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This outdated tactic of trying to boost self-esteem through force and violent self-punishment has created generations of women who are trying to beat ourselves into a happy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.

 

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:

www.cravingscleanse.com

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.

WHY?

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:
WHY?
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: http://alexandrajamieson.com/probiotic-cleanse/) 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!

xo,
Alex

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.

 

 

 

 

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