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

Physical 

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

Emotional

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.

Spiritual

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

Creative

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?

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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!