Tag Archives: coaching

Live Your Life, Love Your Food

There was a time in my life where I was obsessed with food, and like all obsessions, this one took some time to unravel.

When I was being good, I was following someone else’s plan about how and what I should eat. Certain foods were off-limits, though if I’m honest with myself, I wasn’t entirely sure why. I expended a lot of time and energy to follow this plan.

My life looked something like this:

I’d use my Sundays to pre-select, shop, and prep my meals and snacks for at least the next 3-5 days. In addition, I’d diligently enter all the recipes into MyFitnessPal so they’d be ready for me to track, and plan my exercise schedule for the week (because of course that affected my allotted calories). I actually grew to enjoy these Sundays, throwing on some music and cooking up a storm.

But I can’t say I really did much else those days.

Weekdays were challenging, especially as the days turned into evenings, and Mondays into Fridays.

I loved Monday, because every week was the opportunity for a new start. I’d feel all motivated and ready from my Sunday “food chore” day!

And breakfasts were always easy for me. I was home–maybe I’d done a yoga practice or some exercise in the morning; so I felt content and confident for the day. (If I’d slept well….)

By lunchtimes I’d likely have been in 2-3 meetings, few of which I was truly interested in, some of them high-stress or contentious for whatever reason. Lunch looked like sifting through emails that had been piling up OR running off to another meeting. (Noon was often the only time people on a project team were “free”, because of all the other meetings they were in!) Team members scampered through the cafeteria, dashed into the conference room, and then scarfed down their food to get on with it. Initially I did the same with the healthy food I brought.

By 3 or 4 pm, I’d likely have some free time in my office to eat my snack. So I’d pull one of those Fiber One bars out of the box in my desk drawer–you know, that healthy bar with all the chocolate pieces in it!–and devour it while trying to catch up on things that had happened while I’d been in more meetings. But I wasn’t satisfied, so I’d eat another. Pretty soon the box I’d brought for the week would be empty.

Sometimes this would happen early in the week. Other times I’d have a streak of good days, and the cycle wouldn’t start until later. But it was always the same once I’d gone on a binge…:

I’d realize and track what I’d done, to see how badly I’d gone over my calorie allotment for the day. “Well shit,” I’d think. “Today’s a bust. Screw it then.”

More tight deadlines, more difficult meetings, more challenging conversations, and then traffic on the way home.

Then I’d not necessarily eat what I’d prepared for dinner. And if I did, I’d eat something else too. And something else after that.

I needed to unwind from the day!

One of my favorites was BudiBars. At one point, I’d buy a case–as in, for the month–and store the box in my garage so that every time I ate one, I’d have to run up and down the stairs. Unfortunately, this didn’t prevent me from eating the whole box within a couple days. They ARE healthy, right?

Sunday I’d repeat the process. Monday I’d reset. Can you guess what happened? Yup. I kept gaining (rather than maintaining or losing) weight. I knew this, because I’d weigh myself every morning: buck naked, at the exact same time (just to be sure).

I was frustrated because I was putting in SO much effort. I was trying so hard not to eat certain things. Internally, I’d tell myself I was “fat and disgusting” over and over again, thinking it might finally sink in and I’d stop eating things I didn’t want to eat. On more positive days, I might tell myself I could overcome this, that I could be strong.

And it started to feel like there was some internal demon who made me eat way too much no matter how hard I resisted!

Can you feel this? It really sucked.

This cycle caused me to study Eating Psychology, and become a coach. And now I know there are SEVERAL reasons why all this didn’t work for me…and why it actually worked AGAINST me.

Boy do I wish I had known these reasons BEFORE!!  So much of my life could have been different. So much time saved, so much energy put to other uses. I don’t regret this phase of my life because it taught me a ton, but you know, it would have been nice to have been able to focus on other things: tending to relationships, contributing to the world, that sort of thing!

Among the pile of reasons this way of living wasn’t working was that I was not receiving any PLEASURE from my food. Apart from the prep-time, I was barely looking at it, and I certainly wasn’t tasting it.

Do you get pleasure from your food? Does it look amazing? Does it taste even more amazing? 

  • If not, you’re not taking full advantage of your calorie-burning and metabolic potential — and I’d love for you to get some inspiration!
  • If you are, I’d love for you to help me show others how healthy food can be mouth-wateringly pleasurable.

Read more about and sign up for my FREE Healthy Pleasures Photo Challenge (starts June 1)!

Good food will heal what ails you

One of the ways I work with people as an Eating Psychology Coach is to get them back in touch with how pleasurable food can be. In the Chakras Tune-up workshop this past weekend, we talked about how second (sacral) chakra issues revolve around pleasure, and how the energy in this part of the body is frequently blocked by guilt.

Perfect example: say you eat an amount of chocolate that you don’t think you should have (or something else you find pleasurable but “forbidden”). What might you feel afterwards? Guilt! And sometimes then comes the punishment, like over-exercising, or restricting food (i.e. pleasure) even more. But there was a good reason for the chocolate, wasn’t there? Maybe you can’t point your finger on it initially, but if get quiet for a minute or more, I’ll bet you can find it.

We cannot live without being open to experiencing pleasure. (And this is coming from someone who has had her fair share of pain.) So today when I happened to be in a state of pain (more mental than physical, yet due to physical issues), I got myself to cooking.

It didn’t have to be much, or take a lot of time, but what it had to be was SPECIAL. So I took the extra time I gained today by having to cancel all my “stuff” to cook some oatmeal over the stove (i.e. the old-fashioned way, sans microwave). I combined it with some ghee and vanilla almond milk, and topped with with some shredded almonds and a few prunes. (I happen to really like prunes. 🙂 ) Instead of putting it in a bowl, I picked a nice tea cup, and ate it while nestled under a blanket, propped up on the biggest pile of pillows ever, on the sofa.

IMG_1684Then for lunch, I was reminded of a Facebook post I saw some time ago about cooking scallops in a bit of vermouth with butter. (I believe it was a Paleo recipe.)  My lovely partner was kind enough to get me my standard order of “6 large scallops” from the seafood counter at Central Market yesterday, and we happen to have vermouth and Kerrygold! I also threw in some garlic and ginger for good measure.

Now given what I’m dealing with, let me tell you that there are likely several people who would scoff at the use of the alcohol as well as the dairy. But you know what? I know my body, and I know that when something happens to slow me down, avoiding things I enjoy just means I deprive myself of even more pleasure and don’t heal any faster. So why not enjoy something, when I’m restricted in so many other ways? That’s my philosophy anyway!

When people come to me dealing with an issue about food, food generally isn’t the issue. It’s how they’re approaching life. I never “take away” someone’s treat.  The treat is there for a reason. Sometimes you don’t need it. Sometimes you do. The trick is that when you have the treat, you take the time to enjoy it.

What’s for dinner?

Please don’t lose your love for food

A few weeks ago I attended a Hatha yoga class, and as I was leaving, I heard half a parting conversation between two ladies. The woman closest to me (who I actually didn’t see as she was behind me), said:

“Get something delicious OK? I don’t want anything healthy!”

I’m pretty sure the other woman acknowledged her request. My heart went out to this woman, truly. I felt sad that was the choice she thought she had to make: between having food that’s healthy and food that’s delicious.

I hear/see this a lot. When an acquaintance’s mother had a scare with her heart, she was told to lose weight and go on a diet. I still recall her saying, “yeah, my food is terrible and bland now. I hate eating.” I have a close friend who’d rather take a pill than bother cooking for herself. A client once described a “miserable” dinner of cheese and crackers, after which a bag of dark chocolate covered almonds really was divine!

Since we eat (probably) three meals a day, I feel very strongly that eating and food is a part of life that should be pleasurable. Did you know that 40-60% of your digestive capacity (meaning your body’s ability to digest, absorb nutrients from, and eliminate) is in your head? They call it cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR). Meaning, if your mind doesn’t register pleasure from your food from its beautiful appearance, its savory taste, the length of time it takes you to eat it, the way you describe it, etc. etc., you are affecting your health no matter WHAT you eat.

I’d call myself a health nut. And I’d also call myself a foodie.

  • Because of some health issues I’ve had in the past year, I’m now gluten free, dairy free, corn free, egg free, and spinach free (I used to eat spinach all.the.time, but it’s a high oxalate food).
  • I’m big on making cooking simple (I don’t have any more time than you all do)!  I also used to live off TV dinners because I’d never learned to cook.
  • And…I regularly go out to eat with my partner (who doesn’t follow any dietary restrictions).


I’ll be running my popular Emotional Eating workshop several times at the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Check out my Workshops page for more information and to register.

Please, let me help you find this balance so you can stop obsessing about food and get on with enjoying your life!

Can a calling be selfish and selfless at the same time?

As a yoga instructor, I teach numerous classes in studios and gyms and work privately with folks like you who are looking to create unique, individualized practices. As an eating psychology coach I can also teach you how to uncover and process deeper issues with relationships, body image, depression, anxiety, and trauma that often underlie your emotional eating behaviors. I teach people like you how to breathe, how to relax, how to meditate, how to make time to be healthier and happier in the context of their crazy lives. I teach you because I truly want to help you, and would like to make a difference in the world. But I also teach for completely selfish reasons: I teach YOU to keep myself sane.

There, I said it.

After teaching a yoga class at one of my gyms the other day, I had a lovely exchange with a new student. She told me how much she liked her second ever class; in particular, how soothing and calming my voice was.

I thanked her and smiled at her comment, although maybe not for the reasons you’d think.

My “non-yoga” voice is typically high pitched and squeaky. I talk fast, and sometimes two words mush together in bizarre ways as they make their way out of my mouth at the same time; other times I can’t think of the word at all and sound like a babbling idiot. If I’m honest with myself, I’m often overly critical and sound like one or both of my parents (not a good thing). And all too often I give voice to the abundance of automatic negative thoughts that run rampant in my mind.

I don’t teach yoga because I don’t have issues. I teach yoga because when I do, I become more of the person I’d prefer to be all the time: calm, grounded, peaceful, content, grateful. And I sound like her too! No matter what’s happening in my life or no matter how I feel personally before teaching, I have to put these things aside, and give you the safe, soothing experience YOU need. And as a result, I change for the better.

Similarly, a few weeks ago, a feisty coaching client (who had made great progress over several weeks and whose energy showed it!) used part of her session to turn the tables. She asked some pointed questions about me which I answered honestly. She seemed surprised that I still shared many of her struggles. It’s true that I know how to get deep into the muck, and various techniques to make things a little better. I know that it’s not always about what it seems to be about (i.e. the food). I know that it’s hard to do things differently. I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve failed.

Believe it or not, I’m not at home eating healthy, practicing yoga, and meditating all the time.

I’ve been through (and continue to go through) a lot. There are still (many) days when I feel lost and alone, like I’m an alien creature who doesn’t quite belong in any human circle. I still fumble my relationships. I eat entire bags of chips or cookies or popcorn sometimes too. I still struggle with anxiety and depression and some days when it’s really bad, I want to crawl into a hole and not do anything.

And, when you come to me with a health concern or challenge, know that it’s most often because we are more similar than you might imagine! We likely resonate with each other because I’m like you. And I can help you because I’m like you–because I understand. I’ve just been working on this stuff for a LONG LONG time. And like anything else, the more time, energy, and effort you put into something, the more you learn, the more you know, and the more you can share with others.

I am a teacher, a coach, and a real person. Sometimes what keeps me going is knowing that I can help you experience your body differently, or that I can help you make new connections and see things a little differently.

So, maybe it’s selfless or selfish, or a bit of both. Shall we keep helping each other through this journey called life? I hope so.

Stop beating yourself up…

heart…over what you weigh

…over what you eat

…over your lack of willpower

…over a stupid scale

…over how you seem to sabotage yourself every time you think you’re close to meeting your goals.

There’s a better, simpler, and kinder way.

Learn how to love yourself and your body through Eating Psychology Coaching.

Mention “2014HOLIDAYSPECIAL” when you contact me and receive TWO Eating Psychology Coaching sessions for the price of ONE!

Offer good for sessions booked by January 31, 2015.

Interested in learning a new way to navigate the holiday food frenzy?

copper DessertEmail info at ajourneyintohealth dot com with subject “HOLIDAYSPECIAL” to get TWO Eating Psychology Coaching sessions for the price of ONE.

Offer good for pre-paid sessions booked by January 31, 2015.

Virtual sessions can be easy! And, you can also pass this deal along to friends and family.