Nutrition Made Simple Podcast Episode 1: The Why Behind Healthy Steps Nutrition

Today, Nicole Aucoin and Ashley Osterman are talking about the why behind Healthy Steps Nutrition. We all have a story, which is the WHY behind our passion.

Nicole’s story about nutrition and health starts with the most inspirational person she ever met, her Mom, who lost a battle with breast cancer at a young age. That journey is what sparked her interest for nutrition and health at a young age.

The mission at Healthy Steps Nutrition is to empower people to become the healthiest versions of themselves and take control of their health one step at a time. Understanding the story behind Healthy Steps Nutrition will help you understand why we do what we do and our passion behind what we do.

Episode Transcript:

Nicole Aucoin (00:05):
Welcome to the Nutrition Made Simple podcast. At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we believe something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t be complicated, which is why we focus on a simple, habit-based approach when working with clients. We’ve helped over 30,000 people around the world take control of their health one step at a time. I’m your host, Nicole Aucoin, registered dietician and founder at Healthy Steps Nutrition, CrossFit HSN and HSN Mentoring. I’m also the author of the Healthy Kids Cookbook, 100% kid-approved recipes the whole family will love. In fact, our twin 10 year olds, Brody and Cooper, helped approve all of the recipes in this cookbook.

Nicole Aucoin (00:49):
In this brand new podcast, I’m going to teach you how to take one step at a time to become the healthiest version of yourself. Today, Ashley Osterman and I are talking about with why behind Healthy Steps Nutrition. We all have a story, and that story often is the why behind our passion. My story starts with my mom. She was the most inspirational person I’ve ever known. In fact, the year she passed away, she was named the most inspirational person in our city. I’m staring at a bowl engraved with that title right now. Sorry, Dad, if you’re listening and just realized that I snagged it.

Nicole Aucoin (01:28):
She was diagnosed with cancer when I was really young. We completely changed our diet and our lifestyle, and I realized from a young age the power of food as medicine. She lived years after the doctors said she would, and I’m forever grateful for that time. While she didn’t get cancer from being overweight, in fact, she was 4’10”, super petite, and she always would say, “Dynamite comes in small packages.”

Nicole Aucoin (01:59):
We never really know what the cancer came from, but we do know that she did everything that she possibly could to live a healthy lifestyle so that she could have time, extra time with all of us. There are too many people suffering from chronic disease. 60% of the population has at least one chronic disease, and 40% have two or more. There are 13 types of cancers associated with being overweight and obese.

Nicole Aucoin (02:31):
I know too many families that have gone through what I went through with my mom, and no daughter should have to grow up without their mother. And why wouldn’t you do everything that you could possibly do to take control of your health to decrease the risk? I know that’s my why, and that is the reason why I started Healthy Steps Nutrition.

Nicole Aucoin (02:53):
Our mission is to empower people to become the healthiest version of themselves, and it really starts with what you eat. So as you listen to this episode of the why behind what we do at Healthy Steps Nutrition and how the company’s progressed, I want you to think about your why. Why are you wanting to take control of your health? What do you want to do? What does success look like to you?

Nicole Aucoin (03:20):
I know for me, I want to prevent chronic disease. I want to do everything I can do to decrease the risk of getting cancer. While I might still get it, I’m going to do everything that I possibly can do to decrease my risk. But I also want to set my kids up for success. I want them to understand what’s healthy. I don’t want them to be addicted to sugar and processed carbohydrates and junk. I want them to understand what whole foods looks like and what real foods look like. And honestly, it takes so much intentionality. It’s easy to get tricked by marketing out there, and I hope this episode and this podcast gives you some clarification and helps you sort the fiction from the facts. All right, let’s get to it, the why behind Healthy Steps Nutrition.

Ashley Osterman (04:11):
I’m excited about this episode because I’m going to get to dive in deep with Nicole to really talk about why we started Healthy Steps Nutrition.

Nicole Aucoin (04:21):
Ashley, I love talking about nutrition. Like, clearly we are both so passionate about helping people. We both actually have similar stories.

Ashley Osterman (04:31):
Yeah.

Nicole Aucoin (04:32):
Working in the hospital, we became dieticians, we started working in the hospital and realized, “This is not where I want to be in healthcare.”

Ashley Osterman (04:40):
Yeah.

Nicole Aucoin (04:41):
People were so sick already and I really wanted to help people prevent disease instead of just fighting it, constantly fighting. Fighting diabetes or kidney disease because their diabetes was out of control for so long. We started Healthy Steps Nutrition to empower people to take control of their health one step at a time.

Ashley Osterman (05:03):
Yeah. I think that is really the key. When we were working in the hospital, it’s such a different clientele base. Because as you said, they’re already fighting disease. But when we’re working with nutrition clients and coaching nutrition clients, they’re ready to make the change. They’ve seeked you out and they want to put the effort in to make health a way of life. And with Healthy Steps Nutrition, the philosophy is just exactly what most people need but don’t know they need.

Nicole Aucoin (05:35):
You know, we live in this microwave society where everyone expects instant results. You go to the grocery store and you see, “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days.” Or on the radio, “Lose 15 pounds in two weeks.” That’s not realistic weight loss. And it’s not anyone’s fault that they’re brainwashed to think that these instant results are going to happen. It’s just the culture that we live in. There’s a reason why two thirds of people who go on a diet will regain the weight. There’s a reason why so many people that do nutrition challenges will regain the weight that they worked so hard to lose.

Nicole Aucoin (06:13):
And the foundation of that is we try to change too much, because we think if we do more, we’ll achieve more. And in the short-term, yeah, that might happen. You might lose some weight really quickly. But what happens is, it gets overwhelming. You’re not able to stick with it for the long-haul. And then you end up going right back to your old ways.

Nicole Aucoin (06:36):
And instead, what we teach at Healthy Steps Nutrition is just focus on one thing at a time. If we keep it so simple … In fact, you and I actually have a goal during every single initial consult we have with clients, like, I want them to say, “That’s it? That’s all you want me to do? Just that? That seems too simple.” Perfect. You do that and you do it consistently every single day for a week and then I’ll add something else to the plate. But I want you to feel so confident leaving my office that you know exactly what you need to do to be successful. And for every person that’s a little bit different, right?

Ashley Osterman (07:12):
Absolutely.

Nicole Aucoin (07:13):
If we have a client who’s never had any vegetables before, it might just be adding in one fist of vegetables. Or if we have a client who’s used to meal prepping every single thing, it might be a little bit different. But we have to just focus on one thing at a time. And, to be honest, this isn’t always the way Healthy Steps Nutrition worked. Because we became dieticians, we had all of the knowledge about managing disease in our brains. Not how to actually coach clients and achieve lifestyle changes. And that is two completely different skillsets.

Ashley Osterman (07:52):
100%, it is completely different skillsets. And it took a lot of trial and error, and I’m going to emphasize the error part. And that kind of brings me to my next question. How is it different at Healthy Steps Nutrition for when we coach clients than your typical diet or weight loss programs?

Nicole Aucoin (08:12):
So one of the things that we made a strategic decision with a few years ago was we require a 12 week commitment with our nutrition clients.

Ashley Osterman (08:21):
And why is that, Nicole?

Nicole Aucoin (08:23):
Well, I know that change isn’t going to happen overnight. And if you sit down with me one time … which is actually how I started Healthy Steps Nutrition, I would do these jump starts where you would sit down with me for an hour and I’d basically try to give you so much information because I didn’t know if you were going to come back again. The problem was you left so overwhelmed because I was trying to give you too much stuff to do at one time.

Nicole Aucoin (08:46):
Instead, we require now a 12 week commitment. And we do a deep dive, as you call it, and really figure out everything that’s going on. What’s going well, what’s not going well. What’s worked in the past, what hasn’t worked in the past. What is the lowest hanging fruit that you can do successfully? Let’s be consistent with that one thing, and once you’re consistent with that one thing, we’ll add the next thing to your plate.

Nicole Aucoin (09:12):
And we built the HSN app so that we can communicate with nutrition clients beyond those in-person visits. And that’s an importance piece of the puzzle, because as a nutrition client, you need accountability and support, and you need an easy way to communicate with your nutrition coach. So we have this app where coaches and clients communicate with each other. And there’s recipe videos in there, there’s lots of different support in there. But that’s going to be the streamlined way to communicate with their coach.

Nicole Aucoin (09:39):
So I would say what’s different is we focus on one thing at a time, and it’s really customized to your goals and helping you reach your goals.

Ashley Osterman (09:50):
Yeah, I find with a lot of my nutrition clients and going into that deep dive and really investigating all the areas that could either support or inhibit their progress, and they’re a little bit taken back because we do focus on a holistic approach. And we know that there’s more than just nutrition and exercise as a part of the whole puzzle that can help either support or inhibit your goals. We look at sleep. We look at stress management. We look at lifestyle. We look at your support system. And yes, we look at nutrition and exercise, but we really focus on our clients as a whole.

Nicole Aucoin (10:31):
The holistic approach is so important because it’s often overlooked. And when we look at the long-term success of clients, it’s the ones that surround themselves with people who are also having those like-minded goals of being health conscious and wanting to live a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t have anyone that’s around you that wants those same things, it’s going to be tough because you’re going to be tempted. And eventually you’re going to give into those temptations and one bad week turns into a bad month turns into a bad year. And as a nutrition coach, we really can’t just focus on eat this or eat that. There’s so much that goes into it.

Nicole Aucoin (11:09):
Because really with food, a lot of it has to do with something completely different than food. Like, how do you manage stress? Culturally, a lot of people show love with food.

Ashley Osterman (11:23):
Yep.

Nicole Aucoin (11:24):
So we have to take so many different things into account. And at the end of the day, our goal is to empower clients to be the healthiest versions of themselves.

Ashley Osterman (11:35):
Yeah. And this is so ground-breaking for a lot of our clients, because they’re so used to going to a dietician or going to a nutritionist, nutrition coach, and just getting a piece of paper and saying, “Follow this meal plan.” And what our nutrition coaches are trained to do at Healthy Steps Nutrition is really work with you to create a customized plan, unique and specific to your goals, based on your lifestyle, based on your limiting factors, and based on your preferences. So we’re not just going to hand you a meal plan and say, “Hey, good luck.” We’re there to support you every step of the way.

Ashley Osterman (12:17):
And I really think that’s a big part of how Healthy Steps Nutrition has evolved over the years, and really how the support for our nutrition clients looks like now.

Nicole Aucoin (12:28):
Absolutely. I think when we first started Healthy Steps Nutrition in 2012, it was a lot of like what you said before, trial and error, and then you ended up coming along as our director of nutrition and education to help develop and help give more tools in the toolbox to support clients and support coaches who are working with clients. And that evolved with us working with thousands of CrossFit gyms around the world, me writing for the CrossFit Journals, speaking at the CrossFit Games and helping gyms implement this piece of the puzzle that’s missing.

Nicole Aucoin (13:01):
Because we all know … and we opened up a CrossFit gym as well. We all know that you cannot out-exercise a bad diet.

Ashley Osterman (13:07):
Yeah. That’s so true. And even though you might think you can, it’s going to show up when you plateau, right? We see people who go into a gym thinking they’re going to see all these results, and they might for a little bit, but then there’s going to come that flat-line, that plateau. And the truth is if you’re not paying attention and being consistent with your nutrition, you’re not going to see those results that you want, and you’ll think that the exercise plan isn’t working, but when in reality you need the combination of the two.

Nicole Aucoin (13:34):
I would really challenge everyone listening to this first episode to think about your why. Because at the end of the day, that’s really what we come back to. Life happens, things happens, but what is the why behind your goal? I know for me, eating healthy is not just fitting into skinny jeans, right? It’s I want to feel better. My mood’s better. I have more energy. I’m able to focus and get more work done when I exercise, sleep well and when I eat healthy.

Nicole Aucoin (14:04):
And for so many people, their why is, “I want to feel confident in my skin.” You have to get back to that. And when a bad day happens, that’s okay. We all have bad days. Let’s get back on track tomorrow. Instead of, “Oh, let this weekend turn into a week turn into a month.” So that’s one thing I would take away from this first episode is really digging into the why behind your goal. And understand, you do not have to do this alone.

Ashley Osterman (14:33):
No, you don’t. And that’s so important. Support and accountability is what you need on the path to achieving your goal. We’re about to come into a new year, and you think about resolutions, New Year’s resolutions. Most people make a New Year’s resolution. I think the research says about 60% of people in the US will make a New Year’s resolution. But do you know, of everyone who creates a resolution, only 8% of people report to actually achieve them. And, according to the U.S. News & World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

Nicole Aucoin (15:10):
I think this really goes back to people trying to do too much at one time and changing too much at one time. There are so many New Year’s challenges out there that you literally go from not cooking one healthy thing to all you do is prep and you only eat the food that you prep. That’s a lot of change at one time, and it’s probably overwhelming.

Nicole Aucoin (15:35):
Like I’m not having any client who’s never cooked a day in their life spend eight hours in the kitchen on a Sunday prepping food. I don’t even do that.

Ashley Osterman (15:42):
That’s a lot.

Nicole Aucoin (15:43):
So let’s just pick one thing. So we did some research and there’s a lot of different studies out, why do people fail with their New Year’s resolutions? And one is they don’t set realistic goals, which is understandable because you are brainwashed by the media to think that these super unrealistic goals are realistic, and they’re not. So that’s one reason. The other reason is people do not keep their goals visible.

Ashley Osterman (16:12):
Yes. You have to keep the goals visible. You have to be reminded consistently of what you’re trying to achieve.

Nicole Aucoin (16:18):
And if you don’t keep them visible, it could be easy to forget.

Ashley Osterman (16:22):
Right.

Nicole Aucoin (16:23):
Right? So keep your goals visible. And I would challenge you to simplify it. Like really think about the why behind the goal. Because I actually think it’s more important to understand the why than the actual goal. What does success look like to you? How will you feel when you achieve that goal? And that’s something that we talk a lot about with nutrition clients, and sometimes it’s the first time that they actually think about this. When they say they want to lose 20 pounds, how will you feel when you get there? I want you to paint that picture of what success looks like to you, because then you can always go back to that picture when the going gets tough.

Ashley Osterman (17:01):
Yep.

Nicole Aucoin (17:01):
Keeping it simple, guys. The whole title of this podcast is Nutrition Made Simple. Our philosophy is to keep it simple. And you really do need to keep it simple. The research shows that if we just focus on one thing at a time, you’re more likely to be successful and sustainable of that habit.

Nicole Aucoin (17:19):
And lastly I think another big piece of the puzzle why resolutions tend to fail is because you don’t have the support.

Ashley Osterman (17:27):
That’s it.

Nicole Aucoin (17:28):
You don’t have someone connected with you that will help support you and guide you to where you need to be. Like, they don’t need to do the work for you, but they do need to give you the accountability and give you some tools in your toolbox that you might not necessarily know.

Nicole Aucoin (17:42):
So we want to make sure that you set yourself up for success, and I’m so excited about the next six episodes of this Nutrition Made Simple podcast. We’re going to be going through the HNS framework. So one of the things that we talk about and train coaches on is looking at a holistic approach, and over the next six episodes, we’re going to be diving into each one of those pieces of the pie, right?

Ashley Osterman (18:10):
Yes, absolutely. The holistic pie. So tune in for our next episode, which we’re actually going to talk about nutrition.

Nicole Aucoin (18:20):
I hope that gave you a little bit of insight on why we do what we do. I’ve been a dietician for 10 years and every year our recommendations get simpler and simpler. Guess what? People are more likely to follow those recommendations when it’s simple. It’s not easy, but nutrition is simple. Today, I want you to think about your why. You need to understand your why because progress is never a straight line. And if you understand your why, you’re always able to get back on track when you fall off. And if you have a good coach, they’ll bring you back to your why. Because at the end of the day, that is your motivation.

Nicole Aucoin (19:02):
So what is your why? When the going gets tough or when you don’t feel like doing something, when you don’t feel like going to work out or food prepping, what is your why? For a lot of our clients, it’s they want to feel better, they want to have more energy, they want to set a good example for their kids, they want to feel confident in their skin. Until tomorrow.

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