A Bowl of Disappointment

A Bowl of Disappointment

What were you hoping to find at the bottom of that bowl of ice cream? What were you seeking from the last crumbs in the package of cookies? What did you long to see or feel when the last potato chip was gone? I want you to know that I know that there is always a good reason for eating – for emotional eating, compulsive eating, or binge eating – any form of out-of-control eating. It’s often a search for something you can’t find any other way in that moment. A drive, an urge, a compulsion that needs to be expressed right now. Something that is fighting to be seen, heard, felt, let out – and sometimes reaching for food is the only way you know how to find it. It’s like searching for the prize in the box of cereal – the toy in the package of Cracker Jacks. Only, like the cheap, plastic toy or the silly paper tattoo at the bottom of that box, when we look at the bottom of the empty bowl, we end up disillusioned. Sure, for a few minutes (or maybe even a little bit longer), there was that moment of relief. Of satisfaction. Of release of all of that tension. But that relief quickly turns to disappointment. Disappointment that we didn’t learn our lesson last time. That the answer still cannot be found even when all of the food is gone. That the good feeling – the contentment – was so fleeting. So what was it that you were hoping to find? Was it relief from physical pain? Was it soothing your emotional discomfort? Taking away your stress, the tension in your mind and body? Or was it simply a few moments of escape from a life or a body that isn’t the way it is supposed to be? No matter what the reason, I am certain that it was a good one. And that – at least for a little while – you did find the relief you were looking for. Because if it didn’t work at all, it would be so much easier to stop doing it. And even though when that last cookie has left the package empty at last, reality floods back in and we realize that we screwed up again, that instant of comfort is what we hold onto – that one moment that allowed us to escape the pain, the discomfort, the unbearable tension. And that memory is the one that is carved out into our mental patterns – our actual neurology – and it is what brings us back to seek that release again and again. Except that it didn’t really work. When we...

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Acknowledging the Elephant

Acknowledging the Elephant

If you have followed my blog at all, you know that I tend to borrow from my own experiences in making peace with food, my body – and myself – in the hopes that my story and the lessons I’ve learned will serve as guidance and inspiration for my readers. I’m going to go a different direction today because the world’s current political and social climate has simply become impossible for me to ignore. So today I’m going to acknowledge the elephant in the room – actually a handful of those elephants, of which there are many. I imagine that just a mere mention of world events is evoking images in your mind, as it does in mine. The travesties and despair in Aleppo, Syria. America’s post-election climate of fear, hatred, prejudice, racism and division. Locally to me, the recent fire in Oakland, CA that took so many young lives. The brave fight for clean water and respect for sacred ground at Standing Rock. The list goes on and on. And it may leave you feeling a bit lost and confused, as it has done to me. Confusion around how to help. Around feeling helpless. Wondering how we keep trudging along in our lives when it feels like the walls are caving in. When nothing we do feels as important as what’s happening out there, over there. When our lives, our problems, our challenges start to feel so trivial in comparison. And for my fellow sensitive souls, for the empaths among us, wondering how much more we can take. Feeling the darkness and the sadness and the fear and the hatred and the disregard for humanity and for our Mother Earth envelop us. Wondering where it’s all going and when and how it will end. How do we live our lives of relative privilege without feeling guilty about it? How do we not trivialize our problems and challenges in comparison to what others are going through? Why do we get to be safe and comfortable and even happy when there is tragedy in the world? Yes. All of that. Which is why I felt compelled to bring this topic into the light. Because I feel that too. So what now? What are some ways to cope? I won’t claim to have the most wisdom on this topic but I will share what I’m learning and doing. Love trumps hate. Love trumps fear. Love always wins. Look for ways to spread love. To feel more love. Love for yourself, for those closest to you, for your community, for humanity, for the planet. Turn up the dial on goodness, on wisdom, on peace, on joy. Allow that glow to spread –...

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It’s Time to Stop Hiding

It’s Time to Stop Hiding

I’ve been hiding out. The truth is that I’ve been feeling a bit insecure about my body. And even though I do believe in loving your life at every size, I haven’t been fully practicing what I preach in my own life. Part of me has been afraid of being judged. Even though I’ve come a long way in how I feel about myself and my body, and even though there is a body positivity movement, my fears of being judged are still deeply entrenched. And yet I realize that unless I can come out of hiding, be authentic, be vulnerable, be unapologetic about who I am and where I am, (1) I’ll never fully heal those old wounds and (2) how can I expect the same from you? So this is me, embracing all of who I am, believing that I am perfectly imperfect, whatever the size of my body. I am here to help women heal from their wounding around their bodies. And from their challenges with food. I can’t do that if I’m unwilling to step into the light. Today I’m doing that in two ways – the first is in my writing. The second is in sharing some pictures from a photo shoot I did a couple of months ago. Yes, it’s time to update the 5-year-old pictures on my website and social media accounts. Starting here, in my blog. Going forward, I commit to continuing to be here, open and transparent, in the hopes that my vulnerability can help you live a more open, authentic life as well. So, I ask you – where have you been hiding out? We can hide in many ways: Trying not to be seen by staying home or hiding in an oversized wardrobe Staying quiet when we really want to challenge the status quo Binge eating in secret Hiding debt or money issues from our partners Being the good one or the responsible one and taking care of everyone else when what we truly need is for someone to take care of us for once Pretending everything is okay when we are really on the verge of falling apart Do any of these ring true? How else might you be hiding some piece of your truth? And, more importantly, what benefit are you getting from hiding? We tend to hide for a couple of reasons – fear and shame. Fear of being seen, fear of losing something we value, fear of being judged. Or shame of something we’ve done (or not done), shame of who we are compared to who we think we should be, shame of being dishonest with ourselves or others. Marianne Williamson said “Our deepest...

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Resist the Temptation!

Resist the Temptation!

It’s that time of year again. That’s right. Resolution time. The New Year. When the gyms are full again. When the media is full of empty promises. When you have to really try hard to avoid it. The Temptation. I’m not talking about the temptation we usually associate with weight and diets and willpower. I’m talking about the temptation of The Chase. The Chase for the answer. This time. When all of the other times failed. This year will be the year. Oprah says Weight Watchers will make 2016 the year of her (and your) Best Body Yet. She’s hard to avoid right now. If you have a TV, her commercials are prolific – promising that WW has changed. This time it will be different. Marie Osmond lost 60 pounds on NutriSystem. Ooh – maybe those processed, packaged, pre-measured foods are the answer. Jenny Craig is being thanked by kids and husbands for the amazing new lives she brought to their moms and wives. Alyssa Milano says Atkins is the answer. Same story, new year. And then there are all of the infomercials for the latest and greatest pills, potions, DVDs, workouts, contraptions, equipment – all promising that this one will work. This is better than all of the others. Just look at our success stories! You too can look like me! Just 10 payments of $19.95! And if all of that isn’t enough, I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed is full of the latest 21-day, 7-day or 30-day cleanse / detox / clean-eating program / challenge to start the new year off right. It’s enough to make your head spin. If it weren’t all so darned tempting, right? Because deep down you still want to lose weight. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Not having the answer. And so desperately needing it. Because there just has to be one. Right? Other people have done it. Why not you? Really. Why not you? I get it. I’ve felt that desperation. That moment when you go to get dressed in the morning and nothing fits. When you step on the scale and can’t believe what it says. When you look in the mirror and don’t know how it got this way. So now here you are with this plethora of bandwagons rolling out in front of you – and a choice. Which one do you jump on this time? One of them has got to be the answer, right? Because where you are is no longer tolerable. Wait. Hang on. Breathe. Pause for a moment. You’ve been here before. You’ve been on this chase. And where did it get you? Right back here, to this moment again. So this...

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Are You Resolved?

Are You Resolved?

New Year’s Eve. It’s a time when many of us are thinking about Resolutions. Ways to better ourselves. To change. To evolve. re·solve rəˈzälv/ Decide firmly on a course of action. How are your resolutions shaping up? If you are like a lot of people, they might look something like these: Go to the gym 3 times a week. Cut out sugar. Eat more vegetables. Run a half-marathon. No more fried foods. Lose 10 (or 20 or 30) pounds. Do a 21-day cleanse. Get back on track. Fix myself. Do. Something. Different. Because what I’ve been doing isn’t working. Now don’t get me wrong. I think New Year’s is a great time for a fresh start. For re-evaluating what’s working and what isn’t. For renewal. For taking stock. For making new choices. For discarding the old and embracing the new. What I don’t think it’s time for is coming up with a big long list of “shoulds”. So let’s take a closer look at that list of resolutions, goals, and intentions. How do they make you feel? What would it require for you to follow through on them? Are you looking forward to doing them? Or will they require willpower? Is there a feeling of dread? A churning in the pit of your stomach? A voice in your head reminding you how many times you’ve failed at them? Remember, the reason you want to start over is because what you’ve been doing isn’t working. So if you are re-hashing old resolutions because you think they are what you should be doing, maybe it’s time to re-think them. I firmly believe that any goal or resolution or plan that has its roots in willpower, deprivation, should, dread, fear, force, stress, unease, or any other negative feeling is doomed to fail. And with its failure comes self-deprecation, self-loathing, self-recrimination, self-hatred, self-blame, shame, guilt, stress, and a whole host of negative feelings that do nothing for that healthy glow you were after when you started. So what’s a strong, amazing, gorgeous, empowered woman who wants to better herself supposed to do with that? What if you still want to set some goals, intentions, or resolutions? What if you still want to eat better, exercise more, shed some weight? Are you wrong for wanting that? Heck, no! I just want you to want it because it you love it, because you love you! I want you to make choices that light you up, that make you feel good, that bring you feelings of joy, bliss, longing, excitement, inspiration! Eat beautiful, nourishing foods that bring you pleasure and eat them slowly, savoring each bite, truly tasting and experiencing your meals. Bring the love and...

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The Good Little Dieter

The Good Little Dieter

For a long time, I was a very good dieter. I think it stems from the fact that I was the perennial good girl in my youth (something I’m not sure I ever fully grew out of). For me it wasn’t ever really a willpower thing – you know, the not cheating. It was more about being good. Being perfect. Living up to something. You see, when I was being good, I was very, very good. But there was also the other side. The binger. The not so very good. I was the little girl from the poem. The one with the curl, right in the middle of her forehead. Do you remember that one? It goes like this: There was a little girl,  And she had a little curl Right in the middle of her forehead.    When she was good     She was very, very good, And when she was bad she was horrid. ~ From “There was a little girl” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) That pretty much described my relationship with food for A LOT of years. It was either very, very good. Or it was horrid. Not much in between. One or the other. Perfect little dieter. Detailed calorie counter. Precise macronutrient tracker. Or. Out of control binge eater. Emotional eater. Compulsive overeater. Either / or. One or the other. Black or white. No shades of grey. Masculine or feminine. Restriction or excess. Deprivation or overindulgence. No moderation. No balance. My food life was one of extremes and my biggest fear was that if I stopped the control side, I would live in the out of control side. So I kept holding on to the control for as long as I could and each time I lost my grip, I’d swing out of control again. Year after year. Sometimes I’d hold on for days, sometimes for months, but over and over again, the pattern repeated. Until finally, decades later, after feeling like I’d tried everything else I could try, I let go. I just let go (reluctantly, but I did it). And, yes, it took some time for the swinging to stop. But it did finally stop. That’s the thing about pendulums – they obey the laws of physics. When I stopped pulling it to the control side, it stopped being swung to the out of control side. Eventually the violent swinging slows down to a gentle sway. Dieting. It seems so simple. So innocuous in the beginning. Drop a few pounds. Lose the muffin top. Get beach ready. Feel better in your skin. Be healthier. More confident. Happier. But in the end they are all empty promises. It all comes down to physics. Preservation of...

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