9 ways to get out of your comfort food zone

9 ways to

We all have ideas of what we wish to become.

9 ways to

I was with my son, on our way to the park so he could try out his new skateboard. “Are you ready to go down the ramp?” I asked.
Wonder Boy looked up at me and said, “I don’t want to…I’m scared.”

I didn’t miss a beat, looked into his eyes, and replied,
“It’s ok to be scared, but it’s important to try it anyway.”

It’s a powerful message.
“Trying it anyway” is at the heart of a fully lived life.

It’s what I tell my clients when they know they need to ditch sugar and gluten.

It’s what I tell my clients when they need to have a big talk with their partner or boss…
or finally start dating.

It’s what I tell myself before taking on a new big idea for my work.
(podcast? a book about cravings? interviewing experts on masturbation??)

Without anyone else encouraging us to try new things,
we tend to dig ourselves deeper into our comfort zones.

Busy schedules, long-held habits, and old mindsets can lead us to shut off our hearts and minds and just coast on autopilot.

We keep using the same old comfort foods to help us handle stress, which keeps the extra weight on, and keeps our energy depressed.

A part of us knows that those old comfort foods will keep us in the stuck spot where we are, so that we won’t have to step into that uncertain next step.

We let the fear keep us from moving forward and just let life take us where it wants.

Our comfort food zone, hiding in the foods that exhaust us and make us feel heavy, keeps us from even trying to make the changes we dream about: dating, asking for the raise, changing careers, and more. Much more.

Is it too late to change?
That’s the great news; It’s never, ever too late to “try it anyway.”

But we get stuck in “fixed mindset.”

Positive Psychology shows us that we can have choose one of two mindsets: Fixed or Growth.

“Fixed” mindset is when you think you can’t change, you can’t learn anything new, you avoid challenges, when you see other people succeed it brings up jealousy, and you want to be told you’re smart.

I believe you can develop a growth mindset, and all it takes is knowing there is a new way to think, and to start watching your thoughts more closely!

Growth mindset says you can learn new things and change:

Growth mindset is open to asking for help, says “I don’t know how to do this…YET,” believes that you can learn something new, enjoys watching other people succeed, and wants to be acknowledged for working hard.

I try to show my kid when I’m trying something new, share any doubts, and share when I don’t reach the goal. I show him the process of what it means to try.
The wins and the losses.

Our culture is too danged focused on WINNING – that being 100% perfect, #1, and the BEST, is the only acceptable option.

B.S!

Moving out of your comfort zone requires us to break free from the past and old ways of perfection thinking, and push ourselves to do something we wouldn’t normally try.

But here’s the secret magic lurking just behind the fear:
often, the simple act of just trying something new can help you move out of your comfort zone.

Here are 9 simple ways to move out of your comfort zone:

9 ways
• take a cooking class
• take an art class
• volunteer for a local organization for 1 day
• take a new route to work
• say ‘Hi’ to someone new in your neighborhood or at work
• plan a trip to a new part of your city, or a place where people speak a difference language
• visit a new place of worship
• take a hike to a new park
• take the first step towards making one of your dreams a reality

Does it still feel too overwhelming? Here are some additional pointers:
• do some research on the first 2 steps needed to make one new thing happen – then act
• ask someone who has done the new thing you’re interested in about why they like it
• take a friend with you when you try a new activity or go some place new
• stop thinking of yourself as “fragile” – you are beautiful, but not a delicate flower
• call to mind a time when you did something new that was fun
• depend on yourself for your happiness, instead of others

And even if your attempt doesn’t work out the way you thought it might, it can still lead to growth and positive results. The most successful people on earth went through major failures before they became successful.

The more new things you try, the more you step out of your comfort zone, the less you’ll need  food to make you happy. The less depressed you’ll feel. The more energy you’ll have.
The more LIFE you’ll have!

What I am asking you to do is simple: do just one thing differently this week.

Your life is waiting for you, just outside your comfort food zone.

Ready to work with an experienced coach to help you

get out of your comfort zone and utterly transform your body + life?

CLICK HERE TO APPLY by June 6th for the Vitality Mentorship with Alex: 

1 of 12 books that’ll make your divorce easier…

I’m on the verge of tears…

Women, Food, And Desire was just named 1 of 12 books to read that’ll help your divorce be a little easier.

bustle header divorce

Women, Food, And Desire named 1 of 12 books that'll help you get through your divorce a little easier - Bustle.com

Women, Food, And Desire named 1 of 12 books that’ll help you get through your divorce a little easier – Bustle.com

I had to write this book.

When I was divorcing my ex, I became totally disconnected from my body. I allowed the shame and hurt of the infidelity to separate me from my own self-worth, even though I hadn’t done anything wrong.

I had to write this book – because this culture, our shame, and the Diet Industrial Complex, are keeping us from having the love, worth, and health that we deserve.

If you have a friend going through a divorce or break up right now, and you think Women, Food, And Desire would help, please send them a copy.

And give them hugs. Lots of hugs:

Here’s a link to the original article:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/61076-12-books-to-read-thatll-make-your-divorce-a-little-bit-easier

P.S. It is an incredible honor to be featured alongside one of my favorite books of all time, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Jaw. Dropped.

The Power Of Touch: Mindset Makeover Day 7

It’s the final day of the #MindsetMakeover + I’m sharing my favorite tool from Positive Psychology.

The power of touch.

IMG_0558

Touch is our 1st sense, and a HUGE ally in creating a healthy, flourishing life + strong relationships.

In our modern culture we are TOUCH STARVED and often get very little physical interaction or affection. But we need it to feel well, whole, and connected.

Baby animals that are removed from their mama or siblings don’t thrive + develop emotional trouble later. It’s the same for people. “Kangaroo care” is now used for preemie babies – skin to skin contact on an adult chest for hours a day helps tiny babies thrive + put on weight.

We give lots of love and hugs, pats, and hand holding affection to our kids, because we know they need it to feel loved. But for adults it’s harder to ask for touch, massage, hugs, or physical intimacy.

But we think as adults we don’t need as much love + touch. WE DO!

When we get enough touch, hugs + physical intimacy in our day, we are healthier, happy, and less likely to emotionally binge. Hug someone today! CLICK TO TWEET THIS!

Today I’m going to challenge you to get 8 hugs of at least 5 seconds each. A hug has the power to calm your nervous system, reduce blood pressure, and reduce emotional food cravings!

Thank you for taking part in this peek into 7-days of #positivepsychology with me. I’ll be using MORE tools from this science based approach in my next 8-Week Cravings Cleanse, which opens for registration Friday!

#healthyeah #mindset #positivepsychology #fun #friends #hugs #health #inspiration #instagram #instagood #healing #touch #love #cravings #cravecast #crave #desire

Show us your strengths! Mindset Makeover Day 6

Day 6 of the #MindsetMakeover – Share Your Strengths!

Show us your strengths! A great tool from positive psychology to get us out of negativity bias? Build + broaden your strengths...A wonderful remedy for emotional eating.

Show us your strengths! A great tool from positive psychology to get us out of negativity bias? Build + broaden your strengths…A wonderful remedy for emotional eating.

The human brain is wired for “negativity bias” – we look for things that have gone wrong, or COULD go wrong, so that we don’t do them and maybe die.

And when our brains are stuck in a negative thought loop, emotional eating for comfort and relaxation come one like wildfire.

Research from Positive Psychology suggests that the most successful (and happy) people start with a strong talent + then add skills, knowledge + practice into the mix.

We’ll be healthier + happier if we build on our authentic selves–who we already are–starting with our strengths. CLICK TO TWEET THIS! 

BUT a lot of people are usually unaware of their own strengths. I have seen this truth confirmed time + again in my work with clients at various stages of their healing journey.

So here is a simple way to discover one of your top strengths:

FILL IN THE BLANK — “I LOVE ME WHEN…”

One of my strengths is humor.

Other strengths that might resonate with you include leadership, gratitude, love, love of learning, spirituality, curiosity, creativity…make up your own!

Share your strengths below, take a picture of yourself with a sign like mine and post on Instagram or Facebook!

Tomorrow is the last day of this #mindsetmakeover – then I’ve got a BIG announcement to share with you!!

Does how you think matter as much as what you eat?

Short answer: Yes.

Our thoughts, experiences, and emotions make as much of an impact on our health and weight as what we eat.

I know a lot of you have made New Year’s resolutions,
and they might be getting away from you right now, the 3rd week into 2015.

So I wanted to share some of the best tools I’ve learned through my studies in
Positive Psychology to help you shift your mindset about food, health, weight, and your body

from frustration to ease…

from stuck to moving…

from unmotivated to joyful belief…

from floundering to flourishing.

So every day for the next 7 days, I’d like to share one tool a day with you to help you master your mindset…

A mindset makeover, if you will.

See, positive psychology “is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive” – 
and that’s what I love sharing. Recipes and inspiration for a body and life you love. 

You don’t have to do anything special, just read along, and take the action I describe, if you’re inspired.

If you want to join in the fun in a more meaningful way, you can come follow me on Instagram or Facebook and share, post, or like the pictures I’ll be posting every day to share these ideas.

I’ll also be sharing simple food tips every day to help you make your resolutions for a lighter, stronger 2015 come true!

Now, here’s your Day 1 of the #MindsetMakeover:

Share Your Strengths, AKA “What’s RIGHT with you?”

According to Positive Psychology research, when you focus on your strengths it helps you focus on what’s right, rather than getting stuck in a negative self-image.

In my experience, most sugar cravings, when not caused by bacterial overgrowth, are related to feeling emotionally depleted, frustrated, or lonely.

When we can tap into our own strengths and acknowledge what’s right with us, sabotaging food cravings will get weaker.

When we acknowledge how strong we really are, sugar’s hold on us gets weaker! Click To Tweet This :) 

Humor
Gratitude
Love
Love of Learning
Leadership
Bravery
Creativity
Curiosity
Vitality
Kindness
Forgiveness
Appreciation of Beauty
Hope
Spirituality

alex learn

One of my strengths is “love of learning.” I used to think I was “easily distracted” but now I see my curiosity and desire for knowledge as a way that I stay engaged, hopeful, and contribute to my family and community’s well-being.

According to Positive Psychology research, sharing + acknowledging our strengths helps us to focus on what’s right with us, rather than getting stuck in a negative self-image.

When we feel more positive + better about ourselves, we tend to make healthier food choices, and our health is better all around.

In the comments below, share your strengths with us!
I’d love to hear what’s RIGHT with you, and how you use those strengths to live a healthier, happier life.

xo, Alex

The Gratitude Game

You might not feel thankful for what you have right now –

Maybe you’re stuck in a repetitive cycle of

“I don’t like my body – it’s feeling tired, and pained, and I don’t like how I feel.”

or

“Why can’t I lose those last 10 pounds?”

or even

“Why is my body always doing stupid thing like craving sugar?!”

I’ve been in that head space before – thinking myself in circles about what I’m eating, how my body doesn’t feel the way I think it should, and how there are so many women who are better looking than me – that they’ve figured it out, and I don’t have a clue.

The good news is, you’re not alone – welcome to the human race!

Your brain is often working against your hopeful, happy goals of peace, health and abundance, while your body is just trying to keep up with the daily grind, metabolizing your food, breathing, circulating, moving, standing, and all the other million actions it must undertake on a daily basis – it does so much stuff you don’t even know about, and here you are beating up on it for not fitting into a size 2 dress!

I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong or bad – because you’re not.

The cool thing is, you can start to play a different game with your mind and body, which may actually help you start to feel calm, lose weight, and feel amazing.

It’s called The Gratitude Game.

The rules are simple:

1. When you catch your reflection in the mirror, say “Wow! My body is amazing! I’ve been breathing and my heart has been beating all day without me even thinking about it!”

2. When you find yourself tired at your desk, with your eyes feeling heavy, and just wanting to go home to a big bag of potato chips, stretch your arms up long over your head, feel your sides stretching, and think “Thank you body! You are getting so much work done today!”

3. When you get home and put your finally put your feet up after a long day, place your hand on your stomach and breath deeply down into your gut. Imagine a warm, pink light glowing inside you, from that place of creativity, power, and productivity that is your gut and lower belly. Feel the love and gratitude that you have for being alive – because this moment is all there is.

Just you and your amazing body.

 

Alex Answers: Late Night Eating – What To Eat? How To Stop It?

This theme of “late night eating sabotage” is so common, and is so in line with my upcoming Delicious Detox program, that I thought I should share this juicy information so everyone can use it, not just my new members.

This question came from Rachel:

“For about 7 months, I’ve been eating a vegan, whole foods diet. And I love it. I’m also counting calories as well. I’ve lost 20 pounds and feel great as I’ve reached my goal weight.  But now things are getting more difficult. I feel like all day, I do great health wise. I eat a green smoothie for breakfast, a healthy lunch, lots of fruit, a healthy dinner…

But then…I don’t know what happens, but I go crazy and end up splurging on dessert, then raiding the pantry at night. Before, I could easily eat 1200-1300 calories a day and feel great. Now, I’m finding it hard to stay under 2,000 calories!

I don’t know if you have any advice for this problem, or maybe a recipe for some low-cal vegan nighttime snacks…”

Alex Answers:

Rachel, this is such an awesome topic. Late night eating can be a tough habit to break. You’ve spent a busy day working, being responsible, eating the “right” foods, commuting, planning your meals for the next day, and cleaning up your house, now you just want to chill and de-stress…

And just as you’re about to get comfortable with the TV, boy/girlfriend, or magazine, your cravings start coming up.

NO! You scream at yourself furiously.

I’ve been so good!

Don’t crave that chocolate/cheese/potato chips/glass of wine…you’ll ruin all the hard work from today and feel lousy about yourself!

But I WANT it! I deserve it! Gimme.

The judgement and self-loathing start to pile on and your hard-earned relaxation time is now a frustrating, stressful wrestling match of the mind.

How can you end that nightly civil war so you don’t end up in front of the fridge or cupboard searching for fatty, sugary snacks?

Let’s take a step back and take stock:

Ask yourself: Am I really hungry?

What is my body feeling right now? Am I thirsty? Am I just tired? Do I need a hug, hot shower, massage from my boy/girlfriend? Do I need to tell my wife or husband something that’s been on my mind and won’t rest? Am I craving intimacy and feel lonely at the end of the day because no one’s here? Did I have a fight at work or phone call with a family member that set me off today?

Maybe I need a nice half-hour with my vibrator and some good lube instead of a chocolate bar…believe me, I’ve been there.

Your cravings are telling you something. Listen to your body. Notice the physical sensations that are rising up and where they’re possibly coming from.

Listen to how your body responds to the stimulation of your life. Once you start feeling the sensations your body has stored from the day, you may find your cravings go away on their own.

Another good way to end the late-night-eating-sabotage cycle is to get rid of your TV for a week…or longer. It will totally shake up your evening routine and your nights will have more room for self-care and true relaxation.

Yes, you might be hungry from a long day of work, and sometime a late night snack is exactly what you need. So I’m going to share my top 5 late night snacks that fall in the category of “Totally Awesome Delicious Detox Snacks:”

  1. Frozen grapes or blueberries for a sweet tooth
  2. Light air popped popcorn or plain popcorn popped in paper bag in microwave, drizzled with olive oil and a tiny bit of salt
  3. Raw sauerkraut – it will knock your sweet craving right out!
  4. Fruit “ice cream” – peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or raisins and serve
  5. A few raw nuts with a plump, juicy Medjool date

Here’s what you can do now:

If you have specific questions I’d love to hear what you’re struggling with – ask right here or leave a comment. For a forum to share your issues with like-minded people working to change their lives, apply to my 8-Week Delicious Detox Tele-Course. There are only 7 Premium All-Access memberships left, so take a look soon.

 

 

 

 

What if taking care of yourself, without the guilt, was the most important thing?

Do you beat yourself up when there isn’t enough time to take care of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g on your plate when what you really want to do is just take a nap, watch mindless TV, go have lunch with a friend, or find a yoga class?

 

Do you feel guilty for putting your needs first?

 

I have to admit, that ugly monster of guilt sometimes comes into my view too.

 

Just yesterday I took the afternoon off and had some HT Therapy (hammock time in my backyard) and am going to spend this entire weekend at a workshop that I’ve been eagerly awaiting.

 

I could easily have taken this kid-free weekend and set some serious time at chipping away at my favorite work related projects, since my son is with his dad on adventure and I have no one to make breakfast for.

 

But I can already feel that my body + soul are thanking me for taking this time off to rejuvenate, connect with like-minded people, and not work in front of my computer for 6-8 hours a day.

 

I’m taking this time because my massage therapist and acupuncturist have both told me that I need to take it easy or I’m going to burn-out

 

Whoa! I did not want to hear that but it’s true.

 

It’s usually when I have my son to take care of, lots of business projects that I’m juggling, dishes and laundry to finish, and several clients and meetings scheduled that I feel the worst about taking time for myself.

 

It used to be a lot harder to take care of myself when that amount of “to-dos” were on my list.

 

Not anymore.

 

Now I see that my self-care is the oil in the engine that keeps my busy life on track and makes the forward momentum possible.

And I see that the guilt is actually working against my best intentions for true health and vitality.

 

What are your thoughts about taking care of yourself? What’s your guilty self-care story? How can you reframe the way you look at down time, exercise and rejuvenation?

 

Leave a comment here on my blog about what’s in the way of taking care of yourself – I would love to know so that I can offer some great suggestions so you can get back to taking care of yourself without the guilt.

 

Healthy New Year’s!

New Year’s resolutions for weight loss are mostly doomed to fail, but it’s not because “you did it wrong,” or “you’re just not strong enough, good enough, smart enough, worthy enough” to be skinnier. It’s not because you don’t have the will power – you’ve probably put in a lot of effort and money over the years to making January 1st a “new beginning.”

Here’s the real scoop: trying to lose weight in winter is the hardest, and most unnatural, time of year to reduce your calorie intake. This whole New Year’s Resolution for weight loss is arbitrary, media-hyped, and a losing-bet. The human body naturally tries to keep weight on in the winter as a survival technique. Confused? Keep reading and I’ll tell you more.

Your body goes through seasonal changes just like trees, plants, and hibernating animals. The human body uses calories to keep us warm and naturally holds onto fat to help us weather the freezing weather. Since calories = heat = winter survival, eating gives your body the fuel it needs to protect itself from cold winds, frigid temperatures, and walking your kid to and from school 20 minutes in sub-freezing temperatures twice a day.

Limiting your calorie intake in the winter flips an invisible switch that triggers your body’s natural survival mechanisms to store fuel like a squirrel hiding nuts.  The crazy part is, restricting your food intake starting January 1st can actually cause your body to create more fat storage.

So wait until springtime for a real cleansing and calorie restriction program. Honor your human nature and give your body the calories it needs to get through winter successfully – but this doesn’t mean you can throw all caution to the wind!

January is a great time to create a Resolution about food and health: Decide to transform your menus into natural, real meals filled with whole foods and seasonal ingredients. Get acquainted with whole grains, beans, seasonal veggies from your area, nuts, seeds, and sea vegetables. Create a new habit of including whole grains, beans, and steamed leafy greens at least twice a day. Use the seasonal produce available in your area to bring balance and energy to your body while you remove the junky, processed, and packaged foods this winter.

By changing the quality of your meals, rather than focusing on the quantity of calories and restricting yourself during this season, you can create a total body transformation that will give you the energy you need to make big changes to your weight in the spring when cleansing and reducing is more appropriate. The cool thing is this: when you start shifting your foods to be natural and high-quality, your weight will slowly start reducing on its own! But not in a forced, deprivation style. You’ll get balanced. Your energy will be better. You’ll sleep better and have an easier time kicking caffeine and sugar cravings.

If you want to make this shift with expert guidance, camaraderie, and support, you can sign up for 1 of 20 spots available in my upcoming Red Hot Hearts Tele-Series, which begins 2/15/11. The program provides recipes, meal planning, support, emotional guidance and fun!

I’d be glad to have you!

I hope you have a blessed year full of fun, adventure, healthy vibes, and laughs!

Be well,

Alex

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