Are you tired of calorie counting, disordered eating habits, and poor body image? We wanted to know more about how to change our perspective and perception of how we eat and what we eat for a healthier self, so we sought out Shanna Hutcheson to share her expertise with us on her balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle.

Beautiful and vibrant, Shanna Hutcheson is one of our go-to experts on intuitive eating and healthy living. A registered dietitian and the leader behind Wellness For The Win, Shanna believes that with evidence-based nutrition information, healthy family-friendly recipes, and some laughs, you can be challenged to revisit your old ways of thinking, and ditch dieting once and for all! Let’s explore all of Shanna’s healthy wisdom.

Shanna, you have such an amazing platform on intuitive eating. Where do you get your inspiration and what does intuitive eating mean to you?

First of all, thank you! When I first started learning about intuitive eating it came from several other dietitians I follow on social media. I kept hearing about the concept of intuitive eating and was interested in learning more, so I dove deep into several podcasts, expanded my community on Instagram to include more intuitive eating and body positive accounts and read the original Intuitive Eating Book. I still continue to get my inspiration from a lot of dietitians and other accounts I follow who encourage a balanced, inclusive approach to health and happiness, and who don’t focus specifically on weight loss, but overall well-being. 

Intuitive eating to me means being able to live life fully and make food choices based on what makes YOU feel good whether it’s a food that provides nourishment, or a food that makes you happy or both! It’s being able to block out all of the external noise, pressure and food rules and make informed choices based on feedback from your own body. Really, it’s figuring out how different foods make you feel and listening to your internal cues, learning to trust and respect your body through your food intake as well as movement and connections with others. Intuitive eating has taught me to give myself grace in all areas of my life. It goes far beyond just what you are eating. It’s your mindset and relationship with yourself. 

That’s such a great way to put it! I think sometimes we’re too hard on ourselves when our body doesn’t respond well to this diet or that diet. What a great reminder that we’re all so different and how listening to the body is key. What advice would you give someone wanting to be healthy, without going from one diet to another?

I would encourage them to shift their focus away from weight and toward healthy behaviors which help them “FEEL” best and which they actually enjoy. I would also advise them to set realistic goals. Often times, we try to go from one extreme to the other. For example, being totally sedentary to exercising 6 days a week, or eating out every day, to meal prepping every meal. This is just not realistic or sustainable. Small changes add up over time so be patient with yourself, set small goals, and give yourself grace throughout the journey. I would also remind them, health is about so much more than how much you weigh or your outward appearance. It’s how you feel, it’s how you talk to yourself, it’s how you care for yourself, how you interact with others, and more. Food, movement, sleep, stress management, relationships, self-care, and faith, they ALL matter. 

That is so important! I think a lot of us can relate to feeling guilty whenever we ‘splurge’ here and there, especially with the pressures of what we see on social media nowadays. It’s a relief to be reminded of that importance, of listening to your body. What does your morning routine look like? How do you get the day started?

During the week my husband and I typically wake up early around 6 am to workout together at our fitness studio, Health House. They have group classes that consist of HIIT, rowing machines, and lots of lifting and strength training. We do this 4 to 5 days a week. I always have a good post-workout meal such as overnight oats, hard-boiled eggs, homemade banana bread with almond butter and maybe some eggs, etc., after. I’m a morning person, so I like to post my daily Instagram content first thing in the morning and respond to emails early! On the weekends, we usually sleep in some and then gradually start our day. Most of the time, we cook breakfast at home, sometimes maybe grab an iced coffee from the local Starbucks, play with our pups, or take them for a walk.

Love that! Working out is such a great way to get motivated and start the day. Speaking of starting the day, what are some of the things you never leave home without?

  • My phone
  • My big Yeti filled with ice water
  • Chapstick and gum
  • Healthy snacks

Perfect! Let’s talk about healthy snacks. What’s your one favorite snack you can eat all day without feeling guilty?

I don’t believe in food guilt! If I’m having something it’s because I want it and made the choice to eat it. No guilt necessary. : ) But some of my favorite snacks are: homemade trail mix, unsweetened dried mango, string cheese or cheese slices, banana with peanut butter, roasted sweet potatoes with almond butter, hard-boiled eggs, and dark chocolate dipped in peanut butter! 

Wow, so good! Food-guilt is so common nowadays, it feels good to be reminded that we can enjoy our favorite snacks in moderation, without giving in to those negative feelings. Thinking a little bigger in terms of food, what are some tips for successful meal planning?

  • Take inventory of your kitchen and make a meal plan based on what you already have. Figure out what meals you could make with those ingredients and add any additional things you need to a grocery list. Go to the store and purchase any necessary items to make those meals as well as any extra for healthy snacks and/or breakfast. It’s much easier to follow through with healthy meals when you actually have everything you need to make them!
  • Try to plan for at least 2 meals a week that will be large enough to make leftovers for work lunches. This helps you kill two birds with one stone! 
  • Be flexible! It’s not always realistic to stick to your meal plan 100% of the time. If you have something on hand, that sounds better than what you had planned, that’s okay! Be willing to go with the flow and be creative. It’s important to feel satisfied, have fun with your meals, and not feel forced to eat something, just because it is written down.
  • Try to be intentional about including some color, fruits and/or veggies, at all of your meals and snacks. It’s much easier to do this when you have a plan! This can help you get lots of important nutrients in your diet, including fiber, which has countless health benefits. 

Definitely taking notes! These are such game-changers, especially being flexible when it comes to that after-work feeling of wanting to put something together that’s quick but also healthy and delicious! What are some of your travel must-haves?

  • Dry shampoo!!!
  • Portable phone charger
  • Leggings
  • Cute outfits, and ideally a few swimsuits because it means I’m going somewhere warm and tropical
  • Sunscreen

I bet most of us can relate to the magic of dry shampoo! Tell us a little bit about what your healthy self-care routine looks like.

I love getting regular manicures and spray tans because they make me feel good, but self-care to me often looks like…getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, taking phone breaks, spending quality time with my friends and family (and puppies!!). I get facials every 8 weeks which is something I started doing 3 years ago when I got engaged. This has totally transformed my skin as well as, investing in better skincare products, so I do try to prioritize this as well! As previously mentioned, I make it a priority to move my body in some way every day of the week, even if it’s just a long walk. It makes me feel so much better physically but especially mentally, it really helps reduce my stress load.

Those are great investments! Thank you again, Shanna, for sharing your thoughts. For more about Shanna, find her on Instagram and take a look at her website.

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