We cover information about specific foods, beverages and habits that can improve your cognitive function and mental focus, including how to incorporate physical activity and self-care practices seamlessly into your daily life.

Listen on the player in this post or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

Connect with Melissa Mitri
Website | Instagram | LinkedIn

Melissa Mitri is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, Weight Loss Specialist, and Expert Health Writer with over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry.

Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, is a weight loss expert, blogger, and freelance writer for health professionals and brands. Melissa blogs regularly at melissamitri.com where she shares helpful content, tips, and recipes for those looking to lose weight in a sustainable way.


  • Build healthy habits consistently: Incorporating healthy habits like diet, exercise, and self-care into your daily routine is more effective than sporadic efforts.
  • Begin with small, sustainable changes: By making small changes at the start like 10-15 minutes of exercise or a 3-minute gratitude practice, you’re more likely to build a sustainable habit.
  • Plan ahead: Meal planning and scheduling movement breaks can help you stay focused and productive throughout the day.
  • Hydration is important: Drinking water regularly can improve mental focus and energy levels.
  • Limit alcohol: Alcohol can negatively impact sleep quality and next-day productivity.
  • Experiment with different self-care practices: Find what works best for you, whether it’s meditation, journaling, or talking to a friend. Remember self-care is investing in your well-being.
  • Prioritize sleep: Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and nighttime routine can boost energy and focus.
  • Movement breaks boost productivity: Short bursts of physical activity can re-energize the mind and body.
  • Certain foods can enhance focus: Blueberries, broccoli, fatty fish, and nuts are examples of brain-boosting foods.

Resources Mentioned

Health and Nutrition Writer Services


Click for full script.

EBT560 – Melissa Mitri

Intro 00:00

Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth, and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom. Whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported. 

Megan Porta  00:38

I absolutely ate this interview up, it was so good and right up my alley, and I feel like it is so relevant to what we need as food bloggers, entrepreneurs right now. Melissa Mitra, you join me she is from MelissaMitri.com. She is a dietitian. But she’s also a writer and a blogger. So she gets all aspects of all of those things. So she knows how important diet is how important exercise is, how important sleep and stress management are, in order to be successful at what we do. She talks through each of those points in detail and tells us what foods we should be eating for more focus and more energy and all those good things that we want in our day. She talks about exercise and how to get started with that, and how important it is. Also, she has some great tips about how to get better sleep and how to manage stress on a daily basis so that we can stay focused and get all the stuff done that we want to get done. Enjoy this episode. It really is so good. And I hope you listen to the very end. It is episode number 560. And it is sponsored by RankIQ. 

Sponsor  01:52

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Megan Porta  03:53

Melissa Mitri is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. She’s a weight loss specialist and expert health writer with over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. She is also a blogger and freelance writer for health professionals and brands. Melissa blogs regularly at melissamitri.com, where she shares helpful content, tips and recipes for those looking to lose weight in a sustainable way. Hello there, Melissa, welcome to the podcast. How is your day going?

Melissa Mitri  04:22

It’s going great, Megan, thank you how are yours?

Megan Porta  04:25

Good mine is too. Having a good start to my day, some fun conversations going on. So today we’re gonna talk about diet and lifestyle hacks to improve your focus, which I love. I think we all need to hear this message right now. But before we get into that, do you have a fun fact to share with us, Melissa? 

Melissa Mitri  04:45

Yeah, sure. So yes. So my fun fact is I have run for half marathons. So I know not everyone would consider that fun necessarily. But to me, it’s a really because it’s something I’m proud of, and definitely a big feat to overcome. I’ve been a runner for several years. But I, just more recently, over the past couple of years got more into long distance running. And it’s never really something I imagined doing. But I actually really have grown to love it more than I thought I would. And I think that it really has helped make me a stronger person mentally and physically and just such a great stress relief, and really helps me keep consistent with my workouts to have sort of a challenge to always work towards. So yeah.

Megan Porta  05:32

that’s awesome. And this definitely plays into our topic today, because we’re gonna talk about not necessarily running like maybe that inspires some people, but other ways to move your body and just stay focused, right?

Melissa Mitri  05:44

Yeah, absolutely. 

Megan Porta  05:45

So I love learning that about you. So would you mind just telling us a little bit about your business? Because I think it’s a really interesting business. 

Melissa Mitri  05:53

Yeah, sure. So So I am a registered dietitian. So I’ve been a dietitian for a little over 18 years. And I have two sort of main parts to my business. So I have the private practice and client side where I work with clients, I specialize in weight loss, sustainable weight loss, specifically, and working with mainly women who want to lose weight in a more sustainable, healthier way over the long term. So I have that side of my business. And I also am a writer and blogger. So I have, I’m a freelance writer for various publications, I also write for health and wellness professionals about various nutrition topics, just depending on the brand. And then I also have my own blog on my website, Melissamitri.com, where I blog regularly about nutrition and exercise topics related to my my niche, this sustainable weight loss topics, where I share a lot of tips, education, meal ideas that teach people how to eat in a way that supports weight loss, but is also satisfying and sustainable, which is really huge when it comes to making healthy eating more of a lifestyle and not a restrictive diet, that I think that a lot of people, you know, struggle to maintain.

Megan Porta  07:13

You’ve said the word sustainable a few times. And that’s, I think the key because when we think of diet, it’s like you start and you finish, and then what so you’re focusing on No, this is a lifestyle change, you need to sustain whatever change you’re making.

Melissa Mitri  07:28

Exactly a sustainable approach is always I like to think of it as you know, it doesn’t have an end date, there’s not a start and end date. And that’s how you know if that is a way of eating, I like to say a way of eating rather than a diet, that’s going to work for you long term.

Megan Porta  07:43

Absolutely. I love how you’ve kind of married your two passions together. So you’re a dietitian, and you focus on that sustainable weight loss, but also you’re a writer and a blogger. So you know, the need to focus and to find ways to increase our creativity and our productivity, and the things that are going to sustain us there’s that word again. Yes. So let’s talk about that. Like, what tips do you have for just improving our focus as entrepreneurs?

Melissa Mitri  08:14

Yeah, absolutely. So it’s, it’s so important as you know, Megan, as a as a fellow blogger, and all of your listeners know that it, it can be difficult to maintain focus. And blogging requires a lot of deep focus and, and mental energy. And so there’s a lot of things that you can do with both diet and lifestyle strategies that are really simple, that can really make your productivity so much better. And make your day just feel easier. So I have a lot of tips to share today. But I’m really just going to simply kind of break it down between four main components so your diet, your exercise, your sleep, and managing your stress. And I know that you know, you have these these episodes that you like to focus on to yourself Megan with your with mindset and lifestyle strategies, and I’ve really been loving that too. So I think that some a lot of this will kind of tie nicely into that theme of how your lifestyle really can help you to work so much smarter. 

Megan Porta  09:17

Oh, yes. I’m glad you like those. They’ve Yeah, not only helped, I think my listeners, but they’ve helped me kind of just refocus, like, Okay, I’m talking about this, I should probably focus on this more. So it’s yeah, it’s all around been really good. Okay, so do you want to move through those four points and maybe just talk a little bit about each?

Melissa Mitri  09:34

Yeah, absolutely. So um, so I think we’ll start we could start with diet. Okay. So this is diet is such a big component. So both what you eat and also how you eat so I’ll explain a little bit more in terms of what that means, but kind of just starting with what types of foods specifically can help you to improve focus because there are there are a lot of foods that in research have really been shown to help You too, have better focus, have better memory, and get your work done faster, which I think we can all appreciate. So I’ll break, I’m going to break it down to kind of like the top 10 foods and how they can help you. So hopefully these are foods that you know, if you’re listening that there are some foods in here that I’ll mention that you really enjoy. And then you can kind of add to your, to your list to keep on hand. So some of the best foods really a lot of certain fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. So specifically, blueberries is one of the first ones. So blueberries have a lot of antioxidants, they help our brain cells to just communicate better. So blueberries are really great fruit to incorporate, you can add them to a smoothie in the morning and have them as a snack, I really like adding them to my overnight oats. So that’s that’s the way that I like to have it. Because I find it blends really well with them. But there’s so many ways you can have them. So definitely incorporating blueberries just a handful a day even can really help you focus. And then another really helpful one is broccoli. So broccoli is really high in Vitamin K, which is a vitamin that helps our brain cells and and talk to each other more easily. Kind of just helps us to get from point A to point B with our work tasks and can really help you focus better. So adding that to, you know, again, you could even mix that into a smoothie, a frozen broccoli, you can add it to as a side with one of your meals. So lots of ways you could enjoy it or even to your omelet in the morning. If you’re having breakfast, a lot of easy ways to kind of sneak it in.

Megan Porta  11:36

There’s nothing better in my opinion than roasted broccoli. It’s like candy. It’s good. 

Melissa Mitri  11:41

Yes, I agree. That’s my favorite way that I prefer that over raw broccoli. But yeah, definitely having in any way that you prefer it because then you’re going to eat it more often.

Megan Porta  11:53

what other foods anything else?

Melissa Mitri  11:55

Yeah, so and then also fatty fish. So any type of fish like salmon tuna, or sardines, specifically are really helpful. They’re rich in the healthy fats, the omega-3 fats that a lot of people take in supplement form, but you can also get them in those, those fish if you do enjoy eating those. So they again help us to they help with our brain and nerve cell communication. They’re really helpful for learning and memory, and then also seeds and nuts. So pumpkin seeds, any type of nuts, really. So if you have a handful of mixed nuts are especially walnuts has been seen to have a little bit of a slight edge compared to other knots in terms of focus, because they have a lot of those healthy fats that are found in those fatty fish as well.

Megan Porta  12:38

Yeah, yum. I love all those foods. Yeah, anything else or is that kind of the bulk of your main suggestions. 

Melissa Mitri  12:45

Most of the bulk, but there’s a few additional Yeah, eggs. So eggs are another big one of dark chocolate. And then lastly, green tea. So eggs have a lot of a lot of help from nutrients, B vitamins, folic acid, and then it also has a certain nutrient called choline, which a lot of people aren’t really familiar with. But it’s really linked to better memory and mental function. And choline is really hard to find and other foods and eggs are one of the best sources of it. So again, like eggs, having eggs for breakfast, you know, in any way, shape or form that you enjoy them is going to be really helpful for your focus. And then dark chocolate. So dark chocolate has antioxidants that can help enhance memory. So the important thing to keep in mind with dark chocolate or any chocolate, of course is not to overdo it just because it has a lot of sugar. But the dark chocolate does have less sugar. So just a small square to is enough to provide that, you know those brain health mental focus benefits without kind of overdoing it on the sugar.

Megan Porta  13:43

Yeah, so if people are listening, and they’re like, I don’t eat any of these foods, do you have ways like easy ways to slowly incorporate them into our diets?

Melissa Mitri  13:54

Yeah, I would say we’re just starting with one or two of them. So it doesn’t feel overwhelming because they all offer those benefits. So I think that if there’s if it’s not foods that you normally like to eat on their own, then kind of sneaking them in in any way into a food that you do normally eat. So for example, the blueberries, or maybe the nuts, even you could blend those into a smoothie, you can add that in mix it into a yogurt, so you’re not having it on its own necessarily, and it just an easier way to kind of sneak it in with something else that you already enjoy.

Megan Porta  14:27

Okay, and if we start doing this, Melissa, are we going to see better focus? What are we going to start seeing if we do this consistently? 

Melissa Mitri  14:35

Yes. So the consistency I’m glad you mentioned is really the most important piece. So if you say start adding blueberries to your diet tomorrow, it may not necessarily have an immediate effect. It’s that would be wonderful. Right? But that’s not necessarily the case, although they’re still getting a lot of benefits from eating them otherwise, but But yes, you want to try to be consistent with having a little bit every day. You can mix it up if you get bored. So for example, you don’t have to eat blueberries every single day, you can mix it up with the different types of foods. And you know what you can expect a, you know, usually after maybe three to five days of consistently doing it maybe a week of just having more longer lasting energy. So it’s not necessarily going to give you the, you know, the caffeine boost, you know, unless you’re drinking green tea, of course, which is on the list. So not an immediate boost, but more of a long lasting mental focus and energy, which is really more really more helpful in terms of looking at your your overall day, right? Like you’re not having too much caffeine that’s giving you that immediate energy, but then it may result in a crash in another hour or two. So just looking for better, better focus more longer lasting focus versus, you know, say after 20 or 30 minutes feeling like your mind is starting to wander and then you know, you start looking at your phone or you start doing other things, they’re really pull that focus away and ended up, you know, taking a lot longer to do that task.

Megan Porta  15:58

The long lasting mental focus is so appealing to me, because it’s like, after a cup of coffee, you know, you can get that burst of energy. Right, then it’s like, oh, gosh, I need something else. So that sounds so good to me to have that long lasting focus and energy. Okay, so great. We’ve talked about some foods to incorporate into our diet and just doing that consistently. Anything else on diet before we move on to exercise?

Melissa Mitri  16:26

Yeah, sure. So I’m so happy, I want to share a few tips just in terms of how to import not just how to incorporate these foods, but more how to eat and how to kind of plan a plan ahead, so that you can really implement, you know, some of these strategies to help you to focus. So I have kind of just a few key tips on just on how to focus and plan your day appropriately in terms of diet. So the first tip I have is really planning ahead. And this is so important for really any of these habits that I’ll be sharing, but especially with diet, you know, I know a lot of people do like to meal plan and know that that’s really helpful for them. But the challenge is consistently doing it. But the planning ahead is really key so that you don’t end up skipping meals, figuring out things on the fly, when you’re really hungry, or just, you know, you’re kind of just rushing trying to get back into your, into your blogging work. So the planning ahead, which you know, really easy way to do that is just by getting a day ahead. I think a lot of times we think of meal planning as being this really involved thing that we have to plan ahead what we’re eating for a week at a time. But it can really be really simple and small. And just, you know, every night when you’re finishing up dinner, and cleaning up just thinking about what’s happening the next day and making sure that you have what you’re eating, for your meals and your snacks planned out. So that every time you’re kind of closing the day, you’re planning out the next day, even if it’s just for five minutes mentally in your own mind, so that you’re not figuring things out at the last minute, it’ll result in less, you know, mental less breaks that you have to take and also it’ll just help you to eat better, because you’re planning ahead at a time when you’re not starving, or you’re not feeling stressed. And so you’re going to make better choices that will give you that mental focus. 

Megan Porta  18:15

Such a simple recommendation. But I feel like that advice can take you so far. I mean, like one day ahead is all you need to do. You’re right, we get so caught up in like meal planning, that concept feels overwhelming, like we have to have a whole month planned or a whole week plan. But that is not necessarily true.

Melissa Mitri  18:35

Right, exactly. And I think that you know, everybody’s a little bit different. I mean, at depending on your schedule, some people like prefer to, to get farther ahead. And that’s totally fine. I think that if you know what you’re having ahead of time, and it’s helpful, but you don’t have to plan it all ahead of time. You don’t have to cook it all ahead of time. It’s really whatever works for you. And if you’re finding that, you know, for anyone listening, that you’re not consistent right now, with meal planning, I think it’s really helpful to just start small in that way and kind of build it from there.

Megan Porta  19:05

Great advice. love that so much. Anything else with diet, Melissa?

Melissa Mitri  19:10

So just in terms of that, how of eating so it’s really helpful to so not just focusing on what to eat, but also slowing down your rate of eating is really important to consider and to try to do whenever possible. And the reason why I say this is because a lot of us tend to eat really quickly. So if you’re just taking a really short work break, and you didn’t plan ahead in that way, then you may tend to eat your meals or snacks very fast or potentially while you’re working. And oftentimes that leads you to be distracted or ends up or over eating, which then leads to feeling uncomfortable. So again, all of these things that may occur because you’re eating too quickly or distracted, may lead you to be less focused with your blogging work because you’re not feeling your best So trying to set aside scheduled time to have your meal, if possible is really ideal. So even if it’s just starting with 10 minutes, if you’re currently right now, eating at your desk, you know, that would be still a huge improvement, just setting aside that 10 minutes to step away, eat your meal in the kitchen, in a seat, not standing, so that you’re more focused on what you’re eating. And you realize when you’re getting full, and that can be really, that alone can be really huge in helping you to feel better and kind of more in tune of how much you need to actually eat, to feel your best.

Megan Porta  20:34

And just enjoying food, right? Like, sometimes I’m eating on the go, or I’m eating while I’m on my way to my desk. And I don’t even realize I’m eating I get done with whatever’s in my hand. I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I didn’t even taste that. What did I just eat it. So you want to be able to sit and give it attention and enjoy it too? 

Melissa Mitri  20:54

Exactly. That is so important. glad you mentioned that. And you really want to enjoy your food that makes you feel so much more satisfied. This is something I talked with my clients all the time. Because if you are rushed and distracted, you really sometimes can’t even remember what you ate or how much and then it just leads you to kind of be out of tune with your body the rest of the day. So for sure, yeah, yeah. So that can be hugely helpful.

Megan Porta  21:16

It’s unsettling when you you’re like, wait a second, this is calories that I just put in my body. I want to enjoy it. I eat this food because I like it. So it’s almost like, oh, gosh, where did that go? That enjoyment is gone. 

Melissa Mitri  21:28

Exactly. Yeah, that’s really important. And it’s not easier said than done. It’s not easy. No doubt, I know that from experience that it can definitely take practice. But that’s why I say just, you know, start with 10 minutes if that feels more feasible, because that still may be an improvement for many of us and and just kind of working out from there.

Megan Porta  21:46

Yeah, any other tips relating to diet? 

Melissa Mitri  21:49

Yeah, so the last two are more related to beverages rather than food. But my my third tip would say, would be to stay hydrated. So dehydration can really hinder our productivity, making it harder to focus and can make you feel sluggish. And so especially if you’re someone that drinks coffee in the morning, or likes to drink it slowly, that can easily start to replace your water intake. And that can definitely affect your ability to focus and make you feel more tired, especially as the day goes on. So really an easy way to start drinking more water, if you’re not currently doing this is one, just keep water by your side all times. So keep it you know, right there front and center by your desk. Or if you’re taking depending on what you’re doing. If you’re taking food photos, keep it in the kitchen. So you see it, you could take steps while you’re doing your work. And then also just keep water by your bed. And I think this is really helpful so that when you wake up in the morning, it’s the first thing that you do is you drink some water right when you wake up. And it kind of just starts that domino effect of drinking more water throughout the day versus waking up and immediately having coffee, for example. And that tends to then become the habit.

Megan Porta  22:59

Yeah, that’s so true. Water can be a game changer throughout the day. If you think about it, sometimes I’m like, Why do I feel so crappy right now. And I realized, I haven’t had a sip of water. So then I’ll go and chug water and feel so much better. But it’s amazing what that just little app can do.

Melissa Mitri  23:17

It’s huge. It’s so simple. But again, it’s simple, but not necessarily always easy. So having having that water first thing and then also, you know not everybody likes plain water. So you know if that’s if that’s you and you don’t enjoy plain water, then you can add lemon, lime, or any favorite herbs or fruit flavors, if that helps to entice you to drink more. And then and now also keeping in mind that about 20% of our daily water intake can actually come from food as well. So, so eating a lot of water rich foods, such as cucumbers, celery, watermelon, those can also keep you hydrated. So that also counts too. 

Megan Porta  23:54

All right. Did you have one less beverage tip or something else for to diet?

Melissa Mitri  23:58

So the last thing I wanted to mention, and it’s not necessarily for during your workday, but it can affect it is is alcohol. And so I wanted to mention alcohol just limiting as much as possible as it can affect your sleep and energy the next day, alcohol really tends to drain even if it’s just you know, a small glass of wine with dinner, you know, and everybody has their own of course habits when it comes to this. So it’s very individualized. But in general for all of us. Alcohol really tends to drain our mental and physical energy. So it can leave you feeling depleted the next day. Dehydrates you and then you may feel less motivated the next day to do the work that you need to do. So what I like to recommend is just you know, not make it harder than it has to be the same if possible. Save it for special occasions, if you do have it so that it’s not affecting your workday and your productivity.

Megan Porta  24:48

Yes, more great advice. All right, anything else for diet?

Melissa Mitri  24:53

I think those are all the main the main points that I wanted to mention.

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Megan Porta  26:10

Okay, let’s move on to exercise. What do you have about that?

Melissa Mitri  26:13

So exercise is another huge component. And then in terms of exercise, you know, I want to start by saying that everyone is at a different fitness level. So depending on where you are in terms of your own fitness level, it can be very individualized getting in any type of movement is better than non so if you’re really because if you’re not getting in any exercise or movement throughout the day, then it affects your ability to focus and productivity, you know, moving more stimulates blood flow to your brain and improves focus, and it helps you just get things done faster. So, you know, I want to preface by saying, you know, I think a lot of us may feel like you know, we don’t have the time to do it. Especially I know that you know if a lot of a lot of those listening if if their parents are, you know kind of have condensed workdays, then you may sometimes feel like, oh, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the time to exercise or take this away from my workday. But I promised that taking the time to do it will actually save you time. So if you take even 10 to 15 minutes as a starting point to get in some movement, your productivity will be enhanced significantly. So just giving it a try, if you’re not currently doing that.

Megan Porta  27:20

I always say you don’t have the time not to exercise, it is going to add so much to your life, not just the focus, but creativity, productivity, energy. I mean, it gives you so much back when you just invest a little bit of time. And like you said, it doesn’t have to be hours, right, you can start with 15 minutes of something just getting your body moving.

Melissa Mitri  27:43

Exactly. So yeah, as I’ve used samples, you know, just going for a 10 minute walk or doing a 10 minute strength training session. Depending on your preference, or maybe what your body is feeling that day. There’s no hard fast rules or right or wrong. It’s getting in the type of movement that feels good for you that you feel like you need that day. And if you had a plan to do something, and you changed it, because maybe you’re not feeling like doing strength training. That’s okay, too. Because the most important thing is that you’re consistently doing something every day. That’s what’s also just like the diet going to give you the biggest benefits to your your focus and productivity by doing it on a regular basis.

Megan Porta  28:20

Yeah, so true. And then do you recommend, I mean, probably, but like every day, right, like doing something to move your body every single day?

Melissa Mitri  28:29

Yes, I would suggest that. And again, it could be depending on what you’re currently doing, starting small. So I think 10 minutes is a really good starting point, that doesn’t feel daunting. And then you could work your way up from there. So if you know starting with, I like to recommend as as early as possible not meeting meeting, you don’t have to get up necessarily five in the morning to go for a walk. But But starting earlier in the day, if you can. So even if you’re for example, breaking up, your movement breaks into, you know, two or three times a day. And starting with that first, you know, five to 10 minute walk earlier in the morning, when be right before you start your workday at eight or 9am. And because it’s kind of sets the tone for being more active throughout the day, you know, the longer that you wait, the harder it feels. Again, even if it’s just 10 minutes, it’s probably going to feel a little bit more daunting, the longer you’ve been sitting and the longer you’re waiting to do it. So yeah, so doing you know, starting with 10 minutes every day, and then building from there, because when you do have those days where you’re not doing it, then it just feels a little bit harder to start again when you when you go back to it. So doing a little bit every day is going to be more beneficial for your focus versus doing more on less days. 

Megan Porta  29:45

Yeah, so the consistency again, I just recorded a mindset episode about this actually just different ways to get your body moving because it is so important. And one of the things I do like today I’m doing a bunch of podcast interviews so I’m sitting at my desk all day, and it doesn’t feel good to sit, yeah, all day long. So I make sure to start my day with workout and a walk. And then also throughout the day, like if I have breaks in between interviews, just like little bursts of exercise, get me it gets me going, it gets me pumped up in like, just re energizes my body in my mind. And I think we discount that just like three minute bursts of jumping jacks or whatever, like it doesn’t even have to be that much, but just something to get kind of re-energized.

Melissa Mitri  30:33

Exactly. I think it’s just that constant reminder to yourself that this helps you this gives you time back to this gives you energy back because that the default off even if you’re doing it every start doing it every day, the default is always you know, their mind is saying, I don’t have the time to do this, or no, I need to I need to keep doing what I’m doing, because I’m going to run out of time. But it’s just having that. Again, that’s why the more you do it, the more regularly do it, the easier it will become because it’s fresh in your mind. And you know, okay, I did this yesterday, I did this the day before. And I know that it works for me. Like for example, I did a five minute treadmill walk before before this podcast recording. And I still had that in my mind to say I don’t have the time to do this. But I did it. And then I was glad I did it. And so even like you said, those three minute bursts, you know, anything you could do throughout the day, when you’re, you know, switching tasks, I think that’s a good time to get a little movement break and do something because it might just serve as a good reminder to do it. 

Megan Porta  31:31

So true. One of the things that motivates me with this is remembering how I feel on those days when I don’t exercise and I get into my day I sit down. I’m like, This feels awful. I don’t like how I feel right now I don’t feel motivated, my focus is diminished. It just doesn’t feel good. So on the days when I wake up and think I don’t want to go for a walk or whatever, like, Okay, how are you going to feel if you sit down at your desk without doing this? And every time I’m like, okay, yeah, I have to go do it.

Melissa Mitri  32:01

Yes, exactly. Sometimes that’s also that’s a bigger motivator that how you don’t don’t want to feel a certain way. Because you know, it just it feels crummy, and you don’t feel you don’t feel your best. It’s almost distracting to your work.

Megan Porta  32:15

So it’s distracting hugely for me. Yeah, so no, that’s great. So yeah, anything else on exercise, Melissa?

Melissa Mitri  32:22

Yeah, I think like we had said, like, just, you know, in terms of finding time, I think just starting, starting small. And you know, really that that good time, if you’re not sure when to fit it in is just when you’re when you’re switching tasks, like if you’re going from say, photographing food to creating an outline, or before publishing a post, you know, I really like to do a movement break before starting to write because that’s that deep work that, you know, really helps to get in some of that blood flowing and the creative juices going before starting that task. So just going from task to task might be a good opportunity, reminder to do it. And then in terms of anything else, I think just if possible, even trying to get a standing desk or a treadmill desk, if that’s something that works for you just to get in more movement, or even just reduce stiffness while you’re working. So aside from you know, the daily movement breaks where you’re setting dedicated time, I use it a standing desk, because I like to kind of alternate between standing and sitting in it. And whenever I find myself losing focus, that’s when I put it on to the standing. And I kind of like stretch my legs and but I know a lot of people love the treadmill desks, too. I think everybody’s a little bit different with that in terms of if that works for you to do that while you’re working. But I know a lot of people that that really liked that as well. So that’s another way to get in steps while you’re working as well. 

Megan Porta  33:43

That’s on my list. I want a standing desk. That’s next.

Melissa Mitri  33:46

Definitely helpful. Yeah, well, too. I feel like work work longer maintain my focus longer was doing that as well, just because you’re kind of alternating.

Megan Porta  33:54

I can totally see that. All right, are you ready to move on to sleep or anything else with exercise?

Melissa Mitri  33:59

Yeah, I think my my final thing I would say in terms of exercise is just like, just like diet, and you know, planning your meals is planning out, you know, your, your exercise as well. So I like to just a couple of together again, to make it simple. So if you’re planning out that you know your meals the next day in your head at the end of the day, then that’s when you can even just write down what your plan is for your exercise, even I’m going to go for a 10 minute walk, put it in your calendar to make sure that it actually happens. And it’s a priority. So I think that’s a really important thing to know and just to plan it and make it as easy as possible so that when you open up your calendar the next day, you already know what’s happening. You can leave your clothes, your sneakers, anything you need for that movement break right there in front of you so that it just leaves less room or less barriers, anything that’s going to get in your way. 

Megan Porta  34:51

Yes, love that so much like just setting yourself up for that success. Right? Exactly. Yeah. So diet and exercise. I think if you can to nail those and you’re consistent with that, you naturally get better sleep. Right? Do you have other thoughts on how we can rest better?

Melissa Mitri  35:08

Yeah, so definitely, as you said that the exercise will in and especially exercise outside can definitely help with sleep and and then the diet as well, if you’re having balanced meals, that’s going to help with your sleep quality. But in terms of anything else, you know, the biggest thing I would say is trying Well, the two biggest things I would say is one, trying to stay on a schedule as much as possible. So trying to, you know, go to bed and wake up around the same time, I know this is not may not always be entirely possible, but as close as you can. So if you can try to go to bed and wake up within an hour of their usual of a certain time, so that you have sort of more of a routine and your body will wake up for it easily, you’ll feel more energetic, and then you’ll also fall asleep more easily because your body’s used to going to bed around that same time. So that’s what I would say as a as a starting point, in terms of getting better sleep. And then secondly, trying to have a better nighttime routine and set stricter boundaries, which I know I see with my clients. And I’ve struggled with this myself, it’s not it’s not easy setting those boundaries. But it’s really important. So when I say setting stricter boundaries at night, you know, that could mean turning off the screen sooner not watching as much Netflix, you know, could be maybe watching one or two shows versus three or four. And just having like a cut off time at night that is telling you about a half hour before you’re getting ready to go to sleep. This is the time that I need to get off social media, this is the time I need to put my phone away and shut the TV off and then do something that kind of prime’s you for bed. So, you know reading a book journaling, taking a bath. Anything that is relaxing, to your mind that doesn’t involve a screen is really helpful.

Megan Porta  36:52

And then what are your thoughts about food before bed? I know there are different thoughts on this. But do we eat before bed? Do we not?

Melissa Mitri  37:00

Yes? That’s a great question. So it really depends on the situation. So it’s definitely not bad to eat before bed, I think a lot of a lot of people have the misconception that, you know, we have to stop eating by a certain time. And that’s definitely not true. So for one, if you’re feeling physically hungry, maybe you didn’t have enough for dinner, or maybe you’re staying up a little bit later than usual. And so you’re hungry again, you should have something so but you don’t want to have something too big or heavy. So, so more of a snack versus an actual meal, if you feel like you are actually physically hungry. So a few good things you can have are anything that has that dairy or magnesium. So those two things, so meaning like a Greek yogurt, with a handful of nuts, dairy can help with with sleep. And then also magnesium is nuts and seeds, which a lot of people take magnesium supplements to help for sleep and it’s actually pretty effective. So getting that in food form if you’re physically hungry, could help with that. So having a little snack is totally fine.

Megan Porta  37:59

What are your thoughts on melatonin?

Melissa Mitri  38:02

Yeah, so melatonin there is I would say there is not enough research on the long term use of melatonin. So what I’ve seen and read about is that maybe for three to four months, and then after that there’s just not that much strong research on the overall safety or if it becomes, you know, sort of addicting after that point. So I recommend it more as sort of an occasional, like, if somebody’s feeling really anxious, but not necessarily an everyday thing. 

Megan Porta  38:30

So I’ve tried melatonin a few times in my life and every single time, Melissa, it does the opposite. Rarely, people tell me it’s supposed to do I, I don’t know. It’s so weird. But I get like super anxious. I don’t sleep, I wake up feeling strung out. Like my sleep was so disrupted. And then I’ve always said like, maybe it was something else. Like maybe some other factor was involved. I’m going to try it again. I’ve only done it like maybe five times in the past 10 years or something like that. But every single time this happens to me.

Melissa Mitri  39:03

Interesting. Yeah, it definitely doesn’t work for everyone. And I haven’t heard of that. But that that does happen, that effect that you’re getting to and I just wonder it’s interesting to hear that because I just wonder is it are you thinking about it? Do you think like are you thinking about like, oh, when am I when is this going to kick in? And is that causing you to feel anxious? 

Megan Porta  39:22

I don’t think so. Because yeah, like I’ve kind of pieced it together after the fact like, oh, wait, this happened last time so I don’t think it’s that I think it’s truly the melatonin just my body doesn’t like it or something. I don’t know.

Melissa Mitri  39:37

I know there’s definitely a lot of nuances to the melatonin too. And even in terms of the dose, the timing of when you take it sometimes if you’re taking it not at the ideal time where it’s going to actually be the most effective then like maybe you took it too early or too late. Where because everyone’s melatonin, natural melatonin levels are kind of vary throughout the day and so maybe yours is a little bit different. And then maybe the timing of when would it be best for somebody else? So, yeah.

Megan Porta  40:05

I just whatever I’m staying away from it, it clearly doesn’t work. So my body doesn’t need it.

Melissa Mitri  40:11

But no magnesium though I’ve seen a lot of my clients that that seems to be a little bit more effective and and potentially safer in the long term as well.

Megan Porta  40:19

My husband actually started taking supplements magnesium supplements before bed and I have occasionally in the last few weeks has asked me if I want some, I think it helps. But I was gonna say the one thing that I’ve noticed in the past few months that is, by far helped me more than anything in my life was sleep is meditating and finding time for quiet throughout the day, just to like quiet my mind. I’ve been teaching myself, how to just quiet the thoughts and stop that incessant hamster wheel of thinking and that I’ve been sleeping like a baby for like, two months. It’s been amazing.

Melissa Mitri  41:00

Right? And so natural. That’s what you want. 

Megan Porta  41:02


Melissa Mitri  41:03

It sounds like you’ve been very dedicated to it, though, which is really…

Megan Porta  41:06

Every day. So I won’t let a day go by without training my brain a little bit. So yeah, I wake up, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I feel so amazing. It used to be where like, probably half of my days, I would just be so exhausted. And I would just get used to that. I thought that was how it was going to be forever. And now it just feels like a dream.

Melissa Mitri  41:26

Wow, that’s great. Oh, that can be so so helpful. So that’s, that’s your…

Megan Porta  41:31

Yeah, anything else on sleep? 

Melissa Mitri  41:33

I think that’s it in terms of sleep. Yeah, I would say like I said, just to, you know, kind of sum up the, you know, setting that consistent schedule and, and just, you know, those stricter boundaries, and might be a, you know, a process where, you know, if you’re used to going to bed late now, it’s you know, just kind of slowly, you know, working your way up to a little bit earlier and just being patient with yourself that you know, you don’t have to be perfect, but doing the best you can to have that consistent schedule to really help you, you know, to really help you with your productivity in the morning as well. I think everyone’s also I would I didn’t mention is, you know, we’re all different in terms of when we’re most productive too. So I think trying to you know, kind of work your if at all possible worker sleep schedule around that as well to the maybe a more of a night person or versus you’re a morning person, then you want to get yours, yourself to bed early enough so that you can capture that productivity in the morning.

Megan Porta  42:23

Love it all. So we’ll move on to the last point stress management. This is a big one.

Melissa Mitri  42:28

Absolutely. Yes. So I know that you had mentioned your, your meditation that you do. So that’s definitely Of course, one. One way you can manage stress on a daily basis, but really just practicing daily self care in any way that is most helpful for you, and would be my biggest piece of advice, because, you know, we can’t, we can’t necessarily remove all the stress in our lives, we all have different levels of stress sources of stress. But practicing that daily self care, even if it’s just for five to 10 minutes, is huge, with your productivity is huge, what’s kind of just starting your day off, right? So that you have more energy and you have more to give. So you know, as some examples of self care, it can be a daily 10 minute practice, such as a gratitude, practice journaling, yoga, even talking to a friend. If you are a social person, as a lot of times, it can be really helpful to manage stress by just venting to a friend or talking to somebody regularly to really help with, you know, kind of normalizing any, any feelings that you’re having, and know that you’re not alone. So there’s a lot of different things that you can do. But know that it doesn’t have to be something huge. It doesn’t have to be your taking an hour to get a massage, or getting your nails done. For example, it’s more you know, the daily things that add up more. So taking that 10 minutes to do something for yourself.

Megan Porta  43:52

Do you feel like that’s the biggest hang up for most people with self care is just that they overthink how much of an investment it is or like you mentioned getting a massage, I think people immediately go to Well, I don’t want to get a massage every week. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be what self care means.

Melissa Mitri  44:09

Yeah, exactly. I think that is definitely part of it. I think a lot of people might mistakenly feel that just doing these 10 minute self care practices are not enough are not going to help. And so I think that a lot of people wait until they really get overwhelmed and really stressed and then they scheduled a massage and they schedule those things that I’ve been guilty of that in the past as well of doing that but truly those daily things and I can honestly speak to this to myself and with my clients that it is huge that it’s it doesn’t have to be this big enormous feat. You know, a lot of times getting a massage. Yes, it’s great in the moment, and you feel great the rest of the day, but it doesn’t necessarily translate you know, for days on end, you know, kind of the next day you go back to your usual if you’re not practicing that daily self care, so 

Megan Porta  45:00

That’s such a good point. Yeah, it’s not a long term fix, it feels like the day of your like, I feel amazing. But you need more of a sustainable way to manage your stress day to day. 

Melissa Mitri  45:13

Exactly. So those little things, like I mentioned, are really going to be more effective and so much easier to fit into your life. So whether it’s first thing in the morning, I think that that’s always ideal. But if you can’t always get it in first thing in the morning, maybe you have little kids and maybe your sleep schedule is a little bit off, then you know, doing it as early in the day as possible. Whenever you feel like you need a break. You know, and I know Megan, you’re I know, you’re huge on morning routine. So I like any sort of, you know, way that you can incorporate even a five minute practice into morning routine, as early as you can, is going to set yourself up like something that I’ve been doing his I know, you mentioned the meditation for yourself. And I’ve been doing like a five minute gratitude practice, I don’t even know if it takes five minutes. Honestly, it’s probably like three minutes. But I just started, I was always that was never usually something that I did on a regular basis. And I have to admit that I used to think, you know, oh, I don’t think this will won’t do anything for me. And then I, you know, I bought this this gratitude journal on Amazon and I just started doing it for like the past three or four months. And it’s, it’s makes such a big difference in my mindset, and just my energy throughout the day. So just as an example, but even if you’re feeling like I felt, you know, back, you know, in the past where you feel like you don’t know, if it’s going to help you, you know, just give it a try. And if it’s, you know, try it for a few weeks, and it’s not helping and then you can move on to something else that you feel like would be more effective for you. 

Megan Porta  46:33

Yeah, don’t discount those little things that you think might be insignificant, because you never know like that three minute gratitude practice that you do impacts your day, probably right, like so positively. Three minutes of your time, we all have three minutes of time to spare. So why not try it?

Melissa Mitri  46:50

Exactly. It makes a huge difference. And it’s not a time big time commitment at all.

Megan Porta  46:54

Totally. All right. Anything else for stress management, Melissa?

Melissa Mitri  46:58

No, I think that’s it. I think it’s just keeping it simple. And just remembering that daily self care is what’s going to be the most effective.

Megan Porta  47:06

Yeah, wow, this was so great. Something we all need to hear all of these messages, diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, they all add up to make us better humans, but also more capable entrepreneurs, more focus more productive, more creative. We need all of that, right? If we want to keep going.

Melissa Mitri  47:26

Exactly. If we want to keep growing your blog and being focused and keep going. It makes it makes life so much easier. And it gives you that motivation to keep going. 

Megan Porta  47:34

So true. Thank you so much for delivering this message today. I feel like I saw your script come up and I was like this is needed. Thank you, Melissa for being here. This was so timely. So I was really appreciate you. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to end with today?

Melissa Mitri  47:52

so my words of wisdom, I would say is what I had just to kind of reiterate what I had said earlier is that you will always get more time back when you take the time to care for yourself. So you know, even if you feel like you’re taking time away, you will always get more done after in less time. So taking just that five minutes to do something good for yourself, whether that’s eating a nourishing meal, going for a quick walk or calling a friend, you will always have more energy and it’s not taking time away. It’s giving it back to you.

Megan Porta  48:23

Great message. Thank you so much. We’ll put together a show notes page for you Melissa you can find those at eatblogtalk.com/MelissaMitri and that’s spelled M I T R I tell everyone where they can find you, Melissa?

Melissa Mitri  48:38

So I am active both on LinkedIn and Instagram. So on LinkedIn, I am the most active and you can find me at Melissa Mitri where I post health and wellness articles and videos daily. And then I’m also on Instagram @theweightlossdietitian. And there I share sustainable weight loss tricks and tips. 

Megan Porta  48:58

Awesome. Yes everyone go check all of that out. And thanks again Melissa for being here and thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you next time. 

Outroi  49:08

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk, please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.

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