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Guest Post! Stephanie Watson, Whole Foods Healthy Eating Educator

Hello!  My name is Stephanie Watson, and I am so excited to be here!  I used to workout with Susan and Bree when I lived in Kansas City 4 years ago.  I have kept up with both of them over the years, and I am so proud of them for opening RAW Power together.  It did not surprise me!  I just wish I lived closer to take part in all of the awesomeness!

A little bit about me…I am originally from Chicago, and I am very passionate about healthy eating and living!  Currently, I live in Atlanta, GA with my husband, and I have been working at Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Educator for over 3 years.  Prior to working at Whole Foods Market, I taught elementary school for 6 years.  I really wanted to love teaching, but my true passion is all things health and wellness. 

I feel so grateful to work for a company that actually created a Core Value around healthy eating: We promote the health of stakeholders through healthy eating education.  My role as a Healthy Eating Educator is multifaceted. First, I promote our Health Starts Here® program which is based on 4 Pillars of Healthy Eating which are focus on whole foods, eat plant-strong, choose healthy fats (don’t be afraid of fats), and consider nutrient density.  No matter who I am working with, I always go back to the 4 Pillars of Healthy Eating.  I do my best to meet people where they at on their health and wellness journey because I believe that there is no one diet that works for everybody.  We are all unique.  Therefore, we each have a unique set of nutritional needs that are constantly changing.  Second, I work one-on-one with people, give store tours, and teach classes for the community focused on healthy eating.  Third, I work with our team members to help them make better choices.  Lastly, go out into the community and connect with people.  Oftentimes, I set up a table at a fitness studio like RAW Power and make smoothies for the clients.  Needless to say, no day is the same or boring, and I love that I am constantly learning.

I am also an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.  I went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I learned about over 100 dietary theories.  It amazing how many different methodologies there are when it comes to ways of eating.  It can be very complicated.  Believe me, I get it!  I have spent years trying to figure out which “way” of eating is right for me.  My conclusion…my body is smart, and if I listen close enough, it will tell me what I need (even if it is does not fit into the latest set of “rules” like stay away from gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, etc.). 

You may need to do some experimenting until you figure out what works for you, but be gentle on yourself.  I believe in the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time, I eat clean (i.e. real, whole, unprocessed foods), and 20% of the time I eat things that are not so clean (extra dark chocolate, red wine, and ice cream).  I don’t know that I will ever find the right balance, but I do know that I strive every day to find it which includes self-care, regular exercise, rest, etc.  I take a holistic approach when helping myself and my clients.  You can’t out exercise a poor diet, and you can’t out eat high levels of cortisol in your body due to chronic stress.  You will hold on to unwanted weight.  Try to relax and enjoy the ride!