Hey, my friends! How are you? Today, we’ve got a big one, our first official “ask me anything” type of Q&A-style post.
Get comfortable, because this blog post is going to be all over the place with answers to the most common questions I get asked on social media, through email and in person.
You asked: Here are answers to the most common questions I get
Food and nutrition
How many eggs do you eat each week?
I actually had to sit down to count this out, so thanks for the question.
I eat eggs for lunch and dinner several days a week, but not all days. In fact, I always have about two or three days a week that I don’t eat any eggs at all. Right now, I probably eat about 12 eggs a week. Yes, it’s a lot, but eggs are super full of nutrients, and I enjoy them. I eat the whole egg too, and I always buy pasture-raised organic eggs to make sure they are of high quality.
To find out more:
- Here’s a recent post I wrote where I shared my lunches, most of which feature eggs, but not all.
Do you ever eat meat?
Yes, I do eat meat. But not often. I don’t like chicken, pork or turkey, so I rarely eat those.
But I eat a grass-fed burger or grass-fed steak maybe once every six weeks or every two months or so. It’s not an exact number, but every once in a while I crave some beef, so we have it. I’m not a big fan of meat, so that’s why I don’t eat it. And quite frankly, I enjoy having a more plant-based diet, but I don’t see an issue with eating meat, as long as you choose the right source of quality meat (and let’s remember, I do get animal protein from my daily collagen supplement as well as my eggs).
So if it’s a meat meal: Grass-fed beef for me. And I eat fish once a week too, mostly salmon. I love salmon, but I don’t like to cook it, so I usually get it via sushi or take-out.
We do feed Brady organic chicken nuggets a few times a week, so he gets a little meat in his system.
To find out more:
- Here’s a recent post where I shared everything I ate in a day, and no meat was included.
What are your thoughts on macro counting and macro tracking?
I do not track my macros, nor do I think that you need to.
Quick explanation: Tracking macros means that you eat a specific amount of protein, fat, carbs and overall calories each day, according to a set goal, customized to your body and goals.
And here’s my opinion …
I think that macro tracking is incredibly beneficial for people who have specific physique or performance objectives, in order to make sure you are fueling yourself properly. Tracking your macros can really work to change your overall body composition and increase your lean muscle mass, while losing fat.
However, for the average exerciser or wellness enthusiast, I think tracking macros can be a little bit too specific and sometimes lead to a slightly disordered or obsessive manner. (I’ve heard from many women who start tracking macros, that it begins to drive them a little crazy, and it takes the joy out of eating food and makes it so they aren’t listening to their bodies.)
For instance, if you are over your macros for the day, but you are still hungry: Should you go to bed hungry just to stick to your macros? No. I don’t agree with that. And, if one day, you just aren’t that hungry, should you force yourself to eat more just to fit your macros? No. I don’t agree with that. I prefer a slightly more intuitive approach.
But don’t get me wrong, I do agree with eating the right amount of proteins, fats, carbs and calories for your lifestyle, body and goals. But I also think that having a basic idea of portion sizes on your plate can be helpful too.
I don’t use, teach or prescribe macro tracking, because I don’t think you have to do it.
But I do think it’s an effective tool for those that know they can handle it without taking it too far. And it’s not an all-or-nothing-thing and could be helpful just to do a couple days a week to reassess.
As with everything else in health and fitness, if it works for your lifestyle, try it. If it seems too restricting to assign numbers to every single thing you put in your mouth all day, then skip it. But do make sure you have protein, carbs and fat on your plate at every meal.
Moral of the story: It’s effective, but it comes at a price. If you know what I mean.
To find out more:
- Here’s a recent nutrition post I wrote with some healthy eating habits, including portion control.
What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting?
Okay, friends, here’s the deal: Intermittent fasting, in which you shorten your eating window throughout the day in order to have longer times when you are not eating, is incredibly popular.
And here’s my personal opinion …
Based on what I know about intermittent fasting, it’s very effective for fat loss. You are supposed to eat around the same calories and macros as you normally would, but you only do that during a window of like 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., etc. leaving more time for your body to get into the fat-burning zone without fuel. Truth be told: I have NOT tried it.
Most of the research done on intermittent fasting has been done on men. There are some experts who say that intermittent fasting negatively affects a woman’s hormones and perhaps fertility too — placing the body in stress mode during the windows when you aren’t taking in fuel. And when something can mess up your hormonal system, to me, that says it’s not something I would want to do.
I wouldn’t do intermittent fasting if you are trying to heal from hypothalamic amenorrhea, if you have a history of disordered eating, if you are pregnant, nursing or are recovering from childbirth either.
Once again, I don’t like an eating program that sets such strict rules that you can’t eat when you are hungry, because you aren’t in your eating zone yet. That doesn’t work for me.
A few other problems with intermittent fasting include:
- You usually have to skip either breakfast or dinner with your loved ones, and that doesn’t seem cool to me. I would not want to miss eating breakfast with Brady or eating dinner with Dave. And also, I like to have breakfast shortly after waking, and I like to eat dinner after I’ve finished my workouts and work for the day. I don’t want to push those meal times.
- Also, you have to structure your entire day and your workouts around your eating window. You probably wouldn’t want to do a super-hard workout when you haven’t eaten for 10 hours. There would be no fuel in the tank. For me, as a fitness instructor, I would not set myself up to perform poorly, all in the name of sticking to my eating window.
Let me say this again: Intermittent fasting does help people eat less and lose fat. However, it is not something you need to do. And if you do it, I would proceed with major caution.
Moral of the story, once again: It’s effective, but it comes at a price.
Do you ever eat junk or anything unhealthy?
Yes, of course I eat things that aren’t “healthy.”
I don’t eat fast food, because it’s just not something I crave. But I do get a sugary latte at least once a week, I eat sweet potato fries almost every week, I devour several slices of thick-crust pizza every week, and I have no problem downing an entire slice of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory every couple of weeks as well.
But generally, I eat mostly healthy food most of the time. And that healthy food includes packaged items like protein bars and veggie burgers, that are slightly processed. They aren’t necessarily whole foods, but they are still valuable to me.
By the way, I also drink wine. Every single weekend. Usually a large glass, sometimes two. I don’t really drink wine throughout the weekdays though.
Health and wellness
Do you ever worry you are putting too much emphasis on health? How can someone know if they have a good balance?
This is an excellent question.
If you spend a lot of time scrolling through Instagram and you follow health/fitness influencers, you may think that all you should be focusing on is your health and fitness. I disagree. There is a lot more to life than what you are eating and what your workouts are (or how you look).
I think it feels very good to be healthy, so you can live your life to the fullest. But you shouldn’t be living your life to be so healthy, that you aren’t actually living your life. You know?
I think it’s great to schedule your workouts and to enjoy and know how to make your own food. But I don’t think it’s okay if you always say no to eating with others because you want to eat your own home-made food for every single meal. (Clearly, we are in strange quarantine times, so this point doesn’t fit as much.)
I think you should feel like you treat yourself every day or week with small things that make you feel good that may not be the healthiest. And I think you should let yourself have some freedom to do things off schedule.
You will know deep down if you are going overboard in the name of “health,” and if you are … try lightening up a bit and see how it feels. It may take time, but it feels really good to find a real balance.
To find out more:
- I actually just talked about this topic on Instagram here. And I wrote this post a while back about how to be less rigid.
Are all your days as good as they seem on Instagram? You seem to have it all figured out.
Let us remember that Instagram is a highlight reel. I occasionally post about the silly/frustrating/stressful stuff that happens, but not as often. Quite frankly because there are no visuals to go along with those times.
But here’s the deal: My days are fine. But they are not exactly how I’d like them to be. I’m the primary caretaker for a toddler, during a pandemic without any additional childcare. I’m a group fitness instructor who is in love with group fitness classes, and gyms have been closed, and I haven’t taught a live in-person class in more than four months. These things are not good. In addition, I do have some things going in the family world that are personal and don’t get mentioned on the blog as well, and these things weigh on me every single day.
However, I do feel like I have things mostly figured out, but it hasn’t always been this way …
When I was working in a regular corporate job, I truly struggled because I felt stuck and contained. That sucked. I had to find a way out, and eventually I was able to build up my own business.
Then, when Brady was born, for about the first 10 months of his life, I felt stuck and scatter-brained (and tired). That totally sucked. It took time, but I found my way out of that too over time as things got easier. And right now, I’m well rested, I have things under control, and I’m mostly okay.
I try to see the positive, I try to be grateful, and I try to share how I do that. I hope it comes across as real and authentic, because it is. But don’t get me wrong, I have bad days, I get stressed, I get upset, I complain, I critique things I see in the mirror (a lot), and I would love to change some things that are out of my control. But, I’ve had it way worse than I do right now, and I can totally appreciate that. So here we are.
Hormones and hypothalamic amenorrhea
How did you heal from hypothalamic amenorrhea?
When I was trying to find answers on how to heal from hypothalamic amenorrhea years ago, there was literally nothing helpful out there. Like nothing. Crickets. Nobody talking about it, and if they did, the advice was to eat junk to gain weight and stop exercising, which didn’t sound right to me.
That’s why, after I recovered, I decided to not only write an e-book with my entire real and raw story, but I’ve continued to cover the topic on my blog and in interviews on various podcasts.
I healed my hormones by cutting my intense workouts in half, increasing my food intake, eating more healthy fat, eating mostly warm foods, going to acupuncture and taking herbal supplements. It was a long process.
To find out more:
- My journey to get pregnant and how I overcame hypothalamic amenorrhea
- Life after recovering from hypothalamic amenorrhea
- Announcing my first ebook: “Fit and Fertile”
- How I protect my fertility and hormones (life after recovering part 2)
- Podcast about healing my hormones
How do you know if you’re eating enough food to heal from hypothalamic amenorrhea?
When I was healing from hypothalamic amenorrhea, I stepped up my food intake slowly. I added a side of warm roasted Brussel sprouts cooked in olive oil to my plate. Then, I added an extra egg. Then, I started eating an extra avocado a day too. This little increase made it so that I could slowly eat more and more.
The thing is: If you’re trying to heal from hypothalamic amenorrhea, you shouldn’t ever let yourself get to that super-hungry point. You should be eating three square meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a snack or two as well. You probably shouldn’t worry about your eating windows, but instead make sure you are intentional about sitting down and eating until you are full for all three meals a day.
Also, eat warmer foods.
It’s hard to say exactly what will work for each person, because our bodies and needs are so different. But a good rule of thumb for staying healthy with your hormones if you’ve had a history of losing your cycle due to hypothalamic amenorrhea, is to eat more nourishing, fat-filled, nutrient-dense food, throughout the day.
This could be a case where you want to loosely count your calories, to ensure you are getting enough. I didn’t track calories while healing, but if I did, they’d be higher than a “maintenance” mode.
Are your hormones still healed even though you’re doing more high-intensity exercise?
Yes, they are!
I know this for sure, because I monitor my cycle, and it is totally unregulated by synthetic hormones and yet is very regular. If I start to feel low energy or sore or find that I’m not recovering well from my workouts, or see my cycle lengthening, then I will certainly pull back on my workouts.
But let us remember that I took a very slow approach to returning to fitness postpartum.
I didn’t run or jump or do a full-hour workout for months. And I didn’t start teaching BODYATTACK again for almost a year-and-a-half after Brady was born.
Right now, I mix a tough day of workouts with a lighter day the next day. And, I’m eating a lot of nutrient-dense food and healthy fats every day. I never go hungry, I don’t limit my food, and I sleep well. All of these things add up to keeping my system running smoothly. But I didn’t get to jump back into hard workouts overnight. It was a slow build.
Motherhood and life
Are you going to send Brady to preschool in the fall in spite of the pandemic?
Great question, again.
We were supposed to send Brady to summer camp and decided to back out, because we didn’t quite feel comfortable. This is a camp with kids we don’t know. And things are still quite heated right now.
However, as of today, if Brady’s regular preschool is open, we are considering sending him starting in September when the school-year is supposed to begin, assuming things begin to improve. He went there last year, he’d have many of his same friends, and we know the teachers. They have already let us know that they’ve reduced the class sizes and taken extra precautionary measures like contactless pick-up and drop-off, and he will only be there two mornings a week for three hours. He has definitely shown signs of missing school, gym daycare and the other kid activities we used to do. And so, I feel like we’d potentially be okay sending him back there, to have his same teacher with the same small group of kids. Most likely.
However, things could change at any point. The school could decide not to open, or we could decide not to send him if things don’t get any better. It’s all very much up in the air right now.
If you are not sure what to do about your own child-care or school situation with your family, I recommend making the decision solely off what feels right to you, and not to anyone else. These are strange and scary times for us all, and we may never know what the “right” decision is. We just have to go with our guts. (But of course, I’d recommend wearing a mask, social distancing, staying home when you are sick and washing your hands like crazy, no matter what else you do.)
By the way, there will be NO mom shaming here! So if you disagree with me, let’s leave it at that. We’re all just trying to do our best. Let’s not make things worse by judging each other.
How do you balance taking care of yourself when you’re a mom?
This is a great question too. You guys came up with the best questions.
I can only share how I do this, so this may not work for you, but here it is.
I make time for myself in a few ways:
Meditation. Movement. Moments just for me.
No matter what, I set my alarm to get up and do my 10-minute meditation before getting Brady up out of his bed and room for the day. This sets the tone for me, even if it’s super short.
Then, later in the day, I do my workout alone, without Brady around. I used to be able to do that using the gym daycare services, but I now I do my workout at strange times when Dave is free and able to watch Brady. (Dave is still working at home, because of the whole national pandemic thing.) Sometimes I work out at 5 p.m., sometimes 12 p.m., sometimes 7 p.m.. In an ideal world, I would work out at the same exact mid-morning time each day, but that’s not possible right now. Also, my workouts are shorter now, only 30 minutes or so, but I need them to be uninterrupted. I tried to have Brady around to get my workout done and all it did was stress me out, so I decided to NOT do that any longer. Movement is medicine for me, and I do it every single day, except a rest day on Sunday, which may just be yoga.
Because Dave is home more now, we do a lot of hand-offs too. Which means we are often switching back and forth. I hang with Brady in the early morning and first part of the day while Dave works out, showers and starts his workday with a lot of meetings. We each take part in getting Brady ready for his nap in the middle of the day. Dave hangs with Brady in the afternoon while I work out. And I use every second of Brady’s mid-day nap for my own work.
Also, I sleep. Even though there are always more things I want to get done each night, I close up my computer no later than 9 p.m., and Dave and I watch a show together, before I get in bed to read. This is a good decompression time that I really need.
Honestly, I would love to have more alone time and more me time, but that’s not all that easy right now. But I use my little windows to the fullest, and I appreciate them. Sometimes a solo evening walk while Dave is giving Brady a bath is just what I need to feel centered again.
This is not a clear-cut answer because we all need different things. But I think my main point is that my time for me is short. But I use it. I get a few minutes of quiet and alone time every single day, and it’s just enough to keep me feeling well and feeling sane.
And I don’t ever feel bad about needing that alone time, because you know what they say … you can’t pour from an empty cup. And being a healthy and happy functioning person is the best kind of example you can set for your kiddos too.
Where do you buy most of your workout clothes?
I buy most of my workout clothes from Lululemon, Fabletics, CALIA (a blog partner) and Athleta. However, I have a new workout-wear obsession, and that’s a site called Carbon38, which is where I’ve been getting a lot of my stuff lately. They definitely have the most stylish and diverse workout wear. And my code ASHLEYPITT works for 15 percent off.
I repeat workout clothes a lot and probably should get more than I do. But my style is high-waisted leggings and loose slightly cropped tanks. But I’ve been getting into bike shorts lately too.
To find out more:
- I’ve also written an entire blog post on where I get most of my workout clothes.
Where do you buy your clothes?
I buy most of my clothes from Everlane, Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. I haven’t done a ton of shopping lately. And when I do shop, I like to get simple clothing that lasts. I buy a lot of solid colors, jeans, dresses and tops. And I do most of my shopping online.
I miss buying clothes and dressing up!
To find out more:
- I’ve also written an entire blog post on my favorite clothing items.
Do you have extensions in your hair?
No. This is such a compliment.
I truly appreciate the sentiment behind it, but my hair is all my own. And it’s frizzy, tangly and naturally quite curly.
Truth be told: When I was struggling with my hormones, over-exercising and living life with too low of body fat, my hair was much more thin and didn’t look anything like it looks now. But now, it’s long and thick and quite the pain.
I only wash it once a week. And I have only worn it down maybe a handful of times in the last four months. But I do like having long hair, even if it’s an effort to manage.
Business and blogging
How do you make money from your blog?
I know people are curious, and blogging is still a new-ish industry, but I’m always a little surprised with how people ask me these questions (especially those in my personal life, who straight up say: how much do you make from your blog?).
Yes, I do make money from my blog. I’ve been writing A Lady Goes West for almost eight years, and it was a very long time before I made any money at all. I think it was maybe three or four years before I ever made a cent. For real. It has been a very slow build. Today, I make my full-time income off this blog, and I do that without having a large social media following at all. It can be done.
I’ve made a conscious decision that this is not a blog about blogging, that’s why I don’t write about tips for blogging or anything like that (and my blog is so small compared to other blogs, who may have better tips than me anyhow).
But here’s what I will share: I earn money off ads on my blog through an ad network that places them there for me; I earn money from affiliate partnerships with brands that I love, use myself and link to in posts; I earn money from occasional sponsored posts; and I earn money from my Beautycounter business.
I happen to love blogging. But it’s definitely not easy or stress free. I spend a lot of time coming up with content, writing and creating things for you here in this little space, at no charge to you. And I do that because I care. But I also do it because this blog helps support my family. When you support me, through reading my posts, liking my posts, shopping with me or sharing my content with your friends, it matters to us all. So thank you!
Oh, and by the way, I’m working on a new project so I can share my workout classes with you at home. I can’t WAIT to share the details soon.
To find out more:
- It’s not always glamorous, but here’s what I’ve learned from working for myself.
We’ll stop there with all these questions, because this post is officially over 4,300 words.
Other posts you may like
- What I’ve learned while working with a life coach
- What I’ve learned from three years of working for myself
- Five healthy eating habits to improve your nutrition
- What I’ve been eating for lunch during quarantine
- How I protect my fertility and hormones
Thank you SO much for being a reader of A Lady Goes West. I truly appreciate that you come by to visit and read. Have an awesome day!
Questions of the day
What’s something that people always ask you?
Do you have another question I didn’t cover here? If so, please leave it below.
How did you find A Lady Goes West?