Women In Wellness: April Federico of Brownies For Breakfast On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Meditation is an excellent way to stay grounded and to repeat affirmations in your head to keep you “down to earth.” I love listening to guided meditations because I found with just strictly music, it’s hard to refrain your mind from wandering into something you don’t want to focus on.
As a part of our series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing April Federico.
April Federico is an award-winning author who has dedicated her life to helping determined, female type 2 diabetics manage their diabetes sans harsh restriction or overwhelm, especially after being diagnosed herself. She is the owner and CEO of Brownies For Breakfast, Co., a coaching business specifically for her mission. She earned her BFA in Creative Writing from Roger Williams University in 2020.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Oh, my goodness, of course! So, in February 2022, on Valentine’s Day, I was sitting at my cubicle on my first day at a corporate job and I had to leave early because clearly there was something wrong with me (otherwise I would not have left early). Falling asleep at my cubicle and poisoning myself on antiacid tablets would not have been ideal. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of pain I was in! All I really remember was breathing super heavily that the woman across could hear me suffering. I remember getting out of my dad’s car, with bitter air in already-congested lungs. I tried cough drops, I tried to nap, but then I wound up throwing up 4 times and nearly passing out in the shower. So, finally, at 11-something PM, I succumbed to my mom’s suggestion to go to the Emergency Room. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, in the ICU, not even remembering passing out. I had my mom right beside me, and I had nurses and doctors trying to ask me if I could reiterate to them where I was, which I couldn’t because I was still half-asleep. I sounded like that demon from Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and the inside of my nose was black. It turns out that I had nearly succumbed to diabetic keto acidosis, to which doctors were telling me, “you do know you’re diabetic, right?” I wanted to say, “I do now!”
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
The most “interesting” I’d have to say was when my best friend had texted me one time saying she was dealing with major health anxiety and she had asked me to read up on what to eat for GERD and esophageal contractility issues. People started coming to me for advice on recipes, what to eat, gut health, etc.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I’d have to say the most “humorous” would be telling someone who was clearly scamming and trying to get me to see his “flimsy penis,” “I specialize in nutrition, not penises!” The lesson that I took away from that, is clearly to know when you are being scammed or having your chain pulled because, seriously, it was like one red flag after another with this so-called “client.” I could go on, but the main message here, when you’re a coach, you must have a thick skin and say, “you need to respect [insert coaching policy here].”
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I am a diabetes coach who coined the 4 C’s Method for Diabetes and Mindset and then the 3 C’s for Diabetes Management. The 4 C’s are Contemplation, Creating, Consistency, and Clarity. The 3 C’s are Commitment, Confidence, and Consistency. See something in common between the two? Consistency is key when it comes to getting in control of your diabetes. Also, there’s my CICERO philosophy which stands for “Confidence and Intelligence Creates Emotional Resilience to Optimize.” Because of that personal philosophy, I was able to go from an A1C of 13 in February 2022 to an A1C of 6.6 by April 2022, which according to my endocrinologist doesn’t happen often or at all!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I credit Ali Daniel of Punch Drunk Soul and her coaching program, “Path to Freedom” because her approach to everything when it comes to coaching and attaining clientele is superb. “Path to Freedom,” especially the cohort that I was in, was like the sorority I was never a part of in college, and sans hazing.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
The three main blockages I have to say are 1) giving away your power to people or even bad habits; 2) not setting clear boundaries with yourself, routine, schedule, business, and even other people; 3) limiting beliefs.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
My 5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks are as follows: 1) yoga 2) meditation 3) gratitude journaling 4) visualization and finally 5) walking
When I had got out of the hospital, I really wanted to work out again, but I couldn’t for at least two weeks because I had multiple IV injections in both wrists and arms. As a result, I basically had Mickey Mouse gloves as hands for a couple of days and my arms were so sore. They slowly but surely got better, but my body itself wasn’t ready to say, lift kettlebells or run on the treadmill, so that’s when I started to do yoga. I knew I wanted to be stronger, and Vinyasa is a beautiful way to not only get strong and confident, but to be strong and confident — in mind, body, and spirit, as cliché as that may sound. Walking and getting steps in has helped me immensely with keeping my A1C down and suppressing the ever-annoying sweet tooth, and even keeping off excess weight. Even when it’s cold, maybe snowy, you can always walk around your kitchen or living room and just pop your earbuds/air pods in and listen to Audible or a podcast. I usually aim for around 6,000 steps to 10,000 steps per day.
Meditation is an excellent way to stay grounded and to repeat affirmations in your head to keep you “down to earth.” I love listening to guided meditations because I found with just strictly music, it’s hard to refrain your mind from wandering into something you don’t want to focus on. I usually put on a guided meditation by Connie Riet because her morning guided abundance meditations are immaculate. Visualization comes hand in hand with that, and in fact, in my morning routine, I love just sitting in my walk-in closet, on the floor, spine tall, and journaling about what my future self, or highest self would do. In fact, make this a journal prompt every day: what can you do to be your highest self today? How can you act like him/her/them?
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Exercise is a miracle drug without taking a pill. From a diabetes coach’s point of view, it also decreases chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Exercising for 150 minutes per week is the maximum amount of time you should be working out because your body needs to take a day or two to heal. If we’re doing basic arithmetic, you should be doing at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, or 50 minutes 3 times a week depending on your athleticism.
Moreover, exercise can also improve brain health and function by releasing endorphins and also decreasing anxiety levels in adults. Exercise also increases chances of living a longer life. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, you can live a little longer just by incorporating exercise into your daily regimen.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Being a creative writing major in my undergraduate career I have read so many books for various English classes, but for leisure? I have to say Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspe. She and I both took advantage of our health, but in different ways. She was then introduced to the glucose monitor, which in my diabetic case is the FreeStyle Libre. I was introduced to putting apple cider vinegar in my water prior to every meal, and also “clothing my carbs” which essentially means pairing, say, fruit with a protein like peanut butter. I managed to become classified as “prediabetic” because of the confidence of “hey, if it’s possible for them, it’s possible for me.”
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If I could start a movement that could benefit everyone, I’d pick two: 1) Healthcare is a human right, obviously because the rise in cost of insulin equipment is insane and inhumane and 2) Don’t discount people with disabilities. My best friend is actually at Boston University for Special Education and one of the things that she and I bonded over was the fact that we had IEP’s and 504’s in secondary school and how unfairly we were treated. I remember distinctly after finishing an AP World Literature exam, one of the girls in my class came up to me in the library afterwards and remarked, “you finished that test fast.” In my head I’m like “so…?” Another girl came up to us and vouched, “hey, I finish fast!” And then the girl who made the initial remark had the nerve to make the following comment: “yeah but you take like seconds. April takes like six years!” This girl knew I had extra time on tests. And I’m not sharing this story out of spite, I’m sharing it to increase awareness. Anxiety and depression are disabilities, and some would make the redundant argument of “freedom of speech.” However, “freedom of speech” does not mean treat people badly, especially if they have a disability that isn’t necessarily visible to the naked eye.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I am dubbed the “Quote Queen,” and for a reason, at that. But if I must choose a quote, it’d be from the Hilary Duff movie, “A Cinderella Story.” It’s as follows: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” I always resort to that quote whenever I’m having doubts — about who I am, my occupation, my life path, etc. Coaches have their moments, too!
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I pondered this question, and I’ll be honest, I first thought “Audrey Hepburn!” but sadly, she’s no longer with us. However, I thought about the concept, “who do I actually have in common with?” And that is Gabby Bernstein. She and I both struggled with alcoholism, and she is a primary example of turning pain into purpose.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
The best ways to follow me online are on Instagram @bewellwithapril and my coaching business’ Instagram @browniesforbreakfastco. They can also follow me on Twitter @AprilFMedia and via my website www.theaprildiaries.blog.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!