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How to Enjoy Your Body More through the Summer Months

Hello my beautiful friends. I wanted to share some of the principles I teach my clients -  and teach you how to achieve peace with your body where you’re at today, and moving forward through the different stages women’s bodies go through.


Health and wellness goals are a beautiful thing. 


But as women's bodies change over the years, it can affect a woman's self-esteem. I want to set you up for SUCCESS as you approach your health, wellness, and weight loss goals if you’re pursuing them, so I’m going to walk you through a few steps on how to do that, especially after having children and perhaps not loving how your body looks this summer.


Step One: The first step, and this isn’t easy for many of you, I know, is to acknowledge all the things you are proud of yourself for in maintaining a healthy body and doing your best.


There’s a huge lack of this among those of us who have a tendency to be a little hard on ourselves. Feeling good about how far you’ve come, feeling good about your accomplishments, and just feeling good enough in general in your body. 


One of my mentors recently told me to acknowledge all that I have put my heart out there on the line for, and I want to help you do the same. 


He had me do this exercise, and I’m going to encourage you to do the same, write down all the things your body has accomplished throughout your life. 


And he said to start with the little things, like how I learned how to walk. And then I learned how to ride a bike, and a scooter, and I thought of my childhood and all the fun I used to have in my body - playing in the sunshine and feeling carefree. Riding a horse, swimming, learning to ski down steep mountains, biking up them, and the list started to grow and grow.


And as I did this list, I started to feel so proud of my body for all it can do, for how it has seen me through all these years.


Why do we have such a hard time celebrating the good things about our bodies? And I don’t even mean out in the open, I’m talking about privately in our own heads. 


We do this because we confuse self-criticism with self-awareness. They are not the same thing. In other words, I see women identifying with their self-criticisms thinking they need to keeping thinking those thoughts in order to motivate change. 


We know how important it is to be nice to ourselves, but we sometimes believe without our knowing, that our self-criticisms are just TRUTH, and that if we stop thinking them, we’re just making excuses or letting ourselves off the hook. 


Holding yourself accountable and being self-critical are not the same thing. 


How to counter this? Take some time, do this exercise, and write down all the things you are grateful for what your body can do and how it’s taken care of you, start from when you were small.


Some of us have chronic illness or disease that might come up in your thinking, but I would invite you to take your cues from one of my friends, her name is Sarah Frei, I had her mom on the podcast a while back, she recently became a parapolegic after being hit by a drunk driver, she was in a terrible car accident her senior year, and I recently saw pictures of her water skiing, she doesn’t have her legs anymore, AMAZING, and she travels, she just went to Paris, her attitude teaches us that we are too in our heads about what is wrong with our bodies. 


Or - my darling 16 year old son - some of you know - and some of you don’t - he has been losing his hearing gradually since childhood, and now he’s losing his eyesight - he’s gradually going deaf and blind - he has Usher Syndrome - and he teaches me how to seize the day, to enjoy what he can while he can - who knows if he’ll always have this amazing attitude - but  for now, he enjoys his body, he’s proud of what he can do, he does artwork, he swims on a swim team, he walks our puppies rain or snow or shine, and he skis with me as his point person down the hill, and I ask him sometimes if he ever thinks about the future and how to plan for it - he says yes, but he focuses on today and what he can do today, and he’s just going to enjoy it.


From the mouths of babes, right?


Sarah and my son are in their teens. 


And we lose the tendency to enjoy our bodies as we get older. So we have to cultivate a sense of enjoyment and pride in our bodies, on purpose. Allow yourself to enjoy it in all of its amazingness, even though it isn’t perfect.


This is body peace. Sarah isn’t naive, neither is Joseph, they don’t turn a blind eye, they know more than anyone, but they seize the day. 


And we can too. 


This is at the heart of experiencing body peace.


Step two is about putting it into context with your authentic health and wellness goals. 


What I work towards in private coaching with my Intuitive Eating clients, is what I call Authentic Health. 


So step Two is to take some time and answer the following questions. You’ll know when you are achieving Authentic Health by how you answer the following questions: Are you ready?


  • How do you take into account the science of the nutrition information you take in from the outside world? Who are your sources? Are they legitimate sources or superstars and companies trying to sell their lifestyle / and products? 
  • Do you rely on your family or friends for your nutrition information? An example - Karen at work is doing keto and has lost ten pounds, so you conclude that keto is healthy and right for you and want to know exactly what she is eating, when, how much, and try to copy Karen. . . 
  • If you hear about a food protocol that seems scientific, do you evaluate how YOU will feel as a whole person, your physical, emotional, and social well-being? Can you integrate it realistically into your eating life for a sustainable period of time? Will you feel so grateful you found this way of eating and the sacrifices socially are worth it for you? Or will you feel deprived or anxious or controlled and eventually rebellious by it?
  • If you try a new way of eating but it causes a lot of anxiety as a result, are you willing to reevaluate whether these changes are in your best interest as a whole person?
  • When you hear about the latest nutritional trend, such as gluten free, or no added sugar, do you feel left out if you reject the trend, when you hear others tout its value?
  • When you are feeling stressed out or vulnerable, do you turn to the latest nutrition fad to gain a false sense of power and control over your life?
  • Might you feel morally superior to others who don’t eat clean or healthy or whatever you deem the ‘right’ way to eat?


These questions are really powerful questions. 


The goal is to help you see when you are making choices aligned with your health and wellness goals that fit your authentic and unique body.  


You’ll know you have likely achieved it if you:

  • Have evaluated the science of the nutrition of the food you use to fuel your body and you don’t have anxiety over what you are eating.
  • You don’t feel superior to others based on how you choose to eat.
  • You don’t use food to gain a false sense of control over your self-image. You know that you are more than the food you eat. Your food protocol feels grounded and authentic.
  • You honor your physical well-being, including staying in touch with your hunger and fullness cues. 
  • You don’t have food drama. Food is neutral. Brownies are brownies. They aren’t good or bad. Kale is kale. It isn’t good or bad. The science of nutrition exists, and you don’t ignore it, but you aren’t obsessed with it or you don’t completely ignore it, either. You embrace the variety, the balance and know you can moderate your favorite foods without going into black and white thinking. 


Step 3: Identify black and white thinking. 


Let’s talk about Black and white thinking: what it is and Why it’s a problem:


First of all, what it is - is an extreme way of thinking that only gives you two options: success or failure / good or bad / worthy or unworthy / and it messes with people.


When eating thoughts are black and white, there is a lot of shame and a lot of morality tied to food. 


So as you approach your nutrition goals, if you want to experience body peace, you’re going to have to make food neutral - sugar is neutral - broccoli is neutral - they aren’t good or bad. They just have different nutrition qualities. And when you think of food like that, you start to choose foods that are more aligned with your nutrition goals. 


If you think in black and white and tell yourself sugar is bad, then when you crave sugar, you’ll start to feel bad for craving it, you’ll start to identify with the “bad” food and if you eat it, you’ll feel so much shame and think YOU are bad. NO!


You can shift this dynamic by de-escalating the morality of sugar. Just make sugar neutral and tell yourself that sugar in and of itself isn’t bad, it just becomes more compelling when we tell ourselves we can’t have it or we shouldn’t have it. 


Do you want to know the fastest way to crave a certain food? Tell yourself you can’t or shouldn’t have it. 


This is brain science. 


Diet mentality feeds cravings and goes against the way the brain is wired. We set ourselves up for failure by thinking all or nothing, black and white. 


If you begin to feel you are a bad person based on how you eat, you’re likely to create self-punishing behaviors with food. 


This is the opposite of body peace. 


I want to help you achieve more body peace my friend.

When we can identify our own black and  white thinking, and then see the thinking through to a more neutral place, where the morality of food isn’t attached to our self worth, we achieve mind / body / food peace and weight balance in sustainable ways that serve us for years and years.


No more body drama. It’s time for body peace.


Step four: Adopt the basic principles of Intuitive Eating and Authentic Health:


I’m going to walk you through what mine looks like as an example. There are ten principles. I’m going to keep it brief. I hope you’ll fill in what this can look like for yourself as we move forward. I can help you. 


Here goes:


  1. Honor your hunger. Ok. My body weight balances when I intermittently fast. That means I wake up hungry. But I’m not reeeaaally hungry, I’ve learned. I’m thirsty. So I drink a 32 ounce mason jar of water infused with electrolytes…. And I’m not hungry until around noon. At noon, I have a protein shake. Then I’m good until early dinner time. I don’t need a lot of food. I’m 5’1”. And I’m in menopause with hypothyroidism. I don’t feel deprived when I follow this rhythm. I feel content and there’s no hunger drama. But don’t compare my hunger signals or food quantity needs with yours. Find your authentic hunger cues through trial and error. When I was younger, I needed a lot more food. Right now, because of hormone fluctuations and natural changes of my body with its natural life-cycle, my hunger has waned, in comparison to before. So honor your own hunger cues and don’t compare yours to anyone else’s. One time, a teenager I dearly love and know personally told me how some of the girls she was acquainted with randomly commented and said to her in this tone: “you eat a lot.” And it caused my young teenager friend to feel some shame. This is unnecessary. Your hunger is your hunger. It won’t look like anyone else’s. Allow yourself to honor your hunger. Because when you do, your body will operate from less anxiety.  And that’s what we want. 
  2. Feel your fullness: Did you know your body has an internal fullness sigh it will give you involuntarily when it has had enough? Watch for it. For a while, I would feel mad when mine would occur because I still wanted to eat, but after reeeaaallly checking in with my body and feeling my fullness, I realized that actually I didn’t want to keep eating after the fullness sigh. It’s so amazing our bodies have this internal mechanism built in. Authentic Health is about getting in tune with your fullness sigh.
  3. Make peace with food: For me, this meant to drop all the drama around clean eating, healthy food, and unhealthy food. It’s all neutral, food is food, I don’t think of it as safe and unsafe, because when I do, I feel anxious. And so do the hundreds of women I’ve worked with since my daughter’s eating disorder. Yep - food drama leads to eating disorders, a very high percentage. It has become an epidemic. If you need more help with this, let’s coach on it. I know how to help you honor your health goals and drop food drama. 
  4. Discover the satisfaction factor: I eat food that is really satisfying to my palette, and I have a sensitive palette, which is why i love to bake and cook for my family, it’s one of my love languages honestly. When I allow myself to eat food that tastes good, it removes the rebellion factor. And rebellion emotion around food is not good for the brain. 
  5. Cope with your emotions with kindness: For me, this meant learning to manage anxiety and not restrict food or use it to comfort myself. Instead, I’ve learned that I can handle uncomfortable emotions. It comes over me like a wave, like an ocean wave, but then it passes. And yoga breathing is a big part of this for me. I don’t try to escape my emotions by using food. I’ve learned to call a friend, journal or go for a drive or a walk and just put my hand on my heart even. 
  6. Respect your body. Restricting, punishing or bingeing is the opposite of body respect. In order to honor your body, you need to nourish your entire being. For me, I threw away my clothes I felt frumpy in and organized my closet in a way where I only have clothes that feel good, that are comfortable and I feel cute in. This ties back to what I said earlier where you make a detailed list of all the things you are proud of your body for. The babies you’ve made, the way you learned how to run a mile, or ten, all the things you think back on can truly marvel at what your body can do and has carried you through. It’s amazing what our bodies do for us. I love my body so much. I’m truly proud of it. I’ve had to cultivate this feeling on purpose and it’s well worth the effort. Even when I brush my teeth in the morning, I do this thing - you can laugh - but I love it, I wink at myself and tell myself I love you girl. Start cultivating your own version of body respect. 
  7. Reject the diet mentality. Diets are a big part of American culture and a multi-billion dollar industry. Women are always on a diet, talking about their diet. Blah blah blah. I’m over it. And you should be too. And here’s why: The diet becomes your personal Authority instead of your inner wisdom and intuition. Diet culture is a constant weight cycling death trap. But we might not know any better if we have health and wellness goals. Diets escalate negative self-talk. Hamlet or Shakespeare rather, said, “. . . for me there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.” Diets are a prison. As a result, eating behavior gets extreme and destructive. Instead, go back to the science of nutrition, and do a few positive things in your nutrition choices each day. On some days, it might look like a green smoothie. On other days, it might look like a milkshake. You learn to become deeply in tune with what your body needs nutrition wise. This is possible friend. It’s a beautiful place to operate from.
  8. Challenge the Food Police: The food police are the loud voices in your head, our in the media, telling you what you should eat and do. Dig deeper on the thoughts and beliefs you have about food. Yes, sugar in excess isn’t good for us, but is it okay to eat sugar sometimes? Absolutely. If the food police voices in your head say things like, “you shouldn’t eat that, you’re ruining everything,” and the voices in your head sound like a bully or cause you to feel rebellious, you might have a strong food police tendency. Take the rigidity and moral judgment out of eating, and make choices based on actual science versus morality. I did this with coffee. For many people, diet coke is morally superior to coffee. The food police told me that coffee was bad. But for me, diet coke didn’t feel good. When my authentic health voice told me that coffee in moderation was just fine, i decided to trust that and it has served me well. I can tell you more about my research with caffeine from a plant, and the nutritious benefits if you’re curious, but for now, just know that you CAN challenge the food police. It will help you arrive at authenticity in your health and wellness journey.
  9. Movement - feel the difference: I really love to exercise. But it wasn’t always that way. And over the years, my way of moving my body has changed as my body has changed. I don’t mountain bike the way I used to, after having four babies, my body likes a different kind of movement than when I was in my twenties. I used to really push myself. Sometimes I still do, but not as much. It’s more about enjoying what my body CAN do, and really celebrating that. 
  10. Honor your health: this is about learning to remove the rigidity of nutrition - where there is a strict adherence to “nutritional principles” that make life feel empty. But also, not using food to make life feel meaningful. It’s okay if food is boring sometimes. And it’s okay if food is fun. The extremes go away as you honor your health. You become so in tune with your body, you know when you need a green smoothie, and you know when you need a milk shake. 


And that’s what body peace is all about. 


Really imagine what this could look like for you. Imagine if you felt neutral about food, no more food drama, and you had so much trust with yourself, you weren’t afraid of events where all the rich foods are being served, you felt so grounded and you know you can enjoy how you nourish your body, you’re not afraid to eat a salad or a smoothie either, you know that you are so connected to what your body needs, you honor your nutrition from a place of body respect. 


I help the women I coach with get super clear on what that looks like for YOU, and it won’t look like anyone else’s authentic health. And it’s so exciting to think in terms of what is possible to discover this for yourself. You might have some self-doubt come up as you imagine this, but as you practice, my role is to show you your blind spots, and you’ll get better and better and better at trusting yourself. I  help you apply these principles to your needs, especially when it gets hard, I’ve got you!


This is some of what I offer when coaching with me, it  is included in the Dare Greatly Society, it’s all about helping you enjoy yourself more. I want you to have an extraordinary life and make yourself proud being your unique self. 


I hope you’re so proud of yourself for being here, in the dare greatly community, for listening to the podcast, for doing the work we do here. It’s inspiring. But here's the truth: one of my goals is to be an example of what is possible with body peace. Because the alternative feels terrible. And I’ve turned that around for myself. And I’m proud of that. Good job me. 


I’m on a personal mission to be an example of what is possible for the younger generation.


5️⃣ things I try to do to instill confidence in the younger generation (my own kids and my teenager clients) to model growing older with grace (that can actually help YOU today!) ⁠

And let me tell you, these five things challenge me to counter the messages from the media!⁠

1️⃣ Speaking about the good things my body has seen me through over the years. Noticing the changes without criticizing them. "I love how my tummy carried four babies. Isn't that amazing when you really stop and think about it?"⁠

2️⃣ Resisting talking about nutrition all the time. Why? Food is amazing. It is fuel, that's it. Sugar is fine. Broccoli is great. The end.⁠

3️⃣ If life takes a turn in a direction I didn't plan, it's not the end of the world. Nothing has gone "wrong." It's beneficial to plan on things not going as planned. I say things like, "well, that's not how I thought it would go. But life is a grand adventure, full of things to learn and grow from. I'm up for all of it."⁠

4️⃣ Not commenting on being scared of getting older, “I hate these wrinkles, it sucks to get old, I yearn for the time when I was younger.” ⁠

5️⃣ Allow for myself to change. Allowing for it with openness vs. fear and anxiety. Speaking to how normal it is to change and drawing parallels with the natural world, (a flower's life cycle, the changing leaves, etc.)


The younger generation needs to see realistic points of view on these topics. You with me?! 


Thank you everyone for being a part of this journey with me. Join the newsletter here to continue this journey together. Let’s be the world changers. Let’s make ourselves proud and show the next generation what it looks like to have body peace. Let’s show the next generation of women. Our daughters and our granddaughters. Let’s work together toward more body peace. This is going to be fun. 


Have a beautiful day my friend.


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