Self-care is all about nourishing ourselves – mind, body and soul. Nutrition does exactly that. However we believe that in order to nourish ourselves, to lead healthier lives, we need to make massive changes, eat foods we don’t really like and deprive ourselves of the foods we actually love.

In my interview with Jocie of The Nutrition Tank, she tells us how we can still enjoy the foods we love while becoming healthier, why eating a more balanced diet is important and what small changes you can make today that, with consistency, will result in big achievements.

Website: thenutritiontank.com
Instagram: @thenutritiontankcoach
Email: jocie@thenutritiontank.com

Carol: Welcome mamas. It’s Carol Webb of Just Breathe Mama Coach. I’m a coach, EFT and Reiki practitioner and I love helping moms navigate the overwhelm and create a more manageable, balanced and joyful life. To continue our self-care series today, we’re going to take a look at the nutrition component. When you think of the word self-care, I would guess that most people think of bubble baths and spa days which are great, but nutrition is a major component of self care. Nutrition is really important for maintaining good health and it’s also nourishment for our body and our mind.

Carol: I have somebody really special with us today, she’s a really good friend of mine. This is Jocie of the Nutrition Tank. Now Jocie has been working in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years. She has had the opportunity to work with many amazing clients along her journey, including professional and young athletes and women and men looking to make solid changes to their lifestyles. Jocie holds a degree in food and nutrition and she is certified through Precision Nutrition. She’s dedicated to helping people live their best life through thoughtful exercise and nutrition programming. So welcome Jocie! So happy to have you here. Can you please tell us your story? How did you get into health and nutrition?

Jocie: I think it started for me over 12 years ago. I’m thinking now that it was probably in 2005 that I decided to hire a personal trainer. I wanted to learn more about how to strengthen my body and I kind of always did the cardio thing. I’m a runner, I did a lot of that, but I had never really worked out in a gym before. So I thought best way to do that is learn from a trainer. I hired him and I worked with him for probably over a year and it was just fascinating to me how exercise and strength training could really change my body and make me so much stronger and just more vital.

Jocie: So after that I decided that that was something I wanted to do too. I got my certification and started working from the bottom up being a trainer, a new trainer is actually quite difficult. You kind of got to start from the bottom and you put in your hours. Eventually I just started training people outside of the commercial gym I worked in and started my own training business. That I found really rewarding. Helping people lose weight, helping people learn more about how they can change their body.

Jocie: I got to work with clients from the national ballet. So learning about exercise for them as opposed to exercise for myself or for someone who’s not an athlete like that, just how that changes. Then I also started working in an all girls school as the health and wellness director there. That was really cool too because that’s a whole different demographic as well, working with young girls as opposed to women. I’m seeing their needs and seeing how exercise and nutrition can really empower them.

Jocie: So then after that, I just felt like there was a missing piece for me. I knew about exercise and in the gym stuff, but nutrition always was the missing piece. And I wanted to learn more about that and how I could incorporate that into my programs with my clients. So I decided to go back to school for food and nutrition. I went to Ryerson again and completed a four year degree. It was challenging while working, but rewarding in the end because I later opened up the Nutrition Tank, which is my current business. It’s an online consulting business that I work with clients. I can work with clients from all over the world, but predominantly my clients are from Canada and I feel like that’s kind of my market. I guess that’s how I got into it.

Carol: Oh, that’s amazing. I actually haven’t ever thought about how a ballet dancer may train as opposed to a bodybuilder or you and me in the gym. I never really thought about that.

Jocie: Completely different. I mean their needs will be super different in terms of how they move their body. They’re athletes, right?

Carol: Yes. So why do you feel it’s important for moms in particular to be meeting their nutritional needs?

Jocie: I think it’s super big for women in general to be meeting their nutritional needs, but then you add to that being a mom. Particularly in the postpartum period, there’s a lot of healing and recovery that is taking place after birth. So incorporating and ensuring that you’re meeting your nutritional needs that way super important. Also if you’re breastfeeding, everything that you’re consuming is helping with your baby’s growth and development as well. So I think in that period of time, ensuring that you’re meeting your needs is really important because it’ll increase your energy and give you the actual sustenance that you need to go on with your day.

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Image by Brooke Lark

Carol: That makes complete sense. Do you create programs for women who are vegan and vegetarian, lactose intolerant and gluten-free?

Jocie: Yeah, absolutely. I work with clients with all sorts of different dietary preferences, allergies, whatever it may be. For example, a woman who is vegetarian or a man who’s vegetarian is going to be lacking certain nutrients. In particular, there might be iron or B12 issues there. So I want to make sure when planning my program, that they’re going to be meeting those those needs. I feel like nowadays there’s all sorts of different food preferences. A lot of people either have intolerances, allergies or just the preference of not having something included in their diet. So it’s my job to look at that and see then where I can get those missing nutrients from, from different foods.

Carol: Right. So do you have particular programs that you offer to moms to help them reach their health and nutrition goals? Or is it all very specific?

Jocie: So it is specific. It’s not a specific program for them, but how it works is it’s a customized program based on what their needs are. So the intake process would be the same for everybody. I ask for a detailed intake. So there’s a lot of questions about, where they’re at in terms of readiness for change, what their goals are, what their lifestyle is like. There’s lots of questions that help me get to know them.

Jocie: Then after that, we usually schedule a phone call and we go over it together and I can ask questions that maybe weren’t clarified in the questionnaire. They can ask me questions that they’re wondering about. And then from there we decide together what the best approach is. So I guess I wouldn’t say that it’s like a specific program for each individual, but it can be tailored to whatever anyone needs.

Carol: Oh, that’s fantastic. Do you think one can lead a healthier lifestyle through diet changes alone? Or would you always incorporate exercise?

Jocie: It would be nice for both of those to go together because they’re so complimentary, but if you were to pick just nutrition, you could see changes for sure. And I mean, changes, like I mentioned before in your energy, in your stamina. If you’ve been having a diet that consists of a lot of processed foods, not enough fruits and vegetables, not enough water and then you go and change something and incorporate even just simple things. Like, look at one meal of the day and see, “Okay, what did I eat for that? What could I have changed? What could I add in?” If you do that consistently, even if it’s just one meal, you would see a difference in how you feel. So, yeah, I think that there’s a lot of power in nutrition on its own.

Jocie: It’s just navigating it that I find a lot of my clients find hard. It’s hard to navigate. There’s so much information out there about nutrition and what to eat and what the right thing is to do. The truth is there’s not a cookie cookie cutter answer, right? What works for someone might not work for the others. But the rules about vegetables and fruit, unprocessed food, those are basics. That’s something that I want my clients to learn right away. Those are basics. Those will never change. I know some people want a different answer, right? But that’s the reality.

Carol: Yeah that makes sense. I like that you can just implement the smallest change in nutrition and you’ll see a difference. I love that.

Jocie: For sure! Consistently, right? You can’t do it just the one-off, but if you consistently make that change to your daily intake, yeah, for sure. And then adding in the exercise and working on other things.

Carol: Yeah because it might be a lot for people to like, “Okay, change up my whole diet, change up exercise” and then people fall off the wagon that way. You implement one small change a day.

Jocie: That’s the key. And again, looking at someone’s readiness for change, which I work with a lot, is key because I could have a client who’s on the high end of being, “alright I’m all in, this is it” or someone who’s still kind of like learning and skeptical about things. So I have to be careful with how I manage my clients because you want to make sure you’re not giving too much to someone who’s not ready because like you said, then you just end up feeling defeated and falling off.

Carol: Yeah. That totally makes sense. It probably seems pretty obvious and you stated some of them before, but what are the biggest benefits that moms would receive by adopting a healthier lifestyle?

Jocie: I think for moms because we’re so used to putting everybody else first so you kind of let your needs be last. When you have a family and you’re running around, I think energy levels are one. You start eating better, really paying attention to what you’re eating and you’re going to see that your energy levels increase. This is huge because who wants to be tired all the time and feeling really rundown?

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Image by Katie Smith

Jocie: Your stamina, so being able to be more alive with your kids when you’re playing around and that kind of stuff. And then the other stuff that we really like, our improved body composition. All of a sudden you’re like, “okay, I’m sitting up straighter” or “I’m feeling stronger, things that I used to carry aren’t gassing me like they used to.” “Oh, my legs are getting stronger.” So that could be more to do with your exercise, but I do find with nutrition too, you will see those things happen. And I wanted to mention too about better sleep as well.

Carol: Ah and people don’t think about that.

Jocie: Yeah. You don’t think about that and it’s huge, right? Quality sleep is so important. It’s recovery every day. So making sure that’s taken care of by eating well during the day it’ll kind of trickle into that.

Carol: That’s funny. Every aspect impacts the other aspect.

Jocie: It really does. It really does.

Carol: If there are any mamas out there watching who are feeling like, “Oh, it’s time to start implementing or putting my nutrition in order,” what’s a small step that they could take to do that today?

Jocie: I would say for someone who’s looking to see “what is the change that I can do?” I would do an inventory. I kind of mentioned it about starting with one meal. So do an inventory of your day, of your meals. “What’s been my daily intake today?” And focus on one meal. So make it be breakfast because that’s the first meal and take an inventory of breakfast. “What did I eat? Write it down.

Jocie: I don’t like labeling foods as good or bad, but I mean, if you have a general knowledge of what you could incorporate into your day that is a little bit healthier for instance, fruit, vegetables, less processed food then take a look at what you ate in your breakfast and what you could add in instead of something else. Focus on that one meal. I think that’s a really good step to take, focusing on one meal that you can make a change in and work on that meal for a couple of weeks. See how it goes, how you can improve it and reach out to people like myself or some someone that you trust in nutrition that can help you make those decisions. I think it’s about adding in quality stuff, quality food as opposed to restricting things out.

Carol: Yeah. I think as soon as people think, “Oh, I can’t have that anymore,” that’s all they think about and that’s all they crave.

Jocie: Yeah. And it’s true because it’s not sustainable to do that. I really try to get that message out that it’s okay to have foods, all types of foods. It’s not okay to do that all the time if you’re looking to improve yourself. So I would say that’s a good step. And then if you do an inventory of your cupboards and your fridge and really look and say, “all right, what things are trigger foods or what things are not making me feel good?” For instance, if there’s chocolates in the house or candies or chips, again, stuff that’s okay, but if it’s a trigger food that you feel like you’re always going to, then perhaps that’s something that you could get rid of or maybe not have in the house so much. And those are little steps too.

Carol: That’s really good advice. Is there else that you’d like to share for those mamas who are always busy, but they do want to implement the healthier, nutritionally, balanced lifestyle, is there anything else you want to share for them in terms of maybe snacks or meal prep or something like that?

Jocie: Definitely I think as a busy mom, if you don’t have a plan for your week, in terms of your dinners or what you’re going to feed your family, what you’re going to feed yourself then you can really divert to ordering out, making choices that are on the fly rather than a thought out plan for the week. And I’m speaking from experience like there’s weeks that I have not planned anything and I find that it’s just super busy. I’m grabbing for things or my fridge isn’t stocked so I don’t have anything, I don’t have what I want. But if you plan it out and actually set yourself out a plan, decide what you want to make for the week, even if it’s just three or four meals, go shopping for that, stock your fridge, get it ready, have a plan.

Jocie: And then once you start into your week and you’re making the food, you’ll have leftovers. So there’s going to be food in your fridge that’s already made and ready to eat, which is key too when you’re running around with kids and trying to feed everybody and get people to places where they need to be. I think that’s a really good starting point. And if three meals a week is too much, start less, plan with one. Find a really cool recipe that you want to make, write down the ingredients, go shopping for them and have that in your fridge ready to go.

Carol: Yeah even the one meal because you’ll have leftovers. But I do what you suggested actually. I figured that out, it was just easiest for our family to have three or four. You can’t really plan for the whole week or you could plan, but you can’t really shop for the whole week I’ve found. So we’ll shop for three or four meals and because of leftovers that may add on a couple of days there, which is kind of a bonus.

Jocie: For sure! And it’s your lunches. No, definitely. It’s not easy to do. It isn’t easy to do and I give credit to my clients who do it because I even find it is hard to do. But it makes you feel so much better when you have a plan. When you know what you’re going to eat, when you know that you’re making it so it’s healthy ingredients going into it. Then you don’t have to resort to ordering takeout, which is fine, but save it for the weekend or whatever, but try your best in the week to make your food the way you want it to be.

Carol: Yeah for sure. Well, that was amazing. Thank you for all that information, Joc. Mamas, if you want to check out her website, check out the nutritiontank.com and you can follow her on IG @thenutritiontankcoach. You can also reach out to Jocie via email jocie@thenutritiontank.com. All right? Thanks Jocie!

Jocie: Thanks Carol.

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