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.

 

Watch Sugar Crack – This Video Is Crazy Good!

Supa Nova’s video about sugar is wicked awesome – enjoy!

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

How I Ate My Way Out of Depression, Weight Gain and Fatigue

I was 25 years old and I felt tired, cranky, foggy and depressed. Every morning was a struggle, my afternoons were often punctuated with migraines, and every evening I crashed into bed totally depleted. I knew I wasn’t supposed to feel this bad, and I didn’t want to go on this way.

I went to a doctor who wanted to prescribe an anti-depressant. I wondered – is my body lacking Prozac? Or is something else going on here?

I made an appointment with a more holistic doctor who used nutrition as part of his overall methodology. The first thing he asked about was my diet. No doctor had asked me what I ate in relation to how I was feeling. And so I decided to be honest:
Breakfast: cereal with milk, coffee with milk and sugar
Lunch: fast food, soda, french fries, potato chips, fruit
Snacks: candy, soda
Dinner: pasta, pizza, take-out, soda, alcohol a few nights a week
This doctor pointed out that I wasn’t eating any fresh food, and that I was literally eating myself into depression, weight gain and fatigue.

Once I discovered that what I was eating was creating my depression, exhaustion and mood swings, it didn’t take long before I was back to feeling like myself again. I was so inspired by the changes in my mood, that I decided to change my career so I could help other women to improve their lives without resorting to drugs, surgery or expensive therapies. Food addicts, chocoholics, caffeine addicts, and just plain self-described “moody girls” all flocked to my practice – I guess you attract what you know.

A common theme among my clients is they feel compulsively drawn to certain foods again and again. Daily battles unfold where office workers struggle to stay away from the mid-morning double latte, the afternoon chocolate fix, the after-hours grilled cheese sandwich. Working moms find themselves sneaking snacks like chocolate chips, soda or French fries throughout the day – foods they wouldn’t want their kids to eat.

Often these same foods that we crave every day have a deeper hold on our brain chemistry than we realize. Food sensitivities can cause a craving-withdrawal cycle that not only affects your mood, but your waistline. Common foods such as dairy, coffee, chocolate, wheat, corn or eggs may actually be triggering an undiagnosed food allergy, which often leads to addiction to these foods, causing long-term mood disorders.

The human brain will often produce opioids when you eat one of these trigger foods. These same opioids reduce your perception and reaction to pain. If you are allergic to wheat and diary, eating a grilled cheese sandwich is like taking a tiny hit of a narcotic. Years of constant consumption of these trigger foods lead to addiction. If your body starts to feel withdrawal symptoms because you haven’t eaten wheat or dairy in several hours, it will start to crave those same foods – your body needs its fix!

This allergy-addiction cycle can lead to irritability, migraines, depression, fatigue, constant digestion problems, arthritis and weight gain. Over the last 8 years I have worked with thousands of women to improve their mood and health by making simple dietary changes. Using a food-mood journal, getting rid of the junk, and analyzing cravings, I have successful assisted countless women to identify and eliminate the underlying causes of their food cravings and mood issues.

These days my food cravings are much easier to handle. They still show up during times of stress or when I’m tired, but I quickly realize my body needs rest, leafy greens, water or exercise instead of chocolate or coffee. I still indulge in delicious treats sometimes, but my cravings for trigger foods don’t have control over me – I understand where they’re coming from and how to make them dissolve. It has been an empowering process to learn what my body really needs and how to take care of these imbalances without relying on foods that will only hurt me over time.

To take control of your food induced mood disorders, lose weight and create amazing energy, join my 4 Week Power Detox Tele-Course, starting April 26th:

http://www.nutritionforempoweredwomen.com/services/reboot/

If you love 80's heavy metal, go see Anvil!

One of the most inspiring and funny documentaries I’ve seen in the past ten years, ANVIL! The Story of Anvil, brought to light the incredible journey of the “real life Spinal Tap” from Canada. I was lucky enough to see the world premiere at Sundance last year, and met Lips, the lead singer. This movie is the perfect representation of how working hard and holding out for your dreams is the only way to live your life.

If you have any love for heavy metal at all, go see Anvil open for AC/DC this month!

July 31st at Giant’s Stadium in New JerseyAlexandra and Lips from ANVIL!