Tammi Harrison | May 13, 2019
Megan Borys Ratigan of Donut Worry Be Healthy is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, recipe creator, and certified personal trainer (though she doesn't actively train clients) based in Atlanta, GA who certainly knows how well fitness and nutrition pair together! “In my opinion," she says, "the key to creating a healthy lifestyle is knowing that there is no one approach that works for everyone. There is no 'one diet fits all,' and the same goes for exercise. As individuals, we each need to find what works for our respective bodies and makes us happy!" Our co-founder Shayna chatted with Megan recently about all things wellness, and we put together a little summary of the interview to share with you all.
SS: What’s your favorite time of day to work out?
MBR: Definitely first thing in the morning! I think it starts my day off on the right foot and gives me plenty of energy for my day. Plus, if I wait until after work, I'll usually come up with excuses not to do it at all!
SS: Where’s your favorite place to work out?
MBR: I have two favorites. In my home is the first one! I am also certified in personal training and while I don’t actively train others currently, I love coming up with my own 30-minute workouts and think they are the perfect way to get a sweat in when I am short on time. When I do have time and want something social, I love going to my local Barre3 studio. It is the best workout. It is an hour long class that provides a full-body balanced workout, combines strength training, cardio, and mindfulness, and is low impact so it is easy on my joints. I always leave that class feeling rejuvenated and energized.
SS: How and why did you get started as a health coach?
MBR: My own health journey is what inspired my passion for health coaching. I suffered from an eating disorder in high school and college. Overcoming that was one of the hardest things I have ever done - but also one of the most enlightening. It drove me to learn what true health and wellness really means, and taught me that health truly is holistic. If you are not happy, it doesn’t really matter how many leafy greens are on your plate, you won’t be living the best life you can and you will not feel healthy.
So I went back to school and got certified as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. My approach focuses on two main concepts: holistic wellness and bio individuality. I address all areas of my clients’ lives that affect their health. Of course we discuss nutrition, the food they eat, and their exercise habits, but we also dive into their careers, relationships, and spirituality. I believe mental health must be addressed in some capacity in order to ensure optimal overall health. Bio individuality is also important. Every single one of my programs is customly curated for each client. Because our bodies and our minds are all so incredibly unique - every person will need something different to reach their health goals. My mission is to help my clients live the healthiest AND happiest lives possible. I want them to find peace with their plates and their relationship with food so they don’t have to go through what I did.
SS: How did you get into recipe development?
MBR: I have always had a love for food! But also, my kitchen is one of my happy places. Cooking and baking are two things that bring me into the present moment like not many other things can. All my worries wash away and I just focus on what I am making, which I love. Plus I LOVE making healthier versions of our favorite foods so my audience can enjoy things they love while still reaching their health goals. And it is just so fun to get creative and try new things!
SS: Pick one: Cardio or strength training?
MBR: I have always been a runner so my instinct is to say cardio. But after learning the benefits of strength training and seeing the difference in my body and abilities when I incorporate it, I think I’d have to go with that!
SS: Pick one: Burpees or planks?
MBR: Planks all day.
SS: Pick one: Handstands or squats?
MBR: Squats. All about those glutes!
SS: Pick one: Yoga or martial arts?
MBR: Yoga – I love (and need) the mindfulness aspect of yoga!
SS: What’s your favorite exercise?
MBR: Running is actually my favorite exercise – it is very meditative for me.
SS: What’s an exercise that you have to psych yourself up to do?
MBR: HIIT. Ever since I started low impact workouts I have come to LOVE them, so getting myself to do something more intense can be a little harder these days!
SS: What does an average week of training look like for you?
MBR: In an ideal week I like to do Barre3 three times a week to get some strength training in and then I do an at home workout two times a week, one day of restorative yoga, and one complete rest day. That definitely doesn’t happen every week – which is totally okay! – but that is what I strive for! And while this is what works for me, I don’t want anyone else to think this is what they need to be doing. Like I said, we are all different!
SS: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of health?
MBR: Oh gosh this is hard one! The first thing that comes to mind is that I pack full meals when I am traveling through airports. I hate spending money on expensive airport food that is not good nor is it usually very clean. And while I don’t really think this is weird, I definitely get some interesting looks from TSA and the people around me! Disclaimer – if you decide to do this (which I totally recommend!) just be prepared to get your bag searched a lot. They never understand why there is so much food!
SS: The dreaded meal prep question: What are your favorite pre- and post-workout meals?
MBR: I actually love this question! As a health coach I am always making sure my clients learn how to properly nourish their bodies for their workouts, and I like to do the same! But I usually work out first thing in the morning, so I actually tend to exercise on an empty stomach (this is not for everyone!). If I do have a snack I make sure to include carbs for energy, and some easily digested proteins at least 30 minutes beforehand. I’ll usually grab a Greek yogurt and top it with some granola and berries. However I always make sure I eat after a workout! Within an hour. It is important for recovery! My post-workout snack or breakfast will again normally contain carbs and protein. If it’s just a snack and I didn’t have my yogurt beforehand, I’ll have it after. Otherwise for breakfast I’ll make an omelet and load it with veggies (or I make egg muffins as meal prep to take to work with me when I am on the go)!
SS: What is a current fad diet that drives you crazy?
MBR: Gah, all of them! I am not a fan of fad diets. I think of health as a lifestyle. Diets by nature are restrictive, and having suffered from an eating disorder myself I know how destructive restriction can be. I am all about forming an eating routine that you feel excited about and that you feel is obtainable for the rest of your life. If it feels too restrictive to be able to do that, then it is too much of a diet mentality for me!
SS: Do you have a mentor or role model in the health industry? A role model in general?
MBR: One of my (many) jobs is also as a Beautycounter consultant. Ever since learning about what is in our skincare products nowadays and how detrimental it can be to our bodies, I LOVE educating others on clean skincare and beauty. Also I think it is an area of health a lot of us don’t think about and one that I believe could be one of the causes for many ailments we are seeing today (our grandparents were not putting all these chemicals all over their bodies!).
So I would say one of my biggest mentors is Gregg Renfrew – the founder and CEO of Beautycounter. Not only does she put her heart and soul into educating the world on safer skincare and leading a healthier lifestyle, she has built a career around it and gives other women the chance to do the same. As a female entrepreneur myself, her story really resonates with me on many levels and she is someone I look up to.
SS: What was the last great client breakthrough you saw, and how did it come about?
MBR: Oh this is a tough one to pick! One of my clients came to me because she wanted to lose enough weight to feel confident wearing her bathing suit on her spring break. She had been yo-yo dieting for as long as she could remember and told me, “Nothing works for me - this is hopeless.” When I met her she was so discouraged. We worked through her relationship with food, gained an understanding as to why the diets she had been trying weren’t working, and developed a nutrition and exercise plan that she loved and really fit into her lifestyle.
Well, her spring break was a couple of weeks ago and let me just say, receiving a photo of her on the beach in her bathing suit with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and a caption of, “Out here loving my life AND myself! THANK YOU,” brought so much joy to my heart! I am always happy when clients reach their outward physical goals, but it is the breakthroughs in confidence and self-love that really make me love my work.
SS: What are your personal health goals right now?
MBR: This may be a bit personal, but since I am an open book I am going to share! I am currently transitioning off of hormonal birth control. Not because I want to have children yet, but because of the harmful effect I believe taking artificial hormones can have on my body. I had been taking the pill for TEN years so I know it is going to be quite the journey. But my main goal through it all has been to fully educate myself, nourish my body, and heal my hormones as well and as quick as possible.
SS: What one piece of inspirational advice would you tell Livekick’s members to keep in mind as they train?
MBR: Don’t be too serious! That may sound silly but it’s true. Life has too many things that require us to be serious, your fitness should be something that is fun. If you don’t find your training fun, you are doing the wrong workout. And luckily there are SO many types of exercise out there, I know you can find one that makes you happy and feels good for your body! And that will be the key to sticking with your routine and over time, really locking a habit into place.