This is the conclusion to Natalie Cunningham’s guest blogs she’s been writing about her experiences in my sustainable nutrition workshop.  Here she reflects on the changes she made and her process over the 8 weeks and beyond:

Every week of the One Brick Nutrition Workshop we left with loads of additional information and a homework sheet. The last homework assignment was, ‘Keep being your amazing, powerful self!’

These kinds of statements feel so corny, but the biggest takeaway I have from this entire workshop is just how much power I have, and just how much negative self-talk I had going through my head before. I still deal with this daily just as everyone else does, but I really didn’t know it was an issue, and how much taking control of what we think of ourselves can change us.

I am the kind of person who takes care of my body. I prioritize my health by eating what makes me feel good, and gives me the power to do incredible things. 

This is my Health and Fitness Mission Statement. (Also one of our last homework tasks). It isn’t super specific, but I know that it means with every bite I am focusing on the foods that keep me at my best. It is scalable, sustainable, and measurable. If I am feeling awful after a meal, I have not met my mission statement. If I don’t feel in control and powerful while I’m eating, I need to check myself. This is the person I want to be. This is the person I am 80% of the time, and that is really exciting.

So much of what I’ve taken away from this workshop is about attitude. I feel like, in general, we all know what we should be eating. Sure, I’ve learned a few things in my adult life about nutrition (personally I had no clue that beans were full of carbs till last year), but in general we know that vegetables are good, protein keeps us full, and complex carbs are much better for us than simple carbs. But it’s our attitudes that keep us fat and sick.

If we continue to look at healthy nutritious choices like the enemy, we’ll continue to choose the foods that make us sick. Broccoli is not the fun police. Lean meats are not here to ruin your good time. There is no major sacrifice in choosing baked chicken over fried. And Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are just plain delicious.

Someone looked at my breakfast recently and said, “See, Natalie is working hard to eat well.” She had a donut in her hand while I was eating cottage cheese, half a grapefruit and a paleo waffle. I couldn’t help but respond, “This is not a sacrifice. I’m eating what I want.” We have to stop acting like choosing a healthy diet is some great martyrdom. Changing your lifestyle is what you do for you. It’s taking your power back. It’s about feeling the best you possibly can, so you can do incredible things, and you can do them!

Do I meet my goals every day? No! Does that matter? Not really. I have the tools to do the best for myself possible and for that I am thankful to Jack. I will be going back through and reading all of the material again. I still have to work on eating slowly, and stopping when I’m 80% full. These things are still skills I’m working to master. I know that with every meal I use them, I’m a step closer to them becoming habits.

If you want to step into a lifestyle that celebrates you feeling the best you can possibly feel, take this workshop. Hang out with Jack. He is one of the most sincere people I know, and he wants you to feel the best you can possibly feel.

Elias Gross