Most of us have a complicated relationship with…eh…exercise. I even hate calling it exercise because the word brings up so much guilt and shame. We all know we SHOULD do it, but most of us don’t LOVE doing it.
See, I like to move my body in ways that are fun for me – things that feel more like play than a “workout.” Roller skating, biking, hula hoop, bouncing on our mini-trampoline, nature walks…these ways to move help me feel like a kid.
I was really struggling with movement as I was recovering from my concussion.
I was starting to feel really defeated and frustrated because I couldn’t do any of the physical activity that I normally enjoy. Then I remembered a conversation I had with today’s guest, Erin Stutland, creator of Shrink Sessions and the Say It, Sweat It, Get It Challenge. Erin believes you have to start small, with just 5 minutes of movement. Well that’s what I did – I walked to the store, or to the kiddo’s school, and those 5 minutes started building up. Last weekend I was able to ride my bike into the city and I feel awesome!
We all know that sometimes exercise can makes us feel more stressed, right? It can feel like a chore, or like we’re not doing it right. But Erin is one of those people that shows you that movement can be spiritually and emotionally moving. She makes it fun and enjoyable, and that’s why I’m so excited to have her on today’s show to talk about moving, mantras, and mindset.
Today I want to talk about a topic that’s been coming up a lot in my Cravings Cleanse group, and that’s all or nothing, or black and white, thinking.
We’ve all done it. Let’s say you’re trying to cut back on sugar, and then you have one piece of your kiddo’s Halloween candy. And then the guilt comes rushing in, and you throw in the towel, figuring you’ve already ruined it, so may as well scrap the whole idea.
But that’s not the attitude we should have! And this is a part of all or nothing thinking. It’s a slippery slope, and I want to help you reevaluate and eventually eradicate those thoughts. Listen in to learn the warning words that signal all or nothing thinking, and hear my tips to get rid of this damaging, dangerous thought process.
There’s a big problem we need to address before you take your next trip down the self-help aisle…
even though we want to like ourselves more…
even when we believe ‘self-compassion’ is the best way to finally enjoy our bodies for good…
even though we have a feeling that beating ourselves up isn’t helping us like food and sex any more…
…we have been trained to be self-critical on such a base level, that we are brainwashed.
We believe, underneath all the positive affirmations and mantras, if we stop beating ourselves up, we will get lazy, complacent, and that we’ll never advance, improve, drop the pounds, or “get better.”
We hang on to our self-criticism. It’s like we are in an abusive relationship with ourselves.
Our sub-conscious thought is that we still have to restrict and deprive ourselves, muscle through, strain, and toil to find happiness and achievement.
I had the honor to coach a woman I truly respect and admire recently…
I’ll call her Janice.
We got on the phone, her in LA, me in Brooklyn, and talked about her desires to create a work-life balance that really honored her mission to run a great company, while at the same time preserving precious time with her daughter and creative time for her own passion projects.
Janice was also struggling with mind chatter that went like this: I’m in this high-powered role, making good money, but I feel like people are looking at my body because I have a good 15 pounds to lose, and I’m not as young as I used to be, and all these young female execs are hungry and hotter than me, and my sex-life is on the rocks even though I WANT my sex life to be what it used to be, and WHY do they order cookies for every meeting, when am I going to get the trainer with all these meetings on my schedule, and can I get home in time to make a healthy dinner for my daughter and not get distracted by work email so I can actually BE THERE for her childhood?!!! I need to stop eating so much…I wish I had a cocktail right now…
She had come to me to try to end the destructive cycle of if I work harder and put more restrictions on myself then I’ll finally be happy and good enough to deserve pleasure…
My insights for Janice were totally counter to what she thought she needed:
Beating yourself up, restricting your pleasure in life, is like throwing yourself into a cage match with wild animals: your mind and biochemical responses are so stressed that your body is essentially trying to escape the stress by escaping YOURSELF, which is impossible, or to fix the stressed body through suppressing it, which is self-destructive, or you end up avoiding the feelings with food, or other counter-productive actions.
Self-compassion, honey. That’s what you need in this transformation process.
“I hear ’self-compassion,’ but I really believe that if I relax into acting that way, I’ll lose control, gain even more weight, lose my drive, and become a total slug.” Janice was on the edge of a breakthrough…
But here’s the truth:
beating yourself up will never get you a loving, happy relationship with your body…
Janice confused self-indulgence with self-compassion.
Self-indulgence is what we do to numb our emotional pain and stress, rather than see, feel, and complete the cycle of stress through self-care. (This is where emotional eating, emotional shopping, and other habits come into play)
Self-compassion is taking a deep breath, stepping back, taking the judgment out of your situation, and being patient with yourself through the process of healing and taking a break to align your desires with your life. It gives you the peace you need to choose a new way to manage and honor your cravings.
I gave her an assignment, and I want you to do this too:
Write Your Self-Compassion Manifesto
1. Get comfy with a cup of tea, and preferably a kitten and a cup of tea. (kitten optional)
2. Write an honest description of the situation you’re beating yourself up about. You could be lecturing yourself about work and career path, ranting in your mind about your weight and eating habits, or condemning yourself for your sexual desires and body image. Or all of the above! Include the mental chatter and “bitch brain” criticism word for word…
3. Now write the name of a dear loved-one at the top of the page.
4. Get another fresh page, and imagine this person, who you love so much, and that they are describing this same problem to you. S/he has come to you for help, and you are listening with a full, empathic heart. You give her your best, loving advice. Write what you would tell her as if you were in your best, calm, strongest place. Tell her what she needs to hear.
5. Reread what you wrote to her. This is for you.
Self-compassion is a habit.
It’s a series of actions and awareness practices that helps you to relax (thereby calming your mind and biochemistry), get clear (which helps you define your vision, desires, and mission), and most importantly…
…self-compassion is a tool that helps you enjoy more moments in your body, ever day of your life.
Once you write your self-compassion manifesto, I want to hear from you below in the comments!
Where can you have more compassion for yourself?
What did you feel shift as you wrote and re-read what you said to your “best friend?”
How do you view self-compassion differently now?
Inspiration from: Come As You Are, Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, Kristin Neff
Have a friend who would LOVE a way to honor her body and her cravings? Share the “What to do when you have a craving” chart! Just copy this link and email it to her… http://bit.ly/cravechart
You may be wondering why there wasn’t a show last week. Well, let me tell you. You may know I’ve been dealing with post-concussive syndrome, but then I got the flu, and my period all at the same time! So I thought it’s time to practice what I preach and take it easy and focus on taking care of myself.
Now that I’m back though, I wanted to answer some questions. The Cravings Cleanse is going so well, and I wanted to take some time to focus on questions from those folks and others who have gotten in touch with me.
So today we’re talking about a range of topics, from rewriting your story about your feelings about your body, to transitioning out of veganism back to meat eating, and the importance of self care.
Thanks. I was just telling everyone that I totally scrapped my talk, and this is the only slide that I’m going to be using. Yes! I like that I … I think of myself as the nice, juicy filling in between Brené Brown and Amy Schumer. While I’m going to be energetically speaking to the women in the audience, I am also speaking to and for the men in the audience. I love men. I have my man in the audience. Bob, my fiancé is here.
I want to talk about why women in leadership as an idea is important. What the problems are for more of us getting into leadership. How we can honor the feminine. I’m going to take you through some exercises, so you might want to put your stuff down. It’ll only take a minute for us to get to that point, but you’re going to be standing up, I warn you.
I was a professional vegan for quite a long time. Towards the beginning of my professional vegan-ism, which by the way, was the right choice. My body needed it. It healed me. It was fantastic. Then at the beginning of this adventure into food and healing, I met this guy … I picked him up in a bar, I’ll be honest. We fell in love, and we ended up making a movie together called Super Size Me. Did anybody see Super Size Me? Okay.
I was the vegan chef girlfriend in the background rolling her eyes as my then boyfriend ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month, and got very very sick. That movie allowed us … It was like lightening in a bottle. We went on Oprah. We went to the Oscars. It was fantastic. I became professionally vegan, and wrote 3 vegan cook books, and had this brand as a vegan expert. Work great for me in my mid 20s. Then I got to my mid 30s.
I don’t know if anybody told you this, but your body changes as you get older. I was also going through a divorce from said co-creator of Super Size Me. Had a little boy. A lot of stress. My body started to fall apart again. So this diet that had helped me in my mid 20s was now not working so well. My hormones were a disaster. I was exhausted, I was anemic, and I started craving meat. Yay! (laughs) Yes. We’ll have bacon later.
In marketing, I believe they call what happened next a “Shit Show.” Where I had to thank God for Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly. t was literally my bible as I was going through this struggle, trying to come to terms with the fact that I was now secretly eating meat, and hocking my 3 vegan cook books. What I began to realize was that what I was hiding was a lot of food shame and body shame, that what I needed as a human being had changed, and that didn’t make me a bad person. I had to learn to listen to my body. This is where this whole next 8 minutes is going.
When we listen to our bodies, whether you’re male or female, or somewhere in between, or outside of, it doesn’t matter. Your body is what makes you you. When I talk about women in leadership, we have to address the weird gorilla elephant in the room. We’re talking about physical and chemical differences. Yes, the female body is what makes female leadership different, and sometimes complicated. We have to learn how to honor that, and listen to it.
I’m going to ask you all to stand up. As I talk with you, I want you all to do what I call the “Wonder Woman Pose.” The reason why we’re doing this … It works for men and for women. You just want your chest a little bit out, and your head a little bit raised. We’re going to do this for about 2 minutes. Why we’re doing this is because this is actually raising your testosterone. For women, that’s especially powerful. There’s a whole Ted Talk on this. I did not invent this, but I use it and I share it, with women especially.
When we’re in a leadership role, or trying to step into leadership, we have trouble with the balance between competence and confidence. We’re very competent. We know what we’re talking about. We’re smart, we’re skilled, we have tools, we have experience, but we don’t feel confident enough to interrupt. To say our opinion. To lead the charge. I recommend doing this “Wonder Woman” “Super Hero” pose, for a couple of minute before every meeting, before every tough conversation.
Skip directly to chapter 8 in my book, Women, Food, and Desire to talk more about this. It also helps with the female libido. Which I also believe is a very powerful aspect of being a female leader. It’s really acknowledging and honoring all aspects of who you are. All right, we’ve just hit 2 minutes. Perfect. Sit down. I wish I could do a spit test and show you all, and test your testosterone levels, and show you how powerful that was. Do that before you have your next meeting, before you have your next big conversation. You’re going to stand up again in a minute, so don’t get your notes out.
What was challenging for me changing my brand in full view of the world, saying, “Hey guys, I’m no longer vegan.” and watching half of my newsletter list unsubscribe, and having thousands of people flame me online. Lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of negative comments. Death threats, because I was now eating meat to help heal my physical imbalances.
It’s very challenging for us to be authentic when, as women, our number 1 secret shame, as Brené Brown pointed out yesterday, is body and appearance shame. This helps up ameliorate that a little bit. But how do we begin to actually listen to our bodies, and feel that authenticity, as Bruno was so beautifully pointing out. How do we listen? How do we be authentic? How do you hear this inside what’s going on, when we women, one of our strengths is also our Achilles heel?
We’re so good at figuring out what everybody else needs. We are psychic … Well, we think we’re psychic. Sometimes we are, and sometimes we’re just mind reading and going crazy places, but we read the energy of a room so well. We know what other people need before they know it themselves, but all of that gets in the way of us hearing our own truth. I want to take you through another exercise. Go ahead and stand up again.
We’re going a little bit more saucy. I want you to put your hands on your hips. We’re just going to do a little figure 8 with your hips. This is just loosening up this part of your body. I know, you guys are having to turn sideways. I appreciate you playing al- It’s okay. You’re doing great. Looks good. We tend to hold a lot of tension right here. We suck it in, we don’t want anything flapping over the side of anywhere. But there’s so much happening in here, especially in the female body. It’s your digestive system. It’s your emotional brain. Your gut brain has as many neurotransmitters as the brain in your head does.
When we are tight there, when we have this scourge of digestive issues … IBS, gluten intolerance, leaky gut … We have so much stress here, we need to start loosening this part of our body up, and stop hating and holding in our physical self so much. Helping to loosen up that physical shame that Brené Brown was talking about, it really takes getting into your body. All right, go ahead and sit down again. Thank you for playing along.
How can we consistently check in with ourselves, check in with our bodies? Listening to our cravings might actually be one avenue into it. That’s what I go into further into this … Again, Women, Food, and Desire, it’s the book, it’s in the book store, go get it, it’s awesome. There you go. Listening to our bodies is actually done by listening to your cravings. What does your body want?
Brené talks about this again in her new book, Rising Strong. I feel like I’m hocking her book more than I am mine. That’s okay. She talks about learning to sit with your emotions. Sit with your physical self. As a way of being authentic. How do you do that? How do you sit with and listen to … I’ve tried meditation. Believe me, I’m not that good at it. Sitting in silence just makes me crazy, but I can listen to what my body is asking for. That’s why I take people through a lot of physical exercises, and I talk about play and pleasure a lot.
We humans learn when we play. When we take the judgement out of it, it’s about having fun and being engaged, and seeing what happens next. It’s like one big improv class. When you can be physically in your body, and listen to yourself, loosen up your gut a bit, and really hear what your physical self is saying. A gut feeling about someone, nervous knots about something, butterflies in your stomach. That’s all information. That’s all ways that your body is talking to you. Again, the feminine in leadership has been downplayed. Emotion in leadership, listening to yourself, which is your body, has been downplayed and set aside.
I think that it’s time that we start listening more to that, and honoring our cravings, and following our desires. Even if it’s for chocolate. Even if it’s for the mocha frappa-latta-chino at 3:00 every day. Whatever it is that you want, get curious. Ask, “What is my body wanting right now? Am I having an emotion? Am I nervous?” There seems to be no place for that in business, in marketing. But marketing is about story, right? It’s about authenticity. We have to be able to do that for ourselves first, if we’re going to be able to do that for the company, or the product that we represent.
I think as marketers, as sales people, it’s our responsibility to be solid in ourselves, and honor what it is that we need, so that we can honestly come to someone and say, “This is what I believe. This is what I want. Do you want to engage with me about this?” And they believe you when you’ve done that work … When you’ve done that inquiry. You’re way more attractive and interesting to be with and talk with, and develop a relationship with when you have that confidence … When you have that play and sass in your energy. People respond to it. I’m so glad to have had a chance to talk with you all. Thank you so much.
While Starbucks rolls out their super-sugary Pumpkin Spice Latte, I’ve gotten inspired to create a whole bunch of new ways to enjoy this warming, cozy spice blend…without the sugar hangover.
I decided to make my own blend of Pumpkin Spice from scratch because I don’t have any room in my spice cabinet for one more bottle:
I am also enjoying way more anti-inflammatory foods as I continue to recover from my concussion over a month ago.
Cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves are all anti-inflammatory, which makes this recipe great for pain relief, PMS, and any other inflammatory conditions!
(NOTE: just because a Pumpkin Spice Latte also has these great spices in it, does NOT mean it’s an anti-inflammatory food. In fact, the high sugar content makes it one of the most inflammatory beverages you can drink. If you’re trying to cool pain, headaches, or other inflammatory skin or join issues, stay off the sugar.)
Here’s my Homemade Pumpkin Spice Recipe, which I use so often now I just keep it in a little bowl on my counter for handy sprinkling:
⅓ cup ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon freshly ground nutmeg (tastes so much sweeter, and makes the kitchen smell great when you grate it on a microplane)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1-½ teaspoons ground allspice
Now I have my homemade spice blend, and enjoy the flavors all day long, so I can get my spice on without spending $5 at Starbucks…or drinking a candy bar’s worth of sugar.
Sprinkle on Honey Crisp Apple slices. I like my apples cold, and keep them in the refrigerator until I slice them and sprinkle with apple pie spice.
Whisk into Coconut Milk with Stevia. 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1 teaspoon spice mix, 2 drops liquid stevia. Heat and serve.
Sprinkle on Oatmeal. You could use simple cinnamon, but why not jazz it up a bit?
Mix into Teeccino, a great caffeine-free herbal coffee. Since my concussion last month, I’ve been avoiding caffeine to give my brain a break for some much needed healing. The anti-inflammatory spices and caffeine break are just what the doctor ordered.
Enjoy the beautiful, spicy flavors, and curl up with a great book…and of course, a kitten:
Alright ladies. I know it’s hard being a woman sometimes, and I want to help make it easier. So today we’re talking about periods! Because, let’s be honest, periods are a big part of what make us ladies.
To help us tackle this topic, I’m talking to certified health coach Nicole Jardim, creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs designed to help women reclaim their hormonal health in a fun way. I know, fun AND hormones! Yay!
Nicole is really addressing the root causes of what’s going on in your body and your mind during your cycle. Listen in to hear us talk about the pill, headaches, PMS, genetically modified foods, plus my new lightning round of questions!
Alright, crave bears, time for a concussion update: I have post-concussive syndrome. What does it mean? It means even though I’m three weeks past my concussion, I’m still feeling the symptoms. Turns out it’s not uncommon, and it can last for weeks or months and occasionally even years. So I’ve been taking it super easy and eating a very non-inflammatory diet.
As I’m living with this, I’ve created this list on a sticky note of things that I wanted to do every day to help me stay on track and feel better. Things like taking a shower, drinking my glass of water, and going on nature walks.
All of this has me thinking about the value of creating lists. They can be so helpful – they offer a great reminder of things that we want to do, and they provide that satisfying feeling of checking something off. So this week I’m talking about why I think we should all make and use lists more often to help us tackle our goals.
Also, the Cravings Cleanse is starting soon! This will be my last live Cravings Cleanse, so I really hope you’ll join me. We start on October 14th – next week! I’m so excited.
Alright, crave bears I’ll admit: I am a bonified hippie born to hippie parents. And yet there are some aspects of the new age hippie culture that always felt a little icky to me, like female empowerment, divine feminine, and sister circles.
But over the years, I’ve come to term with these nouveau new age beliefs, and I was lucky enough to start following Sara Avent Stover. She made me feel like I had a community in my spirituality with nature, and gave me a language for those beliefs. She seeks to present this new model of beliefs that reflects the power and the wisdom that’s really unique to our feminine path.
Sara’s first book, The Way of the Happy Woman, came out in 2011, but today I’m excited to talk about her new book, The Book of SHE. This book celebrates all that it means to be a woman, and talks about embracing our full feminine spiritual awakening.
Trust me, Sara is an empowering woman, and I think you’ll like what she has to say.