Easy to make:
Let’s face it: most of us go through our lives holding on to stress. Day in and day out, we carry that stress along with us. Before we know it, stress has become the companion at our side during all hours of our days & nights.
Many of us live with so much stress, we simply get used to feeling overwhelmed.
Here’s the danger of living like this: any time our stress levels elevate, our body reacts negatively. This means you could be doing anything in a stressed state — eating, watching a movie, having sex, having lunch with a friend – if you’re doing it with stress, your cortisol level increases.
So what does increased cortisol in the body mean for us? The body’s response is to kick into “fight or flight” mode. The brain prepares the body to mobilize, enabling humans to allocate a lot of energy quickly in order to cope with threats and ultimately survive.
As you can imagine, this really came in handy for our ancestors during the early ages of human life. It allowed them to run from wild animals and keep their families safe. Even today in our modern age there are certainly times when this response is a critical reaction, our body’s way of equipping us for battle.
However, today we push ourselves into “fight or flight” mode when we truly don’t need to send our bodies into overdrive. We pack our schedules until we are so busy from the minute we wake up until sunset and beyond. We’re frantically attempting to return emails, rushing to work, picking up the kids and delivering them to their various activities, making dinner, packing lunches, studying, then preparing to wake up and do it all over again the next day.
Clearly, we are in a constant state of stress.
Now that you know this constant stress leads to increased cortisol, you also need to know that this repeated elevation of cortisol leads to weight gain.
So, let’s begin to take this stress apart by rethinking how we eat. When you sit down to a meal, take time to actually breathe, taking a moment to look at your beautiful food and think of all the reasons you’re grateful to have this nourishment.
It won’t be long before your stress starts to feel farther away. After a few long breaths in & out you’ll relax into a calm state, one where you can feel yourself unwind.
Now quietly check in with that voice inside and hear what it is asking for. What does your body desire, what does it need to feel nourished? What sounds satisfying to you right now?
You see, by allowing yourself to breathe slowly, you create the quiet you need to truly hear your body. You’re also allowing oxygen to flow more freely. Food becomes easier for the body to digest, leaving you feeling content after a meal.
Each and every one of us needs to eat to survive, but we take these moments for granted as we scarf food down under stress. Eating is natural and with a few small steps can be transformed into a pleasurable experience — there shouldn’t be guilt around eating!
So slow down. Breathe. Look at your food, smell it and feel grateful. Smile, laugh and savor it.
You deserve every delicious bite!
WILLPOWER: noun ; control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control.
For most of my life, I spent my days constantly judging myself. I told myself I had zero willpower until I really believed it. I would diet and lose weight, only to gain it (and more) back when I inevitably “fell off the wagon”.
I believed the only way I could have willpower was to follow someone else’s plan, but all of those plans seemed to revolve around deprivation of some kind.
The truth is, we all have willpower.
Take a moment and write down 3 things you have achieved in your life using your willpower. Getting a job, saving money, waiting to call that date that hasn’t called you back yet, the list goes on. There are PLENTY of times you have used your willpower without even realizing it!
What I’m about to say might surprise you, but weight gain is not related to willpower. Weight gain is usually caused by not allowing yourself to address your emotions.
In fact, taking a hard look at your relationship with food, your emotions and how the two are connected can be liberating and nothing short of life changing.
Dieting & food deprivation can so many times lead to emotional eating and binge eating because it makes us feel like failures when we slip up, leading us to believe we have no willpower.
The best way to move forward is to work on your emotions. Instead of using food for comfort, sit with your emotions.
What are you feeling?
Allow yourself to feel it, even if it’s scary or unpleasant.
It is scarier than shit, I know — I have been there many times, but once you allow yourself to feel your emotions, to really be present with them, you no longer want to stuff the feeling down with a tub of ice cream.
Now that’s liberation.
This has nothing to do with willpower. Willpower is not the question because trust me, you have plenty of it. You are strong, sensitive and beautiful. Embrace it.
Map out the areas in your life where you are feeling dissatisfied, unfulfilled, and maybe even unheard. Sit with it and see what feelings bubble up to the surface.
Journal about it.
When you feel something scary, sit with it, breathe into it and know that it will pass — I promise. This is a gift: your body is talking to you!
I would love for you to comment about areas in your life that make you feel you lack willpower, and the emotions that come up around those areas.
You are not alone! XO
Self love: it’s one of those buzz words you’ve probably heard before. It implies relaxation, taking care of one’s self, and generally finding ways to like who we are.
But what exactly does that mean, and what does it have to do with our deep desire to lose weight & feel healthy?
Self love is the starting point. It’s is the place that we so often ignore. We get so busy and wrapped up in life, putting everyone else’s needs first and ignoring our own.
Because we put ourselves last, our bodies & minds start crying out for attention, often in the form of cravings. Suddenly we’re reaching for sugar, alcohol, pizza, you name it.
Heres the good news: those craving are actually emotions communicating with us, begging us to pay attention.
Instead of judging or growing angry with these emotions, what if we found a way to see the signals as opportunities? What would happen if we thanked them, and truly began to listen, to see what we are feeling in that very moment?
Suddenly, it becomes okay to ask ourselves: “What do you need, what are you not saying or allowing yourself to feel?” And better yet, we open ourselves to truly hearing the answers.
I know what you’re thinking: this is way easier said than done. In these moments I have found these tips to help me learn to slow down and see what it is my body is asking for:
1. Journaling. Yes, we have all heard it a million times. If you are anything like me, I will really hop on it for a week or two, then inevitably get “busy”, ultimately not sticking with it. But if we desire different results, if we want to feel differently, we must try some new things. Really make an effort to journal, at least once a day. If that feels overwhelming then make a commitment of time, no matter how short, to journal. Even once a week to check in will help you keep clear on your thoughts.
2. Do something fun. We all tend to get so overloaded with life, work, emails, facebook, instagram… the list goes on. Try to step away and create boundaries for your own sake. Add in something fun daily! This does not need to cost money; it can be as simple as reading a book, or even grabbing that camera or guitar that’s collecting dust in your closet. Get creative! The more fun we create, the more laughter we generate, and as we know laughter is the best endorphin around!
3. Exercise. Simply put, move your body! It doesn’t have to mean crazy aerobic workouts. Take a dance class, walk , try yoga or pilates — find something that fits for YOU. Take baby steps but commit to moving your body for just 15 minutes a day. After doing this, you will be amazed at how grounded you feel. Plus, your body thanks you for taking the time to put it first!
4. Meditate. I know what you’re thinking: “How will I fit this into my day?” Yep, that was me a year ago. Here is one way: wake up 10-15 minutes early and just allow yourself to be mindful, present and set your intentions for the day. You will soon find when you do this your day will be filled with ease and you will accomplish more with less stress.
5. Pamper!! This word implies guilt with so many women. You heard it here: I am allowing you to pamper yourself. Go get that massage, get that manicure or take that bubble bath. You not only deserve it, you need it, so go on, give yourself permission to pamper yourself!
You will find a lot of our body issues lead back to us not allowing ourselves to put self love & care first. Remember, cravings are our friends. They are simply our body’s way of talking to us. It’s up to us to take the time to listen.