Q&A with Danielle Prestejohn, Emotional Eating and Weight Loss Specialist

Q&A with Danielle Prestejohn, Emotional Eating and Weight Loss SpecialistToday I’m excited to feature yet another healthy lifestyle rockstar on Pumps & Iron: Danielle Prestejohn. Danielle is an Emotional Eating and Weight Loss Specialist who runs a nutrition coaching service that helps life-long dieters end that obsession with food and learn to love the way they look and feel.

I love Danielle’s approach to nutrition and living a healthy life, because as someone who had a terribly unhealthy body image in college, I understand just how truly important it is to take off the pressure to be perfect, establish a healthy relationship with food, and show yourself the love you deserve. I know you’ll enjoy reading Danielle’s answers as much as I enjoyed picking her brain!

Grilled Coconut Shrimp Skewers from Danielle PrestejohnGrilled Coconut Shrimp Skewers recipe HERE

Q: To start, tell me a little about yourself. Emotional Eating and Weight Loss Specialist, fellow Boston-area resident—what else makes you tick?

Danielle: I’m actually a huge fitness fan too. I was a dancer for a really long time, and have my Bachelor’s degree in Dance. I also teach group fitness and have my NASM personal training certification. I got into CrossFit about three years ago and have been doing it off and on ever since. I really love it. Lately I love Pure Barre classes too, and am on the search for a good hip-hop class in the Boston area to take. I also love the warm weather and always say if I wasn’t so close to my family, I’d move to California in a heartbeat.

Q: For those who aren’t familiar with it, what is emotional eating?

Danielle: Emotional eating is eating out of any reason other than hunger. It is eating because we are stressed, tired, lonely, anxious, etc. It may also be happening because of poor body image, lack of self-confidence, or low self-esteem. We don’t want to feel our feelings so we turn to food instead to either create the feelings we desire or block the feelings we dislike.

Q: Aside from your education/training in emotional eating and weight loss, what has your personal experience in the area been like? Have you ever struggled with these?

Danielle: Totally. My personal experience was actually the reason I got into this field. I struggled with my weight since childhood and was always the “chubby” one of my family. I started dieting at a really young age and dieted on and off up through high school. In high school something clicked; but what started as a healthy 30-pound weight loss, ended up being a very unhealthy, very restrictive 50-60 pound weight loss.

For the next couple years, I engaged in very unhealthy and obsessive behaviors to keep my weight down. Then suddenly my junior year of college, what I then perceived as my “willpower” seemed to break. Suddenly I couldn’t make it four or five days without fighting off a binge. My very unhealthy weight slowly started to creep up.

I didn’t understand why I suddenly had this problem with food. Why couldn’t I stay on a diet anymore? I tried diet after diet, hoping that one would finally work. It wasn’t until I really started to address the reasons why I couldn’t “control” myself around food that things started to click for me. Once I started working on improving my body image, addressing my anxiety and fear of gaining weight, I started to feel normal around food again.Q&A with Danielle Prestejohn, Emotional Eating and Weight Loss Specialist

Q: You’ve helped a lot of women overcome emotional eating and weight loss issues. Of course every person’s situation is different, but what are the one or two most important keys to success?

Danielle: This is such a hard question, because you are right, every person’s situation is so different. In general though, I do see so many women who really struggle with poor body image and that is the reason they either eat emotionally or feel like they need to lose weight. I also think that the key to overcoming this struggle is to address the underlying issues that are causing the struggle with food or weight. It usually has nothing to do with food at all.

Q: Poor body image is a struggle for a lot of people. There’s no quick fix, but what’s one thing everyone could do today to feel better about themselves (or to at least start moving in the right direction)?

Danielle: I think it’s really important to treat yourself now as you would if you were X amount of pounds thinner. To some this might mean dating, or dressing up for work, or going shopping. Whatever it is, I think when we actually treat ourselves with love and care now; we begin to feel better about whom we are. I also find that focusing on personality traits we like about ourselves can make a big difference. We want to take the focus away from how we look to who we are as a person.

Q: Describe your current eating habits—do you implement any restrictions (gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.); do you prefer several small meals to three larger ones; more of an everything-in-moderation type?

Danielle: I actually have Celiac disease so I have to stay gluten-free no matter what. I try to keep my meats, fruits and vegetables organic when possible, too. Since really normalizing my relationship with food, I have become much more of an everything-in-moderation type person. The second I label anything off-limits, I want it ten times more. I’m definitely more of a snacker than a three square meals type person. Not for health reasons, but simply out of personal preference.

Q: You post a ton of delicious (and healthy!) recipes on your website. What are a couple of your favorites?

Danielle: I love soups and chili in the fall and this Paleo Turkey Chili is a favorite of mine. I also make this vegetable soup all the time. Lastly, I have a huge sweet tooth and love having these raw chocolate macaroons in my refrigerator for when it acts up. They’re super easy to make.Vegetable Soup from Danielle Prestejohn

Q: If we were to open your refrigerator right now, what would we see?

Danielle: Eggs, almond milk, apples, turkey, some sort of meat and veggie meal prepped ahead, Udi’s millet chia bread, almond butter, baby spinach, carrots, and baked sweet potatoes for my puppy, Sophie.

Q: It’s your job to know a lot about food—as a nutrition specialist, what’s one food you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole? What makes it so bad?

Danielle: Hmm…I try not to label any food as good or bad, but I would never eat a McDonald’s chicken nugget. I still remember reading in Omnivore’s Dilemma that they contain TBHQ, which is also used as lighter fluid. Something about that has always stuck with me. Pretty much anything from McDonald’s really grosses me out!

Q: Finally, being “healthy” has a slightly different meaning for everyone. For you, what does it mean to live a healthy life?

Danielle: For me, a healthy life means a life that is happy and full of love, including self-love. A healthy life is a life with little stress and a life full of positivity. I am a true believer that a positive mind is so much more important than your consumption of kale…although the kale is definitely an added bonus. 😉

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To learn more about Danielle and the coaching programs and expert advice she can offer, check her out at DaniellePrestejohn.com. You can also follow her here:

And remember, you have all week to enter my Thanksgiving Kettlebell Giveaway! Reading all the comments on yesterday’s giveaway post seriously put me in the BEST mood. 🙂

Q&A with Model Teresa Moore: Her Weekly Workout Schedule, Go-To Healthy Dinner and More

Q&A with International Model Teresa Moore

I’ve always loved reading interviews with professional models about their personal health and beauty routines. How does someone whose job is, in large part, his or her body approach diet and exercise? What does it really take to be photoshoot-ready? What beauty products do a person who’s frequently in front of cameras use for hair and skincare? I’m always so curious, and couldn’t be more excited to share with you International Model Teresa Moore’s candid answers to all these questions and more.

First, a little background info on this beauty:

Originally from Tonga, Teresa moved to New Zealand as a child and now lives in New York. She’s modeled for Levis, Sephora, Neutrogena and L’Oreal, to name but a few, and she’s been on the covers of Shape, W and ELLE, in addition to countless editorials. Girl is the real deal!

Modeling aside, Teresa is a passionate foodie and self-described “spiritual junkie” who loves running, Pilates and healthy living. On her website, she lists her greatest personal achievement as “becoming a happier person,” which I love. I can’t even count how many times I’ve emphasized on this blog how invaluable I think happiness is to one’s overall health.

So without further ado, let’s hear from Teresa!

Q&A with International Model Teresa Moore

Q: Being “healthy” has a slightly different meaning for everyone. For you, what does it mean to live a healthy life?

Teresa: To me, being healthy means feeling and looking great in both body and mind. It means eating nourishing food that energizes you (veggie juices, fish, lean meat, veggies, fruit), and not over-stimulating (sugar) or sapping your energy (fried food and pizza). Also being able to feel I can approach anything in a good frame of mind because I am “holistically” being healthy by exercising, eating real and good food, and feeling empowered from meditation or learning or dealing with my emotions in a productive way.

In practical terms, it’s about going to a photoshoot at 6AM after a long flight and feeling beautiful and sexy all day, and being nice to other people by maintaining a balanced level of positive energy through all the daily challenges.

Q: What does your weekly workout schedule look like? Do you have a favorite type of fitness?

Teresa: I run 3-4 miles probably 4 days a week and do a really tough Pilates class once or twice a week. A hike on the weekend is also nice to do with friends.

Q: You’re a self-described foodie—do you have a go-to healthy recipe you like to make for yourself? (Check out Teresa’s food blog  www.teresatastes.com!)

Teresa: I like making a Cinnamon on Tofu and Berries Bowl for a sweet treat for breakfast or afternoon snack. My go-to dinner is Oven Roasted Salmon with Anchovy, Rosemary Pesto (all handmade) on top of asparagus—to-die-for, easy … thank you, Jamie Oliver!

Q: If we were to open up your refrigerator right now, what would we see?

Teresa: A few crisp apples, strawberries, blueberries and an all-green juice. I don’t cook often and never buy groceries because I will always eat fresh and travel too much to use the groceries!

Q: You also love restaurants—what are a couple of your favorites? And do you have any tips for making healthy food choices when dining out?

Teresa: Nobu: Fresh, inventive and flavorful Japanese with a Peruvian twist is always a winner. Try Edamame, Tuna Tartar, Hamachi Tiradito and Miso Cod.

Westville: Great casual diner in NYC with a market vegetable board with 20+ options of vegetables made with love, plus great American classics that are always yummy and a crowd pleaser.

Eleven Madison: Pure decadence, 20+ course tasting menu with creative, seasonal flair in an upscale dining room. For special occasions—forget the diet for one night a month!

Rosemary’s: Great flavorful farm-to-table dishes in share sizes; great for groups too. The room is really eco-chic and always a busy, fun vibe.

ABC Kitchen – Exquisite modern dining by Jean Georges set in a stunning whitewashed room with an eclectic earthy feel. Everything is thoughtful, delicious and leaves you feeling refreshed.

Q&A with International Model Teresa Moore

Q: Being in the modeling industry, I’m sure skincare is a priority for you. Do you have any favorite natural beauty products or remedies?

Teresa: I’m originally from Tonga and coconut oil is used there for everything! Hair and skin. I also like using olive oil in my hair when I workout for a deep conditioning treatment.  

Q: If you had to prepare for an upcoming bikini shoot, how would your workout routine and diet change (if at all)?

Teresa: I usually work out the same (everyday for about 45 minutes) and the night before I will only have an apple or green juice for dinner. I also watch my salt intake (Chinese or Japanese food included) for the whole day before and during shooting.

Q: What’s currently your favorite song to workout to?

Teresa: Salt by Chicane and Heartbeats by The Knife.

Q: It’s the big morning vs. evening debate—what’s your favorite time of day to workout?

Teresa: Morning (but not before 7AM). I like to get it done and out of my mind.

Q: What does your go-to workout outfit look like? Do you have any favorite brands or stores for fitness apparel?

Teresa: Asics shoes are great because I have delicate ankles! haha. I usually grab whatever is old and gets downgraded from clothes to a workout t-shirt!

Q&A with International Model Teresa Moore

Q: Speaking of fashion, how would you describe your personal style? What are some of your current favorite designers and trends?

Teresa: My personal style is chic, form fitting, sexy and playful. Showing your best features such as showing skin, or in winter I like items that cinch or belt and show a waistline. I like dresses because they are easy and effortless with a little boot or heel.

My favorite designers are Helmut Lang, Sandro, Zara (they copy everyone) and Chloe. I am really into big dorky sweaters for winter, cool masculine coats and simple flowy or tight, short dresses that are great to layer underneath.

Q&A with International Model Teresa Moore

Q: You recently hosted a Halloween dinner at Manon Restaurant & Lounge. What was your inspiration when co-designing the menu with executive chef Tae Strain?

Teresa: It was really fun to design the menu with our favorite ingredients, which would be interpreted into spooky Halloween dishes. We created lamb with beet emulsion to represent blood, fun cocktails and dishes like the “chicken and egg” which was also a fun play on words. Our guests loved the different presentations and tastes.

Q: I love your unicorn costume—and hear you made it yourself! How’d you tackle that DIY project?

Teresa: I am pretty crafty and since I couldn’t buy what I wanted, I decided to make it myself with four ostrich feathers, paper for the horn and an old fashion white hat base. Then some sewing and florist wire and I wove my hair into it to hold it in place, which held it up all night! … Call me a secret Martha Stewart haha.

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To learn more about Teresa (and check out her gorgeous pictures!) visit her website, www.teresamooreofficial.com. You can also follow her here:

And a big thanks to Teresa!

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Q&A with Jackson Carter from The Biggest Loser

Q&A with Jackson from Biggest Loser

It’s time for another Q&A! And I couldn’t be more excited to have The Biggest Loser’s season 14 second runner up, Jackson, on the blog today. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that The Biggest Loser is one of my absolute favorite shows on television—so inspiring, so motivating, and that Bob Harper isn’t too bad either. 🙂

Last season, Jackson was one of my favorite contestants to watch. His persistent optimism and positive attitude were contagious, and he went from a starting weight of 328 lbs down to 190 lbs. Talk about a rockstar.

Before & After: Jackson from Biggest Loser

Q: To start, how is post-Biggest Loser life treating you? I know you work with a gay youth organization—what else are you up to these days? 

Jackson: Post-Loser life is absolutely fantastic! I’m still with the youth group OUTreach and I’m now working as their health and wellness coordinator. Going to school full-time for human performance, which is basically a degree in training, nutrition and mental/emotional wellness. I will start working as a personal trainer at my local Planet Fitness. I have also been traveling around the country talking about what it means to fully live your life, which is something that I am lucky enough to experience because of the show (more on that at jacksoncarterspeaks.com).

Q: What was one particularly significant or memorable moment for you on the Biggest Loser ranch that didn’t air on TV (feel free to take this in the serious or goofy direction)? 

Jackson: I remember playing Frisbee out on the lawn, which happened to be completely gopher-infested (those filthy rodents!). My foot caught a gopher hole and I ended up getting a grade 2 ankle sprain on my right ankle. It swelled up to the size of a softball and my leg was black and blue from my knee to my toes. I started sobbing—not just crying, SOBBING. It wasn’t so much the pain. It was more the fear that after all the work I put in, how many obstacles I overcame, and how far I had come, I was going to leave because I was doing something as stupid as playing Frisbee on an uneven surface. 

Luckily our athletic trainer, Sandy Krum, was there to calm me down, get me out of my own head, and teach me that there is ALWAYS a way to workout. Even if I could barely walk, he helped me realize that I could overcome the pain and get back to work. I am eternally grateful to Sandy for that. I ended up being the biggest loser in the house that week. 

Q: What’s been the biggest challenge in keeping off the weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle post-Biggest Loser? How do you overcome it?

Jackson: The hardest part about being off the ranch is prioritizing my schedule. Between work, school, travel, volunteering, running my blog and speaking engagements, it can be challenging. I have to consciously make an effort to cook and work out. Luckily I still have my BodyMedia fitness tracker because I can refer to it as a guide. If I need to know how much time I need to spend at the gym, I look at my calorie burn and calorie intake on the app and I can figure out how long I need to schedule my gym time for. That, on top of prepping meals ahead of time, are my keys to keeping it off.

Q: What does your weekly workout regimen look like these days?

Jackson: I tend to work out 6 days per week. On my off day I also try to squeeze in a small walk or yoga Class to rehab my mind and body. My roommate and I are currently looking for a spartan race to run, so together we have been doing a lot of strength training. Having each other keeps us motivated to go to the gym.

Q: Do you have a favorite workout (yoga, running, CrossFit, etc.)?

Jackson: A absolutely adore spinning. I actually have an audition to become a spin instructor at my university. It’s just such a fun way to get my cardio in. When the room is dark and the music is pumping, you can’t help but move your feet.

Jackson spinning with Dolvett, Biggest Loser

Q: Is there one exercise or workout in particular that you have a love/hate relationship with?

Jackson: Running is both my best friend and my scorned ex-lover. The first couple miles are painful and I always want to quit. But when I break passed that wall, there’s no stopping me and I get such an amazing high off it. 

Q: You’ve mentioned the importance of balance in living a healthy life (which I love, because I’m definitely a green juice in the morning, beer on the weekends kind of girl!). When it comes to balancing your social life, do you have any tips for  eating at restaurants or parties without sabotaging healthy eating habits? 

Jackson: The best advice I have ever given was to someone who caught me with a mug of beer in my hand. She asked why on earth I would be drinking that after all I have gone through. Without even thinking about it, I told her that I allow myself these things in moderation on the weekends to avoid binging on them during the week. 

Sunday-Thursday, I eat lean meat, whole grains and tons of veggies. The weekends are my time to indulge. If you completely cut everything you love out of your life, you are going to fail because that is a crash diet, not a balanced lifestyle. Health isn’t a sprint; it’s a lifelong marathon. Enjoy the course.

Q: What’s your go-to healthy snack?

Jackson: I am all about the hummus, pita chips and baby carrot life. I pre-portion hummus into little cups and the chips into baggies. Great for a good-to-go hunger fighter.

Q: If we were to open up your refrigerator right now, what would we see? 

Jackson: You’d see a ton of meat because my grocery store was having an awesome sale. Pre-cut veggies ready to be thrown into an omelet. Avocados for DAYS. Almond milk for added protein and calories for recover days. And, of course, a sampler pack of locally brewed beer because I’m human.

Q; I saw on your blog that you were snapped for an Atlanta street fashion blog  (killin’ it with the bowtie-pocket-square combo!). I’m sure losing the weight opened up your clothing options—how has your personal style changed since Biggest Loser?  

Jackson: I dress now how I have always wanted to, which means I can walk into any store anywhere and know that something will fit. At 330 lbs, options for clothing were few and far between. I am loving the variety of color, patterns and materials that I could never wear before. I’m having a blast experimenting with new things.

Q: And on another fashion note, when it comes time to hit the gym, do you have any favorite fitness apparel brands? 

Jackson: When it comes to the gym, I pretty much wear whatever is clean (or only worn a couple times if I’m running short of quarters for laundry). I’ve always wanted to try some Lululemon because they have some very handsome clothing options. The only name brand I look for in the gym though is my BodyMedia. It’s the most important because it’s my lifeline.

Q: What’s currently your favorite song to workout to?

Jackson: I am falling all over myself for Katy Perry’s “Roar.” It’s an absolutely phenomenal song for when I’m feeling like I can’t do something. I hear it and I can’t help but feel like I can take on the world.

Q: It’s the big morning vs. evening debate: when’s your favorite time of day to workout?

Jackson: I usually work out at night. My school schedule usually has me up pretty early, so my roommate and I hit the gym after class and work. It always puts me right to sleep and relieves me from the stress of the day.

Q: Having now been on the show yourself, I’m sure watching this upcoming season’s contestants will be a totally different experience. What are you most looking forward to in Season 15?

Jackson: I’m mostly excited to get to know the new contestants. All of us on BL are like family. Going through what we all have gone through bonds us more than I can even explain. I have relationships with contestants that I have never even met before that would make you guess we have been life-long best friends. I can’t wait to share that part of my life with 15 new people. Bring it, season 15.

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To keep up with Jackson, check out his blog, Jackson Carter Speaks. You can also follow him here:

A big thanks to Jackson, and be sure to tune into the season premier of Biggest Loser Tuesday October 15th 8PM on NBC. Ahhh I can’t wait!

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