Emotional Eating Manifesto

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For years I avoided thinking of the term emotional eater, because that is what I was.  Yep, I freely admit it to the world.  Believe me, saying it makes me inwardly cringe.  Big time.  For a good solid decade of my life, starting in college, I struggled with an off-and-on unhealthy emotional relationship with food.  Only within the past few years do I finally feel like my head has come out of the clouds, though sometimes I still find myself getting pulled under again.  It still can be a daily struggle, depending on what is going on in my life.

How did I get this way?  I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I became an emotional eater.  When I look back, sadly I can’t remember the time before food took up so much space in my mind.  But I do know it all came about in college, which is a tough time for many young adults.  It is a significant time in one’s life, being out on your own for the first time, confronting the realities of life without your parents there to shield you or soothe the blows.  I was also a college athlete, so was expected to be at the top of my game (literally and in the classroom) every day.  All of this pressure fed the monster within me known as perfectionism.

I have always been a bit of a perfectionist (see my post about that here!), so embracing the not-so-good, tough moments in life used to be pretty hard for me.  When something bad happened, my first reaction was to run away or turn a blind eye, pretend it never occurred.  So I turned to something I could control, what I ate.  I used it as a form of comfort and to numb myself from the harsh realities of life.  I felt safe in my little hole.

But burying emotions and pretending the bad doesn’t exist is a recipe for disaster in the long run.  Emotions that aren’t properly processed and released from the body can get stuck and manifest in negative ways (disease, depression, anxiety).  Through my own experience I have learned that sometimes the things that knock you down a peg or two are some of the most important experiences you can have in life.

These days I focus on other ways to comfort myself if I am feeling down, need to release stress caused by work or recover from a rough day.  Yoga has been a life saver and is a big part of how I release emotions, as is meditation and writing.  I also am very intentional about what I eat, where I eat and how I eat.  Some days things are crazy and eating on the run or at my desk is necessary, but when I can, I make a point to enjoy my meal in a quiet space free of technology and with people I care about.

Do you turn to food to numb the pain and heartache that comes along with life?  If so, you are not alone, believe me.  But there is hope and a way out.  Make a list of 5 things you like to do that make you truly happy.  Maybe it’s working in the garden, playing with your kids (or dog), taking a bath or reading in the park.  Spend a few days thinking about it and write down ideas when they pop into your head.  Make a point to do those things regularly each week when you are feeling a need to turn to food to numb.

Here are some of my other ways out of the emotional eating black hole:

  1. Don’t eat while watching TV, standing up or playing on your phone – Put all of the distractions away.  When we eat while doing something else, we don’t pay attention to what we are putting into our mouths.  Eating becomes robotic.  We ignore the signals our body is sending to us that we are full and end up eating way more than we should.
  2. Eat with intention and enjoyment – Bless your meal before you eat and honor the food that is nourishing your body and cells.  Be thankful.  We truly are what we eat, no joke.
  3. Chuck guilt at the door – Who wants to feel guilty about what they are eating?  That’s no fun.  If you choose to eat a kale salad, bravo.  But if you choose to eat ice cream a la mode, go for it.  If that is what your body wants, then embrace it and enjoy the hec out of every bite.
  4. Eat at the dinner table (if you have one) and share your meals with others as often as you can – I don’t have a dinner table (yes I’m 30, I’m working on it…), but I do love to share meals with others.  When we talk we tend to eat slower, put down our forks more often.  I rarely pass up a meal with friends and family that involves a glass (or bottle) of wine.
  5. Don’t go to social events hungry – This is a biggie for me.  I tend to be a little more introverted so social scenes, especially when I won’t know a lot of people there, intimidate me.  I eat before I go so I’m not hungry and tempted to hang out next to the food table instead of talking with people.  Grab a cocktail, hold it in your left hand, and use your right to shake hands with people you meet.  When you have a drink in your hand (even if it’s sparkling water) you can’t eat anyways!  It also helps to go with an intention to meet people and build relationships instead of focusing on how nervous you are.

Peace, love and healthy eating,

The Yogi~Foodie

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Follow Your Heart

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A panic in her chest, a worry in her bones

Not knowing where to go, not knowing what will come.

She wakes up with dreams and passions in her heart

Goals she aches to make a reality.

Yoga with the sunrise, devotion in motion.

It calms and grounds her, makes her feel strong.

Off to work on the train, a long commute through the city.

By 8:30 she is at her desk, willing herself to get through the day.

It’s just a job, not your future she tells herself

But some days it’s hard to stay positive, believe that it will all work out.

Her days are filled with a feeling of tiredness

Blanketing her positivity, stifling her creativity.

She is good at what she does, but is that enough?

No, she thinks, that is not enough.

She believes that she deserves more

Why can’t she have the life and career of her dreams?

Thoughts of the future become overwhelming

She asks the Universe, How can I possibly get there?

Right now she feels shackled, weighed down by duty

Stuck in place by fear, fear of the unknown, fear of the what if.

It’s scary to take that step, to leap into the unknown and risk failure

With nothing but faith and love at her side.

She doesn’t want to have regrets

This beautiful life is meant to be lived to the fullest.

The minutes tick by and she just wants to run

Be free to laugh, love, dream and follow her heart.

By The Yogi~Foodie

Looking to cut out sugar? Join me for a 21 Day Sugar Detox!

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Feeling tired?  Sick of those afternoon slumps at work where you crave a sugar rush?  Wish you had more balanced energy?  Want to lose a few pounds and get your healthy eating back on track?

Join me and fellow holistic health coach Laura LaBeau for a 21 Day Sugar Detox from July 6th-July 21st!

Cost is just $21, which includes a 30 minute private health coaching call with either Laura or myself (a $75 value!).

What’s in it for you?  Here are some of the benefits you will get from this program:

  1. Increase energy
  2. Feel more positive and happy
  3. Clearer skin
  4. No more bloating, stomach aches or headaches
  5. Feel stronger and leaner
  6. Access to private Facebook group for support and accountability
  7. Daily inspirational emails straight to your inbox

Can you think of a better way to get back on track after your July 4th holiday?  Let’s ditch the white stuff for 21 days to boost health, happiness and vitality!

Interested?  Contact us below today to reserve your spot!!

Let It Be

Let it Be

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed with everything you have going on in your life?  Stressed by the thoughts of the future?

I’m right there with ya.

This past week was a weird one for me.  I had an overwhelming sense of unease, restlessness, anxiety.  It was hard to pinpoint exactly what it was, but it definitely was not me.  As I searched for the source of these feelings, I came across fear.  Fear of the uncertainty of the future, fear that I will never be able to pursue my passion, fear that I will be stuck in my current situation, fear that I won’t have the resources to go it on my own.  These particular fears were related to career, which is a big uncertainty for me at the moment.

All of these fears, the uncertainty and the worry associated with it, have made me really tired.  Thinking like that all of the time is exhausting.  Last week I needed a hefty combination of coffee and green and black tea to get me through the workday.  And it wasn’t that I just needed to eat better or sleep more, which are two things that are much easier for me to deal with.  I had to face my fears and do something about them.

The funny thing is, when I actually let myself embrace my fears, instead of feeling like I needed to do something, I realized that I actually needed to just stop doing.  I needed to quit fighting my current situation.  Stop pushing against my current reality and just let it be.  Like The Beatles sang, “yeah, there will be an answer, just let it be…”.  Only when you let things go can you sometimes find the answer you’ve been searching for all along.

I have a recipe, a formula if you will, for my definition of happiness.  It is what makes me tick, what makes me my best self from the inside out.  It includes spending time with those I hold dear, cooking and eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, writing, drinking good wine (or a favorite cocktail), doing yoga or a kick-butt workout, reading, and spending time in nature.  This formula is so important for me that if I lose track of it, which is what happened this past week, I get a little lost and stop feeling like myself.

So I have decided to recommit to my recipe.  Focus on the things that make me happy instead of pushing myself into some dream that I want to make a reality.  Take it one day at a time instead of looking too far ahead into the future.  Do one task at a time instead of juggling a million different tasks.  Only include the most important items on my To Do list instead of adding a ton of items that won’t get checked off anytime soon.

Who knows what the future has in store?  To me, it’s not worth the effort and heartache that comes with trying to figure it out.  Enjoy the present; it is a gift meant to be lived to the fullest.  The Universe gives us what we can handle at a particular moment and I must accept that.  I must give up the control and believe that I will figure it all out when I’m meant to.  Give the future-planning and worrying a rest.  Let it go and just let it be.

It all comes down to this – the future will happen as it may.  Things will manifest in my life as I am ready for them and not one second sooner.  I have so much to be thankful for every day in my life.  All I can control is today and what I choose to do with those hours that are given to me.  Do what feels right and nourishes my soul.  Stick to my formula and know from the bottom of my heart that it will all be okay.

Peace, love and soul filling happiness,

The Yogi~Foodie

Glorious Guacamole

Oh avocados, how I love you.  Delicious and nutritious, I always have these guys in my kitchen.  They add great texture and flavor to a smoothie, can replace mayonnaise or other condiments on a sandwich or burger, and are one of my go-to toppings for my many salads.  I just can’t get enough.  If only I lived in an area where I could grow them.  May need to think on that… 😉

A fruit from the avocado tree, these puppies pack a nutritious punch.  Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium (more than a banana!), B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorus.  They do not contain any cholesterol or sodium.  In fact, recent studies have shown that these little green guys can actually help stave off bad cholesterol (don’t believe me? read about it here!).  They are loaded with fiber, helping to keep us full longer and reduce blood sugar spikes, and contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.  

Avocados are lauded for their healthy fats.  Yes I said fat.  Before you go running and screaming away from avocados, know that fat is a necessity.  Our bodies can’t function properly without it.  Without fats our bodies can’t absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  Fats help build cell walls, boost immunity and assist with assimilation of minerals and calcium.  Digestion is also impossible without fats.  What is key is the type of fat we eat (i.e. avoid industrial fats in processed foods, hydrogenated oils and trans fats).  Avocados primarily contain monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid, which is known for helping to low LDL (bad) cholesterol.  Do you know what else is loaded with oleic acid?  Olive oil.  And we all know how good that is for us.

California currently produces 90% of the U.S.’s avocado crop, with the Hass variety being the most popular.  I have learned a few tricks regarding avocados over the years.  If they are rock solid when you get home from the grocery, put them in a brown paper lunch bag to hasten the ripening process.  Once they are ripe, put them in the refrigerator and they will stop ripening and last until you are ready to eat them.  I commonly only eat half an avocado at one time, storing the other half in the fridge in aluminum foil for later.  I always make sure to store the half with the pit as the pit helps to keep it fresh.

Summer is quickly approaching, which means pool, parties, fun and sun.  On hot summer days, nothing beats some fresh, homemade guacamole with plantain chips and raw veggies and a cool drink (maybe with tequila in it??).  This recipe is super easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser.  The lemon in the recipe helps to keep it from turning brown (which happens when avocado is exposed to air).  I also leave the pit in the dish until right before I serve it.

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Glorious Guacamole

makes approximately 5 servings

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil (approx. 1 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste

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Mash avocado in a bowl then throw in ingredients, mixing thoroughly.  Serve atop your favorite salad or with your favorite chips.  Best with some sort of tequila-based drink on the side (kidding!).  Or not.  🙂

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Peace, love and healthy fats,

The Yogi~Foodie

Daring Greatly

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

~Theodore Roosevelt

I read a fantastic book recently called Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, a research professor and expert on vulnerability and shame.  You may recognize her name from the insanely popular (and awesome) TED talks she has done (want to check them out?  go here and here).  Her words are inspiring, thought-provoking and dare you to take action.  Dare you to be great in your life, in your relationships, in your career and in your family.

She opens with the quote above from Theodore Roosevelt, which sets the stage perfectly.  Daring greatly is vulnerability in a nutshell.  If you think back to all of the big accomplishments in your life, you can probably pinpoint the moments of vulnerability that led to them.  If you weren’t willing to be vulnerable, to let your walls down for a little while and risk failure, would you have accomplished this moment of greatness?  My guess is your answer is probably no.  Vulnerability is necessary to get where we need to go in life.  Necessary for us to become who we are meant to be, lead the life we are meant to lead.

IMG_1823“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging.  It’s being all in.”

Being vulnerable is tough.  We are hard-wired to protect ourselves and our hearts, so taking a risk and putting it all out there can be downright terrifying.  As Brené Brown explains, one of the main things that keeps us from being vulnerable and daring greatly is shame.  Shame is the gremlin in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough, making you terrified of what other people may think.  Shame kills courage, squashes vulnerability, and if we let it take over, will prevent us from daring greatly.

Brené Brown goes on to discuss how men and women experience shame differently.  To start, she defines the twelve major “shame categories”: appearance and body image, money and work, motherhood/fatherhood, family, parenting, mental and physical health, addiction, sex, aging, religion, surviving trauma and being stereotyped or labeled.

For women, the primary trigger is how we look.  “After all of the consciousness-raising and critical awareness, we still feel the most shame about not being thin, young and beautiful enough.”  Oh boy how true that is.  The beauty, fashion, health and fitness industries have all capitalized on this and made millions.  On a daily basis I probably partake in at least one conversation with another woman or overhear a conversation between women where looks are discussed in some way.  And even with my background in health and wellness, self love and body image, I catch myself doing some of the talking.

Brené Brown discusses a U.S. study on conformity to feminine norms where researchers listed “the most important attributes associated with ‘being feminine’ as being nice, pursuing a thin body ideal, showing modesty by not calling attention to one’s talents of abilities, being domestic, caring for children, investing in a romantic relationship, keeping sexual intimacy contained within one committed relationship, and using our resources to invest in our appearance.”  And if a woman doesn’t fall within this norm?  When it comes to the Internet, there is usually always a hater to criticize and bring her down.  Most of the time it is other women doing the talking.  If that isn’t a sign of someone avoiding her own issues and dealing with her own feelings of shame then I don’t know what is.

For men, the overriding pressure surrounding shame is to not be perceived as weak. Brené Brown describes this pressure as a box.  “Like the demands on women to be naturally beautiful, thin, and perfect at everything, especially motherhood, the box has rules that tell men what they should and shouldn’t do, and who they’re allowed to be.  But for men, every rule comes back to the same mandate: ‘don’t be weak.’  On top of that, men are also expected to be great and all powerful.  Like in the Wizard of Oz where the wizard hides behind his curtain, controlling his mechanical “great and powerful” Oz image.

So how do we combat this shame?  We need to give it words.  Cultivate an awareness and shine a light on it.  We need to stop “turning on each other” and instead “turn toward each other.”  In other words, we need empathy. Brené Brown sums it up perfectly…  If we’re going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light.  To set down those lists of what we’re supposed to be is brave.  To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”

Amen.

Peace, love and daring greatly,

The Yogi~Foodie