Certified Health and Wellness Coach Natalie Macke knows the importance of consistent self-care. As a mother, wife, and active community member, she enlists an approach to her wellness routine that combines both dedication and flexibility. Read on to learn about the practices that allow her to feel her very best in mind, body, and spirit.
I have a saying that, “your ability to be consistent relies on your ability to be flexible, not on your ability to duplicate or replicate.” This leads me to state that I do not have a solid, routine schedule. My life has many moving parts, especially with raising a toddler and traveling a lot. There are however, certain things that I am more rigid with and others that I am more flexible with. It is a daily effort to achieve productive and satisfying balance.
I strive to be ready for the day by 7:30am; however, my daughter is at times, the earlier bird that catches the worm, and encourages me to as well. Haha. Breakfast is never skipped and is prioritized. I try to intermittent fast a few days a week, which ends up pushing my breakfast to a brunch. In between breakfast and lunch, you can find me working on entrepreneurial projects, at the park with my daughter, on a walk/run, or at story-time at the library with my daughter; it varies. Lunch is typically served at home and precedes a learning activity with my daughter or playtime at the park. If anything changes or my daughter unexpectedly naps early after play time, I intentionally rotate responsibilities and desires. I typically work an at-home, part time job for an hour before dinner is made for my family. My daughter’s bath-time and story-time follow dinner. Her bedtime routine is highly valuable to me because that dictates whether or not I have time to work a few more hours and spend time with my spouse before heading to bed. I head to the gym one day during the week and a few days during the weekend.
It is important to note, that most of what I’ve mentioned has already changed because I am currently in transition to moving to North Carolina. I am currently spending quality time with family and friends in my home town. Once we get to our new home, I imagine I will be in different circumstances. For example, we are going to be getting a YMCA membership and I will be enrolling my daughter in activities, as well as being able to work out at the gym more routinely than my previous experience. Overall, I try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Most days I get slightly less than that. There are seasons of my life where I get more sleep than others; however, it is a strong immune and mood marker for me, so it is extremely valuable.
I do not like labels. I eat intuitively and intellectually. Meaning, I approach food and drink with a combination of heart and body intuition and nutrition science. My personal dietary philosophy is, “eat mostly plants.” I predominantly eat fruits (including fatty fruits: avocado, acai berry), vegetables, leafy greens, fermented vegetables and beverages, sprouted grains; and smaller amounts of nuts, seeds, beans and cooking fat. I eat an even smaller amount of animal protein, rotating between fatty fish, chicken, or grass-fed beef. I try to avoid gluten, excess dairy, and refined sugar. Breakfast: I usually start with a tall glass of lemon and lime water. I follow this with some combination of eggs, steamed greens, green smoothies, fermented foods, fruit, and sprouted French toast. Alternatively, you can occasionally find me at a local Panera or health conscious eatery. I like to change things up. Lunch: I typically have some type of leafy green salad, fruit salad and kombucha tea. Many times, my daughter and I will walk/run to our local farmer’s market, pick up local take-out items and then walk to our local park to eat in the grass, followed by play time. Snacks: Throughout the day, I primarily snack on fruit. I cannot get enough; especially local fruit that is in season. Occasionally, if I am tight on time, I will make myself a vegan protein shake. My favorite shake is vanilla almond milk, vanilla vegan protein powder and peanut butter, garnished with a bit of organic jelly. It’s basically a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a glass. Dinner: Dinner is most often a crock-pot vegetable and bean soup with sprouted bread, one-skillet dishes or sheet-pan dishes. I’m pretty gifted at being able to appropriately balance macronutrients and micronutrients for a complete and nourishing meal. Though I love to cook and craft food, as a mom, I do not like to spend much time in the kitchen because I am always multi-tasking to-do lists, household chores and meals. I am truly in love with my crock-pot from VitaClay Chef. It is a clay crock-pot that locks in flavor and is incredibly efficient. Drink: Throughout the day, I drink water from my Berkey filtration system and often, I will flavor it with muddled fresh mint, muddled fruits, and/or apple cider vinegar. I really enjoy morning cold brew coffee or high quality espresso spiked with vanilla almond milk. I buy local kombucha in bulk and on tap, so I’m usually taking a few shots of that throughout the day. In the evenings, I enjoy mild detox teas and on occasion I will make golden milk tea, using fresh turmeric. Splurge: Since I avoid gluten, it is indulgent for me to enjoy a fresh traditional pastry or bread. I’m fairly selective with my splurges. I totally believe in splurges. I have a saying, to “be sensible about nutrition, but never put yourself in prison.” I eat all food with gratitude. Supplements: I take a fair amount of supplements because I am actively addressing immune health with my integrative doctor. Non-specific supplements I take are, Dr. Fuhrman’s women’s multi-vitamin and Young Living Sulfurzyme, that has MSM and dietary sulfur, which supports my immune system and enhances post-workout recovery. I also rotate liquid Vitamin D3, an assortment of amino acids, Vitamin C, probiotics, and Young Living Multigreens. On occasion I will use herbal support.
Movement has been a priority in my life for as long as I can remember. The type of movement I’ve prioritized has evolved over the years as seasons of life and personal interests change. I am not rigid and I enjoy trying new ways to move. My only pre-qualifier is that it is fun and functional. For the past year, I’ve worked out three days at the gym, focusing on strength training. I spend between 45 minutes to one hour, engaging in upper body, lower body, and core work. My body responds well to active resting, so in-between sets, you can find me doing some type of cardio or plyometric exercises to keep my heart elevated. Two days a week, I run for thirty minutes with my daughter. On rare occasion, if I’m not with my daughter, I will challenge myself to a distance run of roughly five to seven miles. Most days of the week, I work out at the park with my daughter, rotating callisthenic, plyometric, monkey bar, and interval cardiovascular exercises. My overall philosophy is to view exercise opportunistically. Whether I’m at the park, grocery store or waiting for an oil change, I consciously see opportunities to exercise.
I most value undivided presence in relationships. To me, presence or lack of presence is a strong determinant of where relationships go from there. Developing intimacy through conscious connection, eye to soul contact, love, and respect are crucial to healthy and treasured relationships. Viewing relationships as a collaborative effort is essential for a mutually beneficial experience. Being able to balance shared interests and investing yourself in the interests of the ones you love, is a great way to avoid selfishness. Encouragement, transparency, trust and humor are important ingredients to rich relationships. Contrast in relationships is inevitable. I often question how rich a relationship is, if there has been no noticeable or spoken contrast at some point. Maintaining and valuing the pillars I’ve mentioned above, is so important to be able to grow through undesirable contrast.
I love to be in the outdoors; however, when I’m not, bringing as much natural light into a home is very important to my overall well-being. Windows are open whenever possible for changes in airflow. If you walk throughout my home, you will find various well-being supports. I love plants and greenery; however, I primarily buy succulents because I do not have enough of a green thumb yet to manage much else. You will also find essential oil diffusers, pink Himalayan salt lamps, organic and non-toxic household cleaning and hygiene items. I work from home, so compartmentalizing work, play, and down-time space can be challenging; however, I try to set intentions on where these activities take place. I try to balance structure and flow in my household. In translating that, I try to keep spaces clean but I’m not against making messes. All of these things support my physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health.
Stress-Release and Centering Tools
There is no stress-release to me like physical exercise; most notably, cardiovascular exercise. As cortisol and other stress hormone build up, that is the most efficient way to move it through the blood for elimination. I experience so much pleasure running on trails as well, being immersed in nature. If I notice myself getting tense or caught down a mental rabbit hole, I shift myself outdoors, get in the sunshine and put my bare feet in the ground. I regularly incorporate essential oils into my day for stress-preventive care. Praying in Jesus Christ’ name is extremely important to me and is always a part of the activities I’ve mentioned above. I do not like to stay in the same space for too long. I am a mover. I like changes in scenery and environment, so I often take my daughter on outings. Depending on the type of stress, I will either try to stay away from crowds and isolate in nature, or immerse myself in social context, so I can get out of my head and put perspective back into my situation.
Connecting with people feeds my soul. By this, I mean deep, conscious connection that has eternal focus. Engaging with people at my church, my close family and friends is soul food. There is so much that lights me up. Being a mother to my daughter has brought so much perspective and indescribable joy in my life, despite the current power struggle, toddler moments. Parenting is teaching me a lot about God’s love as well as learning how to give more of myself to others. I love health coaching and helping people to discover who they are, dream who they want to be, and design how they will get there. Witnessing some of the most amazing health transformations over the past 3 years has given me so much drive to continue the work God has given me passion for. I am highly energized by encouraging others through presence, speaking and communication. As often as I like connecting with people, I am replenished by alone time. I consider myself an introverted extrovert. Meaning, my cup is filled by both social engagement and temporary isolated retreat. When one of these is off balance, my well-being is negatively affected.
Spending time with God, through prayer and reading Bible scripture, simultaneously softens and strengthens my heart. I love to diffuse essential oils during prayer, reading and meditation. I’ve recently started to burn sage during these times as well. It has a beautiful aroma and I bring my faith into the practice. I find that happiness in my life is a fleeting or conditional experience. I’m learning to be and live in joy despite my circumstances. Sometimes that is more of a struggle than others. Therefore, my highest degree of joy is when I can smile, laugh and cling to God in the face of trial. In general, I am happiest when I am in nature; when I have belly full of nutrients; when I am nurturing my family; when I get regular exercise and when those I love are thriving and living in joy themselves.
My overall purpose in life is to leave a legacy of love. I want to be remembered for my relentless desire to demonstrate grace, victory, forgiveness, and mercy, all through the lens of unconditional love. How this is channeled is secondary to actually manifesting it. In other words, regardless of what career focus I choose or experiences I have, if I bring that overall philosophy into the equation, I know my willingness to be a vessel for God will be utilized; thus, accomplishing my purpose, whether I knew what it was or not. The world places tremendous burden on us to find our purpose in life, and to equate that with success or failure. I believe we can live with purpose without knowing our purpose. Those who state they firmly know their purpose might actually be limiting their potential. The right combination between passion, focus, willingness, and flexibility is a great cocktail for doing heavenly work on earth.
I am most excited about the ways in which I have stepped outside my comfort-zone, to pursue entrepreneurial passion projects. I own and write for the blog, www.attainablehealth.com and I enjoy connecting with people on our Facebook community. The blog’s intent is breaking limiting beliefs about how health and wellness are actually achieved and building internal strength to maximize personal potential. I am also excited to be developing an online health coaching program and hosting ministry focused health-related workshops. I am excited about the ways in which God is expanding my opportunities to use my voice and encourage people.
My daily intention is that I have hands to help; feet to mission; and a voice to encourage.
I send you light, love and gratitude for taking the time to connect with me. I’d love to connect with you!
Image of Natalie by Rebecca Luisi Photography.