7 STEPS TO GROW YOUR HOPE

Hope.

It’s a powerful ingredient in a healthy life, but what if you’re all out of it?

What if you think you used up your last bit of hope for that boiling pot of traumathat’s been bubbling on your back burner for years?

I’ve felt pretty hopeless at times in my life:

- when my mom got so depressed when I was a kid because her sister and dad had both committed suicide within a couple years of each other, and I couldn’t do anything to make her happy…

- when I discovered my ex-husband’s infidelities and looked at our tiny son, not knowing what to do next…

- when I realized my vegan diet wasn’t healthy for me anymore, and I simply had to eat meat again, (which felt great) and then tell the world about it (which felt awful)

Feeling hopeless is, well, just horrible.

Like “nothing I do will ever be enough”, like “my efforts don’t make any difference”, and that (this is where my hopeless mind spirals always take me) “I’ll end up alone, dying, living under a bridge.”

Uninspired, alienated, forsaken, powerless, limited, oppressed, helpless. Yuck.

I’ve been there, and I know you have, too – because it’s normal, human, and super common. AND, most of us get out of the hellish hole of hopelessness at some point.

But there are times when you feel stuck + hopeless about one thing and struggle with it for years. It could be:

your weight
your relationship status
your career trajectory
or your purpose in this life…

Whatever your situation is, positive psychology and years of coaching people through health and life challenges have shown me that there are measurable steps to growing hope.

Why am I telling you about hope?

People who are “highly hopeful” are healthier + do better in life:
  • hope + optimism is correlated with less anxiety + less depression (read: less sugar + alcohol cravings)
  • high hope is linked with physical well-being (read: more movement + joy)
  • higher self esteem (read: better boundaries + higher confidence)
  • hope is one of the best predictors of overcoming challenges (read: more likely to stick with health goals)
3 Powers you need to grow hope, even if you think it’s hopeless:

What Power = define the hope (the desire, goal, change, thing or state of being that you crave)
Willpower = action or personal agency (your belief in your ability and tenacity, your drive)
Way Power = pathways to hope (possible routes to achieving/creating that thing, desire, goal)

But how can you increase the what, will, and way to feel more hopeful?


7 STEPS TO GROW YOUR HOPE

DO frame your hope in positive language
(get clear on what you DO want, which is a stronger pull than the wimpy push of what you DON’T want)

DO tell yourself you have chosen a good desire + it’s your job to follow through,
don’t allow yourself to be thrown off by roadblocks and challenges
(working with a coach like me is best for this – don’t do it alone + be left alone with your b*tch brain!)

DO learn to talk to yourself in a positive voice
(This is really the purpose of the Mindset Makeover skills in my Cravings Cleanse)

DO look back at previous successes in life goals
(remember that you’ve been through rough times in the past + list 3 ways you got out of them)

DO be able to laugh at yourself
(even when your mind says you’re “failing” or get worried things will never change

DO enjoy the process of getting to your goals
(not just focusing on final attainment of them vs. constantly thinking about how you’re doing ie. weighing yourself ever day to evaluate if you’re “good enough”)

DO recognize that you already have hope in you NOW!
(you’re here reading this, which tells me you’re actively looking for help + inspiration)


Sometimes kicking hopelessness to the curb requires self-love, grit, humor, and a bit of seething anger.

Well, in my experience, it always does.

Every time I’ve reached the point where my lack of hope was just too freakin’ annoying and insufferable to bear, I’ve made a declaration, a decision, and took action.

It wasn’t always the most graceful action, but in my experience, any action is better than sitting in that murky puddle of pity party tears I’d squeezed out.

And so at last, sweet one, I want you to share what your hopes are –

What are your hopes for the future?
What excites you about this desire?
Xo,
Interesting Image

P.S. And if this bit of writing inspired you, lit a fire inside you, or got you to smile just a little bit, maybe you’re ready to join my Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover.

We start 4/16 – and there is a phenomenal group of ladies just like you ready to get started…xo

It’s not me, it’s you

Hey sweet ones,

This is in you, too:

I’ve never felt so connected to myself in my life. I need to work harder at reaching out for support, rather than for what is convenient.
~ C, in New York

The power of community that gathered for this cleanse – it has been so incredible!
~ I, in Palo Alto

I’ve lost 16 pounds…but more than that, all the tools and tips that we got were really enlightening too. More energy without caffeine, I’m going to the gym a few times a week, and I’m taking action and procrastinating less. I used to get stuck in beating myself up – and I’m making more forward movement. Upward spiraling.
~ P, in NJ

I was raised to be the good girl – not not make trouble. But through this eight weeks, I’ve been putting myself towards the top of the pile. It feels really good to be standing up for myself and not worry so much about “being a pain” just for asking for what I want.
~ C, in Texas

“You did this,” I told them.
I was just the guide.

These were a few of the comments from the last Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover members…

I’ve put up the blog posts, written the worksheets, put together the recipes, and recorded the modules, but you did the work, I told them.

You raised your hand and said, “Yes, Alex. I’m ready.”

And there is power in saying YES.
Asking for help.
Putting yourself first.

I can give you every bit of knowledge, inspiration, recipes, positive psychology and more…
But it will be you who makes it happen.

Most of my cleanse members didn’t really believe they could stop eating sugar…and then they did.
Many of the women had never spent that much money on themselves…but then they did.
One woman didn’t think she could keep up with her kids, start-up business, and succeed at the cleanse…and she did.

It wasn’t me – it was them.

When you say YES, the wild forces of the Universe (God, Goddesses, Light, Life, what have you)
snap to attention and start moving your way.

Real, lasting transformation happens on the level of thoughtful action. It’s when you do IT differently… (this whole dropping pounds + boosting energy thing, AKA getting really, beautifully healthy)

…it’s about putting yourself and your health first instead of putting your needs at the bottom of the heap again.
…it’s about asking to join a community of women, even when you’re scared, instead of trying to do it alone again.
…it’s about bravely looking at the reason for your mean self-thoughts, instead of avoiding them with sugar again.

This is where the magic is. In YOU.
But you’re not doing it alone.
We’re here together – through eight glorious, shaky, illuminating weeks of live coaching, daily internet pow-wows.

The work is here, between us. It’s my calling, and it’s your time.
To get right with your body, to love food again, and to get your life back.
Doing it together gives us strength and clarity.

And it brings us closer to who we’re supposed to be.

Xo,
Alex

Join the April 16th Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover – go here now:

Thrive On A Budget: Win Groceries from @DeliciousAlex + Thrive Markets

I love food – especially when it’s healthy, tastes good, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Shopping, cooking, touching and smelling the ingredients…it’s a pleasure for me, connects me with my food, and is part of the experience of eating…99% of the time.

Then there are times when I’m running late, need to pick my kid up from school, the weather is terrible, or I’d just rather work on my podcast, not run to the market.

That’s why I love Thrive Market – and why you will be SO excited to learn about this.
(I’m calling Thrive “healthy, cheap Amazon” in my head, but don’t tell Amazon I said that!)

Yes, I order my groceries online. A lot.

Thrive Markets is GENIUS – you can order organic packaged foods from organic healthy snacks, organic oils, gluten-free, vegan, and paleo ingredients, as well as baby products, and supplements…get this…

at 30-50% off what I would pay at Whole Foods!

It’s a great way to save time, and honestly money – if my time is worth over $100 an hour, and it will take me 1+ hour to grocery shop, or even an extra $20 to get a taxi back home to save time (I’m a New Yorker – and haven’t owned a car in 18 years)…I’d just rather hop online, choose the organic, healthy ingredients I want, and have it shipped to my door.

Seriously – Thrive is a brilliant way for anyone, single or loaded with children, to save time and money.

Enter to win 2 months of Thrive Market membership here + 20% off – as long as you live in the U.S. (sorry overseas, honeys!)

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Scones + Sisterhood: Gluten-free scones

 

Scones + Sisterhood: Gluten-Free SisterHoodDay Cranberry Scones

Scones + Sisterhood: Gluten-Free SisterHoodDay Cranberry Scones

Last weekend I celebrated the first Sisterhood Day with 9 amazing friends.

We shared stories, challenges, desires, and scones.

I hope you’ll share these with your lady loves, too.

Ingredients:

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (I get it here for cheap!)

2 Tablespoons Organic Sugar

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter or Coconut Oil, frozen and shredded with a cheese grater

1/2 cup mildly sweetened dried cranberries

¼ cup almond milk

¼ cup orange juice

2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

1 large egg or Flax Egg  (1 heaping Tablespoons ground flax seed whisked with 4 Tablespoons hot water)

 

Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter or coconut oil into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir cranberries

3. In a small bowl, whisk orange juice, almond milk, zest, and flax egg until smooth.

4. Using a fork, stir orange juice mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)

5. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick.

6. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8-12 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes.

7. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8-12

 

Kale yeah! Keep your kale close, win this golden kale necklace

#kaleyeah! Win this gold kale necklace from @rockthatgem!

#kaleyeah! Win this gold kale necklace from @rockthatgem!

Do you have positive triggers?

As I come a few days shy of earning my certification in Positive Psychology, I’m so grateful for having learned so many science-based interventions to help people (myself and my family included) feel more positive emotions.

Positive emotions help us enjoy our lives more, look for possibilities, and even improve your immune system.

One way to invoke positive emotions is to have positive triggers in your life: things that remind you of your intention to be happy, or things that bring a smile to your face…and heart.

This kale necklace from my dear friend Molly Clarke, creator of Rock That Gem, is one of my favorite, fashionable positive triggers.

When I wear this necklace, I feel like healthy eating is hot, sexy, and fun, not a chore.

I called up Molly and she said “Sure! I’ll give away a kale necklace for your birthday celebration, Alex!” Thanks Molly!

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So what are your positive triggers? What makes you smile + laugh? What puts you in a creative mood? What triggers your excitement, gratitude, and hope? For some of us it’s looking at pictures of a favorite vacation or loved one. Some of us have a favorite song. Others go for a quick walk, or smell a favorite essential oil. Some watch funny cat videos on YouTube. Others remind themselves of their goals.  

Want some Mighty Maca? Enter the #20til40 give away here!

Energy.

That’s one of the biggest cravings we modern women (and men) report – we want more vitality! And we DON’T want to be caffeine addicts to get it.

I’ll be 40 in a few days, and lasting energy is a big goal for me – that means I get 7-9 hours of sleep, don’t drink much caffeine, and move every day.

But sometimes I need more, especially when I’m traveling, creating a new program, or just being a full-time mom.

One of the best food-based supplements for energy that I’ve found is Might Maca Greens – and I’d love to send you a nice big container as a gift!

Win Mighty Maca from @delicioualex for all day energy!

Win Mighty Maca from @delicioualex for all day energy!

What is Maca?

Mighty Maca has, well, MACA in it! Maca is a super-root that grows in the high Andes of Peru. It was used by the ancient Incas as both food and medicine.

Key Benefits

  • Improving mood
  • Boosting energy (naturally)
  • Enhancing libido
  • Improving fertility (for both men and women)
  • Relieving PMS symptoms.
  • (For more benefits see MightyMaca.com

Ingredients

  • Mighty Maca includes 15 other superfoods that can help reduce inflammation, improve digestion, boost immunity, aid metabolism, detoxify the body, and more:
  • Spirulina (rich source of protein, Omega-3s, vitamins, and trace minerals)
  • Mangosteen (tropical fruit that is a source of 40+ anti-inflammatories)
  • Acerola (containx 30x the Vitamin C that oranges do)
  • Beta glucan (cholesterol lowering fiber found in oatmeal)
  • Cat’s claw, AKA una de gato (potent healer)
  • Resveratrol (powerful antioxidant from grapes)
  • Quercetin (powerful antioxidant from the Japanese pagoda tree)
  • Milk thistle (detoxifies the liver)
  • Flax seeds (#1 plant-based source of Omega-3s)
  • Turmeric (powerful anti-inflammatory, commonly found in Indian food – it’s what makes curry yellow)
  • Kelp (great source of iodine and trace minerals)
  • Green tea (plentiful source of EGCG, a powerful flavonol)
  • Cinnamon (associated with lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and insulin levels)
  • Licorice (used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of illnesses)

Enter to win your Mighty Maca from Dr. Anna Cabeca, creator and founder of this delicious green food! 

 

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A crave-worthy book: Win The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

How often does someone ask you: how do you want to feel?

Not enough.

I’ve been using Danielle LaPorte’s book The Desire Map in my own life for a couple of years, and it was influential in guiding my work with clients and writing Women, Food, And Desire.

I find that when we really dive deep and get clear on what we WANT, rather than what we don’t want, life can shift in miraculous ways.

Win the Desire Map from Danielle LaPorte

Win the Desire Map from Danielle LaPorte

Today I’m teaming up with Danielle LaPorte to give away a digital copy of her groundbreaking book, The Desire Map.

Her guide will help you define your “goals with soul” and help you never make another to-do list and New Year’s resolution ever again.
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Deliciously pretty skin care – win a $200 gift basket from AnnMarie Skincare!

Two good rules to live by:

1. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 2. Don’t put stuff on your skin that isn’t safe to put in your mouth. Your skin care, make up, hair care, deodorant, and any other beauty aids should be toxin-free, and made from super-healthy ingredients. Because your skin is porous, yo! You absorb everything through your skin, so it’s time to upgrade that old toxic Maybelline with AnnMarie.   annmarie Wouldn’t you love to have a simple bathroom cabinet that looked like this? I LOVE Annmarie Gianni’s skincare – it’s non-toxic, and truly feels like it’s feeding my skin when I put it on.

So I’m happy to announce that we teamed up to give away a

$200 gift basket of incredible products to one lucky winner!

annemarie give away

Enter here, and be sure to go check out their awesome products online!

 
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How I got to sleep again…Win my FAV Magnesium from Perfect Supplements!

I was a tired, frustrated mess until I started using Natural Calm…

Win my favorite Magnesium supplement from Perfect Supplements!

Win my favorite Magnesium supplement from Perfect Supplements!

I was suffering from insomnia for over a year, and it was really wrecking my life. The stress of my mom getting sick while I was under a writing deadline for my book were all too much for my adrenals.

Total exhaustion, spiraling hormones, grouchy mood, and a total collapse of my libido ….

and did you know that ONE bad night of sleep can make you insulin resistant for a few days? That’s crazy.

Magnesium is one of the best first steps when it comes to supplementing for insomnia – and chocolate cravings!

Yup, the first nutritional cause of chocolate cravings is low magnesium levels.

 

give-away-a-thon_perfect

 
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So today I’m giving away some of my favorite helpers from Perfect Supplements – a gift box including my favorite Natural Calm Magnesium (which I take before bed) and my favorite Perfect Cordyceps, a great medicinal mushroom I take for boosting my energy and my immune system.

Enter to win here from me and Perfect Supplements!

 

Win a 3-Day Juice Cleanse from Alex + Suja!

Fresh, organic juices are a great way to flood your body with delicious healing fuel.

But you don’t always have time to shop, lug/carry, and juice the fruits and veggies yourself, right?

And there are sOOO many brands on the shelves – what’s the best choice? It’s enough to make a girl skip the grocery store and head right to the nearest bar for a cocktail…

to juice or not to juice!?

to juice or not to juice!?

That’s why I’ve teamed up with Suja Juices to give away one of their popular 3-day juice cleanses in my #20til40 give away!

 

Win a Suja 3-Day Juice Cleanse!

Win a Suja 3-Day Juice Cleanse from Alex + Suja!

 

Now that the weather is warmer, juice cleanses are safer to undertake. (I don’t do juices much in the winter – my Featherweight type gets too cold! More hot tea and soup, please!)

But you can enter here to have SUJA ship you a 3-day supply of their organic, non-GMO juices to reset your body – fun and YUM!

Enter here! Hope you win, juicy! xo, Alex
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