Habits and routines

How I’m making healthy habits easy

Claire is sharing some practices and products that have been helping her maintain healthy habits.

Women wearing athletic clothes looks are her Apple Watch

Show Notes
Program note: Hey, glad you’re enjoying the podcast! In this episode, you might hear Claire talking about Nutritional Freedom and Foundations. Since we launched the podcast in 2020, we've undergone a makeover to improve the membership experience. For more, listen to our "And we're back! All the updates!" episode.

Claire Siegel: You're listening to the Flourish podcast. I'm your host, Claire Siegel, founder of Flourish. We're on a mission to help women get healthy for good. Join me each week for a new episode that'll help you sustain healthy habits and nourish your body so you can Flourish in life.

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 Hi, y'all. Welcome back to the Flourish Podcast. I am just absolutely delighted that you're here. Do you wanna know what I'm doing after this? I am going to take a midday shower, and I have to say that a midday shower is one of the greatest luxuries I think of, of working from home. And I say that with, you know, full recognition of an, an appreciation of the privilege that comes along with working from home and. if you work from home and you don't, with some frequency, luxuriate in a midday shower, I, I encourage you to, uh, to try it out, to test the waters. Pun intended.

It reminds me of, um, oh my gosh, I can't remember her actual name, but her Instagram is @prettydecent. She is kind of like a, you know, like a business coach person and I just, I don't know. I really love her content in general. I just think her aesthetic is very, very, cool . Um, but she talks about this concept. This is where I learned it, of, of having a second morning. Um, you know how we talk a lot about morning routines and, you know, kind of the power of a, of a morning, which I, I very much believe in, and we'll talk a little bit about today.

But she talks about this idea of a second morning and I just thought that was such a brilliant idea. Creating some sort of like routine that you can, you know, inject in the middle of the day that gives you a lot of the same, you know, fresh start feeling that you get from your morning routine.

So today's episode is gonna be a little bit different from our normal episodes. I think. It felt different as I was kind of crafting it up because I really just wanna share some things that have been working for me personally as I engage in kind of like my non-negotiable health promoting habits. Um, so I'm gonna talk with you about things that have been working really well for me in terms of sleep, food, and movement.

And I, I said that those are non-negotiable. It doesn't mean I don't try to negotiate with myself. Okay. I, geez, if I don't try and negotiate with myself, um, about movement, about, you know, getting in bed when I'm, I'm well, I, I never have any trouble getting in bed. That's actually, that's very easy for me to get into bed. But like the going to sleep, the putting my phone away, all the things.

Um, so I wanna talk with you about, Really some, I guess, I don't know, hacks, helpful hacks. Not even helpful hacks because some of these are, are products, some of these are practices that have been really, have really made it easier for me to engage in sleeping well in nourishing my body and in moving my body in ways that feel good to me.

Now, before we get into, you know, the, the habits. Sleeping well of eating nourishing foods and of moving my body regularly before we get into those habits and the, the practices and products that have made those habits that much easier for me this year. Um, I do wanna talk about kind of my mindset towards these habits because that has, you know, I think been the hallmark change of.

My lifetime. It, it feels, you know, I mean, you, you know my story, you know that from the ages of like 13 to 23, basically I was a chronic dieter and still focused on sleep, food, and movement. Um, especially food and movement, but from a place of trying to change myself so that I could become acceptable, so that I could become lovable, so that I could become worthy.

And now it is so different. The reason that I prioritize sleep and nourishing foods and moving my body is because I am accepted and lovable and worthy, and those practices are in celebration of those inherent, um, you know, facets or characteristics that I possess. And I engage in these, you know, really nurturing habits to, to feel my best to treat myself with kindness and love and respect. So I used to engage in, sometimes the behaviors look the same, right? My workouts now look somewhat similar to my workouts back in my dieting days, but the motivation behind them and the the feelings that motivate them are totally different.

Okay. So I wanna walk you through again, some, some practices, some products that have made it that much easier for me to get good sleep this year to nourish my body this year and to move my body this year. And the movement one, I think has been probably the biggest, um, oh, I guess reawakening that I've had especially since the pandemic, because I like many people really, really kind of lost touch with, you know, any sort of movement routine or habit during the pandemic between obviously like gym shutting down and not feeling super comfortable going to my usual workout classes. Work got just crazy and it was the first thing to go, as it often is.

And yet I find that when I'm sort of like in my most wise, Self. Um, I recognize that exercise is actually so important for me to get good sleep, to help manage my stress, and actually to like generate energy, which all of those things I just mentioned are actually very supportive of the work that I do and the capacity that, um, I need to have to do it well.


So let's start actually, um, let's start with sleep, because I will say that. Sleep for me is, um, kind of like how well I'm sleeping in terms of quantity and quality is such an indicator of how well I feel . Um, such a, uh, uh, it's a leading indicator of my mood of, again, my kind of mental and physical performance.

Sleep for me is, I mean, just absolutely of critical importance. I'm definitely not the only one, although there's, there's some individual variants. Um, there's definitely people on, on our team who need less sleep than I do, and I'm quite jealous actually, because I think if I needed less sleep, I, I don't know who, who even knows what I would be up to right now if I didn't need to sleep, like a good eight hours a day minimum.

I notice that if I sleep less than eight hours a day. I start, you know, like just again, like my mental acuity and my energy really, really starts to decay and I track my sleep using my Oura Ring. I am a huge fan of the Oura Ring, and this is where we're getting into, again, the practices and products that are making it easier or making me more likely to engage in these healthy habits that are really important to me.

I'm a huge fan of the Oura Ring. I have a very neutral relationship with my health data. I have to say that people ask me about this all the time because I wear an Apple watch, I have an Oura Ring, and I recognize that those things are just data. I do not believe that these tools and the data that they emit are any smarter or are smarter at all.

Um, they're not smarter than like my own internal knowing and wisdom and, um, introception of my body, like my ability to tap into my body's queues. So I just wanna say that, that I know that having this data about yourself is not supportive for everyone. So I'll caveat it with that. But I do love the Oura Ring and I have the third generation I, I upgraded when they launched the new one.

And what I also love is that it syncs with my natural cycles birth control. So it reads my basal body temperature  each day. And so I actually use my aura ring as birth control, which is super cool. Um, and I, yeah, I just, I love being able to track my sleep. I love seeing my different phases of sleep. I've been learning a lot about sleep and it's absolutely incredible.

And I know with certainty the things that hinder good sleep, whether it's alcohol or, um, phone use, you know, screen time right before bed. Um, what are other things? Obviously just the general like stress and anxiety for me. Um, my, my sleep definitely does tend to deteriorate a bit during my luteal phase, the, the phase of my menstrual cycle right before my period.

And I, um, know when I'm in that, um, in part because of my Oura Ring and my basal body temperature reading. So I'm a big fan of the Oura Ring um, maybe I should put my promo code or what my referral code in the link down below. It's just like a personal one. It's not like a special one, but, um, I, I really, really do enjoy it.

Using my Oura Ring to track sleep. And again, to also use it to better understand what I need to do or not do to achieve good sleep is a major way that I'm making it that much more likely for me to get good sleep. Um, the other thing that I mentioned is, is kind of like a bit of a, a, I guess I alluded to it earlier, um, and that's a bit of a routine that I've been doing not all the time.

I just wanna say like, none of these practices that I'm talking. None of the products that I'm talking about do I use every single day? Um, do I do perfectly? I have a very, I consider myself someone who's pretty consistent, but I also don't have a perfectionistic definition of consistency. I think of when a lot of people say the word consistent, they actually just mean perfect.

And so of course, by nature they cannot be consistent with anything because we cannot be perfect. That's just not how life works. Um, these are all things that I've been using consistently, but that does not mean 100% of the time. It does not mean perfectly. So again, a an imperfect practice that I have is kind of my bedtime routine, which frequently has been turning on the red light bulbs.

Um, what do we have our, our light bulbs? I think we have an, the app is lifex  L I F X. Um, John, my husband bought them, so maybe look them up on Amazon LifX  and they're light bulbs that you control with your phone. So you can, um, change the, the brightness on the light bulbs and you can also change the color.

So at night our light bulbs are actually programmed to turn a red color, um, which is just really, really soothing. And so I will get in bed. I will, you know, plug my phone in. I need to move my phone to the other side of the bed, to the other side of the room. But I am currently using it as my alarm clock, which I don't love.

We won't even go there. But if you have alarm clock recommendations, please do let me know.  and anyway, I will red lights on, plug my phone in, try to stay off of it for the rest of the night. I will journal before bed. Um, I know a lot of people talk about morning journaling and sometimes I do that, but I actually find that right before bed is when I need to get more of my thoughts out so I can sleep well.

In the morning, I feel very clear, . It's after the chaos of a day that I have more to say. Um, so journaling and then I will read. So typically I read, um, I like to read nonfiction in, in like a real book form, and then I'll move into my fiction reading on my Kindle. So, um, typically, we'll the light, the red light will actually be fading.

So I might journal for five, maybe 10 minutes. Then maybe I'll read my nonfiction book if I'm feeling up for it, um, for, you know, maybe another 10 minutes or so. Nothing crazy. I cannot read business books at this time, so I do sometimes. More self-help style books or right now I'm reading this really, really fascinating book called The Expectation Effect, which is all about the power that mindset has on like real clinical outcomes.

So like somewhat work related, but not, but not really. It's just it. I just find it interesting, but not too interesting that it keeps me up. So anyway, I will go journaling, nonfiction, the light goes out, I get my Kindle and I read fiction and I'm falling asleep. And right now I'm reading my fiction book that I'm reading is, Colleen Hoover, It Starts with Us. Is that the second one? It's cute. I don't know. You know, I don't know if it's like earth shattering. I don't love, I I saw the, um, the TikTok where Colleen talks about casting Blake Lively and I can't remember his name, um, as the main characters in the book, and I just do not see it whatsoever at all.

So that has honestly, A little bit detracting from the whole book experience, but all in all, it's a cute book and I'm enjoying reading it before bed. So that is the nighttime routine that has been really working for me  Oura Ring,. And then this low to no screen experience right before bed has been really working well.

The last thing I'll mention, and this is not medical advice, and I encourage you to talk to your doctor before working or including adding any supplement into your diet, and that is magnesium glycinate. Magnesium glycinate is very, very supportive for me, um, in terms of sleep, in terms of, you know, reducing anxiety and stress. And I do love to take it before bed.

Food and nourishment

Okay. Let's move in to food. What I've been loving in terms of food. So here I have a practice and then I have three different products that I want to share with you that have made nourishing my body eating nutrient dense foods that make me feel good mentally and physically, that have made it so much easier.

And it, once again, I will reiterate, am I perfect? What does, I don't even know what perfect means here, but no . Um, I'll tell you, we had Chick-fil-A for dinner last night and it was awesome. So when we're not eating Chick-fil-A for dinner, um, we've been doing this really cool thing and I'm, I've been trying to figure out like how I can share this process and maybe some related resources, um, about this with y'all. We've been doing some with our, our Flourish members and I, I think it'd be super cool to bring into the app somehow.

But anyway, this is this, this new concept called new to me called Menu cycle Meal planning, and I, I just made up the name, but the idea behind menu cycle meal planning is, let me just walk you through how Jon and I did it.

So Jon and I, Jon's my husband. We said, okay, realistically, with the way our lives are set up, how many times a week do we think we can cook? And for us it was three, three days a week. Three days a week we can actually cook fresh foods. And the other days we're gonna be doing leftovers or like more convenience meals, and I'm gonna share some examples of those.

Or we're gonna go out to eat. Or we'll do like a sandwich or , like freezer food or whatever. But three, reasonably speaking, um, three nights a week we can cook. And then the next question was, how many weeks do we want to go before we begin repeating dinners? And our answer was also three, So what we did with that, we did three times, three cooking three nights a week, and we want to go three weeks before we start repeating meals.

So I knew I needed to find nine dinners, nine dinners, weekday style dinners that we could cook, and we do three a week. So I hope. I wish I had like a visual that I could show y'all. But basically what this means is that I have a menu cycle A, a menu cycle B and a menu cycle C, and each of those cycles is a week of meals.

And within each cycle are three different dinners. Okay? And what I did is I found the nine meals I used, um, the defined dish, her first cookbook, which is really the Defined Dish. Alex Snodgrass we had her on the podcast before her second book came out,  and I really just went through her book because it's so brilliant at, um, the week, the weeknight meals.

They're not super fussy. They're not super complicated. And I always describe Alex's cooking as like nourishing healthy food that you actually do want to eat . It's like so satisfying and so cozy. So I went through and I found nine meals with Jon, we sat down and we did it together,  and then we just kind of divide them up across, you know, three different weeks.

And then I put them all in Notion, you're going to think I'm a little crazy, but the way that my notion is set up is I can basically just click a button and there's menu cycle A with all of the groceries. So then I will just add the groceries to my Instacart and there we go. And it's made it so much easier.

It was a, it was a bit of an investment up front  to kind of figure out what the meals are and, and we'll probably have to do it again, you know, like maybe after a few, a couple months of cycling the same, you know, the same three, or I guess the same nine meals, maybe we'll get, we'll get sick of it. And we've had off weeks here and there, don't get me wrong, but it's been a really, really great practice that I think, um, hits the sweet spot between meal prepping and again, like cooking fresh foods and having leftovers and having variety, but not having to, you know, reinvent the wheel all the time.

And I think that, um, you know, I've shared before my component meal prep, style of meal prepping, and I think that works really, really well for one person, which lo and behold, of course, I kind of like created that when I was single. Um, this I think works much better for couples or families who want more variety versus like, okay, we're gonna.

Five pounds of Turkey chili that we're going to eat every single day this week. All right? So if you are, it, it would work well for one person too. You'd probably just have a lot more leftovers. But if you're definitely, if you're in a couple or if you have a small family, this menu cycle way of meal planning is awesome.

And if you want more, I don't know, support, help resources on this, just let me know. Um, and I can figure out a way to, to do it. Let me share, um, a few products that have, I've really been loving in the food space as well. Number one is Kevin's prepared meals. Y'all, you should be able just Google it. Kevin's prepared meals.

Basically it's like a sovi protein with a sauce, and it comes together so quickly for basically all of them. We'll make, we'll add some veggies to it and we'll a, we'll make a side of. I was very, very skeptical for a long time. Um, I kept seeing them, I think on Instacart and even in the grocery store, and then finally I was like, you know what?

Let me just try it. Maybe it was like on sale or something. Y'all. I am such a fan of Kevin's. I am such a fan of Kevin's. I've recommended it to my family. I have my brother and his wife and their son eating it. I have my sister eating it. I think my parents have maybe even tried it. This is what I mean when I, when we're not doing the menu cycle meal planning, if we have like an off week.

This week is one of those weeks. I have two Kevins in my um, fridge and they're awesome. Okay. Kevin's prepared meals, highly recommend. That is the first of three things I'm gonna recommend to you. The next is salad kits. Okay. I don't know why I never thought about buying salad kits. I think well, okay. I've been getting the salad kits.

I get them at HEB typically, I find that they have the best ones. Trader Joe's actually has some really good ones, and then the, the brand Taylor Farms is really good. It's the one, the bag is like a tall, skinny rectangle. I like that. That one versus like the bigger bags. Again, I wish, I wish we had a visual here, but those are my favorite salad kits.

Sometimes I use the dressing that it comes with. Sometimes I make my own. Sometimes I just use like a different dressing that I have on hand that I, I like better. And then I always, always, always add a protein. But yeah, I like it cuz it's like the pre-chopped, you know, kale and cabbage and, I don't know, they always have like really interesting lettuce mixes that are very hardy.

Um, I don't like, ooh, I hate baby spinach. I just, I think baby spinach is an abomination, and I'm sorry if you're a fan, but I just think it's like the worst thing in one of the worst things in the world. It's one of the few vegetables that I just really don't like. Um, I never, ever would eat a baby spinach salad almost.

That's probably not true. If I like came over to your house for dinner and you had like a baby spinach salad as a starter, I would definitely eat it, but I would probably wish it were a. A different lettuce. I like a crunch. I like, I don't know, I like something with more chew this like arugula, baby spinach.

It's really not for me, I have to be honest with you. Okay. Anyway, but these salad kits are amazing. I get them at H E B Texas-based grocery store. You know, they, Taylor Farms exists at most other grocery stores and Trader Joe's also has some really, really good ones. And then I just add some like chopped rotisserie chicken and it, that has been my weekday lunch.

I mean, I would say like 80%, no, maybe 90% of the time lately. Probably for like all of 2023. Okay. The last thing is just something that I've loved. Um, it is very expensive for what it is and I have to like ration it,  to myself. Um, but it's so good. It is Tashe pistachio milk, t a c h e. It's so good, especially if you're a matcha drinker.

Um, I've been really enjoying matcha in the morning versus coffee as like my first caffeinated beverage. I, I typically have two a day. It's just a lot more gentle on me and y'all know, I, I, I've got anxiety, you know, and so I have to watch it with the caffeine. And I find that match is just like a, a lot more gentle on my body and my brain.

Um, and Tashe pistachio milk, I get the vanilla unsweetened is, The best one. It, it's, or I should say it's the best milk to pair with matcha in my, in my opinion, to do like a matcha latte situation.

Movement and exercise

Okay. Let's speed through movement again. I have the, the practices that I've been engaging in and I've got some like products and services.

Okay.  now in terms of just like the practice or I guess the, the goal, if you will. I have been striving for three strength training workouts a week, and then on the other days just doing, you know, general movement, walking, walking. Basically. Movement for me is walking. I love, love, love walking. For my strength training workouts, I have a few apps actually that I would recommend.

Um, future is a phenomenal fitness training app. That is what got me back into the gym.  and back into a routine. I absolutely love future. I think it's phenomenal, especially if you maybe are wanting to get into the gym, um, you're wanting something more like prescriptive, you're wanting something more personalized.

You will literally be matched with a real life personal trainer, um, who you can chat with and they'll, um, you do like an onboarding call. You tell them what you want and they will craft you a workout, you know, kind of a week to week workout plan that is exactly what you want, and.  and I absolutely, I cannot say enough good things about the future experience when I felt like I was in a good rhythm with working out.

I did pause my membership cuz it is decently, um, priced and I felt like that's, that's what I was looking for when I signed up for Future was like, I just need, I need some accountability. Like I actually, I know how to strength train. I've just been doing it since I was in college basically. The programming was awesome and I, I, it was helpful again, like getting back into it to have, have that programming there.

But really what I needed was the accountability and I feel like I, I got that. Um, and now I'm kind of like doing good on my own. So since then I've been experimenting with a couple of other, um, kind of apps and programs. Um, I've been doing, uh, lane, I think his name is Layne Norton, bioLane, um, b i o l a y n e.

He has a strength training web app. I've been kind of dabbling in that. I do, I do like it. Um, so if you're kind of like a hardcore strength training gal, I think you'd probably like that for at-home workouts, I've been, um, really enjoying recently ladder. Um, I don't know if y'all have seen their TikTok ads, but I've been getting hit with them hard and they had a free five day trial, so I've been doing that and I just joined the, um, the, the lower tier and for the at home.

M early morning workouts. You know, something for me is like a, you know, 30, maybe 45 minutes. That's been been really, really great. Um, and when I'm doing something more like programmed during the week, what's cool is that it allows me on the weekends to just go to the gym with like no program. And I'm just focusing on the core lifts, like, um, squatting and deadlifting and bench pressing, and I'm just there with my headphones.

I'm not having to, to, you know, pull my phone out to type in my reps and da da da. So, um, those have been the, the three like apps or programs that I've really loved and would definitely recommend. And then in terms of movement, I, and then we're gonna wrap up with this. I didn't want, I didn't wanna love it.

I didn't wanna get it, but I got it and I love it and I wish I'd gotten it years and years. A under the desk treadmill. Absolute game changer. I, in terms of getting in regular movement each day, especially work days, um, or basically exclusively work days and just the, the energy that comes from that, it, for me, it has literally nothing to do with like burning more calories.

It is truly just feeling so much.  in my body when I'm moving more throughout the day and feeling so much more energized, so much more mobile like, I mean, it's isn't wild that you can sit at a desk all day and after that it's like your body is sore. My body is sore at least, and I feel more tired. But if I'm walking, you know, a decent amount of the day, I feel great.

I feel very connected to my body. I feel very. I, I don't have like the, the back and hip and neck soreness. It's just amazing. So I know they can be pricey. Um, I encourage you to check out like Facebook Marketplace or if you're in Austin, check out all hers. It's a, another like resale market for, um, women only.

But it's, it, it, again, if it's worth saving for, it's worth trying to find, um, you know, a discount or used option if you feel like you could benefit. . Um, and if you wanna test the waters, just make sure that you can return it. That was something I, I made sure that I didn't, I really didn't wanna get this piece of equipment if I wasn't gonna use it.

So I just made sure you know, that I was going to return it if that was the right thing to do. Okay. Those are the things, those are things I've been loving lately that have made it, you know, a, a little bit or even a lot easier to engage in these healthy habits of sleeping well, nourishing my body, and moving my body too.

I would love to hear from you what's been working well for. And I'll talk to you next week. Bye y'all.

Claire Siegel:

Thank you so much for joining me for today's episode of the Flourish podcast. If you enjoyed it, please take a second to leave us a five-star review or better yet, share it with a friend. And if you're ready to start your own journey to get healthy for good with accountability from expert coaches and the support of an incredible community, head to the show notes to get started on your Flourish journey.

I'll see you in the next episode.

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Claire Siegel
Co-founder, CEO
Claire Siegel is the founder and CEO of Flourish. Claire has made it her life’s mission to help women create a sustainable approach to their physical and mental well-being.

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