IWS21 Day 3: Be Well in Food and Finances

by | Mar 11, 2021 | Articles, Financial, IWS21, Nutrition, Wellness Summit

We’re already halfway through the InDependent Wellness Summit recaps and there’s so much inspiration to be found in each and every interview. If you missed Day One or Day Two, make sure to check out those recaps before diving into today!

Day Three is all about being well with food and finances. We started Day Three with an interview with Shana Spence, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in New York who labels herself as an “eat anything” dietitian. She wanted to create a platform for open discussion on nutrition and the myriad wellness topics circulating around these days. In the not so long ago past she worked in the fashion industry and hated it. She decided to go back to school, and became involved in food policy and public health. Since then she has focused her attention on helping others rebuild their relationships with themselves and food. 

What does it mean to be an “eat anything” dietitian? Spence is passionate about teaching how to “eat without diet culture getting into our head,” describing how people are born as intuitive eaters. After all, babies know when they are hungry and they stop eating when they are full. This changes as you grow, and diet culture plays a part in this.

As a parent, I see this in my own children. There’s an expectation around food such as a rigid three meals and two snacks a day schedule and being a part of the “clean your plate” club. Am I pushing my negative or strict feelings on food and what I should or should not do on my own children? Are there ways to neutralize thoughts or feelings, shift my language, and therefore shift my perspective? 

One of the many tips that Spence suggests is changing your language. Take away language like “good,” “bad,” or even “healthy.” Use words like “nutrient-dense” or “fun.” Instead of saying something like, “I had a cookie, that was so bad,” you could say “I had a nutrient-dense meal, now I want to have something fun like a cookie” and pay attention to how your body is feeling as you eat that “fun” food. Spence is encouraging when she says, “You have permission to eat what you want…your body knows how to regulate itself. I don’t think we give our bodies enough credit.”

Throughout the interview, Spence discusses how first responder and military spouses may use food and eating as comfort or a method of control. After all, your lives are full of uncertainty! This section resonated with me for sure. With over seven deployments under my belt, there have been many times when I have “fed my feelings” and then had a lot of guilt attached to that. Spence provides some great examples of ways we can shift our perspectives when times of difficulty or stress occur. 

This is a process. It takes time to get to a place where you change your mindset and relationship with food. 

“You have permission to eat what you want…your body knows how to regulate itself. I don’t think we give our bodies enough credit.” — Shana Spence

To continue Day 3 on a high note, we move to the second interview of the day with Katy Stevick—a military spouse, mom, and financial professional with a passion for helping service families align their finances with their most important values. She loves helping clients to focus on their most valuable goals and live more efficiently so they have the time and money to concentrate on the things they love and want to do. Katy and her husband are also the proud owners of the Macpherson House, a bed and breakfast located in Fayetteville, North Carolina. 

So many people find finances really stressful and it can be such a taboo topic. However, it is important to understand why finances are important when it comes to your overall wellness. “Money is a tool, and it is a very powerful tool,” said Stevick. It is integrated into everything you do, not only when it comes to funding the other aspects of wellness, such as the gym or healthy food, but also as a potential cause of stress. 

When looking at finances, how should you get started? As a financial planner, Stevick has a lot of concrete advice throughout the entire interview—after all, she has interviewed people in all walks of life through their financial goals. When advising clients initially, she takes money off the table. Instead she has people break down their goals, ideas, and values for their future first and foremost. She also stresses that these goals should be written down! “These may be different from your spouse, but once you have them all written down, you can then decide how you want to prioritize them.” 

It is so easy to become bogged down and stressed with the present and what you have right in front of you. As military and first responder families, so much of your lives are dictated to you on a regular basis. It can be so freeing and therapeutic, as well as beneficial in the long run, to dream with your spouse about how you would like your lives to be in the future—whether the military is still in the picture then or not. I don’t know about all of you, but I do not want to be at the end of this military journey and not have the tools to move forward with the rest of our lives. 

Stevick really brings a lot of fun and excitement into finances in this interview. She provides some step-by-step instructions on how to plan, implement, and follow through for many of the aspects of military and first responder lives. PCSing, deployments, and long training all impact your finances, and you should be prepared. 

For me, I felt inspired to not only set new goals and to refocus my priorities, but also to find new ways to break down my finances to make our dreams a reality. I guarantee you, you will walk away from this interview with a new appreciation for how your goals and values should shape your finances. Make sure to go and listen to it! 

 “Money is a tool, and it is a very powerful tool.” — Katy Stevick

This is Day Three of the InDependent Wellness Summit for 2021! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. More recaps will be coming each day this week, so stay tuned. If you missed the recap for Day One or Day Two, make sure to check them out! Don’t forget, you can still sign up for the Wellness Lounge and receive access to all of the interviews FOR LIFE! Sign up here.

InDependent makes wellness accessible and creates opportunities for all military spouses to connect for friendship, accountability, and inspiration.

We envision a time when all military spouses thrive through connection to community and resources that results in healthy decision-making for themselves and their families.