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!
You don’t have to berate yourself for eating whatever it is that you like to eat. You don't even have to berate yourself when you eat so much of it that you feel sick, or guilty, or sick and guilty.
I've done all of these things. I've eaten myself sick on candy, and I've eaten myself sick on "healthy" things like prunes and pineapple. And when you repeatedly feel like crap from overeating, it doesn't matter if it's junky or "healthy" - it's not healthy.
And even if you aren't binging or feeling like crap from overeating... if you are feeling bad about your self because...
You used to run, but you just can't seem to make the time anymore...
The candy bowl at work always seems like the perfect stress relief, even though you don't even like the candy that much...
You know you are not being healthy, but you just don't feel like there is anything you can do about it...
Well stop right there!
You’re a smart, ambitious, successful woman.
You know what it takes to get it done. You are in charge of so many things!!! You know so much!!
So you know the thing to do THIS time is to hire someone who...
(a) has been through the same thing and come out thriving
(b) has compressed the system for results and success
(c) is almost 6 feet tall and loves drinking tea
Yes, that's right! I'm talking about myself! Hire ME!
The best way to do that is to start with your clarity call.
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!!!
Fifteen years ago I struggled with recurring throat and lung infections. The doctors prescribed antibiotics even though I tested negative for strep every time and they could not tell me what was causing them.
(Yeah, strep throat that was NOT actually strep throat... so what the hell was it? Read on.)
So I found an MD who practiced alternative health. He gave me better solutions for dealing with the infections... but had no advice on how to prevent them.
So I found an traditional chinese medicine doctor who was an amazing overall healer... and she told me to STOP EATING SUGAR.
(But in a really nice way, because she was such a nice lady.)
And at the time that SHOCKED ME. I mean, I ate super healthy! (Except for the sugar.)
And to be honest, I did not do it. Because I was, actually, pretty addicted to sugar.
But I started working towards it. I looked at hidden sugars.
I started coming up with sugar alternatives, to do when I wanted sugar instead of sugar.
And it took a long time, and in the beginning it was a real struggle.
But slowly, with a lot of self work on what the heck that love of sugar was really about (beside the fact that dessert is delicious), I transformed that relationship with sugar to one that is really healthy.
Do I still eat sugar? Hell yes! I'd never tell anyone to stop eating anything they enjoy.
Can I get an Amen to that???
And yet, I had to shift that dynamic. It wasn't serving me and it was only creating problems with my body.
It was a substitute for certain lack I felt in my life. I had a wound that I couldn't tell you where it came from. I had a sadness that didn't really make sense considering how generally awesome my life was. I felt a loneliness in the world that couldn't be explained because I was surrounded by creative loving friends. And I turned to sugar to cheer me up.
& It was contributing to recurring INFECTIONS!
But as I slowly slowly, over the course of years, came to terms with my love of sugar and learned when I actually wanted to eat something sweet or when I just needed something to distract me or cheer me up, those infections did slowly fade away with time as well. Thankfully!
And I still get to eat sugar!
Manage specific health concerns like losing the extra weight or getting rid of the aches, pains, or even infections by upgrading your nutrition and self care.
Transform your relationship with food into a positive force in your life.
Turn your food talk into a friend and ally (instead of a judge, informant, mean girl, or police).
Whatever your personal concerns, my program is 100% customized to help you take baby steps towards the health goal you wish to achieve. I've helped women with all of the above and more. My program is not for everyone. I do not offer quick fixes. Change does not happen fast. But you can transform your health with improved nutrition, quality of food, exercise you love to do, and self care that makes you feel great EVERY day!
Because my strep throat was NOT actually strep throat. It was my body telling me to stop eating sugar.
So what could your extra few pounds or whatever concern brought you here be your body telling you?
Because eating the cookies (or hot cheetos or whatever) is NOT your fault.
Listen. Here's the deal. I STRUGGLED with this question for YEARS.
Here are some quotes from old journals:
The list goes on and one. Over a period of years I would write this stuff on a regular basis. Interspersed with other things like...
And for the most part I didn't know WHY I couldn't stop. I didn't understand WHY when I resolved to do things, when I TRIED to quite eating sugar, I failed.
I was smart. I was independent. I had a great life.
And yet... I could. not. stop. eating. sugar.
But then there were glimpses into understanding why I could not stop eating sugar, that I just didn't go deep enough with because I didn't understand they were related.
"I had a cry-fest-pity-party tonight. Then I drove to New Braunfels and back. Then I bought soda, candy, and cigarettes on my mom's gas card. I'm sad & lonely & tired of meaningless relationships & sick of love story fairy tales. I want to sleep until it's warm outside. I want peace in my home. I want someone to cuddle with at night. I want to fuck. I want to cry. I want ____."
It is exactly that desire, that looking for a fairy tale - because it was MY OWN fairy tales I was sick of, that desire to connect in an emotional and physical way that I was stuffing myself with sugar to numb myself from.
I was the one thinking that a relationship would be some kind of fairy tale. I was so deeply duped by the silly stories in our society, and yet simultaneously unwilling to accept them. No wonder I was frustrated in so many ways.
And, after lots of self work and reflection, I can say that the longer quote, where I talk about bigger picture things, is the GOLD NUGGET (and, ugh, I feel dirty that I used my mom's gas card - I almost wanted to edit it out, but decided to leave it in, and then, kind of laughingly, why is THAT the part that still creeps me out?)
Because it is EXACTLY that bigger picture that was the reason behind the sugar binges!! They did not feel related at all back then. I had no idea. I was also in denial when my doctor of Chinese medicine suggested as such. First I denied I had a problem with sugar (despite the fact that I was writing about sugar incessantly in my journals). Then I told her I didn't care - I didn't WANT to stop eating sugar. But luckily she gently persisted with the message and I eventually acknowledged this as truth.
And yet... as amazing as she was as a healer, she only pointed me in the right direction with the sugar-desire connection. I still had to fumble my way through figuring it out, which I eventually did. And I did this so successfully that it feels like a different me back then.
I can also say that I truly have to go to my journals to remember that self hate, that body hate, that shame and feeling like a failure.
(That's not to say I'm in some perfect life now - we never are, but I am much better at recognizing my own bullshit stories and stopping myself mid-thought to reset. Focusing on my wrinkles, my post-children jiggly bits, etc etc... well it happens, but I know it's a load of shit even though I still feel it, and so I just try to honor the feeling while I recognize that it is coming from a bullshit story.)
Plus my journals NOW are so full of positive affirmations you'd really not recognize the author!!!
So... if you are wondering why you can't stop eating sugar... then ask yourself what your deeper desires are. Or, better yet, buy my journal and answer the questions to help guide you to that answer!
What does sugar have to do with emotional eating?
Well, a lot actually. While sugar is not the only thing you can eat emotionally - you could crave spaghetti, potatoes, ketchup, sweet tea, chips and salsa, or any number of things - sugar is by far the most common craving triggered by emotional eating.
Sugar is sweet, and we are trained to like sweet from birth. We are born that way. Breastmilk is sweet. We cry. We get this thing that tastes good and makes us feel good. Nursing and eating also make us (the baby version of us) feel safe and happy.
From there... the list is long. But imagine...birthday parties. Straight As or any other celebration. Family gatherings. Friday night. Summer time ice cream. Holiday treats. All these things also associate food with safety, joy, happiness... So it's actually really natural that sugar makes us feel good.
However, when we get overly busy and food or sugar becomes the only tool we have to feel better, then it becomes an issue. Also, because we have os many hidden sugars in our modern world, and because we have so many sweets and treats to readily accessible, we really can have too much of a good thing.
The trick is not to stop eating sweets or foods we like, but to tune in to our bodies and ask our bodies when it really wants that sweet, and if it really wants the second serving. It can take practice, but our bodies don't lie, our bodies tell us the truth and will teach us how to eat just the right amount of all the delicious things we are surrounded by!
Do you know to listen to your body? Do you let your body guide your food choices?
If you know you need help in this category, get a copy of Body Wisdom Journal!
What is the difference between mindless eating and emotional eating? The truth is...not a lot. However, it' still important to think about, because it can help us understand ourselves, which is the key to Love Every Bite!
If you consider yourself a mindless eater, you may actually be eating to AVOID the emotions.
Many of us are also mindless eaters simply because our loves are busy. And while that is understandable, we still have to make the effort to know enough about our eating as to tell...
Am I full?
Am I satisfied?
Does this feel good?
Am I masking other problems?
Look I'll be honest. My lunch? It's pretty much alway mindless. And usually preceded by an expletive because I'm running out of time before I go get my kids form preschool!! Not the best way to bless your meal!!! LOL
And yet, I have a well trained awareness, so I can counteract that mindlessness by grabbing something healthy and knowing I likely won't feel that satisfied since I'm basically stuffing my face as I run out the door. Which, you know, isn't that satisfying of a way to eat.
If you consider yourself an emotional eater, then you have the awareness that something is triggering you, but maybe don't feel it is in your control to change the habit (or feel it is worth it on some level). There are also things we can learn from this.
What am I feeling?
Is this ____ (food item) going to help?
What am going to feel after I eat this?
Is there another way I can satisfying this emotional need?
My passion is to help women connect with their hearts and bodies so they can be nourished despite their busy, ambitious lives.
I just want to say this: YOU ARE STRESSED OUT!
Stress is THE most common thing I see that drives people to feel like crap. WE don’t even re alize we are stressed. Because it begins with the new job. Then that feels manageable… and then our whoever does whatever. Okay, well that’s under control. Then someone starts asking us favors. Then our car has issues. And this is how stress creeps up on us, one step at a time, in a culture where it’s really no “OKAY” to relax, take a break, slow down, and if you are a woman, to say no.
And the stress hormones make it impossible for us to make good decisions. It actually shuts down that part of your brain.
SO our stress makes us eat bad. And our stress makes it feel impossible to meal plan. And our stress make us think we can never change anything, much less change everything we want to.
So we get stuck. We rely on the old habits more. We get more take out.
If we want to make change ,we beat ourselves up for not doing it… or for trying and failing.
It’s a painful place to live, stressed out, eating junk, and beating ourselves up over it all.
The beautiful thing is that we don’t have to “add one more thing” onto our busy lives to change things.
We don’t have to go to the gym every day, or eat some special protein bar, or give up all the foods we love.
In fact we need MORE of what we love. What we REALLY love. Because we don’t get enough of that.
When we choose what we LOVE, and allow ourselves to enjoy it, we actually make more space to start making healthier choices that make us feel our best.
And slowly, over a few weeks or months, we can eliminate the things that feel bad, and add the things that feel good. And we will lose weight, and enjoy what we are eating! And we can do it FOREVER.
I specialize in helping women overcome emotional eating and sugar addiction, and I overcame that battle myself. Stress leads us to choose junk and sweets, then sweets make us eat more sweets.
You have to get off the hormone roller coaster that is driving your brain right now.
And to do that you have to start with stress management.
Then you add a dose of forgiveness,
And you focus on counting joy (not calories).
What would this would like in your life?
I can totally relate to feeling out of control with your food and unable to stop eating sugar. I used to have that same struggle, and would eat sugar throughout the day. I would binge on sugar, beat myself up over it, swear to give it up forever...and do it all again the next day.
This is now my area of expertise and something I am passionate about helping women overcome. I have a few very important questions you can ask yourself to help you get a handle on this issue.
1. Are you eating enough?
When we under eat, our bodies DEMAND food. And guess what, when our bodies demand it, we go for whatever is fastest, easiest, most delicious. This often means sugar, fat, and salt. So make sure you are eating a wholesome satisfying breakfast AND lunch to get you through the day.
2. Are you eating the right things?
That means including carbs, fats, and proteins, and lots of fruits and veggies. Oh, and it should be something you ENJOY. IT is essential that we are nourishing ourselves, not just getting basic nutrients. If we are depriving ourselves of enjoyment in our daily meals we will often seek it later in the day in the form of junk and treats.
3. Do you know your triggers?
People can be triggered by many different things. Over hunger, as I described above. Sight and smell, so you can avoid, say, pastry shops with large windows if this applies to you. Also learn your emotional triggers. Stress, bad relationships, lack of a relationship, boredom, avoiding unpleasant tasks, and many other things that fall somewhere on the "emotional" spectrum can drives us to want to eat. These can also be overcome with practice.
Whether you binge on sugar or you "Just" chronically overeat it... sugar "addiction" is simply an extreme version of a habit.
And you can look at that habit and say "I don't have a problem" and keep on doing what you are doing, and that might be fine for you. For many people it is.
Or you can look at that habit and say "I QUIT." and try to give it up forever. Unfortunately "abstaining" doesn't work for most people when it comes to sugar.
On all this speak from personal experience. I had many years in my early 20s when I both chronically overate sugar AND binged on it AND denied having a problem AND tried to abstain!!!!!!
Guess what. NONE of that was okay for me. I was gaining weight (not that much, I was in my 20s, but enough that I wasn't feeling good in my body). I also developed chronic lung and throat problems that I denied left and right and anything to do with sugar!
And yet it was the gentle but constant urging of a holistic health care provider that I was seeing that made me realize that I DID have a problem, and that sugar was CAUSING problems, too!
But I knew "abstinence" didn't work. And so I began the long journey of discovering what DID work.
The good news is that your journey doesn't have to be as long. I've compressed that journey into a short program to give up ALL guilt and lay a solid foundation to turn your sugar "problem" into a normal, everyday relationship that allows you to enjoy celebrations without ever binging again.
Learn my 5 secrets to overcoming emotional eating here!