This week’s post includes an interview with Marni Sumbal of TriMarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC. After following the TriMarni Facebook page, I reached out to Marni because I have really enjoyed reading about her tips and her overall take on nutrition. What has impressed me is that Marni emphasizes a “food as fuel” approach, yet she does it in a way that totally celebrates food and nutrition through a positive outlook. We’re often bombarded with “Don’t eat this”, “Never eat these foods…”, “Stay the hell away from XYZ”- but that is definitely not the case with Marni’s approach.
Given that food and eating are a big part of most people’s day I wanted to introduce the Lookin Good Girl readers to Marni and her encouraging, positive outlook on nutrition.
I learned a lot about mindful and intuitive eating during my dietetic internship when I was interning with a practice (Preferrednutrition.org) that specialized in eating disorders. The practice of mindful eating is very powerful and because I feel that much of our population has yet to master a healthy relationship with food and the body, I have really enjoyed helping others learn how to eat intuitively through my business Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition (Trimarnicoach.com).Mindful eating is being in an active state and releasing all fears, worries or concerns about food. It’s about making choices that will give you an enjoyable eating experience in the present moment. Mastering mindful eating is not easy, especially with our quick-fix, diet-fad, food-trendy society. But with many disordered eating habits and body image concerns, your hurried and stressful lifestyle may make eating time a difficult, uneasy and overwhelming experience.To bring some joy to eating, both inside and outside of the home, mindful eating should be practiced often. Instead of fearing certain foods, bring attention as to why you are eating to result in more control and enjoyment with what you are eating. Keep in mind that mindful eating will differ for everyone for eating is a very personal experience.
Here’s a great exercise (perfect to practice around the holiday season). Take a Hershey kiss (or small chocolate) and place it in front of you on a desk. Observe it, your surroundings and how you feel. Now touch it. How does it feel in your hand? Unwrap the item and observe it again by touching it and then smell it. Now, take a small bite from the top. Place the other half of the inside of the wrapper and place it out of sight. Suck on the chocolate and close your eyes. Savor your treat, making it last as long as possible without chewing it. Are any special past memories coming to mind as the chocolate melts? Now open your eyes. Did you stay present and in the moment? How long did it take to fully appreciate a small bite of a piece of candy/chocolate? Did you enjoy it?
One of the premises of Lookin Good Girl is to provide resources and education on how to “Add Beauty Into Your Everyday Life”. Some readers may not have thought about eating and cooking as opportunities to experience Beauty, especially on an everyday basis. But do you have any suggestions on how to create a more pleasurable experience with cooking, even if it’s making lunch to take to work?
I think there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who loves her body just as much as she loves taking care of others. Women often feel pressure to look or eat a certain way thanks to the media idolizing body image over health. This needs to stop. One of the greatest things a woman can do is to feel powerful and strong about her body and that starts with the daily diet.
One thing that I encourage people to do is to take pictures of their food. Even if it starts with a bowl of cereal or an apple, it is really neat to see whatever “Creation” you put together and to be proud of your masterpiece. You don’t have to share these creations with others but I feel that rather than lecturing others about food, we should feel inspired by food in a happy and healthy way
With the Holidays coming up and keeping in mind the idea of intuitive eating; what are some tips you would share with your clients as to how to approach the abundance of foods that come with the Holiday season.
I want my athletes and fitness enthusiasts to use the habits they have developed throughout the year during the holiday season and to remember that with 365 days in a year, all is not ruined or lost in one day. I do not promote radical or extreme eating so I would never encourage anyone to detox, fast, cleanse or diet around the holidays, January 1st or any day in between. Instead, I want people to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food and the body so that when it comes to the holidays, people are not stressed or worried about the overabundance of food and occasional treats but instead, know how to eat in a way that they can jump right back to “normal” eating to support individual needs but to also indulge in a way that still leaves them feeling great after the meal. It’s not something that is learned overnight but the ultimate goal for any individual is to be able to maintain a balanced life and to let food enhance your life, not control your life.
The holidays are actually a great time to be inspired with all the real food options and desire for cooking in a kitchen (two things that people often lack in their lifestyle when it comes to “healthy” eating). Here’s a blog I did on stopping the off-limit food lists:
For me, I’d rather people start with their relationship with food around the holidays as oppose to trying to be extreme with eating or stressing about the holiday eats. The same tips that apply to balanced eating for fuel and for health on a daily basis should also apply toward holiday eating: do not save calories or go into a meal starving, monitor your portions by focusing on a plant strong meal, feel better after you eat than before, be accountable for what you put into your body – invest your food choices wisely so that you feel great about your choices, don’t eat with guilt, thank your body, exercise consistently (walking is great!) and eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed (scope out the scene before eating and ask yourself what are the best options that will be enjoyed the most).
With the Holidays approaching what are your 3 favorite foods you look forward to?
I have a saying that “if you eat well most of the time you don’t have to worry about the rest of the time”. So when it comes to the holiday’s I love creating my own creations but I also love traditional family recipes.
A few of my favorites include:
-The Czech Xmas cookies that are homemade and delivered to us from Karel’s (Marni’s husband) mom in Znjomo Czech Republic, where is where Karel was born and lived until he came to the US in 2000.
-Mashed sweet potatoes – although a sweet potato is included in my staple pre-race meal, I love my mom’s mashed sweet potatoes. She doesn’t load them with butter or sugar but somehow she makes them so smooth and delicious and I love the added touch of roasted marshmallows on top.
-Czech potato salad – Because Karel can not celebrate the holidays with his family in Czech, we enjoy bringing some of his traditional holiday recipes to our home and we can share them together. This is one of my favorites!
If a reader is hosting a party could you offer some simple tips for a way to integrate some whole food dishes in with the “traditional fare? You know, like how to sneak some veggies next to the giant bowl of Chex-Mix?
This is a great idea! Now a day, it seems like more and more people understand what foods feel the best in their body and as a host, it’s nice to be able to cater to different dietary preferences. For people with allergies/intolerances or medical issues, it is good to label food as to what is in it as that will make the guest feel more comfortable knowing what she/he is eating. Also, I always encourage people who go to a party to bring a go-to meal (if they need to bring a dish). You want to bring something that you know you will enjoy just in case there are no other options that appeal to you and your tummy. Most of the time, there will be at least a veggie/fruit/cheese tray but for anyone with special dietary needs, it’s nice to know that you will have something to enjoy around others.
But in terms of whole dishes, think about different types of dips (ex. make your own hummus), colorful veggies and fruits and a whole grain salad (ex. quinoa, almonds and figs with goat cheese). Also, put larger plates next to the salads so that it is easy to make a plant strong meal (the dessert plates don’t work so well for holding more than a few lettuce leaves J ) One of the best ways to enjoy whole foods is to encourage others to bring a dish and to be inspired by what other people bring to your party. Not every party needs to include pretzels, chex-mix and store-bought cookies. I think for most people, homemade food is really enjoyed because there was some time, love and thought put into the prep
Looking ahead to the New Year….What are some of your 2014 Goals?
I’m really looking forward to growing my business with the help of my husband. I absolutely love helping athletes and fitness enthusiasts learn how to eat for fuel and for health and to discover a healthy relationship with food and the body.
We are very excited about our athletes reaching their athletic/fitness goals and sharing the journey with them.
I love public speaking and writing so I look forward to seeing where I can take my skills in the next year for there is a lot of research out there and I enjoy learning new things and helping others through my words.
My husband and I love to travel so we decided on 3 destination races so that we could race to travel (or travel to race) – St Croix 70.3, IM Austria and IMWI. My husband will be racing Raleigh 70.3 but I will be cheering him on, along with my other athletes.
For anyone who is considering racing for a finish line, here is a blog I did on picking the perfect race:
If a reader was interested in learning more about your approach to food and nutrition what services do you offer in food counseling?
All of my services are on my website, but my main services involve lifestyle log reviews, sport nutrition log reviews as well as my 2-month lifestyle program. My focus is not on telling people what to do but instead treating everyone like an individual with specific goals and needs.
I do not give meal plans or believe in off limit food lists so I enjoy addressing the diet as part of a lifestyle in order to eat for fuel and for health and to improve quality of life. For anyone who is local in our area, I provide one-on-one consulting and I also speak at universities, corporations and tri/run groups on various topics. All of my speaking events are listed on my website as well as a few local TV segments. I welcome all emails so feel free to email Trimarnicoaching @gmail.com and to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for education, inspiration and motivation in the areas of health, fitness, nutrition and life.
Thank you for this interview! These were great questions. The last thing I’d like to say is , don’t forget to thank your body every day!
In case you would like a little extra info on who Marni is….. Marni is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides consulting and coaching services in the areas of sport nutrition, body composition, triathlons/running, health and fitness. Marni is a Registered Dietitian and works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches. She holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, is an endurance triathlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach. Marni is a 7x Ironman finisher and recently completed her third Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii with a PR of 10:37.Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition, Brooks Running ID and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Shape Magazine, Health Magazine, Men’s Journal Magazine, Runners World Magazine, Women’s Running Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes monthly to IronGirl.com, USAT multisport zone and Ironman.com.