Are Your Perceptions Sabotaging Your Life?

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Approximately 80% of U.S women have battled with their body image at some point in their life.

Beginning as early as 6 years old, girls are influenced by social factors that can contribute to body dissatisfaction. Our society is obsessed with beauty and youth, and it drives people to chase after a form of perfection that doesn’t exist.

So why are we so overly concerned and unhappy with our bodies?

It has a LOT to do with what we see in the media 24/7, but I’ll tell you one thing, for some, it has nothing to do with weight at all. About 70% of healthy weighted women still want to be thinner or change their physical appearance in some way. As women, we are constantly playing the comparison game. When will we be enough as we are?

I believe what’s driving this is what we associate with society’s standards of beauty. “If I looked like that I’d be happier and more successful. I’d have more friends, deeper love, and more fun and excitement.” Changing our appearance seems like the answer to everything. But that is what I like to call “the grass is greener syndrome”.

It becomes dangerous when our perceptions become our reality. Our mind starts to believe that present day life isn’t enough. And so it begins – the journey to a destination that can never be reached because we perceive things to be true when they aren’t. Beauty and other external factors don’t create happiness; our mindset does. We have to look inward and love and appreciate who we are and what we have right now in this moment. Without that ability to love unconditionally, we will never find satisfaction because our mind will always believe there’s room for improvement.

People come in all different shapes and sizes. As a society, we tend to define a “healthy body” in ways that don’t translate to all women. We all have different bone structures, muscle compositions, and our fat distribution varies, but if you eat mindfully and move your body regularly, chances are, you are at a natural and healthy body weight for you.

Aim for eating whole, unprocessed foods 80-90% of the time, and leave room for spontaneity, fun, and relaxation the other 10-20%. That 10-20% of wiggle room in your lifestyle is crucial to your emotional health. “Eating clean” all the time and worrying about food in relation to your body image can limit your social interactions and deprive you of important social and emotional needs. Don’t allow body pressures to get in the way of your joy, social experiences, and relationships. Let yourself live free of anyone else’s standards, and celebrate the body that only you have.

If your weight loss is associated with better health, more energy, a longer lifespan, and a better quality of life, absolutely make the lifestyle changes necessary to feel your best. But, do it for you, and know when enough is enough. Set a realistic goal and enjoy the ride to get there. And, do me a favor. Start loving your body now, not later.

If you are in a healthy weight range for your height, age, and gender, but are still trying to lose weight or change your body in some way, try to figure out what the underlying forces are. Are you attaching ideals to body image that don’t truly exist?

  • What motivates you to lose weight?
  • What will you gain from your body changes?
  • How will you feel when you get to your target weight/shape?
  • How will the quality of your life change?
  • Will your relationships change?
  • How are your current relationships?
  • What will remain the same?
  • Are you holding on to a body stigma from the past?
  • Do you love yourself today? Why/why not?

Consider these questions. Answering these honestly may lead you to realize that what you’re missing in life isn’t associated with your body at all. Perhaps all you really need is a good hug from someone you love, a night out with friends to laugh and let loose, space to unleash trapped creativity, or a spiritual practice, such as meditation to give you mental clarity. It’s incredible what a little love and connection can do for your soul.

As I mentioned before, weight loss is recommended for some individuals for medical reasons, so always listen to the guidance of your doctor. My main message that I hope you will consider is to define your ideal body on your own terms, live in alignment with what brings you joy, and show yourself some love.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany 
Continue reading Are Your Perceptions Sabotaging Your Life?

5 Steps To Beautiful, Glowing Skin!

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For years, I struggled with breakouts. It made me self conscious, lowered my self esteem, and drove me CRAZY.

In my twenties, I thought there must be a wash, cream, or toner that can solve my problems. I tried many of the popular (and expensive!!) facial care systems on the market, used creams prescribed by my dermatologist, and even tried organic washes and lotions, but nothing worked. Each product I tried promised great results, so what was I doing wrong?

To my amazement, it had very little to do with what was being applied externally, and everything to do with what was going on internally. It just so happened that throughout my skin issues, I was also dealing with a lot of belly issues, including bloat, stomach upset, and constipation/diarrhea. When I began to discover the cause of my digestive troubles, my skin began to improve dramatically as well.

Skin is the largest organ of the body. If our lifestyle impacts all of the internal organs in our body, it makes complete sense that the largest organ would also be effected. You know when people are sick and you can see it in there face? Our skin is a looking glass into what is happening inside. It is important to take note of when things occur to pinpoint the cause and find a solution.

After years of trial and error with food, monitoring my lifestyle, and observing my moods, thoughts, and feelings, I finally came to understand the triggers that were causing my skin reactions. I hope my experience can save you a lot of time, money, and wasted energy.

And now…

The 5 Steps to Beautiful Skin

1. Eat nourishing foods for your body

Why do I say your body? Well, that’s because each one of us is unique and require different forms of nourishment. What is your diet like? It is highly processed, high in fat free/low fat products, overloaded with added gluten, sugar, and/or dairy? While everybody is different, there are certain items that seem to be linked to skin issues for the masses. In order to figure out what your personal triggers are, clean up your diet by getting rid of anything processed and artificial, begin eating mostly plant based (meaning eat more foods from the earth than anything else), and monitor high allergen foods. This may take time, but I promise it’ll be worth it.

2. Drink plenty of water

Drinking adequate water is crucial for our vital organs to function. Water flushes out the toxins from our bodies, cleans out dirt and bacteria, and can help us shine from the inside out. It also helps moisturize and replenish the skin cells with essential nutrients. By adding more water to your diet, you will experience whole-body changes and many positive side effects that go far beyond your face.

3. Manage your stress

We are all susceptible to levels of stress, and the impacts it has on our bodies is astounding. Stress produces the hormone cortisol, which can cause the body to produce more oil, cause inflammation and flare ups, and interfere with the bacteria in the gut. All of these factors can lead to acne symptoms. It is important to find ways to combat stress, such as meditation, deep breathing, developing a routine, and scheduling more time for fun in your life. Let’s stop stressing and start living!

4. Get more sleep

It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! You know that morning glow you have when you wake from a long and restful night? That is the result of an increase in blood flow to the skin while you are sleeping. As we sleep, functions like breathing slows and blood pressure drops, so the blood supply can work to repair the muscles and tissues. When good sleep isn’t happening, the benefits of overnight renewal can’t occur. Most adults should aim for about 7-8 hours each night. I know this can be challenging (I’m definitely talking to you moms out there!), but more is better than perfect. Aim for more than you are currently getting, maybe by going to bed an hour earlier each night, and you will feel the difference.

5. Moisturize

While the natural functions of the body take care of the skin wonderfully, moisturizers are a great add-on. They help treat and prevent dry skin, and act as a barrier between the skin and the environment. So many toxins, dirt, and bacteria fly on to our skin every day and it helps to have an extra layer of protection. I use coconut oil to moisturize, and often add a drop of essential oil (such as frankincense or lavender) for increased benefits.

Well, there ya have it!

I hope you’ve found this list to be helpful, and I hope you implement these key factors of healthy, glowing skin into your daily life. If you do, I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Thanks for reading. Have a great day!

 

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

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.

 

 

 

Cook Once. Eat Twice.

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In today’s world, people are busy. Between work, raising families, and everything in between, it’s no wonder why there has been a decline in home cooked meals. For many this is a struggle, but with a little planning it can actually be feasible for everyone.

What’s the solution? Cook once, but eat twice (or 3 – 4 times!). The trick is to prepare ingredients in bulk so that leftovers can be utilized for the rest of the week in other ways.

Here is a simple example of this plan being implemented:

Sunday:

  • Prepare bulk rice and/or quinoa (i.e cook for eight if serving 4)
  • Cook a whole chicken
  • Roast an assortment of vegetables (i.e. carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet potato)

Meal one:

  • Chicken, sweet potato, brussel sprouts

Meal two:

  • Tacos: Corn tortillas, rice, avocado, carrots, salsa

Meal three:

  • Chicken salad: pull apart chicken, mix with avocado, salt and pepper, and enjoy over a bed of arugula, and brussel sprouts

As you can see, by reusing ingredients and adding them to other items that require little or no preparation, we can create so many meals in minutes. Just plan ahead for the meals you want to prepare so that you have everything you need on hand.

Other ideas for faster meal prep:

  • pre chop veggies/herbs
  • use a crock pot or instant pot
  • pre cook meats
  • keep a well stocked pantry (rice, grains, some canned goods)
  • freeze bulk baked goods such as pancakes, waffles, and muffins
  • keep frozen veggies on hand for emergencies

Do you have any tips that help you throughout the week? I would love to hear! Please share in the comments.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

 

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

 

Weight, Bloat, & Skin Problems? I Have a Solution.

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As I sit here in my new favorite coffee shop, I am thinking a lot about my goals as a health coach. I explained in my last post what a health coach is, but while I am trained in all of those areas of coaching, my main focus is elimination diets and women’s nutrition.

I follow the belief system that there isn’t one diet and/or lifestyle suitable for everyone. As a coach, I will get to know you, your habits, and your preferences and together we will design a nutritional program customized for your unique needs and specific health goals.

I believe that the struggles we endure are insights into our life’s purpose. Struggling with food in my personal life started as a major frustration, but turned into my biggest passion. I want to share my story with you in hopes to inspire you, give you hope, and let you know that if you share in any of these feelings, you are not alone.

Throughout my late adolescence and into my early twenties, I struggled with disordered eating. Initially it was all about losing weight, but then it became more of a mind game. I loved the feeling of having power over my body and felt proud for being so “disciplined”. I thought I was in control, but in truth, my disorder took complete control over me. After years of treating my body poorly, filling it with artificial sweeteners, fat free and low fat garbage, counting calories, and eating just enough to keep my heart beating, I passed out off the toilet. This was my wake up call. I started to educate myself about whole foods, real foods, the importance of proper nutrition, and the relationship with food and wellness.

In the years to follow, I began another health journey. I was suffering from bloating, breakouts, IBS related symptoms, joint pain, and fatigue. I saw many doctors and all left me with same useless diagnosis. They said I had “IBS”, but provided me with no information regarding why I had it or what I could do to help myself. This is when I began to be my own best health advocate. I was discouraged by the professionals and new the one person who cared the most about me getting well was me. I began researching holistic ways of healing, and it always came back to the same thing – food. The quality, the source, the ingredients, and the food groups. To make a long story a little shorter, I discovered that I was intolerant/sensitive to dairy and gluten. When I cut these from my diet, my skin never looked better, and I had no more belly bloat, painful gas, and irregular bowels. I felt light, lively, and free for the first time in a long time.

After years of researching for my own wellbeing, I realized that I am not unique. Hundred of thousands of people suffer with discomfort on a regular basis and accept it as normal. I have something to tell you. While this may seem “normal” because so many people experience it, it certainly isn’t natural. You are meant to feel alive and nourished after you eat, not sluggish and in pain.

Now that you know my story, do you consistently suffer from acne, eczema, bloating, or IBS? Are you unhappy with your weight or do you often feel lethargic? By learning about your body and discovering your unique nutritional needs, you can get to the root cause of these symptoms and begin to feel comfortable in your skin from the inside out.

Everything comes back to what we eat. When we eat well for our bodies, we feel well in our bodies. Treat yours well and live the beautiful life you deserve.

With love & gratitude,

Brittany

 

P.S. For recipes, tips, and support follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

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