And I’m Feeling Good…Part Deux: How To Stretch A Good Body Day (or week.) For The Long Haul

And I’m Feeling Good…Part Deux: How To Stretch A Good Body Day (or week.) For The Long Haul

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It’s been two weeks in my new home across the country, and I’ve felt a shift happen. An actual, physical shift.

In my body.

It feels good.

It sounds superficial and petty, but it’s not: the way I feel is directly linked to the way I carry myself in the world. I find myself waking up earlier, winding down later, walking quicker, smiling more, and marveling at just how wonderful life seems to be.

“Life is so much better right now,” my inner voice coos.

“So don’t sabotage it.”

 


…Well that got hostile really fast.

good body

That positive voice in my head isn’t an optimist – it’s an opportunist.

Sound familiar? That’s because a little over a year ago, I wrote the same exact words with a different spin in relation to my negative self-talk: when it starts to rear its headstrong head, I’ve got to fight tooth-and-usually-unmanicured nail to not let it take hold and stake its claim.

But today, we’re talking about the positive talk – part TWO of the equation. Seems crazy, right? Why on earth would I want to keep my positive talk in check? If i’m having a “good body day” – or, as we most often think of it, a day that’s NOT a “bad body day,” then shouldn’t I just ride that wave?

I almost feel guilty for loving it here in NYC as much as I do. I mean, don’t get me wrong – L.A. is my blood and lifeline. But being here reminds me how important it is to define myself for myself. L.A. has so much I associate with others – sitting there mold, their energy. Checking myself and my energy to fit to size. Living expectations I’ve set for myself based on the expectations I’ve seen around me. When in reality, I dream bigger, and live bigger, than L.A. really suits me at this point in my life. And I can feel that shift manifesting itself in my body.

this was in LA. i was feeling great about my bod, but it was also a really fun day. so which came first??
this was in LA. i was feeling great about my bod, but it was also a really fun day. so which came first??


My body feels so much better here in general. To be completely transparent, my clothes fit better, I’m way less inflamed, and get this: I’m actually proud of my legs! And because I’m highly sensitive to the shifts within myself, I’ve got this spring in my step that makes me oh-so-tempted to say, You’re BACK, baby.

But did I really go anywhere? I know – because, life – that it’s not like I’ve been gifted some magic solution. Yes, this body that feels amazing IS my body – but so is the body of yesterday. So is the body of Los Angeles. So is the body on her period, overtired, overworked, overtaxed. So is the body that will go up and down in weight, feel secure and insecure, poof up and slim down. My body is not a fixed object, nor will it ever be.

I’m not jumping to self-sabotage or encouraging anyone to gloss over the times we feel particularly fabulous in the skin we’re in. Far from it. But the second I give my highs the power to define me is the second I give my lows the power to do just the same. For us to develop truly long-lasting, loving relationships with our bodies, we must be willing to accept neither extreme as finite, and instead probe deeper for ways to carry our worth with us always (and subsequently remind ourselves in those moments we’re tempted to forget).

When we give our highs the power to define us, we give our lows the power to do just the same. Click To Tweet

So how do we keep that positive momentum of our “good body days” going, reveling in our fabulosity without overly linking our worth to them? And moreover, how do we use those feeling to help us out when we’re feeling LESS than stellar?

Here’s how to stretch a good body day for yourself so it lasts for the long haul:

1) Notice the tangible things that have contributed to this feeling. Have you been doing anything out of the ordinary – or maybe even been doing something consistently? Maybe some of these things you just started. Maybe you’ve been doing them for a while. But the first step is to know what they are.

For me, I’ve been walking almost everywhere for the last two weeks, which means I’ve been getting more fresh air and sunlight (p.s. I knew smog was a thing in L.A, obviously…but who knew the air would seem SO much clearer here? Metaphor much?).

I’ve also been on way more of a balanced schedule than usual. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum just in the last year: having very little time of my own and having basically the entire day to decide what I do and when I do it. In the last two weeks, I’ve been filling my schedule with the most important things first, professionally and personally, then allowing the time to figure things out in between. This city is still new to me, and I don’t want to jip myself of experiencing that newness.

 

stopping to smell the metaphorical and literal flowers...while still getting shit done
stopping to smell the metaphorical and literal flowers…while still getting shit done

2) Notice the emotional effect that all of those tangible things have had on you. How is that thing that’s making you feel good actually making you feel good? I don’t care if the scale says a number you like or your jeans fit better. Because there are many days we weigh X amount or our clothes fit better or we haven’t changed at all and we STILL feel like crap and pin it on our bodies. What is the emotional effect that whatever’s happening right now is having on you?

Back to my example: I’m walking around a lot, so maybe my legs are getting more toned…but hey, maybe I’m just noticing it for the first time (funny how we don’t always see ourselves when we’re right in front of our own eyes). What’s making me feel so good is the fact that I’m using my body – that I’m moving, period. I’m moving without my movement being tied to exercise or steps-per-day. I’m using my body as my vehicle instead of something I’m just toting around.

In regards to my schedule, I’m filling my days more intentionally. Maybe not every decision is within my preferred time frame per se, but every decision DOES serve a very distinct purpose. I’m realizing that in this city, there is no room for wishy-washiness. It will keep moving without you if you sit and stew. But hey, maybe this has been how life has been all around – I’m just letting it sink in for the very first time. I’m still not the spontaneous type, but when I’m forced to go out and make decisions because I’m beholden to simply the expectations I’ve set for myself, what do I do? That feeling of making shit happen – at least striving for it – makes me feel good from the inside out.

One more thing? I’ve had more present interpersonal time. Friend dates, work meetings, and definitely within my relationship. I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilling it is to be experiencing this all alongside Jeremy. We’re both pretty mindful and introspective, but this journey is really reminding both of us how much every day can be an adventure if you open your eyes in wonder to the world around you. Sure, we’ve had some tough moments since we’ve been here – picking up and moving your entire life into a new environment will definitely trigger any pair to test each other on the basic tenants of who they are – but we’re beginning to find our own perfect balance between enjoying both the familiar/routine and the exploration (instead of making routine our default when we’ve got time to spare or forcing exploration when we’d rather curl up with a movie). We’re both still busy. But our time together doesn’t feel like in-between moments – it feels like THE moment.

 

my date to the dream, girl world premiere. look at those dreamy faces!
waiting for the dream, girl world premiere to begin. look at those new yorky faces!

3) Ask yourself what you can replicate when you feel crappy. No, not everything will be able to happen at the snap of your fingers. Maybe it’s pouring outside. Maybe you’re slammed with meetings all day. Maybe you’re stuck in a 3-hour commute. But take a look at what’s helped you feel so wonderful: what can you replicate for yourself when you’re having a bad body day?

With this one, it’s important to dig deep and be brutally honest with yourself. The easy answer for me, in this case would be to “take a walk” and “make time for my relationships.”

But I know that forcing myself to take a walk around the block does NOT work for me. It feels manufactured, like a chore, and far from anything enjoyable. But walking to run errands instead of driving or taking the subway? That I can do. Because it’s not really about the walking. It’s about feeling useful. About feeling like I’m my own vehicle.

Sometimes, as an introvert, the mere act of making more plans than I already have on tap makes me feel depleted. My go-to solution? Talk about the deep stuff. Whether that means calling one of my girlfriends for a no-holds-barred phone sesh or jamming with Jeremy over a glass of wine and the tough questions that make us think, finding the nuance and newness in the small moments always helps me feel better about everything in life.

walking to the gym. no, really.
walking to the gym. no, really.

4) Celebrate the moment like it’s the last time you’ll feel this way. What if we shifted our focus around our bodies like we do around the special events that happen to us? What if this great body day, just like our meh or even “bad” body days, was just a part of our story?

I’m not saying to negate how you’re feeling and tell yourself that this is the only time this will happen. I’m saying that the gratitude and #blesseds we use when we recognize the high highs in our lives should be applied to our bodies, too.

When we are feeling awesome, we tend to either downplay it or associate it with our “true” selves. We are back. This is who we really are.

And when we are feeling like crap about our bodies, we place blame like it’s betrayed us. We’ve strayed from the norm.

But if our bodies are always in flux, then what IS the norm? We might prefer to feel bangin’, but that doesn’t mean that that’s our default state. We have no way of knowing our default because we are constantly in transition. Even if you’re feeling awesome about your body, it doesn’t mean you’re “back to normal.” Just like with money and feeling like a broke joke when your account is low, you can’t build up your abundance if you don’t know what makes you feel abundant in the first place.

The more we practice gratitude for highs and allow them the space to shine, the better we become at bringing them back when we feel they’re lost.

My body is not a fixed object, nor will it ever be. Click To Tweet

Getting into slumps, funks, and ruts is a part of being human. So are successes, flying high, and feeling badass. It’s how we choose to approach these moments, the high highs and low lows, that determines the lasting effect they’ll have on us. In our bodies and in our lives. They’re the same, really.

Each day, you’re handed opportunity to navigate it all. I hope you seize it.

 

happy with body. happy with life. happy with smoothie.
happy with body. happy with life. happy with smoothie.

 cover photo cred: patricia pena 


WANT Yourself:
In the comments, tell me ONE thing that made you feel good this month. Nothing is too big or too small – let’s appreciate it ALL.


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Bleepers Gonna Bleep: The 4-Letter Word That No One’s Censoring (But Should Be)

Bleepers Gonna Bleep: The 4-Letter Word That No One’s Censoring (But Should Be)

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I got a lot of wonderful qualities from my mom: her leadership skills, her cry-laughter, her zest for life and all its little adventures.

I also got her really colorful language.

Okay, so I’m not sailor material per se, but just like my brazen mother, I’m not one to censor myself in a real-life conversation (which I’ve been told sounds strange coming out of my mouth since I enunciate like freaking Emily Post, but hey, that’s me).

Back in my freshman year of college, I got into a nasty habit of unintentionally dropping, out of all things, the f-bomb in the worst places (ie in front of the Gymboree at the local mall). I was unaware. And then, naturally, I was horrified. I snapped a rubber band on my wrist for a month to train myself out of using that R-rated conversational tick.

It worked, and I’m now aware of the moments that are maybe not so appropriate for my oh-so-colorful language. But there’s one word I always try to catch myself on, no matter how many fbombs fly out of my mouth. Because strangely enough, it’s the one most commonly used, nasty four-letter word that no one’s ever told me to censor.

H-A-T-E.

Hate is, by definition, “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” It’s violent and should be used sparingly. So why do we use it so much, especially about ourselves?

Well, for one, we don’t censor it in other areas of our life. Just like when you’re learning a new language, the best way to let it set into your brain is to practice out loud with other people. We take social cues from each other, especially when it comes to how we speak. So when we hear the word “hate” being thrown around as an everyday verb – I hate this, I hate that – it begins to feel like something we all just do. We just “hate.”

“Hate” is a form of Casual Negativity, a little conversational tick that’s become normal for us. It’s much easier and more comfortable to say we hate something than to make an actual change – it’s a way to distract and convince ourselves that we’re doing something to move forward, simply by dwelling.

It’s also an extremely emotionally charged word. It gives us something to care about. It gives us something intense to feel.
hate

And so hate permeates our lives, our relationships, and our self image. If we’re unhappy, if we’re upset, if we’re uncomfortable or unsure – we hate. It stirs up such an intense reaction that ultimately becomes familiar. To transcend the hate becomes too risky. So we don’t. And when we don’t, we hold ourselves back from working out the kinks in our psyche that just need a little love.

Just like me and the f-bombs I used to drop around small children, out-training your h-bomb habit is something you have to do intentionally. I don’t recommend using the rubber band trick – because a) it doesn’t get to the root of the problem and b) it really hurts. Instead, here’s how I’ve censored the h*te out of my life – strategically placed asterick and all – and what can maybe work for you, too.

1) Catch Yourself. Be alert. Whenever you’re about to say the word h*te, or even right after you say it, pause and take note.

For the sake of this exercise, I’m going to use two examples: internal and externally focused hate.

Example #1: I hate my stomach. (self – internal)

Example #2: I hate that person. (someone/something else – external)

2) Find The Filler. You’re saying “h*te” – but what’s that filler word really taking up space for? Is it shorthand for frustration? Confusion? Hurt? Maybe it’s the word you use to describe something that doesn’t fit your idea of how things “should” be. 

Example #1: I’m frustrated and uncomfortable. I’m uncomfortable because my clothes don’t fit the way I’d like them to, I’m frustrated because I’m comparing myself to someone else (or maybe even a former version of myself). I’m uncomfortable because my digestion is out of whack and it makes me bloated, I’m frustrated because it happens all the time (or maybe I’m frustrated with my lack of motivation to try and make a change).

Example #2: I’m hurt and confused. This person isn’t the way they used to be. Our relationship has changed. I keep holding onto expectations. I feel judged. I feel tuned out. I don’t know what happened and I’m scared to try and fix it.

3) Use Your Words. There are so many other more descriptive, more accurate, more useful words you can use to express how you feel besides h*te!

Look back on Step 2. How do you really feel? Start infusing those words into your life, and get as specific as possible. Then ask the simple question: what am I going to do about it?

Just like the other choice words and phrases, I sometimes unconsciously slip. But those instances are now the rare exceptions, not the norm. And in the last few years, a strange thing has happened: a causal use of the h-bomb has felt foreign and actually dirty rolling off of my lips. I’ve noticed that there are very, very, very few things I actually do hate in life, none of which have to do with the way I look, act, or feel on a day-to-day basis.

We all have our conversational ticks and our characteristic norms. We all laugh differently, we all lead differently, we all find the kinds of adventures that work for us. The language we use, then, should be a reflection of that – of the nuanced, brilliant individuals we are. At the root of what you say you hate is really just a longing for what you love. Click To Tweet

Let that live.

It’s fucking spectacular.

 


WANT YOURSELF
Tell me in the comments: What do you usually drop h-bombs about in your own life?
Using the mini-exercise above, what do you think your use of “hate” is filler for?
And – bonus points for this one! – what’s ONE tiny action step you can take now to help you overcome that feeling?

*my dad, an avid WANT fan, wanted to be sure you knew that he despises the H-word and always discourages members of my family from using it. that’s a MANT – Man Against Negative Talk – if I ever did see one! thanks, Dad.

A Crash Course In Casual Negativity: The Not-So-Silent (Confidence) Killer

A Crash Course In Casual Negativity: The Not-So-Silent (Confidence) Killer

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Casual Friday, casual workplace, casual friendship, casual hookups. Casual dating, casual sex.

The way we dress to go out to the movies or the mall looks pretty much the same as going to a five-star restaurant. Yoga pants are fancypants. Our smartphones have gotten so smart, they’ve started to recognize our abbreviations and acronyms as real words (at least mine does)…

Another thing that’s gone the route of dress codes and dating? The way we talk about ourselves.

“I am so fat.”
”I hate my _____.”
”I can’t do that.”
“My ideas are stupid.”
“I’m such a klutz.”

This is a very real virus I call Casual Negativity.

Casual Negativity is the automatic negative talk we use over and over again without thinking, so muchso it’s become a part of who we are.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have bad days: those days when we just don’t like the way our jeans fit, or skin looks, or when we see roadblocks everywhere and just want to give up.

But most of the time, we bring up these instances without even thinking. We’ll nonchalantly say we “look huge” or “hate our bodies” – and we’ll say it with the same kind of detachment we’d use to comment on the sky’s color.

We use Casual Negativity – and hear it being used – all. the. time. What we don’t realize is that the way we talk rubs off on others, making it seem commonplace and even acceptable to speak this way. Think about it: how many times have you joined in when your friends or family start criticizing themselves, “empathizing” by sharing what it is about yourself you’re dissatisfied with?

The thing with Casual Negativity is that it’s an expert at sneak-attacking your entire way of communicating with yourself. What might seem like a few negative comments here and there start to work their way into your verbiage and morph into a daily diatribe that’s on loop both out in the open and under the surface. Sure, most negative talk is bad – but this kind is particularly harmful. If this is what our unconscious self talk sounds like, how can we ever expect to conquer the negative self-talk that’s conscious?

Sometimes we don’t realize how often we use Casual Negativity. Sometimes it happens so much, over and over again, that we don’t know how to get out of the pattern.

And so we don’t.

We get addicted to the problems instead of freed by the solutions.

casual-negativity-pin
We get addicted to the problems instead of freed by the solutions. Click To Tweet

So how *do* we move forward into a state of solutions, then? How do we just “get over” this pattern that’s now so engrained in the language that we use every single day?

Here are four steps to crushing Casual Negativity. Here’s what I do when I find myself hanging around in Casual Negativityville. Ask yourself…

1) Am I listening and recognizing where my Casual Negativity likes to hang out?

Listen to yourself for a day. What are the 3 things you criticize the most? Be aware, be honest, and listen without judgement. If a day seems too long, try an hour or an afternoon. Just like always, make this work for you.

For the sake of this exercise, let’s use the example of hair – “My hair is so ugly.”

2) Am I searching for some kind of validation, or am I truly interested in change? Consequently, do I like the reality of changing, or do I just like the drama of trying to constantly figure it out?

If your Casual Negativity likes a group setting – is this a way you’re hoping to connect with others? Are you hoping that by complaining, someone else will view you as more relatable? Are you just using Casual Negativity because everyone else is? Or maybe even because you’re craving a bit of positive attention? (ps. there is NOTHING wrong with wanting to be seen and loved – maybe this just isn’t the best tactic.)

Of the things you listed in question #1 – and be honest with yourself – do you really want to change them, or is it comfortable to just critique? Do you really want to change, or are you addicted to the dramatics?

So if we’re sticking with hair here – do you want someone to tell you your hair is beautiful, or maybe even connect with someone else over your mutual hairdo loathage? Do you really loathe your hair, or do you just get a kick out of complaining about it all the time? There’s no right or wrong answer here.

3) Am I using complaints or grievances to keep me in a safe zone, distract myself, and/or convince myself I’m doing something to activate true, lasting change?

Casual negativity keeps us in a safe zone of sameness. It’s a deceptive mother-effer that sneaks up and distracts us, convinces us we’re doing something to activate true, lasting change.

Back to the hair. Is your life really how you want it to be and that is actually what you want to change – your hair? Or…is it that you’re not happy with other things – your job, your life, your relationships – but those are too big to handle? Are you using negativity as a buffer for other things you’re not bringing up/addressing?

Again, be honest. No right or wrong and absolutely no judgement necessary. You’re on the right track.

4) What’s my priority? Is this one of them?

Make a list of your top 3-5 priorities in your life. This is a great time to go back and find your through line. Now take a peek at your list from exercise #1. Are you critiquing your priority/priorities, or are you really critiquing the thing that’s going unspoken?

If the answers to #2 and #3 are NO (and the above answer is yes), there is nothing else going on and you genuinely dislike the thing you dislike about yourself – then great! Fantastic! You’re now in control and know exactly what it is you need to work on in order to be your very best self. Use your network of family, friends, and acquaintances. Search this site. Search Google. Write me! I’ll send you links! You know what you need so you can get what you WANT.

If your Casual Negativity is not in line with your priorities, then maybe it’s time to address that “something else” that’s going on. Maybe it’s your social life, your career, your hobbies, your self care habits. Recognize the areas that really deserve all that energy you’re spending on Casual Negativity, and then go use it to your advantage where it matters most. Use that through line you’ve been gifted. You’ve got this. You’re golden.


 

WANT Yourself Action Plan:
In the comments below, let me know exactly where Casual Negativity pops up in your life, and one action step you can take today to either address that priority or shift your energy towards what really matters.

Remember to be specific – I know this is not an easy or comfy exercise to do, but I promise that it can change your life if you let it. It did for me.
P.S. I love my hair now.


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What’s Food Got To Do, Got To Do With It: Defining Diet On Your Own Terms

What’s Food Got To Do, Got To Do With It: Defining Diet On Your Own Terms

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Growing up, my elementary school had a pretty extensive hot lunch program. Pizza, deli sandwiches, ravioli, chocolate milk. Delicious, yes, and every savory-toothed kid’s dream. Most days, my friends and I would bring our own lunches, which would all follow the one guideline that could get us writing standards through recess: no sugar in the first three ingredients.

Fast forward to high school, we switched over to baked chips instead of fried. College, fat-free froyo was the thing. Now, I can’t enter a room without hearing someone mention what they ate and how they ate it (myself included – I can’t help that I love food like it’s my job). Working with various bloggers, chefs, nutritionists, fitness pros, and health fanatics every single day has taught me one huge lesson about health: everyone has an opinion.

One family member might swear off dairy, saying it’s a life changer. One book might preach the gospel of gluten-free. Another might say that all grains no-matter-what are the devil; a magazine on the table says our bodies need whole wheat as nutritional puzzle pieces. Eating for your blood type, eating for your ayurvedic type, eating for your genotype…

Combine the lessons, books, experts, and health fanatics with the amount of incredible information that’s literally at our fingertips – hello, Google! – we’ve started to not only talk reactively instead of proactively, we’ve started to eat reactively instead of proactively. What we’re told should fuel us makes us feel crummy, but we keep going because hey, that’s what we’re told we should do.

No wonder we are so confused.

We like to think of food in black-and-white terms; healthy vs unhealthy, grains vs. dairy vs. meat vs. fruit vs. veggies vs. fat. We limit our views of what we can and cannot eat based on generic categories – and it’s not our fault. Whether you grew up in 1965 or 2015, the slowly changing “food pyramid” has been a visual reminder of the shoulds and should-nots of healthy eating since childhood. We’ve had it drilled into our brains that there is a clear Good Vs. Evil when it comes to food, and diet trends such as low carb, low fat, gluten free, sugar free, fat free, high protein, etc have given us even more extreme and generic views as to what should and shouldn’t go into our mouths.

My question is: if these norms are true, then why do so many of us end up feeling so bad?

By volume, our biggest, most universal behavioral norm is that we all eat. Whether it’s three large meals or periodically grazing throughout the day, it’s also by function our most important behavioral norm.

Here’s the deal: everything you put inside your body puts some sort of chemical reaction into motion, and those chemical reactions not only affect the way we feel, they affect the way we feel about the way we feel. You know how you’re more likely to bash your bod when you’re feeling physically crappy? That negative talk is directly related to the ins and outs of what you eat. Even if you think you are eating well, you might not be eating well for you.

Whether you’re making an effort to follow the healthy guidelines you’ve heard about on the streets (this is actually what you hear about on the streets in LA) or you just go where your tastebuds (or eyes – food is pretty) take you, it’s time to start tuning into what makes your machine run at peak performance.

We need to get back in touch with what makes us vibrant and healthy on an individual basis – and that starts by learning how our food makes us feel and how it actually tastes.

And if you think about it, you’ll probably find that you already know more than you think you do. Here’s how to get back in touch:

Notice how your body reacts to the foods you eat. Think back on your last few days of eating. What has made you feel more energetic, or helped you sustain your energy levels? Have you had bouts of extreme mood swings unrelated to sleep or that-time? Were there mornings you woke up feeling sluggish, flu-like, poofy-bodied (I prefer this adjective over “bloated,” it’s kinder), foggy-brained? Take note of how you’ve felt and look at what you ate during those times.

Your body is quick to react to the good stuff, but can be a little slower to react to what makes your insides cry for help. Whether it’s after twenty minutes or twenty four hours, if you’re not feeling good – listen. And if you’re feeling great – listen. Notice patterns. Your body is smart and tells you what it really loves. Listen. Don’t confuse that love with what your body lusts after in the moment.

Learn what your food actually tastes like. It’s astonishing that so many people think certain foods are seemingly tasteless – when the only foods that are truly tasteless are those made in plants by chemicals, not grown amongst plants by farmers. When you start to strip away all the fixins – sugar and salt-laden heavy dressings, sauces, creams, etc – you’ll realize that everything has a very distinct taste to it. So many people shun veggie because they think they don’t like them, when in reality, we’re so addicted to the junk-filled gunk we throw on top of them that we’re not even giving them a chance to get to first base on their own.

This isn’t about eliminating food groups or going on a regimented diet – it’s about taking control of your food choices instead of letting other people, brands, and businesses control what you crave. Don’t worry, you’ll get to add sauces and fanciness back onto your plate – but not until you know what you are adding them to and why. Is it because they compliment your dish or they mask it? Is it because they round out the meal or feed your cravings?

You won’t eat healthfully for life if you don’t enjoy what you’re eating…so learn what you actually like. Once you figure out what you enjoy eating and what makes you feel good, you’ll start to see a pattern; a correlation between the things you enjoy and the things that make you feel good. They’ll become a dynamic duo; one won’t be able to exist without the other.

Does this mean you’ll shun loaded nachos, chocolate chip cookies, and buttercream frosting forever? Of course not. Loaded nachos, chocolate chip cookies, and buttercream frosting are some of the most wondrous parts of life. But you won’t let them take control of your mind and body. You’ll know what makes you feel like crap and how much indulgence your body can handle before it starts to feel abusive or self-sabotagey. And you’ll be able to really enjoy it without feeling like you’re “cheating.” There’s no way to cheat when you know yourself inside and out.

Whether you’re leaving sugar out of the first three ingredients or swearing off dairy, a healthy diet isn’t really about the food. It’s not about a rulebook or an outline or even a label – certainly not about a pyramid. Healthy eating is about feeding your body so it can move into its best self. It’s about learning to listen to what your body is telling you and taking note, honoring what it has to say. It’s the best friend you will ever have, the most honest confidante you’ll come across. A healthy diet is about loving yourself enough to treat yourself with respect and kindness. Just like any worthwhile relationship, your relationship with your body is about love. Lead with love and the body will follow.

WANT yourself:
When it comes to the foods that make you feel your best, what’s worked for you in YOUR experience? Or, how can you apply today’s WANTwisdom to your own life?

Feel free to get specific or keep it general, just keep it you. Seeing examples of how different we all inherently are can sometimes be the lightbulb-moment that makes others finally feel ok living by their own rules, instead of abiding by someone else’s.


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Playing To Win: On Peaks, Valleys + Your Fullest Potential

Playing To Win: On Peaks, Valleys + Your Fullest Potential

Body Community Tips + Tools Work

The loudest moments in life are usually followed by some sort of silence – and vice versa. Cheers and praise followed by crickets. Thoughtful moments followed by battle cries. It’s the quiet hum of the city right before it comes to life, the bustle of the sidewalks before we turn in for the night. It’s the ebb and flow of who we are.

As prevalent as they are, these shifts can catch us off-guard in a major way – and are many of the times we’re most likely to go to that dark place in our brain that tells us we are not enough. That we’re not smart enough, liked enough, that we’re not doing enough to make an impact.

When we’re sick or injured or going through an inactive lull, our bodies can start to feel out of place. Everything is connected: the brain, the heart, the body. They all affect one another. The voices that say we’re getting so-fat, or so-skinny, or so-gross can come out in full force simply because we’re not prepared to use our lows to their fullest potential. We just focus on the highs.

Those moments trap us; so that even when the highs come back again (they always do), we’re unprepared to tackle them the way we know best. We’ve been so caught up in the low of what we don’t have, we have forgotten all we do. When the highs start rolling in, we rush to prove our worth and desperately hide from the low we fear we are. We scramble to fill our cups the easiest way we can.

We get into the habit of playing not-to-lose, instead of playing to win. Continue reading

What Do You Stand For: Defining Your Through Line

What Do You Stand For: Defining Your Through Line

Body Community Love Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration Tips + Tools Work

What is the common theme in everything you love? What is a common goal in everything you do?

Those, my friends, are your through line.

Finding your through line is the solid base for your WANT journey. Negative talk is simply a filler for uncertainty in purpose and imbalances in your mind, body and soul. With confidence in your purpose or through line, there is less of the negative talk that we use to sabotage ourselves.

Once we find our through line and shift our actions to deliver that through line, success is inevitable.

Notice the little things that fulfill you. Not necessarily the tasks themselves, but the meaning behind those tasks. Not so much the superficial What, but the hidden Why.

We cannot succeed if we do not love what we DO – or if what we do does not fit into the big picture. We are all equipped with a through line; something we are wonderful at and are meant  to give to the world.

You might have one through line or a couple. Here are a few steps and questions to help you find yours:

Step 1: Make a list of everything you love to do or experience. I mean everything. The things that you seem to get absorbed by and fill you up from the inside out. Don’t worry about cohesiveness, list as many actions, experiences, and instances as you can think of. Cooking dinner, one-on-one time with friends, business strategy, binging on horror movies – it’s all fair game.

Step 2: Can you find a common theme within the majority of your answers? Try to find a mode and an output. Look beyond the obvious – the fact that you love to bake and you love to have spontaneous dance parties might seem unrelated, but when you dig deeper you might realize what you actually love is the act of creating something that brightens up someone else’s day. You love to bake – but when you’re sharing your treats with friends. You love to have spontaneous dance parties because it makes your husband or boyfriend or kid or dog even fill up with joy and laughter. There’s where your talents lie. That is your through line.

Just for kicks, make another list of everything you excel at. No need to hold back here – remember, confidence is not synonymous with narcissism or vanity. Now highlight the things that you can recognize your through line in. Does this list seem familiar? It should. Many of the things we love to do are the things we have a natural knack for. Pretty cool, huh? These places are where you shine the brightest.

Need an example? Here’s what the first two steps of my exercise looks like:

Step 1: I love writing, interviewing others, singing, people watching, unfiltered and authentic conversations, listening to podcasts, music, running, teaching cycle classes, taking cycle classes, pretty much exercise of all kinds, yoga classes, acting, photography, going to concerts, laughing out loud at movies, spending time with my family and soul-friends, reading non-fiction books or books written in the first person, public speaking, taking small chances, painting, drawing.

Step 2: In most of the things I love, I can see that my through line is using my unique voice to its fullest, in order to bring about the most authentic best in others. I see my “voice” not only in talking or singing to teaching, but in writing, drawing – movement even. Because if I think about it, I get bored or frustrated during exercises or classes in which I’ve got to do things exactly like someone else. I love moving like only I know how. I love listening to podcasts and reading non-fiction or books written in the first person because they spark a discussion in me; I can almost hear my voice chiming in with the author or speaker. If I look closely, everything I love has my through line of authenticating voice running through it. I stand for love – of others and yourself.

Once I first realized this, I made a mental note and carefully placed it in the corner of my mind. And whenever I would feel discontent or useless or squashed down and dull, I’d ask myself…”Katie, are you using your unique voice right now and is it resonating with the best parts of others?” If the answer was no, even if I could not fully escape the scenario that was bringing me down, I would divert my attention and place myself in a scenario in which I could use my though line to its fullest potential, however big or small that might look from the outside.

Now that you know your through line, you can invest your time a bit more wisely. It’s easy to talk negatively about ourselves when we are in those bang-your-head-against-the-wall scenarios. And we’ve all got to deal with those throughout our lives no matter what. Sometimes, things just don’t gel. Try again. Maybe that one won’t stick. Go back and look at your list, see if you can identify a nuance of your through line, or a whole other through line altogether, and try again. Trial and error is part of the deal.

I’m not saying that once you find the ways in which you shine the brightest, you’ll always be shiny and sparkly. Life would be boring and useless without mistakes and missteps and those moments in which we feel the lowest lows. But if you are strategically placing yourself in scenarios in which you can use your through line – whether it be with a new group of friends, a new relationship, a new job or simply a potential hobby you’re taking up – you’ll also feel those highest highs a whole lot higher. Your life will feel a whole lot more cohesive, and you’ll feel your purpose from the inside out.

defining your through line - what is your purpose and what do you stand for

WANT Yourself Action Plan:

In the comments section below, tell me what your through line is. How do you use it on a regular basis? Did you have an aha! moment that helped you realize what you were meant to give to the world?

Be as specific as possible – this is not an easy exercise, and your insight and experience might be exactly what someone else needs to read to realize the power they have within themselves.

WANT is a testament to the power of our pragmatically positive voice as a community and the impact we can have if we band together. Go for it, WANT peeps…

 


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