No Matter What – Day 7

Day 7 of the No Matter What Game.  Learn how you can play at the end of this post.

Grilled Salmon with fresh salad and lemon. Selective focus

G:  What are the most memorable meals you’ve ever had?

P:  As a newly certified Eating Psychology Coach, this is powerful question for  me.

Long before I understood what truly nourished me, I suspected it was as much the location, ambiance, awareness, the speed at which I ate, and the company and emotional content of the conversation I kept while eating as the food that was offered and its nutritional value.

Food is such a complicated thing. Representing all that is good, nurturing, and life sustaining as well as the reason we love to hate, blame, and shame ourselves, our relationship with food (which is often unconscious) defines us as much as anything we consciously chose to represent us.

When I decided over a year ago to change the way I’d been eating for the past fifty, things got ugly.  But having stayed the course now for fifteen months, I can tell you it’s the best thing I could have done for myself.

But that’s a story for another day, or quite possibly, another book.

Back to the question.  My most memorable meals usually involve salmon. I love salmon. I had the best salmon in the desert of all places.  Santa Fe, to be exact.  Santa Fe is also the home of Harry’s Road House and many a memorable meal.

Bob and I had an exquisite meal at a quaint little Mexican place in Bisbee, Arizona this past February.  Maybe it was because we were on vacation.  Maybe it was because we’d just been to a brewery and that made Bob happy.  Maybe it was because I was back in the Southwest and that made me ecstatic. Or maybe it just reminded me of Harry’s Road House.

When I’d visit my sister in southern California we’d go to a cute little diner for oatmeal. Not just any oatmeal.  Great oatmeal with brown sugar.

I also remember the oatmeal I ordered during the seminar where Gillian and I met in Los Angeles last January.  Each morning the waitress would come up to me and say, “Would you like the usual?”  This made me feel instantly at home.

The California-oatmeal connection would not be complete without mentioning the morning Bob and I had oatmeal and granola and fruits and nuts at a sweet café in Monterey before we went whale watching.

When our family took an Alaskan cruise I remember most of the meals on the ship, on the train, and on the bus.  Not because I had unlimited access to salmon, but because of the spectacular settings. And because I’d never known any place to charge $35 for macaroni and cheese before.

Sadly, the price does not guarantee how delicious a meal will be.  The apples off my family’s tree are pretty darn delicious and free for the picking. For a real treat and a limited time, nothing’s better than Merb’s caramel apples from St. Louis.

And if I mention apples I must also mention strawberries and how bananas I go over strawberry salads.  The best one I had was at the Hotel Desoto in Galena, Illinois.  And it comes with salmon. 🙂

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What about you?  Let your inner food blogger or writer out and leave your comments below.  Or if you’d like Gillian to send you a prompt so you can do your thing No Matter What, email her at www.gillianpearce.com.

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No Matter What

Happy child playing with toy wings against summer sky background. Retro toned
This morning my friend Gillian and I were having the kind of conversation one would expect two people adept at coaching others would have. We have no problem quickly and easily identifying how to help other people get where they want to go.
We do have a problem applying the same practices on ourselves.
For example, we talked about how we wanted our lives to look and feel.  We also asked each other what we would do or what businesses we would create even if we never achieved “success” as defined by the superstars leading most of the seminars we attend.
My answer was I’d write without any concern over building a list, selling a product, or attempting to influence anyone to like, follow, promote or partner with me.
She said she’d coach her friends, her family, or anyone who showed up in her life in clear need of her coaching but not willing to admit or commit to it.
Gillian is a master of creating games as an imitation of life and encouraging clients to play them as a way to learn about themselves and their particular dilemma.
She suggested we play a game called “No Matter What.”  It goes something like this.  Monday through Friday she’ll send me a writing prompt and I will post a response no matter what.
Having done 21-Day Detoxes and 30 Day Challenges, I’m a big fan of the benefits that come with committing to focused periods of time with very specific outcomes in mind.  But even that did not stop me from throwing all kinds of “reasonable” resistance into the conversation.
Because I know how much better it is to do difficult things with group support, my first response was, “We should get a group together to do this!” Believing more time and more information would be necessary, my next line of resistance went something like this, “Maybe we should wait until the first of the month?”  “Maybe I should research it a little more?” 
On and on it went.  As I exercised every excuse in the book as to why I couldn’t begin now, Gillian’s reply was simply, “Or I could just send you a prompt tomorrow and we could get started.”
So tomorrow we start the No Matter What game.  Because writing keeps me sane, makes me happy, and sometimes sparks joy in others, my commitment is write.  I will respond to her prompts and post them no matter what.
Gillian’s is coaching.  Yours may be painting, running, singing, writing a haiku or two, welding art objects, playing the cello, acting, creating videos or mixed tapes or who knows what.
I only know that the world needs our collective creativity.
Because creativity takes a lot of courage, most of us convince ourselves we are simply not creative.  We spend a great deal of time consuming someone else’s creativity – going to movies, watching tv, going to concerts, attending plays – and seldom cultivate our own.
So here’s my challenge.  Join the game.  Pick your baby, your thing.  Name and claim your creative superpower and then, like me, dust it off and practice it for the next month. There are no rules about how you do it, only that you do.
What’s in it for you?  Well, that’s the risk, isn’t it?  At the very least you will have given your attention to something you profess to love for 30 days. Now let’s find out if it’s true love or merely infatuation.
Yes, it will demand your time.  It absolutely vie for your attention.  And you will want to forget the whole thing some time within the first 24-48 hours.
But stick with it, Grasshopper.  I promise you’ll learn something that just thinking about doing this won’t teach you.

To get started, let me know what you’re “No Matter What” commitment is in the comments below.

While You Were Sleeping

Newborn Baby Boy in a Teddy Bear Costume

Should you wake up at 4am because life has taken an unexpected turn and you’re not exactly sure what to do about it, it’s tempting to believe you are alone in the universe. You might convince yourself you are a solitary insomniac incapable of  enduring a dark night of the soul.

The other morning, in an attempt to remind myself that nothing could be farther from the truth, I started thinking about all the other people who were awake at the exact same time.
I started with the people I knew. I thought about my friend Linda. I knew she would not only be up at this hour but busy cleaning our building before reporting in to her other job by 6am. Her contributions meant students, faculty, and staff would not see, smell, or think about what they discarded the day before.
I thought about a student who just got a job as a manager at a convenience store. Her shift started at 3am.  This allowed her to work, study, and care for her small son to the best of her ability. She, too, would be awake and busy making sure her store was stocked and her customers had coffee for their commutes to their cubicles.
The headlights in the driveway reminded me that many writers had met their deadlines so the paper boy and his dad could deliver the news to our doorstep before daylight.
Within moments I was astounded by all that was brewing beneath the surface. Seldom had I noticed or appreciated the scope of it all.
So many of us stumble out of bed, oblivious to the infinite opportunities of a new beginning.  It could be we’re living an old story line that has cast us as the victim of doom and gloom.  If so, it’s time to rewrite that story and elevate our role to that of the everyday hero.
Until something out of the ordinary happens that forces us to question what we’re doing and why, how we’re doing it and when, and what might happen if we mixed it up a bit, we tend to go on autopilot. Given the stress many of us are under, I know it’s easier to go unconscious to get through the day.
But promise me this.
Promise me you’ll wake up.
Because while you were sleeping, an incredible banquet was being prepared in your honor.  As Derek Walcott suggests in his poem Love After Love, I urge you to wake up and “feast on your life.”
Here are my recommendations:

  • At least once a day, open yourself to the exquisite beauty of an ordinary moment.
  • At least once a day, tell someone thank you for something they do that delights you.
  • At least once a day, find something that nourishes you and savor it for a full thirty seconds.
  • At least once a day, be of service to someone. Open a door. Flash a smile. Say what you need to say.
  • At least once a day, feel something deeply, even if it’s uncomfortable.
  • At least once a day, ask a question that needs no answer and then notice what calls to you or captures your curiosity.
  • At least once a day, when you wonder about it all, marvel at the wonder of it all.

I’d love for you to share your favorite way of waking up in the comments below.

8 Excellent Reasons to Challenge Yourself

Comfort Zone/ Challenge Sign Concept

During the month of July I led a  group of through my Get Stuff Done 1 x31 Challenge.    The goal was to do one thing each day for thirty-one days  on our to-do, to-dream, to-become list.  These things needed to be small steps that didn’t require a lot of planning or equipment and could be done within 5-15 minutes. 

While I could go into detail about the impressive things  participants got done, what I’d rather share is why taking on a challenge that catapults us out of our comfort zone and into the “What was I thinking?” zone is so important.
The reason for doing anything that challenges us physically, mentally, emotionally, spirituality, financially or all of the above is because we forget what we are made of.   We lose sight of our superpowers and the only way to reactivate them is not to just dream the impossible dream but actually do something about it.
While it may seem like trying something for a few weeks, twenty-one days, or a month  or two won’t change  a lifetime of bad habits, you may be surprised what a little forward momentum will do for you.
Here are eight excellent reasons to act on your desires and take on  a time specific challenge.
#1 – Focus is required.
Whether it’s 3 days or 30, knowing you have a finite amount of time to achieve certain results definitely clears your calendar of any unnecessary clutter or distractions and allows you to focus on the goal at hand.  If you think you have all the time in the world to work on your website, draw up a will, or lose twenty pounds, that’s how long it will take.  If you have a timeline, a plan, and a schedule that’s non-negotiable, you’ll get down to business.
#2 – Resources rush to the rescue.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” The universe will meet you halfway but you have to take the first step.
When you are committed to the challenge, synchronicities occur.  From random songs on the radio to books that fall off shelves to old friends who suddenly call with the exact information you need, assistance is all around you.  Tune in to it.
#3 – Activation energy is unleashed.

In her TED talk, Mel Robbins talks about “activation energy” or the energy required to overcome the inertia you will experience when faced with the physical reality of changing your behavior.
Whether that’s throwing off the covers and getting out of bed a half hour early to write instead of hitting the snooze button or walking away from the chocolate chips crying out to you from the cupboard, you will feel a gravitational pull to old habits that you will have to conquer as part of your challenge.
#4 – Next steps are revealed.
The great thing about taking the first step is that in order to get anywhere, you have to  take another.  You do not have to know where it will lead or how long it will take to get there.  You only need to pay attention and take the next step when it is revealed.  Attempting to blast through all of the steps at once is not only incredibly destructive but hides the treasures that can only be found in navigating  a tricky terrain.
#5 – Perfection is not an option.
The quickest way to learn a something is to fail a few times.  Just like getting lost will help you find your way the next time, failing is a sure fire way to help you continue to refine and define your reason for wanting to master this skill or challenge.
You don’t know what you don’t know when you begin.  But you get leaner, fiercer, and smarter as you gain experience. Or you soften, become more compassionate, and wise.
As most people training for a marathon will tell you, they are not in it to win it. By qualifying, participating, and completing, they achieve something beyond winning.
You are not taking this challenge to become perfect.  You are taking this challenge to become more of who you know you can be.
#6 – Expect the unexpected.
At some point during the challenge something will surprise you.  Whether it is something you learn about yourself or an opportunity that presents itself, your efforts will be rewarded when you least expect it.
#7 – Freedom comes through discipline.
One of Gretchen Rubin’s Secrets to Adulthood is,  ” What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” The biggest lesson I’ve learned from any challenge I’ve completed in the last year is this.  Freedom comes through discipline.
Discipline makes those hundreds of decisions that could derail me so much easier to make.  I just say no.  Not for the next 21 or 31 days or however long it takes.  Doing what I need to do every day instead of once in a while or when I feel like it makes all the difference.
#8 – You are capable of more than you imagined.
Until you activate your superpowers, you don’t know you have them.  Until you do what you say you want to do, you’ll never know that you can not only do that, but so much more.
One of  Danielle LaPorte’s truthbombs encourages us to “Love the necessary hard work.”  While it may be difficult to believe in the beginning, you will come to respect this advice. Once you have walked through the fire, felt the heat of the challenge, and come out on the other side, you will not only understand the wisdom of these words, you will be an example of them.
I’d love to hear about the some of challenges you’ve taken in the comments below.

The Secret to Sustainable Success

front door standing welcome

I spent the better of Sunday pondering the secret to sustainable success as I sliced and diced and cordoned off portions of dietary staples for the upcoming week.
In terms of sticking to my new eating plan, the unequivocal answer is preparation. From shopping to chopping it’s all about the prep. This explains the impressive collection of colorful ceramic knives I scored for my birthday along with some bamboo cutting boards and mixing spoons.
Had you asked me a year ago if I would be spending weekends frequenting farmer’s markets, foraging around local food co-ops, attempting to plant an herb garden, figuring out how to compost, consorting with nutritionists, or getting needled by acupuncturists, I would have assumed you had me confused with my Santa Fe friends.
The truth is I didn’t embrace this lifestyle until recently when I discovered that eating well is the fundamental secret to success.
Please don’t confuse eating well with eating extravagant meals, preparing elaborate dishes, or coupling exotic spices with complicated and hard to find ingredients.
Eating well in my book means eating whole foods you can easily pronounce, readily find, and effortlessly digest.
We’ve gotten carried away with convenience, making it the number one reason we eat what we eat, when we eat it, even why we eat it.
I get it. We are busy people. Convenience soothes a stressed out soul.
But it wreaks havoc on our health. It was certainly messing with mine and I knew better. Yet I felt incapable of competing with its allure. Until I decided I must.
It’s been a year long journey into learning how to nourish myself. I’ve experienced as many setbacks as successes. But I am profoundly changed by the lessons learned and transformed by my training as an Eating Psychology Coach.
How I previously defined success has been seriously called into question. I didn’t spend forty years wandering around the desert only to get to my personal Promised Land and decide I liked it better where I came from because it was more convenient.
Oh no. There is no going back. Not even for mango margaritas.
I haven’t reached my Promised Land before because it’s incredibly hard to get here. It’s even harder to stay. Consequently, I’m determined to set up shop.
The secret to sustainable success is we are responsible for sustaining it. We have to pay attention and work with intention every day, course correct, scratch some of our best ideas, begin again, ask for help, be generous, have fun, and remember to give thanks for living in the land of milk and honey – even if it comes with a few mosquitoes.
I couldn’t have arrived here before because, admittedly, I wasn’t ready. If I got too distracted, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, all bets were off. I had no healthy snacks and I had no Plan B – or options for the rest of the alphabet, for that matter.  In other words, I was not prepared.
I couldn’t recognize success for what it was because I couldn’t recognize myself for who I was becoming. Suffice it to say, it’s been a work in progress.
And now that work is cut out for me. It may appear to some as the same work I’ve been doing all along.  However, coming from a new vantage point makes all the difference.
After 8 months of intense training, I’m thrilled to be able to call myself an Eating Psychology Coach and passionately practice the work that’s been a guiding force throughout my life.  
In the next couple of months I’ll unveil my new website along with opportunities for you to join me in challenges and adventures that invite you to sustain your idea of success. 
Sound fun?  Hope so!  Leave your questions or suggestions in the comments below.

EPCC-Coach-Badge-500x500

The Graduate's Guide to Life

Promising Future

It’s that time of year when unidentified flying objects are most likely graduation caps.

Many, many moons ago I addressed my graduating class in an enthusiastic attempt to say something profound about what awaited us.  The truth is I had no clue.

What I know now is we’re always graduating from something.  A job, a relationship, a role, a stage of life. Regardless if we’d rather stay where we are, life is relentlessly nudging on us to the next thing.

Several years I self-published a book and designed a scroll for a few students I was mentoring called “The Graduate’s Guide to Life.”  The idea was to share life lessons learned along the way.

Although I offered these ideas in hopes of saving them the heartache, trouble, and consequences of making questionable decisions, these were precisely the things they needed to experience to grow their own brand of wisdom and confidence.

As an educator and avid reader, I like to learn as much as I can from as many different sources as possible. But nothing beats experience.

When I used to do corporate trainings, I’d often rely on the experts instead of myself.  I’d repeat what the gurus were saying without fully embodying the message.  This left me feeling like a fraud. Although the desire to educate was coming from a genuine place, the message wasn’t authentically mine.

I contrast this with the work I am doing now with my Eating Psychology Coaching and How to Get Your Groove Back classes. I have spent the last year immersed in this material and used my own body as an experiment to put this information to the test.  I have made major lifestyle changes so I can speak from experience and understand what clients are going through.

The results are profoundly different and I have never felt more on purpose or in tune with my life’s work. It’s also taken me a lifetime to get here.

Which leads me to my favorite words of advice to any graduate and one of my favorite songs.  Always trust your cape. (Even when it feels like an invisibility cloak.)

You see, I believe we each have superpowers. Despite protests and denials as to what these might be or how to activate them, I know you secretly know how, when, why, and where to best put them to use.  Maybe it won’t be for years, but one day you will have no choice but to claim them.

In this day of constant comparison, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear of missing out.  Of thinking you’ve missed the boat, missed your chance, missed your time to shine. Of convincing yourself that you are somehow not worthy and will never have the skills, smarts, looks, or advantages that someone else has.

Trust me on this. Your life is unfolding exactly as it should in order to gather the necessary experience.  You can and will need to course correct as you gain more clarity.  You are worthy, you matter, and you have something to contribute.

Never stop graduating.

Don your cap and gown – or cape as I like to call it – and celebrate.  Then go fearlessly where life is calling you.  The world really does need your gifts.

The Graduate’s Guide to Life

Promising Future

It’s that time of year when unidentified flying objects are most likely graduation caps.

Many, many moons ago I addressed my graduating class in an enthusiastic attempt to say something profound about what awaited us.  The truth is I had no clue.

What I know now is we’re always graduating from something.  A job, a relationship, a role, a stage of life. Regardless if we’d rather stay where we are, life is relentlessly nudging on us to the next thing.

Several years I self-published a book and designed a scroll for a few students I was mentoring called “The Graduate’s Guide to Life.”  The idea was to share life lessons learned along the way.

Although I offered these ideas in hopes of saving them the heartache, trouble, and consequences of making questionable decisions, these were precisely the things they needed to experience to grow their own brand of wisdom and confidence.

As an educator and avid reader, I like to learn as much as I can from as many different sources as possible. But nothing beats experience.

When I used to do corporate trainings, I’d often rely on the experts instead of myself.  I’d repeat what the gurus were saying without fully embodying the message.  This left me feeling like a fraud. Although the desire to educate was coming from a genuine place, the message wasn’t authentically mine.

I contrast this with the work I am doing now with my Eating Psychology Coaching and How to Get Your Groove Back classes. I have spent the last year immersed in this material and used my own body as an experiment to put this information to the test.  I have made major lifestyle changes so I can speak from experience and understand what clients are going through.

The results are profoundly different and I have never felt more on purpose or in tune with my life’s work. It’s also taken me a lifetime to get here.

Which leads me to my favorite words of advice to any graduate and one of my favorite songs.  Always trust your cape. (Even when it feels like an invisibility cloak.)

You see, I believe we each have superpowers. Despite protests and denials as to what these might be or how to activate them, I know you secretly know how, when, why, and where to best put them to use.  Maybe it won’t be for years, but one day you will have no choice but to claim them.

In this day of constant comparison, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear of missing out.  Of thinking you’ve missed the boat, missed your chance, missed your time to shine. Of convincing yourself that you are somehow not worthy and will never have the skills, smarts, looks, or advantages that someone else has.

Trust me on this. Your life is unfolding exactly as it should in order to gather the necessary experience.  You can and will need to course correct as you gain more clarity.  You are worthy, you matter, and you have something to contribute.

Never stop graduating.

Don your cap and gown – or cape as I like to call it – and celebrate.  Then go fearlessly where life is calling you.  The world really does need your gifts.

How To Get Your Groove Back

Beautiful woman enjoying life

Long before Fifty Shades of Grey there was Stella.  And Stella had issues.
Despite her highly successful career, Stella had lost her mojo and was determined to get it back.
She was of a certain age and just not feeling as groovy as she once did.  So what did Stella do?
She did what any woman cast in a starring role opposite Taye Diggs would do.  She went to Jamaica and had a wild, passionate affair with this hunk of burning love.  She definitely brought her sexy back.
But that was Stella, played by the beautiful Angela Bassett, and her story was fictional.
Even if you could afford to whisk yourself away to a romantic locale and discover a smoking hot lover (surprisingly this may be the same person who snores beside you at home), often this kind of reboot(y) is a temporary fix.
What I’m looking for is the real deal.  If I’m feeling funky, frazzled, and fatigued, the farthest thing from my mind is suiting up in sexy lingerie and stilettos. (If you’ve seen my shoe collection, you know I’m taking creative license here.)
What I really want is for the brain fog to dissipate, the chaos to transform into clarity, and the fatigue to turn into sustainable energy.  While a powerful love connection can do that, so can understanding and practicing the basics of mind-body nutrition,  the phases of nourishment, and the soul lessons you came here to learn.
Yes, you read that right.  I went from sex to science to spirituality in six sentences.  Because you and I are whole beings and the only way to get our groove back is to stop pretending we aren’t and to get in touch with all of who we are, not just the easy parts.
One of the key concepts I’ve learned in my outstanding Eating Psychology Coaching program is we must step into our roles as kings and queens at midlife.  Staying stuck in our roles and princes or princesses does not serve anyone. It may be fun and it may be encouraged by our society at large, but evolving into our higher selves is really where it’s at.
What do I mean by becoming kings and queens?  I mean rightfully taking charge of and owning our challenges as well as our areas of expertise.  It means contributing to our communities, serving those we are uniquely equipped to care for, and understanding the  value of our experience, connections, and failures as well as successes.
It means we are no longer plagued with such silliness as, “Does this tiara make my butt look big?” or “Does this Jaguar impress you?”  It means we now have time to make sure others have safe drinking water or proper child care or the ability to read and write.
The best way to get my groove back is to get in touch with what I am passionate about and actively pursue it.  It may start out as a physical desire that turns into a mental pursuit that becomes a spiritual quest. Or it may just be all that at the same time.
This week I’m inviting anyone in or near my location to join me for an 8-week discovery into this topic.  I’m teaching a weekly class called “How to Get Your Groove Back” on Tuesday nights from 6-7:30pm at my workplace, Clinton Community College Maquoketa Center.  I would love to have you join me.  If you are interested, call me at 563-652-5000 and I’ll fill you in on the details.
If you don’t live near me, never fear!  This is Step One in the grand plan of creating an online course so you may take the class wherever you happen to be.
I am in the process of redesigning my website and offering several exciting options for you to participate in from free classes to 30-day challenges to group coaching. The plan is to have this ready by June 1, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, if you have suggestions or ideas about what you would like to see more of, let me know.  There is still time to develop these for you.
So, groovy guys and gals, share if you dare and leave your comments below.  Thanks so much for reading!

Detox Take Away #10 – You Eat What You Are

you are what to eat

We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat.”  But as Marc David suggests in his insightful book, Nourishing Wisdom, “whatever you already are will determine the kinds of foods you reach for and the body you will help create.”  In other words, you eat what you are.

For example, if you think you have little willpower, you’re likely to crave foods that reinforce this idea.  Sweet foods, rich foods, foods that are simply irresistible will tickle your taste buds.  The more you eat them, the more you reinforce the idea that you have no willpower.

If, on the other hand, you are very disciplined, you may desire foods that reinforce the idea of control like bland foods, simple meals, or sugar-free, fat-free, or other alleged “health foods”.  The more the food supports the experience of being disciplined, the more in control of your diet you may feel.

If you limit your experience of eating only to food, you ignore the other ingredients that play a part in assimilation and digestion.  You’ve probably heard of the food-mood connection and experienced it for yourself.  You eat massive amounts of sugar and buzz around like a hummingbird all afternoon.

But how often do you look at the mood-food connection?  This is the way your mood affects your ability to assist or resist the digestive process.

Think about the last time you ate something in a hurried, stressed, or otherwise agitated state.  How did you feel afterwards?  Do cramps, gas, heartburn, stomachaches, or intestinal pain ring a bell?

What about the last time you had a thoroughly  enjoyable meal with family or friends where you ate food you might normally label as off limits but enjoyed every bite and relaxed into the experience?

Are you beginning to see how mood might affect the way you digest and metabolize food?

Mood can also affect your posture while you’re eating, which plays a part in your ability to properly digest food.  When you are slouched over your food, you set off a physiological chain reaction that can impact everything from your respiration to digestion to diminished brain function.

Just like you need to be aligned to do certain exercises correctly, keeping your back straight, chin parallel to the ground, shoulders relaxed, and knees slightly lower than your hips helps you get the most benefit out of eating.

Bringing your food to your face instead of hunching over to face your food up close and personal can make a huge difference in the way food moves in your mouth and down your throat.  It also impact the way you breathe and your ability to taste food along with your overall awareness of the meal.

Another aspect of mood deals with who is eating. This may sound silly to anyone but Sybil*, but think about it.  Are your food choices the same when you are feeling rebellious as when you are feeling focused?  I guarantee your food choices will look different when your inner teenager is in charge of the menu than when your inner athlete or inner healer is at the helm.

The good news is just as are you are not limited one particular role in life, you are not tied to one particular diet.  Your diet is a reflection of the role you are currently playing.  Understanding that allows you to move more gracefully from one role to the next, hopefully gaining confidence and competence in your choices along the way.

Detoxing for 21 days taught me I am capable of dogged discipline as well as righteous rebellion.  Experimenting with eating this way opened the door to self-discovery.  This kind of nourishment opened me up to a whole different kind of self-love.  The biggest challenge remains to be open and accepting of what comes up in the process.

So there you have it.  The last of the Detox Take Aways.

Next week I’ll switch gears and share my Top Ten Tension Tackling Tunes to Keep You Humming Through the Holidays.

Thanks for reading.  Please leave your comments below.

 *“Amazingly, researchers have discovered that in patients with classic multiple personality disorders, each personality has a unique and distinct physiology.”  In other words, each separate personality has a different metabolism.   –  Excerpted from The Slow Down Diet by Marc David.

Definitely add Marc’s books to your Christmas list!  He is an amazing thought leader in the mind-body nutrition field.

Top 10 Take Aways from a 21 Day Dietary Detox

good food, health and life
Sometimes life demands that we push ourselves way beyond our comfort zone. We can accomplish incredible things or even fail miserably but learn the lesson of a lifetime in a relatively short amount of focused time.
In the fitness world we call this “burst training” or Tabata training. Tabata training involves going all out for cycles of 20 seconds of intense activity followed by 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes. It’s proving to be more effective than the traditional thinking that would have us spending hours at the gym or on the treadmill.
My personal version of “burst training” during the last month included a 21 Day Dietary Detox, creating an e-book, starting a coaching program, and holding down my day job. While we all juggle projects, family, and jobs, when I mentioned detox to anyone their immediate reaction was, “I could never do that!
I get it. I had the same sentiment six months ago when my functional medicine doctor told me I needed to give up sugar, flour, wheat, pasta, and essentially everything I relied on to get me through the day.
Admittedly, I went kicking and screaming into this new world order. But as I started to experience the benefits of adopting these guidelines and read the science behind it, I became convinced this was a better strategy than continuing on my current course, which left me feeling fat and fuzzy.
In my effort to sustain this new way of eating, I initially allowed myself some leeway to eat a few of the “forbidden foods ” without guilt or judgment. My results were good but I was not making the great strides in svelteness I had been lead to believe I could achieve.
In their fabulous book, It Starts With Food, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig explain it like this. Imagine you are allergic to cats and have 9 of them in your house. If you find a new, loving home for 7 of them but still keep 2, you’ll still experience an allergic reaction to cats.
When our bodies are unable to tolerate certain foods, we have to remove the usual suspects completely in order for the body to heal. They can be gradually re-introduced one at a time. But at the beginning, we have to eliminate all of them to pinpoint the culprits.
Usually when we think of food allergies we think of someone who can’t eat peanuts or shellfish or consume dairy products without causing immediate distress. But many of us have reactions to foods we aren’t even aware of. The top allergy producing foods are gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, and citrus.  Who knew?
Consuming these foods once in a while will probably not kill us. But consuming them on a daily basis and often times at every meal can keep us in a constant state of inflammation. We may think feeling bloated, experiencing indigestion, or feeling gassy, just comes with the territory. Or better yet, age.
I’m here to tell you it’s not normal. You can and deserve to feel great at any age.
Am I suggesting you run out and get tested for food allergies? No. But if you are curious, you can become your own detective.
This is where detox comes in. Now I am not suggesting you detox immediately.  In fact I wouldn’t suggest detoxing until you are completely prepared to do so and have medical or nutritional support people to oversee the process.
I had been working with my doctor for three months before I had the guts to detox.  I also have a peer coach in my Dynamic Eating Psychology program who is a certified nutritionist and she cautioned me about the downside of detoxing if I was not prepared.
For 21 days I basically ate vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and poultry. Days 8-15 all animal products were eliminated. This forced me to discover all kinds of new veggies, hummus, and other exquisite foods that I had never acknowledged before. I also ate really interesting things for breakfast. (Peas, poultry, and pears, anyone?)
The result was I felt better, lighter, leaner, or more in tune with my body than I had in decades. Admittedly, a couple of days, I also felt hungrier than I’d felt in decades.
Bob’s perspective may have been different. Like the 30-day 500 Words a Day Blog-a-Thon in January, he’d probably say results varied depending on the degree of difficulty and amount of deprivation I was experiencing sticking to the plan. For the record, my meltdown happened on Day 9.
In the next series of posts I’ll share with you one of the following Top 10 Take Aways from 21 Days of Detox. Because they each deserve their own blog post, I’ll be serving them to you in bite-sized, digestible portions over the next couple of weeks. For now, I’ll leave you with a sneak peek:
1. Freedom through discipline
2. Eat high quality foods.
3. Less is more.
4. Trust the process.
5. The way out is through.
6. Your body talks. Your job is to listen.
7. Hunger happens.
8. Sleep solves most problems.
9. Invoke the sacred. Accept grace. Give gratitude.
10. You are what you eat. (All we are saying is give peas a chance.)