Health Raiser Spotlight: Emily

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 7 minutes

Most likely, you’re not a competitive eater. And you most certainly do not get paid to eat egregious amounts of food – at least not enough to make a living. What that means is you have no reason to overindulge. This doesn’t just apply to food, either. Our Health Raiser of the Week, Emily Miner, explains that living in moderation is a rather simple methodology. Anyone can adopt it, and everyone can benefit from this more balanced mindset.

Emily Promotes Health in Moderation
Find healthy fats and protein in Emily’s favorite nut butter.

 

What does health mean to you?

When we think of health, we often think to the physical self: eating well, moving often and resting well. But, emotional health (i.e. being happy) is also vitally important. To me, being happy is the practice of accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every moment, every day. We choose this. Remind yourself that lives are comprised of many moments, not defined by any one. When in doubt, keep going. Action trumps inaction – always.

In terms of physical health, so much can be prevented and gained through nutrition and exercise alone. But there’s a difference between living a life in which diet and exercise are a part, and one that is consumed by them. I am trying my best to create a life of the former, to stay positive — and transparent — through the struggles and teach my clients a thing or two along the way.

I aim to live, eat and train in a way that is consistently moderate, not perfect 365 days a year. Finding that balance takes both time and patience, but is so worth it. Moderation takes so much stress out of the equation.

What inspired you to start living a healthy life?

Having been raised in a home where real, whole foods and family dinners were the norm, kid meals were no different than adult meals. My family didn’t practice perfection. The focus was on consistently moderate nutrition and physical activity in some way, shape or form. I’ve always been health-minded. My passions for fitness, nutrition and healthy living led me first to Wake Forest University, where I earned a B.S. in Health & Exercise Science, and now to the University of Bridgeport, where I am a M.S. Human Nutrition candidate.

All that said, I think I really “got healthy” when I started lifting weights after undergrad. I had been a cardio queen with a 12+ year stint as a vegetarian (aka “carbatarian”- hellllo pretzels!) under my belt. After college, my nutrition did a 180 for the better. Back when I considered myself a runner, I subsisted on not much besides fruit, vegetables, dry cereal, PB & J, fish (occasionally) and other pseudo-proteins. Despite having learned in the classroom what I should be doing, I was stubborn and liked to think that I was the exception to the rule; that I didn’t need protein or weights. In time, I came to the realization that this was a way of living, eating and training that I couldn’t sustain. Shortly after I ventured into the world of weight training, my body began craving protein and healthy fats, to a certain extent, and so I chose to reintroduce sustainably-raised animal proteins back into my diet, among other things. #eatnourishthrive

Today, I feel stronger, physically and emotionally, happier and more confident than ever before and attribute much of that to these positive lifestyle changes. Was it scary? You bet. Did it take time and patience with both myself and the process? Yes and yes. The game changer? Adopting an action-oriented (vs. outcome-oriented) mindset. *Bottom line: Action begets more action, which leads to progress, which leads to success. It’s the only way to move forward.

My passion, education and experiences have inspired me to keep healthy people healthy, to teach sustainable nutrition and efficient exercise and that wellness extends far beyond the latter two realms. My mission is to help restore health in those who find themselves straying further and further from the wellness end of the illness-wellness continuum. I have spent the last three years building a fitness, nutrition and lifestyle coaching business in the Winston-Salem, NC-area and online at emilyminer.com and facebook.com/emilyminerfitness.

What are three things you do to stay healthy?

1. Sweat every day. Be it an intense sweat sesh, like CrossFit, or something more restorative in nature such as yoga, I have to do something. If you’re an exercise newbie, don’t worry about the best kind of exercise (big rocks first, small rocks later). Instead, find what you love and do that. If you do what you love, you’ll be able to sustain it. If you don’t love anything, do the easiest thing: leisure walk. Walking is the do-anywhere workout that requires no equipment, carries huge benefits and should be considered not just exercise, but a necessity.

2. Eat a giant chopped salad or power greens shake, daily. Worst-case scenario at least I’ve gotten in one hefty serving of fibrous vegetables, loaded with fiber and water, without even really having to think about it. If I get more in, great. If not, no big deal.

3. Aim for protein at every meal. A blood sugar stabilizer, protein satisfies more quickly and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, consequently setting you up to have the mental energy to make *better* food choices as you go through your day. Comprised of amino acids, protein is the building block for muscle and spares lean muscle, so that the body burns fat for energy. It, too, can be used by the body for energy. The least likely of the macronutrients, when consumed in excess, to go toward fat storage, protein can help speed the metabolism. Its slow digestion helps to control cravings and balance blood sugar, preventing insulin spikes that can lead to fat storage.

What is one motivational quote that you live by?

I always say, “You can never win if you think you’re losing.” MINDSET is everything! Practice shifting your focus from what is not to what could be. It makes it so much less stressful to think about things this way. How we perceive things is a choice. Don’t forget: you can always control your attitude and effort.

Another one of my favorite quotes that my clients hear me say time and again: “Every step in your journey, forward, backward or lateral is still just a step. Accept, acknowledge and keep stepping.”

If you were stranded on a desert island, what Vitacost product could you not live without?

This is a tough one! I love Vitacost (and snacks)! Probably a protein bar of some sort. Or NuttZo Seven Nut & Seed Butter Crunchy Style. Or jerky. Or Wonderfully Raw Coco-Roons. So that was four – oops!

What advice do you have for someone who is trying to live healthier?

They say that if you have more than three priorities, you have none at all. We can do everything, but not everything all at once.

Thus, focus on the four big rocks, those things that will tip the scale for you the most (literally and/or figuratively). These include, in no particular order, nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep.

*EXAMPLE: Big rock = adequate protein. Small rock = sodium content in a meal.

Then, pick ONE thing (get specific!) and do nothing but that. Chances are, if you focus your time, energy and effort (which, are all finite) on just one thing, you’ll be able to do it and do it well. Only once that one change is easy, effortless and habitual do we move onto the next thing.

Why this approach? Before you know it, you’ll have created for yourself a collection of easy, effortless habits that constitute a lifestyle that is uniquely your own. That is, a way of living that you can sustain, for life. This is the “perfect” plan. If we’re living in a way that we cannot sustain over the long term, we cannot expect sustainable results to match.

If you want sustainable results, you’ve got to put in the work. That means putting on your detective hat a la Sherlock Holmes and figuring out what works best for YOU. There’s no way around it.

Is there a role model you look up to?

Different people serve different roles in my life, and there are a lot of people who inspire me to be better. Here’s the thing: motivation is external; inspiration comes from within. Someone else can want change for you in the worst way possible. They can show you, tell you and encourage you, yes, but at the end of the day, the only person who can change you is YOU. My purpose, my ‘why’ inspires me to keep going. I strive to live with intention every day and to create something bigger than myself that involves other people.