You Can Stay Slim and Healthy During the Holidays

Thanksgiving tableYou Can Stay Slim and Healthy During the Holidays

So maybe you’ve been eating clean, or avoiding fast food this year.  Maybe you’re on a losing streak (with weight that is) and want to continue on that path to smaller jeans.  Your train is heading for Smallville…. next stop Slender Town.  Then along come the Holidays.  You know, that time of year when all diets go out the window.  All bets are off!  Calories don’t count on Turkey day, right?  There’s no question that it’s challenging to resist unhealthy, diet busting temptations when there are Christmas cookies at the office, cocktail parties every weekend, and let’s face it, pumpkin pie is a tradition. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah are super special, but dangerous times when people tend to get derailed.  Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your health goals.

The Food Coma

You know that feeling after you’ve had two servings of everything at the buffet table?  It’s time to take a nap, and change your pants because suddenly you are uncomfortable.  But then dessert gets passed around, and somehow we all find room for pie.  After all, Nana made it from scratch. It would be rude to pass it up.  Certain delicious treats only come around once a year, so by all means partake with your family and enjoy, but be mindful of your portions.  Size does matter.  Try taking sampler size servings of each food item that looks appealing.  Eat slowly, and savor.  Wait 20 minutes before deciding on seconds, giving your brain the chance to get the message that you’re full.  Listen to your body.  Are you still hungry?  It is likely that you are satisfied, and have just enough room for a mini piece of pie.

Chew, chew, chew

In Ayurvedic teachings, we are advised to try to chew each bite up to 30 times for the best digestion, and to really be present and enjoy our food.  This will help our bellies feel better later, and just might prevent an accidental binge.

Crowding Out

This is something that I teach my clients.  I don’t tell them they can’t have their favorite foods that are sabotaging their health.  I teach them to incrementally crowd them out by adding in healthful options to their diet.  When loading up the plate, make sure at least half of it is laden with delicious vegetables.  This leaves less room for mashed potatoes and gravy.

White Christmas? 

Sure, but not on your plate.  Be Bold With Colors.  Decorate your dish with beautiful anthocyanin-rich foods.  Anthocyanin is a plant compound that acts as an effective antioxidant within the human body.  It is also a color pigment that gives many fruits and berries a blue, red or dark purple hue and is found in a wide assortment of healthy foods.   The more colors you have in your diet the better the array of nutrients, antioxidants and polyphenols you are feeding your cells.  Reach for colorful foods like roasted beets, yams, cranberries, blueberries, carrots, eggplant, purple asparagus, and don’t forget those greens!


 Drink up!

While it is always important to stay hydrated, this can be a useful tool to staying full.  Often times when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty.  Try drinking a glass of water next time you reach for the chips and dip, and see how you feel.  A glass before mealtime can also decrease your odds of over indulgence.  Drinking water with your meal can dilute your stomach acids, leading to less efficient digestion, so be sure to be well hydrated before the feast hits the table.

Don’t go to the Party Hungry

Cocktail parties are fun, but no place for someone looking to drop a few pounds.  The snacks are usually carb loaded, processed food-like substances.  If you choose to have a few drinks, remember that your appetite will increase, while your ability to give a darn will decrease.  Enough said.

Weigh the Risks

It is helpful for people who are trying to lose weight to step on a scale regularly.  Monitoring your weight at least once a week is a good idea, not only to see if you need to make adjustments to your routine, but it’s a fantastic motivator to see your progress.  Hit the scale before a party.  Check in on the morning of Thanksgiving, or when you know an abundant feast is on the agenda.  If you are aware of your results, this will make you less likely to blow everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.  I do want to discourage obsessing, and weighing in every morning.  Your weight will fluctuate even throughout each day, and this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, and your body.

Keep Moving

Daily exercise is necessary for our bodies to remain healthy.  Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking.*  You’ll need to exceed that if you are trying to lose weight.  I recommend 40 minutes to an hour, at least 5 days a week.  Make sure to allow for one day of rest.

Turkey You Can Feel Good About

Buying organic is always best when it comes to poultry.  Organic poultry represent a two-stage process.  First, the farmer does not use any chemicals, antibiotics or roughage fillers when raising the birds, as well as giving them access to the outdoors and direct sunlight, as with free range.  These birds have access to the outside and the ability to move about a yard.  This increased mobility helps to develop muscle, contributing to a more fully flavored and complex meat.  In addition, the animal’s feed must be raised without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  These birds tend to be more expensive, but are potentially the finest and fullest flavored available.**  For more information about labeling guidelines visit USDA.

Real Food vs. Processed

Avoiding processed foods, or eating clean means eating foods that rarely come with an ingredient list.  It is as close to it’s natural form as possible.  For example, real cheese is a healthier option than the cheese-like substance that comes from a can.  Definitely not the same thing!  Canned cranberry sauce may be what Grandpa is used to, but homemade is always best.  Stuffing or potato dishes that come from a box are going to be processed and loaded with artificial ingredients, fillers, chemicals, and most likely, excess sodium.  The ingredient label is a mile long.  My rule is, if you can’t pronounce it, then denounce it.  Real food that nourishes our bodies can’t be replaced with artificial, chemicalized, junk food if our desire is to live long, healthy, vibrant, disease-free lives.

My Program

I am a certified Health Coach as well as a personal fitness trainer.  I specialize in working with busy moms and corporate professionals that struggle to find the time to nurture their mind, body and spirit.  I help my clients discover that they can experience healing and optimum health through real food.  I empower people to take their health into their own hands, to achieve a healthy, balanced, and fulfilling life, and be their very best self.  I do not put people on a diet.  As a Health Coach, my mission is to help my clients make incremental lifestyle changes that help them to not simply survive, but to thrive!

“Weigh Less, Live More”

Join me for a fun and interesting workshop entitled “Weigh Less, Live More” on January 6th, from 5:30-6:30 at Atascadero Bible Church.  Please R.S.V.P. as spots are limited.

I offer private and group coaching packages. Sessions are held in person, or via phone or Skype. My next group coaching circle begins January 20th.  Spots are still available, so contact me if you are interested in joining.

Call or email for a free 50-minute health consultation!

Laurel Marshall

Certified Health Coach & Personal Trainer

(805) 296-5825

Strive to Thrive!

*American Council on Exercise, Personal Trainer Manual


Day 13 – November 7th Surgery morning

Wendi is such an inspiration, and a beautiful example of faith and peace in the Savior’s hands.

Why Walk?


Our bodies were meant for movement.  You’d never buy a shiny new car, and let it sit in the garage.  That would cause damage to the car.  It needs to be driven, and at the very least started up from time to time to keep all the moving parts working properly.  I don’t know much about cars, so this analogy will end here, but you get the idea.  Sitting still leads to chronic diseases.  High blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, and type 2 diabetes are no walk in the park.  (Sorry for the pun).  Did you know that you can reduce the risk of these three lifestyle diseases with brisk walking, just as much as running?

These are called lifestyle diseases because they come as a result of a sedentary lifestyle, often coupled with a poor diet.  Lifestyle is defined by habits and attitudes that constitute a mode of living.  Said another way, it is the typical way of life for an individual, or simply Life Style.  It’s what you do on a regular basis.  What’s your style?

Feeling blah?  Walking is not only good for your heart health, but it can boost your mood.  Physical activity causes the release of certain chemicals in the brain that not only put you in a better mood, but open up your creativity.  I often come up with my best ideas while out on a walk or jog.  So while you are cutting your risk for heart disease, stroke, and obesity, you can also enjoy the benefits of a happy and creative mindset.

Start slow.  The American Heart Association advises us to log 30 minutes a day of moderate activity.  At the very least they recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate activity (brisk walking) or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity (running).  If you haven’t engaged in any exercise up until now, then I suggest starting slow.   Start with 5-10 minutes at a time.  Take a walk around the block on your lunch break.  Park far away from where you need to go.  Get up from your computer, and take the dog for a stroll.  Find ways to start incorporating walks into your daily routine, then gradually work your way up to 30 minutes a day.

Avoid injuries.  If you’re walking long distances or just bought new shoes, you may experience blisters.  Some people feel strongly opposed to synthetic fibers.  Socks made with synthetic fibers such as Coolmax®, acrylic, and polypropylene can decrease blisters compared to cotton socks.  The choice is yours.  Do what’s right for you.

Avoid shin splints by wearing proper shoes, and increase your distance, pace and incline gradually.  If you have knee pain, talk to your doctor or physical therapist, and personal trainer.  You may benefit from certain strengthening and/or stretching exercises.

If you do suffer an injury, follow the R.I.C.E. method.  Rest the injured area by getting off your feet.  Ice the area for 20 minutes at a time.  Add compression by using a bandage or wrap to apply pressure and secure the ice.  Elevate the injury above your heart to reduce swelling and promote healing.

Walk with a friend.  Walking can be fun when teamed up with a buddy.  Enjoy the scenery and the conversation.  This adds a level of accountability too.  You are more likely to stick to it if you’ve got a partner.  If you don’t have friends available in your area, consider signing up for my WalknTalk program.  I walk with clients individually, or in groups.  Venues include parks, beaches, and central coast neighborhoods.

Contact me for a free health consultation.

Laurel Marshall, Health Coach & Personal Trainer

Source:  American Heart Association

Fat is Not Making You Fat


Fat is Not Making You Fat

We have been told to stay away from fat containing foods for years now.  Doctors and medical professionals are now understanding that fat is not what causes heart disease, and obesity.  Fat is actually a really good thing.  It plays several roles in our bodies.  It allows our cell walls to remain flexible and permeable.  We need it for mental health.  Our brain is actually made up of 60% fat. The brain runs on glucose, but is built on fat.  Fat is actually the body’s preferred source of fuel.  It is needed for energy, and necessary for digestion.  Fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K cannot be absorbed without fat.

The truth is there are healthy fats, and not so healthy fats.  Trans fats, or hydrogenated oils found in processed foods are dangerous and do cause heart disease.  Food manufacturers use them to stabilize the oil, increasing the shelf life of the product.  Cooking oils like Safflower, Canola, Sunflower, Corn, Soy, and vegetable oil contain Omega 6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation.  It’s true our bodies need a combination of Omega 3, as well as Omega 6, but we are getting far too much 6, and not enough 3.  Omega 3 fatty acid comes from walnuts, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, fish and fish oil, to name a few.  Healthy fats include avocados, salmon, eggs, nuts, and oils such as, coconut oil, olive and avocado oil.   Always choose organic grass-fed butter over margarine and canola oil spread.   Natural saturated fats elevate HDL (the good cholesterol) levels. So don’t be afraid of good healthy fat.

The Real Culprit?

Sugar is enemy number one!  We are eating pharmacological amounts of sugar and refined carbs in this country.  We are consuming 146 lbs of flour, and 152 lbs of sugar per person each year.   High Fructose Corn Syrup is the single biggest source of calories in our diet.  Sugar triggers the pleasure center in our brain, the dopamine receptor, making sugar 8 times more addictive than Cocaine.  The food industry desperately needs us addicted to their processed boxes of garbage to fatten their bottom line, and ours, so to speak.  Breakfast cereal really should be called dessert cereal.

Sugar and Carbs in the Body

Sugar and refined carbs are making us fat.  Fattening carbs are the high glycemic index choices like bread, pasta, rice, flour, potatoes and sugar.  These foods cause our blood sugar level to rise, thereby producing insulin.  Insulin is the principal regulator of fat metabolism.  The higher the insulin level, the more accumulation of fat in the fat tissue.  We secrete insulin primarily in response to the sugar and carbs in our diet.  It is a fat storage hormone.  It acts like a prison guard, and locks the fat into their cozy fat cells, not allowing them to be broken down into fatty acids that would then be used for energy.  Our job now is to knock him out, and take away the key.

Don’t Get Caught in the Viscous Cycle

Yes overeating can make you fat, but did you know that being fat causes you to overeat, slows your metabolism, and makes you hungry?  When eating sugar and refined carbs, your bio-chemistry is driving behavior making you become…. yes, lazy, fat, and hungry.  Certain calories (calories from sugar) make your fat cells hungry.  Visceral fat (abdominal fat) is anabolic, meaning that it wants to grow.  Obesity is driven by diet composition not calories.  Changes in metabolic rate, fat storage, and hunger depends on the type of calories you consume.

Sugar 101

Four grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon.  This is helpful to know next time you check a food label.  Table sugar is ½ sucrose and ½ fructose. You think fructose is good because it is in fruit right?  It’s actually the worst form of sugar.  It causes insulin resistance.  Fructose fails to turn off appetite hormones.  It interferes with a hormone called Leptin, which tells the body you are full.  It wreaks hormone havoc, which makes it more dangerous than just the number of calories it contains.  Stay far from artificial sweeteners too. Those are extremely dangerous, and can cause cancer. The term artificial ought to have you running and screaming!

Sugar is Playing Hide and Go Seek

Sugar can be found in some not so obvious places.  It lurks inside salad dressings, marinara sauce, coffee creamers, condiments, and in most processed and packaged foods.

Here’s what you may already know….

  • One 20 ounce bottle of soda contains 16 packs of sugar.
  • If a box of cereal reads 20 grams of sugar per serving, that’s 5 teaspoons in just a ¾ oz serving size. Most people eat at least twice that.

Here is what you may not already know. ..

  • A glass of orange juice is equivalent to that of a coke;
  • A container of flavored yogurt has more sugar than 2 ½ Krispy Kreme donuts;
  • 1 serving of tomato sauce has more sugar than 2 Oreos;
  • Two slices of whole wheat bread can have more sugar than a snickers bar.

This Means War

Willpower is not going to win this battle.  ’ve got to change the chemistry in your body.  Stop the hormone havoc and eliminate the cravings by making some dietary swaps.  In Ayurvedic medicine, it is said that bitters or foods with a bittery taste will eliminate the cravings for sweets.  Load up your plate with lots of dark leafy greens. Add spinach or kale to your eggs and smoothies.  It is also helpful to crowd out the fattening foods you would normally eat with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Wrap up your burger in lettuce.  Lose the buns, literally.  Feed your cells with nutrient dense foods, and don’t let that prison guard back up!


Don’t go it alone.  I am here to guide and coach you to reach your health goals and get results!  Contact me for a free consultation at

Laurel Marshall, Health Coach and Personal Trainer



It takes care of itself by itself.  When it’s tired it will go to sleep, and wake when it’s rested.  When you have a cut or wound, it will work to repair itself.  When you walk into a dark room your pupils will dilate to let in more light.  It maintains a temperature of 98.6 degrees.  It takes over and facilitates the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. Your heart never misses a beat, and your lungs never forget to breathe.  The body is a super computer.  God designed it this way to maintain balance and health.  Many people view cravings as weakness, but really they are important messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance.  Your body can be trusted.  Listen to it.  The underlying causes of your cravings are often deficits of food and other needs that are not being met.





Primary foods are defined as the things that nourish you that are not found on your plate.  These essentials include areas in your life such as; relationships, physical activity, career, spiritual practice, joy and creativity to name a few.  An imbalance in any of these areas can trigger unusual cravings.  Being dissatisfied with a relationship, having an inconsistent exercise routine, being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment, or to fill the void of primary food.  For example, chocolate cravings can be an indication of a desire for pleasure. Interestingly, chocolate is said to increase mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, like dopamine or serotonin.


Too much or too little of it can cause cravings.  A lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty, and on the verge of dehydration.  I’ve heard it said that if you are feeling thirsty then you are most likely already dehydrated.  Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water.  Be mindful of excess water because it can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced.  A good rule of thumb is to consume at least 50% of your total body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water.


I am a firm believer in the need for balance in every aspect of our lives.  Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contracting).  Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance.  For example, eating too much meat (yang) can cause cravings for alcohol and sugar (yin).  Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked or dehydrated foods, and it works both ways.


Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood.  A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.


Often the body craves foods that are complimentary to the elements of the season.  In the spring, people often crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods.  In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods, and ice cream, and in the fall many crave grounding foods like pumpkin and squash, onions, and nuts.  During winter, cravings for hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil, and fat are not uncommon.  Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, and include foods like turkey, eggnog, or sweets.


When the body has inadequate nutrients, it will let you know by producing cravings.  For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings.  Cravings for chocolate can be the result of low magnesium.  A craving for unhealthy fats could mean there is a need for more healthy fats in your diet.  A craving for ice could indicate an iron deficiency.  Overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, such as caffeine.


Yes I’ll go there. Hormones are not just a common scapegoat.  They control much of what we feel and do.  When women experience menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unwanted cravings.  Cravings for sweet foods are common before and during a period, and some women also crave high-carbohydrate foods like pasta, white rice and white bread.  These cravings are often a sign of low blood sugar, especially if they are accompanied by feelings of fatigue and headaches.  Some women’s bodies become more responsive to insulin during their monthly cycle, making them more prone to blood sugar drops.  The brain instigates a sugar craving in response to the need for more fuel.


When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens.  Maybe this is because of a desire to fit in, or shrink down to a place of inferiority.  We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves.  This often happens from low blood sugar, and may result in strong mood swings.

So next time you experience a craving, deconstruct it.  Ask yourself, what does my body really want and why?  Then give it what it truly needs!


Do you want to improve your health?  Looking to lose weight?  Do you want more energy to do the things you love?  Contact me for a free consultation!

Laurel Marshall, Health Coach & Personal Fitness Trainer

Source: Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Who’s Got Time For That???


I love to eat, but I didn’t always love to cook.  I used to dread it actually because as a young adult out on my own, all I knew how to do was pour the box of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese into a pot of boiling water.  Once I became a wife and mother I needed to up my game a bit.  After watching Food Network for a while my interest was piqued and I began to try to cook the meals that Rachael Ray and Giada made look so easy.  It took some experimenting, and my family can tell you, we had some epic flops.  Since then, cooking morphed from being a chore into a hobby.  I have come to love my time in the kitchen.

On the weekends when I really have time to enjoy it, I turn on some music, pour a glass of wine and just create.  As a busy mom and business owner, I don’t always have the time to sip, sing and chop, and I’m sure this is true for you too.

Optimum health begins with the food we put on our plate, but the busier we get, the more we opt for convenience over nutrition.  I realize that without the proper tools, this can be a challenge.

Home-cooked Meals Can Still Have a Place in Our Busy Lives

I have kids involved in sports, so during the week I don’t have the luxury of time, and can’t futz around in the kitchen for hours.  I need a no fuss, no hassle approach to dinner.  I have many easy crock-pot and one-pot recipes to share with you to help you optimize your valuable time.  This recipe is one of my favorites, but you can tweak it anyway you like.

Mediterranean Crock Pot Chicken (Serves 3-4)

  • 3 large boneless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 8 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1/2 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup capers,
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Season chicken with salt & pepper and place in bottom of crock pot.  Stir in rice, garlic, tomatoes and drained capers.  Mix water, lemon juice, oil and pour over rice and chicken.  Stir to coat chicken and cook for 8 hours on low.

Do It Your Way

You’ve got lots of options with this recipe. I sometimes add Kalamata olives and cheese.  You can serve it inside tortillas or lettuce wraps, or omit the chicken and make it a vegetarian dish.  Be creative, and eat the foods you love.

I Can Help

My coaching program is designed to support busy moms and professionals that struggle to find the time to nurture their mind, body and spirit, let alone prepare nutritious and delicious meals daily.  I want to empower people to take their health into their hands, and be their very best self.  As a Health Coach, my mission is to help my clients make lifestyle changes that help them to not simply survive, but to thrive!

Email me to schedule a free consultation!

My Story

I have enjoyed life here on the central coast since 2000. Originally from Los Angeles County, my husband and I migrated north and planted roots in beautiful Paso Robles where we later had twins. We enjoy a strong faith in the Lord, and feel enormously blessed.

I began my career in business management, and since developed a deep interest in health and fitness.  I received my bachelor’s degree in business from California State University of Northridge. I later enrolled in the Health Coach program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and completed the Personal Trainer Certification through the American Council on Exercise.

Initially, I began taking an interest in health simply because I wanted to look better. My first lifestyle changes were to begin exercising, and eliminate certain foods I knew weren’t stellar (most of which came from a bag or box). As I continued making healthier food choices, and progressed in my fitness routine, I noticed a remarkable difference in the way I felt, and I was excited about the changes in my dress size. As time went on, I discovered how to cure my lifelong struggle with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) as well as my chronic headaches. I had no idea that I could have this much energy. Until I experienced it, I didn’t know what optimum health really felt like. This quest for health and vitality grew over the years, and has become my passion.   My desire is to help others to be well, and feel fantastic. We live in a society riddled with Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease, and Cancer. Many of the chronic diseases that are wreaking havoc on Americans are a result of diet and lifestyle and don’t have to just happen. I want to empower people to take their health into their hands, and be their very best self.

My passion for nutrition and fitness has developed into an exciting career. I work with clients to help them reach their goals with support, enthusiasm, and accountability. My program supports busy moms, as well as corporate professionals in achieving a healthy, balanced, and fulfilling life. As a Health Coach, my mission is to help my clients make simple lifestyle changes that help them to not simply survive, but to thrive!


I am now taking signups for my new Group Walk Program.     Contact me for a free consultation, and find out which program is right for you.

Run For Your Life


Running is my favorite form of exercise. Most people agree that running is a great way to lose weight and get in shape, but it also offers several health benefits you may not be aware of. Believe it or not, it can drastically improve your life!

Run For Your Shape

If you are running to lose weight, you’ve chosen the right exercise; minute for minute running is one of the most efficient forms of exercise to burn calories. In order to lose one pound of body weight, the body must create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories. This is equal to burning 500 calories per day. Most runners can easily burn off this many calories in less than one hour of exercise. The number of calories burned while running depends on a number of factors including the individual’s weight, the intensity of the workout and the efficiency of the runner. Understand that this is not an exact science for everyone. All calories are not created equal. When and what you eat will affect hormone levels, and metabolism which play a strong role in one’s ability to burn fat. Running forces your body to exert excess energy and hormones, helping you torch those extra calories.

Run for Your Heart

Running not only can raise your levels of HDL (the good cholesterol), but it also can lower your risk of developing blood clots.   By helping the arteries retain their elasticity and strengthening the heart, your chances of suffering a heart attack can be significantly reduced. It can also help reduce the risk of having a stroke.

Run for Your Bones

Your muscles aren’t the only ones getting stronger when you run. Many doctors recommend running for people in the early stages of osteoporosis or osteopenia. About one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Running, and other weight bearing exercises increase bone density, decreasing the risk for fractures.

Run For Your Brain

Not all of the benefits of running are physical.  Running can boost your confidence, and self-esteem. By setting and achieving goals, you can help give yourself a greater sense of empowerment that will leave you feeling joyful and accomplished. Your mood will improve with running. Running actually has the ability to alter an individual’s mood because hormones called endorphins are released while running. These hormones create a sense of euphoria often referred to as a runner’s high. This is a great way to conquer depression. It may seem difficult to do when you are depressed, however you will find that after only a few minutes of running, your brain will start to secrete these hormones that naturally improve your mood and relieve stress.  This works better than any prescription. Stress can actually cause a number of health and mood problems.  Among them include its tendency to squash your appetite and quality of sleep.  We all know how crucial a good restorative sleep is for our bodies to function properly.

Run For Your Life

Running is actually a great way to increase your overall level of health. There are a great deal of benefits that can be gained from rigorous exercise such as running. Some of these benefits may include weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, improved bone health, increased muscle strength, improved mood and better coordination, and reduced risk of disease.  Running truly is remarkably beneficial to the body, mind, and spirit. Even short runs can leave you feeling more energized, focused, and better able to enjoy your precious life.


Let’s Get Movin’


Exercise is not just for fitness buffs, or for people who want to look good.  It’s not just for folks who need to lose weight, or sport really toned abs. Our bodies actually require exercise.


We were not created to sit at a desk for extended lengths of time, then in a car, and finally on a cozy sofa. We were certainly not equipped with television remote controls, and cell phones to speed dial to the nearest Chinese take-out joint. Let’s face it, in our early years as hunter-gatherers, we not only had to catch, conquer, and carry our dinner home, we had to dodge beasts and predators to survive. We were created to be active, and our bodies and health suffers if we are not.


Lifestyle diseases become more frequent as countries become more industrialized. A healthy diet and exercise is an absolute must if we want to ward off diseases of civilization, such as: obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s, Asthma, Arthritis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and even cancer. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes, and additional benefits occurs as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration. Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking.* Both aerobic and muscle strengthening are important for good health.


Getting started in a fitness routine can seem overwhelming, and many people don’t know where to begin. I say choose doing something you enjoy. Honestly, not everyone feels comfortable going to a gym or health club   You are more likely to “stick with it” if you are doing something you enjoy, and who wants to spend 150 minutes a week doing something they dread? If you have kids, get them out there with you. You’d be surprised at how much fun you will have, and besides, it’s a fantastic way to spend quality time with your family. Here are some suggestions that our family enjoy:

  • Bike rides
  • Hikes
  • Scenic walks
  • Beach walks/jogs
  • Kayaking
  • Racquetball , badminton, basketball, or tennis


Physical fitness can often be enjoyed alone, although some prefer to have a buddy to workout with, and hold them accountable. There are several ways to get out and moving, with or without a partner:

  •  Swim laps at a local community pool
  • Join a team, and play a sport you enjoy
  • Rent exercise videos, and try some out in the comfort of your own home (aerobics, Pilates, yoga, etc. )
  • Walk, jog, or bike

An increase in physical activity correlates to better health, increased energy, improved circulation, overall mood, happiness and self-esteem, as well as an increased desire for a healthy, nutritious diet. The important thing is to find a few activities that are enjoyable to you. Get moving, mix it up, and have fun!


Introducing my new Walk n Talk program. This program is for those who would like to begin a fitness routine, but aren’t sure where to start. Maybe you feel insecure about going to the gym. Perhaps you’d like to start walking, but need someone to get out there with you and hold you accountable. This program can be tailored for your specific goals. This is a great opportunity to walk, jog, hike, or simply stroll in the beautiful outdoors. I have options for once or twice a week.

Personal training options available as well. Call or email for a free consultation.

Laurel Marshall, Health Coach & Personal Fitness Trainer

(805) 296-5825

*American Council on Exercise, Personal Trainer Manual

What is a Health Coach?


The role of a Health Coach is to partner with our clients to help them discover how to reach new levels of health, happiness, and fulfillment. By educating our clients on nutrition and health, we can be a part of lasting change in that person’s journey. Health Coaches are not Doctors or Nutritionists, but can pick up where they leave off, coaching them through lifestyle change, giving them the support and direction they need after they leave the doctors’ office.  A doctor can say “eat healthy” and a Health Coach can show them how.  A Nutritionist can give them a list of things to eat and to avoid, while a Health Coach can help them discover what foods are right for them, using the very important concept of bio- individuality.  To quote Joshua Rosenthal, Founder and Director of Institute for Integrative Nutrition, “one person’s food is another person’s poison.” Each one of us has highly individualistic nutrition requirements based on genetics, blood type, ancestry, metabolism, and so forth.

I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that I look at how all areas of your life are connected. Does stress at your job or in your relationship cause you to overeat?  Does lack of sleep or low energy prevent you from exercising?  As we work together, we will look at how all parts of your life affect your health as a whole.  My approach is not to dwell on calories, carbs, fats, and proteins.  It is not to create lists of restrictions, or good and bad foods.  Instead, I work with my clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and rewarding.

Together we’ll work to reach your health goals in areas such as achieving optimal weight, reducing food cravings, increasing sleep, and maximizing energy.  As we work together, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the food and lifestyle choices that work best for you and implement lasting changes that will improve your energy, balance and health.

Contact me for a free initial consultation!

(805) 296-5825