It’s not just Trump: How we talk with girls about their bodies

I Am. How we talk to girls about their bodies.

“Locker room talk” and the old “boys will be boys” attitude creates and sustains rape culture and body shaming to persist. But how we don’t talk with girls about their bodies is also hurting them.

I Am. How we talk to girls about their bodies.

“You’re so pretty!” the speaker announced, looking directly at her. The 16-year old girl blushed, smiled awkwardly, and shrank down into her seat. Sitting 5 rows behind, I could feel her discomfort as half the room turned to look at her.


A few months ago, I spoke at an event for teen leaders. Waiting at the back of the room for the first speaker to finish, I watched and listened as he walked down the aisle to hand out papers for the co-ed group to take home. As the 60ish man spoke and walked, he came to the last row of students, handed a stack of papers to the young woman on the aisle, and exclaimed, “You’re so pretty!”


Her reaction hit me like a punch in my gut. She shrunk down in her seat and ducked her head down.


“Ick,” I quietly said out loud.


A minute later, realizing the back row didn’t get enough papers, the speaker returned, handed the same young woman a few more copies, and commented again to her, “You really are so pretty!”


The student cringed down in her chair even further, and her friends all turned and whispered something to her. Anyone could see she was hating this unwelcome attention, especially in front of teenage boys.


This time my gut was on fire.


It brought me right back to when I was 13 years old and waiting for my mom in the lobby of the bank.  A 30ish man walked up, stopped next to me, told me that I was pretty, and asked me out for a coffee.


I felt fear, out of my depth, and immediately worried that I had done something to attract this uncomfortable, dangerous-feeling attention.


I said “No!” giggled, and looked down with flushed cheeks at my long-sleeved flannel shirt and knee-length cut-offs as I walked towards my mom, wondering, why did he ask me?


My mom didn’t see it happen, and I didn’t tell her. I felt ashamed, somehow.


About a year later my 22 year-old brother got into a fist fight with a 20ish guy who came up to us, asked how I was doing and chucked me under the chin telling me I “looked fine.”


Male attention felt dangerous and troublesome. The “male gaze” isn’t just locker room talk and cat calling. It’s much more damaging than that.


Even though I hadn’t “done anything” I felt like I had done something wrong by getting attention and proceeded to wear bulky, long sweatshirts for most of my teen years. The last thing I wanted was more attention.


This kind of unwelcome attention feels like theft. It steals our ability to feel like we own our bodies. Even when no physical damage is done, these kind of comments damage the free expression of our beauty and full expression of ourselves.


How can we talk to girls about their bodies and the male gaze?


This question, and my anger at myself for not telling that male speaker to be more aware of how he made this young woman feel, has been roiling around in my body and brain for months now.


When it comes down to it, we live in a culture where many men feel like they have the right to comment on, touch without permission, and abuse women of every age.


I’ve asked friends and readers, and posted the query on Facebook and Instagram.


The first thing I’ve realized is we shouldn’t talk TO girls and women about their bodies. We should be talking more WITH them. Sharing. Educating about basic biology, not handing down judgments and approval willy-nilly.


Here are some of the comments and insights women have shared with me via social media:


Terricole: As a therapist I like the idea of figuring out guidelines as opposed to the ALWAYS or NEVER school of thought since we are all just flawed humans trying to do better. When it comes to weight gain or loss I def say no comment is the way to go. My 22-year-old niece just lost quite a bit of weight and her mother (my sister who is and has always been weight obsessed although she is very fit) kept commenting on how great she looked until my niece lost it and said,”Stop looking at my body with that critical eye. Your compliments make me feel exactly as bad as your not so subtle suggestions of how to lose weight when I didn’t ask you. STOP OBJECTIFYING ME MOM PLEASE! ” And when you think about it the flip side of the complement is a criticism and all of it is judgement. I grew up with 3 beautiful older sisters and my mother rarely commented on our looks at all. So although my weight fluctuated no one commented on it Consequently I felt loved the same pretty much all of the time. With my many nieces I would focus on gratitude for their strong healthy bods because not everyone can run, walk or hike etc. Also focusing on positive behavior(that was so kind of you to …) and good intentions is empowering and shows them what you think is important. Modeling a positive relationship to your own body & figuring out your own stuff from your family of origin will help you not hand down toxic stuff. This is really the greatest gift you can give to all of your kids (and yourself too!) ❤️

grace.freshfoodkcI:  I love conversations about bodies that wrap up the whole person. Talk about how their body shape, size, etc. reflects their life and passions. I love how your freckles show in summer-it makes me think of all of our fun park dates or I love how your strong legs could hike up this trail. If women grew up appreciating their body’s ability and strength, we’d have a lot less stress about the rest.

Heartenhealthy As a mom of 2 daughters I think about this A LOT. My 4 year old will ask when she gets dressed up for something or I’ve just finished doing her hair if she looks beautiful and I tell her that she looks beautiful all the time. I want her to understand that she is just as beautiful when she first wakes up in the morning as she is when she is dressed up or does something to change her appearance. I make sure we focus a lot on talking about what her body is capable of and the importance of who we are inside. We talk a lot about what it means to be unique and I tell her that it means everyone is special in their own different way. I feel like we are fighting an uphill battle with the current standard of beauty that we see in mainstream media. Thanks @deliciousalex for posting this question. Conversations like this are important in order to determine what we can do differently to raise our daughters to be confident and to reject the notion that appearance matters most.

Karenmeiercoach Completely agree with @terricole 👌 – modeling a positive relationship with your body is key. I also think it’s important to discuss the importance and beauty of body diversity – that bodies come in all shapes and sizes! 🙏


In short, there are a lot of opinions about how we should talk to and with our girls about their bodies. And that’s just the women.


To me, one thing is very clear:


By commenting (repeatedly) on a woman’s appearance, we risk making her feel more self-conscious, more uncomfortable, and less seen for her whole self.

We make a woman’s worth all about how she looks and her body becomes a commodity. Something to be owned or used.

She becomes a thing, rather than a person.


The anger I felt at that older man commenting on the young woman’s looks boils down to this – he wasn’t engaging with her as a whole person, he was, in a few words, patronizingly giving his approval of her, and drawing a lot of uncomfortable attention to her, by reinforcing a patriarchal (Yes, I said it) norm that pretty women are more worthy and deserving of special treatment.


Like my 13 year-old self, many teenaged girls don’t appreciate too much attention. Attention and the male gaze are rife with danger for all women:


  1. We are taught to crave attention and approval of our appearance, and yet
  2. If we cross some invisible and ever-moving line of seeking too much attention, we risk being labeled a slut, high and mighty, or worse.


Attention feels like a dangerous, can’t-win proposition for women, and it begins with these seemingly innocuous comments.


I wish I could go back and pull that man aside, tell him the truth – his comments were more damaging than anything – and ask him to refrain from making approving statements about women’s appearance in the future.


I would ask him instead to acknowledge women for their hard work, for their accomplishments, for their strength and resilience.


The conversation about women’s bodies must change. And we have to start changing it amongst ourselves.


Stop buying and investing in the appearance-based celebrity gossip culture that Jennifer Aniston so eloquently spoke out against. Tell young women how strong they are and how their hard work is noticed and appreciated. Have meaningful conversations with them about what they see on television and in magazines, and even on Instagram. Find out how it makes them feel to see models and movie stars be appreciated only for their looks.


Once we allow women to be fully seen, we may finally create a culture of true beauty, one that’s safe for every woman to shine in all of her strength.


How can we talk with girls and women about our bodies?


First, we should be talking more with each other about our bodies.

Not commenting on each other’s bodies, but sharing our experiences and feelings about growing up female.


We should talk about celebrity culture and the impact that social media has on our body image and connectedness.


Recently Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers was at her gym when she used Snapchat to broadcast a picture of a middle-aged woman using the shower in the locker room. Mathers captioned her Snap, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”


Not only was the model and radio host making fun of another woman’s body, she was illegally posting a nude photo of a woman without her permission in a body-shaming way. Mathers’ gym, L.A. Fitness, immediately banned her from ever using any of their outlets again, she was fired from her radio job, and is now under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.


This is a case of woman-on-woman body shaming gone very wrong, but it happens all the time in more subtle ways. Last year, blogger and runner Kathy Sebright shared a story of how two women commented that she had “put on a lot of weight” at a July 4th parade when they thought she couldn’t hear them. Her invisible story of struggling to help her young son and family manage a horrible illness were not visible to the women; they didn’t see her whole story, only her current shape and weight.


Just as the speaker felt it appropriate to comment on the young woman’s beauty, bringing her attention she clearly didn’t want, the female model felt it appropriate to negatively comment about the woman’s body at the gym, bringing her attention she clearly didn’t ask for.


How can we end this cycle of shaming and hurting? Is banning and firing the answer? I felt the anger and understood the immediate reaction to ban and fire Dani Mathers after her shameful and illegal Snapchat fiasco.


But, is this really going to solve the problem?


I believe we need to talk with boys and girls, men and women about what happens when we comment on each other’s appearance. We need to share our experiences with each other and with our children so that they feel entitled to respect their own bodies, and so they respect other people’s bodies just the same.


What if instead of firing Dani Mathers, her radio station had assigned her to both record a conversation with the woman she photographed and to interview a new woman every week for the next year about a personal body-shaming incident and how it affected the woman?


How can we include men in this evolution?


And what about men?


As the mom of a 9 year-old boy, I’ve worried and struggled with what to say and how to raise him so that he’s a “good man” that respects and stands up for women as well as himself.


We look at the progressive sex education books together, learning about anatomy and the differences between men and women, so that he has real knowledge. We call our body parts by their names: penis, vagina, breasts, and vulva, rather than “down there, willy, or nana’s” so that we aren’t making jokes about the human body rather than being factual and easy about it all.


We teach him that his body is his own, and no one may touch him without his permission. The same goes with friends and family: every person is in charge of their own body. You respect theirs, and demand that they respect yours.


We don’t force him or even ask him to hug family if he doesn’t want to. Why force kids to do something physically that they don’t want to do?


I’ve told him it’s nice to comment positively on someone’s clothing, but not on their body. Not because you don’t like how they look, but because people are very sensitive about their bodies and we want people to feel happy in themselves.


We’ve come up with “safe words” so that when any kind of physical play becomes too much for him, he can shout “RED!” and we know it’s time to immediately stop tickling or wrestling.


By teaching young men to respect their own bodies, as well as everyone else’s, we can raise the new generations not to fall into the same shameful traps.


What should I have said to that 60 year old man?


I wish I had pulled him aside, out of view of the students, and told him how his comments actually affected this young woman. I would ask him to not draw attention to young women’s appearance, but instead to comment on their strength and intelligence. And I would beg him NOT to go talk with her about it, even to apologize, because, knowing women’s inclination to shoulder all blame, she would probably end up apologizing to him in the end.


But I didn’t. I may always regret that.


Instead, I took the stage and taught the group about the wisdom of their bodies. I taught them a practice I wish I had learned at a much younger age, but one that any of us can learn to our advantage:


I told them how to feel “YES” and “NO” from their own bodies, and I want to teach you how to do this now too:


Sit with your eyes closed and place a hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Take 5 deep, slow, relaxing breaths.


Feel and say YES out loud. YES. YES, I want this. YES, this is for me! YES, I know this! YES! YES YES!


How did that feel in your body?


Now take 5 more deep, slow, relaxing breaths to settle down again.


Feel and say NO out loud. NO. NO, I don’t want this. NO, this is not for me. NO, I don’t like that. NO NO NO!


How did that feel in your body?


I asked how many in the audience could feel a difference between YES and NO in their bodies, and more than half the room raised their hands.


This practice, I told them, could be used for choices, small and large, throughout their life. What to eat, what to wear, where to go to college, who to date, how they’re being treated…


I shared that, especially for the young women in the room, they were going to need to learn how to tap into this truth in their bodies. Their truth and desires will be squashed again and again by unconscious or uncaring forces in the world.


We all need, men and women alike, to practice feeling what our bodies are telling us,  honor and respect ourselves, gather support around us, and continue to speak up for our truth.


I don’t have all the answers.


But I’m a woman with a fiery interest in helping create a world where every young woman feels like she owns her own body, grows up not fearing her own beauty (and honey, we all glow with a divine inner beauty!), and where all women feel free of shame so they can shine their fire freely.


Maybe the best we can do now is share and grow this discussion, talk with each other about how we feel, and share our experiences.

The New Self-Esteem, or How Self-Compassion Is The Best Way To Love Yourself

Watching The Karate Kid (the original one, from 1984, of course) the other night, I saw an important psychological mindset come to life through a favorite Hollywood character:

How Karate Kid Taught Me Self-Compassion

The lead character, Ralph Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso, meets a great mentor in the form of the Japanese handyman, Mr. Miyagi. The older man takes Daniel under his wing to teach him how to protect himself from his high-school nemesis, the perfect blonde karate star, Johnny. Mr. Miyagi’s compassionate stance towards self-improvement shone in stark contrast to the punishing training style of Sensei John Kreese from Cobra Kai,  Johnny’s competing dojo.


Where Mr. Miyagi coached Ralph Macchio’s character Daniel LaRusso to fight with his brain and heart, evil Sensei Kreese shouted to his militant students:


“Mercy is for the weak…you’re nothing! You lost, you’re a loser!”

“The enemy deserves no mercy.”


Every woman I know, including myself, has had countless conversations with herself like this in the mirror. In our efforts to feel good about ourselves and look our best, we have taken the Cobra Kai path of toughening ourselves up to try and achieve higher self-esteem.


The Cobra Kai students were popular, boastful, and seemingly brimming with self-esteem. They grew their strength and self-regard through fighting. A winner to them was tough, invulnerable, even violent. And yet, in the long run, Daniel-san beat them with the more compassionate tactics taught to him by Miyagi.


Turning the Cobra Kai path on ourselves

Women are especially adept at this type of punishing mindset – except it takes the form of self-flagellation: our perfectionism leads us to overwhelm, overwork, and overload more often than men, and it’s slowly killing us, dimming our spark, and leading to lives filled with disappointment and shame.


This outdated tactic of trying to boost self-esteem through force and violent self-punishment has created generations of women who are trying to beat ourselves into a happy relationship with our bodies, despite overwhelming evidence that these tactics don’t work.


In this study from Purdue, weight loss did not help raise long-term self-esteem, which may point to long-term body image issues for women who defined themselves as overweight.


The all-too-common advice to use positive affirmations can backfire for someone already stuck in the low self-esteem zone: this study from the University of Waterloo showed that the common self-esteem tactic actually made some subjects feel worse about themselves because their brains just didn’t believe statements like: “People like me and I’m smart.”  


Feeling better about our lives has to start with how we feel about ourselves. And the path to falling in love with ourselves never begins with self-torture.


Up until recently, we have believed that self-esteem is the goal and the means to get there – what we want to feel and how we try to go about feeling successful.


Self-Esteem: The Cobra Kai way

However, self-esteem, or confidence in one’s own abilities, is the wrong measurement:


We have to compare ourselves to others or measure ourselves by how others view us in order to achieve high self esteem. Self-esteem is based on feeling better than others. Measuring yourself by the norm and coming out ahead in the math.


Comparison has a dark underbelly: we don’t actually feel better about ourselves when we compare ourselves to others because it inherently separates us from the other person as we judge them. Humans like to feel connected to each other, so separating, even to come out “better” than someone else, feels bad.


While we try to see ourselves as better than others, we also tend to turn that lens on ourselves and eviscerate ourselves with self-criticism when we don’t meet our own high standards.


As soon as our feelings of superiority slip — as they always do — our self-worthiness takes a nosedive. We swing wildly between high and low self-esteem — an emotional roller coaster ride whose end result is often insecurity, anxiety, and depression.


(This is why I prescribe to all of my self-worth seeking clients to stop watching reality TV, the black hole for comparison and judgment, for at least 2 weeks. “Watch a documentary instead and call me in the morning.”)


The ways in which we go about achieving self-esteem revolve around comparison, competition, and one-upmanship. (or one-up-woman-ship)


The other main problem with self-esteem is that when you need it, you don’t have it. Just when you need to feel better about yourself because things are going badly, self-esteem deserts you because you aren’t successful and you don’t measure up.


Then you’re stuck with the reality that you’re below average or not doing as well as others, which is when self-esteem vanishes.


Pretty wicked circle, isn’t it?


Compassion: The Mr. Miyagi Way to Self-Love


“No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher” – Mr. Miyagi


The way to feel good about ourselves is actually much more simple, and perhaps not easy:



Self-compassion is the ultimate, healthy, free way to feel better.

When you love yourself, you just love yourself.


When you have self-compassion you treat yourself with the same love and care you would offer to a dear friend.


When you help a toddler learn how to walk and s/he inevitably falls down, do you stand over said child and yell, “Dumb baby! You might as well give up! You’re terrible at walking!”


Of course not! You would kindly offer soothing words, help them back up, and guide them to try again.


We can and must do this for ourselves as we learn the more challenging complexities of negotiating adulthood.


In matters of the heart, purpose, and our ever-changing bodies, self-compassion is truly the best way to enjoy a healthy life.


We think self-compassion is a weak stance, just like Cobra Kai’s Sensei Kreese told us. If we let up on our bodies, aka “the enemy,” we’ll stop driving for achievement. We’ll get lazy.


Nothing could be further from the truth.

New positive psychology science on compassion shows us that self-compassion is like Mr. Miyagi teaching us to “wax on, wax off.” When we practice basic precepts of awareness and compassion, and that self-improvement, like karate “is only for defense,” then we can master our mindset and truly make huge leaps forward.


The science of self-compassion


Students do better when they are primed to be more self-compassionate:

In one study, college students who performed worse than desired on an exam then performed better on the next test if they were primed to be higher rather than lower in self-compassion. This may show that students low in self-compassion beat themselves, felt more stressed, and remained in a fixed mindset which did not help them improve on the next test.


Students with lower levels of self-compassion tend to procrastinate more:

This study found that people prone to procrastination had lower levels of self-compassion and higher levels of stress.


Aging adults thrive longer and better with more self-compassion:

This study shows that adults with higher self-compassion scores better handle the challenges of getting older. Self-compassionate people had fewer emotional problems, greater life satisfaction, and felt that they were ageing more successfully.


And self-compassion helps people deal with the innate suffering of life, pain, trauma, and loss. Self-compassion is a core ingredient in post-traumatic growth, where people who experience trauma actually thrive and grow. It also allows us to maintain a “growth mindset” which keeps us open to progressing, learning, and asking for help.


Self-compassion is a teachable skill and you can begin growing this skill-set right now.


3 ways to grow self-compassion, the REAL self-esteem


  1. Permission to be Human: Notice when you are not being nice to yourself. When you find yourself beating yourself up, remember that you’re human and all humans make mistakes and fail. The trick is to keep going and love yourself through the failure.
  2. Bring self-kindness to your thoughts as if you were talking to your very best friend. How would you talk to her in the same situation? Imagine you’re talking to her, rather than yourself. Many of us are more likely to feel authentic compassion for a loved one.
  3. Yet: This little 3-letter word is the most useful way to reframe your thoughts in a moment. When you hear your thoughts making negative declarations, just add YET to the end of the sentence, like a positive psychology fortune cookie. This kind of thinking puts you into growth mindset right away…try it!


“I haven’t lost the weight…YET.”

“I don’t know how to cook kale…YET.”

“I don’t have the partner of my dreams…YET.”


Remember: Mr. Miyagi’s great line: “First must stand. Then learn fly. Nature’s rule, Daniel-san. Not mine.”


It’s important to know that self-compassion is not just some mantra-quoting positive thinking trip. Self-compassion is a reality check: get real with yourself about the situation and your responsibility for your mindset. If you truly desire to create lasting change in your life, body, and health, a compassionate, growth mindset is truly important.


And in the end, the self-worth you develop as a result of self-compassion is more authentic and long-lasting than the fleeting, judgmental variety we touch with self-esteem.


Don’t forget: seemingly tiny, ill-prepared Daniel Larusso won in the end. He had a Mr. Miyagi at his side, whispering compassionate lessons along the way. Now you can, too.


Join my 8-week Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover to get these positive psychology tools to work for you and your body goals:

3 steps to trust your body + grow your intuition. Step 2: Yes/No Exercise

When I talk about “listening to your cravings” or “following your desires” you might think I’m a little out there…

…but I truly believe, and have experienced first hand, that when you listen to your body, and follow what you “hear” or feel, you treat yourself better, feel more empowered, aligned, and trust yourself more.Honoring your cravings is akin to listening to your intuition.

These are all messages from your body, your soul, your higher power, whatever you believe in, that are pulling you towards a stronger place in life.So I’ve created this 3 part series to help you focus on how to grow your intuition, as the benefits are the same as listening to your cravings…You will have a stronger connection with, and love for, your body.And your gut is the place to start, as I detailed in part one of this series.

Order your gluten-free probiotics here for gut healing:

Intuition gets stronger with practice, once your gut is healed.
Because the health of your gut plays such a strong part in your ability to hear your body’s intuition,
healing the gut, as I shared yesterday, is the first step in strengthening your intuition.

Gut-level mastery is born from consistent awareness and action taken upon that awareness.
The more you listen to your gut, act based on what you’ve heard, and practice, the stronger your sense of self becomes.

You will free and doubt your body less because you are listening to, and trusting her.

Today’s lesson on how to grow your intuition: Yes/No exercise

download your Intuition E-Guide here: 

grow your intuition

1. Close your eyes and feel what a YES feels like.

Think of your FAVORITE person, place, or memory.
Really envision them, or the moment that you love.

Now ask your body: Is this one of the best people or place in my life?
(this should elicit a YES response from your body)

Now write down what you felt in your body when it “said” YES to you:

Perhaps you feel a warm surge in your tummy, a rush of tingles through your chest, heat in your head,
or shivers down your thighs.

This is one way your body tells you that something is good, or to say YES to something.

2. Close your eyes and feel what a NO feels like.

Think of an injustice in the world, something that you would change if you could.
A moment or event that made you angry or incensed.

Now ask your body: Can I stand for this in the world?
(this should elicit a NO response from your body)

Now write down what you felt in your body when it “said” NO to you.

Maybe you felt a sinking feeling in your gut, a wave of prickles through your chest, heat in your throat,
or pain somewhere.

This is one way your body tells you something is wrong, or how it says NO to something.

As you can see, or maybe you felt this too, your gut is often involved with these Yes/No questions.
Your gut is a part of your intuitive system, and when it is healthy, happy and moving properly,
(as opposed to bloated, constipated, or pained) it will more clearly be your intuitive guide.

Today, I invite you to practice asking YES/NO questions and hearing your body’s response:
will the left-hand elevator come before the right-hand elevator?
Am I going to arrive at the restaurant before my friend?
Do I have time to catch my train even though it looks like I might miss it?

Ask these questions through the day, and notice what your body tells you.
As this may be the first time you’ve narrowed your focus onto your intuition, it might feel clunky at first.
But be assured: the more you ask and listen, the sharper your skills at hearing what your body is telling you becomes.

Be sure to order my favorite gluten-free certified probiotics this week,
to help you repopulate and heal your gut with the right microflora necessary for intestinal health and stronger intuition.

In the comments below, share your YES/No experience and what you discover as you begin to test and listen to your “gut brain!”

3 steps to trust your body + grow your intuition. Step 1: Heal your gut.

“At times you have to leave the city of

Wouldn’t it be great to hear and trust your body all the time? To feel like you’re on the same team?

When we love and trust our bodies, listen to our feelings, instincts, pangs, and whispers…
…both physical, and emotional…
…we get strong.

We shine.

We stop saying yes to things we don’t want, and start taking powerful action in ways that serve
ourselves and the world.

This is a 3-part series on how to trust your body and grow your intuition.


I have been asking and listening to what you want…
You want to feel free, peaceful, and strong in (and about) your body.

And this is such a beautiful path into a happy and healthy life:

When you trust your body and follow your intuition, you feel stronger about yourself,
and it’s the first step to reclaiming your body.

Today is Step #1:
Heal Your Gut, So You Can Better Hear What It’s Saying

Your gut (digestion, stomach, intestines) literally feeds your gut feelings and intuition.
Butterflies in your stomach, nervous knots, and a “gut feeling” are all signs from your
“second brain” to tune in and pay attention.

Gut feelings are like cravings: they are just messages we can choose to hear and take powerful action on.

But we don’t.

We have been trained, told, and scolded into NOT paying attention to our guts.
And when we are out of touch with our intuition we become paralyzed.
Making decisions becomes horrible and tedious.
We end up doing endless complicated analysis, factoring in every possible aspect,
and it takes us days to make up our minds.

And even when we do make a choice, we second guess ourselves.
It’s exhausting!

It’s hard to listen to your intuition:
1. The current medical establishment has told you your concerns are wrong, you worry too much, and we women are woefully undereducated about our bodies
2. Society tells us we are “too emotional” “worry too much” and just too ____. That means we stop listening to our bodies and intuition shuts down.
3. Our health gets compromised with low energy, gut health impairment, hormonal upset, and a poor diet of inflammatory foods which leave us:
– in constant pain + discomfort…and unable to hear our intuition/gut
– bloated, constipated, and carrying the “spare tire” of stress fat that makes us hate our bodies…and unable to hear our body and intuition/gut.

So this week, I’ll focus three emails (and Friday’s podcast) on how to listen to your body, and strengthen and grow your intuition.

Today is Step #1:
Heal your gut.

Your gut-brain is your intuitive brain and emotional brain, and contains almost as many neurotransmitters as your head-brain.
Your gut is responsible for most of the serotonin production in your body, a neurotransmitter important to balanced mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning.

If you have a history of gut troubles like IBS, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, pain, or food sensitivities, healing your gut is important for your health and strengthening your intuition.

  1. Stop eating the Toxic 6 for 1 week: corn, soy, gluten, dairy, sugar, and caffeine

    1. These foods are highly inflammatory and impair digestion, and cause leaky gut syndrome in many people.
    2. When you remove these foods the inflamed tissues can repair and digestion can return to normal.
  2. Start taking twice daily doses of probiotics (make sure your probiotics are gluten-free!! Try my favorite here: to repopulate the gut with healing and calming microflora

    1. A major story on supplements in the NYTimes uncovered hidden gluten contamination in more than 1/2 of all probiotics!
    2. Gluten is one of the top gut killers, so it’s important to remove it completely in order to heal your GI tract as you strengthen your intuitive practices.

certified gluten-free!

Here is a quote on why we should trust our intuition more, from one of my favorite actors of all time:

“At times you have to leave the city of

Healing your gut is the first step to a stronger intuition, not to mention better moods, and a happier tummy.

The next step will help you begin to hear your gut and intuition more, with a special guided meditation.

For today, eat toxic-free foods, and order your probiotics!


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.


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 -

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

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:

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.


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:


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 🙂 

Love of Learning
Appreciation of Beauty

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.”


“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.


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