Health, Moving, Uncategorized

February= Heart Heath Month

By the time it took for you to get through a 40-second Superbowl ad, one person died from heart disease (1). Every February, the American Heart Association (AHA) brings heart disease to the forefront of the public health agenda. Heart disease is an umbrella term that includes the following conditions: coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, and congenital heart diseases (3). As a muscular organ, the heart is situated on the left side of the body. On average, the adult heart beats about 100,000 times a day, and transports 2,000 gallons of blood throughout the body (2). Besides keeping us alive, the heart plays a very important role in the body–from circulating nutrients to our cells, to maintaining a pressure sufficient enough for blood to circulate from the tip of our scalp all the way down to our toes (4). Although the  heart functions the same in both men and women, symptoms for a heart attack manifest differently; while men often report crushing chest pain, sweating and nausea, women might experience shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, and upper back pressure, according to AHA (1).

In our daily busy lives, between the pile of responsibilities, it is often challenging to incorporate heart healthy habits. Beatrice, an AHA ambassador, who travels often for work, notes the difficulties of adopting healthy habits while on the road. “During layovers, I’ll walk laps in the airport, and depending on the city, I’ll walk near the hotel to get my heart rate up,” Beatrice said.20171001_154823 As heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, there are many ways in which the community is empowering its citizens to be more heart-healthy (see examples from Jo’s previous post). In my town, the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Center is offering free fitness room passes for the month of February! Whether it’s means waking up early to make a heart-healthy breakfast of oatmeal, or walking on your lunch break instead of sitting at your desk, it is vital to set intentional goals that will get you closer to becoming a healthier version YOU!

Until next time,



  3. Chilnick, Lawrence. Heart Disease: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. Philadelphia, PA: Perseus Books Group, 2008

So many fitness programs, so little time

Happy 2018!

Now is the time everybody loves: Packed gyms, sold out fitness classes, dietary restrictions up the wazzoo. With so many New Years “incentives” by different fitness programs which ones do you choose? This is a breakdown of some of our top options depending on your exercise preference.

  • If you like variety:
    • Classpass – Essentially this is a “flexible” fitness membership. Classpass is available in several major cities. You purchase monthly credits which give you the opportunity to try multiple facilities in your city. If you are in the Charlotte region, you have access to multiple yoga studios, CrossFit studios, general gym facilities, Cycling studios, boxing facilities, barre, etc. The great thing is that if you travel you can utilize your classpass credits at a facility in your temporary city! There is no reason to skip a workout with classpass. And your credits do not roll over, so that is incentive enough to make sure you get your money’s worth!
    • Bootcamp– Bootcamps give participants the opportunity for a different workout each session. You never know what to expect! You will have different cardio, strength training, maybe partner workouts each time you go. Where can you find a local bootcamp? Often will have a free introductory workout posted or a person advertising for their facility. You can google bootcamps in your area OR if you want to see videos/ pictures of the previous workouts search via Instagram. You will find trainers hosting bootcamps if you hashtag your city plus fitness. (i.e. #charlottefitness #charlottetrainer #charlottepersonaltrainer #charlottebootcamp)
  • If you are focused on cardio:
    • Cycling– There are so many new companies/ studios that have popped up in the past few years. Cycling you will need to search by your city to see which studios are in your area. The good thing is… every cycling studio I have been to so far has had a free ride for your first time at the studio. Bad thing is… cycling classes usually range from $20-30 per ride, but there are packages that will reduce the price. When you find a facility, make sure to note whether they provide shoes, need to purchase your own cycling shoes, or if general athletic shoes are acceptable. This is a personal favorite and time flies when the instructor chooses a playlist that gives you life!
    • Boxing– You are always moving during a good boxing workout. Even during breaks instructors will include “active rest” to keep your heart rate up. Again, many facilities will allow first timers to participate for free. However, for boxing you may have to rent or purchase the gloves. The gloves are a great investment since some gyms will have an area with a punching bag. So once you learn the technique you can incorporate and advance your skills on your own time.
  • If you want strength training:
    • BodyPump (c) Les Mills – This is a barbell workout that will hit nearly every muscle group during the class. You can get access to some of the classes online, but if you want to find a facility that has bodypump you can find it here .
    • TRX = Total Resistance eXercise – This workout uses suspension training and your own body weight in order to build strength and burn fat. Who would have thought there was so much you could do with two ropes hanging from the ceiling?! Some gyms will have the suspension ropes, so if you have a membership this is no extra money for you. You will just need to explore a few different moves that will challenge you. A number of facilities also have a TRX workout class where you can participate in a host of different moves with the suspension training.

If you just want a gym that has different equipment, most facilities are doing new years specials. This could include no activation fee to join, reduced membership fees, reduced monthly rate, etc. We just want you to find what works for YOU. Make 2018 your year!


Creating Adventures in Your Own Backyard


There are always points in life where it seems like we have found ourselves in a rut.  To take from the previous post, “How often do we find ourselves complaining about the reasons why we haven’t found our dream job or career, the perfect home or neighborhood, Mr. or Mrs. Right?” While some of these cannot be fixed overnight, there are a few things that can be done to give you a better (happier) quality of life until you find top game changers.

A minor game changer for me was moving to a new apartment in a new area of town. I had become tired of my old surroundings. I had been in the same place for nearly 5 years! It almost reached post 5 years because I did not physically want to move, but I knew I wanted something different. I moved to an area that had more young professionals, more eclectic food, and diverse nightlife. This brought me a sense of excitement! Of course I could have visited all of these places sooner, but when you are hungry who wants to drive or walk 20 minutes versus 5 minutes?

Since moving, I have taken opportunities to explore a different set of local shops/ vendors. I did not need another person to come with me. I was excited to try these places solo. Then, if I found some restaurants/ shops I really loved then I can introduce them to another person in my social circle! Luckily, one of the individuals in my circle moved just a few weeks after me to a complex down the street! As fellow foodies and good friends we could give each other suggestions on where to go next! The featured image is from one of my first adventures. I had a few issues transferring my current internet service so I found a quaint coffee shop (Central Coffee Co) in my new ‘hood that had decent WiFi and even better drinks! There are barista drinks of the week and the best chai tea latte I have ever had! Not too sweet, but still very flavorful. You can tell the baristas care and have a number of regular customers that frequent the shop.

Even if you are not at a place to just up and move across town, try driving to a new area and see what you come up with! Yelp can be your best friend. I will opt to find a new place to try each week for the next month. If you are in the Charlotte area follow our twitter page and I’ll share some of these places! So far, I have found a great new yoga studio, coffee shop, and Vietnamese restaurant in my area. Feel free to reply or post your questions. We would love to hear and tell you more about our adventures!

Stay cool,

Comfort zone, Goals, Moving, Personal growth, Transitions

Turn over a new leaf


How often do we find ourselves complaining about the reasons why we haven’t found our dream job or career, the perfect home or neighborhood, Mr. or Mrs. Right? And the list goes on and on.

I get it. I really do.

Although we may believe that we are putting in 100% effort towards obtaining our goals or moving to the ‘next level’, the truth is that often times we are confined to try things that are within our comfort zone. However, claiming to be ‘adventurous’ yet remaining within one’s comfort zone does not lead to actually growth. It’s not the easiest thing engage in, but according to Forbes Magazine Contributor, Sujan Patel, “discomfort is a big part of improving your performance, creativity, and learning in the long run.”   Personally, I like to think of myself as somebody that seeks out situations that will challenge me to grow as an individual, but truth be told, I rarely opt for situations of ‘most resistance’ and I may occasionally  leave my comfort zone.

When I completed my Master’s thesis and moved to the Raleigh-Durham area for work, a majority of my friends that I would hand out with were at different places in their lives. However, I still wanted to go out and have fun and meet new people. It never crossed my mind to get dressed up and go out alone, but if I was to get off of the couch and meet new people, that I would have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and familiarize myself with the idea of doing things solo. A few weeks ago, I decided to take up something new—salsa dancing! I will say that the first few times I went, it was odd as I watched groups of people come into the bar, but as soon as people were warming up and the music was going, it didn’t matter if I came alone or with 20 people, because everyone on the dance floor was having a good time.  Never did I think that I would learn how to salsa dance, but after getting over that awkward feeling of discomfort, I’m dancing on a weekly basis and meeting new people.

Spring is a time for new beginnings, and I challenge you to seek out opportunities that pivot you away from the path of least resistance towards the path of resistance. Uncomfortable situations serve as the incubator of personal growth and by taking steps outside our comfort zone, we are able to live fuller and richer lives.

Source: Patel, Sujan. “Why feeling uncomfortable is the key to success.”


Working from Home During the Holidays

Most of you are probably back to work, school, etc. If you are not and you still want to be productive or want to see how you can be more productive during future vacations keep reading below.

With some additional time off it may be tempting to lay on the couch for hours or binge on all the TV shows missed during the year of 2016. If your job/ school schedule still requires you to complete some work over the holidays, this IS possible! There are just a few things you need to do in order to be your most productive self.

Sleep, sleep, sleep! Now don’t sleep in until the afternoon hours, but make sure to get an adequate night of rest. When you are sleep deprived you do not function as well. It is helpful to set an alarm so that it feels like a real “workday”, but set the alarm for an hour after you would normally wake up so you feel refreshed.

Mimic your daily routine. For those who shower in the morning prior to work, then head over to that bathroom and scrub-a-dub-dub! For others, get ready, brush your teeth, hair, make your morning coffee, eat breakfast, etc. Your body needs to feel like you are prepping for a work day. If you work in a corporate environment, I (personally) would not get fully dressed in business attire. However, I do suggest changing from your pajamas. Wear something that you would not be embarrassed in if you had a surprise visitor. 🙂 This way you can disassociate yourself from thinking this is a typical day off at home.

Set up your work space. If you live in a one-bedroom apartment, like myself, then you likely do not have a “home office”. Separate yourself from your bedroom or “comfy spot”. Arrange an area where you can sit upright at your computer with all your necessary materials. (notebook, pens, water, snacks)

Create an agenda. You want to be able to enjoy most of your vacation so it is important to practice self-care and limit your work time. For example, your schedule may be set up as:
Read/Reply to e-mails from 10:00-10:30 a.m., work on project 1 from 10:40-11:30 a.m, lunch 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., work on project 2 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Your agenda does not have to be concrete but used as a tool to guide you through the day. There should also be times where you can step away from your work space for restroom and stretch/walking breaks.

Ensure those around you are on the same page. It can be difficult for your spouse, family, friends to understand that work still needs to be done. Put your phone on silent with an automated message that lets them know that you will be available at a later time and will get back to them. If you have roommates or family members that live with you inform them that you will be working from ___ to ___ and would prefer not to be interrupted unless it is an emergency.

Even taking just 2 hours of time to work can relieve some stress. I know that when I have things to be done, the anxiety builds up and makes me feel guilty that I have not touched a bit of work. This way you are not procrastinating on any projects and can still enjoy plenty of vacation time.

2017 is going to be a productive year for us all! Let’s do it!



Holiday Survival of the Fittest 101

The holidays are right around the corner …so close that we can almost taste it! This can be an exciting and enjoyable time or a stressful season, filled with worry and anxiety. There are just some people who we’d prefer not to interact with in close quarters for extended periods of time. Regardless of which camp you may fall into, balance and perspective are key to making it through the holiday season. We’ve conjured up some situations that may be all too familiar; read through to discover helpful tips and advice!

Situation 1: Single and coming home with no significant other

Let’s face it; after talking for several weeks with that guy you matched with on Coffee meets Bagel and going on a few dates, the line suddenly goes dead. Sure enough, he’s gone ghost on you. Now you find yourself back on the single side of town and show up to the thanksgiving dinner at Auntie Rhonda’s house solo. Don’t sweat, girl! When asked, “So, you seeing anyone lately?” It may be tempting for you to embark on a feminist rant and really give ‘em an earful about making up your mind to remain in singlehood until further notice, try to remain calm and keep your answers short and cordial. A simple response such as, “unfortunately, I haven’t met someone worth bringing home to meet my awesome family,” should do the trick. If not, keep it moving before they inquire more about your love life!

Situation 2: Holiday Break Up.

This is a painful situation—so painful that I do not wish this upon my greatest enemy. Holiday breakups are the worst because this is a special time of year and one where it is special to share all those warm fuzzy feelings of love, giving, and gratitude with significant others. So much for all that holiday mistletoe. Sigh.

Tip:  surround yourself with as many people who love and care about you. Take time to release your emotions, reflect, cry (if you have too) and realize that you’ll soon be entering a new year, with endless possibilities.

Situation 3: Stressed out Student/Employee.

Tip:  Plan. Plan. Plan. Planning will be the wind behind your back this holiday season. It’ll give you time to balance your responsibilities, while partaking in holiday parties and gift exchanges.

Situation 4: Broke. 

Car repairs? High rent or utility costs? Unexpected medical expense? Face it, if you are in this situation (a place we’ve all been in) times are rough and you don’t need the holidays to remind you that the cash pot is dry.

Tip: Don’t feel the guilty need of having to go into debt to provide wonderful gifts for friends and family. Most people will understand your situation. Instead, turn to great resources, such as to find creative D.I.Y projects that cost little to nothing! With a little time and materials/supplies, you can create some pretty impressive gifts. Plus, anyone who receives is knows that extra time, care and consideration went into their gift.

Situation 5: The disconnection

Tip: The holidays are a great time (an excuse) to re-connect with old friends and loved ones who have simply slipped off the radar. Depending on how close your relationship is, a beautiful Christmas card, box of cookies, or phone call will do the trick!


Transitions, travel, Canada, Montreal


A new city, new sites, smells, and people. Whether you are an avid traveler or a home body, this quote rings true—“Travel and you will see.” This is something that my late grandfather would say, and these four words mean something different to each person that comes across it.

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the French-Canadian province of Montréal, Quebec. I arrived to Montreal with un petit François, though I was able to communicate with the locals using charades and some English. While I perused the city and admired the rich-French history and fantastic cuisine, I couldn’t help but to think that this trip came at the perfect time, as I’ve been going through a number of transitions in the last few months—from completing my nutrition degree, to moving and beginning a new job. In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it is easy to default and operate on ‘auto-pilot.’ However, leaving our familiar surroundings for the unknown awakens the soul and reveals a new perspective that may plant seeds of growth or reflection. At Evolving You Wellness, both Jo and I have been going through our own period of transitions (we apologize for being m.i.a for most of 2016!). As you progress through your own transitions, may you be open to new experiences—both the good and the bad, as they are some of life’s best teachers and serve as agents for change and growth for an evolving you.

Until next time,



Connect, Connect, AND RECONNECT

As people grow older we tend to decrease our circles. I am a firm believer that quality is better than quantity when it comes to my social circle. However, often times it is not too late to reconnect with acquaintances with whom you thought you did not have a strong connection. For those in post-grad life I am sure you can relate to the several surface level friendships you had during that stage in life. You may have met individuals in class, at a party, in the cafeteria, etc that you made light conversation with but did not truly develop relationships further. With social media as widely used as it is currently, we can see plenty of information about those we do not keep in contact with as much.

Use social media to your advantage!

I have come across a number of individuals via Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, ResearchGate, etc that are in the health care field. What a way to collaborate and reconnect with individuals! The field of health is so interdisciplinary so having others that you know that are physicians, nurses, researchers, marketing directors can really work to your advantage. You would be surprised at what commonalities you can find between old “friends”. Even if you do not become better friends then at least you have resources that can hopefully help you to further yourself in the job market and within your current employment.

Let this be your task for the week.

Just as if you were filtering through friends on social media, highlight those that you would consider reconnecting with. I recently connected with sorority sisters at an alumni centered event, and I really enjoyed the old/new company! I would love to keep these relationships going personally and professionally. I definitely encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and contact a few people that they would consider reconnecting with. If you do not try, you will never know the outcome! Not every connection will be positive, but try something new today!

Peace and blessings,


Happiness: Taking Care of One’s Body.

In trying to find what makes one happy, it’s important to also consider the health of one’s body, mind, and spirit. Since I essentially study food and nutrition for a living, food and its nutritional components, as well as its impact on our body’s systems is always on my mind.

Today, I want to focus on the body aspect of our pursuit of happiness. To keep our bodies healthy and operating at peak efficiency, it is crucial to supply it with the good stuff—nutrient-dense foods that supply us with needed vitamins and minerals, in addition to energy (of course!). GOOD Magazine has just published an online interactive to nutrition and how it effects the body. This guide is SO good and simple to understand, that I don’t have to comment too much about, besides the fact that I love it. Take a look for yourself: