Williamson County is overflowing with beautiful local paths, trails and parks to help keep you active in your own "backyard". I have listed some of my favorites below and there are still SO many more I haven't reviewed yet. I will also include those in each list - I'm sure I'm still leaving a bunch out. I recommend downloading the AllTrails app to search for trails close to you, it is easy to use and super helpful! I have also include the Blueways (or canoe drops/fishing areas) at the end.
*As I am posting this we are on Stay-at-Home order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is important to know that you CAN still get outdoors and exercise BUT it is better to stay around where you live, don't go somewhere if it is crowded, keep your distance (at least 6ft) from others as you pass them, stay only with your household members, don't congregate, and try not to touch anything or play on playgrounds and as always, wash your hands. There also might be some parks that are closed. If all else fails, it is so nice just to walk around your neighborhood too!
Instead of the numerous typical COVID-19 emails you have been getting recently, I am taking a different approach. First, it’s because I typically work from home and only meet clients one-on-one at coffee shops (which I can’t do right now anyways) or virtually – so I don’t really have to tell you that I am keeping things sanitary and clean. I mean, I have somewhat cleaned my home but that is beside the point. If I meet with anyone else it is for an outdoors workout with at least 6-10 feet of space between us. But that is not why I am writing this today.
I am here to remind you that “living life balanced” is a lifestyle that holds up for anything life throws at you; be it a pandemic, a recession, a quarantine, the holidays, vacations, or just another ordinary day (although that might be far off from how things feel right now). What that means is – I don’t offer you diets…because they don’t last. They don’t stand up to stress or when something comes and completely turns your world upside down. But a healthy, balanced, lifestyle does.
When everything gets crazy, people resort to what they know. You could have been on a health kick but as soon as your quarantine happened, everything went out the window and you gave up. If you haven’t changed the little habits and behaviors that you do every single day and make them part of your life and instead make a huge restricting change all at once, you haven’t actually implemented something into your life. The day eventually comes when you can’t do it anymore and you reach for comfort.
While I have been laughing at some of the memes out there (“me after I eat all my quarantine snacks in one night”) it just reminds me how important it is to actually change those habits and behaviors slowly over time so that when shit hits the fan and you end up resorting back to your “comfort level”, it won’t be much of a difference!
I understand there are other things that also get in the way, but I’m talking to all of you who just decided not to care anymore as soon as you got stuck at home. If you are working from home or are staying home because of your family and kids and everything has changed – you CAN still eat well and you CAN still exercise and you CAN still have a healthy mental attitude. It just is going to look a little different and maybe feel a little harder at this point – but it doesn’t need to be. Let’s keep it simple by following the steps below.
This is hard. Your health doesn’t have to be. Don’t wait for this all to blow over to start taking care of yourself again. Whatever your personal struggle may be, you can and you will get through this. You need to put yourself first so you can not only take care of yourself, but your loved ones as well.
Let’s think of “quarantine time” as “self-care time”.
I’m going to leave you with the rest of the quote I used in the beginning because I think we all need to hear this:
“This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it.
I want it to be a gain, not a loss – good not evil.
Success, not failure, in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.”
– Heartsill Wilson
In the meantime, if you want to support small businesses and gain a comfy new shirt for your loungewear wardrobe, please think about ordering one here (thanks to Twine)! Limited edition - order yours before 3/27/2020.
I appreciate your support!
In elementary school I wanted to be a farmer or a flower shop owner (lol), in middle school I wanted to be an interior designer, and in high school I knew I wanted to be in the health and wellness field (and own a bed and breakfast). While I technically would still be happy with any of those options (and do plan to eventually have that bed and breakfast), participating in cross country in high school led me to know my calling was to help other people be healthy and happy.
Cross country was really hard for me, it definitely did not come naturally. I wanted to be good at it though so I practiced hard, started weight training, cut out soda and started eating healthier. While my running improved over time and I did make varsity my Sophomore year, my biggest takeaway from it all was how good I felt when I took care of myself. I have continued this (and kept up running) ever since. It was never as a diet, or a quick fix, but a long-term, healthy lifestyle.
I decided to go to school at Texas State University for Health and Fitness Management with a minor in Business Administration. Even in high school I knew I eventually wanted to run my own business but I wasn't quite sure doing what exactly. I went on to do corporate wellness for years, managed a gym and worked as a health educator in a hospital .
Through all of those positions I started realizing what I enjoyed most was working one on one with clients and helping to directly impact their lives - and cooking (I took cooking classes in middle school and high school and always cooked with my family so it was something I continued doing from there).
I eventually started doing something completely different and that is when I finally realized what it was that I wanted. Ever since I was little I was always very aware that life is precious and you never know when it may end. I grew up knowing that my dad's brother died of cancer when he was only a kid, his dad died of a heart attack, his mom died of brain cancer and my mom's dad died of pancreatic cancer.
Because of that, I think I have two different thoughts that drive me:
So with these thoughts that have always been in my head, one day I listened to a podcast on health coaching and I immediately knew that was what I was called to do - work directly (or indirectly) with people to help them improve their lives like I did when I started changing my habits and behaviors in high school. It took a long time after making that decision to actually get started on my own. I kept working while I was studying for my certification and eventually went to part-time with the idea that I could start my business and still have a secure job. It started growing faster than I thought though and I had to quit so I could put all of my focus on my new health coaching business. I officially started full-time with Elena McCown, LLC on March 6th, 2018.
Owning a business definitely has ups and downs but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I love that I am making a difference each day and impacting people's lives for the better. I want everyone to see that you CAN live a healthier, happier life just by implementing small changes over time. It doesn't have to be some drastic movement to see a difference. I enjoy guiding others to find the balance that works specifically for them. Everybody's path looks different. We don't strive for perfection, just progress.
Don't you want to make choices that help you to actually FEEL better each and every day? I know I do.
*Read about my newest offering here - The Health and Happiness Box
*If you want to see what else I offer, check out my Services
*You can also Shop My Favorites
I imagine you follow me and are reading this because you are interested in getting or staying healthy. Everyone has their own unique struggles but I can bet that for 99.9% of you, your biggest hurdle is that you are just so busy - too busy to take the time to do research on what is healthy, what isn't, what works, what doesn't, etc. You need someone you trust to provide you with information and products, to help give you answers, provide you with guidance and accountability and to let you know that you aren't alone on this journey (and make it fun)!
Enter the Health and Happiness Box.
The Health and Happiness Box focuses on the top 5 aspects of wellness people need the most help finding their balance with: nutrition, activity, sleep, stress and happiness. Each monthly box will be filled with items surrounding a specific theme to help you along with your own personal journey. I like to think of it as your own health coach in a box.
What's Inside the Box?
My trial theme for the attached picture was TRAVEL and consisted of a bag of quinoa with a recipe for a kale and quinoa salad that can be made in a hotel room or anywhere, a body weight workout that can be done without any equipment or with bands (provided), lavender vanilla essential oil for sleep plus a few sleep hygiene tips, a travel yoga mat for stress with online yoga videos, and instant coffee and chocolate for a few moments of pure happiness!
The theme for April is The Great Outdoors!
Starting today, I am taking pre-orders for my first Health and Happiness Box until March 15th. I need 20 sign-ups before shipping out for the April box. This is not a subscription - it is just an order of one box as I want to get feedback before launching the rest of the series for the year. Be the first to try out my new offering and sign-up today (no payment necessary yet)! Please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to put in your pre-order today!!! The box will be around $50 give or take a little for tax. Before I can give an official price or accept payments I just want to get at least 20 people committed before moving forward so I know there is interest.
Anyone who orders the box during this trial period will receive 50% off my Balanced Eating + Workout Plan Virtual Cookbook through Prepear (contact me for details). I am truly looking to you to provide your honest feedback so I can make sure I cater to my clients in the best way possible! I can't do it without you! I'm so excited about this and hope you are too!
Send me an e-mail at email@example.com before March 15th to secure your spot for your first Health and Happiness Box and get ready for a box of wellness and joy!
That seems to be the theme in my life right now.
How can you simplify your life? What can you get rid of? What do you need? What can you do differently? How can you add a little more flow to your day?
When you ask these questions, meal planning might not be something that comes to the top of your mind. In fact, you might think meal planning will be "just another thing" to add to your plate. You might even feel overwhelmed or annoyed with the thought of it. You don't need to take more time out of your week to think about what you are going to eat, that's for future you to deal with, right?
Taking a little bit of time at the beginning of the week to plan ahead will actually take the stress and pressure off of "future you" each and every day. Meal planning not only gives you your time back during the week but it also gives you the comfort in knowing you are eating more nutritious foods (usually). It also saves you from buying random junk from the store (or vending machine), keeps you from going too long in between meals or snacks, prevents you from wasting food, helps you control your portions and saves you money.
While you might be surprised at the saving money benefit of meal planning, it's true! Do you normally grab your breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or snacks out from a fast food or sit-down restaurant or even a vending machine? Have you ever actually taken the time to add up how much money you are spending each week on the food and drinks you buy? It quickly adds up. You can normally feed yourself healthy food from the grocery store for much cheaper.
So how can you keep your life simple AND meal prep for the week?
1. Plan: Look ahead at the upcoming week and see what work, workouts, occasions, events, etc. you need to plan around. What days would leftovers or grab-and-go foods be a better option? Use this plan as the tool for how you will pick the types of food you need and want and the time you can spend on them.
2. Find: Look for recipes based on your needs or just stick with your old favorites for now. Once you get going and make this more of a routine, you can start trying new recipes. You can also use Prepear to search for recipes on your own or buy my virtual cookbook and get 6 weeks of recipes to follow to start with. Look around your pantry and fridge and see what you have on hand and can use for the upcoming week so you don't have any food waste. If you want to save a step and not actually pick specific recipes for each day, check out Healthy Kitchen Staples so you can throw meals together at any time.
3. Create: Make a list of what Monday-Sunday will look like with the recipes you chose. Remember to utilize leftovers on the days you know you will be busy. Consider doubling or tripling recipes so you don't have to cook every day. Write it down on a piece of paper, on the calendar or in your phone. You can store your recipes and create meal plans in Prepear for free. You will now know what you are going to eat for every meal and snack for the week.
4. Shop: Create a grocery list based off of your recipes. Don't forget to include the amounts you need if you are doubling or tripling your recipes. If you made your plan in Prepear or purchased my cookbook, it will automatically generate a grocery list for you, making it even easier. Even better, you can order your groceries if you don't have the time to shop! Pre-made, pre-portioned, pre-cooked foods can always be another option for when you are short on time (just check the ingredients so you know what you are eating). You can even order some items from Amazon like my favorite gluten-free and dairy-free items!
5. Prepare: Once you get all of your groceries you can separate and prepare some of your snack items so you can easily grab them and bring them with you when you need them. Cook some of the meat ahead of time and freeze or refrigerate it so it will be ready to go once it's time for that meal. If you know you won't have much time during the week, try to prepare veggies and grains ahead of time too, when possible.
Don't stress out. Yes, you can meal prep with food that isn't as "nutritious" as others. You have to start somewhere. Start by choosing the foods you feel comfortable making and work your way up from there. If you aren't quite sure what is "healthy" start by picking a lean protein and pair it with fruit, veggies, a complex carb and a healthy fat. Ex. baked chicken breast slices on a whole-grain wrap with a cucumber, tomato and onion relish and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top with strawberries on the side OR a whole-grain sandwich with nitrate-free/low-sodium lunch meat or tuna and bell pepper slices served with hummus and an orange on the side.
You can do this! If you need a little kick start for easy, healthy recipe ideas, purchase my 6 week Balanced Eating + Workout Plan on Prepear or contact me for personalized help.
For more information, check out the following:
Meal Plan Troubleshooting
Planning Ahead for a Healthy Week
Healthy Kitchen Staples
How to Become a Better Cook
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
Looking for something specific? Everything can be found by category under the "Life" and "Recipes" sections on my website or you can search below.