I want to talk about the things in our life that make us scream - either feel like screaming or maybe actually screaming, on the inside OR the outside!
And I want to talk about that right now because with all the gut wrenching news that has been happening lately, I think I speak for the collective, that we are on edge and much more likely to break into panicked screams at any moment.
Because you may not understand why, say, the dirty dishes in the sink are related to the destruction of paradise by the warming ocean's more powerful hurricanes.
You may not see it as connected to the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake when the pile of papers on the corner of your desk or table is giving you nausea.
You may wonder if you have a slight stomach bug because you just don't feel right, when it actually could be the warming climate and drought fueled wildfires.
It may not make sense that the increase in violent hate groups is the cause of your headache or the feeling in your gut that just won't go away.
The level of embarrassment and shame I feel as a US Citizen for how our President behaves in public gives me near instant spikes of this hard to identify anxiety. I've decided that Trump has a new meaning - to me the word Trump means the taste of vomit in my mouth, because that is how his actions make me feel, dirty like I have the aftertaste of vomit in my mouth. This in turn causes low grade stress whenever I turn on the news.
We are in a heavy time. We are in an unstable time, both socially and environmentally. And these kinds of global changes cause anxiety. The thing is that anxiety can be expressed in our bodies as MANY DIFFERENT SYMPTOMS.
So poor sleep, neck pain, ache joints, stomach ache, diarrhea, super tired, exhaustion, anger, resentment, depression, or just generally wanting to SCREAM can all be results of our widespread anxiety-inducing time to be alive.
And, of course, as someone who focuses specifically on helping overcome emotional eating, ALL of these symptoms, and any kind of stress or anxiety can trigger reactions in how we eat.
For me personally, this anxiety has been giving me nausea, and so it actually diminishes my overall appetite, but then I find myself wanting to eat things that seem "Simple" in my mind, but usually that means SWEET.
For some of my clients, the anxiety can be quelled by eating throughout that day. However, this only sends you on your own personally cycle of guilt, which further adds to the stress and anxiety.
So what can you do to survive without turning to bad food habits?
1. Recognize that you are being affected by the global level of stress. It is honorable to have feelings that reflect the state of the world, understand you are empathetic and take steps to protect yourself.
2. Identify what in your day to day makes you want to scream (dishes, messy bedroom, stacks of paper, whatever); you don't have to necessarily do anything about it if that's too overwhelming, but just recognize that it's symbol of outside influences.
3. Make your personal self care a huge priority - it's not petty to take time to take care of yourself; limit exposure to news and media; create a safe space for yourself to be nourished, which can be as simple as time alone or making a cup of tea.
4. Take action that aligns with your hope - whether this is giving money to causes you care about, joining as a volunteer, calling your elected representatives, or all of the above, identify ways to move your own personal agenda forward for things you care about.
All of these steps can take minimal time. Phoning your representatives can take 20 minutes per week, but is a a POWERFUL way to feel empowered AND make change.
These are the steps I've found that help me have compassion for myself in a difficult time. Let me know what you've tried and what has helped you!!
My kids stress me out. It's just a fact of my life.
Why am I writing about this on my blog about emotional eating? Because stress is an incredibly common trigger of emotional eating. We all have stress in different forms. Maybe it's what's going on at your work. Maybe it's something happening in your relationship... Maybe it's your kids.
I spend a lot of time trying to understand my life and make it better. It may not be something everybody does, but it's what I do.
And in researching what to do when your kids stress you out... I have to admit I wasn't happy with much of the advice!
While there is of course a time and a place for prescriptions drugs/medicine, I was surprised at how many people talking about parenthood causing them stress or anxiety or depression or anger felt okay with taking drugs. Some people have biochemical imbalances, and drugs are amazing to help resolve something that would be a lifelong issue, or even in extreme short term cases.
I know for a fact that I wasn't angry or bitter or resentful or anxious or nearly as stressed out as I am now before I had kids. And I also know that it's not just my kids.
Yes, it's the fact that I am a parent, but it is this life-shattering paradigm shift that I have experienced going from not a parent to a parent.
And it is the absolute bullshit pressure that's put on a woman and/or the primary caregiver of a family's children!
This is the bullshit of patriarchy being lived out in my day-to-day family life.
Because, of course, biology is sexist. The women make the baby; the women make the milk. Therefore the women are usually the primary caregivers.
And yet there's this whole group of us who don't want to be in the traditional nine-to-five situation never see our kids --- and also don't want to have our brains rot from doing nothing but wiping butts all day.
Enter the mom entrepreneur. I love my business. I love my clients. I literally love doing the work that I do helping women change how they eat and how they feel in their bodies. It's amazing!
And yet raising a business is kind of like raising a child. It takes a lot of time and energy and patience.
So now I have my two kids and my business and... My husband.
And unfortunately he just really doesn't understand what I'm doing and so I don't always feel that I have full support. So there's this juggling act going on now. He's ambitious; he's generous; he's kind; he loves reading to our kids. But holy shit, if I have to tell him where the fucking mustard is one more time I'm going to blow!!!!
And that is the stress and anxiety that I'm speaking about. It manifests itself as an inconsequential detail that I feel like I want to scream about.
And you add this up over and over and over and no wonder women are stressed out. No wonder back in the day they had their breakdowns. Even if you're not trying to raise a business, just trying to raise a family is such an immense amount of emotional burden that is unbearable.
And for me it was worse without the support of other professionals who share interests outside of raising the kids. I'm not saying no one should be happy being a stay-at-home mom. I have dear friends who are deeply fulfilled by raising their kids. I'm not. I love my kids. I take parenting seriously. I probably take it too seriously and that's part of my problem.
And I need more. I need something else. I need the rest of my identity intact. Men don't understand that because they still have their identity. I'm not speaking for stay-at-home fathers; I don't know enough of them well enough; that's somebody else's blog post.
Most of the time the men keep working, and guess what? The men is still an engineer or a salesperson or a chef or whatever. The woman is the mother. And that is an emotional burden that can't be explained.
And I think it's almost worse in this modern modern world because we can microwave dinner if we need to we can send our kids to practice in an Uber if we need to and yet we can't outsource somebody expecting us to know where the mustard is.
I hate to leave my thoughts unactionable. So I'm going to tell you the most basic and simple thing that I'm doing. It's incredibly hard.
And I think it's the only solution. It's to stop. Just stop. And it is insidiously difficult to do!
Because I feel like an asshole when I tell my husband that I can't help him find the mustard. It's just finding the mustard. How much time can finding the mustard take? What could I possibly be doing that's more important than finding the mustard?
Oh wait. That's just it. You add up all these little inconveniences and actually nothing that's important to me is getting done.
I know I'm giving the example of my husband even though this blog post is actually about my kids. That's because with little kids more than half of my interactions are instances like these:
"Mommy where the Crayons?"
"Mommy get me a water."
"Mommy I'm hungry."
Maybe you can relate. I'm a doer. I'm a Problem Solver. It is incredibly hard for me to not do. So whether or not you have kids, you probably have circumstances like this.
Oh, I can stay late and file that last paper.
Oh, I enjoy that part of my work I can do a little more of it.
Oh, I'll do that project better than anyone else I might as well sign up for it.
And I just want to say that these are all remarkable traits!!!
I'm not disparaging my ambition or my compassion for my family or your passion for your work or any of that.
I'm just acknowledging that I need better boundaries and a lot of other women do too. Because that's the answer to reducing stress. It's simply not doing the things that are stressing you out.
For me I literally can't draw this line when I'm home. If my husband asks me where the mustard is it's incredibly difficult for me to not help him find it. If my kids ask me for a glass of water I actually sometimes try to say no but then I have someone crying half the time which again is difficult. So I have to find times to get out of the house. It's the only way I can change these patterns.
With my business it's the other side. I love my business. I want to do my business. I want to have it grow and get more clients and help more people. And yet... Sometimes I just have to say no.
So when my kids stress me out (or I scream at my husband about the mustard), I actually know that it means there's just too much on my shoulders. It means I have to get out from underneath all this patriarchal bullshit and learn how to Simply say no.
I've felt "ungrounded" for about 6 weeks... since I took my extended road trip (which did deplete me), and yet I also returned on the day of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.
This was followed quickly by breathtaking news on what seems to be almost daily. Hurricane after hurricane, earthquakes, bills being signed regularly (in a way that feels secretive and undercutting), failed attempts at other more loud legislation, the ongoing wreckage that follows each natural disaster and needs attention lost in the slew of the next disaster, the equifax hack that puts half the country at risk of identify theft (possibly kids as well).
Oh yeah, and then the Colin Kaepernik protest suddenly being coopted by the NFL to make CK irrelevant and the NFL somehow the hero??? I'm no sports fan but CK still has no job at the time as far as I'm aware of.
And more quietly, I'm reading about the battle for net neutrality (I support this) but also the Communications Deceny Act, a more complicated issue that is somehow a battleground for where we draw the line between free speech and pornography AND amazing the way that huge non-traditional media formats like Facebook escape any responsibility for who they sell ads to or what purpose the ads may be for. Read up on this if you haven't yet. I'm not sure where I stand, but I think we need to have the voice of the people speaking out more than the largest tech giants.
And then on top of it all there is my regular life, which somehow seems simultaneously both petty and entirely unmanageable in the context of all that is happening right now.
So everyday I try to focus on living my regular life while integrating what I value into it.
I've gone through my kids books and gotten rid of some of the old, outdated 50s books that are racist or sexist. I've purchased additional books for our library showed greater diversity. I went through their books and changed skin color with colored pencils, to give them greater diversity because sadly, they were not that diverse. I've downloaded movies (what few I could find) with diverse lead characters. I"ve started frequently different farmer's markets in neighborhood with people of different skin tone than ours. My kids are a big part of what I'm doing in my day to day and I want to make sure they grow up aware that diversity is beautiful and that we need to use our voices to speak out for equality.
I also struggle each day to maintain my self care rituals. It's a fight to do it in all honesty. To put a few minutes of self massage on the to do list, which means leaving the dirty dishes in the sink sometimes. To make sure I shower regularly even when...well...the dishes are staring me down. To get myself dressed before the kids have started asking repeatedly for breakfast. But I do it as best I can, every day, and I forgive myself when the laundry or dishes take precedence.
And yet I feel the need to do more. I honestly want to GO. I want to BE where people need the help. And I can't - my day to day is too intertwined with little guys. So I give. I givesmall monthly contributions to Sierra Club, KPBS, and Planned Parenthood...and in the past few months I've given much more than the monthly amount - MORE to sierra club for post hurricane relief and planning for further climate change affects - I've also donations to The Color of Change bringing awareness to racism in our country and fighting for equality - to the Foundation Fighting Blindness in honor of my neighbor and my grandfather who lost their sight - to my son's school for their hurricane donations.
And that's CASH.
I also continue to up my donation of service for charitable fundraisers because the world has SO MUCH NEED right now and I have to do what I can, ALL that I can.
I also have to put my business into forward mode - booking talks, networking, speaking with clients. And I'll admit it's not easy to do when the world feels like it has so many pressing needs!!!
But when I think about putting it off, I also know that's not right. My passion is for helping people live a healthy, aligned life, losing weight and truly feeling GREAT about what they are eating, helping them KNOW each bite is the right bite, whether it's a steak, an ice cream, or a delicious and gourmet salad. So I know it's another pat of what I HAVE To do for the world. Because the world needs SO MUCH, and I'm going to give the world the best of me.
Fast food is DESIGNED to make you want it, and to make you eat as much as possible. It is literally engineered to be that way. Sometimes getting info about that can help you want to stand up to that kind of deception and manipulation. Movies/Books like Fast Food Nation, Super Size Me, The End of Overeating, etc.
Also, learning about how bad that food is over time may help you decide you don't want to eat it.
However, you also MUST address the emotional/lifestyle trigger behind the desire/craving.
You don't feel like cooking... that is FINE! That is totally legitimate! There are many days when you may not feel like cooking. Cooking can be a joy...and cooking can be a total slog.
I used to be a sugar addict (also very addicting), and now I am passionate about helping people create their ideal relationship with food. I ALWAYS suggest spending some time to understand what is driving that craving. Yes, with fast food some of it is physical/biological...but there is also a lifestyle/emotion to it. In the case of fast food avoiding the work of cooking and the clean up after is a big part of it.
I focus on five steps:
1. Count the Joy - learn to celebrate food
2. Love Every Bite - you should eat foods you enjoy
3. Have Your Cake - include treats and foods you love
4. Eat Healthy Without Trying - this takes time, but you can train yourself to truly honestly prefer healthy foods!
5. Have a Plan - don't get caught too hungry or too busy
I wanted to explain all the steps because a lot of the understanding work comes first, you have to know where all your triggers are coming from before the changes will last.
And at the same you can start with some of the changes -- what usually comes at the end-- while you spend the time laying the emotional foundation.
In THIS case, how can you have a plan?
1. Keep food in your freezer or pantry that is better than fast food... look for frozen meals with no weird ingredients. Be it pizza or noodles whatever super easy item you prefer, take some time to stock a few "emergency rations".
2. Keep your fruit bowl full. Add fruit to any meal to round it out. Noodles again? Add some orange slices on the side to freshen it and lighten it. Feels like a fancy restaurant, too
3. Use paper plates. Sure, it makes waste...but so does fast food, so indulge at home once in a while, too.
What else can you do to have a plan and honor your desire to not cook?
Let me know in the comments below!
If you are involved in a charity that is looking for donations for a fundraising auction, let me know!
I love to donate to causes that are building up strong communities, fighting for human (women, POC, LBGTQ, or any other kind of human) rights, protecting our environment, helping our children or the needy, or generally making the world a better place :)
I offer three services to charities:
"The Sugar Swap" - 90 minute coaching session
"Have Your Cake, And Eat It, Too" - 90 minute coaching session
"Picky Kids into Healthy Eaters" - eCourse and 50 minute coaching session
All are retail value of $199 so they are great items to help raise funds for a cause you love!
The best way to request any of my services as a donation is to create an account at DonationMatch.com and use my referral code RF100542.
Fellow biz owners - you can also use DonationMatch.com to give.
"Have Your Cake & Eat It Too" - 90 Minute Coaching Session
You don't need to deprive and starve yourself to lose weight!
I help busy high achieving women banish emotional eating so they can get off the yo-yo diet rollercoaster, keep the weight off for good and look and feel great. My signature program, Love Every Bite is all about doing that in a fun, easy way without guilt, starving yourself or swearing off your favorite foods! Oh… and it’s actually really FUN! I promise plenty of laughs!
Have Your Cake & Eat It, Too
I offer what I call the "Have Your Cake & Eat It Too Session" - it's like a blueprint for reaching your health goals. "Have Your Cake & Eat It Too" will reveal my best weight loss secrets personalized to you and your situation, and will outline how to live them in your day to day.
It's 90 minutes via Skype or Facetime, and we explore your concerns and map out how you can achieve those goals while still eating all the foods you love, while working towards feeling great everyday and reaching your desired weight!
The secret to simple healthy food is this: grains and veggies.
I explained a bit about grains one week ago. Today, let's chat vegetables.
If you really don't know how to make sure you make this happen, then grab yourself a coffee chat with me so we can chat and I can tell you about the ways I can help you commit to it. I have SEVERAL ways! I can teach you to go Beyond Meal Planning. I can schedule you a Pantry Makeover. I can help you go deep in Love Every Bite.
Let me share with you how I tout the advantages of vegetables in my forth coming book:
Adding a salad or steamed vegetables to a meal is quick and easy way to round the meal out. Cooking soup is an easy way to create a meal featuring the bounty of the farmer’s market. Vegetables should be plenty and abundant in your diet. They are filling and delicious; they are high in fiber and low in fat; most are low in sugar; they are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
They really add so much to a diet and you can eat so much without ever worrying about whether or not they are healthy. Vegetables are the one part of any diet that you never have to measure, weigh, or be concerned about over eating.
And I didn't even go into the health benefits! Vegetables are the staple of most healthy "diets." Anytime or place in the history of the world, they ate vegetables. Except, of course, for modern day industrialized nations. Like ours. Where we suffer from a disastrous array of preventable health ailments... Ahem. Alright, so how can eat more of them??? Just like grains. We have to commit. We have to change our mindset from "it's too hard" to "hell yeah I wanna live forever!"
(You know, not really. But I do wanna feel great and look my best and be as healthy as I can as long as I can!!! And veggies help with all of that!!!)
Okay, Alegra. HOW????
Well, if you are familiar with "Beyond Meal Planning" - the first step is chop veggies. It's really three steps: Buy them and chop them and use them. Still. I know you can do that.
So go ahead and hop back on Pinterest and find one recipe with veggies. Easy! And then chop TWICE as many veggies as what it calls for, and use up the leftovers in an other meal the next day!! You've just doubled your veggies consumption.
What veggie will you pick???
Okay, a lot of my friends have questioned me for "talking about sugar" despite crazy things going on in the world.
You know... Facebook is exploding with petitions, rallies, and all kinds of mayhem...and here I am posting about how to eat less sugar, or how not to worry when you do eat sugar.
Or, there are violent mobs and floods, and...here I am posting about how to lose weight by learning to manage your stress.
So why do I keep posting about weight loss, sugar, stress, and emotional eating when there are so many other, more timely things to be posting about????
The truth is this: I think shit got crazy in 2016. When I woke up to a future President Trump I had to have a little come to Jesus talk with myself. Trump as president? That's not normal.
And I realized that if more people stood up for the things they cared about, the world would be...different.
So I looked back at my bet that helping busy, ambitious women lose weight while eating all the food they love, and most importantly helping them FEEL their BEST and truly love what they eat.
And I BELIEVE in that. So I doubled down.
And I also believe this to be true: People need help to eat well, without guilt or restriction, NOW more than ever. Shit is going down in our country right now. A white house run by reality TV star? Advisors leaving left and right? Violent uprisings from the white supremacists? Floods on the gulf coast?
Yeah, we're kinda stressed.
And in the midst of all this chaos, we need to nourish ourselves now more than ever. We need to take care of ourselves, so we can keep fighting for what we believe in. So we can speak our truth. And my work HELPS women do that. And I BELIEVE in my work.
So I'll just be over here, talking about sugar, stress, food, and loving ourselves through it all.
I have decided to donate generously to 501c3 and 501c4 charitable organizations that are in support of uplifting our communities, speaking for equal rights for all, protecting our environment, and generally doing good work in the world.
I have always been happy to donate, but in light of the bigotry, racism, and hate that has sadly (but hopefully with the result of true change in our country) come to the forefront of the news lately, I have made this a keystone part of my business.
If you have a human rights organization (including any subgroup of humans fighting for equal rights), a dance group, a speaking organization, a beach clean up, a taco making charity, or any cause near and dear to your heart that uplifts people in any way AND puts on fundraising efforts AND would like a donation of services, please let me know.
In the past few weeks alone I've donated services for auction or raffle to over 100 events held by charitable organizations, from human rights groups to schools to churches to veteran groups to animal rescue/welfare groups to drug rehabilitation services to services for those in need to museums to research foundations to medical treatment and services.
I'd love to add your cause to the list.
The easiest way to make a request is to sign up your charity on DonationMatch.com and make a request using my referral code RF100542.
(Biz owners, you can sign up to manage your giving, too!)
I went on an extended road trip this summer, and it served me well to break me out of some old habits. Others are still alive and kicking... like how often I look at my phone! And, yes, I AM trying to break free of that little addiction.
Anyway, the road was great in many ways, my kids are actually awesome travelers, and, if you didn't see my Facebook post about it... it was WAY over ambitious as well.
Four weeks on the road with my kids?? Well, next year I'll cap it at two weeks. I hit new limits on my exhaustion, my ability to be extroverted, and my patience with my kids.
Having some space also let me see that I need some new business habits as well.
So, the biggest change is that I will be sending out monthly newsletters from here on out, but I'll be happily posting more content on my blog to balance things out!
I'm also excited that I've opened up my schedule for clients to 4 mornings a week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday (plus Wednesday afternoon).
I told you last time I've dusted off my old manuscript for my book, The Kitchen Witch, and I'm working through it, finding typos, and getting ready to publish it!
I am having SO MUCH FUN reading through my old wisdom, and following the advice I gave myself ten+ years ago. What a gift!
Of course, it's not really dusty, because it's on a my computer, and the advice won't really make you live forever, because that's impossible plus - who would want to?
But it is excellent advice none the less, and advice which I see I have lost touch of with adulting and parenting... but advice which I am ardently working to bring back into my life! I hope you can, too!
Check out these three basic premises (premi?). Check out this simple concepts that inspire the book!
What’s good for the inside is good for the outside. That’s one of the mottos of this book, and what you’ll be learning about when you read this book or use it a reference. The book is organized categorically, but the extensive index will help you locate suggestions for specific issues or ailments, such as facial treatments or acne, or by ingredients that you happen to have on hand, like sesame oil, bell peppers, or rose flower water.
What’s good for the outside is good for the inside. That means an approach to health that will help keep you happy and healthy from inside to outside and from outside to inside. You can’t create beauty superficially – beauty arises from deep inside of each of us. It’s when this beauty is blocked from surfacing that we don’t feel our best, and from there we can’t look our best.
Treat yourself well, and the world will follow. So, how can we take care of our bodies and souls everyday so that we feel good and look good? It’s by treating ourselves to the best things in life, which happen to be things we have access to everyday: good food, good company, and good intention.
Let's be honest. It's actually really hard to take good care of ourselves. Society, sadly, thinks it's great to run around, brag about how you haven't even eaten breakfast (and it's 2pm), complain about lack of sleep, etc etc etc. But that is called: On your way to adrenal fatigue / We don't take of ourselves in 'merica.
So, let's pledge together, that we will put ourselves first. We will take deep care of our bodies and souls. We will make choices that are good for our insides AND outsides.
In fact, I'm going to eat some healthy snacks AND get a massage this week.
What will you do???
I help busy, ambitious women feel great every day and look their best by loving every bite they eat to their natural weight.