One HUGE Mistake You're Making on Your Journey with Food

It kept me holding on to physical and emotional weight for years.

Prioritizing aesthetic #bodygoals over my mental well-being.

Me out there focusing on my mental/soul well-being!

Me out there focusing on my mental/soul well-being!

From the outside, I was eating the vegetables and the lean proteins while working out seven days per week for months.

I’d then have huge nights out drinking, binge on the foods I wasn’t allowing myself to have, and would restrict heavily throughout the week to compensate.

Some viewed me as balanced due to my propensity to drink a lot and eat loads of veggies simultaneously, but I was a HOT MESS internally!

As I began to pay more attention to the women around me who were also binge drinking—yet maintaining six packs—I realized that they were hot messes too.

They were starving themselves to fit the mold.

We were all trapped in a war inside of our own heads, regardless of how we appeared externally.

Pretty grim, no?

I firmly believe we don’t have a food problem as a society.

We have a self-worth problem.

Chasing body goals to find it, or using food to fill the void. The pursuit is just the same!

The antidote?

  1. Get to know yourself! So many of my clients come to me terrified to do introspective work, simply because they don’t know anything about themselves. Meditation and journaling is a great place to start!

  2. See what’s out of alignment in your life. Relationships, where you live, career, lack of creative pursuits, etc. Get curious about what you’re really hungry for!

  3. Fill your life up with shit that’s actually MEANINGFUL to you! Sure, nights out at bars can be fun, but are they really adding value when everything else feels empty?

I know it’s tempting to achieve your aesthetic goals first and THEN work on your internal landscape, but I’m guessing that approach hasn’t worked for you thus far.

What if—instead—you decided to nurture your soul & physical body FIRST and see how far that gets you?

I promise, your body wants you to thrive❤️

What my stressed-out, puffy, & incredibly uncomfortable body has taught me

Stressed and bloated AF four weeks ago—> me today!

Stressed and bloated AF four weeks ago—> me today!

I shared a picture a few weeks ago that depicted the severe bloating I was dealing with 24/7. That was just the tip of the iceberg!

Truly—my belly was distended almost every hour of every day, my sleep was awful, my period went missing, my anxiety was increasing, and I was gaining weight.

Did my body do anything wrong?

Not at all! I simply missed the signs.

I lost touch with what was “normal”, because I was basing a “normal” lifestyle on what everyone else does.

Husting, always feeling the need to produce, equating rest with laziness, and comparing my work ethic to others’. Essentially, it was another form of placing my self-worth outside of myself. AGAIN.

Years ago, my entire identity was wrapped up in my perfectly healthy diet. I was the “healthy girl”, and it was expected that I show up as my overly nice, veggie-obsessed, never-miss-a-workout self.  

I felt such a deeply rooted need to fit into the category of perfection in some capacity.

 Of course, I never found the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.

Not only were most of my attempts futile, but when I did manage to get achieve what I considered “perfection”, the bar was raised and I was off to the races again.

I had to face the fact that I was never going to win the battle against food.

I was never going to win the battle against my body. 

However, I failed to recognize that—while I had healed my relationship with food—my self-worth was still being formed outside of myself. Outside of my internal home. (Which, for the record, is the ONLY safe and true place to build it, imo.)

It was placed in my ability to produce and my work ethic.

“Hot damn, how did I miss this?”, I wondered.

Because it’s normalized! In the same way we see airbrushed pictures of bodies 99.99% of us will never have, we see the “hustle” glamorized EVERYWHERE.

And we begin to think that we need to fall in line, otherwise WE are the problem. We are the weak ones.

We’re not, and while we can sit here and blame society and our culture all we want, the reality is that we have a responsibility to:

  • show up for ourselves.

  • make the difficult decisions.

  • challenge what “everyone else is doing”.

  • ask ourselves why the hell we’re doing it all in the first place.

I share this with you for a couple of reasons:

🤷🏻‍♀️I’m not perfect in any way, shape, or form. I still uncover unwanted stories and narratives all the damn time, so if you find yourself here, you’re far from alone!

🥰Healing our relationship with food opens up SO many more opportunities and avenues for growth, and it’s absolutely essential to your freedom. However, the work rarely stops there. So—fall in love with the processJ

🔥The tools I learned (and teach to my clients) to heal my relationship with food have served me incredibly well in this chapter of my journey. This would have sent me into an epic spiral of shame and self-loathing years ago!

💃I’m committed to doing the hard work of defining myself by who I am internally, and I want you to know that it’s HARD FUCKING WORK. However, I believe it’s the most impactful and meaningful gift we can ever give to ourselves.

🧚‍♀️The more time we can spend exploring and loving our souls over our bodies, work ethic, relationship status, Instagram following, or workout regimen, the better off we’ll be.

❤️We’re all in this human experience together. 

FEAR - How It's Preventing You From Changing Your Food Habits & How to Change Your Relationship With It

Fear is a tricky S.O.B. isn’t it?

You may have heard that FEAR stands for “false evidence appearing real”. Most of the time, this is absolutely the case!

Note: fear is not to be confused with danger, which is valid (e.g. you’re being attacked).

Our reptilian or monkey brains are wired in such a way that they find fear in unwarranted situations in an effort to protect us.

They’re doing it from a place of protection! Isn’t that sweet?

(Slightly sarcastic, but also genuine).

With this in mind, we can view our fear-based thoughts through a lens of gratitude and compassion, as they’re only trying to protect us. As a species, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.

However, we need to use discernment with these thoughts.

We need to take a step back and detach from them, observe them through a neutral lens, and ask ourselves what they’re trying to show us.

For example, many of my clients are met with fear-based thoughts when they decide to put in the work to transform their relationship with food and their body. 

“I’m just going to blow up, and my body is going to betray me.”

“It’s not safe to relinquish control and stop tracking my food, because I’ll be out of control.”

“It’s not clicking quickly enough. My body isn’t changing. I knew this wouldn’t work for me.”

“I need to see changes RIGHT NOW! My body can’t be trusted, so I can’t stop trying to actively manipulate my body.”

These are very common fears, and they’re absolutely understandable. You’ve likely been led to believe that

  • your body doesn’t hold any innate wisdom.

  • without tracking and restricting, your body will betray you.

  • without constantly hustling for perfection and trying to manipulate your body, you’re a failure.

  • change has to be drastic and immediate! That you need to see physical changes right now.

These fears were given to us, and if we follow the breadcrumbs, these fears are very often rooted in the false belief that without that “body” and perfect food regimen, we’re not good enough.

We have a primal desire to feel a sense of belonging, so our brains are trying to do us a solid by presenting us with these fear-based thoughts. They’re trying to help!

However, that fundamental belief isn’t true (even if you can’t fully embrace that today).

So, what is the antidote?

1.     In the long-term, work on changing that core belief of you not being good enough without perfection with eating habits or your body. Where did it come from? Who gave it to you? Do you apply that logic to your loved ones? Or the child version of yourself? Start there, and journal your big heart out on repeat! 

2.     In the short-term, meet those fear-based thoughts with a sense of curiosity! Ask them, “What are you trying to protect me from right now?” Acknowledge them, thank them for trying to protect you, and give them space to come and go.

Your rational brain and your body can then be used to arrive at the next conscious decision for you, and fear will no longer be in the driver’s seat!

Change is uncomfortable, without a doubt. Our monkey brains (ego) will come up with a million reasons why it isn’t safe to take a different approach with food and our bodies.

Our job isn’t to control those thoughts, but rather to manage our relationships with them.

Tell them hi, thank them for their presence, and then take the empowered action the highest version of you really wants to take! That’s the only way to grow into the next (intuitive & empowered) version of you, after all💃

Two Steps to Begin Unraveling Your Body Perfectionism

As a recovering perfectionist, I’m keenly aware of how pervasive the tentacles of that frame of mind are. The deeply embedded stories about our value and worth as humans run far and wide!

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Our bodies are one of the most common ways this shows up, but it also affects how we show up in:

  • Relationships—I have to be the perfect friend, daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend, etc. or I’m not worth having around.

  • Performance—if I don’t beat everyone in the workout, competition, yoga pose, etc. then I won’t be remembered, so why would anyone want me around?

  • Career—I have to climb to the top and/or make a huge impact, or I’m worthless.

  • Hustle—I need to outwork everyone! I may not have the natural abilities that others do, but I sure as hell will get noticed by my level of effort.

  • And a myriad of other ways.

While everything works in tandem and is rarely isolated, my clients often come to me with a perfectionist attitude towards their bodies—and therefore food. This is a HUGE pain-point that feels all-consuming, so we begin to tackle this immediately.

Without looking “perfect”,

Who am I to the world?

Who will love me?

I’m not anything special without this!

I’m simply average. Mediocre. Nothing memorable.

These are the stories so many of us have been told about our bodies and appearances, so OF COURSE we’re going to obsess about it, right?

Of course we’re going to kill ourselves in the gym, track our food obsessively, monitor our weight and body composition, and compare ourselves to others.

We believe our value and potential to connect with other humans depends on it!

This isn’t true, of course, but when mired in the thick of this mentality, it feels painfully real. Thus, everything about our relationships with our bodies and food is equally as painful.

When stuck in this mentality, nothing about our exercise and food choices are truly enjoyable, although we may manage to convince ourselves that we love our routines when our bodies are “looking the part”.

This is due to the fear of losing it all—the admiration, validation, attention, love. 

These fears are absolutely valid, and I remember them so vividly.

However, I’m here to tell you that they’re simply not true, despite how inconceivable this may seem at the moment. 

If you’re reading this and thinking,

“Ok, I can logically understand where you’re coming from, Jess, but I’m so deep in the rabbit hole that this seems completely unattainable. My body equals my worth and ticket to love in the world.”

FAIR.

You’re not going to unravel these belief systems overnight—as much as I wish I could give that gift to you. (It surely has taken time for me, and I still get triggered at times).  

However, you can begin the process right now! 

The process begins with acceptance and self-compassion. 

1.     Acceptance—accept where you are in this moment with you physical state, relationship with food, and where you believe your worth comes from.

Feeling lethargic, a little blue, heavier than what you feel is ideal for your body, inflamed, lean but miserable and desperate, low energy and vitality, obsessive or controlling with food, or anything that’s not “ideal” for you?  

This may mean that you acknowledge your belief that you’re not loveable with your current body, or you won’t be if your body changes.

Accept it! Call it out. Name it. Write it down. Look at the reality of your body, your relationship with food, and where you believe your worth comes from, but do so without applying “good” or “bad” labels to it.

You don’t have to love where you are currently, but you can begin to neutralize these states and beliefs by simply acknowledging what is. If we’re hiding from it, we’re attaching shame to it, and we simply can’t grow from that place.

2.     Self-Compassion—Loving yourself and your body can seem like a really big leap when you’ve been trapped in a headspace of believing you’re only lovable when you’re perfect.

In fact, it can seem so insurmountable and preposterous for some that the concept of “self-love” is quickly dismissed and avoided.

What is more feasible? Compassion. We can all find compassion for fellow humans when we look closely enough, as we all share pain, loss, and defeating belief systems. Therefore, we can find this for ourselves.

How? By imagining what an act of compassion would look like towards a friend who was struggling with the same set of false beliefs.

What would you say to her? How would you treat her? Would you list of all of the ways she ACTUALLY brings value to the world?

Do this for your inner self and your physical body. Show compassion to those parts of yourself you don’t feel like anyone wants to see. Show your body compassion with rest, nourishing foods, enough food, whatever it most needs.

Essentially, give yourself the gift of compassion for being a whole, multi-faceted human being.

Really engaging in these two steps should bring about a sense of ease, even if just a glimmer. We can work with a glimmer!

The perfectionist thought patterns, and narratives will continue to surface, so remember that we always have a choice with our responses. Just because they pop up in our minds doesn’t mean they’re true! And we certainly don’t have to act on them.

It’s also important to not let the quest for unraveling perfectionism become another outlet for perfectionism:)

It’s a lifelong journey, so settle into the process, sister!

I promise these thoughts will become less invasive and frequent if you continue to practice awareness and put in the work.

When in doubt, remember that all of us humans are in this together, and not one of us is perfect.❤️

5 Steps to Determine When to Make the (physically) Healthy or Unhealthy Choice

This was me in NZ a few months ago, having more booze & less sleep than usual, feeling the effects, but loving every minute of it!

This was me in NZ a few months ago, having more booze & less sleep than usual, feeling the effects, but loving every minute of it!

I wrote about the fact that our physical health isn’t the be-all-end-all in the context of our overall well-being here, and this can be a difficult concept to grasp for those who’ve spent YEARS—or often decades—chasing physical pursuits.

The obsession with aesthetics can easily translate into physical health neurosis, and this can be equally as damaging.

“But Jess, how can an obsession with feeling my best be a bad thing?”

In a nutshell, it isn’t. However, we have to look at what you’re sacrificing to get there.

Fearful of spontaneity?

Cling to your food and fitness routines and experience anxiety or fear when you deviate from them?

Constantly turning down social invitations in an effort to “stay on track”? 

Beating yourself up when don’t feel physically well, despite all the effort you put into your health?

Experience frustration when you make decisions that leaving you feeling run down, tired, or sick? (Hungover, as an example).

The negative emotions and feelings experienced from making choices that leave us feeling less physically well—but enhance our well-being in other areas of our lives—are an indication that we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture.

  • You decided to stay up past your bedtime with your partner or girlfriends to share some laughs or watch movies and feel exhausted the next day.

  • You chose the boozy date night or night out with friends that left you feeling hungover, but damn—you really value those light and fun times with them.

  • You skipped the workout in lieu of a spontaneous happy hour with some of your favorite people.

  • You ate the food you know your body doesn’t like, because you wanted to get the full experience while traveling.

You forewent an action that contributes to physical health—or even engaged in one that’s detrimental—in favor of emotional, energetic, and mental health.

Which is the correct choice?

That’s for YOU to decide, and it requires awareness, experience, and the willingness to make the less ideal decision on occasion (which will still be incredibly useful, as it gives you data to make a better decision next time). 

You need to be willing to take risks and discover your own “physical health tipping point.” 

What is a Physical Health Tipping Point?

It’s the point at which greater physical health no longer contributes to our overall well-being, and at which lesser physical health diminishes our overall well-being.

For me, this often looks like 80-90% physical health. This encompasses high energy levels, optimized brain function, strength and cardiovascular fitness, efficient digestion, and balanced hormones.

For you, this might include the state of your skin, endurance abilities, or flexibility.

We can all value and prioritize different elements of our physical health.

Using myself as an example, this percentage ebbs and flows depending on my priorities at the moment (i.e. work projects due vs. vacation mode), but through experimentation, I have determined that my overall well-being peaks when I hover around 85% physical health.

Does this mean that I go out of my way to decrease my physical health if I’m over 85%? Absolutely not.

It simply means that I’m willing to sacrifice some of my physical health for my overall well-being to an extent. 

If I’m consistently living below 80% physical health, my overall health begins to suffer. My energy levels drop, my brain doesn’t fire well, I don’t perform well in the gym, my digestion goes to shit, and my hormones are bonkers.

As a result, I’m then not able to show up as fully as I want to for the other aspects of my life that contribute to my well-being, and it creates a vicious cycle of diminished quality of life.

On the flip side, that extra 10-20% of optimized physical health can mean sacrificing time with loved ones, unique experiences, and other meaningful (to me) elements of life. And foregoing these just isn’t worth it to me.

In an ideal world, we’d be able to have our cake and eat it too, right?

Be able to enjoy all the social gatherings, amazing food, late nights, the extra boozy drinks, in addition to amazing energy, a strong and fit body, and optimized digestion, brain function, and hormones.

However, this isn’t our reality most of the time. So, we have to pick and choose our priorities while being mindful of the BIG PICTURE of our health.

How do you find your physical health tipping point?

1.     Write down your priorities for the current season of life you’re in.

Career or big work project, building relationships, healing physical health ailments, going on adventures and experiencing more freedom, upcoming physical challenge or competition, raising children, etc.

2.     Assess the current state of your physical health.

What feels good and what doesn’t right now?

3.     Identify how the current state of your physical health is impacting your priorities identified in Step One.

For example, if connection with loved ones and being adventurous is at the top of the list, then you likely don’t need to be at tip-top physical health, and sacrificing some physical well-being in lieu of spontaneity and late nights may be a sound option.

However, if you have a big work project or competition coming up and really need your body and brain to be functioning optimally, then you’ll likely need to contribute more to your physical health.

4.     Start experimenting!

Now that you’re clear on your priorities and what is truly important in this current life season, and you understand whether or not you have more leeway with your physical health in reference to your overall well-being, you’re ready to throw yourself into the wild and gather data!

Throw in the late night or an extra drink (simply examples) if you want to be more spontaneous and develop relationships with new people. How does it impact your overall well-being the next day?

Decline the party in favor of more sleep and a solid meal so that you can be productive while working the next day (ideally work you actually care about). Feeling fulfilled with this choice? 

Just want to feel damn good the next day so you can fully engage with whatever you want to participate in? That’s a sufficient enough reason to prioritize your physical health, too. Simply wanting to feel good is perfectly acceptable (and understandable).

5.     Assess the data & adjust as needed.

You should be doing this in the short-term as part of Step 4, but you also need to take a step back and consider how this impacts you in the long run. You may find that you thought a late night with friends was fulfilling in the moment—and even the next day—but your inability to work towards your long-term goal of starting your own business is being impacted due to feeling unwell. 

As part of this step, you may find yourself rearranging your priorities listed in Step 1. This is a good thing! It’s a constant process of learning, re-evaluating, adjusting and experimenting further.  

Our priorities will continue to ebb and flow throughout our lives—in tandem with the season of life we’re in—so flexibility and adaptability are key.

Our relationships with our physical health are no different.

Learning to be mindful of what we’re willing to accept and sacrifice regarding our physical health is incredibly empowering, and remember that it’s YOUR choice—and yours alone—to make.

There’s no shame in making a choice that leaves you feeling less physically well at times, in the same way there’s no shame in making a choice that supports your physical health.

Just ask yourself, “Are these choices elevating my overall well-being?” THAT is the kind of health worth pursuing.

New Year's Goals? You MUST get clear on this first!

Doing the deeper work might seem like the longer road, but it will actually get you to where you want to be MUCH more quickly (and more enjoyably) than superficial diets will.

Doing the deeper work might seem like the longer road, but it will actually get you to where you want to be MUCH more quickly (and more enjoyably) than superficial diets will.

This time of the year makes us ripe for the picking. 

All of the New Year, New You talk—especially when it comes to dieting—can make us feel like big ol’ piles of shit if we’re not mindful of our consumption, our responses to advertising, and our own internal narratives.

By targeting our insecurities, the gyms, diet programs, social media mavens, and supplement companies hit us where it hurts.

They serve to remind us of our physical “imperfections” and double-down on the notion that we’re here to be looked at. Nothing more.

Conversely (and as an unpopular opinion), I don’t believe there’s nothing wrong with using January 1st as a time to bring renewed attention to certain areas of our lives.

The important piece, however—the one most don’t discuss—is the intention behind the actions.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to lose weight.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with paying more attention to the food we put in our mouths.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to move more or differently than we have been.

The intentions and motivations behind these actions are what determine their health, value, and longevity.

If you have physical, health, or aesthetic goals, I ask you to consider the following:

  • Am I doing this from a place of loving myself currently? Or do I believe I’ll be able to love myself once I achieve my goal?

  • Are my choices rooted in shame, either from others or myself?

  • Is the desire to change my body due to my own preferences? Or have they been imposed on me by someone else, society at large, or both?

  • Am I striving for a different version of myself because I believe I deserve to feel amazing today and also something more? Or is it due to believing I’m inadequate and unworthy as I stand today?

  • Is my desire to make these changes rooted in a foundation of self-respect? Or self-loathing?

**Note that every single one of these takes time to unpack and differentiate between the truth, your ego (i.e. the monkey brain), and the voices & opinions of others.**

If you don’t have clear answers to these questions OR it’s clear that your motivation for change is rooted in fear, self-loathing, unworthiness, lack of self-respect, etc., then THAT is the work.

Not your physical body.

Difficult and unglamorous as it may seem, the internal work should always be the first stop.

This—of course—will indirectly impact the choices you make when it comes to your health and physical body. 

They’re the byproduct though, not the main event. 

The New Year is a magical time of the year if we choose to see it that way, and I’m a huge fan of goal-setting, getting clear on intentions, and laying the foundation for magic to happen. 

This can happen on any day of the 365 we have in a year, however. But we all know this to be the case:)

If you’re getting geared up for revamping your diet and/or exercise regimen in January 2019, and you’ve been doing the same song and dance year after year with overly restrictive diet rules and excessive exercise, consider the notion that there’s a better way.

A way in which you’re addressing the uncomfortable emotions and internal narratives on a deep level while simultaneously learning how to treat your body with love and respect. 

Isn’t that what we’re all really seeking anyways?

Let 2019 be the year you double down on yourself from the inside out, and don’t let any external influence convince you that you’re not worthy of this change.

I’d love to guide you through this empowering journey of doing the hard work—the only work that will lead to meaningful and long-lasting results

I still have a few more slots open for FREE 30-minute coaching calls, so grab yours now to kick off 2019 on a grounded and empowered foot!!

Stop Acting Like This Is a Dress Rehearsal & Heal Your Relationship with Food Now!

Do you find yourself saying you want to change something in your life, but when push comes to shove, you find that you don’t really want it badly enough?

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This is true of everyone, and it benefits us to be completely honest with ourselves about our priorities and what we’re willing to sacrifice. Self-awareness is key, here.

Many of us have also experienced being more invested in someone else making a change for themselves than they are!  It has been through these experiences—rather than my own bullshit (which is still alive and well)—that I’ve come to accept:

None of us are going to make a change until we really want to.

We’re averse to change, as our misery often becomes our standard mode of operation—our comfort zone.

We’d rather dance with the devil we know than the one we don’t.

These are all normal human responses to making changes—all born out of our monkey minds/egos, I’d argue.

Said another way, our brains will default to the “easy” road automatically, so we have to make a concerted effort to act from a higher place. To act from a place of consciousness, not fear.

When we make this shift from living in our monkey minds—where our brains are swirling with excuses and projecting fear onto the future—to a more conscious state of awareness, we’re able to understand that our fear-based thinking is keeping us small and comfortable.  

We begin to make choices based on deeply rooted values, growth, and the possibility of our future selves, and we become keenly aware that this isn’t a dress rehearsal. And we can’t afford to live our lives as such.

If you’re deep in the cycle of yo-yo dieting, neurotic food behaviors, lacking self-trust around food, or excessive exercise, you may or may not realize that life is passing you by.

While it’s tempting to stay rooted in these behaviors due to fear of the unknown, I recommend asking yourself if the costs outweigh the benefits (if there still are any).

Is it worth it to continue playing out the same patterns and miss out on experiencing everything life has to offer in this limited time we’ve been given?

Obsession with food and our bodies isn’t something to take lightly, as it can consume our entire being and fill every crevice of our brains.

The stakes are HIGH here.

The patterns you’ve become accustomed to will always be waiting for you if you decide that a new way isn’t worth it.

If you decide that the discomfort of growth and expansion outweighs the misery of your comfort zone.

I know the feeling of wanting to stay wrapped up in my comfort zone all too well, and the reality is that we can’t prioritize everything. We aren’t going to change the things we don’t really want to change.

My only ask is that you consider the gravity of the situation when it comes to giving up so much of your life to controlling food and your body.

This isn’t a matter of learning a new hobby or saving for new pair of boots—priorities that can understandably fall to the wayside for more pressing matters, I’d argue.

Our relationship with food is a major part of the foundation on which we live our lives, so we really can’t afford to wait.

We can’t afford to say “one day” and hope for things to magically feel comfortable enough to finally make a change.

Today is all we have, and I hope this serves as a reminder that we need to act like it (myself included).