When I think back to all the times in my life when iI beat myself up internally because I didn't feel like I was SMART enough, or THIN enough, or SUCCESSFUL enough, or ATHLETIC enough, or INTERESTING enough, or just plain SPECIAL enough it makes me want to barf.
As a Life Design and Health Coach and the founder of a company called Healthy Happy and Hip, I think about ways to help my clients feel healthier and happier on a daily basis.
Many people think that they’ll only be happy when they get the promotion, take an exotic vacation, or lose 10 pounds, but the truth is that finding longer-term happiness is more about the little things than the big things.
While it ’tis the season to be jolly, everywhere you turn you come face-to-face with all those tempting holiday foods. Just change your mindset.
She said, “I start with a cocktail and follow that with a couple of puffs of a sativa type of weed...and then follow that with a second cocktail...or a glass of wine.”
“Your comment was my biggest takeaway of the day” she said.
“It changed my life!”
She was referring to something I said at the MetroWest Conference for Women.
Over 650 women had come to learn, connect, share and grow and I was honored to be a speaker.
I was on a panel with two other experts and our topic was
Feeding your Mind, Body, and Self.
We talked about everything from emotional eating... to body image... to how food impacts our mood.
Someone in the audience asked a question:
"How do we, panelists, deal with body image issues?"
and this is where I said it...
It wasn’t the part I said about my mom praising flat bellies... And it wasn’t about my son’s article called "Fuck You Barbie!"...
No, it was another thing entirely...
It was the part when I explained that as I have been getting older, I have come to realize that this body is just my “Earth Suit”.
It houses my soul and the more I work on my soul the less important the suit feels.
Don’t get me wrong…
I take care of my earth suit.
I eat healthy.
I work out most days.
I even get massages whenever I can.
I know that just like my favorite sweater that is starting to get pilly and has a tiny little moth hole...
My body is aging.
Clothes are fitting differently.
Some parts are moving downwards.
And some are actually sticking out!
And that’s going to have to be Ok.
Because it’s a good body.
It’s a great companion to me and has been for my entire life.
And I refuse to abuse it, or shame it, and even though I know that I will ALWAYS want to lose 5 lbs, my body did nothing wrong.
It does not deserve anything less than kindness and love.
So when that woman told me that the “earth suit’ was her biggest takeaway of the day.
I had to smile because that woman clearly gets it too.
Hopefully, she will help others get it too and we will come together and stop shaming each other and instead, start celebrating each other for the beautiful souls that we are and the beautiful earth suits that we live in.
"I warn you... You are not going to like this."
Those were the first words I heard her say to me the other day as I was leaving Orangetheory Fitness.
There I was…
clearing the sweat pouring into my eyes…
talking to a lovely woman, whose name I couldn't recall.
Do you ever hear voices in your head saying...
“You’re not smart enough.”
“You’re not pretty enough.”
“You’re not talented enough.”
Are these whispers from your childhood? Can you still feel their jabs in your soul?
Sometimes we remember actual words spoken, and other times just perceptions. It doesn’t really matter if they are true or false because the damage was done.
BUT...what about all the things that we were NOT told?
What if we weren’t told that we were beautiful?
What if we weren’t told that we were special?
What if we weren’t told that we had a gift that is unique to us and that it will one day light up the world?
I often think that if we were told THESE things they might have countered all the negative things that we picked up along the way. Then I remind myself that it is never too late.
We can start telling ourselves these things right NOW.
We can start believing that we are good enough and that we are beautiful enough and that we are smart enough.
And that we are lovable.
And that we are funny in a quirky kind of way.
And that we don’t have to be perfect.
We need to hear it from ourselves. Really. Because if people tell us these things and we don’t believe them ourselves, then their words will be meaningless. The only way for us to believe that it’s true is to take the time and do the work and love ourselves mercilessly.
Only then will the positive words of others have any meaning because we can believe them.
So what are the things that you were NOT told?
Make a list of all of them.
Tell yourself every single day each and every one of them with conviction until you believe them.
It’s never too late.
This is how we heal.
I remember years ago coming home from a cherished date night with my husband only to find the babysitter had left me with a messy kitchen that included a sink full of dishes and a counter covered in crumbs. My mood instantly shifted from a joyous, delicate buzz to an unexpected, uncalled for, and unexplainable hatred.
Ok maybe hatred is too strong. But you get the point.
It was irrational.
It was trivial.
My little kids were safe and asleep.
I was able to get out with my husband without getting the dreaded croup call, the crying “I can’t sleep call”, or the babysitter can’t make it call.
And, I am a reasonable person with life in perspective who doesn’t sweat the small stuff and rarely gets angry…
BUT...there was and still is something instantaneous that happens to me when I see a mess.
Recently, I had that reaction again visiting my girls in their shared New York City apartment. I walked in and flipped out.
Why would something so harmless send me into a tizzy?
Afterall, I was not the neatest person myself...
And I am not a perfectionist...
This got me thinking. A lot.
Is the mess in our homes symbolic of the mess in our lives?
Confronting our messes can be scary and overwhelming. In fact, it’s often easier to shove things in the back of a closet and close the door then to really look at our messy lives.
When we stare are our stuff right in front of our eyes, we have to be brave and strong and admit that life isn’t perfect. We can’t pretend that everything is pretty and presentable. We have to admit that we have shortcomings.
Sometimes the mess is just clutter - it’s things that we have accumulated along the way and other times the mess is the stuff that we just don’t know what to do with. You know - not only the jeans in a size too small or the blouse that we can’t seem to give away, but also the toxic relationships, the stagnant careers, and the stresses of parenting.
If we hide them away can we pretend that they don’t exist?
Taking out the items of a mess and looking at them, taking a look at our lives, and trying our best to put items in the proper place where it makes sense takes a lot of work, thought, and analysis.
For me, it usually includes some shedding of tears and facing of fears.
So what about you?
Is this the time for you face the messes in your life?
What is it that you’re hiding? What is easier to hide then to face?
This just might be the right time to declutter our closets and our lives.
Let's face it, we all know what we are supposed to eat healthy, but actually doing it is another story...especially during holidays and while traveling.
I’m a huge fan of Shonda Rhimes.
Not only did my daughter recently convince me to start watching Grey’s Anatomy but I also loved Shonda's book, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. In fact, it was one of my favorite books last year.
In her book, Shonda talks about all the things she had sacrificed in her life including fun, joy, and pushing herself out of her comfort zone in order to work more. She decided to start saying YES instead and magical things started to happen. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it.
For me, however, it’s the opposite. This year is my year of "NO."
I’m saying NO to all the things that don’t bring me joy.
.I’m saying NO to all the things that I don’t want to do and don't have to do.
I’m saying NO to just about everything unless I’m screaming hell YES!
Right now I am giving you permission to say NO as well.
If you don't have time to make homemade cookies for your kid's school, say NO and buy them instead.
If you don't want to go to a charity event, say NO and send the check instead.
If you are sick and tired of spending your precious time with toxic people that suck the life out of you, say NO and hang out with nice people (like me!)
And also say NO to negative thinking.
When that evil unhelpful thought comes visiting...
You know, the one that says you are not good or smart enough or pretty enough - just stop and say NO - I will not listen to you anymore!
Saying NO to the things that deplete us in life give us time and energy for the Yesses.
There are so many things to say YES to and Shonda shares many in her book.
BUT what can YOU say NO to today?
Please comment below and let me know!
I have a theory. I think that many women think about food the way men think about sex.
We have all seen those studies where they say that men think about sex every seven seconds or thousands of times per day. I don’t know if those studies are true or not but most men I have asked agree that they think about sex A LOT! Yes, many women think about sex a lot too, but many women think about food even more. Some women even think about food while having sex. Why is this happening?
My guess is that somewhere along the way, our wires got crossed, and food became our go-to, easy-to-get, always-available form of pleasure.
Traditionally, in our society, it has been the responsibility of women to figure out the food thing. We have had to think about food all the time simply to feed our families. We needed to determine what our tribe wanted to eat. We had to choose which recipe we wanted to follow. We had to buy the ingredients for the menu we planned. We had to prepare the food and cook it for others, not just ourselves, multiple times per day. We had to figure out what to do with the leftovers. Food HAD TO BE on our minds because it was our responsibility to figure the food thing out.
These days, however, we are thinking about food even more. Cooking shows are more popular than ever, and cookbooks with beautiful food photographs are always on the bestsellers lists. But to really get a sense of what is going on with food, take a look at Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook feeds and you will see food at its finest. Food, glorious food. Magnificent photos of everything from kale chips to ooey-gooey snickerdoodle chocolate pretzel stuffed brownies to sushi burritos! Is it any wonder that this is all referred to as Food Porn?
Just like watching porn works to excite its viewers to want more sex, food porn excites its viewers to want more food! As a result, we are thinking, planning, and dreaming about food all day long. Is it any wonder we are all food obsessed?
Unfortunately, the more we think about food, the more we want to eat it. No, it’s not weakness. We are programmed to see food and want to eat it. It’s a survival mechanism sewn into our DNA so that we don’t starve in times of food scarcity. When food was actually scarce, this ability to eat anytime was probably a lifesaver, but now, everywhere we look food is calling to us saying EAT ME, EAT ME.
Fact is, there isn’t a street you can drive down in any city that isn’t strewn with billboards offering restaurants or fast food or ice cream. There isn’t a magazine you can pick up, a show you can turn on, a conversation you can have where something to put in your mouth isn’t mentioned. There isn’t an airport that isn’t filled with fifty versions of cake for breakfast or a drugstore that doesn’t have rows of every candy bar you might crave right there at the checkout counter.
We can’t escape thinking about food. On any given day, we are shopping for food, preparing food, packing food, cleaning up, cooking more food, driving thru, eating out, planning menus, hiring caterers, trying our hand at baking or doing our best to avoid the bakery.
For those of us who are food obsessed, much of our joy, pleasure, and fun is in talking about food, thinking about food, taking pictures of food, and eating food. Food, food, food, food, FOOD. This food obsession, dear friends, is taking up a lot of valuable real estate in our brains.
Is food the new sex?
Your marriage is good enough, the kids are not in crises, you’re pretty healthy for the most part, and you even have good friends and activities or work that you enjoy…
Then why the hell aren’t you jumping up and down with joy????
When is the last time you stared into the eye of your partner? Or anyone for that matter?
I spent this past weekend replenishing my mind, body, and soul at a wellness spa.
The body was the easy part - fun workouts, good clean food, and some great massages always do the trick for me.
Taking a break from the news and social media did it for my mind.
The soul, however... that was the tricky part.
You see I have been feeling a little off-kilter lately. Not really sad. Not really happy. Kind of like just going through the motions without the joy. You know those times, right?
I signed up for every service that I thought could help me dive deep, could crack open my heart, and could help me unblock what was holding me back.
I tried a Soul Journey, and an Inner Journey, and lots of quiet reflection. I meditated, I pondered, I came up with so many theories...
Maybe I am working too hard...
Maybe it's the weather...
Maybe it's the political situation or menopause or not eating enough carbs???
I couldn't figure it out.
But it wasn't until the very last day that I had a breakthrough. It was during my energy healing session that I felt it.
I felt PAIN. Excruciating, almost couldn't breathe, chest exploding pain that was buried so deep. In fact, I didn't even know the extreme level of pain I had been feeling until it released.
I missed having a mom.
This was not the grief of losing my mom. This was the eternal grief of not being mothered.
And this pain was blocking my joy.
Truth be told, my mom was not the greatest mother for me. She was not that comforting or wise. She hardly ever visited and didn't seem particularly interested in my life.
But she was still my mom. And I will always love her and know that she loved me even if she had trouble showing it sometimes.
I had worked so hard to mindfully grieve that I thought I was through it. But, not being mothered is a hole that can not ever be filled.
So what now?
I know that my life is filled with so much love and joy that I will be damned if I don't appreciate it, feel it, and rejoice in it.
My soul is feeling much freer already but I know to truly break through this period, I must keep up the work. I must continue to peel away the layers buried deep inside and I must actively pursue joy as if my life depended on it.
Because, truthfully, it does.
And, I can think of no better tribute to my mom and to my own children than to choose joy.
Have you spent a lot of time with family these last few weeks?
If so, are you feeling a little off balance? Confused? Wondering why all of your coping skills that you’ve been practicing for months just fell by the wayside.
Are you sick of making New Year’s Resolutions that only REMOVE things from your diet or life in general? You know, the “I want to lose 5 pounds” or “I want to clean out the pantry” or “I want to get rid of those toxic relationships”? I know I am!
Here it comes — that stretch of holiday festivities that bring endless opportunities to overindulge. While it ’tis the season to be jolly, everywhere you turn you come face-to-face with all those tempting holiday foods. Are you worried that the constant exposure to goodies will start to weigh on your willpower like so many choruses of “The 12 Days of Christmas?”
Do you ever bloat so much that you look 8 months pregnant?
Well, sometimes I do, and I have for the last 25 years. YIKES!
If you saw me on the street, you probably wouldn’t notice my bloated belly because it is usually stuffed inside my tight jeans or spandex undies. However, if you happened to be present with me as I unzipped my jeans at the end of one of those days, you would crack up and say “whoa - she wasn’t kidding!”
What does it take to improve your life? It can seem unattainable, impossible, and downright discouraging when we try to tackle our biggest challenges and weaknesses. However, when we become focused, amazing things can happen.
Mass shootings. Natural disasters. Death. Accidents. Terrorism. Political unrest. Heath. Safety. Money. Relationships….
There is so much intensity in the air right now.
Intensity that rips our hearts open with fear.