Food & Fitness For Fast People: An interview with Lara Dalch

I’m so excited to share another edition of “Real Women. Real Balance.” with you today. Lara Dalch is a certified nutritionist and Pilates instructor that recently moved to the Seattle area. She is a woman after my own heart in her approach to health and wellness. She’s anti-guilt, pro-self care and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to living healthy on a busy schedule.

1. First things first, what inspired you to start Dalch Wellness?

It was sort of a logical progression of my interest in living well by eating well and being fit. When I first moved to New York City – where I lived for over 12 years working as an ad sales marketing executive for various television networks – I experimented with different natural foods and holistic remedies, things that I’d originally been exposed to during my first time living in Seattle. (I just moved BACK to Seattle last week!) I also discovered Whole Foods Market – this was in the early 2000’s, before Whole Foods was all over the place – and systematically replaced everything in my kitchen with more natural versions of the same foods, just out of curiosity.

As I continued to incorporate these foods into my diet, I felt better. At the same time, I got really into Pilates and saw how it changed my body and improved how I felt in general. Over time, I became a resource for friends and co-workers who were interested in healthier living, foods, exercise, etc. When I was laid off from a job in 2008, I decided not to go back into the entertainment industry but instead to get my Pilates certification and go to school to learn about holistic nutrition.

My passion is around showing people how to be healthier and happier within the existing framework of their life. It’s so cool to see my clients’ energy change after making just a few tweaks to their food choices, nothing dramatic. That’s my favorite part – it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DIFFICULT TO BE HEALTHIER. I’m all about efficiency and making healthy choices fit into my life rather than forcing my life into a “diet” or “exercise regimen.” And I love food so much that I want the experience of eating what makes them feel best to be fun for my clients – food should be fun, not guilt-inducing!

2. That is exactly why I consider you a woman of balance. I love it. What do you do when you’re not working with clients?

Most recently, I spent almost three months traveling in the U.S. and Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia, to be more specific). I love traveling and exploring other cultures through food; so I spent a lot of time eating on this trip and even took a couple of cooking classes in Cambodia and Bali. I’m hoping to find a way to bring some of the amazing foods I found in Southeast Asia into my business at some point. (Stay tuned on that.) I’m also a runner – I completed my first two half marathons this year and am looking ahead to my 2012 race calendar, which may include a triathlon this time.

3. What is your favorite post on Dalch Wellness?

Strangely, many of my favorite posts aren’t even about food; they’re about what I call “primary food,” the things in our lives that truly nourish us: Relationships, Career, Physical Activity, and Spirituality. When those things are in balance, we tend to eat well and feel healthy. Here are a few:

When bad food is good for you

How positive thinking can change your day

What living simply taught me about attachment

Are you selling your soul?

4. So in the midst of your travels and recent move what does balance mean to you during your current season of life?

Balance is really just a feeling for me, one that I find in different ways on different days. I can tell when I’m off balance because my brain starts racing, I feel overwhelmed, and I forget to take care of myself. For me, regaining balance usually means slowing down, being present, going for a run, and making lists. 🙂

5. Who/what inspires you?

I think I’m most inspired by other entrepreneurs, people who design their lives consciously and see potential in nothingness. And while it sounds like a cliché, I am truly inspired by my clients. They amaze me with their desire to be their best selves and their willingness to be seekers. Most people don’t ever take the time to go on such a personal journey.

6. What is your best tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle (exercising/eating well) in the midst of a busy life?

Make self-care your number one priority as often as possible, ESPECIALLY during particularly busy times. When you do that, everything else falls into place. Oh, and go easy on yourself when you “fall off the wagon” – it’s okay! I actually hate that term – it assumes that living healthfully is an all-or-nothing proposition when it’s really just a continuum of daily/weekly/monthly choices.

7. What is one easy nutritional change that you encourage clients to make?

Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning is a big one. I’m also a fan of keeping your freezer stocked with frozen vegetables (gasp!) for those days when you just can’t make it to the market to pick up fresh produce. Broccoli is the best one – it tastes good, even frozen; and it’s a “dark leafy green,” something missing from many of our diets.

8. What projects are you currently working on for Dalch Wellness?

I’m getting settled in Seattle now; so forging partnerships with local fitness and wellness businesses here is a big priority. I’m planning to offer spring workshops in both Seattle and NYC (and in other cities if the opportunity presents itself). I also have a couple of products in development, different ways for people to access Dalch Wellness and be part of the community beyond my full six-month coaching program.

Lara has a wealth of nutrition knowledge so be sure to stop by her website and look around!

Looking for online Pilates workouts and a supportive community? We've re-opened The Sisterhood to help support you during this challenging season.

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