I Pay $50 a Month to Meet With a Nutritionist. Here’s What My Diet Looks Like.

The Sweat Diary of A Journey to Fit's Tonya Russell.

Photograph courtesy Tonya Russell.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money it takes to live a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to track everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com with details. 

Who I am: Tonya Russell, 29

What I do: Marketing manager for Riva Health + Wellness. But then I go into a phone booth, emerge in stylish leggings, and become a fitness blogger at ajourneytofit.com

What health and wellness means to me: My workouts are cathartic. There is nothing that cleanses my soul like a good sweat, whether on a mat for hot yoga, or on a bike spinning away my troubles. Exercise keeps me focused, social, and it definitely helps to boost my creative juices. I even incorporate it in my travels. For instance, I learned aerial hoops in London and how to surf in Sydney.

Health memberships: ClassPass every month for my favorite workouts, which is $35 a month. I also see a registered dietician once a month, which is $50. I burned out this fall from overtraining. High intensity workouts three to four days a week, plus I wasn’t taking in the amount of calories to replace what I was burning off. Being on the fitness scene means we get inundated with false information and new fads. She’s helping me to break out of that.


Photograph by Tonya Russell.

7 a.m. — I try to eat within an hour of waking, but lately I’ve been getting up before 6, so that doesn’t happen. I have toast with peanut butter and half a banana. A cup of coffee. I then walk my two fur babies and catch up on work emails.

10 a.m. — Corepower Yoga 2 class today. This class is a fun challenge, and I tackle my first real handstand like a BOSS (in my head at least). I used ClassPass to purchase ($13).

12 p.m. — I run some errands, and I bring my dogs along. I share a soft pretzel ($0.79) with them, then drop them off on my way to work.

1 — 5 p.m. — Working in the office at my day job, so I drink a cup of decaf to stay warm.

5:15 p.m. — I pick up my boyfriend from the Apple store on Walnut Street, and he greets me with Insomnia cookies. I destroy two chocolate chip cookies for free-99.

6 — 8 p.m. —  In East Oak Lane for some homeless outreach. I take a conference call while driving.

8 p.m. — I arrive home to a screaming cat, so I run to out to grab her some food. After I feed her, I shower, prepare my nightly cup of tea, and I prepare handouts for my boss’s morning meeting. I epically fail and redo them, while simultaneously stealing some of my boyfriend’s veggie stir fry.

Daily Total: $14


Photograph by Tonya Russell.

7 a.m. — Breakfast is toast with peanut butter and half a banana. And coffee, of course. Over breakfast, I check out my social media schedule, since I try to post on Instagram at least three times a week.

9 a.m. — 5 p.m. — Work, work, work. I prepare some blog posts, then I spend a significant amount of time in the office preparing for our “Be Resolutionary with Riva” event.

1:30 p.m. — I have an apple and a cappuccino, and both are available at work for free.

5 p.m. — I stopped at my favorite cafe in Northern Liberties, Dolce & Caffe, for a turkey and avocado panini and salad ($8)

6 p.m. — Because my work takes longer than anticipated, I miss the class I intend to take. Instead, I do a 45 minute at-home version of an Orangetheory workout. The first 15 minutes are on the floor (burpees, squats, mountain climbers), and the last 30 minutes are on the treadmill. I complete three rounds of intervals, using base, push, and all-out pacing.

The Galaxy room float pool. Photograph by Tonya Russell.

7:30 p.m. — I finally have time to check out Float Marlton. They offer sensory deprivation in salt baths. I spend 15 minutes in the infrared sauna, immediately jump in the ice shower, and then I enjoy a one hour float session in the “Galaxy” room.

9:30 p.m. — As soon as I arrive home from my soporific bath, I finish the other half of my panini with some rose tea. I then walk the dogs and jump into bed.

Daily Total: $8


Photograph by Tonya Russell.

7:30 a.m. — Breakfast is toast with strawberry jam and coffee.

10:15 a.m. — I meet with my nutritionist to discuss how I’m balancing my exercise, nutrition, and work. She dummy smacks me because, well, I suck. We agree on a goal for this week being pasta and a burger, as well as more protein. Food isn’t just fuel, it’s fun (hence this goal). ($50)

11:30 a.m. — I sip an EAS low-carb protein shake while I map out my workouts for the upcoming week. I’m very organized and typically know all of my workouts as far as two weeks out. This helps with social media content, plus I really enjoy making lists.

12 p.m. — Work!

Photograph courtesy Tonya Russell.

3:30 p.m. — I forgot about lunch, so I was late eating my salad with mangoes, apples, and grilled chicken breast (protein!). ($6)

5 p.m. — I leave work and head to the hair salon to get a trim before my goddess locs.

9 p.m. — I return home to argue with a delivery service about why I can’t get Greek food at 9 p.m. My boyfriend and I get frustrated and just head to Wawa.

10 p.m. — Chicken corn chowder soup for me ($4). I hate eating late, but the alternative to that is waking up in the middle of the night hungry, which sucks too. I boil my water for some ginger tea but I fall asleep before I can finish making it.

Daily Total: $60


Photograph courtesy Tonya Russell.

7:45 a.m. — I sleep in some, and I make a waffle with Krusteaz protein pancake mix, which I top with fresh berries.

10 a.m. — I work while getting my locs done, and I panic when I find out how long I’ll need to sit, especially since I forget to pack a lunch or snack. I edit my blog post detailing my microneedling experience, and I uploaded all of my fun photos from the past week to my computer. I also answer work emails and get my latest newsletter approved, then hit send.

1 p.m. — I have Ethiopian food from Kaffa Crossing delivered. I order my boyfriend a vegetarian platter for later, and I enjoy a spicy doro salad ($30). This is a typical salad topped with grilled chicken, but with Ethiopian spices and jalapeños, which definitely make it special.

5:45 p.m. — A lovely flat tire while on the Ben Franklin Bridge makes me late to a work event. My friend Mary scoops me up, and she greets me with two-bite cupcakes. They are right on time to soothe my grumbling tummy and bruised ego.

9 p.m. — Exhausted, I drag myself to bed. I don’t even budge when my cat knocks over my unfinished peppermint tea.

Daily Total: $30


Photograph courtesy Tonya Russell.

7:45 a.m. — I sleep in a little and have toast with jam.

9 a.m. — Spin class, but of course I am running late. Word of advice: Be on time for blacklight spin class. I nearly crack a rib running to find a free bike. (I used a “we miss you, come back” pass, $0.)

10 a.m. — 12 p.m. — I work from home, then I am in the office from 1 until about 4:45 p.m., and I help myself to a cappuccino and hard pretzels ($1).

5:30 p.m. — I try to take yoga sculpt at Corepower, but I end up being late. Instead, my evening turns into a date night with my boyfriend Guiseppe.

Photograph courtesy Tonya Russell.

7 p.m. — We go out for Thai food. I have chicken panang curry without rice, then I share a fried banana with Guiseppe. It’s my night to treat ($40).

9 p.m. — I walk Jade and Bailey, then head to bed before 10, browsing Snapchat until I fall asleep.

Daily Total: $41

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $153

Workouts done: 3

Cups of coffee: 5

Meals eaten out: 3

This article has been updated.