The Coca-Cola Balanced Living Workshop: my take

I was compensated for my participation in Coca-Cola's Balanced Living Workshop, but my thoughts and views are my own.

I didn't really know what to expect when I agreed to go to the Coca-Cola Balanced Living Workshop.
I knew it promised to be an enjoyable and informative experience.
Dietitians, personal trainers, professional chefs...good stuff...

Well, after I confessed I needed to conquer my fear of being in a big group of strangers... 
But I got over that. (Of course.)
And I drove on the highway!
And in downtown Chicago!
I didn't get lost!
I even parked without the valet!
And was responsible enough not to lose my keys!!
Ha. What a wimp.
Being a grown up isn't so bad after all. 

I also kind of (and based on comments last time and on facebook...lots of you did too!) wondered if it was going to be a big Coke propaganda session.
I promise it wasn't.
We really did focus on healthier living.

I left full of ideas and full inspiration.

On Tuesday, one of the activities was to meet with a dietitian one on one to discuss changes I could make for myself and for my family.
That was good.
Lately I've felt food has been a big struggle for us.  I've felt really out of control.
My eating, my children's eating, snacking, shopping, eating carry out...not where I want to be.
I learned how even baby steps are going to make a big impact in our lives.
Music to my ears.
Because really, it's the only way I could tackle it.  Had she suggested a huge overhaul to our eating, I doubt I would've even tried.

Meal planning once a week.
Eating at the table instead of standing in the kitchen.
Snacking at specific snack times.

Nothing crazy hard or confusing. But all of them will make a difference.

I also got to meet with a personal trainer who developed a fitness plan just for me.
It was also really good.
Guess what.  I don't have to run miles and miles and workout at a gym for hours to see a big difference.
Um, loved hearing that!!
He had a plan to squeeze in 20 minutes here and there.
If I have more time, I can do it over again.
Nothing fancy. No machines. No gym.
Made just for a girl like me.
A girl with creaky knees when she walks up the stairs or bends down.
A girl who is usually carrying a tiny human around on her hip.
A girl who would rather take a nap than work out.
A girl who wants to get back to her college volleyball days.

He even went through all the exercises with me.
In front of everyone.
But I survived the embarrassment. (Actually everyone else was doing it too!)
I got to leave knowing exactly what to do.  No excuses.
And now, after following his plan for a week, I'm already less creaky.

Possibly the coolest part of the day was a workout session we had.
With Harley Pasternak.
Harley Pasternak!
Celebrity trainer!
Totally awesome.
He reinforced what I heard earlier.
You don't need a gym. You don't need fancy machines. You don't need $200 running shoes.
A simple pedometer and 10,000 steps a day.
Super easy to do a few super easy (but intense!) things at home.
In front of the TV, even.
Hello entire season of Project Runway All-stars I have DVRed and need to watch.
Hearing these things was reassuring.
Two trainers both saying that I don't need to make a huge commitment to still make a huge difference on my fitness.
So great to hear.

On Wednesday we switched gears from fitness to nutrition.
We started the day by touring a local grocery store with a dietitian.

She walked us through the aisles and talked a lot about making the best choices in what seems like an overwhelming number of products and choices.
Not focusing on what we should avoid...but what are better choices.
Bread vs. bread (pick the one with low calories and high fiber)
Veggie vs. veggie (the darker the color the more nutrient rich)
Snack vs. snack (pick the highest in fiber and lowest in calories again)
Even bacon vs. bacon! (go for the center cut)
It was really great to hear, especially at this time of year.  Yummy, not so good for you food all around.
A focus on healthy indulgence was really refreshing (and helpful!) to hear.

Busted Diet Coke drinking and instagramming!

We ended the workshop with what I looked most forward to...and what I loved the most.
A lesson from a professional chef!

Apparently I have a really intense carrot peeling face.  Ha!

We put into action what we'd been hearing about all along.
The best way to eat is by filling half your plate with fruits and veggies.
So we made a delicious lunch...
without adding a ton of butter.
with plenty of veggies.
without frying anything.
only using simple methods and techniques.
And it didn't take that long.
No reason not to do it at home.

thank you Coca Cola!
I loved the experience.
I had such a good time.
I learned a TON.
And I'm already trying a lot of what I learned, which is really the test.
2013 is going to be a better year for my family and me.  I just know it. :)

Big thanks to the paparazzi film/camera crew for all the awesome pictures of the event!
all photo credit in this post: The Coca-Cola Company and Bruce Powell Photography


  1. So glad it was great for you!
    I would LOVE to do the hands-on cooking!

  2. Great wrap-up/take-away post! Thank you for sharing what stood out to you about the workshop. Glad to meet you and hope to see you again soon! Also, I love that you snapped a photo of the guys who took some many pictures of us during the event!

  3. Looks like you had a blast! You look absolutely gorgeous...As always, friend! ;)

    Stockard Channing.

  4. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly feel this website needs much more
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