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Behind the Handle: See why @WholeLivingLauren’s 35k followers love her

Kelsey Lawrence

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Welcome to Behind the Handle where we catch up with one of Columbus’ many busy Instagram influencers—be they fitness, fashion, food, or fun—to see just how they balance work, life, and play. And, of course, we get to the bottom of how they have so many followers!

Lauren Blake, RD, LDN, CHWC has been featured on Dr. Oz, Today.com, Fitness Magazine, The Huffington Post, Health.com, and many more for her expertise in dietetics. On Instagram, more than 35k people have smashed the follow button to keep up with @wholelifelauren on her journey through food, health, parenthood, and life!

614NOW: How did you get started with your account? Did it start off as a personal account?

Lauren: “I started using Instagram strictly for personal use. I think when the app first came out, people used it for purely personal reasons. I started posting pictures of food because I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition and that was just something i was really passionate about and something I was doing all the time: cooking and experimenting with different things. So I started posting photos of food and other people were doing that too but it was certainly what it is today in terms of the food community.”

“So, from there I just started connecting with people very organically and the account started  growing and people started to say ‘hey, you should start a blog,’ so I did and that’s when i changed my Instagram handle, around 2014.

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“At that point, it was purely a hobby, it wasn’t my job at that point. It was just, I kind of identified with the brand that I wanted to create, which was really just naming something I was already doing. @wholelivinglauren is my business account, but I post a lot of personal things on there. I post about travel, I post pictures of my family, pictures of my home.”

“I want people to be able to navigate seamlessly between the blog and my social media accounts. I’m definitely more active on social media than my blog, but I make sure to post pretty regularly to my blog as well.”

“It’s not so much a blog as a business website. The blog is just one piece of it that lives on my website. So my website serves a great purpose for me because it’s a landing page for my business. It showcase the different services i offer with individual clients, with business consulting, it highlights different projects I’ve done, different national and international media outlets that i’ve been featured in.”

“I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities because of my online presence. I’ve worked really hard but i will say that having the visibility of that is certainly a benefit of what I do.”

614NOW: When did you feel like you were successful?

Lauren: “I feel like it’s hard to define a moment when you’re success because there’s always new goals (you’re never done), which is great but it’s also hard. The hustle is real, you’ve always gotta keep up with things. There’s always bigger better more etc. it’s easy to get caught up in that, and I try really hard not to. Of course, the number of followers is important, But I really try not to get caught up with that. What I care most about is really engaging with the people I connect with. That’s really important to me.”

“The power of social media is incredible. To be able to meet friends through social media and Instagram is incredible. I had the opportunity to be on the Dr. OZ show in 2015 because one of the producers had been following me for years and she wanted me to come on and be part of a segment. That’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for Instagram.”

614NOW: Do you find yourself getting stressed about having to keep up with your business, website, and social media accounts? How do you unplug?

Lauren: “It’s something that’s incredibly important. I know for me and for everyone too, it’s a weird world that we live in because everything is instant and 24/7 and it can be so easy to get in that scrolling trap and comparison trap. I think that’s how people get down and out: mindlessly scrolling all the time, they’re spending so much time on social media that it’s impossible not to compare and not to feel like you’re not good enough. All those things exist and that’s the hard thing about social media and I am very aware of those things personally.”

“What i try to do is time block. When I’m planning out my day, I time block time for Instagram. From 9-9:30 for example, responding to comments, etc and then I put it down. I have to display a lot of self control with that and sometimes I do a better job than others, but that’s really the goal.”

“When my husband gets home from work, we really try not to be on our phones. It’s a really important time for us to connect, to not be distracted by social media and everything on our phone. Another thing too, is we have an 18-month-old son and I have become acutely aware of the fact that I don’t want him to see me on my phone all the time. I have to set those boundaries for myself.”

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: “His” vs “Her” portions

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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It’s not uncommon to scroll through Instagram and see beautiful plates of food labeled “his” and “hers.” Typically the “his” plate is larger in all portions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

But, this depiction of portioning is inaccurate and can be damaging to the way women satisfy their hunger.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmBjeBnB5jb/

Gender does not determine the quantity of food people “should” eat. From a science perspective, there are so many variables that affect metabolic rates that are not specific to sex, such as amount of muscle mass, fat mass, location of these deposits, physical activity, and more. 

For example, a very active, self-identified woman with high lean body mass can have significantly higher maintenance caloric needs compared to a more sedentary male identifying person. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxnh7yaFftA/

Take-away: Don’t let social media tell you that gender determines the amount you deserve to eat. Listen to your body and your hunger cues. Fuel your body for what you need!

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Columbus Cribs: Grove City home combines farmhouse feels, industrial inspo for beautiful blend

Regina Fox

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On a little plot of land by The Pinnacle in Grove City, one local woman has transformed a house into a haven for design, style, and expression for her and her family.

Nicole McCullough, a stay-at-home mom to her two-year-old daughter and one on the way, has always had a creative flare. It took life when she and her husband moved into their new home in The Woods development about a year ago. Now, their home is filled with storied antiques that have been repurposed, cute DIY projects, and unique pieces of interest that combine vintage and industrial for a look all its own. Welcome to Columbus Cribs with @littlehouseinthecity614.

614: What would you call your home style?

NM: I like the country farmhouse style with white tones and vintage pieces, my husband likes the industrial look with darker tones and rustic pieces, so together we create something unique. I don’t really know what style you would call it though. We live in a brand new home and we are slowly but surely trying to create some old charm and character within it.  

614: What are some of your favorite items in your home?

NM: My most favorite piece is my dining room table. I got the table itself at a flea market and then my dad removed the top and put on an old barn door that was from a barn on our property built by my grandpa. My dad had asked and asked my grandpa for that barn door and my grandpa always told him no but then when I asked him he let me have it. Haha, so my dad was a little salty about that deal. 

We added a bench and two accent chairs on each end and I just love the whole look of it and the way it turned out. Our dining room in this house showcases it perfectly. We got an amazing chandelier from Capital Lighting in Polaris, and a cool distressed canvas sign off Etsy from wordsofwisdom. 

Another favorite piece is my chest and mail cubby in my office. I got the chest on sale from Arhaus and the mail cubby was a great find at Elm and Iron!  I had been on a hunt for a mail cubby for quite awhile. I was kicking myself in the butt because I had passed one up once when I wasn’t exactly sure where I could put it and then when I went back for it it was gone. So when I saw this mail cubby one day while browsing Elm and Iron I had to get it and it fits perfectly!! 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxAkvRtlU4c/

614: Can you tell us some of the places you have found your items, or places you like to shop? 

NM: Local stores I love are Arhaus, Elm and Iron, and The Heritage Square Mall.  I also enjoy going to vintage markets, and such. I just went to the Country Living fair last weekend and had a blast! 

614: What inspires your design style?

NM: I grew up in the country in a log cabin and was surrounded by antiques. Going “pickin” is one of my mom and I’s favorite pass times.  I would say this is where my style started from and it has evolved from there as I got married and combined my husbands style and such.  

614: What do you try to avoid while decorating?

NM: I try to avoid to much clutter!  I tend to like to pile a lot of stuff into a tiny space and it drives my husband crazy. So I will pile a bunch of stuff together and then slowly take away some things until it looks right! I think I redid these shelves a hundred times before I got it right. Sometimes I had it to cluttered and sometimes there wasn’t enough!  I love these shelves though, my husband made them! He is pretty handy and we do a lot of DIY projects.  

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1PQrtznSi6/

614: Any tips for fall/Halloween decorating or transitioning from summer to fall decor? 

NM: I LOVE fall/Halloween decor!! I tend to decorate for fall really early.  It’s like as soon as I burn a pumpkin spice candle I go crazy!! I would say just to find your style and go with it.  Whether that be more subtle or going all out.  I also like to get a little more decor to add to my collectio n each year but I like to go after the holidays when everything is on sale! 

Do you have a sweet Columbus Crib or know someone that does? Let us know at [email protected]

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: Late night eats at Steak ‘n’ Shake

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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Waist trainers, crash diets, colon cleanses—all things touted as the next miracle solution for weight loss. With the help of our new Registered Dietitian columnist, we’ll sort out the truth from the trash when it comes to health trends on your social media feeds, and provide healthy, sustainable alternatives for those to-good-to-be-true fixes. Welcome to Truth or Trend.

Steak ‘n’ Shake; a long-standing staple for a greasy, late night bite to eat. While "Eat This, Not That!" calls their signature items “two of the most precarious foods on the planet” on Instagram, is their fear mongering all it claims to be? Stick with me as I explore the truth behind a post by the account comparing the healthiness of two popular menu items: a Single Steakburger with Thin 'n Crispy Fries v. Portobello and a Swiss Steakburger.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw_IR1_h2Ol/?igshid=1s0nzocal4f4w

First, the nutrition information provided for the two options shown in the post is inaccurate (click here to see more). Additionally, the caption claims most shakes are more than 500 calories and most salad options are 600 calories or less which is an incorrect generalization.

And while the Single Steakburger with Thin 'n Crispy Fries is the lower-calorie option like "Eat This, Not That!" says, what the post doesn’t account for are some other important nutrient factors that set the two options apart.

The Single Steakburger with Thin 'n Crispy Fries combination has 1380 mg sodium, which is 60% of the maximum recommended daily intake (2300 mg) in one meal, compared to just 890 in the Portobello and Swiss burger. The “Not this” option also boasts a higher protein content of 29 g compared to 17 g in the combination and about half the carbohydrates at 36 g v. 62 g.

Take-away

There are pros and cons to each of the menu items here, so saying to “Eat this, not that” is painting broad strokes. If you’re a patron of fast food chains, remember to review and weigh all the nutritional facts before making a decision about which one is "healthier." Or, if you’re out for a special late night treat, choose the option that is going to satisfy you!

Becca is an Ohio native and University of Cincinnati graduate who works as a traveling consultant dietitian, currently living in Juneau, Alaska. She owns Centum Cento Fitness LLC, a company dedicated to using evidenced-based practice to help empower clients to build sustainable and healthy lifestyles through nutrition and fitness.Follow Becca on Instagram!

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