Category Archives: Primary Food

A Well Fed Life: How the Food We Eat isn’t the Only Thing that Nourishes Us

How well fed are you Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually and Creatively? Are you "eating" too much or too little in these areas?

How well fed are you Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually and Creatively? Are you “eating” too much or too little in these areas?

Something I’ve noticed about myself, but also in the women I work with is that the way we do one thing, is the way we do everything. The problem with this is that it can lead us to live very unbalanced lives. To give an example of this, with me, when it comes to making a decision, I’m either spontaneous and impulsive about it or I move at an exhaustingly slow pace. It doesn’t matter if it’s a really big decision or something minute. There’s no middle ground with me. It has always been the same way with food, relationships and even in my approach to work. It leaves me feeling perennially exhausted and unaccomplished all at the same time. My behaviors tend to leave me virtually starved or completely stuffed.

With food, up until the last 3 years, I vacillated between eating crazy clean or crazy unhealthily. I couldn’t’ seem to mix the two into any sort of balance. In college, I either drank heavily or not at all. When I jump into a new project or hobby, I’m either completely enamored and will bury myself in it without coming up for air for days at a time or I grow quickly bored and drop the project as soon as it began. With people, I either like them instantly or I will keep them at an arm’s distance.

The women I work with have similar traits of doing everything in life the same way (though they may not necessarily bounce back and forth the way I describe above). They overeat, they overwork, they overcommit themselves. They give everything they have to their friends and family. They never say no. They are physically, emotionally and spiritually stuffed. Or alternatively, they are constantly dieting, avoiding being noticed at work, lonely in their personal lives and uninspired creatively. They are physically, emotionally and spiritually starved.

None of us can live like this forever.

Everything we do in life “feeds” us in some way. Feeding ourselves with physical food is one way we are nourished but it’s not the only way. Our souls are nourished or malnourished by our daily actions and interactions. Work, creative pursuits, exercise, joy, social life, relationships, finances, spirituality and health are just a few of the different areas that we can go overboard on (and feel “stuffed”) or completely ignore (and be “starved”).  You may be “stuffed” in some areas but “starved” in others.

When we spend too much time working and not enough time connecting with others socially, we may find our health started to be affected by it. We’re stressed, exhausted and feeling disconnected. When we overeat physically, we may retaliate by depriving ourselves in another way – maybe you don’t allow yourself physical touch, or you spend too much time on social media and you come away feeling both stuffed and utterly ravenous despite your intake of food.

Our goal should be a well fed life – not too much, not too little. Just right. Our hunger in these areas should be satisfied, but we don’t want to feel gluttonous or famished.

I know if you look at your own life, before I go any further into this, you can see the effect your daily choices and actions have on your health and well being. You already have an idea of how stuffed or starved you are. If you are really perceptive and good about self-care, then you are probably one of few who feel sated (and good for you!)!

I divide the areas we feed ourselves in into 4 categories:  Physical, Emotional, Spiritual and Creative. Below are a few examples of the things in our lives that might fall into these categories and also how it will show up in your life if you are “stuffed”, “starved” or “sated”.

This list obviously doesn’t include everything and some of the items I list in one category could certainly be cross posted in another (but for the sake of brevity and clarity I’m going to avoid that). If there is something big in your life that I didn’t list here, where do you think it fits in?

4 Core Areas we need to Nourish to feel Sated


Examples:  food (how we eat, how much we eat and quality of what we eat), massage, human touch, sex, exercise/sports, play, movement, rest.


Examples:  social life, relationships, alone time, spending time with people you feel safe with and having outlets to express yourself, dealing with personal responsibilities, travel, connecting on social media.


Examples:  prayer, meditation, journaling, yoga, tai chi, volunteer work, spending time in nature, sense of purpose.


Examples:  work, cooking, art, dance, music, writing, imagination, beauty, decorating, gift giving, attending art / creative performances.

How it shows up in if we’re “eating” too much or too little in any category

Okay, so those are the 4 categories. If you are indulging too much in any one area or not enough, you will find you feel “off” and this is how it may show up:

Symptoms of being Stuffed – feeling lazy, lethargic, bored, apathetic, uninspired, tired, spent, pulled in too many directions, feeling distracted, feeling empty, overtaxed, unappreciated, indulgent.

Symptoms of being Starved -hungry for something but not sure what, excess nervous energy, depression, anxiety, sad, lonely, unfocused, agitated, tense, disconnected, feeling alone, loss of purpose.

Symptoms of being “Sated” – feeling light, energetic, at ease, happy, calm, grounded, sure of oneself, focused, comfortable, optimistic, confident, balanced, joie de vivre, satisfied, content, relaxed, at peace.

You may find that when your life is heavily weighted in one area, that you are more likely to feel some of these symptoms more than others. For example, if I’m lacking (or “starved”) in the “Physical” realm – not getting enough movement/exercise, spending too much time sedentary, being sloppy with my eating, I can guarantee that I’ll start to feel anxious, agitated and have excess nervous energy. As far as the other symptoms under starved, I don’t feel those ones so much. You may be different than me! Everyone manifests this stuff a little bit differently! For another example, let’s use the “Emotional” category. If I’ve been “stuffing” myself emotionally – maybe going to a lot of social events and tending to a lot of personal obligations, I tend to feel overtaxed, pulled in too many directions and distracted. You may find that the symptoms that show up for you when you’re stuffed emotionally, aren’t the same symptoms that show up when you are stuffed spiritually. Don’t read too much into this – I think it’s fluid!

Ultimately, your health and wellness is deeply connected to how well you are nourished – physically and emotionally – soulfully. You’ll notice that if you start aiming for more balance in each of these categories, that some of your recurring health concerns seem to be less of a problem – we all sleep better and have more energy when we are taking good care of ourselves. Even emotional eating becomes a much smaller issue when you feel supported, nourished and balanced.

The most important takeaway from this is that it’s important to pay attention to how you are spending your time, who with, and if you are getting enough nourishment physically, emotionally, spiritually and creatively. If you know when you are not getting enough in an area, you can make plans to change that – and that can go a long way in how you feel on a day to day basis.

Writing this post has made me realize that I’m really feeling starved in the creative realm. Yes, I do a lot of writing for work and I certainly do a lot of cooking – but neither have been serving a creative purpose lately (the writing is all business and the cooking is mostly for nutrition). So, now it’s up to me to go out and change that!

How well fed are you? Which area (Physical, Emotional, Spiritual or Creative) seems to have the biggest pull in your life right now? And how well is your hunger satisfied in that area? What do you think you need to do differently?

I see you hiding in photos.

unsplash hideI see you.

I see you there, in a group picture, behind the woman with the long blond hair and the one with the oversized glasses.

I see you smiling. You look like you’re having a good time.

I see you’ve placed yourself behind the other women in the photo so that all that I can see of you is your face, your body hidden by the other bodies in front of you.

At first, I thought your placement in the picture was because it was crowded and you’re a little taller than your friends. Perhaps you went to the back so that your graceful height didn’t block someone else from view.

But then I saw you again. In another picture.

This time, behind your children when they were toddlers. You pulled them to you in a loving embrace, in front of your body, so much so that you looked like a smiling floating head in between their little faces.

Your body once housed them and protected them as they grew, now you use them to protect you.

You are still smiling.

I thought it was a sweet photo and familiar. I had certainly seen many many photos of other mom’s proudly displaying their beautiful children in front of them. This is not an abnormal thing for mothers to do.

But then I saw a new photo.

This time, behind a group of your high school friends, at a reunion I think, where this time you were not the tallest one, yet there you were politely moving to the back in order to make sure more of the others were seen.

And again in a group photo with your girlfriends at a party. Everyone is having a good time and there you are, again, all I can see is a smiling head.

Then again at the beach. This time, you are not hidden by people but by towels. Completely wrapped up in a towel at the beach on a 90 degree day, and behind a chair.

Your face is all we can see of you physically in these photos. And you do look happy, which is great. But I can’t help feeling sad that you seem to be trying to hide yourself.

Not Fit to Be Seen (Unless Photoshop is available!)
I see women who are underweight, average weight and overweight do this and they’re all doing it for the same reason – they don’t want their body to be seen.  They’re not the size they want to be. They’re not the shape they want to be. They’re heavier than they were in the past. They haven’t lost the baby weight. They don’t feel like they are fit to be seen. They don’t want to see themselves and they don’t want others to see them either.

One thing that isn’t helping is this photoshop, “waist trainer” and plastic surgery obsessed society that we live in. If you own a smart phone, odds are you spend at least a portion of your day looking at carefully curated celebrity profiles or your friend’s profiles. It’s hard to look at that stuff day in and day out and not feel a little ashamed about how we look. But most of what people post on social media is FAKE. These people don’t look like this in real life. Their photos are so doctored up with filters and makeup “apps” that we wouldn’t recognize them in person. We’re feeling bad about ourselves while we compare ourselves to something that isn’t even attainable in real life! It’s completely crazy!

If we physically hide ourselves in photos because we believe we aren’t fit to be seen, what else might we be hiding from?

Where else are we hiding in our lives?

Where else are we only playing part way?

Where else are you putting limits on yourself?

Where else might you be holding yourself back?

Make no mistake, the self-consciousness we have about our bodies drips over into other parts of our lives and affects a lot of things. I want more for you. I want more for all of us.

Messages Sent and Memories Made
If you run to hide every time a camera appears, I worry that your daughter is getting the message that if her body isn’t the “right” size or shape, that it shouldn’t be seen. And since you share genetics, she is likely to end up with a shape similar to yours someday and will remember that it’s not one to be comfortable with.

I worry that your son is getting the message that shape and size are more important than who someone is. Or that women with imperfect bodies should move to the back.

I worry that your kids will look at photos of their childhood and wish that they could see you better because they love all of you, not just the part that looks pretty or neat or small.

I worry that there will be a lingering sadness when you or they look back at your family photos because instead of remembering being in the moment, you’ll remember that your mind was more on your bodily position in the snapshot.

When we look back at old family photos of relatives or friends who are no longer with us, what do we see? What do we remember about them?

In my experience, you remember the twinkle in their eye, the way they laughed with their entire body, the way they made you feel like the most important person in the world each time you saw them.

You remember their delicious cooking and their love of ghost stories.

You remember how when they played video games with you for a moment you saw what they may have been like as a child and it made you feel closer to them. It made you understand them more.

You see how you actually look a little like them and how your daughter is like a carbon copy of them. You suddenly see that your brother has their nose and your cousin got their smile. You all have a little bit of their spirit.

You see that they loved to wear bright colors and prints and how their jewelry glistened so much it looked like it had been stolen straight from the Crown Jewels.

You see that they loved life and were living it without self-consciousness.

You see who they were through the photo.

You know what we don’t see, what we don’t remember?

Their size. Their weight. When they last colored their roots. What state their body was at different parts of their lives.

We don’t care if Grandma was 100 lbs overweight and had thinning gray hair – she was amazing.  She survived horrific things we only read about and still managed to laugh daily.

We don’t care that Aunt Mary was built like a brick shit house (that was one of my mother’s favorite sayings actually!). She was a powerhouse of love and force to be reckoned with. And also incredible meatballs. She fucking loved to make meatballs.

Despite the craptastic amount of energy the Instawhores spend on creating unrealistic photos, I know on some level most of us do recognize that the physical appearance of our bodies not very important – but sometimes it seems we don’t really get that until someone isn’t here anymore. That sucks.

You know who doesn’t care what your body looks like? Little kids. Little kids will think you are the most beautiful person in the world if you are kind to them and care for them and play with them. I don’t have kids but I have nieces and nephews and I have been a blonde, brunette, and a redhead, I have been skinny, fat and somewhere in between. I have had crazy rosacea eruptions on my face and acne and they’ve seen me without makeup (and coffee). And they think I am beautiful. They see who I am inside – they see me for me, not for what I look like. But give kids a reason to pay attention to the size or shape of our bodies, by hiding them (or commenting on how much we dislike something) and they will learn really quickly how to judge a body and the person inside it. That also sucks.

Can you look at yourself the way your kids would look at you, before they learned that they should be judging everyone by their bodies?

Can you look at yourself the way you look at your own children, seeing all their amazing potential and beautiful humanness? If you can’t, why can’t you? What’s the harm in giving that kindness to yourself?

Which is it? Is my body important or not important?
I know it sounds like on one hand I’m telling you that your body isn’t important, so you should stop hiding it. And then on the other I’m saying it’s important so you should stop hiding it. Haha. But bear with me. It’s both.

It’s not really about whether we actually see your body or not.  I know a lot of people judge us for our weight and it feels even more so with social media these days. Fuck them. Fuck all of them and their judgey selfs. It’s really more about the messages you are sending by hiding – the message you are sending your kids (discussed above), to yourself and to your sweet body. Nevermind the message you are sending to others – it’s like a beacon telling others that you value yourself less. And some assholes will see that as permission to treat you as less.

Your body lovingly and carefully carried those children for 40 weeks. In many cases, it physically provided food for them in their first year. Your body enables you to do all the things that you do. Go to work. To and from school events. You wake up still breathing each morning. You, at whatever current size you are at, whether it’s big or small or somewhere in between, care for your family, your friends and everyone you meet in some way. You go the extra mile anytime it’s asked of you. You are a rock when necessary and a teddy bear when called for.

As a side note, this isn’t unique to moms. Even if you haven’t had kids, your body too, it also does amazing stuff every single day! Maybe it’s run marathons, works double nursing shifts or has beaten cancer. Maybe it’s gotten you through heartbreak and back again. It literally stands up for you, every single day. It’s the BEST friend we can have.

I am amazed by how generously loving my body is to me, still, despite the abuse I have put it through! This thing keeps on giving back to me. It’s self-less. And doesn’t that deserve some respect?

Your heart beats. Your eyes open. Daily.

Your heart beats. Your eyes open. Daily. Just that it exists at all on this planet, in this universe is a miraculous feat.

Doesn’t your body, don’t YOU, deserve more than to be hidden?

Your body is a prize. It’s award winning. It deserves applause. It’s beautiful as it is.

This is the body you have. This is the only life you have. You should enjoy both while you can.

Your heart beats. Your eyes open. Daily. Just that it exists at all on this planet, in this universe is a miraculous feat.

Please don’t hide yourself.

Please put down any shame or discomfort you may have about getting your picture taken. Jut out your hip like you own that body the way you want to (because you do whether you believe it yet or not).

Flaunt it like you respect it. Like you already KNOW how amazing it is.

And what’s great is when you do that enough, when you “fake it until you make it” with your physical posture – you actually will start to feel more confident (and you may even take better care of yourself – which will be reflected in your appearance). Don’t think about it. Just do it. Treat your body like it’s a trophy worthy of being on display. If you want to practice this, please watch Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are and do the poses she talks about. It’s ridiculously powerful.

Show your kids that you love yourself, that you are unashamed and unabashedly YOU, that you are living your life and not thinking twice about filtering it for the masses. Your body is amazing as it is right now and you don’t have to hide it anymore.

I see you. I see who you are inside. I don’t think she is someone worth hiding and I hope that after reading this you agree.



Food is not the enemy

Eating is a "gift" of comfort to ourselves sometimes. Like a having a friend by our side even on the roughest of days.

Eating is a “gift” of comfort to ourselves sometimes. Like a having a friend by our side even on the roughest of days.

Why do you think you overeat, binge or yo yo diet? Why do you think you do it over and over again?

These activities cause us to feel pain, discomfort and shame. It also can cause us to gain weight.

But when we’re in the midst of it, we truly feel like it’s impossible to stop.

Why do you think that is? Why do you think it’s so difficult to stop?

Most of you will say, it’s because you’re addicted to food, or because you don’t have any self control but I don’t think that’s accurate.

Food Addict?
It’s not popular to say this in this industry, but I think labeling ourselves as “food addicts” sets us up for a lifelong and confusing struggle and I think we should avoid labeling it that way.

Here’s why:

We have to eat food to live. Every day. Multiple times a day. How can you consume something you’re “addicted to” in a responsible and healthy way? If it’s a true addiction, you really can’t, right? Common treatment for most drug or behavior addictions includes complete abstinence from the substance or activity that one is addicted to – except in the case of food addiction. Can you imagine someone in active recovery from alcohol addiction drinking daily – because they had to? Going back to the very substance that they struggled with? It would be challenging to view them as in recovery and not having relapsed, wouldn’t it? If you’re a food addict, are you relapsing every time you have a meal, regardless of what it is?

This is really confusing because we can’t not consume food.

We can't not consume food.

We can’t not consume food.

I’m not denying that some foods are made of addictive substances (of which we are bombarded with advertisements left and right) and I’m well aware that we can actually change our brain chemistry to crave more of these foods. But it’s probably not helping to call yourself a food addict. It’s just my opinion but I believe labeling ourselves that way just sets us up to feel shame everytime we eat and feeling that way only adds to the desire to eat, making what is already pretty challenging to heal from, even more so. I just don’t think it’s constructive to think of it this way.

No Self-Control?
About self-control, I know you have self control. If you didn’t have self-control, you’d probably call out of work more often than not. You’d probably tell off your boss, your child’s teacher, the lady yapping on her cell phone while being rung up by the cashier. You’d run red lights, you’d rip open presents under the Christmas tree before Christmas day, you’d rip off your shirt in public when hot etc.

I’m sure you can think of 5 things you’ve already done or not done today that exhibited remarkable self-control. What we want to do vs. what life/society/we expect of ourselves. It’s a tough thing to juggle but yet we manage to do it most of the time in many areas of our lives. You do it daily with many of your food choices too, don’t you?

If Johnny Depp or Christoph Waltz walked into the room I am in right now, I know I would be able to stop myself from ripping either of their clothes off (although if they initiated, I might talk to the husband about getting a hall pass). Can I say the same thing about a box of cheez-its? It’s debatable. I’m sure I’ve said I couldn’t control myself around them before – I like to joke about it. But I know it’s not really about being able to control myself. I know I can control myself – but if the right (or wrong) circumstances align themselves, I’m less likely to be willing to use my self-control (that I know I have). I’m sure this is true for you.

If we remove thinking of ourselves as food addicts or of having a lack of self control from the equation, what we are left with is the real reason you are having such a difficult time stopping yourself from eating.  It’s because of what the act of eating is giving you.

Eating is giving you something. What is it?
Consciously or unconsciously, you probably view eating as comfort, joy, safety, love. You may feel that you “deserve” to eat this food or the time you have to yourself while eating it. It’s like a friend you feel safe talking to at the end of a long day. Eating is about getting enough of something that you are not getting elsewhere in your life. You are hungry for something in your life – and it’s not food – but food is currently filling the place of whatever it is you crave.

You can’t give up overeating or bingeing because it’s one of the ways you “treat” yourself. It’s one of the ways you care for yourself. It’s one of the few things you do for you and not for anyone else. It’s, in a way, a gift you give to yourself.

I know you’re reading this right now both agreeing with this idea and going “no way, that’s fucked up! Why would I comfort myself with something that is causing me so much pain?”

Exactly. Why are you choosing to comfort yourself with something that causes you so much pain?

Well, on the most basic level, humans are born and bred to seek comfort. In ancient times, we had to focus on making sure all our immediate needs were met – food, shelter, warmth. Having those needs satisfied brought comfort and allowed us as a species to relax a little. Today, more of our immediate needs are met much more easily than they used to be, but we’re still wired to seek comfort and food is one of those things that we still associate with that feeling.

Food isn’t the enemy. It’s the opposite. You’re choosing to eat because you think you are doing something loving and caring for yourself.

The next time you have the urge to overeat or binge, can you think of something else you could do to feel comforted? Loved? Cared for?

This is not a failing on your part – we are wired to protect ourselves in this way. Can you feel compassion for yourself for choosing food as comfort? Why or why not? I sometimes find that if compassion doesn’t want to come out, it helps to think of how I would react if it was a young child dealing with this, or even a really good friend. Thinking of someone I am naturally more forgiving towards, helps me find compassion for myself.

What in your life is causing you to seek comfort, love or caring? Often we choose food for comfort because we are hurting in another place in our life. Work is stressful. You’re lonely. You don’t receive enough human touch. You don’t have a creative outlet. You never attempted to have a career in X even though it was always your dream etc. There is an area that needs your attention and it is communicating that through your desire for food.

How do we begin to handle this and stop seeing food as an enemy and ourselves as out of control addicts? With curiosity and compassion.

Sit in a quiet place, when you have some time to be alone and ask yourself these questions – out loud or write it down on paper (please):

  1.  What gift am I trying to give myself through food?
  2.  What am I really hungry for?
  3.  How can I get that hunger fed in a more satisfying way?

Don’t be surprised if answering those gets you feeling a little emotional (it’s not uncommon to let out some tears with this stuff!). After you’ve answered those questions and identified how you are truly trying to care for yourself, I ask that you give yourself permission to go after what you are really hungry for. Don’t worry about how you’re going to make it happen right now (we’ll figure that out later). Don’t think of the reasons why you think it’s not possible or practical. Right now, just say “yes. I can have that. I give myself permission to have that in my life.”

You deserve love. Human touch. Creativity. Inspiring work. A connected existence. Quiet time. Acceptance. A little selfishness. Whatever else your heart desires.

Tell yourself you can have it and begin to dream about what life will be like when you do.

If this speaks to you, you are my people (and I’d love it if you submitted your email below). I’m an emotional eating coach who’s struggled with this stuff herself and I’d love to support you in cultivating more compassion for yourself.

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Happy Thanksgiving and A Few Things I’m Grateful For

Untitled designWith Thanksgiving just 2 days away, I wanted to take a minute to wish you a happy day with your family and friends. We’re at the opening day of what will be a very busy holiday season for most of us, I hope you can take some time before it begins to reflect on the wonderful things you have in your life, even if things aren’t going super well right now. When I feel scared, overwhelmed or generally whiny – I run through a list of some of the things in my life that I’m sincerely grateful for – it doesn’t “fix” what might be wrong but it helps me put things back into perspective.

I am thankful for so much this year – here are a few things that I am overflowing with gratitude for right now:

My health – even when I’m dealing with an injury (currently nursing a jammed big toe joint) – there is so much I am able to do thanks to this incredible body I have been given. I am grateful for my mobility, for high energy, for restful sleep and for strength!

A supportive and loving husband – he works his tail off (with a 3 hour daily commute), he makes me coffee every morning and plays with my hair at the end of every day.

A warm and safe home – I get tired of driving so far all the time but I have all that I need here and more. I’m lucky that I even have a car to drive all that distance!

sweet pest of a kitty who brings me comfort on bad days and whose antics make me laugh the rest of the time.

Friends & family I can count on. My circle is small but it’s full of people I trust and who legitimately care about me.

Access to fresh and wholesome food – I may get tired of cooking sometimes (i’m human!) but I have so much healthy and fresh food at my fingertips. So thankful that we are in a position to feed ourselves well.

Being able to enjoy food on this day. It wasn’t too long ago that every bite of food was a struggle between treating myself and beating myself up. I’m thankful that I’m in a place where I can enjoy food socially but also stay true to what feels best for my body. This is an amazing gift. (Contact me if you want to figure out how to get there yourself)

Life – sometimes I’m just amazed that I am here on this planet at all. How lucky that I’m here out of millions of other sperm/egg combinations!

A fulfilling coaching practice – working for myself and helping other women create the life the want to have is supremely satisfying and I’m thoroughly thankful that this is my life .

You – whether you’re a client, friend, classmate or just a curious person who stumbled upon my site, I am grateful for you! Thank you for reading, thank you for your kind notes, thank you for your business and generous referrals! I couldn’t be doing this work without you.

What are you feeling thankful for right now? Do you regularly think about all the positive things in your life?  Have you noticed any benefits in your life with staying conscious of the things you are grateful for?

I am a “Sometimes” Runner.

Sometimes I run, even if I can't do it regularly!

Sometimes I run, even if I can’t do it regularly!

Yesterday was such a beautiful fall day, I decided to skip barre and take my workout outside. I had a bruise on my palm that I wanted to baby a bit too (barre has been heavy on planks lately). Monday, John and I went for a walk on the new rail trail in town and it was nice, so I decided that’s where I’d go. It’s not very long (just 3.3 miles roundtrip) but it’s pretty, especially with the changing leaves, and very close to our house. It’s also flat – which is a nice break from all the steep hills in our neighborhood!

I started off walking but when I hit the 1/4 mile marker I decided to do some running intervals, just to take it up a notch. Several years ago, I did a lot of running and at my peak was running 25 miles a week. I loved it but it was way too hard on my body. I ended up with a couple of foot injuries and it was never very comfortable for my knees. I’d take some time off to heal and then try to get back out there and I kept having the same issues – eventually I decided that my body just wasn’t made for running and if I want to be able to stay active, I need to do activities that don’t cause injury regularly. Needless to say, it’s been a long time since I’ve done any running – even short intervals are rare because I’ve been focused on biking, weights and barre this year.

While my intention was to just do some walking/running intervals, I started running at the 1/4 mile mark and kept going until the end of the trail! I ran 1 and 1/4 miles without stopping. I walked about a 1/4 mile again and then I ran another 3/4 of a mile (before finishing the route by walking the rest of the way). So I ran 2 whole miles yesterday!

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to me! While I feel like my heart and lungs are strong enough to run (I exercise at high intensity several days a week), I’m certainly not training for any type of distance or endurance and it’s been a long time since I’ve even attempted to run more than a minute at time. It felt really good!

Today, I’m feeling a bit achy and my hips are stiff (that’s nothing a good stretch can’t fix) but I’m itching to get out there and do it again. Maybe I’m not going to be a regular runner anymore, but I like knowing that I can run a mile or two, once in awhile. I love having variety in my workouts.

Not from the rail trail, but another pic from my time outside yesterday.

Not from the rail trail, but another pic from my time outside yesterday.

I used to see the fact that I couldn’t run daily anymore as a reason to not do it at all – but yesterday’s impromptu run was a good reminder that I can throw out absolutes and rules I make for myself, and instead focus on what the body wants/needs at any given moment. I can enjoy the occasional short run, even if I’m not able do it several days a week. I’m the one who decides this stuff.

There’s nothing boxing me in to either side. I don’t have to choose running all the time or not running at all. I can find a middle ground that works for me (even if that means it’s only 3 times a year). I can be a “sometimes” runner if that’s what I want.

This is something I always need to work on. I often have an all or nothing mindset. I usually won’t do something unless I know I can do it perfectly, or at least really really well. I get incredibly uncomfortable diving into things for the first time.  Over the years, there were countless diet attempts that I failed on and then gave up entirely because I couldn’t do it exactly as I was supposed to. If I had one emotional eating episode after two weeks of none, I saw it as a reason to just give up and binge constantly. I’d skip exercising if I couldn’t get a whole hour in. I’m the type of person who can’t enjoy a movie if I miss the first few minutes of it. And if I start a book, you better believe I’m going to finish it, even if it’s boring me to death and takes me a year to get through. All or nothing. No inbetween.

But life doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We’re not stuck obeying the rules we set for ourselves forever. I can be a sometimes runner. I can eat well most of the time. I can enjoy a cocktail and a dessert sometimes. I can exercise when I can. I can put the book that bores me back on the shelf (and pick up one that doesn’t!). I can take a week to respond to email or not respond at all (the horror!). I’m the boss of me.

Just as I’ve been practicing listening to my body more – paying attention to those hunger & satisfaction cues, knowing when I need to rest, knowing when I can push it harder, I have to listen to my soul more. If my soul doesn’t dig a certain book, who gives a shit? Who is keeping count? If my soul wants to dabble in an activity once in awhile, why not?

I don’t have to label or limit myself. You don’t have to label or limit yourself either. You don’t have to be a healthy eater or someone who enjoys cake. You can be both or neither. You are you. I am me. All of the time. Whatever that looks like.


This is Exactly Where You Belong

Your path is unique to you and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Your path is unique to you and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not as far ahead in life as everyone around you?Sometimes it seems like everyone else has what you want and you’re not exactly sure how to get it. It’s like they know more than you.  You watch as friends get married, have babies, start exciting careers and take vacations in beautiful places you’ve never even heard of. You hear coworkers talk about all they get done during their morning routines before they come to work and you’re impressed that you even made to work today with your teeth brushed. You watch girls at the gym seemingly magically drop pound after pound effortlessly, while you trudge away and stay at the same weight. They’re running marathons and you’re just learning to walk. Comparison is the worst “skill” our brains have.

Sometimes it feels as though you’re 25 instead of 35, 45 or 55. You feel like you should have accomplished more by now, that you should be making more money, that you should have your shit together, that you should know what you want to do with your life, that you should have lost the weight already, that you should . . .

The “should” demons. Everyone has them to a degree. The “shoulds” are pressures we put on ourselves that are mostly fiction based junk that lives in our heads. Nowhere does it say that you need to accomplish X by a certain age or time in your life – yet we wake up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts or drenched with sweat in anxiety about where we think we “should” be. We feel envious of other’s joys instead of feeling happy for them, as if there is some delicate balance of happiness in the world and if they’re getting some of it, then there won’t be enough for us. The should demons make us feel like we’re being judged (but by who??), that we’re dumb, we’re not good enough or not ambitious enough.

I get caught up in it too. Sometimes I worry about how far other health/life coaches have gotten with their businesses and I worry about why I’m not where they are. Heck, I even find myself getting down about even finding this career path so “late” when it seems like most of my peers have been working in careers they love for a decade or more. I freak out about still not knowing if John and I are going to have a kid – we “should” know that by now, right?? I have a whole list of “shoulds” that come up from time to time.

We think that by paying attention to these thoughts about where we’re lacking, that it’s going to motivate us to push forward and accomplish whatever it is that we think is just out of our reach. But focusing on “shoulds” actually clouds us from discovering what it is we truly want in our lives. If we stopped and listened to our hearts, we may find that we don’t want what someone else has after all, it’s just that we think we’re supposed to want it.

Where you are right now is exactly where you are supposed to be.

Whatever it is you are currently working on is what you’re supposed to be working on. Whatever you think is eluding you is eluding you for a good reason.

Every decision we make is the correct decision for us at that particular time. We do or don’t do things for a reason.

Trust that when you decide to do X, it’s because that is the right thing for you at that time. And when you decide not to do something, there was a good reason for that as well.

Everything we experience in life has a purpose (even if we have no clue what that purpose is) and is taking us a step close to where we’re going.

We learn from each misstep as well as from our great achievements. Even when things appear to have gone “wrong”, when you look back at the experience, I bet you can think of a few lessons that you took from it.

All our twists and turns shape us for who we ultimately will be. At the end of our life, all of our decisions will have created the person who others will remember.

When you think of the people you have lost in your life (assuming you have experienced the death of a loved one), do you compile a list of their outer accomplishments? Ph.D, CEO, 6 figure salary, always had a clean house, super fit body? No, of course not.

We remember how genuine their smile was. How happy hearing their voice made you. How little it took to get them to laugh. How cranky they were without their morning coffee. How good they made others feel. How much fun they had. What a good storyteller they were.

We don’t remember their GPA or what their highest title at work was. We don’t give two shits about how fast they achieved things in life or how much money they made. We care about the person they were – and how they affected us and the world around them.

We are the sum of our lives, not the little bits and pieces.

Trust that you are where you are supposed to be and that you will get to where you are going.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to work for the things we want – for sure, achievement does take work! But, ease up on questioning where you are on the path, ease up on comparison, ease up on judging and pressure and ease up when you make mistakes. It might take you longer or less time than others to lose weight, earn that degree, get the job, have children, whatever. Just trust that you are on your path and keep moving forward.

No one else will have the life that you have. No one else will learn the lessons you’re going to learn so it’s not fair to expect that we will all achieve the same things (or even want to achieve the same things) and certainly not at the same point in time. Comparing doesn’t make us set out to do more, it just makes us feel smug or bad about ourselves – and neither of those are desirable or going to produce what you’re after.

No more shoulds. No more comparison. Focus on listening to your heart and making decisions from there instead of from a place of fear, panic or not being enough. Because you have everything you need to be you.

Now I want to hear from you. Do you get caught up in comparison and a list of “shoulds”? What makes you think you are lacking in some way? How can you turn your focus inward and trust your decisions?

If you are struggling with your path, I invite you to schedule a discovery session with me. It’s a chance for you to get undivided attention towards one of your goals.

Shush . .I’m fabulous and so are you!

I really do think I'm fabulous when I'm not busy beating myself up.

I really do think I’m fabulous when I’m not busy beating myself up. (apologies for the grainy camera phone quality).

I hope you’ll forgive me for the formatting and flow for this one – I was in a ferocious typing mood and didn’t feel like editing. Let me know your thoughts!

We spend so much time talking and thinking about what is wrong with our bodies or ourselves.

I wonder how much amazing stuff in this world doesn’t get done because some woman woke up and decided her jeans felt too tight, she was fat and now the day was ruined.

The internal dialogue might go something like this:

My stomach is so flabby.

My skin is too red and I have such huge pores.

I’m such an idiot!

I have so much back fat it looks like I’m smuggling two hams under my armpits.

When did my ass get so saggy?

Why am I so boring? I never have anything good to say.

The thoughts may come all at once in succession (maybe after trying on a bathing suit) or they may come one by one throughout a day (each time you catch yourself in the mirror).

It doesn’t matter if they’re assaulting you in a barrage all at once or if they’re dripping in slowly like a leak in an old roof.

They’re destructive either way.

We think it’s no big deal since they’re just passing thoughts most of the time.

But like a roof that leaks – you have to address it at some point or you’re going to have a big mess on your hands.

Repetitive negative thoughts become part of our regular thinking and with time they become beliefs. Beliefs are really hard to change.

Thinking negatively about yourself – physical or otherwise, contributes to your mood, it contributes to how you interact with others, it affects the actions you’ll take everywhere in your life.

How you think about yourself influences hugely the life you will ultimately have.

Why do we think that it’s a badge of honor or a sign of humility to put ourselves down?

Why is it often seen as being conceited or boastful to take pride in or even just acknowledge that you’re good at something or that there is something about your body that you like?

Why do we think the only way to be in this world is to be disgusted in some way by our own bodies? Somewhere along our journey we learn that a woman who dares to love her body is actually betraying the rest of us. She’s an alien from another planet. There has to be something wrong with her for daring to think so highly of herself.

There is so much contradictory bullshit in this. It’s divisive and creates pain for all involved. One feeling inadequate for not having what the other has and the other feeling ashamed for not having ingested the shitty memo the rest of us ate up.

I’m sure there’s at least a few of you reading this whose first thought was something critical about the photo I used at the beginning of this post. Who am I to post a photo of myself on a blog about being fabulous? I’ll admit I hesitated to use a photo of myself here because I had those exact thoughts myself. But then I said, fuck it, that’s the whole point of this post.

And when we all feel crappy about ourselves, we do less of the important stuff. We don’t put ourselves out there. And we’re not a good example for the young women and little girls in our lives.

What if we all did something different and spent time noticing what is right about our bodies?What if we declared out loud the qualities we have that we are proud of?
What if we boosted ourselves up and other women too, instead of tearing both of us down?

There’s no need to compare and knock someone down. Comparing and determining that one is less and one is more, gives one the idea that there is only a certain amount of good stuff out there and that if someone else has what you want (be it a shapely booty, a ferocious drive, thick hair, money or major charisma), that there isn’t enough of that thing out there for you. That’s not true.

Her having something doesn’t make it less likely that you can have it too.

Her having it actually means that it is possible you can have it.

If you’re going to compare, use it as proof of what you could have, what is available to ALL of us in this life we have.

When we can sincerely appreciate and love ourselves, without feeling like we’re wrong for doing that, we have more capacity for kindness, generosity and productivity. When we can sincerely look at other women and not want to tear them down to lift ourselves up, we will have more love for ourselves and love to give everything we do.

Can you start changing your own dialogue today? Next time you find yourself wanting to pick yourself or another lady apart, can you turn it around and find something you LOVE instead?

If you can’t, ask yourself, why. Why do you want to cause yourself more pain? Why would you choose to think negative thoughts about yourself? Or others? You can choose love.

It takes practice to be comfortable saying positive things about yourself. When you’re not used to doing it, at first it’s pretty hard. It might be painful and make you want to cringe. But after awhile, you’ll find it’s pretty easy and with that comes the ability to see the good stuff in other people too.

Here is some of the stuff I’ve been loving on me lately:

I love my eyes. I’m not really sure if they’re blue, grey or green but I love them.

I love my arms. They’re strong and they look strong too.

I love my curves. I’ve been big and small and those curves are always still there keeping me company.

I love that I have thick muscular thighs that can cycle 30 miles like it’s no big thing and they also look fab in a short skirt, at least I think so.

I love my skin – it’s soft and smooth and it’s usually a reflection of how well I am caring for myself.

I love my smile and the dimples that form in my cheeks when I’m really happy.

I love my laugh. I love my ability to empathize with other people. I love the little intricacies that make me, me, even if other people might think that they’re bizarre.

I love my brain. It doesn’t always go the conventional route, but it gets me there. The shit it remembers and the details it can conjure up are almost sick.

I love how dependable I am. If you ask me to do something or be somewhere and I say yes, you know I will do it, I will show up (albeit late!) and if I can’t, I will own up and let you know. No slinking away in a corner here.

I like me.

That’s probably enough for now.

Don’t think that just because I was able to rattle those off that there isn’t a part of me that was like “ah, don’t write that!” or “you’re writing too many!” or “you should mention that you love your smile despite your messed up jaw!”. I’m human and a work in progress. There are things I’ve gotten better at, but it doesn’t mean that I never have my “stuff” come up again. I’ve gotten so much better at being WITH myself instead of AGAINST myself. No need to aim for perfect but there’s always room for doing better.

If you’re reading this and you’re the one thinking “she wrote too many!” or “wow, she’s full of herself!” then sister, I ask YOU to please spend a little time coming up with a list of things you love about YOU. When we knock others, it’s a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. And you should feel no other way than fabulous about yourself, because lady you ARE fantastic and I hope you can say that about yourself some day. And if you love this and want to stay in touch, you can do so here.

Guess what time it is? Time for the 12 Day Detox! We start September 14! Join us! You’ll love how you feel as we move into fall!

Did you hear? The 12 Day Detox Program is returning September 14, 2015. Join us!

Did you hear? The 12 Day Detox Program is returning September 14, 2015. Join us!

Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight (even though you’re giving it your all)

The most common complaint I hear is that someone “just can’t lose weight”. They believe they’re doing all the right things and they’ve tried “everything” but the scale won’t budge. They’re frustrated and ready to give up. I’ve even been here myself, several times. So what’s going on?

Everyone knows how dieters can get stuck on a plateau that last forever or that chronic dieters have been dieting for so long that their bodies don’t burn calories efficiently anymore. But what are some other reasons you can’t lose weight?

There are lots of them! I’m going to share the ones I think are most common that we tend to ignore! Why do we ignore these? Well, sometimes we’re not even aware that they could be a problem, and for others, we prefer to go the “easy” route and delving into some of this stuff is a bit harder! Read on – you never know, your solution could be in one of these paragraphs.

A Few Reasons Why You Might Not be Losing Weight:

You have a hormonal or metabolic condition that makes it difficult for your body to burn fat or causes weight gain. Hypothyroidism, PCOS, Metabolic Syndrome, Cushing’s Syndrome and natural hormonal changes like Perimenopause and Menopause are just a few of the medical/physical conditions that can make weight loss seem impossible (and weight gain seem inevitable). If you suspect that you have a medical condition that is getting in the way of your goals, talk to your doctor. There are tests that can diagnose all of these conditions and treatments that can help! And the sooner you know if you are dealing with a medical condition, the more effective all your efforts will be.


-You have a food sensitivity. Food sensitivities can cause us to gain weight, but we usually don’t know we have one! Food sensitivities are not the same thing as a food allergy. If you have an actual allergy to a food, it will usually show up in a blood test or skin prick test that you can have done by an allergist. When someone eats a food that they are allergic to, the symptoms usually happen relatively quickly (hives, itching, wheezing etc) and can be life threatening (such as in the case of someone with a peanut allergy with anaphylaxis). To learn more about food allergies and testing, visit FARE.

While food allergies usually are noticeably caused by the food in question, a food sensitivity can go completely unnoticed, as the symptoms and discomfort that come from the sensitivity happen so slowly over time that we don’t see them as related.  We usually only become aware that there is an issue with that food if we take it out for a period of time (like during an elimination diet) and reintroduce it. Food sensitivity symptoms can include many things that can appear to be from other conditions (or just a part of getting older) like bloating, body aches and pains, rosacea, asthma, constipation, diarrhea and weight gain. Food sensitivities are becoming increasingly common today (a few reasons include an increase in gut permeability & exposure to hormones) and many people who have a food sensitivity gain weight because the offending food causes an inflammatory response in the body. Interestingly enough, the foods we are sensitive to are often foods we eat frequently and have cravings for! Remove the offending food and weight starts to come off easily. If you need help doing an elimination diet to see if you have a sensitivity to the most common ones, let’s chat!


-You have self limiting beliefs. Do any of these sound familiar? “I’ve always been fat.” “I can’t lose weight.” “Losing weight is too hard for me.” “I’m just a big boned person.” “Everyone in my family is overweight.” “I’ll never be a normal weight.”For me, the thought was “I’m just a fat girl” – as if being “fat” defined who I was as a person.We make our weight mean something about us. Thoughts that we think over and over again become part of our belief system and when something is ingrained in our beliefs, like it or not, we take actions repeatedly that will provide evidence for that belief.

For example, if you believe that your weight is a direct result of just everyone in your family being naturally heavy or if you believe that it’s not possible for you to lose weight, how much effort do you think you’ll put into eating well or not eating too much? If you are like most people with these beliefs, you’re going to half-ass it! If you already believe you will fail, you won’t give it your all – because why give your all to something you know you can’t have? You’re not a bad person or lazy for doing this – it’s human nature. We won’t work hard at something we know we can’t have.

But you don’t HAVE to believe these things are true. It’s a choice to believe these things about yourself. Change your belief and you will change your future. To open up the door, start asking yourself empowering questions, like: What if I could lose weight? What can I do today to make weight loss more likely? Is eating this food in alignment with the person I want to be? See where that takes you!


-You’re holding onto emotional weight. This is where I’m gonna get a little woo-woo and won’t provide scientific facts to back me up – just personal experiences and observations but I have a feeling you’ll get what I’m talking about and see how it can cause issues with your weight.

Sometimes we gain weight and can’t lose it because we are holding on to something that we believe or think about ourselves on such a deep level that it becomes what I like to call “emotional weight”. The belief doesn’t even have to actually be true to weigh us down – it just has to be something that we think must be true! For example, maybe you got the impression as a child that you weren’t lovable – so to prevent people from loving you, you gained weight to protect yourself from what you saw as inevitable rejection. Or perhaps you got a lot of attention from the opposite sex when you were young that made you feel uncomfortable, so you gained weight in the hopes of reducing that unwanted attention.

The weight was a physical way for us to build up a wall around ourselves to keep others out or to keep believing whatever it is we want to believe about ourselves.  Emotional weight prevents us from being who we want to be, it gives us an excuse to hold ourselves back, it keeps us playing small and safe. We think it’s protecting us in some way to continue living that story or belief about ourselves, but all it’s really doing is limiting our potential.You may not even realize there is some deep emotional root to your weight gain – many of us get stuck here and can stay here for years until we recognize that the reason we are unhappy in our bodies is because we are stalling ourselves in other ways.

If you can let go of whatever is weighing you down emotionally, often we start to lose weight. Release whatever is holding you down emotionally and weight loss will happen naturally. Don’t know how to that? Schedule a consult with me to discuss it.


-You’re super stressed out. High levels of stress cause us to release lots of cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone – and when this happens too often we gain weight, especially in the belly. In early times, this release of hormones helped us to stay alive by giving us quick energy to escape predators and increasing fat storage in case we were without food for long periods of time!

Today, many of us enter that fight or flight mode daily due to situational stress, (most of which isn’t a threat to our lives), and our body (amazing machine that is is) prepares us to deal with it by making sure the body is prepared for famine or being on alert. When we’re chronically stressed, the body thinks that we’re at risk for starvation so it starts to store fat in case we need it later (because thousands of years ago food wasn’t at our fingertips like it is today). When this happens on a daily basis, you can see how difficult it will be to lose weight if your body believes you are in danger and need all the fat stores it can make! Even more annoying is that while under acute stress, most folks lose their appetites, but when the stress is chronic, we actually get the urge to eat more – so you end up with eating more which contributes to the fat storage.

If you’re under high levels of stress, or even moderate stress but don’t handle it well, try making stress relief a priority in your life. Gentle exercise like walking and yoga, movement like tai chi and qigong, deep breathing exercises, massage, evening baths with epsom salt, journal writing, meditation and avoiding caffeine may help! As you reduce your stress level, the weight may come off more easily.


-You’re eating more than your body needs. This is the category that most of us fall into. It’s not something we like to hear, but most of the time, the reason we gain weight and the reason we can’t lose weight is because we are taking in more food than our bodies are using for fuel. This happens for a lot of reasons, a few that you may relate to are:

1.   We’ve gotten very disconnected from our bodies and don’t listen to hunger & fullness signals to determine when to start and stop eating. This means we eat more and more often! When was the last time you actually felt true hunger in your body?

2.   As a society, we eat a lot of foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, these foods make us feel good in the short term but they spike and crash our blood sugar, making us feel ravenous later, again leading to eating more food than we can use.

3.  We live sedentary lives, spend too much time driving, on the computer watching TV and not enough time moving around so we don’t burn enough calories to use up the food we eat.

4.  We turn to food when we’re upset, sad, frustrated, lonely or even happy. When we do this, we usually consume large quantities of food in a short period of time and do it on a regular basis.

5. We eat massive portions that restaurants serve and start serving ourselves those same sized portions at home even though they are way more food than our body needs. It’s just what we’re used to, so we eat it!

How do you deal with this? Take an honest inventory of your habits. Some people may need to try weighing their food with a kitchen food scale (to determine whether they’re having 1 serving or 4) or get back in touch with their bodies natural hunger signals.


-You’re self-sabotaging yourself. You eat well and exercise for a couple of weeks, then decide to “reward” yourself for your hard work by having a cheat day, but that cheat day turns into you falling off the wagon for three weeks. Or you have been stuck at the same weight for a year, despite exercising 5 days a week and eating well 5 days a week but every Friday and Saturday night you have a few drinks and then after your drinks decide to eat chocolate, ice cream or whatever else strikes your fancy. You’ll worry about your “diet” on Monday! Or, you drop 20 or 30 lbs and while super excited about your progress, you start to purposely sabotage yourself because there is a part of you that is completely freaked out about going below a certain weight. We use weight to protect ourselves sometimes (see the point on “emotional weight” above) and even though consciously we want to lose weight, sometimes we’re more comfortable at the weight we’re at than we want to believe. In fact some of us actually don’t want to lose weight but have been conditioned by society to believe that we need to in order to be happy, so we struggle to lose weight even though it’s not even something we want for ourselves!!

So how do you stop sabotaging yourself?

Self sabotage is a complicated beast but for most it goes back to getting in touch with our feelings. Do you feel guilty or berate yourself when you something that isn’t on your “diet”? Then you’re going to self sabotage. Do you use food to comfort or reward yourself? That’s self sabotage. Getting to your why is key to putting an end to it. Find out why you are doing this to yourself and then come up with some good reasons to stop doing it – without judgement and with love! Go back to why you want to lose weight in the first place – what’s your motivation? How will losing weight change your life? Is there anything that scares you about that? Is there anything that excites you? Own up, be honest with yourself. This is your ride and you’re in control of it.

So what do you think? Could one of these be troubling you? What are some other unknown reasons you think people have trouble losing weight? Please share with me in the comments!

If you are having a difficult time losing weight and aren’t sure where to turn next,  I sincerely hope you will contact me. I have helped many women get over hurdles that were blocking their success and I’d love to help you do it too.

Are you looking to give your body a little reset after summer indulgences? Consider joining us for the September 14, 2015 round of the 12 Day Detox program. This is an online program that will help you embark on a whole foods lifestyle with lots of support, recipes and even a coaching call with me! Only $67 for the whole program – which is a steal!

Did you hear? The 12 Day Detox Program is returning September 14, 2015. Join us!

Did you hear? The 12 Day Detox Program is returning September 14, 2015. Join us!

Yes, You Really Should Write That Thought Down

I’m a big advocate for writing things down. I have a journal collection that now spans decades (though I slacked heavily shortly after I met John and only in the last year or two have I picked it up again!). I write details on the back of every photo I’ve ever printed (names, dates, locations etc). In college, I could bang out a paper at the last minute in just a few hours. I still tend to write my shopping lists on paper – despite having every list making app available literally at my fingertips on my phone.

Despite all this writing, my handwriting is a mysterious scribble that can only be understood by me. (Apologies if you’ve ever been the recipient of a card or letter from me – odds are you are still trying to figure out what I wrote but are too polite to ask!). Writing is just a huge part of who I am, and always have been.

I promise with all this writing, I’m not just anal about details! Something I’ve noticed over the years, is that when I write things down they become more concrete in my brain. The act of writing (as opposed to typing or just thinking about something) creates memories that are more firm. It’s a long running joke with my friends and family that I have an insane memory and I’ll never let you forget something. Mention one detail, “oh that night we went to ______” and I can often tell you who was there, what we ordered and where we went afterwards. I might even be able to tell you what I was wearing! Possibly what you were wearing too! I’m not special, I don’t have super abilities or anything – the reason I am able to remember these types of details so clearly even years after an event is because of my dedication to writing things down.

The reason I’m telling you all this isn’t to pat myself on the back for being a pen-wielding computer of memory but because writing things down can be an incredibly important way to work through our feelings, including our issues with food and solidify new habits! I have a few clients who definitely don’t love it when I suggest they do a writing exercise – but every one of them who is willing to do it ends up seeing benefits from it!

This is also one reason why I often ask folks who are having trouble losing weight or are unhappy with their food choices to keep a food journal. It’s not about calories or fat grams – it’s about becoming aware of what we are putting in our bodies and not hiding from ourselves. Writing it out makes it all the more real! It’s a great way to get to know yourself a little better and see what you are really thinking about.Joan didion quote for blog post

Here are some of the benefits writing can bring to your life:

  1. Self – exploration & clarity. Writing things down helps you figure out how you are feeling. If you tell me you don’t know why you’re overeating when you get home from work, I’ll suggest you “dump” all your thoughts out on paper (without judgement or trying to write fancy – just get them out!) and I bet you’ll discover something there that gives you an answer. Writing helps us tap into parts of ourselves that we have a hard time accessing otherwise. Getting to know yourself better is one of the best ways to change yourself for the better.
  2. Better Memory. Write things down so you don’t forget! Ideas and thoughts can be fleeting – what you think you’ll remember later, you’ll forget as soon as you stop thinking about it and you’ll wonder what that great idea was! How many times have you walked into the grocery store thinking that you’ll remember all the things you needed and promptly arrived home missing some of the important ones?! (Oh, is that just me??) Write it down to make it come to life.
  3. Firmer goals. Writing down goals makes them more likely to be achieved. If you write it down, it becomes more real. It becomes a commitment to yourself. It’s a lot easier to ignore that you had a goal of not eating cupcakes at work when you only thought about the goal – writing it down gives it concreteness that will help hold you accountable.
  4. Stress relief. Writing can help us release stress and feelings that we are having difficulty letting go of. Ever experience that release that comes from talking to a good friend about something that has been worrying you? You can get a similar release of stress by writing about an experience (or your thoughts/feelings). It’s very cathartic to write everything that is going on in our brains!
  5. Concrete evidence. Writing serves as a record of our progress. At the time, writing acts like a stamp on your memory and helps you let go of feelings and situations that are troubling you, but read those same writings months or years later and you will be able to see how far you’ve come in areas of your life. Sometimes we forget exactly where we were when we started and it’s easy to gloss over how much work it took to get where we are, but if it’s written down, you’ll have that to look back on, which can be a powerful tool to keep your motivation up!
  6. Cultivate positive feelings & self-esteem. If you’re someone who has a habit of thinking negatively about yourself, writing exercises can help you become aware of when/how you do that as well as help build more positive feelings for you – one thing I love to suggest is for clients to write a gratitude list before bed each night, a list of the things they did well that day, or things they love about themselves (physical or otherwise). For some these tasks are very hard at first – it’s hard to come up with things you love about yourself when you’ve been putting yourself down for years – but over time, it gets easier and in their day to day lives they feel more powerful, supported and able to go after what they want. This is such an awesome thing! Writing at bedtime inserts those thoughts gently into your subconscious so you wake up feeling the effects of that good stuff.

So you’re probably wondering what kind of writing can be helpful? And how to get started?

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  1. Buy yourself a pretty journal or notebook. I don’t know about you but I’m more excited to write when I like the notebook. Call me shallow, I’m ok with that!
  2. Set aside one day a week or a certain time of each day where you will dedicate to at least 15 minutes of writing and stick with it. Put it on the calendar. If you’re more introspective in the morning, maybe that’s a good time to write. If you feel more free on the weekends, that might work better for you.
  3. Find a place that you enjoy writing. I always got more journal writing done when I left my home and went to a coffee house/cafe or outdoor park or beach. I’m more inspired in those types of places and don’t enjoy the distractions that can come from being at home (ug, I should really do those dishes!). When I was single and lived in a house with a bunch of friends, my room was my writing retreat. Find what works and inspires you!
  4. Decide what kind of writing you want to do. It doesn’t have to be formal or in a certain format and it can change however you like. You can write in prose, poetry or just random thoughts. It’s ok to have spelling errors and wacky punctuation. It doesn’t have to sound pretty or smart – it’s just about getting what’s in your head down on paper and seeing where it takes you.
  5. What should you write about? It’s up to you, really! You can just write about your day – what did you do? Who did you see? How did that make you feel?. You can write about things that are worrying you, bothering you, things that happened that made you happy, things that happened that frustrated you. You can write down goals and use a journal as a way to track your progress with them. You can even use a journal to draw and color and tap into your creative side! You can write down old memories – maybe for you, writing could be a way to document your personal history! (This is where my genealogy hobby intercepts my coaching business, haha!) Where did you grow up? Who were your best friends? Where did you go to school? Who was your favorite relative? What sort of food did your family eat? etc.  Lastly, you can also look for writing prompts if you’re the type who draws a blank when you put pen to paper – just do a google search “writing prompts for self-discovery” or “writing prompts for goal setting” etc. Insert whatever subject you might want to explore and when you find some writing prompts that interest you – write one down on each page of your journal and then as you have time to write you can fill in each prompt.
  6. Shameless plug here – Join the September 14, 2015 round of the 12 Day Detox program. It’s a whole foods based program that will help you connect with your body – but each day there are writing activities that can help you get started writing!

That’s really all you need to get going! One word of advice – try to not have judgements about what you are writing or how your writing should look or sound. This is just for you and no one else needs to read it (unless you want them to). You don’t need to censor your thoughts – we do enough of that elsewhere in our lives! Lastly, just do it! Commit to doing some form of writing for at least a few months (whether it’s daily or once a week) and if you don’t see a benefit from it after that, go ahead and stop, but I’m guessing you will be able to come up with at least a few positives that have come from it!

Have you found benefits to journaling or doing writing exercises? Please share with me in the comments! (And if you dig this kind of stuff, consider joining my email list in the green box below!)

How To Recover From a Binge

My old binge food of choice. photo credit: Sugarland aka Supermarket (2 of 10) via photopin (license)

My old binge food of choice. photo credit: Sugarland aka Supermarket (2 of 10) via photopin (license)

Last week, one night on my way home from running some errands (which included the grocery store), I decided to have a piece of milk & caramel chocolate from a bar I had bought (just a piece!). That one piece, turned into me eating the entire bar on my drive home.


I felting sick from being “over-sugared” and so disappointed in myself for choosing to indulge in emotional eating. I felt myself slipping into the mental shit spiral that comes with binges (do you know what that feels like?? It’s the WORST).

But I stopped my pouty pity party because I thought “hey, wait a minute, I don’t want to do this. What would I tell a client right now?”. I coached myself through it and instead of one eating episode sending me into a tailspin for days, it was over, which is the goal.

Here’s what to do to recover from a binge quickly:

  1. Figure out what the feck you were feeling when the binge happened.For me, I know I wasn’t hungry but I was tired and kind of in a funky mood. Buying the bar itself wasn’t a big deal – we usually keep some junk chocolate in the house – because we’re human! But most of the time I try not to eat in the car, unless it’s absolutely necessary (like eating a snack immediately after a long workout), and that I was choosing to do this was unusual, at least it’s become unusual for me in the last 2 years.Prior to that, when I was in some of the worst binges I’ve ever had (I’m talking about you 2012!), I went through a period of time where I would drive to a store on my way home from work, buy a bag of doritos or a box of white cheddar cheez-its (jesus christ those things are delicious) – and open it as soon as I got my seatbelt on in the car. Then I’d drive home (another 35 minutes) inhaling whatever junk food I bought – barely tasting it and feeling awful about it the whole time – but feeling unable (and unwilling!) to stop.But why was I doing it today? What was going on for me in the last 24 hours? Nothing crazy. I had a couple of really good client calls that day – I was feeling really proud of all my ladies and all they were doing for themselves. Ok, so what was I doing right before I did errands? I was listening to a business building podcast – on a subject that I’m excited about learning about but feel a little overwhelmed on. Ah!! Bingo – So I was feeling overwhelmed, and probably like I wasn’t enough / didn’t know enough. Instead of feeling that and remembering that those feelings would go away in their own time, I reached for something that was my comfort for a long time – food!When trying to figure out why you binged (especially when your binges have been a thing of the past), it’s helpful to keep digging if you’re not coming up with an answer. Telling yourself “I don’t know” why you did it, is a subconscious way of avoiding the issue. You know why you’re doing this – keep asking questions and looking at your thoughts and interactions that led up to the event. Pretend you are a detective and leave no stone unturned!
  2. Recognize that it happened.
    Acknowledge to yourself -I ate that bag of chips. I ate that whole chocolate bar. Whatever it is. If you keep a food journal/diary, it’s important to log it down. We love to hide our binges from the people in our lives but also from ourselves and if we avoid it, it’s easy to let them happen again and again.
  3. Ask yourself: “How did eating this make me feel?”
    In my case, it made me feel really shitty. It made me feel like a bad person. It made me feel like all my hard work – emotional and physical (eating to satisfaction, stopping when I’ve had enough, exercising etc) was for nothing. I don’t like feeling that way.
  4. Next ask yourself: “How would I rather feel?
    I’d rather feel strong, capable and in control of my feelings and what I put in my mouth. I’d rather not feel ashamed of what I eat.  I’d rather have a relationship with food that is easy and not wrapped up in so much emotional garbage.
  5. Write all that shit down.
    Writing stuff down on paper preferably (typing is not the same but preferable to not writing at all!) helps us release feelings and cement the thoughts and feelings that we want to have in a way so that they stay in the front of our minds. Things become more real when we write them down! There’s no avoiding your feelings if you’re writing and acknowledging those facts down.I came here and wrote up this blog post after my binge and that helped immensely! Confronting this bad boy head on, meant I didn’t end up binging all night, it meant I didn’t skip my workouts for the next few days and it meant enjoying the weekend with my handsome husband without being moody and bloated (because that is the type of shit that happens when we let rotten feelings about a binge hang around and fester).
  6. Now that you know how you’d rather feel, know that you can choose to feel that way instead of the terrible way binging made you feel.
    What??? I know that’s a tough one to wrap our heads around but I’m serious. If I want to feel strong and in control of my food choices I can choose to feel that way from now on rather than choosing to feel like a bad person because of one single event. Eating the candy bar was an action I took and the only reason I felt bad about myself after was because I choose to make the act of eating it mean something about myself (I’m bad). But I can just as easily decide that I’m human and it was just one food choice and I can move on and make better choices going forward. You can CHOOSE to not feel like crap about it (and guess what?? That will affect your future food choices too!!) and that is really good news!
  7. Let it go & know that one binge does not mean all your progress is erased. I know it’s hard. I know there is a part of you that thinks if you don’t beat yourself up over it, then you’ll just do it again and never learn from your mistakes, right? It happened. Let it go. There’s no benefit to us to obsessing over what we did in the past – because we can’t go back and change it!Eating a whole chocolate bar in the car – (while a slightly lesser big deal than a whole box of cheez-its) felt so terrible, not because it was more calories than I want to eat in chocolate, but because it reminded me of how out of control, miserable and borderline apathetic I was a few years ago – and despite the healing I’ve done, there is a small part of me (and almost every one who is recovering from eating issues) who thinks that if an old behavior resurfaces at all, it means I’m back to square one. And that thought is terrifying.It’s also completely untrue. One binge does not undo all the hard work you’ve done – it’s how you move forward that counts. It’s your willingness to confront your actions (instead of tucking them away and ignoring them) and feel those feelings that made you want to binge in the first place that is the hallmark of your hard work!

Moving forward, the next time the potential for a binge appears and you start to fall into old habits that make you feel uncomfortable, you can come back here and revisit these steps. Just knowing that 1 binge doesn’t have to equal weeks or months of destructive behavior. With practice, new positive habits begin to replace old habits and we become less likely to resort to our old ways.

Notice I said “less likely”. Here’s the thing – I have a toolbox full of effective, tried and true tools to stop emotional eating and all are effective in different ways, but sometimes we resort to whatever our brains know best – and my brain still remembers bingeing as the most basic way for me to cope. I’ve retrained it pretty well the last few years – but it can sneak back up on us, especially under stress. I coach women on their own eating struggles and yes, mine sometimes creep up here and there (I’m human and imperfect) but they’re never as bad as they were in the past because I remember to do a mental and written “download” of the experience immediately afterwards.  It’s all about how you handle the “after”.

If you want to recover from a binge – you have to face it, instead of running away. Try reframing it into a learning experience about yourself and it will help remove the shame that we put on it! What helps you recover after a binge? Share with me in the comments!

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