Is Emotional Baggage Literally Weighing You Down?

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Today I want to share something that isn’t typically discussed in our culture: disordered eating.

When thinking about eating disorders (EDs), anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge-eating disorder (BED) usually come to mind. But, in reality, much of the population suffers from some form of disordered eating.

Why do I say this? I say this because over eating and frequent dieting are also forms of disordered eating. Frequent phases of deprivation, over indulgence, and reoccurring weight fluctuations are not natural, and are certainly not desirable for our bodies.

So why do we do it? For humans, food is so much more than physical nourishment. Food brings people together, provides comfort, gives immediate gratification, and connects us to the world around us. There are huge social and emotional components.

While I could go on and on about all of the reasons people eat, over eat, and diet, today I want to talk about something specific. A subject that hits home for me. I want to talk about the correlation between adverse life events, stress, and disordered ways of eating.

There are significant links between childhood trauma and disordered eating. People with EDs, including AN, BN, and BED, commonly have one or more experiences of trauma. This could be sexual abuse, physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse, and/or emotional neglect.

It is my belief that many people suffering with forms of disordered eating do not recognize the correlation between their experiences and their behaviors. When people struggle with a negative life event, it is often pushed into the subconscious. Although it may seem dormant, those memories are very much alive, active, and quietly influencing daily thoughts and behaviors.

Although clinical studies have mostly examined the specified EDs mentioned earlier (AN, BN, BED), I want to address the other common irregular eating patterns –  the frequent dieters and the over-eaters that suffer with constant discontent in their bodies.

Stress and life-changing events, both past and present, have the ability to impact weight, mood, and natural functions. Many people who frequently diet and/or over-eat suffer with personal struggles that go far beyond their plate. It could be a past memory that lowered their self-esteem, such as a childhood weight issue, distress about their social class, or a negative comment that they adopted to define them. It could also be a current event, such as unemployment, financial stress, a death of a loved one, an accident, or an illness.

The reason I want to discuss this topic is because I am passionate about treating our bodies as a whole unit rather than simply focusing on the obvious and recognizable symptoms. If we ignore the root causes of our prevalent problems, we will enter into a vicious cycle of dis-ease within our bodies. Disease and stress only breeds more disease and stress.

If you are a yo-yo dieter or on a constant quest to find happiness within your body, I want to encourage you to dive further into your past and present situations. Is there something you are holding on to? If so, that may be why you are holding on to those extra pounds.

We are a society that spends so much time seeking out solutions, but how can we seek out solutions when we do not fully understand the problems?

People spend millions of dollars every year on weight loss shakes, fad diet books, magic potions, and all the other “easy fixes”. We turn to alcohol, drugs, tv, food, and other mind numbing habits instead of owning our emotions and tending to them. We are externally focused, when what we really need to do is look inward.

The answers to your ongoing problems will not be solved by a wonderfully marketed product or by ignoring your problems completely. You have the power to take control of your life, but it requires mindfulness and honesty.

My life mission is to help people overcome their personal obstacles and live their best life imaginable. It is easy to blame people, our past, and negative life events for our current circumstances, but things that are easy usually aren’t worth much and blame only gets you so far.

Be daring, be courageous, take ownership of YOUR life, get out of your comfort zone, and do the work for yourself. The beautiful life you will create as a result will be worth the great efforts.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

 

 

 

References:

Guillaume, S. et al. Associations between adverse childhood experiences and clinical characteristics of eating disorders. Sci. Rep. 6, 35761; doi: 10.1038/srep35761 (2016).

Nierenberg, Cari. “Stress from Negative Life Events Linked to Obesity in Women.” LiveScience, Purch, 14 Nov. 2017, http://www.livescience.com/60936-stress-negative-life-events-obesity.html.

 

 

 

Could You Benefit From an Elimination Diet?

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Are you experiencing adverse reactions such as acne, eczema, or digestive issues? An elimination diet may be a great way to discover the root cause of your problems.

During an elimination diet, the most common allergen foods are removed from your diet for 3-6 weeks. The body makes antibodies when it is reacting negatively to foods, so three weeks is the minimum time to be sure they have dissipated. Once the antibodies are gone, the foods can be gradually reintroduced every 3-4 days. In food sensitivities, reactions can be delayed up to 72 hours, so it’s very important that you give yourself time in between.

The elimination diet includes the following foods:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Peanuts
  • Processed/added sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Packaged/processed foods
  • Nightshades

After an elimination diet, you can expect to feel major improvements within your body and mind. The correlation between nutrition and disease is remarkable. Some common illnesses effected by diet include, but are not limited to:

  • autoimmune diseases
  • depression and anxiety
  • nutrient deficiencies
  • cognitive disorders
  • joint and muscle pain
  • fatigue and insomnia
  • learning disabilities
  • thyroid conditions
  • skin issues, including acne, eczema, and rosacea

Our bodies have amazing healing abilities and when provided with the proper nutrients we can thrive. Just as you wouldn’t fuel your car with soda, or feed your pet a bag of chips, we shouldn’t fill our bodies with substances it cannot breakdown and utilize properly.

Beginning any new lifestyle can be challenging, but one great way to keep yourself on track is to surround yourself with support. This could be family and friends, a community group, or a coach. Find people that are going to hold your hand through the journey, hold you accountable, and most of all, provide you with love, care, and compassion. Making change takes courage, perseverance, and hard work. But anything in life worth anything doesn’t come easy.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to reach out. I would love to be a part of your support system. If we all take care of ourselves and each other, the world will be a much better place.

With love & gratitude,

Brittany

 

What’s a Health Coach?

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A few days ago I shared that I am a Holistic Health Coach. But, what is a health coach exactly? That’s a great question, so today I am here to explain.

Health coaches work with clients to support their individual health goals. As your health coach, I would assess your overall wellbeing and together we would address the areas of your health that require attention.

Health coaching is a growing field in the wellness community. Most people have heard of nutritionists and dietitians, but health coaches are different. Although my main focus is nutrition, health coaches also focus on non-food forms of nourishment, including your career, relationships, physical activity, and spirituality. These elements play a key role in our health and wellbeing. They can impact our stress, weight, mood, and energy levels.

If you are seeking more balance on and off your food plate, please visit my website and book a free consultation appointment. I look forward to our sessions together.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

Open for Business!

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Hello there, sweet friend! I have an announcement to make. I just completed my mid-certificate at IIN™, which means my (metaphorical) doors are officially open to start my health coaching practice.

I am going to be honest with you. The idea of making myself known is terrifying and the little self doubting mean girl in my head likes to chime in and try to discourage me, but because this is my passion, I am going to be brave. I will trump my feelings of fear with feelings of excitement (after all, we cannot feel both at once!), and I will continue to tell myself that any failure I encounter will be a time for growth and reflection. I truly believe I have the tools, the heart, and the devotion to help my future clients reach their individual health goals.

I want to tell you a little bit more about myself to help you better understand what led me down this path as a health coach. Anyone can go to school and learn health and diet theories, but for a person to truly help and understand another, I believe they have to have “gone through it” in some capacity. They have to have experienced low points to appreciate high points, they have to have empathy regarding what it feels like to struggle, and they have to understand the fear and anxiety of starting from the bottom.

Hi, my name is Brittany. I am a wife, a mother, a child of divorce, the daughter of an alcoholic, and a recovered anorexic. I have struggled with abandonment, judgement, approval, relationships, food sensitivities, and all aspects of self-love and care. Although I am a health coach, I will always be a work in progress. I have come to realize that you do not have to have it all figured out in order to help other people. I will never speak from a pedestal because I do not believe anyone has that right. It’s the people who can admit they are still learning that we can benefit from the most.

My main goal is to serve women and assist them in achieving their nutritional and overall wellness needs. Career women, domestic women, mothers, those that are new to healthy living, and also the current healthy goddesses out there. No matter where we fall on the spectrum, I believe there is always room to better ourselves. My goal is not to make anyone strive for perfection, but to create the most balance possible within your way of living, enhance your quality of life, and keep you hungry for learning and growing within yourself.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this introduction. I am looking forward to the journey ahead and eager to meet you and hear your story. If you would like to inquire about beginning a coaching program with me, please head over to my website and schedule your free 3o minute consultation. There’s no better moment than the present.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

Is All Exercise Created Equal?

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I am a huge advocate for physical activity, and believe that moving our bodies daily has a tremendous impact on our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. But, as with diets, there are many different theories around exercise and the types we should be doing. From yoga to running, CrossFit to spinning, there are many opportunities, so which is best?

I approach exercise just as I approach eating. Everyone is different so individual preference, age, personality, and many other factors need to be considered. Ultimately, find something that you enjoy doing, that way you will be far more likely to make it a habit.

There are four categories of exercise. Try to find something from each category that feels right for you. Here are some examples:

  • aerobic/endurance – increases your heart rate, works cardiovascular system
    • running, walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, hiking, rowing
  • strength – increases lean muscle mass
    •  weight lifting, push ups, pull-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, tricep dips, yoga
  • balance – improves ability to control your body’s position, find center of gravity
    • yoga, tai chi
  • flexibility – improves range of motion, stretches muscles
    • yoga, tai chi, stretching
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Aside from promoting heart health, losing weight, and toning up, exercise has many other great benefits. It can calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, create feelings of happiness, boost energy, and improve memory and thinking skills.

When considering what exercise will be best for you, think about your personality and your typical day to day activities. Are you always go, go, go, with a busy schedule and a restless mind? Perhaps yoga or tai chi would be a great option to help eliminate physical stress and promote relaxation. On the other hand, if you are often sedentary and have low energy throughout your day, something more energetic may be good for you, such as spin class, zumba, or brisk walking. The key is to find balance.  Too much energy in our days will eventually burn us out, and too little energy will facilitate the growth of disease in our bodies.

If you are a person living a sedentary lifestyle looking for ways to increase your mobility, there are ways to encourage yourself to keep on track. Many watches and fitness trackers are a great tool to track steps, count calories burned, and allow you to compete with friends/family if you are a driven competitor. It is recommended that people take around 10,000 steps per day, and trackers are a great way to give you an estimate of your progress. If you respond well to group training rather than going at it alone, perhaps you could get together with friends, family, neighbors, or members of the community for group walks and activities. Trying out state forests, parks, and local trails may be a fun way to start.

Be easy on yourself when adopting any new lifestyle. Moving even a little bit is better than not moving at all – and keep in mind that you don’t have to be pouring sweat and out of breath to have done wonders for your health and wellbeing.

 

With love,

Brittany

 

 

 

Finding Balance to Promote the Most Vitality

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I believe that life is meant to be a journey of growth and evolution for everyone who walks this earth. We are all students throughout the entire course of our lifetime, and even the greatest teachers are never done learning. We will never have all of the answers, but by seeking out truths within ourselves, and striving for balance in our lives, our time here in our physical bodies can be lived with the most vibrance possible.

I am currently a student at IIN (The Institute for Integrative Nutrition). I went back to school to become a health coach because deep in my soul I believe that helping others to achieve health and happiness is my calling. My passion and desire comes from wanting to achieve these things in my own life, and we teach what we’re meant to learn. Few people have a perfectly balanced life, but by being a guide to help others take a look at the big picture and uncover the origins of their symptoms, together we are getting closer to harmony.

At IIN, we are taught about The Circle of Life. This consists of 12 areas that effect your vitality. These areas include:

  1. joy
  2. spirituality
  3. creativity
  4. finances
  5. career
  6. education
  7. health
  8. physical activity
  9. home cooking
  10. home environment
  11. relationships
  12. social life

By looking closely at these aspects and rating them on a scale from unsatisfied to satisfied, you will be able to see where you need to focus a little more of your time and energy.

To live your best life, we must strive for balance within all of these areas, so I highly encourage everyone to check in with yourself often. It is important to make note of any symptoms you are currently feeling. After you’ve completed your scale, consider your symptoms and your areas of least satisfaction. Could they be related? Do you notice any patterns?

For example, a client of mine is often tired, has troubling focusing, has an irritable bowel, and frequent headaches. Looking at her circle of life diagram, I see she ranks joy, social life, relationships, and home environment the lowest. Is it possible that there is trouble within one or more of her relationships causing these symptoms? This exercise requires honesty with yourself. Listen to what your body is telling you. Sometimes we don’t notice our underlying causes until they’re written down and spelled out for us.

Once you’ve completed this exercise. take action on the areas that need to be addressed. Like anything, this will take time, dedication, and love for yourself. But remember, you are worth it. Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.

Wishing you only love and happiness,

Brittany

The Greatest Gift You Can Give to Yourself

 

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I recently gave myself something that I desperately needed. Something I had been putting off for a while. With the encouragement and support of my husband, I gave myself the gift of time.

For me, this gift came in the form of a hiring a nanny. Our nanny provides me with some much needed weekday hours to myself, and enables my husband and me to get some time alone together as well.

I am a stay at home mom so wrapping my head around hiring a nanny seemed absolutely ludicrous at first. So many questions and judgements ran through my head at  – How much will this cost? Why do I deserve a nanny? Why can’t I manage this on my own? What will everyone think? Am I a bad mom? Will my kids be upset with me? But you know what? I put all of that aside. All of that noise in my head wasn’t reality. I have found that this decision has made me a better mom and a better person. I am more present, more patient, and softer with my children, and I know everyone will benefit from this choice in the end. The gift of time that I give to myself is ultimately the gift of more quality time for all of us when we are together. 

Before hiring our nanny I felt that my identity as an individual was long gone. I felt my only role was in the household – mom, caretaker, and wife. I absolutely love the role I play in my family, and I am extraordinarily grateful for it, but I need time for me.  I crave time to be creative, to learn, and to truly relax and recharge without distractions. Some of the things I do with my new found time are school work (I am studying Integrative Nutrition at IIN), podcasts, audiobooks, blog posts, quiet time to reflect, yoga, and the ability to get anything done that’s difficult to accomplish with two young children in tow.

These days we all wear many hats, and sometimes we have to remind ourselves to take those hats off. It’s so important to offer ourselves the time and space to take a deep breath, relax, and do things we love and things that simply make us feel good inside. If we don’t make our self care a priority, we will not have the opportunity to show up as our best selves. When we are run down, exhausted, or anxious, we (and the people around us) pay the price.

I think many of us have a tendency to view self care as selfish, but what is selfish about being kind to ourselves? There is a big difference between being self absorbed and having self love. Treat yourself like you would your child, your parents, or your best friend. Give yourself the advice you would offer them. Changing the vantage point will help remove all the judgements and fears getting in the way of taking care of yourself.

I wish we could all allow ourselves the gift of time. The world would be a much better place if we all took time to slow down, find our center, and focus on what really matters. For me, what really matters is my family. They deserve the best version of me possible, and each day I am taking steps toward that.

What will you do for yourself today?

Brittany

 

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