TAKE the Time
Now that you’ve identified free time in your schedule and decided on the fun fitness activities you would like to fill it with, it’s time to commit to your plan. Treat each workout with the same priority that you would an appointment for something important. Just like you need to show up and be prepared for others, it is vital to show up for yourself. Do whatever you need to do in order to keep these important appointments with yourself, whether it is setting reminders on your phone, having a workout buddy, or a wellness coach or personal trainer to hold you accountable (hint hint!)

Remember to frequently reflect on WHY you’ve decided fitness should be a priority in your life (wellness coaching can help with that!) so that you are able to maintain your focus. Repeat this process as often as needed for continued success!


Lindsey Peterson is a Certified Wellness Coach at Proximal50 Life Center. Lindsey coaches her clients to create sustainable lifestyle changes and to help them improve their overall well‐being. She provides support for creating realistic goals and navigating the challenges & obstacles that often get in our way.