What Diet Are You on Now?

I was out trying a new restaurant this week when I ran into friends while I was waiting to get a table. I asked them what was good on the menu since they had eaten here several times before.

My friend looks at me and said Well I don’t know what kind of diet you are on now?

I just smiled and said, I eat it all. 

It was a fair question though. I know I have tried many things – vegetarian, vegan, south beach, fat loss eating, gluten free, primal, paleo, etc and written about those things on this page and my personal page. I probably even got a little preachy with it at times. (Sorry!)

I get why I did all that. I have had a life time of feeling fat, bingeing and deeply believing that I cannot trust myself around food.
So I had to have a food plan. And when that plan didn’t work I had to have another food plan… and another food plan…etc
Like many experiences in life, I guess I had to go through all those plans to be where I am today.

A few years ago, I was lucky to work with Jill Coleman, find Geneen Roth‘s work and then this past year find the ETF (Eat the Food) group through Go Kaleo and – all of these people put me on a different path. This path feels amazing although some times scary. There is no good or bad food. There is just food. I make decisions based on what makes me feel good, what nourishes me, what tastes good and what I like. I have had to take time to practice being in touch with what is going on in my heart and mind and deal with those things instead of turning to food to solve a problem. I have spent time practicing trusting me again.

I panicked earlier this year and just wanted myself to “get it together!” I hired some one to write me a food plan. Wow did that not go well. I did not respond well to trying to follow some one else’s rules and eating in ways that just felt horrible to me. I immediately packed on 5 lbs.

I am back on my own path of no plan. The path of trusting myself, figuring out what works well for me, what nourishes and fuels me to do what I love, what brings me peace, what brings me joy, of taking up space instead of always feeling like I need to be smaller. I don’t need to me smaller, I just need to be the best me that I can be. Yes, I still stumble, yes I still get fearful, yes I still binge on occasion. I am not perfect (WTF is that anyway? :D) I am human and this is my journey.

Love who you are. Eat the food. Love your life.

That Little Voice

The first weekend in May, I participated in a 5k called the Rugged Maniac. It was one of those obstacle/mud runs that are happening all over the place now. I completed it with one of my friends and had a blast. However, in looking at some of the pictures from that race I could hear that little inner voice saying “You should be smaller. You are gigantic.

When that little voice pops up, it often throws me out of sorts.

Physically,  I feel a little nauseous and sometimes feel heat in my face and body.

Mentally, I feel like I am REALLY not ok as I am and it makes me WANT to shrink.

That little voice has been with me for a very long time. It used to be a constant companion narrating for me all the ways in my life that I wasn’t ok especially with my body.  Its funny (actually, its not) that it was still there even when I was a size 4, the smallest I have been in as an adult. There is no pleasing this voice and it is never satisfied.

As I have practiced more loving who I am in this world, exactly as I am right now, that little voice is not as constant. It does take lots of practice – you can’t just know that you are ok once or twice and that little voice goes away. You have to consistently work at it or you find yourself stuck back in the pattern of I am not ok as I am. It can be challenging especially when the world around us – culture, advertising, and sometimes even friends and family – tell us that we are not ok as we are.  There can be a great deal of pressure to be “smaller”.

I have learned that little voice is not just about the weight, its about who I am as a person. It is telling me  - you are not ok as you are.  You know what? Its a liar.

If I am not ok as I am right now – loving me in this moment, then I am not going to be ok when I am “over there”. (What ever “over there” represents for you – when you are thinner, richer, have more free time, etc. ) Happiness can be found as you are right now and in this moment.

There are moments when I hear this voice that I pause and pay attention to what it has to say or why I am feeling that way. Other times I just tell it to shut the fuck up.  :)

The Messiness of Being Human

No Mud, No Lotus.  - Thich Naht Hahn

Some where along the way, I developed a belief that if I get awake and aware enough, present ENOUGH (enlightened maybe?) that life will be easy.  I am defining easy here to mean no more suffering, no more struggling, no more messy, no more imperfect. (Honestly, I often envision being so enlightened that I can actually levitate).  :)

This believe has caused me quite a bit pain over the years as it made me feel like I wasn’t doing the things right or good enough, like I was falling short.

What I am realizing through my practicing and experiencing is that the suffering, struggling, messiness, imperfection is ALL part of what it means to be human. It IS life. The messiness is not some thing to escape from but something to savor and experience – the joys and sorrows, the highs and the lows, the perfection and imperfection of it all. Being present, awake and aware is what allows for the experience of it all and be with every moment that life brings to us.

Of course this is just a new awareness to me but certainly not an original thought. I just ran across this quote from Thicht Naht Hahn recently.

“The lotus cannot be there without the mud. Likewise, happiness cannot be there without suffering. Looking deeply into our suffering, we gain an understanding of it, which enables happiness to have a chance to blossom. Thus, the lotus does not have to reject the mud, and the beauty of the lotus actually gives value to the mud.”

Instead of wishing the messiness of life away or some how impossibly working to get beyond it, I am now practicing to be with and say yes to each moment.

How are you with the messiness of life? What stories do you hold about how life should be? Can you allow for and savor ALL of it?

Ten Deep Breaths

I mention frequently that I am always looking for the magic pill that will make me better – in what ever capacity I am chasing at the moment.   I think I found it.

10 Deep Breaths.

I have had a breathing coach tell me that 10 deep breaths (in and out through your nose, full on diaphragm expanding breaths) helps you sleep better.

I just heard the other day some one else uses 10 deep breaths to savor those day to day moments even more.

Another trainer advised that they use 10 deep breaths post workout to calm their nervous system and go back out in the world in a calmer, collected state.

My recent practice of taking 10 deep breaths before I eat helps me slow down, pay attention and enjoy the food that is in front of me.  It helps me eat less and enjoy more.

BreatheI invite you to try out this “magic pill” practice when you need to slow down, savor, refresh, relax, pause, sleep better or be more mindful.

Let me know what you think or share times when you find the 10 deep breaths practice especially useful.

So your workout made you cry….now what

As a coach and a regular worker-outer, I have seen and experienced my fair share of tears and deep disappointment post work out.

  • It shouldn’t feel this hard.  (Really? Why?)
  • I wanted to quit the whole time. (But you didn’t.)
  • I didn’t do what I wanted. (But you did SOMETHING, doesn’t that account for anything?)
  • I can’t get (insert skill that you are wanting to have) right yet!!  (Oh I am sorry, Have you been doing (pull ups, handstands, olympic lifts, double unders, etc)  for years now and you don’t have them or did you just starting trying it a little bit ago so you are still practicing?)

Any of that seem familiar?

I have heard the saying that our minds are teflon for good experiences and velcro for bad.

On those workouts that just feel like shit for some reason and we are left feeling disappointed, teary, down on who we are – all we feel is the bad.  We don’t acknowledge the good.

As I see it you have two options:

1) Beat the crap out of your self for not being good at anything – for being too out of shape, not strong enough, not fast enough, not whatever enough.  Wallow in it.

or

2) Take a deep breath. Acknowledge that you had expectations of this workout and it didn’t go as planned. Acknowledge that EVERY ONE has good and bad training days and it is no assessment on you as a person.

Then take ANOTHER deep breath. Start thinking about what went right and what you are grateful for in this moment.  Here are some hints that might help you out:

    • You made it THROUGH the workout (or maybe you quit. Who cares! You came in a tried something!)
    • Your body allowed you to move and be active today.  (Meaning you are alive another day and you are not bedridden).
    • You are breathing.
    • You are thinking.
    • Your muscles are responding.
    • Your joints are working (or at least maybe many of them!)
    • You are ALIVE for another day to do things that you love to do…like exist and lift heavy shit.

Change your perspective. Love who you are. Love your training – even the hard, boring, “it should be different” days.  

Own What You Love About Your Self

Recently,  I asked a group of women to share one thing that they loved about themselves.

There was some silence. Some murmurs of “I have no idea” “I need more time to think.”

I am guessing if I asked you to name something about your best friend, significant other, workout partner, etc you would be quick to start shouting out things that you loved.

Why is it we can’t do that as easily or openly about what we love about ourselves?

Just so you don’t think I am casting stones at others, I even noticed that when it was my turn to share, I suddenly felt awkward and it was hard to get my words out. I thought ‘Oh my, am I bragging? Am I talking too much about myself? IS IT OK FOR ME TO SAY THIS?!?’

Own It

YES IT IS OK!! I think like learning to accept a friggin’ complement. Learning to own and share what you love about you takes practice. So do it! Own it! KNOW what you love about yourself. You certainly know what you don’t love, shift that beautiful focus on to the parts of yourself that you know radiate and bring you strength and peace and happiness.

What I love about me:

  • I am a damn good and loyal friend. I work on taking care of the important relationships in my life. It is what makes my life meaningful and worth while.
  • I love being a cheerleader, advocate and source of strength when people don’t (yet!) believe in themselves.
  • I love that I love working out.  It takes very little motivation for me to get to the gym most days.
  • I love that l love to learn for myself and to connect others with information that hopefully makes their life better.
  • I love that my eyes change colors some times.
  • I love that with out working on them I get GIGANTIC traps. :)

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOU?!?!?!?

In case you haven’t been told recently…

You are awesome.
You are worthy of being strong.
You are worthy of being healthy.
You are worthy of being happy. NOW.
You are worthy of the space you take up.
You have value.
Your voice has power. Speak up. Its ok to ask for what you want. Its ok to live life the way you want to even if that looks different from what ever one else is doing.

However you are exactly right now in this moment is perfect.

TEDXRVA Women: The Power of the Scale

In December 2013, I participated in the TedXRVA Women’s event in Richmond, VA.

I was so thrilled to be a part of this event. How powerful to be included in a group full of amazing women with fabulous stories to tell. How exciting to be in a room full of people willingly wanting to have the deeper conversations. Really just an experience I will never forget and deeply grateful to be a part of.

My talk was on the power of the scale.  How for some of us it can dictate what kind of day we will have and how we feel about ourselves. There is another way. :)

Here is the video to the talk here.

http://youtu.be/GbDVImyJsUA

 

Would love to hear your feed back on the talk and what your experience with the scale is.

A Better Story to Tell?

I want to be put on a food plan.

No I don’t.

Wait! Yes, I do! Some one tell me what and when to eat!

No, I know what to do!

WAIT! I am not making progress fast enough! I need some one to tell me and it will be THE magical solution!!

(Is that familiar to any one besides me?  :D )

Dan John has said that moderation isn’t sexy. It doesn’t sell.

I  agree with his statement BUT I think in this life of extremes, moderation is the better story.

Better?  Is that the right word? Maybe more realistic?

  • What sounds better, the months that you did day after day of crazy, exhausting stuff in the gym only to be burned out and injured in a few months or that you did something every day- showed up consistently worked the five basics of human movement and had energy at the end to be awesome in other area of your life outside the gym?
  • What sounds better that I held it together for a few months of a crazy defined random rules diet and maybe got some spectacular results but then binged and lost control once I got through that and gained all the weight back versus consistently maximizing eating what I like AND makes me feel good and perform well, maximizing eating when I am hungry and minimizing eating when I am not?

I some times feel apologetic that I am not doing more EXTREME things for not trying to work out MORE or paleo HARDER.  Even though I panic some times and still struggle with wanting things to be different, I am happier finding my own way, figuring out what works best for me and keeping a balance with it all.

I lift a couple of times a week. I walk and stand as often as I can.  I eat proteins, carbs and fats through out the day – food that fuels me and tastes good.  Its a new approach but I feel good and am making the kinds of progress that I want to see… albeit slowly.  Sexy and steady. :)

What is your story?

Happier

Me and my moderate self finding happiness in the sunshine and grass

Yelling at the Clouds

I have discussed on my blog previously that I some times struggle with depression.

Depression. I guess that it is the word for it. It makes appearances in my lift now and then. I get bouts of real lows, big sadness for no apparent reason. Illogically, it makes me angry that I go through this. I rant and rave that its not fair, that I should feel differently and it really puts me in anguish to spend a minute of my precious life moments feeling this way. It feels as though I am wasting life time away.

In talking to friends this weekend about being in this space, a friend of mine says its hard to remember that in all of those gray clouds there is blue sky beyond it. Meaning of course that it all will pass eventually and things will be better. I added, “and it does no good to sit there and yell at the clouds.”

Which I do.

Yelling at Clouds

I don’t know how many times I will need to learn the lesson of allowing what is to just be. Suffice to say it will be a lot. I know when I am calmer and just allow what ever is, to just be…its better….even if that means I don’t feel better in the moment. The ranting and raving and yelling against what I am feeling does nothing but dig me in deeper and wasting a lot of energy.

I don’t know that I can articulate yet the difference between wallowing and allowing. I often picture inviting the depression, the sadness, the anger to tea, sitting with it, allowing it and investigating with kindness (Thank you to both Rumi and Tara Brach for those tools!). As odd as that might sound, it allows me space between the sadness and myself. That space allows me to breathe and not be consumed by it all.

So. Here is to more practice and inviting it all to tea.  :)