Stephanie Greunke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition who specializes in women’s health. She is a certified personal trainer and prenatal and postnatal corrective exercise specialist. Stephanie guides and supports women locally and globally through her web-based private practice, RockYourHormones. She co-hosts a biweekly podcast, Real Food Mamas Podcast, with another registered dietitian and mom. Stephanie is also the co-creator of Whole30's Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program.
We were honored when Stephanie agreed to participate in a Joovv AMA. So without further ado, here are her answers to your questions…
What is the one fitness activity you hate doing the most, but yields the best results?
To be honest, at this stage of my life, getting to the gym is a win in itself. In order for a fitness routine to be effective, you have to be consistent. That's why I'm only doing things I love right now, which is leisure walking and weight training. Since I love those particular activities, I can be consistent, which yields the best results.
If I HAD to give you a short answer, I'd say the "b" word, burpees. They kick your butt and are effective, but I always cringe when I see them listed as part of a workout.
You're widely considered an expert when it comes to helping women stay balanced through their pregnancy and postpartum experiences. What are the 2-3 biggest misconceptions that you see the most?
Gosh, I could list so many. One would be that it's normal (or achievable) to "bounce back" right after you’ve had a baby. By "bounce back", I don't just mean getting down to your pre-pregnancy weight, I also mean how you're feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically during those first few months. I tell my clients that postpartum is forever, not just the first six weeks after you’ve had your baby. There's so much that happens when you become a mom that it's ridiculous for us to think we can "do it all", or "have it all together" so soon.
Another misconception is that you should enjoy every single second of your pregnancy or postpartum journey. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful, miraculous experience that women are lucky to have, but it's okay to not love it every second of every day. I often have moms tell me they're too scared to vent about how hard the postpartum period is because they didn't want to seem ungrateful or less maternal. You're not alone if you think it's tough and it kicks your butt. It certainly kicks mine.
The last misconception is that if you get side-tracked with your eating during the first trimester, and can only manage bagels and ginger ale, your baby might be doomed to poor health. The human body is smarter than that and babies are extremely resilient. Your body literally slows down the speed at which food moves through your body so it can extract as many nutrients as possible from the food you're eating. Take a high-quality prenatal, do your best, and you'll both be just fine!
If I opened up your fridge right now, what would I see?
A garden. I am a vegetable fanatic, so there are tons of roasted, steamed, baked, and raw veggies piled high. You'll also find a ton of leftovers, such as eggs, fat (butter, mayo, pesto, nut butter), and precooked plain meat that I use to mix and match meals throughout the week. I keep things super simple in the kitchen, so I rely on high-quality ingredients versus elaborate recipes.
Have you ever used red light therapy (photobiomodulation)? If so, what type of results did you experience?
I can't say I have, but I'd like to try it one day!
You've had the opportunity to help a lot of women through your Healthy Mama Happy Baby program. Are there 1 or 2 really memorable students or experiences that you can share?
Of course! One mama in our group had gestational diabetes, and felt pretty miserable all throughout her first pregnancy. This was before she found us. She hopped on board with our diet and lifestyle recommendations during her second pregnancy and had a completely different experience. She was working while still having to manage another kid with her second pregnancy, but had so much more energy. Her moods were more stable, and she didn't experience common pregnancy discomforts. While she was considered "at risk" for gestational diabetes with her second baby since she had it with her first, she was able to monitor her blood sugar without medication. Food can be a powerful medicine!
Another mama in our group decided to switch providers well into her third trimester. She did this because she wanted to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), but was getting pushed back from her current provider. Before joining our group, she wasn’t thrilled with her provider. She kept moving on because she didn't know she had an option to change providers. We constantly encourage mamas to be their own health advocate, do their own research, and find a supportive provider to have the best experience possible. She ended up finding a provider she loved and had a successful VBAC with a supportive team at her side. She felt like she finally got the birth experience she’d forever hoped for!
What is something you enjoy that most people would be surprised to learn?
I absolutely love rollerblading. I feel like I'm thirteen again whenever I put them on and head out to a trail. It's been a favorite hobby since I was a kid and won a pair of rollerblades from a soda company's giveaway. Remember Surge?
You run multiple successful sites, are an active blogger and podcaster, offer consulting services, etc. The list goes on and on. How do you do it all? Can you share a few of your productivity tips?
The truth is, I don't do it all. I have many people help me with all of these tasks. I have a nanny for my boys, a podcast co-host who helps take on at least 50% of the work, and a team at Whole30 that helps with social media and the behind-the-scenes work with our program, Healthy Mama, Happy Baby. When I do sit down to work, I focus on one project at a time, close down other windows/e-mail/social media, and take breaks every 90 minutes or so to make the most out of my short workdays.
What person(s) of influence are you closely following right now?
I admire the co-creator of our program, Melissa Hartwig. She's been such a positive influence in my life for my relationship with food and overall learning how to be a better human.
If you could put a billboard anywhere, what would it say and where would you put it?
It would say "Put down your phone. Be here now." I'd put it EVERYWHERE since most people aren't paying attention to what's in front of them and need a constant reminder to enjoy life outside of social media. Technology is great, but let's make sure we're staying present. This is especially true if you're a parent, since the days fly by and your little ones are watching you every movement. Put the phone down and go play!
###If you missed the chance to submit your question for this AMA, stay tuned for the next one. We'll let you know in advance on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.