What a lovely episode! Megan Sherer, a Holistic Nutritionist, Wellness Expert, and founder of Empowered Bodies, talks with Dave about the importance of balance in both fitness and nutrition. Sometimes it feels like diet and fitness culture really stresses how being healthy should be difficult. If it isn’t hard, then you’re doing something wrong. Megan takes a much more natural approach and teaches us how we can work towards better health without fighting ourselves. I love the answers she gives and would definitely recommend listening to this one! Not only is Megan fun and calming to listen to, but you can tell she really cares about what she does. Plus, we have some delicious recipes to share straight from Megan herself. Click below to take a listen, or read on!
Give us your start: how did you get here?
When I was in my early teens I was introduced to the practice of yoga and fell in love with it immediately. I started to build upon that practice and have spent most of my twenties pursuing more knowledge and education. Since then I’ve been testing things on myself, on clients, and along the way I’ve gotten more certifications schooling. I’m very passionate about finding more balance in our lives and ways that we can live better and feel better.
The car accident that changed your life
When I was 21 or 22 I was hit by a drunk driver which was traumatic for a few reasons. The first being the physical injuries; my shoulder was dislocated, I had really bad whiplash, and I had knee problems. Up until that point I had been an athlete and all of a sudden I couldn’t do that anymore. So I had to practice being patient and adapting to this new version of my body that couldn’t quite do everything it could before.
I also sustained a concussion that led to Post Concussive Syndrome, which has this cluster of symptoms. There are physical symptoms like migraines, dizziness, and blacking out. It also includes mental and emotional symptoms like depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. I had never experienced anything like that before, so I learned a lot and implemented many different wellness practices to find what helped me feel more like myself again.
The first thing I turned to after I was able to work out again was bodybuilding. I wanted something that made me feel like an athlete again, with goals to work toward, and initially, it did that for me. It helped me regain a lot of strength and I felt really empowered better in my body again.
Eventually, it led to this rabbit hole of unhealthy relationships with food, exercise, and body image that I had struggled with as a teenager. It ultimately led me back to wanting more balance again. I want to be nourishing my body and treating it really well. I want to be not so concerned with what I look like, but how I feel. Between learning practices that supported my mental health and learning how food, nutrition, and supplementation could impact my mental health, that all really influenced my wellness journey.
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What does your typical week of training look like?
I try to take a balanced approach. So I usually do around three days of strength training, three or four yoga classes, and I practice yoga on my own a day or two as well throughout the week. My strength training will typically be a combination of bodyweight training, resistance training, and dynamic plyometric activities in a gym. I find that strength training helps keep my joints stable and yoga is great for flexibility and mobility. So they really balance each other out. It’s also important to leave room for play, which can be anything from doing acrobatics, hiking, or going rock climbing. I try to get at least one of those in a week.
What is your take on overtraining?
For most people, once they pass that 90-day mark they feel really good! They start to love that endorphin rush and the feeling of engaging their muscles and it becomes a little addictive. At that point a lot of people assume more is better, but there’s a point where it doesn’t get better and they’re creating an inflammatory response in their body. It’s pretty amazing how the body responds to balance and the majority of people do really well when they have more balance in their routine, rather than overtraining which can be very easy to do.
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What advice do you have for finding that balance?
Finding a balance between too much and too little is going to look a little bit different for everybody. I’m such an advocate for individuality when it comes to nutrition and fitness. We are all so unique and our bodies respond differently to different stimuli, so it’s good to take the time to experiment and find what works best for you. I’m also an advocate for training in ways that you feel really good about. If you dread going to the gym every day or you hate running, maybe you shouldn’t go running every morning! There are so many ways to work out and be active while still enjoying yourself.
That being said, it’s important to appreciate the cyclical nature of our bodies. We’re not meant to be static, we’re not meant to have the same routine for the rest of our lives. We go through different seasons and what we like and what our body likes at one point will change over time. It’s really important to be open to the fact that your practices will change and the more you can learn to adapt and change with them the better!
Finding balance in nutrition
Nutrition is a continual practice that requires experimentation, getting to know your body, and also being willing for it to change throughout your life. You may go through seasons of your life where you’re eating differently because you’re training for a triathlon, or you’re dealing with an illness or food sensitivity, so it’s important to be willing for your ideal diet to look different at different points in your life.
As a general rule of thumb, focusing on whole foods is a great place to start. Most of your food should be single-ingredient foods like fruits and vegetables. Whether you eat meat or not most of your food should be just food, and from there we can have a conversation about processed foods. But finding that balance in your nutrition is something you have to commit to, it’s not a “30-day fix” situation.
I’m also an advocate for not vilifying food or labeling food as good or bad. The more we label foods and attach feelings of guilt and shame to food the more complex that relationship becomes. If you label everything as neutral and categorize foods into ones that will support your health more than others, then it’s okay if you want to eat something that just tastes really good at the moment- it’s not the end of the world. I really encourage people to not just look at what they’re eating but also how they’re relating to it.
What are your thoughts on balancing macros, carbs, protein, and fat?
Again, this is based on how a person’s body metabolizes different nutrients and what their goals are. I’m also an advocate for not vilifying certain macronutrients; carbs, fats, and proteins all have their strengths. Depending on what I client is struggling with and what goals they have we can work on trusting their body’s wisdom so they don’t need to focus on numbers or labeling foods and we can find what works for them.
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