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What Your Eating Challenges Are Telling You

Have you ever been in a situation when you can't figure out what to do? You may be starting up a business, entering into a new job, falling in love, starting to have kids, or experimenting different ways to eat. Whatever you are trying to do will always be accompanied by times and feelings of uncertainty. A lot of people (including myself) don't really care for uncertainty, yet everyone loves a good adventure. We love going on trips or vacations, spontaneity, and the thrills we get when we watch a movie full of suspense. If basically all human beings like a good adventure, then we offhandedly like uncertainty.

Now I don't negate the fact that there are those text book, A type personalities, that read the plots and outcomes of movies before they watch them, they look at dinner menus online before they go out to eat, and they read the last chapter of a fresh new novel before they begin the book, but even those people like a good adventure...they just want to know it's a good adventure before it begins.

The way we can embrace the uncertainty of life is to change the way we view uncertainty. When we look at uncertainty and we change the verbiage to something like "Life Unfolding", we can take a step back and look at the big picture. We are never going to know what's going to happen at every moment in life, but that's the adventure. Some circumstances are not fun, like experiencing illness, or the death of a loved one, losing your job, or going through a divorce, but in every situation Life continues to unfold for us.

Because I deal with people's eating behaviours, I see all kinds of uncertainty when it comes to the foods they eat and the way they consume them. I see uncertainty with the thoughts they have towards themselves or food, and I see uncertainty when we sit in a session together and I tell them to embrace uncertainty. But everyone loves a good adventure.

Eating challenges present us with a chance to view Life Unfolding in a tangible way. When I was bulimic, I used to hate myself after each episode, and although I no longer struggle with an eating disorder, I look at it now as being a teacher and a guide. My behaviours, though damaging both mentally and physically, were actually helping me at the same time. They were a continual wake up call from my body saying that it needed help. This was my experience with Life Unfolding.

What areas of your life cause you anxiety or stress because you're uncertain of the outcome?

What is the uncertainty of each situation trying to convey to you?

Most often, we are challenged with uncertainty because Life is calling us to trust, to have faith, and faith in something greater than just your own self. The interesting thing about trust and faith is that they physiologically put the body into a relaxation response (Ie: Rest and Digest), which is the exact opposite of the Fight or Flight response. When we are in Rest and Digest, we think clearly, we breath slower which increases oxygen to all organs and muscles efficiently, and we can be at our highest metabolic potential. When we are in fear or anxiety, Fight or Flight is turned on and we are no longer in Rest and Digest. Do you think your body could possibly be smart enough to try to get it into a state where it can be at it's most vibrant and healthiest place?? The answer is yes. The body is physiologically beckoning us to trust.

Stress and uncertainty will always present itself, but the more important question is how will present yourself before stress and uncertainty? Will you continue to live in fear, or will you trust that Life is calling you to a higher purpose and trying to convey a higher message?

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The Top Lies and Deceptions We've Been Fed by the Health and Fitness Industry: Part 1of 5

The more I hear about different ways to lose weight, different diets to try to find that "perfect way of eating", or all the miracle pills, powders, surgeries, and strategies to help you finally lose that weight and achieve your full potential, the more I want to take a stand. I'm done being angry about contradicting information in the health industry because it will never go away. One day you'll hear that eating low fat is the way to go, the next day low fat is the worse thing you could do. One day coconut oil is better than anything else, the next day it's not. So with all of the contradicting information we have, what can we TRULY believe?

I will be discussing some of the most common "health" claims you've probably all heard at some point or another and explaining why they can be extremely deceiving and how some them are downright lies we've been fed to keep us unhealthy, overweight, and living in fear.

1. Exercise More + Eat Less = Weight loss

This is probably one of the biggest deceptions that we've been told when it comes to weight loss. And the worst part about it is that 90% of the world believes it. Does exercise burn calories? Yes. Does eating food add calories? Yes. But we are more than just calorie burning machines. We are organic human beings who need more than just a math equation to function optimally. I want everyone to know that I am in favour of movement. The body was created to move and to move beautifully and functionally. What I am not in favour of is how so many of us use exercise. We use it to punish the body into submission when we feel we have an extra pound or two to lose, we exercise out of a place of disgust with our bodies, and we create a stress response that will end up lasting for far too long. This means that the entire time we are exercising, we are creating an even bigger stress response and singling the body to stop the production of lean muscle and to start inhibiting the body of burning fat. If we are in this state, a state of self loath, our negative thinking creates stress in the body. Because exercise is a stress in itself (even though it's a good stress), and overabundance of it is a recipe for disaster. We tend to really go for it in the gym when we feel the need to be somewhere with our bodies, so we push and we push hard. The central nervous system literally takes a beating, the psyche takes a beating, and our hormones take a beating. Mix this with a low calorie diet used to "lose weight", and you have the perfect storm.

When you restrict the body of calories or any nutrients for that matter, the body becomes undernourished on every level and has no other option but to slow down. It slows down the metabolism to utilize the little food it's being given, it slows down the immune system because we aren't getting the vital nutrients we need for it to ward off infection, it slows down the digestive tract, the reproductive system, and it slows down the rate in which we burn fat and build muscle. The body is literally just trying to survive in this state. Not only are we physically undernourished, but we are emotionally and spiritually undernourished. This is itself perpetuates the already raging stress response that's going on.

Anything that puts the body in a stress response will inhibit its ability to shape shift. Period. When I talk to my clients about exercise, I encourage them to adopt the word "movement". Exercise has a very rushed and frantic connotation for most people, but movement gets us to tune into body wisdom and what the body needs specifically each day for each individual. Does that mean I don't agree with going to a gym to workout? Absolutely not. As long as it's for the right reason. Why are you exercising right now? Is it to lose that belly fat, trim your thighs, lift your butt? Or are you doing it for the health of your body? It's ok to want to look good, there's nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward and feel sexy, but when it's done from a place of criticism and judgment, and a place of "not good enough", the body will predictably fight back. You won't lose the weight you want, your body won't change in a sustainable way, and you put your health and your body at risk for injury and disease.

2. No Pain/No Gain

I have lived a life of many struggles, and I always thought (and sometimes still do) that I've got to live life from one struggle to the next. I always thought that if I'm not struggling, I'm not making any progress, that everything has to be a fight. I found out that this was a very toxic belief that I had to purge. What happens in life when we live from one struggle to the next is our perception of success becomes dysfunctional. We then create unnecessary drama so that our situations feel more "normal" for us, and we sabotage our efforts. Consider this postulation though, life is not meant to be a struggle, but a journey.

This became very real for me when I chose to stop lifting weights. I had this no pain no gain mentality where I always had to work really hard, sacrifice my energy and time, my health, or whatever it took just to be "fit". While I continued to live in this routine, my body started to fight back and I gained weight. I would exercise even harder thinking that just a few more sets of exercises or twenty more minutes on the treadmill would do it, but to no avail. When I started to listen to what my body was telling me, I started to slow down (it pretty much forced me to). I started to walk instead of run, and I started doing Pilates. If you know anything about Pilates, you know that although it's not easy, it's defiantly not fast...it's slow...really slow. This was a big leap of faith for me to take. "What if I don't sweat each time, what if I don't feel my legs aching the next day, what if it doesn't make me gasp for air"?!?! These were all the thoughts going through my head. What happened when I finally let go? My body let go. I stopped weighing myself everyday, I stopped restricting my food intake, and I stopped compulsively exercising. I do Pilates 4 times a week, walk a few times a week, and eat food that is high quality and that gives me pleasure. This was my outcome. Needless to say, what I was doing wasn't working for me, and it would have continued to not work for me. It was only after I slowed down and listened to my body that I finally gave it the chance to change. IMG_5677

 

Another situation that this rang true for me was with the way I ate. I thought that I always had to be on some form of diet or another to truly get the body I wanted. With every diet I tried, I failed. Nothing worked sustainably, and it never would have. I started to eat foods that I enjoyed. Finally I was able to eat what my body truly needed and wanted, and what happened when I let go of my restrictions is that my body naturally gravitated towards certain foods and away from certain foods. I've always eaten healthy but I had all sorts of notions about "good" and "bad" foods. For example, one thing I found out was that my body doesn't like coconut, and that my body likes dairy. I don't care how many Paleo hacks say coconut is the miracle food, for my body, it's not. I react when I eat coconut, but when I cook with butter or cream, I don't get bloated and my tummy doesn't hurt. You tell me who's right, Paleo protocols or my body wisdom? Eating food doesn't have to be a struggle to get your body to where you want it to go. When we have pleasure (and I'll talk about the importance of pleasure in another article), the body switches from a stress response into a relaxation response. Does that mean I'm saying to gorge yourself on cookies and ice cream? No, no I am not, if you think that's what I'm saying, you  need to grow up. But the body was designed to receive pleasure. The moral of the story, I work diligently at what I do, but I don't kill myself. I do some form of exercise 5-6 times a week but I don't brake my back to do it. I eat healthy, high quality food that I prepare with love, but I eat what I want and what my body says it needs on any given day. I do not follow one specific diet, I refuse to live in extremity anymore.

It's time we start putting a little more faith and trust in our bodies. It is trying to relay information to you all the time, we are just too busy to give it a word in edge wise. It doesn't matter what any weight loss or diet strategy claims, it won't work if it's going against what your body actually needs. When we put faith in our body wisdom, we activate the relaxation response and turn off the stress response. This just so happens to be the state where the body naturally lets go of unnecessary weight and is able to function optimally on every level.

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Fed Up

I've had this scratching feeling on the inside since I started my studies through The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. The feeling that leaves me so deeply moved to say something is the feeling of being fed up. I'm fed up with all the lies we've been fed and manipulated to believe around food and body, I'm fed up with mass producing companies claiming to be healthy, low fat diets, eating less/exercising more protocols, and focusing on weight loss first before focusing on what's happening inside of us. I'm fed up with a lot, but most of all I'm fed up with people hating their bodies, beating themselves up in the gym, starving themselves, not diving deeper into themselves, tricking, playing, restricting, measuring, weighing, pinching, poking, and dismissing themselves. When will we all get what life is really about? We teach what we need to learn....

I'm at fault too, no one is immune to this way of thinking and behaving, not even me, especially not me. I have been through physical, emotional, and verbal hell against myself when it comes to my body and the way I eat. You name it, I've tried it, all in the name of "something greater". Ask me about any diet, I've done it and I've put countless people on programs just like them, all in attempt to finally be happy. That's the goal isn't it, To happy? Though we continue to learn and progress in our knowledge everyday, this I know for certain:

Happiness is not in the future

Happiness is not in the extra 0-25lbs you want to lose, happiness is not in the gym putting on muscle, it's not in the new shiny car, or in a pair of skinny jeans. Happiness doesn't come when, happiness comes now. This is what we've been made to believe, that happiness will only come when .... you fill in the blank.

I've been so skinny and still hated my body, I wanted to kill myself at one point I hated me so much. I may have been ultra thin but it wasn't because I was the poster child of health (even though that's what I claimed to be). I would workout twice a day and claim to be this big health nut, but then go and sniff coke and throw up everything I ate at the end of the day just to keep my slender figure and my inner world numb. Does that sound like happiness? What kind of life is that? Do you want to live like that if it would mean you were this unrealistic size or shape?

I'm fed up with people believing that every skinny person walking around is the most happy, vibrant, sensual, loving person they can be because more often than not, this couldn't be further from the truth. Does that mean all skinny people are unhappy? Of course it doesn't, that's not what I'm saying, but I am saying that whether skinny or bigger, if you hate your body now you will hate your body then, regardless of it's shape.

There will always be something for you to pick apart when it comes to your body, always. Every time we flip through a magazine or turn on the tv we are reminded of how unworthy we are, not matter what you look like. There's always someone who's thinner, prettier, richer, taller, shorter, more symmetrical, has nicer hair, bigger muscles, a small nose, straighter teeth, whiter teeth, nicer clothes, bigger house, nicer car etc... The list goes on. When will you finally be happy?

Happiness is not when, happiness is now. If you live a life of comparison, or with your appearance being your most important goal, you've completely missed the mark and your life is as shallow as a bed pan. When will we all get past the surface and get deeper with ourselves, with our lives?

I am not immune to it either, just so you know that I know that I'm not. I'm just fed up with an unending strive for something that never comes. I'm done letting the world dictate how I should look, think, feel, act, or talk. I'm fed up with conforming for the sake of pleasing people who don't truly care for me and who have no interest in seeing me for who I truly am, which is more than my body. Your body is an expression of you, it doesn't define you. If your identity is solely in the way you look, it's time to grow up and open your eyes. Life is more than just creating your appearance, life is about creating happiness as you are right now.

 

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Eating Set Backs: An Avenue to Know Yourself Better

Many of you most likely equate a set back with failure, but I want to propose a different view point. What if every time you "screwed up", "fell off the wagon", or "relapsed", that it was actually a good thing? Struggling with bulimia for 6 and a half years taught me that set backs will happen. Being addicted to drugs and alcohol also taught me that set backs happen (or relapses as they call them in the substance abuse world). With every set back I used to get really down on myself because I did exactly what I didn't want to be doing, or what I said I didn't want to be doing. When we say one thing and do another, it is very frustrating because we view ourselves as hypocrites and failures. With every set back that I came face to face with, I got angry with myself. What I learnt about anger was this though: when anger is channeled appropriately, it can be a driving force, and a very successful driving force. There is belligerent anger but there is also a very healthy and passionate anger, and when you learn to direct your anger for something that truly bounds you in a passionate way, and out of love for yourself, the potential for success is astounding.

In the start of bulimia, I was motivated by a hatred and anger for my body. I hated the way I looked, I picked a part my body piece by piece, and nothing was ever good enough. As I grew to love myself and appreciate my body, flaws and all, I was motivated by an anger towards hurting myself because I truly began to love what was. Can you can see how passionate anger spawned from love can be a driving force now? We have been made to believe that anger is bad and that we have to shove down intense emotions, but in my case, singing koom-bi-ahh around a campfire wasn't going to motivate me to change. I guess you could say that love was my main motivator, and you'd be absolutely correct, but it was also deep passion, and the anger towards self-injustice that drove me to get better.

With every set back, I learnt more and more about myself, and after a while, it was almost if I welcomed them because it would cause me to dive deeper into getting to know me better. If you don't have the desires to get to fully know and understand yourself, your triggers, your fears, loves, hates, desires, etc, every set back will keep you knocked down. It's time to get to know yourself better and the things that set you off. It's time to get angry and passionate for your own sake. If someone was treating your best friend like garbage, and you could see the hurt it was causing in your friends life, you would probably have some intense emotions (like anger), towards that or those individuals. You would be angry because you love your friend more than anything else. Now see your friend as you.

Learn to love yourself like you would a best friend and I promise you that your body will transform. Your body will have no other option but to transform because you've created the appropriate breeding ground for shape shift to take place. Your body will not let go until you let go of perfection or the belief that every time you fail, you're a a failure. When you start to view each set back as the opportunity to get to know yourself better, you won't be stressed out when you fail, because here's a helpful piece of advice, you're going to fail...over and over and over again. If you can't handle failure, you are not prepared to be a human being on planet earth. Failure is not a bad thing, but an avenue to learn. Life prepares us and teaches us that we are more than the labels we place on ourselves, like the label "failure". Although you've failed at something doesn't make you a failure, and although you've encountered a set back, doesn't mean you're not going to overcome in the end.

Eating challenges prepare us for life because the are direct reflection of our life. Look at each set back with food as a way to learn more about the life you live now. For example, if you failed at trying to eat more slowly, take a bigger look at the pace of your life and see what areas you may be going light speed in. If you over indulge or struggle with disordered eating patterns, what areas of your life may be in disorder? The way you eat is a direct reflection of the way you live.

I want to thank everyone for following my blog and all the feedback I've been getting. Everything I write, I write for you guys, and for everyone who truly wants life transformation and a new relationship with food.

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Birds of a Feather Vs Opposites Attract

It's interesting how many times you hear the phrase "opposites attract" when talking about relationships. While this does happen a lot of the time, I think there is a certain danger in surrounding yourself closely with people who have views, opinions, and lifestyle choices that are opposing to your own, or to where you want to get to in life eventually. I'm not saying that your views are the "be all and end all", and that you shouldn't listen to anyone that talks outside of your views (because that would be very narrow minded), but what I am saying is to be conscious of how close we get to those who are not headed in the same direction in life as we want to go. This isn't being cold or mean to people, but it's about knowing what you want and the route you need to take to get there. Gegensatz

I battled a drug/alcohol addiction from the age of 17-21, and the more I surrounded myself with people who were using drugs, the more I in turn wanted to use. This is not rocket science, because I am the sum of the people I hang around with. If I am trying to change my lifestyle, eat healthier, exercise more, spend more time with family, meditate or pray more, or whatever your goal is, then wouldn't it be more advantageous to surround myself with people who are doing those things? This sounds like common sense, but as my friend Ashley said last night "common sense isn't so common anymore".

In a successful relationship, be it romantic or plutonic, both people have to relatively be on the same page. I believe that we are truly attracted to those who possess qualities that we want more of in our own lives, and that we gravitate towards those who challenge us to be a better version of ourselves. To then get into a serious relationship with someone who is completely different from who we are, and the way we conduct ourselves, is a recipe for disaster.

What does this all have to do with nutrition? If you want to be successful in your eating and lifestyle choices, you have got to surround yourself with like minded individuals. If you wanted to stop drinking, you probably wouldn't be hanging out in bars every weekend, would you? The key to success is creating an environment around that supports the growth of your goals, while at the same time, not making provision for temptations. You get to create your own environment, no one else chooses that for you. If you're not finding the success you want, then maybe it's because you've created a lacking environment.

It's time to take some accountability for the choices you have made and the responsibility to change what isn't benefitting you. I'm not saying that you should stop talking to people who don't eat healthy or exercise, please don't think I mean that. Just be careful who let close to you because, you are the sum of those you hang around with. Birds of a feather flock together, so choose your flock wisely. Opposites attract, but choose opposites that possess qualities you already have, but want more of. South Korea's migratory geese

 

 

 

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