Set Yourself Up for Success: Mornings


Set Yourself Up for Success: Mornings

Are you a “morning person” or a “night owl”? Often, I hear these terms used to describe whether someone has more energy in the morning or at night. Regardless of whatever you prefer, most of us have responsibilities in the morning we need to wake up for. 

What are your mornings usually like? When your alarm goes off, do you hit snooze several times or do you get up right away? Do you allow extra time in the morning or do you sleep until the last possible minute and feel anxious and rushed as you head out the door? 

One of the most effective ways to set yourself up for success is to begin your day with a morning routine that will help you be focused, clear, and calm.

For me, I used to start my day by unloading the dishwasher while the kettle boiled for my tea.  Ugh! Why did I do that?  I realized that just made me stressed and distracted right away. Nowadays the dishwasher can wait, for sure.

Last September, I decided to overhaul my morning routine and have been intentional about waking up earlier, usually around 5:30 am.  After my alarm goes off, I drink a big glass of water even before I get out of bed.  Obviously, this requires a bit of planning in my nighttime routine to fill up the glass and leave it on my bedside table.  Then I head downstairs to get a mug of tea. I take it to my rocking chair, put my fuzzy blanket on my lap and pull out my Bible and journal. Lately I’ve been reading in Psalms.  I read some, maybe write a bit, and pray. Then I wake up my body by stretching and doing some core strength exercises.  My whole routine takes less than 30 minutes and it feels good to wake up my body, mind, and spirit this way before moving on to the rest of my day.

The way you begin your day can have a big impact on your attitude, your stress level, and your body. So, I encourage you to think through how you would like to set yourself up for success in the morning. How would you like to feel? What things would you like to do? It’s your choice!

A few tips to Set Yourself Up for Success in the morning

  • Get up right away when your alarm goes off. No snooze! If this is a challenge for you, try Mel Robbins’ #5SecondRule - count down aloud 5-4-3-2-1 and physically get up. Just do it.

  • Drink a big glass of water. No need to chug it like I do, but definitely drink some water. Your body just went all night without any water and it needs to be hydrated!

  • Take 5+ minutes for deep breathing, meditation, contemplation, gratitude, listening to uplifting music, reading something inspirational.

  • Move your body. Even 5 minutes is fantastic. If you are a current physical therapy patient, plan specific time in the morning to do your first set of PT exercises.

  • Eat a nourishing breakfast with some protein and healthy fats to keep your blood sugar stable until lunch.

  • Wait to check your phone until after you’ve done these other things.

  • Smile – it’s a new day and you are an important part of this world!

For more info on this topic, I recommend reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.






I read a lot and usually get books from the library.  If my library doesn’t have a particular book I’m looking for, they order it from another library in the system. Voila! It’s amazing.

Occasionally, a book will come along that catches my attention so much that I actually BUY it. 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

I pre-ordered this book even before it was released and after it arrived, I have been underlining, writing notes in the margins, and folding back tops of pages.

So often we want to automatically arrive at the big transformations and goals. The before and after photos. The end of the race with the medal around our neck. The diploma.  The business goal.

These big things are great, but in order to get there it really comes down to atomic habits, making small improvements on a daily basis and realizing that the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them.  James Clear says, “An atomic habit is a little habit that is part of a larger system. Just as atoms are the building blocks of molecules, atomic habits are the building blocks of remarkable results.”

With the New Year many people reflect on the past year’s events and accomplishments and look ahead to the New Year with hopes, dreams, and goals for their health, career, and family. This is a fantastic practice and I encourage everyone to take some time to do this. I also encourage you to not just set goals for the direction you want to go in 2019, but also think about the habits and systems that need to be put in place in order to reach those goals.

·         What is your goal (the direction you want to go)?

·         What habits need to develop?

·         What habits need to end?

·         What is one system you could implement to help you make progress in the direction of your goal?

Is all of this overwhelming? Goals, habits, systems, progress...?

Maybe you have an idea of what your goal is, but have NO idea how to change your habits or set up new systems for making progress. There is a lot of information out there and sometimes it can be difficult to wade through it all to find what works for you. I understand. Personally, I’ve waded through lots of information to find systems that work well for me. Also, I continue to learn, grow, and try new things so I can feel my best and live a flourishing life.  As your Health Coach I’m here to support, educate, and cheer you on to live your best life.  Let’s chat!


One Year Later...


One Year Later...

You know how you can get all excited about something and make plans to do it and then not actually do it?  Yes? Looks like that’s what happened with me and this blog.

Really, I have loads of ideas I would like to write about.  

·         Sugar Cravings

·         Eating Seasonally

·         Intentions

·         Primary Food

·         Disordered Eating/Body Image

·         Investing in Your Health

·         Rushing Women’s Syndrome

·         Making a Morning Routine

·         Health Benefits of Spices

·         Gluten Free Baking

·         What Does “Eating Healthy” Really Mean?

·         Inflammation: Calming the Fire Within

·         And more…

This list is actually tucked away in my phone! So why haven’t I written anything in a YEAR?  For one thing, I wasn’t intentional and did not set an action plan for writing blog posts. I had plenty of ideas, but I didn’t act on them. Also, I was stuck in “analysis paralysis.” Overthinking everything to the point of not writing anything. 

Personally, a lot has happened this year. In April, my husband’s job ended and we are still in-between. That loss has been significant and it has been hard for me to move forward as a health coach when I am uncertain how we are moving forward as a family.

Even with all of that, there have been many ways that I have NOT been stuck in this health coaching journey.

Since January 2018, I have:

·         Been present and engaged for 60 health coaching sessions with clients.

·         Met over 20 people through free 30-minute consultations.

·         Organized, advertised and implemented 9 workshops on my own.

·         Coordinated 6 wellness workshop + cooking classes with Chef Jen Plaggemars.

·         Met many amazing health practitioners and enthusiasts through networking meetings.

·         Gained confidence and valuable experience.

I’m giving myself a gold star for all of that!

My intention is to blog once a month in 2019. There, I said it! Now I have a plan. My aim is for anything I post to be unique to me.  It will be from who I am and what has been significant in my life experiences and health coaching practice.  Stay tuned!


I'm Not Mad. I Just Want Cookies.


I'm Not Mad. I Just Want Cookies.

One rainy, cold weekend recently I must have had an interesting look on my face because my daughter’s both asked me if I was mad. “No, I’m not mad. I just want cookies.” Truly, I wasn’t mad. I wanted something. Something sweet. Cookies! But I didn’t feel like making gluten-free cookies and I knew that even if I did bake, I would eat too many. Through my health coach training at IIN, I’ve been more aware of cravings and what my body is really asking for when I crave a particular food.  Instead of wanting cookies, I was probably just tired or needed to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or to see the sunshine.  That weekend, “I’m not mad. I just want cookies.” became a funny phrase for us.

A few days later I was at an event away from home and my husband was home with our daughters. When I returned, there was a tray filled with freshly baked, HUGE gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and a hand-made sign that said, “I’m not mad. I just want cookies.” Aw, how thoughtful! And how delicious! I ate 3 that night. And I ate the rest the next day. And then I didn’t feel well from the sugar overload. And then I really was mad. Mad at myself for not setting limits and eating to the point of not feeling well. I totally know better…I’M A HEALTH COACH!

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Really, I don’t eat or drink much sugar but this thing with the cookies bothered me. I have done a couple of sugar detoxes before and I knew it was time for another. So I took a break from refined sugar for the first three weeks in November.  I re-set my intentions to nourish my body and I continued to focus on real, whole foods. When I wanted something sweet, I enjoyed seasonal sweet vegetables like roasted squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. And juicy fruits like pomegranate, apples, and orangs.

It’s the holiday season and the with abundance of sugary treats around, it’s easy to let our desire for sugar take over if we are not intentional with our food choices. Sugar tastes great and gives our brain a boost of pleasure. But it’s a temporary pleasure. The effects of sugar on our bodies can be profound (but that’s another blog post).

For now, here are a few tips for calming sugar cravings:

·         Drink water. Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration.

·         Eat naturally sweet vegetables and fruit to crowd out your sugar cravings.

·         Avoid chemicalized, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar.

·         Get physically active. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boost energy, and reduce tension which all help decrease the likelihood that you’ll want to self-medicate with sugar.

·         Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways! Cravings almost always have a psychological component. If you can identify the underlying causes of food cravings and make lifestyle changes accordingly, you can find balance and take charge of your health.

Need some help calming your sugar cravings? No need to wait until the holidays are over before you take steps towards better health. Email me to schedule a free health coaching consultation.


Big Plans


Big Plans

In an earlier post, I shared a bit of my journey of how I made the connection between what I was eating and chronic headaches. And how that transformed my life and set me on a course to learn all that I could about how to nourish my body so that I could feel my best and live without chronic headaches.

How did that lead me to becoming a Health Coach?

In 2011 our younger daughter went to kindergarten so with both girls in school full time, I started exploring possibilities for work outside the home. Sometime during that year, I stumbled upon The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), a year-long online course to become a certified Health Coach. The course looked amazing! At this point in my life, I had been eating gluten free for over a year and reading all kinds of books about nourishing foods, healing through food, and holistic wellness.  I called IIN for more information, but the tuition price was more than our budget allowed and I wasn’t quite sure that the timing was right for our family. I felt like I should wait.

During that time, I was also a coach for Girls on the Run for several years. Their mission is: “We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” I loved how it wasn’t just about running. We taught girls healthy communication skills, how to make more positive choices with friends and about making better food choices to nourish their bodies. I loved being Coach Kamper to all those 3rd through 5th grade girls!

Over these past several years, I often prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to do beyond homemaker (which I really do love!). There has been great value for me in being able to devote more time and energy to my family and home as a homemaker. But I knew that someday our girls would grow up and move away. *sniffle* Then what would I do? The idea of Health Coaching always came to mind.

Looking back, I can see how waiting for the right time was good. A few years ago, we had a huge transition for our family.  My husband had a change in ministry, we sold our house and moved into a rental for 5 months. Then we bought our current house, moved in between blizzards, the girls started a new school and Mark started with a different ministry at a new church.

In October 2015 I developed some back pain that wasn’t going away with rest and stretching, so I went to a Physical Therapist. Craig at SIMIO was highly recommended by several friends. On my first visit, I noticed a business card for a Health Coach at the front desk. I took the card, looked up the Audrey Byker ( and noticed she was a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I emailed her and asked her opinion about IIN and she emailed back and was very positive and encouraging! At one of my PT visits, I mentioned seeing the Health Coach business card and how that was something I was interested in doing some day. Craig and I chatted more about nutrition and the IIN online program. At another PT appointment, he asked if I was still thinking about IIN and then shared how SIMIO was planning to relocate, expand, and re-brand with more services, including Health Coaching.

In the spring of 2016, I received an email from a friend, who I hadn’t seen in several months, asking for some help and encouragement in the area of nutrition and exercise. She didn’t know anything of the recent Health Coach possibilities I was exploring.  The way my friend reached out to me, I felt like it was one more validation that I was SUPPOSED to take the next step to become a Health Coach. That same day I received another email from IIN with the best tuition offer yet. The timing was right!

I enrolled in IIN in May 2016!

And SIMIO moved forward with their building plans.

Through IIN, I gained more formal education, training, resources and experience as a Health Coach and I’m so excited to join forces with SIMIO Health Services to provide health coaching and nutritional education.

Now, it’s October 2017 and today is opening day for SIMIO Health Services in the new location at 730 Chicago Drive in Holland, Michigan. It’s beautiful and definitely a place you will want to check out for health coaching, nutrition education, wellness events, massage therapy, movement classes, and of course physical therapy.

Isn’t it beautiful when big plans come together?

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Hello Summer!


Hello Summer!

Summer officially begins today, June 21! But if you’re like me, you tend to think that summer started around Memorial Day and for sure after the kids had their last day of school. For us, there was definitely a count down during May and early June.  We just get so excited about summer and the change in routines and activities!

Last week was the first full week of no school and we needed it to decompress, transition, and take a break. My girls just wanted a chance to sleep in and not have much on the calendar. We sorted school papers (and burned some!), loaded up with library books, went to the Farmer’s Market, worked on a puzzle, and watched movies.  And we talked about our summer plans and goals.

Our family has several things on our calendar for this summer. Birthday parties, appointments, various camping trips, family vacation in Traverse City, church activities. We also like to leave open space in our schedule so that we can have spontaneous fun like boating, beach, blueberry picking, and back yard games.

Whatever your routine or summer plans, I hope you take time to pause from the busyness that summer often becomes.  Go to the beach and enjoy a sunset. Build a sand castle. Take a deep breath of fresh summer air and truly enjoy this new season.

What are you looking forward to about this summer?


Step by Step


Step by Step

Step by Step. One Step at a Time. The Next Step. A Step in the Right Direction…

All of these phrases set a picture in my mind of steady, moving forward progress. In this fast-paced world of instant everything, the idea of long-term goals is not particularly popular. We want results now. We want to reach our goals now. We are hungry now!

It’s so easy to think about what we want now.

“I want to run that 5K right now.”

“I want to be 20 pounds lighter now.”

“I want to advance in my job now.”

We all know that these things take time and dedication. We know that the first thing to do in training for a 5K is to get up off the couch, lace up shoes, and literally take those first steps. We know that to lose weight we must make intentional, healthy choices every day. And we know that to advance in our job, we must be consistent in the work before us each day and to continue to grow and develop new skills. These things don’t happen overnight.

When I look ahead to my goals as a Health Coach, it’s easy to get caught up in what I want it to look like in a few years instead of focusing on where I am now.  A helpful practice has been to set 6-month, 1 year, and even 5 year goals for my career. It’s inspiring to learn about other Health Coaching businesses and also healthy for me to recognize that they developed their skills step by step, just as I am doing.

Part of my next step is writing this blog! As I thought of what to name it, the phrase “Step by Step” just kept coming in mind. It makes me think of active participation and consistency. That’s what I strive for as a Health Coach and in other areas of my life. I am taking steps each week towards building my health coaching business.  I continue to take steps each day to maintain and increase my own health.

Let’s remember that in order to reach big goals, we must take it “Step by Step.”  All of these steps will lead to big distances over time and eventually we will be able to look back and see a lot of footprints along the path that got us to the point where we are now.



What is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach?


What is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach?

The term “integrative” means “serving or intending to unify separate things.” What we eat is important, but it’s not the only factor in health. Physical activity, relationships, career, and spirituality are all vitally important aspects of our overall well-being.  As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach I am a supportive mentor and wellness authority who works with clients to help them feel their best through both food and lifestyle changes.  Instead of dictating one way of eating or exercising, I tailor individualized wellness programs to meet my clients’ unique needs.

Part of my journey to becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach started with my own health crisis.

“Really? You don’t have a headache all the time?” I remember asking my husband this and realizing that not everyone had a terrible headache every day. Frequent headaches had been a part of my life since I was a child, but the consistent headache pain I had been living with for years as an adult was gradual enough that it took me awhile to realize that feeling that way was not normal. I was in my early 30’s, married with 2 young daughters, living my dream of being a wife and Mom. But, I had a headache every single day and the pain was increasing in intensity.  

My journey to really seeking answers began in the summer of 2008. After a visit to the doctor and 5 days on a strong medication and feeling even worse, I got off the medication and spent the next year and a half trying to figure out what was going on in my body. I had an MRI (all clear), tried chiropractic care, massage therapy, biofeedback, acupuncture, and physical therapy. While these are all wonderful services that benefited me in other ways and may help some people with chronic headaches and other health issues, I wasn’t experiencing consistent headache pain relief.  My prayer during this time was, “God, you know exactly what is going on in my body. Please give me wisdom to know if there is something I can do to stop this headache.”

Reading and researching topics of interest are one of my hobbies, so I started learning all I could about headaches, which also led me to learning more about nutrition. It wasn’t until the spring of 2010 after an experiment of not eating white flour and sugar for a time, that I made the connection between what I was eating and how I was feeling. I realized gluten was the culprit behind these severe headaches. 

Looking back on this time, it’s frustrating that nobody asked me about what I was eating. Frustrating, but not surprising. The practitioners I saw knew their particular area of expertise and were not nutritional experts. However, if they had asked, I would have proudly told them that I ate really healthy. I made most of our meals at home, enjoyed a variety of fruits and vegetables, used whole wheat flour in baking, and made my own granola and sprinkled wheat germ all over it. Little did I know how I was contributing to my own pain!

I started tuning in to my body and recognizing how the food I ate affected how I felt.  A term that is common among Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches is “bio-individuality” which means that we are all unique in how things like food, environmental factors, exercise, therapies, medications, and stress affect our bodies. I know people who have benefited greatly from chiropractic care and massage therapy to manage headaches. But for me, the underlying issue was a sensitivity to gluten.

When I gave up eating gluten, I actually had to go through a process of mourning. It sounds silly to say I was mourning the loss of a food, but I loved baking (and eating) muffins, cookies and bread! Gluten was in many of the foods I was eating and the selection of gluten free options at the grocery store was limited at this time. What was I going to eat? Reading labels and experimenting with gluten free cooking and baking became necessary. And it also became fun! I liked trying new recipes and I especially liked not having a headache.

There have been many mistakes along the way, like forgetting to read a label or ask for an ingredient list, especially when dining out or eating food I didn’t prepare.  But now, I am an expert at reading labels and preparing gluten free food! If a food containing gluten looks really delicious to me, I remind myself, “Nothing tastes good enough to be worth not feeling well.”

Food has the power to make us sick and it has the power to heal. We are all unique in how foods nourish or negatively affect our bodies.  The concept of bio-individuality has been powerful in my life and in those I support and coach.  If you are not feeling your best, have you considered how you are or are not nourishing your body through the food you are eating?

I know that the information available for health is abundant and can be overwhelming. Let me come alongside you and coach you through your wellness journey so you can feel your best!