This episode goes hand in hand with the last one, except this time I'm talking about your Inner Athena. We need our inner Warrior, it's essential to be able to fight and go into battle mode when we need to.
However, in modern twenty first century we are living in chronic stress, and our inner warriors are EXHAUSTED!!!
When this happens, we gain weight, not matter what we are trying to do to lose it! And, in fact, some of the things we try, like crash diets, actually push us more into battle mode, which is guaranteed to fail. Learn how to use your other inner Athena skill to find balance and lose weight in a way that lasts.
*I promise I will never share your email address with anyone, and I am very considerate of how often I email you, approximately 1-3 times per month. I will only use your email to let you know about new podcast episodes, when I release books and journals, and occasionally a great deal or gifts :)
This is the podcast you do NOT want to miss!! I share some of the most amazing, transformative, and yet SIMPLE techniques to start get immediate results in your life!! Whether you are ready to lose weight, eat better, or simply be happier, listen to this episode now!!!
*I promise I will never share your email address with anyone, and I am very considerate of how often I email you, approximately 1-3 times per month. I will only use your email to let you know about new podcast episodes, when I release books and journals, and occasionally send you gifts :)
I'm going to share something about my work that I sometimes try to keep a bit of a secret! Whenever I work with someone who wants to lose weight, I actually start my work with them on all the other things. I've found by approach things in this "through the backdoor" way, that I can actually more quickly discover what's actually at the root, causing the extra weight, and help my clients reach their natural weight much faster!
One part of the unravelling of this mystery is looking at how we are taking care of ourselves. I've been doing that with some of my friends and colleagues as well. I hope this story from Marianita Love Pabalate and her journey to overcome exhaustion helps you gain awareness on how my approach really looks at the WHOLE you!
Let's get started by jumping right in. This series is about personal stories of extreme exhaustion, and how they affect us and our lives. Unfortunately people throw around terms like "exhausted" or "burned out" like a badge of honor. When you hit a point where your energy was so low that you really considered it serious, how did you know?
Physically after the lack of sleep and body fatigue, I always feel heavy. It felt like I'm dragging my every step. I have no motivation to move. And my gut was unbalanced, it was not happy. Mentally, my mind was blank, empty. No matter which of my go-to creative inspirational thing I do, nothing works. It feels like all my creative energy has been literally sucked out of me with a vacuum and I deflated.
Thank you for sharing. I got inspired to ask others to share their story with exhaustion when I faced my own diagnosis of adrenal fatigue. It's a sad reality that so many people face that or have a lifestyle that is sending them down that path. After you realized you needed things to change how did you go about it?
First thing I did was accepted the fact that I am tired and exhausted. That I should stop working, for now, get my mind off work, do not touch any pencil or paintbrushes nor my planner. I reflected. Went back to gratitude, for all the things that are happening, happened, and about to happen. I went back to my values. My values were definitely not being met that's why I reached the point of burned out. I then realized which ones I need to attend to.
Was it a smooth journey?
I wouldn't say it was a smooth journey. Because controlling myself to not work, not worry about work, and just relax was hard. I always had the urge to keep moving, whether it's laundry, cleaning, errands, etc.
You've been through a lot. You've been to what I call "the pit of despair," where everything feels so overwhelming or demanding that you kind of want to throw in the towel. And yet I know for myself that it was not depression. Depression, of course, is its own dark place, but fatigue is different. For me, I still wanted to do the normal things... But felt like it was just too much work. What advice do you have for someone who feels fatigued or even simply worn out on an ongoing basis?
Do not ignore signs and do not ignore your values. These are our guiding principles. With this chaotic and demanding world, we had always gone with the flow of constantly moving. If we can regularly check in with ourselves, ask the real hard questions like "How are you REALLY feeling?" It can help us limit the burned out feeling.
Was your weight a concern during this time in your life? If so, how did overcoming the fatigue change what was going on with your weight?
Weight was not a usual concern, other than when I know I've been overworking I don't eat regularly. Over time I can lose weight. Or stressed that I eat random unhealthy binges. Or time when I do not consider my wellness because of lack of inspiration which coincide with lackluster feeling about myself and business, I could gain weight.
Is there anything you can say was a silver lining to the experience you had with fatigue/exhaustion?
It just further reminded me that I need to check in with myself regularly. And that I should always put myself first, my wellness, and love on myself first.
OK, now for a few fun questions! Where do you live and what do you do there-for work and for fun?
I live in Los Angeles, CA. I am a freelance illustrator and I have my own business with my art inspired pieces. Just like other city dwellers, I like to see friends hang out at a cafe, venture out to new restaurants, visit local museums and events, drive up to nearby cities for getaways or drive to the mountainside.
What is a surprising food you just love to eat?
I like bitter foods. I like dark chocolates, the 90%+ kind, and dishes with bittermelon.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I still enjoy watching whimsical animation movies and cartoons, even those made for kids.
Thank you! Where can people find you to learn more about you?
Marianita Love Pabalate, artist and owner of RipeMangoes.com
Ok, as you know, my guided journal launched over Thanksgiving and hit #1 in it's ebook category twice over the holiday weekend. I was obviously riding high!
So, it's been a month now and I'm not obsessively checking the page anymore :)
But, because of the past obsessive watching, I went to amazon just to buy something the other day, and it auto-populated the website address to my journal's direct page... and my heart did a jump.
Because I had a one star review :(
So, in all honesty, here is how things went down.
My first reaction: Ego/anger.
"Who wrote this? Do I KNOW this person??" I looked at her amazon page (only three reviews, two x one star, one x five star), no other information. I had no idea who she was.
My second reaction: Stuff down the emotions.
"Okay, Alegra, this is going to happen. You can't only have 5 star reviews. Get over it and just move on." This is tricky because it actually feels helpful. It's true that getting agro and wanting to figure out if I can identify who wrote this is not serving me... but moving on and forgetting about actually isn't serving me either.
My third reaction: Sit with it.
So, I had to sit with it. I had to take it to bed with me and let it percolate. I had to let my ego do its thing, so I could go deeper to the stuff behind the stuff. It didn't exactly keep me up, but it was definitely on my mind as I fell asleep and again when I woke up.
(Feels a little crazy to say that. Feels like I "should" be tougher than that. Feels like I "should not" be so affected. But yet... I am. This is me. I want everyone to think my journal is 5 stars and it upsets me that someone thinks it is 1 star.)
My fourth reaction: Inspired acceptance.
As I lay with these feelings... it did start to seem like less of a threat. I realized, as I wrote and re-wrote a million possible comments to her review on amazon (in my head, of course), that what she said was in some ways irrelevant and in some ways a helpful critique.
She actually didn't realize it was a journal. With blank pages. To be written upon. So she was surprised at the lack of "information." That's useful - I want other people to know what they are buying. And at the same time, she wasn't really reviewing the content; she hadn't done the journal.
So it is what it is.
I came up with a way to acknowledge the fact that I appreciated her pointing out that yes, it is a journal, and yes, it has blank space. And I also asked her to share her new perspective if she chose to answer the prompts.
How this applies to the rest of life...
And guess what... ALL of this process applies to emotional eating, too!
Initial reactions rarely serve. The stuffing it down is usually where we get stuck - literally stuffing the food down in order to stuff the feelings down. The sitting with it is SO SCARY!
And yet, only when we sit and actually feel it (whatever "it" is) can we get to inspired acceptance or action.
That is the EXACT reason why I created a JOURNAL and not a book of information. People have enough information. In fact, we have TOO MUCH information. What we don't have is the time and space to reflect on what the hell is happening in our lives that is making us eat the food we don't want to eat and/or obsess over the one star reviewers in our life.
But the truth is... there is always going to be someone who thinks I'm one star. And there is always going to be BS in our life that makes us want to eat that pint of Ben and Jerry's.
So what we all need is a plan and a path to process the feelings and reactions we have, in order to make sure we are taking inspired action.
You can start by blaming the 1-star factor in your life. Take my quiz to find out who or what it is!
In the health world people like to talk about holiday weight gain. It's a lie.
Happy New Year!!!!
The truth is that holiday weight loss can happen just as easily as holiday weight gain. And even if you do gain weight, it's not the 7 pounds average other so-called gurus are trying to scare you with. Holiday weight gain statistics are not that stark.
But if your new year's resolution weight loss goals feel at odds with the new year's weight loss statistics, then rest easy.
I have a different kind of weight loss plan.
This is not like a weight loss challenge, where you try to starve yourself and obsessively watch the scale. This is not a series of weight loss tips that work for a while, and then someone stop working. This isn't even really a weight loss program, because there are no rules, nothing to give up, nothing to stop eating.
This IS an approach to weight loss that works. It is one of the healthiest, easiest, and fastest ways to lose eight that STAYS off.
This IS a "program" that allows you to eat every single food you love, without restriction or ever feeling hungry.
Don't start at the end
Most health advice is totally backwards. It starts off by telling you what to eat, what not to eat, and counting all kinds of numbers. BORING!
I don't waste your time with any of that nonsense.
Okay okay, it's not total nonsense. There are times when focusing on specific things in your diet and counting specific numbers are really important. But for the VAST MAJORITY of people who simply want to lose weight and look and feel their best... it is not necessary to count anything, and in fact it will backfire, ruin your so called "Diet" and end up making you eat more junk food in the long term.
Because it's more than boring to count all those numbers, it's depressing and it is a distraction from what is actually going on in your body and mind.
I help my clients forget all that BAD advice and create their own personal whole body connection!
Don't Let the Products Guide You
This is actually how we got into such a mess with all the counting in the first place!!!
Food manufacturers have one goal: sell as much as their product as possible, which they do by getting you to eat as much as possible. #sadbuttrue
Just like numbers, reading about the "health claims" on food actually disconnect you from your own desire, and puts some idea about what you "should" be doing into your mind instead.
Looking at the package separates your from your body and your intuition.
And also buy quality foods with the shortest ingredient list possible, and simply "ingredients" whenever you can as well. That makes it WAY easier to the whole trusting your body thing.
Forget ALL The Rules & Restrictions
Yup. I said it.
Forget ALL the rules. Because rules and food just don't go together.*
(*As always, please trust and follow your doctor's medical advice because there are always exceptions to the rules, even the rule that you shouldn't have any rules.)
The truth is that everyone is preaching about what you should or shouldn't eat.
But no berry from the amazon is going to make you live forever, just as one bag of hot cheetos isn't going to kill you.
And, worse yet, all the mixed messages and crazy hype about the good and evil foods of the world actually just cause us to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and end up causing us to make BAD decisions.
Again, all this damn information DISCONNECTS us from our bodies! We just can't tune in when we have to think so freaking much!! And when we are disconnected we grab the cookies or the chocolate or the whatever and eat it... and then we feel SO BAD about it!!!
Allowing yourself to eat freely actually FREES you to eat WELL.
Stop FIghting With Yourself
As soon as you tell yourself,
“You can never eat _____” …
it is guaranteed that another part of you will start demanding ____!
This sets you up to sabotage ALL your efforts!
Any approach to health based on all those rules and restrictions we just talked about? This will always lead you to battle within yourself, and when you battle yourself... YOU always lose.
Oh, also, when you are fighting with yourself? You can't tune in, which we've talked about is really important.
Also, any time you hear yourself saying "Should" means you are fighting with yourself. Should with food is always a judgmental statement.
I should stop eating sugar.
I should choose the low carb/fat/whatever menu item.
I should not eat that delicious thing.
I should eat that thing I don't really want but think will help me lose wight.
Those are all ways of telling yourself that you suck and you don't deserve what you want. I know this because I used be in a world of shoulds. I broke free from that kind of approach, and I want to help every woman do the same thing now. When you connect your food to your desire, there is no more should.
So, tune in to those shoulds. When you hear yourself saying you "should" then what you "should" do is take a pause and check in with yourself.
This is the #1 Most Toxic Thing In Your Diet
This is the ONE thing that actually causes us to gain weight, whether at the holidays or any other time of year.
This one thing causes us to...
•Eat more sugar
•Feel bad about ourselves
It's not sugar, artificial colors, saturated fat, or any other ingredient.
The #1 most toxic thing in your diet is guilt!
Yup, guilt is at the heart of almost all emotional eating. And it also contributes to mindless eating, too (the close cousin on emotional eating).
Restrictive programs should be shunned as a miserable way to achieve health goals.
There is room for every food you love when you focus on the joy and not the calories.
When You Love Every Bite…
You don’t feel guilty when you choose to eat a cupcake or get take out because you know it’s the right thing for you right then.You are empowered to make EXACTLY the right choice for you.
So stop blaming yourself
Its simple and life changing to stop blaming yourself for the emotional eating and binges.
Ready to get started???
With my quiz it's simple and also FUN. Because now that you know it's not your fault, you get to find out whose fault it is!!!
The other day was a doozy.
My kids can be crazy. Straight up monsters. I know all kids are difficult, but when my kids BOTH get going, they get a bit extreme.
So a few days ago they were just wild in the morning. They wouldn't listen. My 4 year old freaked out when I told him to put pants on and swiped his arm across the counter, knocking all my things down... including my phone, which stopped being able to make calls after that (though I didn't realize for a few hours, just thought it was the network. In hindsight this was lucky.)
We were late, which makes me crazy. And I was PISSED.
And for whatever reason I just couldn't shake it. I tried to apologize. I explained that I was really mad. I told them I was trying to change my attitude. And that uggy feeling just wouldn't go away.
So pause for a minute. THIS IS NORMAL. It's normal my kids are goons sometimes. And it's also normal to just have really bad days when you are pissed at the world over fairly mundane things.
After I finally got both kids to school, I drove to the gym. Everything on the radio was BUGGING me. I couldn't shake it!
I had a few minutes. I called my sister. That distracted me a bit and I felt like I was finally moving on.
And then I went into my strength class, started piling up my sets of weights, bands, mat, risers... and this woman says to me, "Is this your stuff?"
"Could you move it over there?" (She points three feet away but more in center of room.)
"Uh, yeah." I respond, kinda wondering why, but not thinking too much about it.
But as I kick all my pile of gear a few feet over I think more... she has NO stuff piled up yet.
WHY THE FUCK DOESN'T SHE GO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM?????
Oh girl... when this dawned me 15 seconds later, I had dagger eyes. I had to move to the entirely other corner of the room because I could just tell I was going to PISSED!
And I was. I couldn't even LOOK at that byotch the entire class.
I was so angry. It was by most measures totally unjustified.
And yet... I don't care. I don't care I was mad at her. I'll probably hate her forever. (I mean, assuming I never actually get to know her and she remains the anonymous self absorbed person to take the last spot on the wall even when someone else is CLEARLY claiming it.)
And even lifting some hard ass weights didn't check that anger.
But guess what did! I went home and started WORKING!
Which, also, by some measures is not the healthiest choice. We shouldn't ALWAYS distract ourselves from our feelings with work. That is what workoholics do.
(Using anything to distract from our feelings can be unhelpful. This is often the challenge of ending the habit of using food to deal with our stress or emotions. We need more than one tool in the tool kit. )
But in this case, it was perfect. I already knew that my anger was not necessarily commiserate with the unfolding of the morning. And some days are just like that.
My business coach who also gives me spiritual advice is always telling me to embrace my feelings, and I did. I embraced. I allowed. Then I worked my booty off to move on!!
And I blame that woman for ruining my morning.
The best news??? I made this super fun and insightful QUIZ to find out who YOU can blame!
I want to challenge something right now.
It might be uncomfortable. I want to challenge the idea that portion control is a healthy way to eat.
Because I understand, as a total control freak my self, the temptation to try to control what I eat.
(The funny thing is that I used to consider my self "Type B." I actually thought I was super laid back, didn't worry too much about things, could go with the flow.
However, having children made me realize that I'm actually extremely controlling! It's just that before kids I was successfully controlling most of my world... and then I had kids and have been basically white-knuckling the edge of the table since they were born, staring in amazement because my mind is blown that I am so unable to control things now.
Sooooo.... it was more like I could be all relaxed and "Type B" because I was so damn good at being Type A that I didn't even know it!)
Also, I used to try to control what I ate. And, interestingly, for a long time that was also out of my control. And it was a real challenge in my life.
The things in my life that felt shitty (in hindsight, basically all the things I could not control), made me want to eat sugar.
I'd try to NOT eat sugar, fail, and then just eat more sugar.
And in my business now I connect with many women who share that they feel that way about many other types of food as well, sometimes all food.
Sometimes they find that portion control has helped them maintain a healthy weight.
However, there are two ways to go about portion control.
The first way, the more common way, is that some external measurement determines the portion. Whether calories, volume/weight, carbs, points, or whatever, this can backfire. It's useful to learn what an average portion might be. But if you are hungry, you may need more than average, and if you are not hungry, you may need less than average.
The second, more empowering, way is to trust your body as the guide. When your body is telling you what the portion should be, it will be just the right amount. And the beautiful thing is that when your body is able to get exactly what it needs to be satisfied, you are able to ENJOY the portions, not simply control them.
It is my mission to help women create this holistic whole body connection in a playful, non-judgmental, and supportive environment, so they can enjoy all the foods they love.
There are many things in life in which I like to take a very very big picture, cosmos kind of look at things.
The way I eat is one of those things.
For a long time, I thought about the environmental impact in a strictly numbers kind of way. How do I minimize impact? I became vegetarian at 15 (though, admittedly, in the beginning that was more of whim).
I had been an environmentalist since a young age. Encouraged by my school, and a natural tree hugger, I understood that eating plants took less of toll on the environment. Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains was good for my health AND good for the earth! There is a lot of science to back this up.
I also had a vegan stint in college. (But then I also had a no onions and no garlic stint in college.)
And at the time all of this seemed very "big picture."
But, as you likely know, I struggled for a long time with eating sugar, lots of sugar, and in an unhealthy way. I also had a lot of guilt and judgement around food - both towards myself for "failing" to "quit" sugar, but also towards others for "failing" to be as "big picture" with their diets. (Wow, that was a lot of quotes.)
That year I was vegan? It's seriously a wonder that I have any friends that knew me before that lasted through that year. I try to block it from my mind, so I can mostly only imagine how self righteous I was.
Plus, being so strict was alienating. It made parties and family gatherings hard. BLESS my mom for being so accommodating and catering to my various diets over the years!!! I mean she used to cook me whatever she was cooking minus whatever it was I was not eating!!!!
It took a lot of self discovery and letting go of rigid perspectives for me to move beyond the rules that were not actually serving me.
Also, suffering through 7 months of nausea and vomiting in my first pregnancy was enough to make me realize I'd eat ANYTHING to make it stop. I mean I would have hunted a deer and painted my face with its blood if it would have gotten rid of the NVP. Meat, unfortunately, did not help, because nothing helped. None the less, the experience cracked the door open much wider.
I had actually already decided that a bit of quality meat was probably the healthiest, especially for me, since I don't tend to crave much protein. Meat is nutrient dense and very nourishing. The whole chicken noodle soup effect is real. I had read a bit of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and they tout the same: modest, quality meat consumption as part of a plant based diet is often the most healthful. Still, I didn't want to eat animals.
(Except for the one time at my friend's wedding in Ohio, and I had WAY too much champagne. Back at the magical farm house where all her friends were staying, with a kitchen packed with all kinds of things to nosh on... the only thing that looked at all appealing was a giant roasted turkey!! That was the real beginning, and to this day the only meat that I honestly enjoy eating a "chunk" of is roasted turkey! A new traditiona i nthe life of the mostly vegetarian was to eat turkey on Thanksgiving day.)
Roll forward to my current life. Today was Thanksgiving. My mom made a turkey, I made a vegetarian "Neatloaf." We had mashed potatoes, tempeh gravy, sweet potatoes, root vegetables, grains and greens salad, Brussels sprouts, two kinds of cranberry sauce, corn bread stuffing, and a pickle tray. Everyone loved the Neatloaf! But, of course, I ate some turkey, too :)
And my dad, who eats healthy mostly because of my mom, told me after dinner, "I think being vegetarian is really the healthiest way to eat." And I told him, "Maybe only 90% vegetarian." And he said, "You're right. You've lightened up in your old age."
First of all LOL!!! Love it that my dad is calling me old! And second, what a nice middle ground, for the more meat and potatoes guy to be admiring me and for me to be meeting him in the middle!
Looking at the big picture, though, what I mean is this: Yes, it's really good to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. But that is not something that surprises most people. Eating a plant based diet is good for your health AND the health of the environment. However, if you eat ANY diet with rigid rules and lots of judgement towards ANYONE, that actually is NOT healthy for you.
So, sure, aim for a lot of plants in your diet. It will make you feel good, help you live a healthier life, maybe even allow you to live longer, and certainly can help you lose weight. But choose the fruits and vegetables you really love. Have fun with whole grains. And enjoy meat and sugar!
The last piece of the puzzle is that I believe that taking the absolute best care of yourself you can will naturally lend itself to taking good care of the earth. Because people who eat well and feel well naturally gravitate towards choices in their life that uplift the world, and the truth is there are MANY ways to do that.
(Oh, and since we are talking environmentalism, also VOTING for strong environmental protections & protectors is essential!)
My kids stress me out. It's just a fact of my life.
Why am I writing about this on my blog about emotional eating? Because stress is an incredibly common trigger of emotional eating. We all have stress in different forms. Maybe it's what's going on at your work. Maybe it's something happening in your relationship... Maybe it's your kids.
I spend a lot of time trying to understand my life and make it better. It may not be something everybody does, but it's what I do.
And in researching what to do when your kids stress you out... I have to admit I wasn't happy with much of the advice!
While there is of course a time and a place for prescriptions drugs/medicine, I was surprised at how many people talking about parenthood causing them stress or anxiety or depression or anger felt okay with taking drugs. Some people have biochemical imbalances, and drugs are amazing to help resolve something that would be a lifelong issue, or even in extreme short term cases.
I know for a fact that I wasn't angry or bitter or resentful or anxious or nearly as stressed out as I am now before I had kids. And I also know that it's not just my kids.
Yes, it's the fact that I am a parent, but it is this life-shattering paradigm shift that I have experienced going from not a parent to a parent.
And it is the absolute bullshit pressure that's put on a woman and/or the primary caregiver of a family's children!
This is the bullshit of patriarchy being lived out in my day-to-day family life.
Because, of course, biology is sexist. The women make the baby; the women make the milk. Therefore the women are usually the primary caregivers.
And yet there's this whole group of us who don't want to be in the traditional nine-to-five situation never see our kids --- and also don't want to have our brains rot from doing nothing but wiping butts all day.
Enter the mom entrepreneur. I love my business. I love my clients. I literally love doing the work that I do helping women change how they eat and how they feel in their bodies. It's amazing!
And yet raising a business is kind of like raising a child. It takes a lot of time and energy and patience.
So now I have my two kids and my business and... My husband.
And unfortunately he just really doesn't understand what I'm doing and so I don't always feel that I have full support. So there's this juggling act going on now. He's ambitious; he's generous; he's kind; he loves reading to our kids. But holy shit, if I have to tell him where the fucking mustard is one more time I'm going to blow!!!!
And that is the stress and anxiety that I'm speaking about. It manifests itself as an inconsequential detail that I feel like I want to scream about.
And you add this up over and over and over and no wonder women are stressed out. No wonder back in the day they had their breakdowns. Even if you're not trying to raise a business, just trying to raise a family is such an immense amount of emotional burden that is unbearable.
And for me it was worse without the support of other professionals who share interests outside of raising the kids. I'm not saying no one should be happy being a stay-at-home mom. I have dear friends who are deeply fulfilled by raising their kids. I'm not. I love my kids. I take parenting seriously. I probably take it too seriously and that's part of my problem.
And I need more. I need something else. I need the rest of my identity intact. Men don't understand that because they still have their identity. I'm not speaking for stay-at-home fathers; I don't know enough of them well enough; that's somebody else's blog post.
Most of the time the men keep working, and guess what? The men is still an engineer or a salesperson or a chef or whatever. The woman is the mother. And that is an emotional burden that can't be explained.
And I think it's almost worse in this modern modern world because we can microwave dinner if we need to.... we can send our kids to practice in an Uber if we need to... and yet we can't outsource somebody expecting us to know where the mustard is.
I hate to leave my thoughts unactionable. So I'm going to tell you the most basic and simple thing that I'm doing. It's incredibly hard.
And I think it's the only solution is to stop. Just stop. And it is insidiously difficult to do!
Because I feel like an asshole when I tell my husband that I can't help him find the mustard. It's just finding the mustard. How much time can finding the mustard take? What could I possibly be doing that's more important than finding the mustard?
Oh wait. That's just it. You add up all these little inconveniences and actually nothing that's important to me is getting done.
I know I'm giving the example of my husband even though this blog post is actually about my kids. That's because with little kids more than half of my interactions are instances like these:
"Mommy where the Crayons?"
"Mommy get me a water."
"Mommy I'm hungry."
Maybe you can relate. I'm a doer. I'm a Problem Solver. It is incredibly hard for me to not DO. So whether or not you have kids, you probably have circumstances like this.
Oh, I can stay late and file that last paper.
Oh, I enjoy that part of my work; I can do a little more of it.
Oh, I'll do that project better than anyone else; I might as well sign up for it.
And I just want to say that these are all remarkable traits!!!
I'm not disparaging my ambition or my compassion for my family or your passion for your work or any of that.
I'm just acknowledging that I need better boundaries and a lot of other women do too. Because that's the answer to reducing stress. It's simply not doing the things that are stressing you out.
For me I literally can't draw this line when I'm home. If my husband asks me where the mustard is it's incredibly difficult for me to not help him find it. If my kids ask me for a glass of water I actually sometimes try to say no but then I have someone crying half the time which, again, is difficult. So I have to find times to get out of the house. It's the only way I can change these patterns.
With my business it's the other side. I love my business. I want to do my business. I want to have it grow and get more clients and help more people. And yet... Sometimes I just have to say no.
So when my kids stress me out (or I scream at my husband about the mustard), I actually know that it means there's just too much on my shoulders. It means I have to get out from underneath all this patriarchal bullshit and learn how to simply say No.
I've felt "ungrounded" for about 6 weeks... since I took my extended road trip (which did deplete me), and yet I also returned on the day of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.
This was followed quickly by breathtaking news on what seems to be almost daily. Hurricane after hurricane, earthquakes, bills being signed regularly (in a way that feels secretive and undercutting), failed attempts at other more loud legislation, the ongoing wreckage that follows each natural disaster and needs attention lost in the slew of the next disaster, the equifax hack that puts half the country at risk of identify theft (possibly kids as well).
Oh yeah, and then the Colin Kaepernik protest suddenly being coopted by the NFL to make CK irrelevant and the NFL somehow the hero??? I'm no sports fan but CK still has no job at the time as far as I'm aware of.
And more quietly, I'm reading about the battle for net neutrality (I support this) but also the Communications Deceny Act, a more complicated issue that is somehow a battleground for where we draw the line between free speech and pornography AND amazing the way that huge non-traditional media formats like Facebook escape any responsibility for who they sell ads to or what purpose the ads may be for. Read up on this if you haven't yet. I'm not sure where I stand, but I think we need to have the voice of the people speaking out more than the largest tech giants.
And then on top of it all there is my regular life, which somehow seems simultaneously both petty and entirely unmanageable in the context of all that is happening right now.
So everyday I try to focus on living my regular life while integrating what I value into it.
I've gone through my kids books and gotten rid of some of the old, outdated 50s books that are racist or sexist. I've purchased additional books for our library showed greater diversity. I went through their books and changed skin color with colored pencils, to give them greater diversity because sadly, they were not that diverse. I've downloaded movies (what few I could find) with diverse lead characters. I"ve started frequently different farmer's markets in neighborhood with people of different skin tone than ours. My kids are a big part of what I'm doing in my day to day and I want to make sure they grow up aware that diversity is beautiful and that we need to use our voices to speak out for equality.
I also struggle each day to maintain my self care rituals. It's a fight to do it in all honesty. To put a few minutes of self massage on the to do list, which means leaving the dirty dishes in the sink sometimes. To make sure I shower regularly even when...well...the dishes are staring me down. To get myself dressed before the kids have started asking repeatedly for breakfast. But I do it as best I can, every day, and I forgive myself when the laundry or dishes take precedence.
And yet I feel the need to do more. I honestly want to GO. I want to BE where people need the help. And I can't - my day to day is too intertwined with little guys. So I give. I give small monthly contributions to Sierra Club, KPBS, and Planned Parenthood...and in the past few months I've given much more than the monthly amount - MORE to sierra club for post hurricane relief and planning for further climate change affects - I've also donated to The Color of Change bringing awareness to racism in our country and fighting for equality - to the Foundation Fighting Blindness in honor of my neighbor and my grandfather who lost their sight - to my son's school for their hurricane donations.
And that's CASH.
I also continue to up my donation of service for charitable fundraisers because the world has SO MUCH NEED right now and I have to do what I can, ALL that I can.
I also have to put my business into forward mode - booking talks, networking, speaking with clients. And I'll admit it's not easy to do when the world feels like it has so many pressing needs!!!
But when I think about putting it off, I also know that's not right. My passion is for helping people live a healthy, aligned life, losing weight and truly feeling GREAT about what they are eating, helping them KNOW each bite is the right bite, whether it's a steak, an ice cream, or a delicious and gourmet salad. So I know it's another part of what I HAVE to do for the world. Because the world needs SO MUCH, and I'm going to give the world the best of me.
What are your favorite self-care practices?
I help busy, ambitious leaders to step off the emotional eating roller coaster, so they can lose weight and keep it off, still eat all the foods they love, and finally find the work life balance they crave.