Laura Pappas is a health coach whose passion is achieving optimal health and fitness. Her health coaching approach helps busy people balance their lives, training, and food choices in a way that is easy and sustainable. She believes in the power of eating real, whole foods, avoiding processed sugar, and applying the principles of the Paleo Diet to modern living.
My Training and Certifications
Nutrition and Fitness Related:
- Certified Health Counselor (CHC) from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®, December 2011
- Certified through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP)
- Whole 9 Workshop with Melissa Urban and Dallas Hartwig, February 2010
- Paleolithic Seminar with Robb Wolf, April 2010
- Balanced Bites Paleo Workshop with Diane Sanfilippo, January 2011
- Crossfit Level 1 Certified, June 2011
- Contributing to the Health andFitness Section of The Lunch Break Blog
- Project Management Certificate, Villanova University,
- Bachelors of Science in Business Administration (MIS and Marketing), Villanova University
- Bachelors of Science in Economics, Villanova University
At the end of 2008 I decided that I needed a change, I was stressed out and sleep deprived and not happy. I changed jobs to a smaller, locally based management consulting company, Vynamic, where I could maintain a much better work life balance. I also decided to ditch my traditional chronic cardio workout plan, an hour+ of cardio in some form every day, to doing more sport specific workouts and added in Crossfit.
Through working out at CrossFit King of Prussia I started to learn more about how to optimally fuel my body for my workouts and for competition. Crossfit helped me learn more about nutrition and be more aware of what I was eating. It sparked my interest, curiosity, and passion for learning about what food does to my body and started me on my journey towards health coaching.
Even before I entered health coaching I would say that I have always been conscious of what I eat. Before I started to dial in my food, and learn more about how food actually impacts my body, I was following a low fat, low cholesterol, very high carbohydrate way of eating. I was hungry all the time, my mom joked that you could set a watch by me because I was hungry every two hours. I did make an effort to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, but I also ate a loaf of bread every 5 days, had a pasta dinner 2 -3 times per week often accompanied with bruchetta, and would go through a half gallon of fat free or low fat frozen yogurt a week (hello sugar!).
Through my research into the Paleo Diet, I learned that eating whole, unprocessed foods not only made me feel better, but look and perform better, too. I learned about the importance of managing my stress, sleep, and rest and how all of those things dramatically impacted my overall health. As I started making changes and I started to see better results in my CrossFit workouts, and continued to set personal records in my runs and triathlons. Amazingly I found that changing my food choices and dialing in my sleep and stress finally showed the results of all the work I had been doing. I dropped 2 pants sizes and look much more toned, you can finally see the muscle definition that I had been working so hard to achieve. I was worried that my running performance would suffer since, as everyone knows, runners thrive on pasta dinners and bagels. However, I continued to get stronger and faster as a runner, without any of that crazy carbo-loading that I used to do.
My food journey has brought me to the Paleo way of eating, where I focus on eating high quality meats (pastured and grass-fed as much as possible), fish, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, nuts and seeds. In my 20s I thought that I was “healthy” now that I’ve entered my 30s and have changed my food choices I can see how much healthier, vibrant, and energetic I actually am. Experimenting with eating clean and whole foods has led me to a life where I feel better, rarely get sick, have more energy, and continue to make athletic improvements every day.
In addition to management consulting and health coaching, I spend a lot of my time training for my various athletic endeavors. I’m an active CrossFitter, runner, and amateur triathlete. I’m completed my my first Half Ironman 70.3 distance triathlons in October 2011 – the Pocono Mountains 70.3 and Rhoto Miami 70.3. In July 2010 I was part of the CrossFit King of Prussia affiliate team that made it all the way to the CrossFit Games, otherwise known as the “Olympics of CrossFit.” My time in California with the team was an incredible experience! In addition to my athletic pursuits I love to cook, hang out with friends, go camping, hiking, backpacking and travel both in the US and out.
Here is a sample of my evolution from 2007 (Non-Paleo) to Today (Paleo)
My Coaching Philosophy
I believe there isn’t one “right diet” for everyone, if there was then it would be easy to understand what is “healthy”. My approach and philosopy is centered around the basics of a Paleo Diet – focusing primarily on lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and making that work with you lifestyle and invididual needs, tastes, and preferences. I believe in centering your food choices around whole, minimally processed foods, kicking all the added sugar, salt, chemicals, and preservatives out of your diet and helping you to understand what makes YOU feel GOOD.
Through my learning at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition (IIN) I have learned about over 100 different dietary theories and I’ve pulled concepts into my practical approach to eating whole foods and adapting the Paleo diet to modern living. There are many healing and helpful spices, herbs, and foods that you can eat to keep you healthy that are items that I incorporate into my practice as well. My goal is to enable you to make the best food and lifestyle choices for yourself and to help you discover what it feels like to be the best version of you.