What are your non-negotiables?

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Healthy habits don’t need to be so complicated.  All you need to do to feel better today is just get started.

I want you to document a week in your life without making any changes: when you go to bed and wake up, what you drink and when, what you eat and when, meditation, how much exercise you get, what you do for fun.  How do you feel throughout the day?  Now organize your habits into two lists – makes you feel great, makes you feel meh.

Choose your top two or three things from the “great” list and make these your non-negotiables.  These are the things that you commit to doing daily, no matter what.  Be sure to be realistic in your selections.  Sure, you feel great when you workout for 90 minutes but if that doesn’t fit into your daily routine, don’t make 90 minutes of activity your non-negotiable.  Maybe daily movement becomes the standard.  Treat your non-negotiables with the same level of importance that your treat work or personal commitments.  Schedule them in your calendar and be sure to do them daily.  Everything else will be fluid and come in and out but you’ll always come back to these habits.

My non-negotiables are meditation and water.  When I meditate daily I feel calm and centered, my day seems to flow, and I’m able to handle whatever comes my way.  When I don’t meditate I feel depleted, stuck, sluggish, and jumbled.  So I make sure that I meditate daily.  Sometimes it’s 20 minutes on my meditation pillow in front of my alter, sometimes it’s at my desk at work on my lunch break, in the car when I’m early for an appointment, or one minute of breathing before I get out of bed.  It looks different everyday because I make it work for my life in the moment.  But no matter how it looks, it happens.  The same is true with water.  I set out my giant glass of water before bed and don’t even need to think about it in the morning – it just happens.

Share your non-negotiables in the comments below (they will feel more “official” once you publicly declare them) and let’s support each other on the journey to Spirited Well-being.


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Stress-free Thanksgiving and two recipes

Truth time – are you already stressing about how stuffed you’re going to be on Thanksgiving?  Or restricting this week to “save room” for your Thanksgiving meal?  Or dusting off your stretchy pants for Thanksgiving dinner?  There is another way.  A way that allows you to truly enjoy the holiday without guilt, without needing to unbutton your pants mid-meal, without feeling like a stuffed turkey at the end of the night, and without needing to crash diet or obsessively workout days before and days after the big day.

There is a way to move through Thanksgiving with ease.  (And still enjoy the food!)  Here’s my three-day plan for a guilt-free, pleasurable Thanksgiving.  (It will work for any holiday.)

The day before

  • Set your intention and visualize – how do you want the day to go?  Spend time writing out your intention for the day.  For example: I will move through the day relaxed, enjoy my family, feel calm when I sit down to eat, and slowly chew my food.  After writing out your intentions, sit in meditation and visualize the day.  Play out the ideal day from start to finish in your mind.  Focus on the details: what will you wear, what will you talk about, what will your plate look like, how much will you eat.
  • Hydrate – it’s likely that you won’t drink as much water on a holiday as you normally do.  Be sure to drink extra water the day before.  Typically you want to aim for half of your body weight in ounces per day but today down a few extra glasses.
  • Have a treat – what’s your favorite indulgence on Thanksgiving?  I recommend having a small portion the day before.  We tend to overeat during holiday meals because we feel like we only get to eat the foods once a year so we should go all in.  If you love pumpkin pie, have a small slice on Wednesday.  It will still be special on Thanksgiving but you won’t feel like need to eat enough pie to last you all year.

The day of

  • Move and meditate – holidays are busy, especially if you are cooking.  Wake up with enough time to start your day with movement and meditation. Take a long walk with your dog early in the morning before the rest of the world is awake, hit your mat for a yoga session, or go for a run.  Just move.  And then spend a few minutes in quiet meditation.  Run through your visualization exercise again and then surrender your plan.  Close your meditation with this manta: I have all the time in the world today.  I am healthy.  I am happy.  I am at peace.
  • HAVE BREAKFAST – this one deserves all caps because it is so important.  Don’t skip breakfast to save room or calories.  Don’t do it.  This is just setting yourself up to binge eat later in the day.  A green smoothie with healthy fats and protein is the perfect holiday breakfast.  It is quick, doesn’t dirty a lot of dishes, and floods your system with nutrients.  Here’s a simple green smoothie:
    • 1 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
    • 1 giant handful of organic spinach or kale
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 1/2 cup frozen berries
    • 2 tablespoons chia or hemp seeds
    • Cinnamon
    • Probiotics powder (optional but recommended)
  • Eat what you love – Most people make enough to feed an army for Thanksgiving.  Just because there are three kinds of stuffing and several types of potatoes doesn’t mean that you need to eat some of everything.  What do you really love and what is just so-so?  Fill up half of your plate with veggies (as many greens as you can) and the rest with your favorite foods.  Leave the rest.  You don’t need to feel guilty about only eating what you love.  Once you sit down silently recite “I love my food; my food loves me.
  • Chew, chew, chew – You’ve selected your favorite foods so why not enjoy them?  Take small bites and chew each bite until liquid (about 20-30 chews per bite).  If you feel self-conscious about all the chewing around your family, just do the best that you can and chew slowly.  Breathe between bites.  Look up from your plate and talk with your friends and family.  Stop when you feel satisfied regardless of what’s left on your plate.

The day after

  •  Lemon water – start your day with hot water and lemon.  Lemon water helps to eliminate toxins, aids digestion, and gets things moving.  It is also alkalizing and balances the pH of your body.
  • Twist it up – gentle twists will help your digestive system.  This routine from Tara Stiles is my favorite.

  • Go green – have a giant serving of greens with your breakfast.  I’m loving greens with balsamic lately.
    • 1/2 bunch of organic chard
    • 1/2 bunch of organic kale
    • 1/4 cup of raisins (if raisins aren’t your thing use a chopped organic apple)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Go back to normal – the holiday came and went.  Let it go.  It doesn’t matter if you followed any of these tips or ate until you were stuffed.  Let. It. Go.  Don’t carry guilt or stress with you for the rest of the holiday season.  Let yourself off the hook and resume your normal fitness, self-care, and eating habits.  One meal is not going to make or break your well-being.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, ease, and delicious foods.


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Tuesday Eats: Butternut Squash Soup

The leaves are gone, the first flakes have fallen, the clocks have turned back, and there are two things that I am interested in: squash and soup.  This time of year I become squash obsessed and am convinced that I will wake up one morning to bright orange skin.  But it will be so worth it.

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Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped (seeds discarded)
3 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped
2 sweet potatoes (I used baked sweet potatoes but you could peel and chop them)
1 medium sweet onion, rough chop
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chop
3-4 cups broth (I prefer chicken bone broth), depending on how thick you like your soup
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more to less to taste)
4 sage leaves
Olive oil

-Heat olive oil in a large stockpot
-Sauté onions and garlic until translucent (5 minutes)
-Add all remaining ingredients and bring to boil
-Lower heat and simmer until vegetables are tender (30 minutes)
-Puree soup with an immersion blender (a regular blender will also work)
-Optional: top with roasted veggies and cinnamon

What is your favorite cold weather soup?


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Yoga poses for sleep

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It’s no secret that sleep is a recurring theme in my world.  I’m a troubled sleeper (to say the least) and have found a few tips and tricks over the years to help me get quality rest.  One of the best tools has been bedtime yoga.  I love yoga anytime of the day or night but there are a few key postures that quickly ease me into restful sleep.  And the best part – you can do this yoga in your pajamas right in bed!  Casper, the makers of the outrageously comfortable memory foam mattress, asked me for my favorite poses that can be done in bed.

These poses, in particular, are sleep superstars.  They ease tension in the body and mind, release your lower back and hips, and encourage deep breathing.  This sequences includes inversions, gentle twists, hip openers, and restorative poses.

Seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana)

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Sit in bed with your legs extended and toes pointed toward the ceiling.  Inhale and lift your arms toward the sky and exhale while bending forward from your hips.  Imagine your torso moving to rest on your thighs.  If possible, hold your feet.  You can use a strap to assist in the pose or bend your knees.  On the inhales lengthen from your torso and on the exhales stretch a bit deeper, being sure that you don’t round your spine.  Hold for one minute.

Seated spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

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Sit in bed with your legs extended.  Bend your left leg and cross it over your right leg with your left foot on the mattress.  Gently twist your torso to the left and place your left arm behind your seat and your right elbow against your left knee.  On the inhales lengthen your spine long and on the exhales twist deeper.  Hold for one minute and reverse sides.

Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani)

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Sit facing the wall or your headboard.  Lie down with your knees bent and feet on the mattress.  Lift your legs straight up toward the ceiling and position your back so your legs are straight up and resting against the wall.  Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing up.  You can stay in the position, breathing deeply, for several minutes.  Optional: place a bolster, pillow, or folded blanket/towel under your seat for support.

Double pigeon (Agnistambhasana)

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Sitting in easy pose, place your right leg on top of your left so that your right ankle is over your left knee and your shins are parallel to the wall in front of you.  Inhale and length your spine tall and exhale, bending from your hips just to the point of gentle stretching.  You can rest your hands on your knees or place them on the floor.  On each inhale lengthen your spine and stretch deeper on the exhales.  Remain in the pose for one minute and switch sides.

Child’s pose (Balasana)

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Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.  Bring your big toes together and your knees wide apart.  Sit back on your heels, place several pillows (or a yoga bolster) in front of you (optional) and extend your upper body forward so you are resting on the mattress or pillows.  Rest your arms wherever the feel comfortable and breathe deeply.  Enjoy this restful position for several minutes.

Corpse pose (Savasana)

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Lie back (making sure you move any pillows out of your way so your head is on the mattress), allow your feet to fall to either side and stretch your arms out to your sides with your palms facing up.  Optional – use an acupressure mat under your back, listen to a guided meditation or calm music, place a blanket over you, and wear an eye mask.  Stay in this position for as long as it takes!

What are your favorite bedtime yoga poses?


 

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It’s time to eat for pleasure

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{Image Credit: Thyme is Honey}

Picture this: you are all alone and surrounded by your favorite foods.  Piles and piles of the foods you love the most.  The foods that call your name.  The foods that you dream about.

Do you feel calm or are you breaking out into a cold sweat?

Cold sweat?  Yeah, I thought so.  (And I’m right there with you.)

That’s because we are eating with guilt instead of eating for pleasure.  And I am OVER IT.

Eating with guilt is standing in your pantry and shoving the last piece of chocolate in your mouth, barely chewing, and swallowing as quickly as you can so you can hide the evidence…from yourself.  Eating with guilt is ending a meal by saying “I shouldn’t have eaten that.”  Eating with guilt is passing on dinner out with your friends because you won’t be able to resist the bucket of fries.

Eating with guilt is when you feel like food is running your life.  Because it is.  You obsess over the ingredients in everything you eat.  You fear eating at someone else’s house.  You feel sick after most meals.  You frequently overeat.  Or undereat.  You “save up” your calories because you know you’re going to have a big dinner.  You celebrate being “good” and beat yourself up when you’ve been “bad”.  You search for “guilt-free” recipes.  You have one or more low-fat or fat-free item in your kitchen.

Eating with guilty is nothing to feel guilty about.  Most of us do it.  In a calorie-obsessed thinner is better world it is really hard to banish the guilt.  Hard but not impossible.  Hard but critical.

Eating with pleasure isn’t about the sugar high you get from a piece of chocolate cake.  Eating for pleasure is when you use high vibe ingredients and looking at your plate just makes you smile.  It looks like this:

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Pleasurable eating is slow, deliberate, and calm.  You savor the bites and thoroughly chew your food.  You actually taste your food.  You breathe.  And look up from your plate to engage in conversation.  Eating for pleasure is loving your food so that it can love you back.  You eat until you are satisfied and then you stop.  You digest well.  You feel energized and strong after meals.  Food is awesome and you love it but it doesn’t rule your life.  Or scare you.  You can be surrounded by all of your favorite foods and not hyperventilate.  When you infuse pleasure into your eating habits you let go of calories and don’t fear fat.

It’s time to dial up the pleasure and dial down the guilt! {Tweet me!}

While I’m still a newbie at eating for pleasure I do know that it is about two things: surrender and self-love.  Eating for pleasure isn’t about the taste of your food (although it should taste delicious!) but about how you FEEL before, during, and after the food.

Know thyself

When we think food about as pleasure our minds can quickly go to the ooey, gooey, indulgences like macaroni and cheese and red velvet cake.  It’s critical that you know your body and your digestive system.  I might feel great while eating the cheesiest mac and cheese (because it tastes amazing) I know that 5 minutes after the meal I will be doubled over in pain because I can’t digest the mac or the cheese.  Does that sound pleasurable to you?  Eating for pleasure is about eating the foods that make you feel vibrant and happy.  It’s important that you honor your body and eat the things that it loves and stay away from the things that it can’t handle.

Bless your food

Woo-woo alert.  I want you to BLESS YOUR FOOD.  Taking a few seconds to silently bless your food automatically grounds you.  You feel calmer and more connected with you food.  My go-to blessing is “I love my food; my food loves me.”

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Prepare your own food

View preparing your food as a meditative experience.  Listen to music or talk with your partner and take the time to prepare delicious meals.  You’ll feel better about what you’re eating and be more invested in the meal.  You’ll also have control over what you are and are not eating.  In order to eat for pleasure you need to remove guilt and worry.  As a beginner, it’s so much easier to do that in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Don’t be afraid of food

Fear is the opposite of pleasure.  And fear has no place on your plate.  My coach once told me that if the choice was between stressing out over kale and chia or eating the junk without worry she rather I eat the junk.  Aside from food allergies or sensitivities, stress makes you sick.  If, while eating cookies, you are telling yourself that you shouldn’t be, that the cookies are going to make you sick or worse yet – fat – you are bound to feel both sick and bloated before you finish the final cookie.  Our thoughts create our reality.  If you fear food it will take you down.  So, if you are afraid of something, don’t eat it.  Seriously.  Don’t eat it until you’re no longer afraid of it because if you do the cycle of fear just gets stronger.

Redefine treat

View all of your meals and snacks as treats.  You are treating your body to a healthy and delicious meal.  Be sure to include your favorite flavors in your diet every single day.  If you simply love chocolate, don’t let that chocolate bar that you picked up last week hang out alone in the back of the pantry.  Make a point to enjoy a few squares each day and really savor the experience.  Eating for pleasure isn’t about saving the special items for the right time because it is always the right time!  I love coconut and cinnamon – they make me feel great, taste amazing, and are comforting to me.  So I make a point to add one or both to everything that I eat and the food then becomes special.

Eat mindfully

Pleasure isn’t found in scarfing down a huge plate of food, barely chewing, overeating, and still feeling unsatisfied because you didn’t taste or acknowledge your food.  Pleasure is found in the ritual.  In sitting down and looking at your food.  Taking small bites and really chewing your food.  Tasting each bite.  Coming up for air and breathing in between bites.  Enjoying a conversation over the meal.  Allowing yourself the time to slow down.

Let go of your guilt and let’s support each other in eating for pleasure.  Share your experiences in the comments below!


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It’s never about what it’s about

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{Pinterest}

Today is my 33rd birthday and it feels quite magical.  Last year I shared 32 things that I knew to be true on my birthday and this year I learned a great lesson.

33. It’s never about what it’s about.  It’s always about you. {Tweet me!}

That’s a big one so I’ll repeat it: It’s never about what it’s about.  It’s always about you.  The thing that keeps us stuck is the obsessive focus on “it” – whatever “it” is for you in the moment.  It’s our nature to place the blame outward.  It’s the cookies fault (I’m mean, they’re just too good to stop).  It’s the driver that just cut you off.  It’s your boss that is so unreasonable.  It’s your bank account because it just won’t grow.  It’s your partner’s fault for pushing your buttons.  It’s mother nature’s fault for not paying attention to that fact that you left your umbrella at home.

So, what do I mean when I say that it’s never about what it’s about?  Let’s start with what I don’t mean.  I don’t mean that you are to blame for all of your troubles and that you should turn your frustration inward.  Our ego is really good at its job – keeping us stuck and fearful.  And one of its greatest defenses is confusing us.  Making us think that we know what’s going on and keeping us in the dark in our own lives.  It’s really easy to think that your troubles have nothing to do with you and are totally out of your control.  It’s not about you so you can’t be held accountable for making it better.

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{Kris Carr on Pinterest}

Most of my life has been spent obsessing about “it” while feeling utterly victimized by it.  I surrendered control by looking outside of myself for the problem or the solution and couldn’t move forward as a result.  I wasn’t happy or healthy but that had nothing to do with me.  It was my genetics, my job, my bank account, my surroundings.  It was everything else but me.  Give me a magical health pill, lots of money, my dream job, and the ideal setting and I will rock this life.  I’ll be the happiest girl in the world.  Until I’m alone with my own body and my own mind and realize that, even though everything has changed, nothing has changed.  I’m still exactly the same Stephanie as before.

It’s about me.  My life is about me.  My place in this world is about me.  My struggles and triumphs are about me.  It’s not about “it” at all.  “It” is just a distraction.

Your purpose is about discovering and nurturing who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way. -Kris Carr

This year has been all about learning this lesson over and over again.  It’s been about going deep – shining light into all of the dark corners of my life – and healing.  It’s been about taking responsibility for my own life.  And owning my voice and my light.  This year I finally got it.  The key to health and happiness is inside of me.  It’s not about the things outside of me.  The things outside of me are my lessons and opportunities for growth.  Now, in the midst of a stressful day or irrational freakout, when my instincts are to place blame I instead ask myself what I can learn from this person, this experience, this moment.  I can’t control the world around me but I can control how I react to it, approach it, and contribute to making it a brighter place.

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{Doreen Virtue Angel Numbers 101 App}

This past year has been a pivotal year.  I’ve clarified my dreams and cultivated my confidence.  What I know to be true on my 33rd birthday is that “it” is really about me.  My opportunity to grow and learn and show up bigger and brighter in the world.  The more I live my purpose the more I will light up the world through inspiration and service.  This next year is going to be a year of action.  I feel it in my bones that things are about to change.  I’m excited to see where life takes me and what lessons I learn this year.


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A simple morning and evening routine

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Our routines are powerful and they can either help move us forward or stop us in our tracks.  The morning and evening are the bookends of our days.  Are you supporting your goals or working against yourself?  With our insanely long to-do lists, we typically overlook the importance of how we begin and end the day.  Feeling rushed first thing in the morning and stressed as we close our eyes bleeds into the rest of our lives.

There are amazing resources out there about creating ideal morning and evening routines.  I have very limited time, though, and as much as I would love a slow and full routine I just don’t have the spare minutes in my day.  In the past I’ve crafted elaborate and beautiful morning and evening rituals but they weren’t realistic.  I’d get amped up, follow them for a few days, and then burn out.  Instead of setting myself up to fail, I’ve reigned it in and determined my top two.  Just two simple things to do in the morning and two more at night.  I can handle two.  You can handle two.

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Start your day with:

Meditation

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again): meditation is a must do.  Starting your day with meditation is like taking a mental shower.  It washes off the dramas and to-do lists.  Morning meditation is magical.  It allows you to begin your day with peace.  It provides you with an opportunity to be alone with yourself before the hustle and bustle of your day.  Meditation infuses your life with ease.  You can design a morning meditation that works for you.  If you’re short on time set your alarm for five minutes earlier than usual.  (It’s just five little minutes.)  You can simply sit up as soon as the alarm goes off, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for a few minutes.  I love silently reciting affirmations during my morning meditation.  I have everything that I need.  I am strong.  I am radiant.  I am peace.  Choose an affirmation that you respond to and repeat it in your mind.  You’ll be surprised how often your mantra will replay in your mind throughout the day.

Warm water with lemon (or lime)

The days when I feel my best always start with warm water and lemon or lime.  Lemons and limes are alkalizing and balance your body’s pH.  They wake up your digestion, preparing your body for breakfast.  They aid in cleaning out the “junk” that has accumulated overnight and get things moving in the morning.  They work to clear your skin and brighten your complexion.  You can even put the kettle on, go meditate, and use the whistle of the kettle as the end of your meditation.  (How’s that for morning multitasking!)

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End your day with:

Gratitude list

I am committed to being grateful every single day.  I hold myself accountable by writing down 3-5 things that I am grateful for each day.  Some days the gratitude flows freely and other days it is a real struggle to get to 3.  But I always do it and I always get to at least 3 things.  Big things, small things.  Deep things, trivial things.  It doesn’t matter.  Just write down 3-5 things from that day that you are grateful for.  There is power in writing them down so I encourage you to keep a gratitude journal.  There are some great {free} apps that you can get to track your gratitude.  I love going back and reading through previous lists.  Ending your day with gratitude instead of dread for the next day or regrets from the day ending will reframe how you perceive your life.  Like attracts like and by focusing on what you are grateful for you will energetically attract more of it.

 A night-cap

I love a soothing night-cap (herbal tea) to end the day.  There is something about a hot mug of tea in your pajamas that just screams relaxation.  It officially turns off the day and signals that it’s okay to slow down and be still.  Ease into a restful state by getting comfy, turning off the phone and tv and curling up with your journal or a great book and a warm cup of herbal tea.  A great alternative to tea is warm water, Natural Calm, and a splash of pure cherry juice.  Natural Calm is a magnesium supplement that relaxes you and cherries naturally increase your melatonin.

We have the amazing chance to start fresh each morning.  It’s never too late to design a morning and evening routine that is manageable, relaxing, and supports your overall health and happiness.  Share your morning or evening routines in the comments below!

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Image credits: Image one was found on Pinterest.  Image two and three were found on Oprah.com.

I wasn’t sure if I should share this

“I don’t think you want to be on the Whole30 right now.”
“You know what?  You’re right.”

And that’s how it happened.  My food mindset shifted in an instant.  I was sitting across the table from Katie of The Wellness Wonderland having just met her in person for the first time 15 minutes prior and she got me so deeply and wasn’t shy about sharing her observation.  (Thank you, Katie!)

I had decided to complete another Whole30 because I was on the express train to Oatsville for weeks and wanted off.  But did I really want off?  I love oatmeal – like really love it.  Some people reach for macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes when they want a comforting meal.  Me – I turn to a warm bowl of oatmeal.  Is that a crime?!

In my head it was a serious offense.  I’m paleo, after all.  And good paleo girls don’t find comfort in oats (even if they are gluten-free).  So I started my third Whole30 (which I’m supposed to be ending today).  And reflecting on it now this Whole30 was all about restriction for me.  Not establishing healthier habits or feeling my best.  It was a punishment for one too many bowls of oatmeal.  Doing the Whole30 – or anything for that matter – as a way to punish yourself is total nonsense and not how I want to live my life.

When Katie looked me in the eyes and asked me why I wanted to do the Whole30 I had nothing.  I was sitting at a fabulous macrobiotic restaurant in NYC stressing over whether or not to get brown rice and I couldn’t find the words to answer the question.  Because deep down I knew that I didn’t want it.  But I had enthusiastically agreed.  I even recruited one of my close friends and we spent days texting each other tips, tricks, and compliant recipes.  I couldn’t quit.  What would that say about me?  Wouldn’t my friend be upset with me?

So I did what any self-respecting adult would do: I let go of the Whole30 and didn’t tell anyone but Katie and Andrew.  I hid.  How ridiculous is that?!  I felt embarrassed and like an epic quitter.  That is, until I spent some time talking and thinking it through.

You see, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Whole30 (my previous Whole30s have rocked my world and left me feeling beyond fantastic) and everything to do with my lifelong need to stick a label on myself – especially where food is concerned.  It started when I was a teenager.  One night at the dinner table I pushed away my meatloaf and declared that I was a vegetarian – effective immediately.  I hid the real reason – that reason being that one of my mom’s coworkers was a vegetarian and I wanted to be just like her.  All of a sudden I felt like I belonged.  And I didn’t want to let go of that feeling.

Over the years I’ve worn all of the food labels but not a single one fit me properly.  They have all left me feeling like an outsider, a failure, and not good enough even when I’m following the rules precisely.  I’m paleo but not paleo enough.  What the hell does “paleo enough” even mean?

In the past week the universe has shown up in a massive and incredibly loud way (as it usually has to for me to get the memo).  WWRadio (my fave podcast) returned with two incredible conversations with Isabel Foxen Duke along with the launch of Isabel‘s free video series, Stop Fighting Food.  Heather Waxman’s weekly vlog was about releasing food guilt.  I randomly listened to Robyn Youkilis on WWRadio discussing how the stress and guilt around what you are or aren’t eating is so much worse than actually eating the thing that you’re not supposed to eat.  Okay, okay.  I get it.  Message received.

This experience was a call to action.  A call to turn down my food drama and turn up the pleasure and fun.   I’ve been trying so long and so hard to find myself in a label.  Instead I need to find myself within myself.  My body is super smart and knows what it needs.  And you know what, I’m also super smart and know how to be healthy.  And my version of healthy doesn’t match your version and shouldn’t.  The only label I need is Stephanie.  I have the awesome opportunity to design my own way of eating.  I don’t need a rule book or a fancy label.  I can eat to feel my best both physically and emotionally.  I can keep all of the best parts of the eating styles I’ve tried and toss the rest.  It’s liberating and scaring as hell.  If I’m just eating as and for Stephanie, where are my people?

You – you are my people and I hope you’ll pick up the same call to action that I did.  DROP. THE. LABELS.  Right now.  Let’s commit to listening to our own voices and allowing food to be both pleasurable and healthy at the same time.  Maybe in the process you’ll find a label that fits you like a glove and maybe you won’t.  But you will find your own way and your body will thank you for it.

Here’s the part of the blog where I’d love to share my 5 no-fail techniques for letting go of the labels but…

The truth is I’m just getting started.

I haven’t figured it all out yet.  All I have to offer you is my own experience as imperfectly perfect as it is and will continue to be.  Here’s what I do know so far: it’s never about what it’s about.  (It’s NEVER about the food.)  It’s always about you.  So take some time to explore you and don’t be afraid to expose those not so perfect parts because that’s where the magic lives.

Share your experience in the comments below and I’ll continue to share my journey with you here and over on Instagram.

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