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?

Imagine a Time When You Felt Your Best

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If you’ve done a session with me, you know that one of the questions I ask is, “at what point in your life did you feel your best?”

Many of you may wonder why this is relevant to your health now, but knowing this information actually tells a lot.

I want to give you a personal example to help you understand why.

I felt my best, from the inside out, when I was pregnant with both of my girls. Other moms reading this may be saying, “What! That’s insane. I was miserable!” But, it’s completely true, and now that I’ve reflected on it, I can tell you why.

When I was 21, i was told by my doctor that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and that it would be challenging for me to get pregnant. At the time, I was terrified because one of my lifelong dreams was to be a mom. It gave me more anxiety to say the least, but I added it to the ongoing list of my health hurdles. (See more health hurdles in previous posts.)

Fast forward 4 years, my husband and I had just gotten married and I was already thinking ahead to children. Knowing that I had PCOS and it could take years to conceive, I suggested that we start trying soon because it could take at least a year until the doctors would allow any sort of intervention. I had so many emotions surrounding this topic, and I just wanted to stop worrying and start taking action.

To our astonishment, I was pregnant on the first try! It seemed to good to be true, and I continue to be extraordinarily grateful for this every single day.

When I found out, I was ecstatic! So much so that I texted my mom immediately (I know, why did I do that!??!), but she was at work so I couldn’t talk to her, and I literally couldn’t hold the information inside of me. Sorry Mom…I dreamed of that being so much more personal…LOL.

From that moment on, I wasn’t concerned about my PCOS, my weight, bloat, digestion and other anxieties that plagued me at the time. I was concerned completely with the growing baby inside of me. It allowed me to finally RELAX. I ate foods that nourished my body, but also enjoyed treats “for the baby” guilt free. I allowed myself to rest when necessary, and I was grateful every day that I was going to be a Mom. I had let go of fears that I had been holding on to, and put all my energy into fulfilling my lifelong dream. I wasn’t overly concerned with myself anymore. All of the sudden, I had a much bigger purpose and my priorities shifted.

The moment I left my ego at the door, everything was better. I didn’t even realize what my anxiety was doing to my health before, but there was nothing better than that release.

My pregnancy experience helped me to discover that I feel best when I’m serving others. It gives me great sense of purpose and drives me to be better. While there was a mutual benefit for me to be eating well and treating my body kindly, I wasn’t doing it for me, I was doing it for my babies. Ironically, turning my focus away from myself resolved many of my ongoing issues.

Now that I am starting on a career path to helping others, I feel the same euphoric feeling I did when I was pregnant. I am redirecting my energy to serve something higher than myself. The decision to listen to my intuition and go for a dream that wasn’t completely self focused was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Knowing what makes me feel my best led me to what motivates me, and ultimately helped guide me to this current chapter of my life.

So now I ask you – when did you feel your best?

  • What was happening at that point in your life?
  • What did your stress look like?
  • What were your feelings about your body?
  • Were you physical active?
  • Were your relationships healthy?
  • What was your main focus at the time?
  • Where did you direct most of your energy?
  • What people and places surrounded you?

Take some time to really think about these questions. Compare and contrast you answers with you current situation. Is anything jumping out for you? What can you do now to replicate the feelings you had back then?

Our past can give us so much insight into our future. Use your history to guide you. Sometimes it’s hard to know what we want, but if we ask the right questions, the answer could be crystal clear.

If you’re currently feeling stuck, want to make a life change, or looking for direction in your life, I hope this inspired your thought process.

If this resonated with you, please leave a message in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading!

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.

 

 

 

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

What the Heck Should I Eat!?

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We are the only species on this earth that makes eating so complicated. All other life forms have a specific diet that they follow without ever getting together to talk about. Generally speaking, birds eat nuts and seeds, insects eat plants, and many animals eat plants and/or other animals. So what happened to us?

Our evolution and domestication has made the act of eating a very complex topic. There is controversy about whether or not humans should eat meat, dairy, and grains, how much protein, carbs, and fat we should consume – and wait a minute – do we need supplements?! In a world where information is always at our fingertips, in this area we have way too much of it. It’s no wonder why our nation is so confused and overwhelmed!

When thinking about what a person should consume, I like to go back to the basics. The food that comes from nature (plants and animals included) often times are not the problem. I believe the real problem lies in the decline of home cooked meals and an increase in convenience eating, packaged foods, frozen meals, fast food, and regularly taking out or dining in at restaurants. These types of meals will always contain more sugar, more salt, more processed/GMO ingredients, and more unhealthy fats than anything you would prepare at home.

Before starting a radically new approach to eating, I would like to encourage you to start small by introducing foods that you do not typically consume. Joshua Rosenthal, founder of IIN™, coined the term “crowding out” which focuses on inclusion rather than avoidance. By nature, humans do not like to be restricted. Have you ever noticed that day one of your new diet your body suddenly craves everything on the “do not eat” list? We are all children at heart that crave positive reinforcement over negative. Rather than cutting out bread, meat, dairy, or any other food groups, try to add a healthy one instead. By filling up your plate with more vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed real foods, you are automatically leaving less room for less desirable ones.

Using this approach, I think you may find that instead of always being on a “diet”, you will easily be able to adopt a new healthy way of living. For one, you will feel amazing and nothing beats that! But also, when you don’t restrict anything, you aren’t leaving room for yourself to “fall off the wagon” and find yourself on a binge happy downward spiral.

If you give this method a try I would love to hear your feedback. Leave me a comment here or head to my website and send me a message there.

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