Self-preservation during the holiday season


How well do you know yourself? If you’re anything like me, the holiday season just saps the life force out of me. As an introvert (who seems to get more introverted by the day), I have learned to be very protective of my time. The social calendar keeps stacking up with work holiday parties, multiple family holiday parties, and other social gatherings. This year I’m putting into practice all of my strategies for managing the stress of a busy calendar.

I found myself a little overwhelmed a few weeks ago, and my live-in health coach (a.k.a. my husband) asked me a really great question. “What would coach Marilyn tell you to do?”

That’s it, right there.  I could tell you the same thing you can read on HuffPo — rest, gratitude, self-care, time management, etc.  In fact, those things seem to be a theme on this blog.

But really, ask yourself, “If I was my own health coach, what advice would I give myself?”

Only you know and understand your threshold for family drama, exposure to excessive sugary baked goods and alcohol, and small talk with acquaintances at parties. Really take some time this holiday season and come up with your own plan to manage life’s chaos. We really do have our own answers, but sometimes we just need to ask ourselves the right question.

Having trouble finding the answers? Or the questions? Let me know if I can help. You never know how a single conversation can change your outlook on everything.

Peace to all.


Reboot your thinking

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break.


We can be so hard on ourselves, and this time of year when the calendar gets full and work gets intense trying to meet deadlines while working around holiday schedules, it’s important for me to remember: self-care is not selfish.

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself overcommitted, full of anxiety, and with a to-do list a mile long. The most important thing I did was to recognize those feelings, own them, then come up with a plan to mitigate what felt like an impending implosion. Okay, truth time: I had a bit of a mini-meltdown.

I know I am not the only one who has experienced these emotions.

So what are some strategies for rebooting? Here’s a few I have been employing.

  • Sleep. I have worked on my sleep habit over the past few years. I aim for 7-8 hours which is a huge improvement over 4-5 that I thought was enough. After my mini-meltdown, I set an 8:30 bedtime for myself and even chose sleep over exercise to just get my energy back on track.
  • Protect your time. I have had to pass on some lunch and coffee invitations because as an introvert, they are a huge effort for me. I love my friends, but I needed to recharge before I can engage, at least for now.
  • Take some mental health time. I have so much banked vacation time, so I have been using it as a way to rest and refocus my energy, especially while building up my coaching business.
  • Eat well. Nutrition for your body contributes to the nourishment of your soul. What you eat affects how you feel.
  • Practice gratitude. Daily reminders of the good things in life help reframe your mental energy when in a rut.
  • Hug your dogs. (Well, that’s what I do.) If you don’t have a critter to hug, maybe it’s time to open your heart and adopt one!
  • Hydrate. Dehydration can add to your funk. With the weather getting cooler, herbal teas have worked their way into my hydration agenda.
  • Laugh. Read or listen to a funny book, or indulge in some Netflix time for a mental break.
  • Breathe. Practice focused breathing or meditation to help bring some mindfulness to the situation.

What are some of the ways you choose to reboot? Share them here or tweet with me @OffthePlateMC.

Namaste. 🙏

Welcome, and My “Why”


Welcome to Off the Plate, a health and wellness blog that will accompany my future practice as an integrative nutrition health coach. I recently started studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I am in the midst of my own personal journey to optimal health and wellness, and along the way, I realized that I can share my experience with others to help them achieve their goals.

In July 2016, I underwent gastric bypass surgery and my life was forever changed. I am now an obesity survivor — an obesity ass-kicker. This journey has been a long one, having been obese since I was in my teens (and literally on one diet or another since I was 11). When I decided to have bariatric surgery, I researched the lifestyle changes, I read books and blogs, and committed to making this change permanent.

Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and a variety of endocrine and metabolic complexities prevented me from losing weight, no matter how much I exercised, and despite following nutritional guidance from my doctors. Although the surgery radically changed my digestion and absorption of nutrients, it didn’t change my brain. I had to make those changes myself:

  • Adopting a more positive outlook on life
  • Identifying stress triggers and learning how to manage them
  • Incorporating a daily gratitude practice
  • Changing my self talk with daily affirmations
  • Practicing meditation and yoga
  • Journaling
  • Establishing routine exercise goals
  • Building daily rituals to reinforce these lifestyle changes

In my quest to learn more about how food — a whole foods approach to nutrition — can impact weight loss and metabolism, I found this health coach training program and it was immediately apparent to me that I had found my purpose.

My goal is to inspire and support others on their health and wellness journeys to identify and achieve their goals, providing support for nutrition, but also providing support for the nourishment off the plate: nourishment for the body, mind, and spirit.

You’ve all heard the expression, “having too much on my plate.” How many times have you let the wrong priorities guide your life, depriving you of a healthy self-care practice? It’s time to get some things off the plate so you can start feeding the areas of your life that are the most satisfying. I can help you find your own approach to creating that balance in your life.

While I won’t officially be seeing clients for the first six months of this program, I am offering free guidance during this time to a limited group who in turn will help me refine my coaching skills, participate in health history sessions or provide feedback on pilot programs I would like to offer. If you are interested in this introductory coaching proposal, contact me at