A Grace Full Life: Coca-Cola Balanced Living Workshop- Or How I Learned To Ditch The Mom Guilt


Coca-Cola Balanced Living Workshop- Or How I Learned To Ditch The Mom Guilt

I was compensated for my participation in Coca-Cola's Balanced Living Workshop, but my thoughts and views are my own.

I just got back from a whirlwind amazing blogging event hosted by Coca-Cola centered on helping me learn to create a healthy balance in my life.

The event was held in Chicago over the course of a day and a half.
And in that time, I met some beautiful people inside and out who also share my love of blogging, as well as getting to meet some incredible health educators who helped guide us in the ways of healthy eating and living.
I can't stress enough how amazing this experience was.
I want to tell you about every single moment.
But first I want to share what I took away with me.

On the train ride home from the city to the burbs, I had my little Coca-Cola notebook that they provided for us on my lap and would write little key words or things that stuck out to me as I was riding along.
And the one thing that resonated with me was revived.
I felt revived.
For the first time in many years.
For a stay-at-home mom like myself, getting away like this would never have been a possibility before this event came up.
Mom guilt.
I always put my needs last.
Doesn't every mom?
And I really needed to miss my family.
Because I never get the chance to.
But the mom guilt sometimes stops me from taking care of me.
This workshop empowered me in such a way that I even feel like I walk with more of an air of confidence than I did before.
More than once I heard over the course of the two-day workshop that we had an important job as moms, that moms are "the largest health care system of the world," that we are powerful.
Sometimes us moms, especially of the stay-at-home variety, forget how important we are.
How we control most of the health and well-being of our loved ones.
And how we just don't get enough credit.
Thank you Coca-Cola for sharing these amazing speakers with us to show us how to help our loved ones live better lives.

OK, so here are some great takeaway moments from my experience that are personal to me:

- I loved the one-on-one sessions with the dietitian and the personal trainer. Some things I learned?  That I am doing a lot of things right. Which made me so happy to hear a professional say that. But some ideas that had me going "aha" or "egads," if you will, were this:

- that I should eat more snacks during the day. I eat breakfast, lunch, a little snack, dinner, and a snack before 7 pm. She suggested that I add a snack mid morning so that I don't feel so hungry at large meals. Also, she said to eat protein for my afternoon snack so I don't overeat at dinnertime.

- this next one was huge. My dietitian suggested that I walk just 10 minutes a day in lieu of running. I should say that she did not discourage me from running but rather, I told her that I struggle with running in the winter with my asthma, so she said if I could just walk even 10 minutes a day for 7 days a week, I would definitely notice a difference in my metabolism. I was so excited, I could TOTALLY do 10 minutes a day!

- I love veggies and dip, especially the ranch packet dip. But she said they can be high in sodium so she recommended her personal recipe: a large container of low fat cottage cheese, 1 can of artichokes, 1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, and red pepper to taste. Put in the food processor and blend til smooth. Serve with veggies and crackers for a low-fat but filling snack. She also gave me pages of ideas for snacks and meals as well as ideas for busy times AND tips for what to order when you go out to eat!

Thank you Mary!
You have a HUGE fan in me and I will use these tips forevah!!

As for my one-on-one with the personal trainer, Ronnie.
I am still sore, Ronnie.
I am.
And when I say your name, I wince a little.
Juuuust kidding.
A little kidding.
Here are some tips I took away:

- as long as I do ANY exercise, it's better than NO exercise, which I pretty much knew already but it was nice to have a fitness professional validate it for me.

- I learned how to feel for my heart rate in my neck. Yes, I know. I am almost 43 and I just now learned how to do this....and I was going into Nursing less than 6 years ago....sigh. But now I know and I can know when I have pushed myself too far.

- I also love that the fitness plan he tailored for me is totally doable AND I can change it around to fit my needs.

- he did tell me that he felt that running might not be right for me. And I do agree with him to some degree because I struggle with my knees and my asthma but I love the rush I get from running. I have yet to start my exercises....I WILL start after the holidays......so if I get that same rush, I will replace running with these exercises.

We also got to work out with celebrity trainer, Harley Pasternak whose clients have included Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, Bono, Rihanna....to name a few.....which was pretty exciting for someone who is a celebrity fanatic. He worked us out hard, even though he said he wouldn't. Here are some things I learned from Harley:

- that gym memberships are not necessary. I love you Harley for saying this. I am not a fan of gyms. He said that you can keep yourself in shape without the need for a gym with the right exercises at home. Now, I get that if you can't motivate yourself, a gym might be a good idea for you but I am a good self-motivator so I know I can do this without those gym fees and the sweat sock smell.

- that those special expensive shoes you got at that upscale running store are actually hurting your feet. Get the right shoe for the right sport but don't spend 200 bucks on a high-tech shoe that will actually hurt you, not help you.

- that the average person should be walking 10,000 steps a day. I tried to use my pedometer to find out what my magic number is but it broke on the first day. And I am pretty sure it was my tummy bulge that broke it. Sigh.

The whole two days was amazing from the dietitians who gave me great tips (when it comes to breakfast, anything is better than nothing) and facts about food myths (high fructose corn syrup is safe), to the amazing bloggers I met and now call my friends. I have never been in that large of a group of women and not experienced animosity, hence why I hate large group girls' night outs. But that has changed. These group of women lifted each other up and I got along with every.single.person.there. No judging, no cattiness, no snubbing. It was amazing. And I can't wait to see all of them again.

Shaleah from The Gold Jellybean, Linda from It All Started With Paint, and me!

This blogger and I were separated at birth, Jeanette from Craftwhack

I love, LOVE this girl's style. Briana from The Mane Source.

From the dinner out at an upscale restaurant that I probably would never have gotten the chance to ever eat.....

Like. Ever.

To the tour of Jewel with dietitian Kim Kirchherr:

To the cooking demo with the professional chef:

I almost have a hard time putting it into words.
No, I don't.
It was magical.
And I don't feel at all guilty either.

I am so grateful for this experience and took away a lot more from it than I expected to.
Thanks to Coca-Cola for hosting such a great event and making me feel so special for those two days.


  1. Hands off my Harley. Nobody has seen Kathy Benson in days....

    Great post. I am totally surprised about how much I learned (and I'm a cynical "there's nothing I don't know" kinda girl).

  2. I love it! Will you be my bloggy bestie?! Okay, no wait, don't want to be stingy and keep you from sharing your fab self with everyone else! But I still love it!

  3. Still swooning over Harley, LOL. Great pics!!

  4. You're so adorable. Glad you had such a great time and it was awesome to meet you.

  5. How did we not get a picture together, dangit???

    Great recap: I miss you already. We'll have to do lunch! xo

  6. That sounds awesome! Thanx for the tips and that's great that you got sometime for yourself!

  7. "And I really needed to miss my family.
    Because I never get the chance to."

    I never thought of it that way, but yes, me too!

    I really appreciate this post and have so enjoyed finding out what each of us took away from the experience. I too left feeling revived and it was magical.

    I am glad that I got to meet you and am sorry we didn't get to chat more. Hopefully we will be together again soon and can remedy that, if Marianne let's me out of her basement, that is...

  8. What a fabulous recap -- and I so adored meeting you in person! I while I did not approve the photo used, I will forgive you ...

    Hopefully it's my "before" shot. And the next time you see me I can dazzle you with my "after!"

    Have a fabulous holiday my new friend!

    :) Linda

  9. Okay, we were totally separated at birth- I'm so excited to have met you! I'm loving your photos here, and you are so so so right on about the mom guilt. It's crazy how you can go from independent woman to spending every last ounce of energy caring for your family. Then we're supposed to be all awesome and healthy on top of that.

    I also loved that everyone helped us figure out reallllly small steps we could take to make teeny tiny doable changes. Pure brilliance for us.


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