Art of Holiatry

3 Foolproof Ways to Eating Healthy by Samantha Russell

Samantha Russell, Live The Whole

3 foolproof ways to make healthy eating really work for you

by: Samantha Russell with LiveTheWhole.com

 

Healthy eating is hard to stick to. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against you, with birthday parties, food-centered holidays, and potluck parties every second weekend.

I recently did a bunch of interviews with hard-working and accomplished women who all struggle to eat in a way that feels good to them. The number 1 thing they identified as getting in their way the most was consistency.

They all have so much knowledge about health, nutrition, and the way the want to be eating – but feel like life just constantly throws them curve balls and encourages them to eat more cake, buy more ice cream, and make exceptions to their plan all the time.

So, how can you make healthy eating actually work for you in a consistent way? Here are 3 foolproof ways to make healthy food choices your automatic ‘go to’ every day.

 

Step 1: Set SMART goals

Goals are great – you probably have them for your career, and maybe even your relationship, but have you stopped to formulate some great food and eating goals as well?

 

Just like any other goals in your life, healthy eating goals need to be SMART, or

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Resonates with you, and

Time-managed.

 

This means you have to think hard about exactly what you want to do, how you’ll measure your success, how to make the goal realistic for you and fit into your life, and when you’re going to pause and assess how things are going.

The problem with most healthy eating goals is that they go something like “I’m going to start eating better”, or “I’m going to cut down on carbs”, or even “I’m quitting sugar from now on”. There’s nothing wrong with trying any of these, but you’re going to need a better plan if you want to succeed.

For example, a SMART goal for “I’m quitting sugar” is:

“For the next 2 weeks (time managed), I am not going to eat or drink any sugar or added sweetener (specific + measurable). Instead, I’ll have a piece of fruit and drink green tea if I feel I need a little something extra (resonates + attainable).”

 

Step 2: Plan your meals the night before

Meal planning is the most helpful action step you can take to make healthy food choices easy – because you’ve already made them.

Simply sit down for 5 minutes before you go to bed and write down exactly what you’re going to eat the next day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks.

Yes, even if it involves looking up the menu of a restaurant. By making food decisions when you’re relaxed, not hungry, and can give them your full attention, you’ll make way better decisions that are more in-line with your goals.

Now, with the food decisions already made, all you have to do is stick with them. If you feel like you’re going to struggle with that, this is where step 3 comes in.

 

Step 3: Have an emergency recovery plan

No matter how SMART your goals are, or how much planning you do, there are definitely going to be times when it’s still hard to make healthy choices. Consistency is really key when you’re habit building, so I like to use the superpowers of

  • The bigger picture,
  • Meditation, and
  • Switching gears

To help stay on track.

 

No matter how dedicated you are to changing your eating, stress, tiredness, and social pressure (to name just a couple of things!) can all make some really convincing sounding arguments as to why you should choose fast food tonight and “start eating healthy again in the morning”. Sometimes that’s ok, but when it’s happening multiple times a week, you’re not going to reach your goals.

So, when you can feel temptation or stress getting the better of you, take a moment to think about the bigger picture of why you want to eat healthier. Is it to be a good role model for you kids? Feel better in your body and be confident you trust yourself with food? Or to avoid carrying on the family history of type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure? Thinking about this bigger picture helps keep you motivated and on-track.

 

Some Lauri’s Lemonade Stand Podcast episodes that are great for this:

Interview with Katie Arms – take a moment out of your day to find out how Katie took a massive life-curveball and made it work for her on every level.

Interview with me – learn more about my struggle with change, eating, and consistency and how I personally made lasting change.

Interview with Makeda Pennycooke – learn how to transform you fear and make yourself feel safe.

 

The second secret weapon is meditation. You’re not going to want to do it – but trust me, put an app like headspace on your phone and when you feel yourself going off track in a way you don’t like, pop in your earphones and take a 5 minute timeout. Sometimes that’s all you need to refocus and get on with your day (and stick to the food plan you made the night before).

And finally, when you feel cravings creeping up on you, try mentally switching gears. Research shows that taking a break and doing something totally different with your brain reduces the intensity of cravings. In fact, the research was done using the game ‘Tetris’, which you can put on your phone right now. Fun, and helps you stay healthy.

The process of making healthy eating a habit is really all about practice, but it’s also about being prepared. Don’t expect (or even aim for) perfection, but you can definitely make healthy eating easy and automatic if you follow the 3 steps outlined above. Every great choice you make creates a positive cycle of self-trust, momentum, and motivation that can move your forward each day – towards a happier, healthier you.

 

About The Author:

Samantha runs Live the Whole and is certified by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in the US, has a certificate in clinical and pastoral counseling from the University of Glasgow in the UK, and has a degree in psychology from Massey University in New Zealand.

Sam specializes in helping clients manage and heal their relationship with food, body, and self. She uses a blend of positive psychology and mind-body-nutrition connections, along with traditional coaching and counseling methodologies. She works together with clients to uncover the root causes of unwanted eating so they can feel happy, free, and in control.

 

We would love to hear your feedback so drop us a comment below – we read them ALL!

“The Big Fat Fail” – My Stab at Poetry

Poetry can be inspiring, motivating, heart-wrenching, powerful, but it always inflicts emotion.  It can pull at my heartstrings or just make me laugh.  Writing poetry is a hobby for me and have decided to keep a notebook in my backpack just for this purpose.  While sitting at the car wash a couple of weeks ago (why does it take them so long?) I penned this one I call The Big Fat Fail.

Enjoy and let me know what emotions you feel when reading it by commenting below.  Feel free to share your stories of taking your “sucking lemons” failing moments and how you turned them into “sweet lemonade”!

Fail Rubber Stamp

The Big Fat Fail

Fail forward, they say!  And I can’t disagree,                                                                                              but it’s hard to focus while nursing skinned knees.

Bumps, bruises, scrapes, the inevitable aches,                                                                                            the road rash of crashing, but that’s what it takes.

To live is to fail, that’s the lesson I’ve learned                                                                                    through age and experience, or just getting burned.

20/20 vision for me has ALWAYS revealed,                                                                                           every fail that I’ve suffered has earned me more steel.

Failure = Opportunity! To this I confess,                                                                                                         I love who I am now, having passed or “failed” each test.

Be sad in the moment, scream, cry or kick,                                                                                                 but look for the good, and lickety-split,

you’ll find your opportunity, practice!  Give it a whirl!                                                                            The Big Fat Fail can turn (I promise) into your pearl.

Want to read more poetry?

Check out Mary Oliver’s biography here and buy one of her books, House of Light here.

Superheroes vs Villains

You Are a Super Hero
Super Heroes vs Villains
 
     I am a crazy movie addict.  I will just admit that now and get it out of the way.  I also am admittedly an OCD organizational freakazoid.  That means that not only do I love movies with super heroes, but I had shelving built on one wall around my TV to house them, separated by genre AND alphabetized within their genre.  Crazy, right?  (Wait until you learn about how I send my birthday cards every year)  Not only do I have them organized in such a way, but I have a list on my phone called “Movies”.  Within that list are movies coming out that I want to see and the date they debut, movies I want to add to my collection, and a list of VHS tapes I have left to switch over to DVD’s.  I love movies!

     I am a sucker for a good tear-jerker, love the action films and chick-flicks, and Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley is the one I’ve watched the most.  Not only am I addicted to movies, but I believe I’m simply addicted to happy endings.  I want to fly without wings, make people laugh like Lucille Ball, have magical powers like Samantha from Bewitched, be strong and have courage like Cinderella, sing like Queen Latifah, and kick ass like Lara Croft.  That’s not asking too much, right?

Lara Croft Tomb Raider Super Heroes

     One of the things I’ve learned is that you cannot have heroes without villains.  If the villains did not exist, super heroes would not be discovered or needed.  The super heroes themselves might not ever know that they are super heroes because nothing challenged them to become more than they already were.  In the latest Cinderella movie, her mother charged her to be strong and have courage.  This was simply a dying wish of a mother to her daughter until the wicked stepmother and stepsisters entered her life to test her and try her.  Wonder Woman (Linda Carter) was living an oblivious, innocent life in the Bermuda Triangle on an island paradise knowing nothing of the outside world until she took her invisible plane to the United States and discovered she could make a difference there and not let bad guys win.  The Bionic Woman, Emma in Once Upon a Time, the latest Maleficent, the list goes on.

Original Wonder Woman Super Heroes

I believe so much in happy endings and in super heroes, that I’ve decided to create my own happy ending and become a super hero myself.  A lofty goal you say?  Mock me if you must, but I’m living the dream.  No, not a dream…a reality.  20 years ago if you had told me I would grow up to be a super hero I would have laughed right out loud.  Heck, even 10 years ago would have had me doubting through and through.  But here I am, a living breathing super hero.  Guess what?  You are, too!  Or can decide to be if that is your goal and that it’s what YOU want to be when you grow up.

     The good news is that it is never to late to decide to be a super hero.  You cannot say, “I’m too old, or too worn out, or too many bad things have happened to me, or I’ve caused too many bad things to happen”.  Those are just excuses that need to be kicked to the curb where they belong.  Faith wins over fear if you will let it.
     Does being a super hero free you from ever having bad things happen to you again?  NO!  Superman had kryptonite and Lex Luthor.  Lara Croft had the Luminoti, not to mention her own heart to worry about.    Batman, The Arrow, X-Men, Wonder Woman, The Incredibles all had new villains to battle.  I suppose that’s job security.  Or, it is how you too can continue to learn that you are capable of more than you could ever imagine.  I’ve watched The Flash get knocked down time and time again and still that dude is optimistic – how does he do that? Just when you thought you had learned every lesson, there was more of you to discover.  Things you never knew you could do or imagined were possible.  These villains make us stronger.
     So, who is your villain right now?  For me, I might not have known I was even fighting a villain until the battle was over.  Sometimes, I could see the villain coming from a mile away and I had to choose to run or stand up and fight.  Other times it was a crime against my heart that hurt so bad I could barely breathe, or eat, or sleep.  Others still were crimes brought to me unbidden, but had to be dealt with just the same.

     Let me share one of my oldest villains with you.  Teenage pregnancy.  I don’t think any little girl sets her dream to be pregnant by the time she is 16, especially one that has a future as a super hero.  While I do not have anyone to blame but myself, it is a fact that “most people end up in this situation in a misguided attempt to fulfill some pretty basic human needs.  We all have a need to feel loved and worthwhile.  We all seek to have joy and happiness in our lives.” (Ezra Taft Benson)  If those needs are not met, we seek them in places that are unhealthy to ourselves and others.  (Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that your decisions effect only you…just like positive choices leave ripple effects, so do poor choices.)

Black Widow Marvel Super Heroes

     My villain changed my life and the lives of those around me.  I was married at 16 1/2 years of age, having my first daughter at age 17.  I did not finish high school and I did not attend Prom.  My love for playing on the high school basketball team was squashed and my flute would gather dust for years.  I had disappointed my parents and ignored all advice from people who were trying to help me take a better path and who cared about me a great deal.
     My decisions led me to many more poor choices  in relationships for lots of years, but as I’ve told others before, I would rather change my course than be completely derailed.  Because inevitably that is what happened…I was completely derailed, lying on the floor, unable to make another decision in my life, good or bad.  All of my choices had led me to the side of my bed, on my knees, praying for help.  Help to loosen these chains of bad habits in the area of my love life.  I asked God to let me be happy with the life I had with my three beautiful daughters as a single mom.  To be content with who I had become as a woman even if my relationship woes were unsightly to say the least.
     And you know what?  He did so much more.  Not everyone believes that there is a God and I’m not out to convert you with this blog, but I want to be honest in my story-telling here.  When I turned my life over to Him, instead of pushing my own agenda, things changed.  He was incredibly more kind to me than I ever had been to myself.  He led me and guided me to a path that led to a beautiful marriage.  A safe haven to figure out how to be a super hero despite any human frailties I may have experienced in my life to date.  Just like SuperMan had to go away for awhile to get things figured out and learn of his true potential, I was given the gift of another second chance.

     Just over 8 years ago, I married my hero, my best friend.  My heart has been healed and my capacity to love has grown.  While I had earned my GED as a teenager, I wanted my high school diploma because it was something I had deprived myself of.  (As a side note, don’t try this at home…it is SO MUCH EASIER to pass high school as a teenager than an adult…TRUST ME!!)  I went back to adult school and the math that I hated with a passion and earned my diploma.  Not only was that super, crazy kind of hard, but I took graduation pictures, attained a class ring, and even spoke at my graduation where lots of friends and family were in attendance (including my tutor I had to get to pass math!).   They didn’t even have the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) when I was in high school!  It seemed so unfair, but I passed!  I graduated at the ripe old age of 41!

Lauri's High School Graduation 2012

     Conquering a villain is an amazing feeling.  After I graduated high school I felt like I could take on the world!  I could do anything!  Be anything!  I took certificate courses online, became a Certified Holistic Health Coach, started teaching cooking classes locally.  I just can’t stop!  It is part of the reason I am writing this blog and pursuing a career as a public speaker.  To help women realize their potential and to believe in this small, four-letter word…hope.
     There will be many more villains that will need their ass kicked and the only one to do it will be me because those villains are mine to fight.  Whatever or whomever your latest villain is in your life, I want you to know that you can be the super hero in your life.  You can have your happy ending.  It will not be easy and may involve a lot of hard work.  Learn to love work.  Do something!  If all you can do is just think it, think it.  But then say it, whisper it if you need to.  Then say it out loud.  Now louder!  Now take that first step.  What action can you take to begin your journey?
I believe in hope.  I believe in faith.  I believe in love.
I believe in you.  I believe in us.

Fighting Back When Depression Seeps In

A Story of My Best Friend’s Depression
The Back Story

     Have you ever had one of those days?  Or maybe one of those weeks, or months, or a year?  How about multiple years?  Well, this is a story of my most precious friend in the entire world who was in his second year of things not going well at all and me being in such a dilemma watching him suffer that I just had to figure out some way to help.  My best friend is my husband and he was drowning.

Eddy in Thought

     The back story all started when his mom passed away in March of 2014.  No, I think it actually began around December of 2013 so let’s begin there.  Our family-owned business was doing great!  While we are a very small company, we had always seen an increase every year or at least stayed level, even during the recession.  We had been in business for ten years and decided it was time to expand our space.  We spent quite a bit of money with upgrades and of course the new rent amount, double the utility bills…you get the picture.  Not two months later everything stopped.  Quite literally stopped.  I swear that our clients were abducted by aliens and left the planet for at least six months.  Business was that bad.  That’s enough to cause anyone stress, right?
     Enter mom falling again and going into the hospital.  She was in ICU for awhile, began to get better, was moved to the rehab facility that we didn’t like much and during this whole transition, my hubby contracted bronchitis.  Not only is bronchitis a knock-down, drag-out illness, but it rendered him unable to visit his mom for fear of getting her sick in her current condition.  While he was on the mend with crazy antibiotics and rest, mom took a turn for the worst while still in rehab by catching a deadly form of pneumonia that put her back in ICU to what would become a fight for her life that she was unable to win.
Loss of Mom
Not only was business bad and he was sick, but his mom had passed away which is always a heart-wrenching thing.  He was close to his mom, taking her out to dinner on Wednesday nights and us having family dinner with her and the rest of the family every Sunday.  While after 5 weeks of her being in the hospital it wasn’t completely unexpected, it changed everything.
A couple months of sadness pass and we enter the summer months.  Business still isn’t going as well as we would like and while his mom and dad had a trust (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) so that things run more smoothly, you still have to take care of things…lots of things.  Bank accounts, the house, furniture, knick-knacks, jewelry, the dog, and enough Christmas decorations to light up the White House…you get the idea.  That’s when the shingles hit.  More antibiotics, more rest.
Then come your first set of holidays without your mom with whom you’ve spent every Christmas with the exception of maybe one or two from the time you were born.  No one feels like celebrating, much less decorating, even if you have White House worthy decorations.  That can just be tough.  Really tough…more depression.

Tentative Eddy
January rolls around and he feels a little ambitious.  The business picks up just a tad and he starts riding his bike again, but this time he isn’t recovering very well.  Gym workouts?  Same thing.  Sore for too many days than you should be sore.  He hates going to the doctor so he toughs it out for a few months to around the one-year anniversary of his mom passing and takes a little fall on his bike.  Nothing major, just a little “owie” on his elbow that starts to get better until about two weeks after when the scab gets bumped off and it gets infected.  So infected that his one arm looks like Popeye (no joke!) and of course we were out of town so you end up at an unfamiliar urgent care.  Dual shots of antibiotics in both butt cheeks (writhing on the bed kind of pain for those shots!) and oral antibiotics just for kicks….let’s just knock this out along with any good flora you might have had left in your intestines up until now.

     That was the last straw.  He felt so miserable, so depressed, couldn’t work out, didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything.  I imagine that this is the definition of a permanent funk that just won’t go away.  It was awful to watch.  It didn’t matter what I did or how much I tried to “pump him up” as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say…it just wasn’t enough.  I felt completely helpless as to how to help.

     As a last ditch effort, we tried what I call a “voodoo doctor”.  Tons of blood tests run, loads of supplements taken (and when I say loads…I mean LOADS), more blood tests in certain intervals.  No dice.  My man was shot so full of holes you could strain spaghetti through him.  His body had been hurt multiple times, his heart hurt over the loss of his mother, he couldn’t work out because it was debilitating which left his self-esteem in the toilet, and work wasn’t altogether going well either.  Sleep was the order of the day and the more of it the better.  I had to do something!

The Physical Plan

I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach, have taken classes through Dr. John McDougall and received a certificate in plant-based nutrition through eCornell University.  I started researching everything I could about healing your immune system while my husband started reading books on the subject.  While there is a ton of information out there and only varied opinions on the subject, we made a plan to repair his health.

     We started a 5-day juice fast following the incredible recipes out there by Joe Cross from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  (He has the best ones out there, hands down…although anything that juices a turnip ends up like smelly gym socks or disgusting body odor, so I don’t recommend anything with turnips in it!).  Admittedly, after day 2 we were so sluggish that we decided to add a light, healthy dinner as we just couldn’t function at work without more food in our guts, it was wonderful and it made me feel great!  It was the perfect re-boot for our bodies.
We then followed up with a 21-day elimination diet that took out known trigger foods.  All that means is that while you may not have a specific allergy to a food, you could have some sort of reactions to particular foods.  We eliminated gluten products, corn, and soy because while they recommend also nixing dairy, we are already vegan so no worries there!
We then followed that up with a 2-week round of Arbonne’s pre-biotic/pro-biotic packets once per day.  Needless to say…it worked!  While it took several months to re-gain strength and endurance (imagine not working out for 18 months…you’re a bit out of shape), but he’s doing fantastically well physically.  He’s not 100% yet as I can still beat him uphill on a mountain bike, but he’s sticking right with me now so I know it’s only a matter of time before he will be kicking my rear end again!

 

The Emotional Plan
What happened with the emotional part, though?  I can hardly wait to tell you!  This is by far the most interesting and fun endeavor I’ve undertaken…all in the name of love and hope!  I call it Eddy’s 60 Days of Sunshine and it brought my hubby’s soul back from the dead…literally. (You can download it for FREE when you sign up for my weekly emails on my website HERE)
I got to thinking that the only way to reverse engineer something is to do the opposite of what got you there in the first place.  The negativity had built up over a period of time.  It snuck in until it had taken over the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual body.  While we had fixed the physical part which in turn helped the mental state, the emotional and spiritual still needed a tune-up.
Enter a plan that included friends and family.  I printed out 2 months worth of calendars for a total of 60 days and made a list of all friends and family members I could think of that cared about my best friend.  The list totaled over 80 people.  I then started making phone calls, texting, Facebook messaging all of them.  I assigned one person each one day and the only guidance I gave them was to just check in, see how he was doing and let him know they cared and loved him and why.
At first I decided not to tell him what was happening.  Let’s just say that he was so far down what he would later call a “wormhole” that he didn’t even figure it out or get suspicious until day 16!  Day 16!!  I was at my mom’s and out of town for the weekend when he called me and I had to confess what I was doing.  When I told him it was day 16 he was flabbergasted.  I had to tell him who had been assigned which day just to convince him.
He will admit that at first it seemed a bit saddening to learn it wasn’t the “universe” just reaching out to him in his time of need, but I figured we are instruments in the Lord’s hands and he has a lot to do so he uses us to answer others prayers for help.  Even if they don’t realize they need the help.
Some sent him texts or emails.  Some took him to lunch or dinner.  Some called and visited for an hour.  It was an awesome experience to watch that much love being shown for one individual.  And you know what?  It worked!  The 60 days ended with a trip up to San Francisco for him to play a golf tournament with his buddies and visit old friends.  The perfect ending to a perfect 60 days.

     My only dilemma as the days were coming to an end was how to keep the love going.  I created a Facebook page dedicated to him and invited all of his friends to post about their experience they had on their assigned day.  On day 60, I added my hubby to the group and he was able to read their messages.  He will then be able to go back and read them when he’s feeling blue.  He is also more connected to some long, lost friendships that had needed some attention.

Eddy Smiling

     The best side effect getting out of this depression was the reaction from the friends and family I had asked to participate.  I did not anticipate the good will felt, the love felt of service being rendered.  The gratitude of those people that they were made a part of something bigger that quite literally saved a life.
Today I am grateful again for my husband who supports me in all I do, even if it’s off-your-rocker kinda crazy (which lots of my ideas are).  I am grateful to all who pitched in to make this project work.  I am grateful to my daughter who would help me text and make some calls while we ran errands to set up the next week’s participants.  It worked!
Eddy & Lauri Cycling

While I am not a clinical psychologist and you should seek professional help if you are depressed,
this worked for us and I am so happy it did.

 

Rising From the Ashes with Renewed Hope

2013 Fire
Out of the Ashes We Can Find Hope
Phoenix Rising From The Fire with Hope
This story of hope begins in 2013, when our county experienced a terrible fire.  We were evacuated from our homes on a moment’s notice. The picture you see below with billowing orange smoke bombs was taken from my friends camera as we stopped to look back, perhaps for the last time on our neighborhood.   I remember calling my mom while sitting in the long line of cars trying to leave and telling her of the situation.  She expressed concern and told me to stay safe, but when I sent her that picture, she freaked out!  It’s a lesson learned on how pictures speak louder than words.  My husband and I truly thought that our home would be gone and that we would be starting from scratch.  At the time, it just didn’t matter.  I had just driven out of there with flames on the side of the road consuming trees that were 100 feet tall.  I was alive, he was alive, I had rescued our kitties and our daughter had been at school.  All was well as far as I was concerned.
Clouds of Smoke from The Fire
 
This particular fire burned hot and fast.  It consumed everything in its path and in the end burned over 24,000 acres from a little valley, crossing the mountain range and ending at the ocean.  Everything was black, sad and black.  The smell of smoke and ash would be our constant companion for weeks.  Words could not describe what we saw.  We had people come drive out to see us and not truly get what had happened until they saw it for themselves.  It is now just over two years as I write this and our beautiful mountains still carry the scars of this fire.
Burned Landscaping

 

The firefighters were the true heroes of the day.  They miraculously saved our entire housing community.  They had used our hose as our house faces a hill that was burned.  A tree was knocked down by a fire truck.  Trees surrounding the outskirts of the neighborhood were singed and blackened from the fire, but every home was safe.  How was  that possible?  I saw the fire as I left.  I saw the crazy big flames and felt the heat so hot that I had to roll up my car windows to not feel like I was getting burned.  I had zero hope.
Neighborhood Safe But Surrounded by Black Hills
(Our housing surrounded by blackened hills)
As I look back, I’ve likened this very physical and temporal experience to a spiritual battle I had in my own life.  So much is the same.  The darkness was real and hope was not on my radar.  Not so much as a little blip on the screen.  When I read the saying that someone had “temporarily turned the light off at the end of the tunnel”, I could completely relate.  (Stay with me now, because I found that silly little light-switch to turn on my own light!)
Now, unlike the fire, I have no one to blame but myself.  I made choices that brought me to that tunnel without a supposed light and had removed myself so far out there that my radar was actually damaged and couldn’t see that blip that turns out, was just hiding, not gone.  Part of my lesson was realizing that I didn’t know how dark things had become.  When you make wrong choices, consistently over a long period of time, they become your reality.  My tunnel light had not been turned off, but there was so much smoke I had created that it just wasn’t visible to me anymore.
My dark choices will not be the same as yours.  We all have our own enemies to fight so I won’t bore you with the details of my battles, but I did win this particular war.  The only way to win the war is to do exactly the opposite of what got you there to begin with. In my case, that meant not making decisions on my own.  If I had tried to battle our physical fire around our homes I would have lost!  I did not have the skills or expertise in that field.  Everyone would have suffered the loss of their homes.  The firefighters were the experts.  I needed an expert in life.  That meant turning to my spiritual power of prayer and getting on my knees and begging God to help me.  He was my firefighter and I needed all of his expertise and knowledge of life to help me fight.  All of my choices had brought me to that place…dark, lonely, afraid, sorely sad, and just plain miserable.  Surely God could help me make better decisions than the ones I had been making.
And indeed he did.  It took some time, but I am grateful for my experiences I have had in my life.  They have made me who I am today.   Just like our mountains, I carry the scars from those days, but I believe, “A mended heart is stronger”.   They remind me see that if I can make it…anyone can!  I truly mean that with all my heart and soul.  Ladies, if I can make it…so can you!
Some people see the fires that burn hot and fast, while others experience a slow burn, but my goal in writing this blog today is to give you hope.  Hope that you can become a magical electrician and wire your own switch for a light at the end of your tunnel.  Hope that you see the sun and feel the warmth on your skin and in your soul.  Hope that you find a flashlight along the way.  Hope that your friend can loan you a flashlight until you can locate yours.  Hope that out of your darkness and ashes, you rise like the fabled Phoenix to start again, renewed and strengthened for your journey ahead.  Because once you are on that path, you need to loan your flashlight to others who can’t see their light and help them on their journey.
Yours in Hope and Positivity…#makelemonade

Negative Self-Talk

Negative Self-Talk

Ditch the Negative Self-Talk by Listening to Your Best Friend

It took some practice to put this theory into motion for me, but like I always say, “if I can do it, anyone can do it!”  I have issues with negative self-talk about my weight.  I am not overweight, but I am hyper-conscious about my body shape.  I am a grandmother after all and body parts that were once perky are now sadly stretching for the ground and have declared gravity as their best friend.  As a friend of mine used to say, (who has since passed on, losing her battle with cancer), “I used to be a 36D, but now I’m just a 36Long”.  Once I applied the “best friend advice” theory however, – it helped me start down the path of positive self-talk and ditch the negative Nelly ones.  Let’s try it out, shall we?
Take the first thing that pops into your head when it comes to your own personal negative self-talk.  It could be anything, but usually you are able to think about it right away because it has been your constant companion for as long as you can remember.  Now I want you to imagine that you’ve graciously gifted this negative thing or idea to your best friend.  She is now you.  (This works great if you do this in front of a mirror).  Your best friend is now telling you that she hates the shape of her body and that dimples are only cute on baby bums, and that rolls are meant to be eaten not worn.  What do you tell her?
To put this in context, let me share an experience.  I recently did this exercise in a group of about 40 women and I had the leader of the group as my “best friend”.  She was telling me how she was overweight and hated the way she fit in her clothes.  I then asked the audience what advice should I give her?  I panicked as the silence dragged on for just a little bit longer than anticipated.  I worried that people would actually start giving advice on weight loss ideas, diets that never really work, to fast, or to exercise like a maniac.  One woman in the front row saved me with the perfect answer:  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!  There have not been a lot of perfect moments in my speaking career, but this one I will always remember.  She said the answer that I had written down in my notes and she said it out loud and clear:  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  I have given this talk several times since I originally wrote this blog and guess what?  The first answer is ALWAYS – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Ladies, try it out right this second.  Take that negative self-talk and hand it over to yourself as your own best friend.  What advice would you give that best friend?  It changed the way I view myself forever.  I am beautiful.  And not in some egotistical way, but truly beautiful inside and out.  Why?  Because that is how my  husband sees me, how my children see me, and how my best friend sees me – and now?  How I see myself.  My best friends would all come and tell me the same thing – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Want to dive deeper into how negative self-talk relates to over-eating?  Jump on over to my friend, Samantha Russell’s blog where she even offers a free downloadable workshop for you!
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