The last time you met Melissa, she shared how Thrive Market is helping make it easier to get healthy food delivered to her door through the Thrive Gives program. Now Melissa is ready to make some even bigger changes, and she’s inviting you along on the journey. Over the next six months, Melissa will be overhauling her pantry, exploring new ingredients, and transforming her life for the better. Along the way, we’ll be documenting it all on Thrive!
She won’t be doing it alone. Along the way, she’ll be supported by Andrea Harrill, an integrative dietitian who’s teaming up to not only help Melissa create new habits and make them stick, but to share her best tips and strategies with Thrive Market members, too!
Andrea will have weekly virtual coaching sessions with Melissa to assess her nutritional needs, identify food sensitivities, and meal plan. But Andrea won’t just focus on food. “We all know that the whole person is incredibly important in the process,” Andrea says. For Melissa, this means confronting physical issues that remained out of the spotlight until now. “I am so present in my life emotionally, mentally, spiritually ... but physically I was disconnected. I know this is the time to change that FOREVER!” Melissa says.
The thing she’s most excited about? “Feeling better, having more energy, setting a great example for my girls, and reclaiming my health,” Melissa told us. “My youngest daughter has Down syndrome, and when you have a child with special needs, you realize that you may need to stay healthy, strong, and fit longer than you thought!”
Even though she’s full of energy to start fresh, Melissa has some reservations, too, especially when it comes to changing her eating habits. “I have to get really honest with myself about the foods I’m eating that my body isn’t tolerating well,” says Melissa. “I’ve been eating a certain way my whole life and now I have to find a new way of doing things.” For her, this means limiting dairy and grains—and favorite foods like spaghetti, quesadillas, and chili cheese fries. To support these life changes, Melissa will also be exploring her relationship with food—especially comfort food and cravings—and explore how stress might play a role.
Melissa is committed to staying focused on herself, but also embraces how her journey will affect her family, too. “I take my daughters with me to the farmers’ market, and we have a little garden in the back,” she says. She continued to share even more hopes and dreams for her two girls: “I don't ever want them to have a fear of food or that food has control over them. There are so many people that struggle with their relationship with food, and that is such a difficult thing because food is such a part of our lives. I want them to feel excited about balanced eating, food preparation, and to have a good connection with food and their bodies.”
3 Small Steps to Make Big Changes (All Nutritionist-Approved!)
We all know it can be challenging to make habits stick, so we asked Andrea to share her best tips for anyone considering making lifestyle and dietary changes of their own!
1. Pay attention
Bring awareness to your body, how food choices make you feel, and your environment. “As busy humans, we rarely take the time to check in with ourselves and ask ‘How am I doing? Where am I at today? Where am I at right now in this very moment?’” Andrea says. This doesn’t need to be a long and involved process, either! Try taking a few seconds before and after your meal to simply see how your body’s feeling.
“In my experience, negative thinking leads to discouragement and frustration, two emotions NOT conducive to long-term lifestyle changes. Instead, shift your inner monologue to focus on what’s working, not what isn’t."
2. Change your mindset
An all-or-nothing approach could stifle your ability to make progress. Andrea believes this sort of mindset—which has plagued the nutrition and fitness industries for years—leaves us vulnerable to falling back into old patterns. “In my experience,” she says, “this thinking leads to discouragement and frustration, two emotions NOT conducive to long-term lifestyle changes.” Instead, shift your inner monologue to focus on what’s working, not what isn’t.
Andrea says there's good news: thoughts can be practiced. “The best thing a person can do is to think of themselves as a designer and their lifestyle as a design concept. As with most designs, it too will expire. As designs are faced with new challenges, they may become obsolete or inefficient. In the same way, our lifestyle designs too may run their course. And when they do, our conditioned all-or-none thinking can jump in and shout ‘You are not doing the thing! You are failing!’ When in reality, our lives are calling for a redesign that takes into account the new challenge.”
3. Ask questions
If you’re ready to start fresh and make some long-term changes in your health, here are Andrea’s top questions to ask yourself. If the answer to any of the following is no, it might be a red flag you’ll need to explore.
- Does this feel like more than a quick fix?
- Is the root cause of my issue being identified and addressed?
- Do the solutions seem realistic and doable long-term?
- Am I learning how to course-correct and problem-solve as life happens?
- Am I doing the deeper work to tackle any mental-emotional “stuff” that I may be carrying when it comes to food, my body, and my identity around my health?
Over to you! We hope you enjoy following along with Melissa, and we’d love to hear about where you are on your own journey toward better health, too. Leave a comment and share your stories!
Andrea Harrill is an integrative nutrition & lifestyle coach who has helped over 3,000 people play their lives big by overcoming health and wellbeing hurdles. She gets to the root cause of issues using whole-person science and feel-good strategies to address nutrition, physical activity, stress management, sleep health, emotional resilience, and purpose to help individuals create a lifestyle that feels authentic and sustainable for the long haul.
By joining Thrive Market, members not only help their own families—they offer another family the chance to thrive, too. For every paid membership, we donate one to someone in need through our Thrive Gives program.
Photo credit: Melissa Rodriguez