Tag: body positive

The First Pillar: Whole-Self Love (Part 3- Loving the Body You Live In)

What would it look like for you to take your relationship with your body to the next level?

What if I told you that you could love the body that you live in, exactly as it is? YES- without losing/gaining weight, changing your hair, or altering your external image in any way. Imagine what it would feel like to stop being angry at it, disappointed in it, embarrassed by it, afraid of it, or ashamed of it.

I am not going to pretend that this is an easy, 2-step process or that I have a magic potion that will instantly take you from Loathe to Love. You won’t be hearing from me that you have go through some hard-ass Boot Camp to break yourself down first in order to build yourself back up. I am also not going to bullshit you with the claim that “all” you have to do is change your mindset (HELLO, changing your mindset is not like switching a light on or off!) We are much more complex than that and our stories require us to move forward with nuance and care. But I will tell you the truth that it absolutely IS possible and that you CAN learn to truly Love the body that you live in.

It’s also true that you will still experience some highs and some lows; you will still have moments when you slip back into old ways of thinking before you catch yourself and get your booty back on your positive path. I sure do, anyway, and I’ve been practicing Whole-Self Love for more than a decade! It is a life’s work that is well worth every ounce of energy that you put into it, every tear, every journal entry, every layer of pain/drama/lies/ peeled away.

Knowing that… Would you be willing to trade embarrassed for empowered?

Could you dare to swap disappointed in for devoted to?

Can you see the possibility for you and your body to have a positive relationship with each other?

Hallmarks of a Loving Relationship With Your Body

Any strong relationship will have some hallmarks that make it stand apart from more casual acquaintances. It’s no different for cultivating a loving connection with your body. Here are 5 key areas to consider:

  • Awareness & Clarity
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Support System
  • Fun!

Awareness & Clarity

Who do you think you are? Awareness & Clarity points to having an honest, true understanding of who you are, what your body is, and how the two of you are going to move through the rest of your life together. One of my favorite tools for this is what I call the Look Deeper Mirror Experiment. This means having the courage to really see yourself as a Divine, sovereign, intelligent being, and your body as both a unique entity and as the temporary housing and vehicle through which you are experiencing life as a Person. To do this, Strip down to your bare-naked self and face yourself in the mirror. Start with your eyes; look into them- really get in deep! You may be tempted to look away, but don’t. What do you feel? Nervous, scared, sad, surprised? Don’t pull away from the feelings, notice them, acknowledge them, follow them. They are clues to Who you are, Where you need healing, and What your body most wants from you. Next, notice everything that you like about your physical body. Send some love, appreciation and kind words from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. When/If you start going down that tired old path of self-criticism and the list of bits and parts you wish looked different, STOP. Remind yourself then and there that you are on a new path now, and that you are learning how to Love yourself. Your WHOLE self.

If you want to experience the positive transformation and deep healing that comes from a Whole-Self Love practice, I recommend having a loving conversation with yourself every day, and a kind word for yourself every time you see yourself in the mirror. At the very least, how about no more actively hating the person looking back at you? That’s a good place to start!

Commitment

Commitment is about making the choice to stay, stick with, and work at something. It’s having the quality of dedication, and it shows up in people who are trustworthy, loyal, honorable. Making a commitment to care for yourself and to love yourself, doesn’t mean that you are being narcissistic or selfish. Far from it. In fact, by committing to love yourself and the body that you live in helps to develop your autonomy and your ability to care for and love the people around you more authentically and with healthy boundaries.

Another favorite tool is writing a Love Letter to Your Body. If you’ve never tried this, you may be surprised by how powerful this can be! You can write it in any way that suits you, whether it’s a narrative or a list or a stream of consciousness or a sonnet. You don’t have be an eloquent writer and you don’t have to show it to anybody; it’s really just another way to reveal and encounter more of your truest self. For an example of one I wrote a while back, click here.

Developing a self-love practice takes some time. It takes some thoughtfulness and intention, and it takes a commitment. It takes some courage to break free from the negative scripts and internal dialogue, and to rebel against the culture of body shaming. But every bit of effort that you put into it is precious and creates a more positive relationship and connection to your true Self, which in turn leads to a more satisfying and happy life.

Communication

Having good communication is one of the most important components of any successful relationship, so now that you’ve taken steps towards Awareness, Clarity, and Commitment it stands to reason that having good Communication with your body is key to cultivating this positive relationship. Where are you at with this? How well do you pay attention to your body signals, and what do you do with them? For example:

  • FOOD– Do you eat when you’re hungry? Do you know which foods are most nourishing and supportive to your body, and which ones to avoid because they are causing you pain? Do you find food & eating in general to be tricky and triggering? This is a HUGE area of challenge for so many of us. Over the years I have worked with dieticians, nutritionists, health coaches, WW, etc and have had varying degrees of success. None of them have helped me to change my unhealthy relationship with food until I began Noom. For me, it was the exact kind of support that I had been missing. I have an affiliate link that will get you 20% off if when you sign up for their program: Click Here
  • SLEEP– Do you let yourself rest whenever you’re feeling tired? Do you give yourself enough sleep each day? When your head hits the pillow, does your brain fight with your exhausted body, or do you drift off into a blissful slumber? I have always been a vivid dreamer (good and bad) and since childhood have been able to remember them upon waking. For years, particularly after surviving some major traumatic events in my early 20’s I suffered from nightmares, night terrors, and insomnia. It wasn’t until I finally began to address the underlying stresses and traumas I was carrying (hello, therapy!) that I could return to giving my body good sleep on a regular basis. Now, whenever I have some unresolved issues that keep me up at night, I know how to handle them.
  • PAIN– How do you respond to pain in your body? Do you ignore it, numb it, push through it? Do you get mad at it, or get angry at your body? I recently shared through my Facebook group, Transformational Positivity, about a breakthrough regarding my response to injuring my back: “Whoooo am I working on this one for sure! I mysteriously injured my upper back yesterday morning and my first response was anything but loving. I was Mad! 😡 I was SO angry at it. 🤬 It actually shocked me how much rage I felt towards the pain in my body. So what did I do after the unhelpful yelling? • Slow, mindful, deep breaths • Concentrated on relaxing the seized muscle • Verrrrrrry gentle stretching • Let [my fiance] help me • Heating pad • Cold cloth • REST • Lots of water, juice • Advil • Recognize that being mad at my body was not a loving or helpful response to it being in need, but was instead abusive and a very old pattern that I am working to replace with kindness & support.”

These are just 3 of many areas where it’s valuable to be in good communication with your body. Essentially, what you want to do to cultivate better communication for a more loving relationship with the body you live in is to listen to your body and actively meet its needs. Understand that our bodies are designed to change throughout our entire life. Pay attention to when your body’s needs change, and adapt your care routine accordingly.

Support System

Having a strong Support System is vital to the health of your new, positive relationship with your body. After all, up until now you’ve likely been firmly ensconced within the destructive, oppressive body-shaming culture that is fueled by the diet industry, fashion industry, cosmetics industry, the social media & entertainment industries, pharmaceutical companies, Westernized religion and the patriarchal, puritanical system that rules it all. Having the audacity to radically love yourself is to effectively stick your middle fingers straight up at it all. That kind of courage requires that you have people in your corner who get it, who understand and can hold space for you to learn, process, and grow in your healthy, positive relationship to your Self and your body.

You need to have people in your life who support you as a person, people you can turn to when you need advice and guidance as well as when you want to celebrate. Ideally, you want to have people like this who you can connect with in person as well as through phone, text, email, or even public & private social media groups. I would love to be part of your support team, whether through my 1:1 Soul-Mirroring Sessions, Spiritual Clarity Readings, or as part of my free Facebook group. If you’re not already on my mailing list, join today and get a free gift as well as a Weekly Positivity Boost from me, straight to your inbox.

FUN!

The last area I want to look at is that special not-so-secret ingredient that makes successful relationships stand out above all the rest: FUN! It’s the same with your relationship with your body.

FUN can look like anything from adrenaline-pumping sports and high-energy physical activities to quiet meditative walks in Nature or relaxing on a sunny beach. It can be found through artistic expression, creativity, dance, making music, writing poetry or enjoying your favorite shows. FUN can be sexual intimacy with your partner or a private, solo exploration of what feels great and turns you on. FUN can be hanging out with a few good friends, playing with your kids or grandchildren, walking your dog or watching funny cat videos. This is obviously not an exhaustive list- the point is that FUN is something that every human desires and deserves to experience. Also, it’s good to note that what may sound like a great time for me might be either too wild or too tame for you, and that’s perfect. You do You, Boo.

You could go through your life being miserable and not having any fun whatsoever, but why do that when you have a world of opportunities to explore?

Like Before Love

If you’ve read all the way through and feel as though Self-Love is still a little too far away for you, but you are willing to try somethingstart with a Like List. A “Like List” is a list of all the things that you like about yourself. It should include as many positive attributes about yourself that you can possibly come up with in each of these 4 categories- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The Like List is something that you can add to at any time, or make a new one anytime you want to.

If you find that you don’t know where to start, ask your best friends to help you. ONLY ask the people who you trust and who have proven themselves to be kind, not critical! You may be very pleasantly surprised at the good things that others can so easily see in you. With a little practice, you can begin to start seeing, appreciating, liking and even loving these qualities that all help to make you You.

Michelle Lewis (she/her/they) is the creator & founder of The Blessings Butterfly, a holistic coaching & energy healing practice that is teaching people to live a life that they love. She is a writer, speaker, energy witch/healer, and author of the Amazon bestselling positive affirmation books, The Blessings Butterfly and The Blessings Butterfly Having worked hard for decades to overcome severely traumatic events that began in her early childhood and repeated in painful, looping patterns well into her adult life, Michelle is passionate about using her gifts and wisdom in bringing hope and healing to millions. This is more than “mindset hacks” and “Pollyanna” positivity. Through the work of what she calls Transformational Positivity, Michelle helps her clients to get clear on where to shift their thoughts and actions, while dismantling the culture of toxic positivity.

Whole Self Love: a new series

WHOLE SELF LOVE: a new series

Oh, Honey- I have some things to say about this little #frenemy right here. It’s been a hot minute since I have shared much publicly about my physical body, and here’s why:

  • Dieting Sucks
  • Talking about dieting is capital B BORING
  • Diet Culture is toxicAF
  • The number on the scale does not determine (nor can it ever measure) my worth

I know this to be True. You probably do as well! (And yet…)

It’s why, for the past 4-5 years, I have made it my personal mission to learn how to Love the body I live in, every damn day. Regardless of my clothing size, weigh-in numbers, age, shape, wrinkles, lumps, flab, rolls, freckles, muscles, strength, etc ad nauseum. I’ve been helped tremendously on my body-positive journey by trailblazers like Jessamyn Stanley (@mynameisjessamyn), Amber Karnes (@amberkarnesofficial), Dianne Bondy (@diannebondyyoga) and most recently Tiana Dodson (@onebeautifulyes) who are all amazing and beautiful.

So, I pose these questions: What if Loving your Whole Self meant loving your entire body? What would it take for you to Love all your parts and welcome them into your Wholeness?

I’m practicing Radical Self Love & normalizing fat bodies, even as I continue to shed some weight & heal what’s hurting inside. I even have been taking a series of rather societally unflattering selfies as part of my whole-self Love medicine and posting them on my Instagram stories. (It feels insanely liberating, btw) I knew that I couldn’t begin to address my health issues without first being willing to really, REALLY Love all of me. Including the parts that weren’t as pretty, the parts that hurt, and the parts that were breaking down.

As of this writing, it’s been 3 weeks since I began a total shift in my relationships with food & exercise. With the help of an interactive app/virtual program I am not just learning about healthier ways to eat and move and less psychologically & emotionally damaging ways to think about those things, but I’m integrating these new habits every damn day that are supporting my whole self. I won’t lie, it’s been some hard word (first week was the worst) but through the effort I am putting in and the support received, I’ve seen and felt some pretty spectacular results, including my first 10+ lbs. shed; increased endurance; a dramatic reduction in pain in my back, knees, and feet; increased strength; no more chest pain or wheezing; no more bloating or food hangovers; fewer mood swings & more sustained energy; improved sleep and almost no more snoring.  All of this Love being poured into my body is coming back to me in these very tangible ways, and I am truly grateful. I am excited to see how much more my body and I can do.

More of this story to come, stay tuned!

Getting My Sexy Back

UPDATE: Since writing this entry in August 2019, I have developed a much healthier & more positive relationship with food, eating, exercise, and caring for my body in general. During the course of my program, I shed over 40 lbs.* (at an average of -2 lbs per week) and watched in amazement as my body composition began to change. I felt such pride at being able to go through my daily activities without feeling exhausted, and I have been delighted to have more physical activity, strength, and endurance become a natural part of my life. More incredibly, I have experienced the release of long-held pain in my body, specifically in my feet, knees, back and chest; released long-held beliefs about my worth being tied to my appearance; and released long-held habits of self-destructive thoughts & actions.

By coupling my mindset work with a refreshed self-care plan, I have discovered JOY in moving my body again, and I have developed a kind of confidence, acceptance and deep Love for the body that I have- lumps, bumps, folds, wrinkles, spots, flabby bits and all. How freeing to realize that I don’t need to look like a Victoria’s Secret model to feel sexy, beautiful, comfortable in my skin (things I never felt when I was an actual lingerie and bikini model).

It is my sincere hope and belief that I will continue to take good care of myself by using the tools that I’ve learned and keep learning. I have a great support system now to lean on when I need to, and I have empowered myself to be in charge of taking care of my Whole-Self… body, mind, and soul.

*No matter how much I stress that the size of my body is not that important, and no matter how much I believe and teach that you don’t have to lose weight before you can love your body- people are still always fascinated by my weight loss and ask me, “How did you do it?” So here it is: I signed up for Noom. If you would like to try their program for yourself, you can click here to use my affiliate link and get yourself 20% off.

Michelle Lewis (she/her/they) is the creator & founder of The Blessings Butterfly, a holistic coaching & energy healing practice that is teaching people to live a life that they love. She is a writer, speaker, energy witch/healer, and author of the Amazon bestselling positive affirmation books, The Blessings Butterfly and The Blessings Butterfly Having worked hard for decades to overcome severely traumatic events that began in her early childhood and repeated in painful, looping patterns well into her adult life, Michelle is passionate about using her gifts and wisdom in bringing hope and healing to millions. This is more than “mindset hacks” and “Pollyanna” positivity. Through the work of what she calls Transformational Positivity, Michelle helps her clients to get clear on where to shift their thoughts and actions, while dismantling the culture of toxic positivity.

Perfectly Imperfect Summer Smoothie Bowl

Hey Loves! Y’all know that I mostly talk about important healing topics like empowerment, positivity, self-love, body positivity, living a life you love and using your voice. Can’t shut me up about it and that hasn’t changed!

Occasionally I get to share some delicious healthy recipes with you, too.

If you followed me through The Cocoon: Empowered Transformation (my healthy living program for people in bigger bodies) then you already know that I am a big fan of SMOOTHIES. Mmm! So easy and a yummy way to get more fresh fruits and veggies into your awesome bod!  Well, this morning I made a delicious smoothie bowl using some of the goodies from my Imperfect Foods box.

If you aren’t familiar with Imperfect Foods (formerly “Imperfect Produce”), they are a wonderful organization that is working to fight food waste in America by directly shipping “imperfect” produce- fruits and veggies that have been deemed too ugly, too small, or too much (surplus) for traditional grocery stores to accept- straight to your home with minimal packaging (another environmental win!). PLUS, they donate loads of healthy food to hungry people living in all kinds of shelters. I absolutely love them!

ANYWAYYYYY….

I made this super simple, bright and delicious smoothie bowl for breakfast today and I just have to share it with you. I hope it will inspire you to add some fresh fruits and veggies to your awesome bod and if you can, try Imperfect Foods too! They are not available everywhere, but we can help them to expand and get good, perfectly imperfect foods to our hungry neighbors. Click here to use my affiliate code to get up to $80 of free groceries, at NO additional cost to you.  Win/Win.

 

Here’s my Imperfectly Perfect Summer Smoothie Bowl:

  • Squeeze the juice from 1 orange into your blender
  • Add 1 white nectarine, cut up into chunks (leave the peel on but remove the pit!)
  • Add a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt
  • Optional: toss in a handful of your favorite leafy greens- spinach, kale, or lettuce, OR try slices of avocado!
  • Blend until smooth, pour into a pretty bowl, and top with a drop of yogurt and some granola, hemp seeds, or chopped nuts.
  • Take a picture and share on Instagram before diving in, or just stir it up and enjoy!

 

Michelle Lewis (she/her/they) is the creator & founder of The Blessings Butterfly, a holistic coaching & energy healing practice that is teaching people to live a life that they love. She is a writer, speaker, energy witch/healer, and author of the Amazon bestselling positive affirmation books, The Blessings Butterfly and The Blessings Butterfly Companion Guide Having worked hard for decades to overcome severely traumatic events that began in her early childhood and repeated in painful, looping patterns well into her adult life, Michelle is passionate about using her gifts and wisdom in bringing hope and healing to millions. This is more than “mindset hacks” and “Pollyanna” positivity. Through the work of what she calls Transformational Positivity, Michelle helps her clients to get clear on where to shift their thoughts and actions, while dismantling the culture of toxic positivity.

The Sometimes Vegetarian

I'm taking a break from eating meat. Initially I thought I would just give up beef, then all red meat, then white meat and seafood. It's a decision that I had been wrestling with for a good while, and knew that I would be able to easily leave meat out of my diet when I was ready, and when my body stopped craving it.

It feels really good. I still very much enjoy fresh eggs (thanks to Buffy and Ethyl, my sweet hens!) and I very much crave dairy, so I'm not ready to let those go. I'm just listening to my body and giving her what she wants & needs. Those wants & needs change over time. (I was a vegetarian for most of my 20's and well into my 30's) And it's fine, and it's okay.

I'm not a born again meatless evangelist who is going to talk down to anyone who loves to eat meat, or to anyone who is just trying to reduce their meat consumption a little without going 100% vegan. Because it actually is possible to eat at either extreme and everywhere in between without being a jerk about it. DO YOU, BOO. Just– Be kind, share yourself, and spread your light. 💖🦋

This quickie breakfast is pan fried broccolini, red potatoes, and an over-medium egg. Delicious, easy, and very satisfying!

#theblessingsbutterfly #empowermentcoach #inspiration #positiveenergy #positivevibes #personalgrowth #vegetarian #reducitarian #bodypositive #healthyeating #wholefood #freshisbest #bekind

#MondayMantra I Love My Body!

Loving my body is a daily choice, independent of my dress size or the number on a scale.

Taking good care of myself can mean many things: commitment to moving daily, eating foods that nourish and bring joy to my body instead of pain, speaking kindly to and about myself, tuning in to what signals my soul is sending.

This mantra can help you focus on loving your body no matter what size or shape you are currently living in. “I love my body and take good care of her each day.”

How are you choosing to take good care of yourself today?


#theblessingsbutterfly #positiveenergy #positivevibes #positivity #selfhelp #selfcare #bodypositive #mondaymantra #mondaymotivation #inspiration #setyourintention #healthymindset #loveyourbody #loveyourcurves

Step Into the Fire, Pt. 2

Click here to read Step Into the Fire, Pt. 1

Last week I did something CRAY CRAY. (Well, at least for me.)

I have been wanting to do a photo shoot with yoga poses for my website but have kept talking myself out of it for the past year. So many excuses! Fear plays a good mind game, yes?

But not this time. 

the blessings butterfly wheel pose
Getting into Wheel Pose- Photo courtesy of Michael Powell Photography

This time, I realized my vision of me posing outside, literally on a sidewalk, in front of a huge graffiti mural. No tranquil beach scenes, no Crow, no palm trees gently swaying at sunset. Just me, my mat, and Broad frickin’ daylight.

the blessings butterfly triangle pose
I cannot stop smiling! Triangle Pose on the sidewalk? Sure! Photo courtesy Michael Powell Photography

My body did not hold me back. Fat thighs and a big belly did not hold me back. Fear of falling and not holding my headstand long enough to get the shot DID NOT HOLD ME BACK.  (I did not hold my headstand long enough to get the shot. But I sure as shit tried!)

the blessings butterfly, heart center
Starting my practice on a sidewalk near Downtown Long Beach. Photo courtesy Michael Powell Photography

Downtown, rough neighborhood drama all around… and me finding pure bliss in the midst of it. I was able to connect with my deepest self, and pray peace around me.

the blessings butterfly, gratitude
Pure gratitude- Photo courtesy Michael Powell Photography

I was able to extend my deepest love to the people we encountered today. Without fear and without judgement. Just … Love. ❤️

the blessings butterfly, lord of the dance pose
Standing in my power- feeling it! Lord of the Dance Pose- Photo courtesy Michael Powell Photography

#FridayFeels Accomplished 

On September 1, I started my 30 Day Challenge which included a 10 minute daily walk, daily gratitude journaling, and eliminating certain foods from my daily diet (no sugar, dairy, grains, or alcohol).  Aside from the total of 5 days of planned travel in which I released my food restrictions (4 in NOLA, 1 in Vegas), I was able to stick to my Challenge in all three areas! I’m feeling pretty accomplished and I have to say, pretty darn proud of myself.

On this final day of my Challenge, here are my observations:

This wasn’t about counting calories or weight loss, but about feeling better in my body.  The weight dropped, honestly, was minimal. Maybe 5 lbs? BUT the fact is that I truly do feel better. Not having pain and inflammation in my joints and bloating in my gut is worth saying “no thanks” to the foods that were hurting me.  Being able to love myself enough to listen to my body, take good care of her, and do what feels best for me really sums up my personal mission of helping women to love the body they are living in.  You can find support and guidance in my program, The Cocoon, if (like me) you are living in a bigger body and want to take some easy steps forward in your health & wellness.

Making time to move my body and get a little sweaty each day is a legit battle.  Oh my gosh, the mind games I played with myself to try and talk myself out of it!  Every. Damn. Day. But I would lovingly make myself do it, and each time I felt great. My body felt better physically, I released any pent up emotions, and cleared my mind for exciting new ideas. I know the struggle is real, friends, but the rewards are there for the taking.  It’s just 10 minutes.  If you are able, get out and walk!  If walking is not something your body allows you to do, spend your 10 minute doing something physical such as modified chair exercises.



Sugar is EVERYWHERE. Corn too. WTF? These two foods, I believe, have been my body’s primary enemies and main sources of inflammation. I read ingredients labels now for everything before putting it in my shopping cart at the grocery store.  Corn syrup, sugar, corn oil, sucrose, cane sugar, cane syrup – if any form of these were on the ingredients label, I didn’t eat it.

I know that I will be A LOT more careful and conscious of what I eat.  For sure, I will be reading ingredient labels moving forward. And yes, sometimes I will indulge a little and have some sweet treats when I’m celebrating with friends and loved ones- but it will not be part of my everyday meals.

Whole foods > Junk foods. Well, duh. Of course they are, but I mean they just realllllllly are so much better.  They look better. They taste better. They provide better & longer-lasting energy.  They are not difficult to prepare.  They inspire culinary creativity.  They do not leave me feeling gross, tired, bloated, blah.  They keep my head clear and mind focused.  They are easy to pronounce.  They are a better value for the money.  Even on nights when I was tired after a long day and didn’t have the stamina to create a fabulous dinner, we could still enjoy no sugar added, uncured smoky bacon & eggs. WINNING.  I’ll be sharing a collection of my favorite recipes from this Challenge, so if you’d like to receive them in your inbox just complete the form below!  (Including this SO TASTY Pot-Roasted Chicken)


I really like a good glass of wine.  During my Challenge, sometimes I craved a sweet dessert, but that craving would pass quickly.  Some mornings I craved a latte, but again, it would pass quickly.  If I really hardcore wanted something sweet and indulgent, I had some Medjool dates or a Frozen Smoothie Pop. As I was getting closer to the end of my 30 days, though, I found I was really looking forward to enjoying a glass of fine wine with dinner.  Maybe I will feel differently after that first glass tomorrow, but I don’t think so.  CHEERS!

That Was Delicious, But Now My Gut Hates Me

kale apple crunch salad

Hello Loves! After a wonderful long weekend in New Orleans eating ALL the delicious things (and more than a few adult beverages) my body is BEGGING me for a detox & reset. As you might know, I am about halfway through my 30 Day Challenge and it is going great!  However, I had planned my trip before planning my Challenge, so I knew that I would release myself from the restrictions over my 4 days in NOLA.

 

My mouth LOVED it.  My gut, eh, not so much. And my brain could use a fog lift as well.  And my joints, ouch, my aching joints.

 

I’m starting back on my Challenge today, and cannot wait to get some fresh, whole foods back in my body for clean fuel. Here’s a few of my favorite Rad Recipes that I will be taking full advantage of: Reset Smoothie, Strawberry Detox Smoothie, Kale-Apple Crunch Salad, and Karen’s Salad with Shrimp & Avocado.  I’ll be eating very Paleo dinners too.

I hope that if you are looking for a diet detox that is actually whole, healthy food and not some crappy powder, you will enjoy these.  Add them in to your routine instead of fast food and enjoy some better-for-you meals that taste great!

 

September 30 Day Challenge: Halfway Point Check-in

the blessings butterfly

Here I am, halfway through my September 30 Day Challenge and I have a few observations to share with you. I’ve broken them down into the three categories of my Challenge: Diet, Exercise, and Gratitude.

DIET CHALLENGE: 30 days without consuming any sugar*, grains, dairy, or alcohol. (*No artificial sweeteners too. I do allow honey in my tea and pure maple syrup in my almond butter)

  • Changing the way I eat is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be.
    • I knew I was ready for a change, and I started out with the mindset that this is something I wanted to do. I didn’t feel pressured by anyone. I definitely put more thought now into what I eat, and I set myself up for success.  I keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand in my fridge, as well as raw mixed nuts and dried fruits (no-sugar added figs, raisins, and dates) in my car and by my desk so I can snack between well-planned, easy to prepare meals.  Yes, it makes eating out more difficult, and sometimes I want to order a pizza.  But it’s really not a big deal.  I mean, let’s be honest: there’s a huge difference between “inconvenient” and “impossible” yes? BONUS: I don’t find myself pulling into the nearest drive-thru to fill my belly anymore.
  • Paying attention to “emotional eating” vs “OK I’m hungry” is a powerful tool for loving my body.
    • We eat for many different reasons beyond fueling our bodies.  When something is upsetting to me, I don’t have to “shut up” and stuff myself with food to avoid hard feelings.  Learning how to tune in to these cues and listen to my body has made it easier for me to honor her wishes.  I am actively creating a more loving relationship with the body I live in, and it supports a greater sense of trust and peace.
  • Sugar is EVERYWHERE and it’s annoying as hell!
    • Just try to go shopping and find products that don’t contain sugar in the listed ingredients. It is CRAZY how much of the sweet stuff is hidden in packaged food, meats, soups, condiments, drinks.  I’ve heard it before, but when it came time for me to actually read the labels of everything before I put it in my grocery cart, I was shocked!  If something is marked as “SUGAR FREE!” read the ingredients, because there’s a good chance it’s disguised as cane juice, sucralose, or something weird that takes a science degree to pronounce.
  • Feeling better in my body happened a LOT quicker than I imagined it would.
    • Within just a few days of changing my food intake, I started to notice that I felt pretty good. I didn’t feel bloated. My breasts weren’t tender. My feet had stopped hurting. My knees had stopped hurting. My energy was consistent throughout the day.  Now, 2 weeks in, even my lower back – which has been a source of constant pain for nearly 3 decades- is relaxed and virtually pain free!  I can hardly believe it but it’s true!  One or more of the foods I’ve been avoiding was responsible for creating inflammation in my body. 
  • I definitely feel lighter, though I don’t know that I’ve actually lost any weight.
    • I didn’t go into this Challenge with the goal of losing weight. I don’t believe that losing weight is necessary to make a person happy, to make a person more valuable, or to make a person beautiful. I started this Challenge at 189 lbs, and whether or not I lose any weight at the end of it, I already feel lighter and more comfortable in my body.  That is a win!
  • There is NO PAIN in my joints anymore.
    • No. More. Pain. I suspect this relates to the inflammation leaving my body, and it’s fascinating. If you are a person suffering from chronic joint pain, talk to your nutritionist about developing a diet that reduces inflammation.  I hope this helps you as it has helped me!

This weekend, I am going to “cheat” on the diet part of the Challenge. Actually it is an experiment conveniently timed to coincide with my trip to New Orleans to see which of the foods I’ve taken a break from these past two weeks are responsible for causing me so much discomfort.  I have my suspicions, but it will be very interesting to see what the science proves.

EXERCISE CHALLENGE: 10 minutes of walking daily.  (This can be in addition to any current workout program, or if it’s the only thing you do, do this.)

  • Even though it’s JUST 10 MINUTES, I really had to make time for it.
    • I have learned that if I want something to happen, I have to schedule the time for it. It is literally only 10 minutes, but if I don’t plan for it in my day, it won’t happen. Something else will ALWAYS eat that time. Always.
  • I am much more sedentary than I realized.
    • On the days I work from home, I spend hours in front of my computer.  On the days I have to drive to the office, I spend hours in traffic AND in front of the computer.  I sit to eat my meals. In the evenings after dinner, my sweetheart and I sit together on the couch and watch our favorite shows before going to bed.  I realized that my body is really missing regular physical activity, and even a simple daily walk makes a difference.
  • I really like talking a nice walk around my neighborhood.
    •  Getting out to stretch my legs, breathe fresh air, and feel the sunshine on my face (or enjoy a cool & cloudy mist) is such a pleasant experience. I notice when someone is taking the time to spruce up their yard or do some house repairs.  Sometimes I see other people and we share a smile or a greeting, other times I see nobody.  It feels good and safe and peaceful, and reminds me to be thankful for where I am.
  • My body feels super energized after each walk.
    • My legs tingle in a good way.  I am aware of my breathing. I can feel my heart pumping. I have a light glisten of sweat covering my skin. I feel completely alive, warmed up, and ready for whatever comes next.
  • Taking a walk is great for releasing creative blocks.
    • I have some of the coolest, most fun ideas that pop into my head when I’m out for my walk. I am really enjoying entertaining them and seeing where they lead.  I hope to have some exciting new creative projects to share, as well as some that are just for my own contentment.
  • I feel crappy when I miss a day.
    •  On the days that I don’t schedule a walk in, I feel a noticeable difference in my body.  I feel less clear and focused mentally. I feel stressed, rushed, annoyed and maybe a little anxious. My muscles feel tight, lazy, uncomfortable.  Probably the worst feeling is feeling disappointed with myself for not making the time (JUST 10 MINUTES).  But, instead of scolding myself, I slip on my sneakers and head out the door for a quick walk. Magic!

 

GRATITUDE CHALLENGE:  Record a daily gratitude note specific to each day.  (I use a gorgeous journal to write in. You can take a daily photograph, record a short video, use Facebook live… Be creative!)

  • I am incredibly blessed and have SO MUCH to be grateful for.
    • When I take the time to acknowledge my many, many blessings, it is actually quite a moving and overwhelmingly powerful experience. I can never seem to get through a full list without melting into tears of gratitude!  Much like when I sit in prayer, I simply let it flow and let it be a spiritual experience.
  • It doesn’t have to be fancy or overly detailed.
    • I’m not writing in my gratitude journal with the intention of anyone else reading it. It’s just for me. The writing doesn’t have to be eloquent, the penmanship doesn’t have to be beautiful. I just want to pause and say Thank You for something specific.
  • I love recalling the highlights of each day.
    • By making it a practice of writing down one or two things each day that I am grateful for that day, it is easy to see so much more to be positive about. Thank You. Happy. More Please!
  • Some days are super-basic, and that’s beautiful.
    • Just as some days are filled with adventure and excitement, others are quiet and peaceful and comfortably ordinary. I love those days as much as the wildly exciting ones, because there is blessing in stability.

 

So that’s my progress report for the halfway point of my Challenge. I am gathering some fabulous recipes and will be posting them at the end. I’m looking forward to what happens next, and sharing it all with you, dear lovely reader! 

 

Join me today for my 30 Day Challenge, or tweak it and make it your own.

 

If you just want to do the Diet Challenge, or the Exercise Challenge, or the Gratitude Challenge- go for it! Empower yourself. You can do this!  I totally believe in ME… and I totally believe in YOU! 

 

Enter your info below and let me know if you’re in, and which part(s) of the 30 Day Challenge you’re doing.  I’ll send you weekly encouragement, tips, and virtual high-fives.

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Adulting: Tips for Easing Back in After a Holiday

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Adulting can be so hard sometimes, AMIRITE?  Don’t worry Lovelies, you can do this! Whether you are trying to get yourself out of bed and back to work after a long holiday weekend or perhaps an even longer vacation break, there are a few simple things that you can do right now to make your reintegration to Responsible Adult Life a breeze.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for Easing Back in After a Holiday:

  1. Re-Hydrate!  Top of the list for getting your body back on point. Spending fun times with friends and family almost always revolves around food & drinks. You probably ate a lot more than you normally do and probably ate and/or drank things that you don’t normally indulge in. Good!  Life’s short, it’s OK to splurge and have fun!  Now it’s time to give your body some extra-love by flushing out all of the extra junk from your system.  Drink LOTS of fresh clean water and give yourself a time-out from soda & alcohol for at least a week.
  2. Rest!  Whatever your age, your body needs sleep to recharge and regenerate fresh new cells.  It needs even more after you’ve been partying it up, and more still if you’ve been hopping in and out of different time zones. For your first 2-3 days back after a holiday, give your body the opportunity to readjust by going to bed early, taking 10-15 minute naps during the day, and saying a polite but firm “No thank you” to social engagements.
  3. Move Your Body (Gently)!  Your body will greatly benefit from getting back into a regular exercise routine sooner rather than later.  It’s important here to ease into it instead of going hard your first 2-3 days back to avoid injury and setting yourself back for weeks or more.  Keep your exercises incredibly simple and short for your first 3 days back with 30 minutes or less of walking, yoga, and weightlifting each day. 
  4. Eat Clean!  Don’t make the mistake of trying to starve yourself or otherwise deprive yourself of good food just because you may have gained a few pounds during your holiday.  That kind of punishment is not even remotely healthy for your body, mind, or spirit.  Honey, you earned those pounds (or more likely, ounces) and the good memories with loved ones are totally worth it!  Treat yourself to fresh fruits, veggies, and clean protein, but take a break from fast foods and sugar-packed desserts & baked goods for at least a week.
  5. Share Your Stories!  You had a great time, right? Share your fun stories, recommendations and favorite moments with your family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, or boss if appropriate and let them experience life through your eyes. Savor the great memories you created, and record them in a journal, photo album, or video montage to look back on. 

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If you would like a free 10 minute gentle workout video from my private membership class The Cocoon, leave me your email here: