<div class="paragraph">Yes, I do pullups on pine trees.<br><br>And if you're wondering whether I made an embarrasement out of my poor husband taking this picture, rest assured, before our kids, he never stayed course on our hikes and was frequently pulling gorilla-like stunts on the trails. </div> <div><div class="wsite-image wsite-image-border-none " style="padding-top:10px;padding-bottom:10px;margin-left:0;margin-right:0;text-align:center"> <a> <img src="http://www.rachelmeyerfitness.com/uploads/1/7/3/9/1739499/dsc0109-3_1_orig.jpg" alt="Picture" style="width:auto;max-width:100%"></a> <div style="display:block;font-size:90%"></div> </div></div> <div class="paragraph"> <span style="font-weight:bold"></span><span>I used to <em>love </em>climbing trees as a kid. I would sit in them for hours and look out over the 300-acre farm I grew up on.</span><br><br><span>I'm truly just an 8-year-old living in an adult body. </span><br><br><span>The ability to have fun and remain a kid at heart has allowed me to embrace my health and life as an adventure. My passion is to be an inspiration to others so that they too can adopt a new perspective on health and life. </span><br><br><span>Which leads me to our topic for the day.</span><br><br><strong>How did I go from a junk-food addict to a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Personal Trainer? </strong><br><br>I believe the kid-at-heart plays heavily into my transition to healthy living being one of ease and joy rather than obligation.<br><br>For most of my life I consumed soda, doughnuts, and doritos on a daily basis. I was literally the worst eater I knew. <br><br>That all changed after a trip to Uganda, Africa in 2006 when I returned home with a parasitic infection that would overtake my life and health for the next four years. <br><br>It was through that experience I stumbled upon the world of healthy living of which I will share bits and piece of below. <br><br>Here are the 4 ways/reasons I turned health into a lifestyle after years of unhealthy habits:<br><br><strong>1. I first learned about real food and health at the farmer's market instead of through a textbook (that came in later). </strong><br><br>Many people still believe fat is bad for you and bland chicken is their ticket to weight loss.<br><br>As I began my journey to health exploring the isles of our local farmers' market, I discovered a world of foods unknown to me by grocery store experience.<br><br><span>The farmers' market is truly the antithesis of a grocery store experience. </span><br><br>Artisan goat cheese, no-knead sourdough bread, purple potatoes, raw milk, pasture-raised eggs still warm from the nest, arugula, grass-fed beef (what? beef doesn't give you heart disease?!) and yellow beets covered the tables of farmers with dirt-filled fingernails who grew the food themselves.<br><br>It quickly dawned on me how oblivious I had been to this "other world" of locally-grown food.<br><br>These weekly trips to the market taught me more about health than any textbook could possibly offer. There were no protein powders or weight loss supplements in sight. Nothing was fat-free or labeled with calories. I wasn't concerned about preservatives or pesticides being in my food.<br><br>It was real food grown by real farmers in my own city. And that's all that mattered. <br><br>It was regular shopping at my local market where I met the faces who grew my food and discovered the world of artisan foods that led me to getting certified through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC as a Holistic Health Coach.  <br><br>I attribute much of my knowledge and passion for a healthy lifestyle to my early beginnings at the City Market. <br><br>I know it is winter now, but def hit up your local farmer's market next summer! You won't regret the experience and knowledge you gain. <br><br><strong>2. I surrounded myself with like-minded people. </strong><br><br>During the time when I began to explore markets and learn about healthy living, I also began to surround myself with other people who loved living healthy. <br><br>No matter what you are trying to accomplish in life, if you surround yourself with people who have a similar mission, you are much more likely to succeed than if you were around unequally yoked company. <br><br>You <em>really</em> are like the 5 people you are around most, which means this full-time mom of a three and two year old is in <em>serious</em> trouble. <br><br><strong>3. Being adventurous in the kitchen with my farmer's market finds. </strong><br><br>Have you ever eaten a kohlrabi? I didn't think so. <br><br>I still distinctly remember stumbling upon this purple thing during one of my market trips that resembled an octopus. For some strange reason I thought it would be a good idea to buy it and figure out how to cook it.<br><br>I'm sure my husband was chuckling inside at the time. I know I was. <br><br>My adventurous food choice sent me running home for a date with Google to figure out if this kohlrabi thing was actually edible and how to prepare it to be palitable. <br><br>I ended up with a rather tasty dish and another wonderful experience of trying a new food and expanding my knowledge of the seasonal produce of Kansas City. <br><br>The kitchen is truly where health begins. I know it ain't easy getting adventurous in the kitchen if you have toddlers screaming at you, so keep it simple and I promise you'll still learn heaps. <br><br><strong>4. Not putting pressure on myself. </strong><br><br>The truth is, in a perfect world there is no calorie counting or need for personal trainers and health coaches. We don't measure our food or track it on My Fit Pal. We don't obsess over six-pack abs or spend hours at the gym to stay in shape.<br><br>In a perfect world health happens naturally. But, we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world where junk food is at our finger tips every waking moment, sitting is our primary form of exercise, and vanity is our culturally obsession.  <br><br>I wish I could tell you that I don't have to discuss calories or macronutrients with my clients, but I do. It's the reality of the time we are living in.<br><br>What does this have to do with not putting pressure on ourselves?<br><br>The fact that we live in a world run by junk food and sugar and sedentary living means health doesn't come easy and we have to give ourselves <em>grace</em> in the midst of making our best choices each day. <br><br>When you take the pressure off of yourself to eat and look a certain way, it gives you permission to take health at your own pace and removes the stress. <br><br>There is enough stress in life already. Am I right?<br><br>In closing, health essentially became my adventure. Or you could say that life finally became an adventure and health was all part of that mix, not another ad-on.<br><br>Health is more than the scale and calories. It's you coming alive from the inside out to live out your life with zeal and abundance. <br><br>I'm cheering you on to your best year yet in 2017. If you need help navigating the ropes of healthy living, I'm taking three new applicants for my <a href="http://www.rachelmeyerfitness.com/nutrition.html" target="_blank">VIP program</a> through the end of the year. I'd LOVE to have you! </div>