What Makes You Happy?


A great Americano with half and half.

My husband.

My daughter.

Trips and dining experiences with friends.


Giant heart felt hugs.

Meeting some one for the first time and immediately recognizing a kindred spirit.

Taking an easy walk in nature.

(note: not a complete list. ūüėÄ )

When I ponder what makes me happy a smile comes to my face, there is a shift in my heart and I feel a wee bit more peace. ¬†It’s worth spending a few minutes during your day thinking about what makes you happy. If you do, I would love for you to share what came up for you.


The Pull of The Voice

I still feel that pull of that voice.
That inner voice that tells me I should be thinner.

When I am at an event that I am looking forward to that voice talks to me.

“It would be better if you were thinner. Other people would like that more. They would like YOU more if you were thinner.”

LIAR. That voice is a fucking liar. Its the one that tells you that you are not good enough as you are, that happiness is over there, never where or who you are right now.

Learn to hear that voice. Then you figure out how best to deal with it. Notice it. Tell it to shut up. Or tune it out. What ever you do don’t listen to it or don’t buy what its telling you.

Life is bigger


When it comes down to it, I feel that we are a mess with our bodies and our food, because we are a mess with ourselves. ¬†We may have learned that through our families of origin, through brainwashing in society ‚Äď ads in magazines, fitness magazines, what ever. Some of it may have even be thrown upon us through trauma. In the end, I am not sure the how matters as we are responsible for ourselves and getting ourselves back on the path of love, peace and happiness. ¬†That path where¬†we are comfortable in our own skin, where we love who we are in the world, where we are the best us that we can be.

Life is more than the agony of another failed diet, of food obsession, of hours in the gym training for penance of something we ate or because its what we have to do to feel normal. Life is bigger than the number on the scale.


Come join the conversation and be a part of the change at the Peaceful Body Project on November 7th.

Details and ticket info here: http://peacefulbodyproject.com

Birthday Thoughts

I am another year older today and I love it.  It is easy in our society where youth is valued to dread getting older. I can get caught up in that too but I know that I am thankful for every day of life that I get.

I don’t know how many days I have so I want to savor and enjoy
each one. There are many who didn’t get to live to see 43 so I feel fortunate.

Today I am fortunate to have woken

I lifted this morning.

I drank coffee this morning.

I meditated and reflected on all that life is this morning. It brought me to tears in gratitude of it all.

Enjoy your EVERY day.

Awake and Alive, baby!

You Don’t Have Time Not To Be Kind

Very frequently, I have people say to me “I love your positive self talk stuff but I am terrible with it. I am so mean to myself.”

I’m like thank you but really?! STOP!

Stop being mean to yourself. 
It’s possible. I promise!

Somehow we have learned to be ok with being brutal with ourselves as if this makes us better in this world.

I don’t think that is true.

It’s one thing to be firm with yourself and not permit things that you have learned bring you suffering or harm – like a parent not letting a child run into the street.

It’s another to be vicious.

“You are disgusting.” “Who are you to think you deserve this?”¬† “You don’t belong here.” “You are not good enough.”¬† “You are going to fail again.” “Why¬† did you think you could do this, loser?”

Any of that sound familiar ?

That kind of dialog¬†is not ok and not helpful. That mean voice needs to be recognized and stopped. Learn to be kind to yourself. It’s from there that acceptance and change can take place. Be relentless in your kindness to yourself. ¬†Figure it out like it is your job. ¬†It is your job because no one is going to do this for you.

Be relentlessly kind to yourself.

How? You practice and you practice and you practice. A million times over. Life will give you plenty of opportunities to practice, I promise. You notice and you make a different choice until it becomes habit. It doesn’t even matter that you sometimes forget. What is important is that you remember and come back.

You don’t have time to keep living that unkindness, that viciousness.¬†Do you really want to be in your later years (if you¬†are lucky to live to old age) and still be mean to yourself? Still hating pictures of yourself? Still berating yourself? Still wishing to your core that you are¬†somehow better or different? Still thinking you¬†are not worthy?


Live now. Have peace now. Love who you are now. Be relentlessly kind now.

Its love, baby.

When I was very young, there was a woman in my church who was a children’s group leader and friends with my parents. For a period of time in my life, I saw her frequently. ¬†She irritated me when I was little for the strangest reason. She told every one she loved them all the time. Every interaction. Every hello and good bye. All the time. Every one I saw her interact with. It felt excessive, weird and uncomfortable to me at the time. I come from an affectionate and loving family and it still felt like a lot – or at least a lot coming from some one who I wasn’t “friends” with or who was family.

Looking back on it, I respect¬†her style. Why not tell people you love them all the time if you feel it? I gush on my friends and family all the time. I may not say I love you (all though to many of them I do) but I damn well want them to know as often as possible that I am grateful to have them in my life and I treasure what ever time I get with them. ¬†Its not an inauthentic gushing, its a true “I-feel-this-big-in-my-heart” outpouring. I haven’t tried it with strangers yet. ūüėÄ

I heard a story about Sam Dancer (if you don’t know who he is look him up – he is all about LOVE) and how he calls 5 random people on his phone every day and says “I can’t talk right now but I wanted to let you know that I love you.” Then he hangs up. ¬†I LOVE THAT SO MUCH. What bravery, what energy, what passion all done in love.

My Purpose:

A few years ago, I was able to have the opportunity to go to a leadership coaching retreat. It was here I spent time working on clearly determining my purpose and contribution to others and figuring out who I was at my most powerful. Out of this exercise came a phrase that I touch on as frequently as I remember to:

Joyously and authentically being love for myself and others.

Its my why. Its my meaning. Its what I am here to do.  <3

Love is all you need

When I am fulfilling this role, when I am living from and in this space, I am happy.  I touch the joy of being truly alive.

It is why I work at making my husband, daughter, family and friends feel love and cared for. It is why I coach so I can support and encourage others to be their best selves. Its why the Peaceful Body Project is important to me as I want others to have peace and love who they are. It is why I started ZenBarbell. It is why I talk all the time about loving who you are and I will do my damnedest to model that and love you for you until you are ready to do it for yourself. It is why I lift weights because it is love for myself. Its why I have worked so hard at fixing my relationship with myself, my body and my food because its love for me. Its why I have adventures, why I try and remember there are no rules, why I work on non-judgement, why I follow where the passion and energy take me, why I want to be mindful and present, why feel the fear and do it anyway, why try and be open and authentic in every interaction.

Its love, baby.

I want all my actions and motivations to come from love. Sometimes I nail it, other times I fail miserably. I am learning. Thankfully, I get many opportunities to practice.

Do you know your why? Your meaning? The thing that makes you feel fully alive? I would love to know about it.

My Journey with Food Part 3

What peace with food looks like

This is the third in a series about my journey with food. This post covers where I am today and what peace with food feels like.

Right now, my relationship with food is much more peaceful. My relationship with MYSELF is much more peaceful. ¬†Honestly, you cannot have one with out the other. I am convinced that we are a mess with our food and bodies because we are a mess with ourselves. ¬†You can’t love who you are and then torture yourself with food. You can’t eat in lovely ways when if you think you are disgusting, lazy, and gross.

I am amazed that I can say that I have peace. It is something that I never thought I would be able to say or have. Food has been the focus of so much torture, depression, anger, anxiety and stress. I never thought it would be peaceful.  My journey allowed me to be here. My seeking a better way allowed for me to be here.  Practicing again and again (x1000s of time) allowed for me to arrive here.

Eat the food-2

So with practice (meaning I don’t get it “right” 100% of the time), I eat what my body wants when I am hungry, feel when I feel when I don’t. ¬†When I started dealing with my emotions and thoughts, my compulsive eating diminished greatly. When I fueled myself regularly and focused abundance in my life instead of deprivation, my bingeing stopped. There was no need for it. I learned that could meet my needs in other ways and the food I wanted was always available if I wanted it. ¬†For me, there are no food rules. All foods are permitted as I don’t have an allergies or health conditions that would dictate otherwise. The removal for forbidden-ness took away the power of sneaking food, of compulsive eating.¬†My goals now are to fuel for my life and to savor and enjoy what I am eating.

The one big NO¬†I have around food and drink is to not allow myself to over consume to the point where I don’t feel good. I don’t want food making me feel miserable. That is not peaceful or comfortable. It is not being kind to myself.

Thanks to flexible dieting, I better understand the caloric needs of my body. I understand what maintenance looks like, what gaining looks like and what a deficit looks like. There is no off plan or on plan for me. There is no being crazy restrictive and eliminating certain¬†foods out of my diet. Its a matter of a few more or less calories in my day. This information¬†helped me figure out what calories are important to me and which are not. ¬†I guess this is the moderation thing that every one is talking about now. ūüôā

I wanted to share all of this because I know so many people struggle with food, with themselves. I never thought there was a way through. I want to tell you that there is.  It involves lots of learning and practice and being kind to yourself. Peace is possible.


Here are part 1 and part 2 in the series, in case you missed them. ūüôā

My Journey with Food Part 2

This is the second  in a three part series on my journey with food sharing where I started, my turning points and what I practice now.  Shared in hopes of helping others that are tired of the food rules, compulsive eating and not trusting your own body to know what it needs.

My turning point:

I was getting tired of the constant battle about food and my body. ¬† I have repeated the same cycle again and again. I would find a new plan thinking for sure that this time FOR SURE it would be the one to work for me. Maybe I would have results and peace for a while and then I would crash – binge again. Next¬†I would have the same tired conversations with my friends complaining about how unfair it all was, that it didn’t work for me and why didn’t I have the body I wanted.

I thought I was the one that was broken, lazy and a failure.  I just needed to find the right plan and buck up and stick with it. Even though it was this behavior that kept me stuck reliving the same patterns again and again.

While there are many moments that propelled me continually down the path of figuring out that what I was doing wasn’t working there is one that is very clear to me and its one I list as a big change point.

I was listening to a Geneen Roth course on her book Women, Food and God and heard her ask the question:

“How do you want to live your life?”

How do you want to live your life?It felt like a powerful question to me. I paused the audio and sat and pondered the question a bit.  Here is what I wrote:

Happy, open, free, joyful just being alive, peace with myself

Her second question is:

“How is that reflected in how I eat?”

Whoa. It was not. Eating was a battle and a constant source of misery. Not peaceful at all.

I committed to being different. ¬†My mantra is “Peace with myself.”

Putting that into practice through my eating has taken time and lots of practice. I also didn’t do it with out support. I had a good therapist to help ground and support me. She helped me learn deal with and face my emotions rather than avoiding and eating through them. ¬† I found some good groups, coaches and writers that supported finding peace, loving who you are and fueling yourself which included (but not exclusive to):

  • Tara Brach, a meditation teacher out of the Washington DC area who publishes weekly podcast talks around mindfulness, presences, and allowing for and being with what is. These talks, this teacher have helped me in so many ways I can’t even begin to describe.
  • Geneen Roth‘s work around the Eating Guidelines and compulsive eating and found a partner to explore that work with in our own lives.
  • Jill Coleman of Jillfit, who started out at as a figure competitor diet plan coach and has moved over the years to self development work and moderation in eating.
  • Go Kaleo and Sean Flanangan¬†who helped return me to the path of science based thinking
  • Krissy Mae Cagney’s Flexible Dieting 2.0, which seem to fit with all of the other things that I was learning and made a lot of sense to me.

In conjunction with the peace and learning, I did tremendous amount of work on dropping any expectations of perfection around getting the food stuff “right”. It is about practice and progress, not perfection.

The path is not smooth or easy and there was a lot of emotion involved but it was so worth the journey.  Peace with myself finally. <3

How do you want to live your life? How is the reflected in the way that you eat?

Part one can be found here.

My Journey with Food Part 1

This is the first in a three part series on my journey with food sharing where I started, my turning points and what I practice now.  Shared in hopes of helping others that are tired of the food rules, compulsive eating and not trusting your own body to know what it needs.

Where I started:

Have you ever sat back and thought about food through out your life? What you have believed (or may still believe), what you have tried, how you have been with food?

I did this recently and realized that I have been all over the map with food that makes up my diet. ¬†Growing up there was nothing too crazy just standard American fare. We didn’t eat out a lot and Mom cooked most meals. I don’t know that I was too aware of food rules – other than don’t snack too close to dinner to ruin your appetite and do not ask for a second piece of cake.

Starting in my early/mid 20s, ¬†I was high carb (or perhaps some days ALL carb: cereal for breakfast, pasta for lunch, ¬†pizza for dinner and coke all through out the day). I was vegetarian for 2 years and vegan for about 30 days. ¬†I was¬†low-carb in the mid-90s before it was even cool. ūüôā ¬†In my 30s and into my 40s, I was gluten free for three years and paleo for most of that as well. (BTW, for me Paleo + Crossfit = 30b weight GAIN!) ¬†I have seen nutritionists and diet coaches. I did a figure competition prep diet for about six months as well. ¬†The only system I didn’t try was weight watchers. ¬†I am not sure why except it seemed like a lot of effort¬†to figure out points and maybe I didn’t like the group weigh in and meetings either.

TLOCI have had a lot of time in my life with rules around foods, lists of things that I could or could not eat. Rules that have consistently shifted through out the years. Diet rules set by other people for me to follow. Rules to which I gave up my power and responsibility over my food. Rules that made me believe that I could not be trusted to know what was good for me, to know what my body wanted, to know what I needed. On top of that insanity and/or maybe BECAUSE of that insanity, I have been a mental mess with food as well.

I am a big compulsive eater. A binge eater. Or I was. ¬†I spent so much of my life eating through, over and around my emotions and things I didn’t want to deal with. At my heaviest, I was several years post-pregnancy, in a marriage that I didn’t want, deeply depressed, and desperately trying to figure out who I was and how to handle my life and motherhood. ¬†Its no wonder I got bigger and bigger. Food was the only relief and comfort I felt like I had.

What do you notice when you look back through your life? What have your food rules been? How are your emotions with food?



Being Kind To Yourself When You Don’t Feel Like It

This is an in the moment blog post so we will see how this goes.

I woke up angry. I am not even sure why. Some small stupid stuff happened that made me feel small. My inner monologue this morning is “I should have made better decisions. I should have paid attention. I should have been better.” ¬†Also, I was up in the middle of the night and not getting sleep makes me very cranky.

Whiny. Cranky. Angry. 

Part of me wants to give in an throw myself a big pity party.

However that is not my practice. My practice is being kind to myself always. ¬†I don’t feel like it and I don’t want to ¬†– or at least part of me doesn’t ¬†– but its what I am committed to.


Here is what I am doing:

  1. Take a deep breath. Take another one. (Repeat as needed, until you feel a wee bit more calm and present)
  2. Allow for what ever emotion is here. Accept and recognize it. I like to name it and see where it shows up in my body. (Anger, frustration, fear – black and boiling and rolling around in my stomach and making my body tense. )
  3. Tell yourself “Oh Sweetheart. Tell me all about it.” I know this might sound odd but the more I practice it the more I love it. You can find another phrase that works for you, of course. ¬†I find this phrase allows a greater, calmer, more compassionate me to listen to all of the emotion and need going on inside like a kind adult taking time to console an upset child.

This is opposed to what I want to say to myself this morning which is “dammit, snap the fuck out of it. You know better to than to be feeling this way. You are stupid. You are wasting time feeling this way. Just get over it.” ¬†This feels normal and natural to most of us but its not the kind way.

I feel offering your self kindness always allows us to fully process and deal with what is going on in a kind, safe way. ¬†The feelings don’t magically go away but I do feel more space, more openness PLUS¬†I have spent time building myself up, supporting myself in a loving way rather than tearing myself down. That is a win. Practiced again and again over time it is very powerful.

Enjoy your beautiful day!