Philosophy

Don’t hate yourself towards skinny; LOVE yourself towards healthy!

My mission is to educate, promote, and encourage healthy living. By educating others on the benefits and science behind fitness, nutrition, and stress-management, I will empower women to increase their self-esteem, quiet their inner critic, and help them find successful methods to achieve and maintain their wellness goals.

I believe that most of the diet programs out there focus too much on the scale and calories. They neglect to address the biggest issue that keeps most people from maintaining their positive results—self-esteem! At the core of everything we do, our confidence in ourselves determines our success. For years I hated myself towards skinny, which is why I want people to learn from my mistakes and love themselves towards healthy. Good health isn’t about fitting into a size 0-8; it isn’t about a number on a scale; it’s about choosing whole foods that God intended us to eat. I’ve realized recently that whenever I tell my kids they’re not allowed to eat something, it’s not because I’m afraid they’ll get fat. As an advocate for Celiac awareness, my fear is cemented in my belief that “food is medicine” and if they consume too much gluten, it will negatively impact their behavior and body’s efficiencies. While I don’t believe everyone should be gluten-free, I do believe that many can benefit from either abstaining or cutting-back on the amount they consume on a daily basis.

Nutrition

In a fast-paced society we all too often eat what is convenient or familiar instead of wholesome and nutritious. I believe food can heal–I’ve seen it first-hand in my commitment to a gluten-free lifestyle which essentially deletes my Celiac symptoms and “cures” the ADHD I had been (mis)diagnosed with many years before. Those symptoms come right back up when I consume gluten, so food IS my medicine. Just as Hippocrates is quoted as saying, “let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”

Fitness

It doesn’t matter what you do, just get active and start moving! As a certified group fitness instructor, I have a soft place in my heart for the energy and fun of fitness classes but weight-training, running and/or cardio machines, as well as at-home workouts are just as important. I believe it is imperative to vary the types of exercise you’re doing on a weekly basis for three reasons: 1. I want you to find something that you love! If you find an exercise you love, it no longer becomes exercise because it’s fun and you’re more likely to keep at it. 2. Having a variety of workouts will help you build strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance. 3. If you focus on just one type of exercise—for example running—you will be more susceptible to injury due to the redundancies and wear-and-tear of using the same muscles and joints. Adding yoga, Pilates, and weight training to the mix will not only make you a stronger runner, it will allow you to maintain your abilities for far longer.

Wellness

Seeing value in yourself, being kind to yourself, and being your own cheerleader are the elements needed to achieve real wellness. I want to give people a better way to achieve all their wellness goals by offering programming that encompasses all aspects of wellness—fitness, nutrition, mental health/self-esteem, and spirituality. I am not in the fitness business. I am in the HEALTH AND WELLNESS business! These are two different things. I want women to be self-reliant, feel in control of their choices, and understand they are beautiful no matter what.

Why should you work with me?

I take a more realistic approach to fitness and nutrition. I completely understand what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and not have enough time to take care of yourself—I am a mom of two busy boys after all!—so I provide wellness programming that works in real life. I want to prove that programs like Weight Watchers are causing more problems than good. They are stripping women of their self-esteem by putting the focus on scales and calorie/points counting, as well as making people co-dependent on their products and tools. I’m here to help women transition to a healthier lifestyle they can independently maintain for the rest of their lives.

It would be my pleasure to help you achieve your wellness goals!

Click here to start loving yourself towards healthy!

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Meridith Bickford Oram is a fitness and nutrition consultant at Belowthefork.com where she writes about the 80/20 clean eating lifestyle, gluten-free recipes, healthy living, and fitness. She earned a B.A. in Communication with a concentration in Marketing from Villanova University, and worked as a senior account manager in digital advertising for the better part of a decade. Meridith took a step away from Corporate America to become a stay-at-home mom and pursue her passion for helping others with their health goals. She returned to school to become a licensed massage therapist, received national certification as a Health Coach, and is also a certified group fitness instructor. She is married with two kids and lives outside of Philadelphia.