Why I’m Letting Go…

Have you ever noticed that there are certain areas of your life that consistently don’t work?

Do the same self-sabotaging patterns and upsets keep showing up in your life?

These conditions keep showing up because we create them. We hold on to them.

Every one of us has an internal mechanism that forces us to act in a way that destroys our good intentions. Once you discover this mechanism and learn how it works, problem areas can clear up and you can create an incredible life.

“Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go.” Anais Nin

“Feeling” are programs, programs based in the past that keep us reacting from a past conditioning instead of in the moment. They impair our responsibility and ability to respond and to discriminate.

Personally, I was tired and frustrated with the 5-year old version of myself continuously running the show and tinting my life with fear, jealousy, inadequacy, and regret. Growing up with an alcoholic father, I have a boatload of “imprinting” unconsciously running my life and ruining my judgement. But you don’t need to have experienced a traumatic childhood to have your own conditioned “baggage”; it is just part of growing up in a world where you are bound to experience fear, rejection, loss, invalidation, etc.

And this is where letting go can transform your life.

The work involved in the “Letting Go” method is about adopting the perspective of the nervous system, so you can get out of your own way. Your nervous system is like your brain in the sense that it makes decisions based on safety and survival, and in doing so governs most of your actions and body functions, like it or not.

By experiencing the “Letting Go” method, you give your nervous system a much-needed rest so that it can recover, rebalance, and recharge, allowing you to successfully achieve the results you crave…and end the intense frustration of battling with yourself on a daily basis.

So what am I letting go of? My need for approval and safety, my fear of rejection, my constant worries around health, my love of drama, my beliefs around what and who I should be, my need to be everything to everyone, my ego-driven desire to be the expert in all things heath related, and the many layers of conflicting priorities I seem to take on everyday.

It’s a journey. Once you start releasing and letting go, there is always a new layer of “crap” surfacing. But all in all, this journey will leave you lighter, brighter, more successful, and healthier. And proud. Because now you really mean it, and are doing it.

Resolutions versus commitments, failure versus success.

I’m going to stop overeating. I’m going to stop smoking. I’m going to learn to eat healthy. I’m going to, you know, change.

People don’t even make New Year’s resolutions anymore because they made them year after year, right after Ryan Seacrest’s countdown to midnight, only to give up within days.

They had the best intentions.

They had the best of intentions to go to the gym. But by January 15, they forgot where the gym was located.

So why even bother to set yourself up for failure again? What does it really take for you to make real progress, instead of merely writing a new “wish list” with no real investment on your part?

I have coached with some incredibly motivated and successful mentors, have attended many workshops on performance and success, read hundreds of books, researched everything I could on the subject, and learned from my own successes and failures.

To help you navigate 2014 without the pain of regret, here are my golden nuggets to support you through change that will last past your New Year’s hangover.

  • Have a compelling vision for what you truly want, not what you think you need. The vision needs to be important enough to change your behavior and motivate you to spend your time, money, and energy on it. Wanting to lose X amount of weight is rarely compelling enough for someone to really stay the course and change habits for long. It would require having to “push” yourself to do something, which requires willpower, versus creating a vision that “pulls” you, excites you, and turns you on. There needs to be a strong emotional intensity to your vision for it to carry you forward.
  • Review it and feel its emotional intensity and heart-deep “why” everyday to see and feel if it is still something you really want and are ready to keep at the top of your priority list. Most people write down their New Year resolutions, only to never look at them again past January. You cannot stay committed and engaged if you conveniently “forget” all about it.
  • Raise your standards! Most of us have low expectations, making us lazy, judgmental, and unwilling to take full responsibility. We also surround ourselves with others with even lower standards, giving us an excuse to stay stuck in mediocrity. The fastest way to get closer to your goals is to raise your own standards by making your vision and goals a “must” instead of a “should”. “Should” never gets done, whereas “must” does. Instead of holding on to the identity of “big bones”, “genetic obesity”, “can’t-leave-without-cheese” or “slow metabolism”, why not raise your own standard of who you are, the “athlete”, the “skinny-hip-mama”, the “green-juice-lover”, etc. You will be surprised at how quickly change happens once you embody a different “personality”.
  • Back up your new standards with small rituals and commit to them. Rituals guarantee your success or failure and are a big part of creating lasting change. However, they mean nothing if you don’t commit to them. Identifying yourself with the new “athlete” in you will require the commitment to lace up your sneakers and go for a walk or a yoga class day in and day out, until it is just what you do and who you are. If you cannot commit, know that it just isn’t that important to you, or you have what I call an underlying commitment that you might not be aware of, and that underlying commitment is taking precedent. So let go of the guilt. Either drop it out of your vision or goals for yourself, or work to understand the self-sabotaging commitment and let it go.
  • Remember to feed your need for fun and flexibility! It does not mean coming up with excuses, it means finding a way to commit to what you want in a way that is as irresistible as possible.

It’s not that hard. Unless you are already convinced it will be. And yes, it will take some discipline at the beginning, but isn’t regret more painful than discipline?

I am making it easy for you to get started. Here is one of my favorite and quick exercise, courtesy of Tony Robbins:

  • Pick an area of your life that you want to improve. Write in details what it is like right now.
  • Ask yourself: what are the rituals that have created this reality for me? Write them down. It could be the daily pre-work trip to Dunkin Donuts, or the hours spent on Facebook instead of running.
  • What do you want this area of your life to look like going forward? Describe it vividly, feel this new reality. Again, be detailed.
  • Ask yourself: what are the rituals that would get me there? Meditating for five minutes before getting up? Going for a short walk everyday after lunch? Reading one new book each week? Spending at least one quality hour with my spouse and/or children every night?

Yes, you’ll have to find the time. No, there isn’t a magic pill to make New Year’s resolution succeed. But the promise of a fresh start is powerful and compelling…why not ride the wave?

8 Easy Tips (That Work!) To Avoid Gaining Weight This Season

The holidays are in full swing. It is all white and sparkly here in New England and I can feel the cooking/baking seasonal fever taking over!

So many recipes to try, so many creations to come up with, so much chocolate to play with. I have to work at NOT hyperventilating with all the ideas and requests coming my way.

So for me, spending a lot of time in the kitchen means eating more than usual because I test-taste constantly…and it does add up. More entertaining also means more food than my body can gracefully handle. Bummer!



But it doesn’t have to get ugly. You CAN navigate the holidays with grace, a strong digestion, and a calm nervous system. Here are my best strategies that you can use right now, so you don’t have to make yet another weight loss New Year resolution, ’cause weight loss is NOT a hobby!

  • Start your day with warm water and lemon juice, using a straw to protect your teeth enamel. Glass straws make a great gift!
  • Consume a digestive helper smoothie as needed.
  • Eat when you’re hungry. This obvious but easily forgotten and replaced by “it’s lunch time” habits.
  • Eat sitting down and without distraction.
  • Eat what your body actually wants and needs, not what YOU want.
  • Eat until you are feeling satisfied but not full.
  • Think quality over quality. Swoon, hum and ah over the color, vibrancy, and freshness of your food.
  • Eat with gusto and pleasure!!!

911 Holiday Digestive Helper

Holidays can be brutal on our digestive system, which is at the center of keeping us healthy and lean.

To help you out this time of the year, or any other time you burden your body with too much food or food too difficult to digest, you can support your digestion with this delicious soother.

911 Digestive Helper

1 cup chopped fennel bulb

1 cup cucumber chunks

1/2 cup pineapple chunks

1/2 cup quality Kombucha

12 fresh mint leaves

1 cup brewed and cooled chamomile tea

Blend well!

Drink as need or daily during the holidays.

Fennel and mint stop bloating and gas.

Kombucha brings in good bacteria in your gut.

Pineapple contains the enzyme Bromelain, which decreases intestinal inflammation and helps break down food.

Cucumber is alkalizing and hydrating.

My Favorite Holiday Gift Ideas!

The holidays have us all in a frenzy of gift giving, homemade baking, cheerful music, and a healthy dose of sparkles.

I love the holidays. It makes me feel very grateful and sentimental, instead of my usual impatient and rational self…

I love picking up presents for family, clients, and friends. I love spending extra quality time in the kitchen creating “confiseries” (French for fancy candy and caramels) and cranberry-based baked goods. Although my household is gluten-free and dairy-free, we can still indulge in holiday baking!

Personally, I usually don’t want anything for the holidays, as I tend to just want to be able to attend conferences and workshops to grow as a person, and to grow as a coach. I don’t care much for “things” anymore.

That being said, I get a kick out of finding interesting, decadent, and useful gifts for other, so here is a hodgepodge of favorites for this holiday season:

For the cook/uncook on your list:

  • Qooq touch tablet: loaded with 1,000 recipes searchable by ingredients, with videos that show you what to do. No more excuses to let those veggies wilt away in your fridge!
  • “Vedge” by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. From a favorite Philadelphia restaurant. 100 large and small plates to redefine vegetable cooking.
  • “Canning For A New Generation” by Liana Krissoff. Not your grandma’s canning…for the Mason jar-obsessed  foodie like me!

To give the gift of decadence and luxury:

And finally, if you want to be helpful!

And of course Vitamix, juicers, and dehydrators will always be welcomed:)

I’m stupid, and I’m lazy…

I just spent four days in Atlanta at a workshop lead by Larry Winget. Larry is best known as the Pitbull Of Personal Development.

I seem to be a glutton for punishment and self-induced pain…

The first hours in Atlanta were quite interesting as I got my hair done by a stylist named Nick who used to do hair and make up for Playboy photo shoots…I was in for a treat!

However, I lost my appetite and Playboy sparkle just hours into the workshop, as Larry started to drive his point.

First, let me say that Larry Winget is an amazing speaker, one of the best out there. He wrote many best New York Times best sellers, with titles like “Shut Up, Stop Whining And Get A Life”, “Your Kids Are Your Own Damn Fault”, or his latest “Grow A pair”. You get the idea. His message is all about taking personal responsibility for your life.

Within hours of the first day, Larry laid out for us the top 10 ways people sabotage their success, and I realized that the top two for me were stupidity and laziness. Let me explain.

I was lazy because I tolerated behaviors in myself and others around me; because although I thought I did, I didn’t give enough of a damn; because I couldn’t be bothered; because I had low expectations for myself; because I quit way too easily.

I was stupid because I was not taking consistent action; because I would not speak up; because I would make excuses and stay in hiding; because I had bad habits that didn’t serve me.

Here is the cold hard truth: the main reason you are not achieving your goals, whatever they might be, is YOU, what you are not willing to do, and what you are not willing to give up.

Folks, I keep wondering why I always have to search for a better me, when I could enjoy a very mediocre version of myself and be blissfully unaware of the call for growth, challenge, and fearlessness.

It hurts! It’s painful! It’s uncomfortable! But the reality is that there is no change unless we get uncomfortable. And I can’t help it…I am always looking for the next level of growth, for the satisfaction of breaking through yet another layer of resistance and “crap”.

Basically, I can’t live my life buried in the comfort zone. It’s impossible. And although it is terrifying to leap out, it is even more painful to stay in.

Second guessing ourselves, fear, blame, overwhelm…these are all ways we quit and short-change ourselves. We have very good excuses and we hang on to them.

So when you accept that third piece of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, it is NOT because you have no willpower, it is NOT because you don’t want to hurt Aunt Edna’s feelings, and it is NOT because you don’t want to waste food. It is because you CHOOSE not to exercise your willpower in that moment…It is because you are not willing to give up pie or instant gratification for a slimmer waist or a stronger immune system.

If, like me, you keep bumping against the agony of failure and disappointment in yourself, I invite you to take some time to make a list of all the excuses you have for not having what you want, and all the things you need to give up to get it.

It is time to grow a pair!

And get some of Larry Winget’s books to help you along:)

Sticking out like a sore thumb…tales from my first raw Thanksgiving

All my life I have worked really hard at blending in, making myself invisible, being the good, quiet girl, and applying myself to follow directions and expectations to the letter.

I grew up with an alcoholic father and a type A mother, so my only way out of trouble was to do exactly what was asked of me and never stick out, rebel, or make waves.

And I have to say that I got really good at it, especially the invisible part.

Blending in became a life-long purpose as I always suffered from the “feeling inadequate” syndrome: no matter how hard I tried, I never felt like I fit in, belonged, or was welcomed.

Basically, I was always looking to others to give me the reassurance that I mattered, that I belonged, that I was worthy of their love and interest. It never occurred to me that by conforming and attempting to please everyone, I had become invisible and was not ever letting the “real” me come out and play.

This pattern went on in my adult years, although I started rebelling against the agony of needing and wanting to belong, since it was just feeding my insecurities and feelings of inadequacy.

By the time I got seriously ill, all of these patterns in my life shattered and a whole new force started to push me towards letting go and embracing my unique, very much imperfect-yet-adequate self.

This was eye-opening, incredibly freeing, and empowering. From that very moment, I stopped looking to please, strived for visibility (although I am still struggling with that), let go of my fear of judgment and my need to judge others, and accepted who I was with gusto. It doesn’t mean that I am not looking for improvement, I am, but I accept that this is a journey, and every part of me is just fine, only a constant work in progress.

One of my first “test” against the norm was a Thanksgiving three years ago. At that time, I was still healing myself and was mostly consuming a raw diet. I knew that the regular Thanksgiving feast would not work for me so I set out to create a totally raw array of dishes for this special occasion.

I went all out (at the time I had finished my raw chef certification) and created to following raw dishes:

  • Raw stuffed mushrooms
  • Parsnip and cauliflower mashed “not-potato”
  • Orange-cranberry relish
  • Raw Brussels’ sprouts dish
  • Raw falafels
  • Raw pumpkin pies with cashew cream
  • Raw apple pies

Now, Thanksgiving is always spent with my husband’s family (which amounts to about 15-18 people), a very nice bunch of New Englanders. Raw food had never entered their consciousness, nor had they heard about it.

By then, they already knew me as the slightly unpredictable, somewhat volatile French in-law, but that year, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Big time.

Here I was with all my raw dishes on a very traditional day where the classic meals were not to be messed with. Jokes were exchanged over and over, sometimes replaced by uncomfortable silence or polite questions. Before, I would have been mortified, ready to pick up a fight, blame everyone for their lack of sensitivity, and stuffed myself with food to squash the painful feelings. But this time around, I was as cool as a cucumber, totally owning my perceived “weirdness”, and oddly delighted at not “fitting-in”.

I shared my loot with the most adventurous relatives and earned rave reviews for my raw desserts and stuffed mushrooms. I earned my “unconventional-and-quite-weird” label for good and started living my life from a place of pride and ownership for who I really was, with all my flaws and gifts.

Since this infamous Thanksgiving, I have still kept up with bringing some of my own dishes, mostly because my kids and myself cannot have gluten or dairy, but nobody notices. Truthfully, there is nothing on the menu that I crave or miss having, a few vegetable dishes and some pumpkin pudding with cashew cream are all that I need. I might come up with some light pear-based desserts to spice things up, but that will be it.

Morale of this lengthy tale:

As it turns out, sticking out is a blessing, not a burden. It is your brand, your signature, your essence, what makes you unique. It is your privilege and your responsibility to show it to the world.

The truth is that I belong with the misfits, the ones that don’t follow rules, question everything, and do things their own way. It can be a lonely road being a misfit, but I have found my tribe of other hell raisers and change agents. We are not here to fit in and make friends. We are here to change the world!

Three Ways Gluten Free Diets Fail

A healthy diet (one that keeps your body lean, your energy high, and your brain in top shape) is one in which the food you eat is completely digested, nutrients are absorbed and utilized, and waste is excreted without raising inflammation, causing autoimmune reactions, or storing toxins in fat cells.

It is much less about the foods allowed and all about what can actually be fully digested.

The rise in popularity of the gluten-free industry is staggering, with sales of gluten-free products increasing 1,340% from 2007 to 2012.

While I strongly agree that gluten in American wheat, barley, and rye can be toxic for many, the truth of the matter is that an increasing number of people going gluten-free are still sick after adopting the diet, or don’t see the pounds budge at all.

Why?

The problems begins when this billion-dollar industry markets GF foods as “healthy” and “good for you”, prompting people to jump on the bandwagon with zero education or awareness around what are the GF products made of, or how to go about making this diet work for them.

Three ways the GF diet fails:

  • While a GF diet removes the biggest offender (gluten), it mostly replaces gluten-ladden “junk” with other “junk”. GF breads, pasta, or cookies and cakes are heavily processed, lack in nutrients, and are mostly made of white starches such as corn, rice, tapioca, or potato. This kind of product will not solve digestive issues, and in some cases can make it worse. These goodies also sit in your stomach like a ton of bricks…not at all the leaner, lighter feeling you were looking for.
  • GF products have sometimes more sugar/and/or sweeteners than their regular counterparts to make up for the lack of taste and texture in GF goods. This can create gut dysbiosis (where yeast overgrowth and other critters take over the good bacteria in the gut), and hormone and insulin problems due to the increase of sugar released in the blood stream.
  • It usually comes without ANY instructions on how to do it right. Just like with any diet, it is easy to go about it the wrong way and end up sicker (or heavier) than before you started. This comes at a high price given the fact that GF products are incredibly expensive. On top of that, gluten hides in many other foods, such as marinades, sauces, or drinks, so you might not be removing gluten from your diet when you think you are.

Having to go GF can be a jumpstart to a healthier, leaner, more energized version of yourself, or it can make you worse.

Ultimately, whether or not you need to avoid gluten, maximizing nutrients, absorption, and elimination is the key to success.

Lessons From My Gallbladder…

This is truly an amazing story. It still blows my mind.

For the past eight months, I had been living with chronic physical pain. It started as an on-and-off pain for the first few months, then escalated to a daily, won’t quit kind of permanent and unwelcome tenant.

This pain manifested itself by a throbbing and on-going headache behind my right temple, then move down the right side of my body all the way to my hip.

Because of this chronic pain, I was unable to exercise, I stopped taking on new clients, and could feel myself living a “dimmed down” life instead of embodying he usual “let me show you what thriving looks like” turned-on-to-life woman I am.

This pain was puzzling. At first, I thought it was the result of too much long distance traveling and too much sitting. So for months I saw chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and Bowen practitioners, with no success. The pain kept getting worse.

Finally, someone casually mentioned that the pain seemed to follow the gallbladder meridian. In Chinese and energy medicine, meridians transport energy, just like arteries transport blood. The flow of the meridian energy pathways is as critical as the flow of blood. No energy, no life. Meridians affect every organ and every physiological system, including the immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, or lymphatic systems. Each system or organ is fed by at least one meridian.

This got me thinking. What if the pain was not structural after all!

I quickly researched the emotions associated with the gallbladder (resentment, frustration, and resistance to making decisions), and realized that unbeknown to me, I had a laundry list of unexpressed frustrations and resentments and had not made the choices I knew to be necessary for me to move forward.

And this is where the miracle happened…

After I spent three days working on clearing these emotional issues, the pain went away completely. Completely! Although I had been busy and determined to “fix” my body from the outside, my gallbladder was communicating with me in a very urgent manner.

Now, does that mean you should ignore physical symptoms and not bother with physical check ups? Absolutely not! I did bring up the pain with my primary care doctor and went for the abdomen ultrasound she recommended to look for gallbladder inflammation or stones. There were none.

What I do believe is that sometimes emotional needs or spiritual wake up calls do manifest themselves in physical challenges, and when everything you are doing to resolve these challenges at the “traditional” level fail, you need to look deeper into your life, unfulfilled desires, or negative and destructive emotions such as anger, shame, resentment, or guilt.

In the end, after cursing said gallbladder for all the misery it put me through, I realized how much of a blessing this newfound awareness was and that the physical pain or health issues were just the way my body knew to get my attention and communicate the information I needed to receive. I needed to let go, move on, and finally make the decisions I had been unwilling to make.

Today I am moving forward with a new chapter in my life, and practice staying connected and grateful to my gallbladder, and whole body.

When you are able to successfully eliminate pain from your body, it is amazing how life opens up for you. So many new and exciting business opportunities came my way, I was able to be much more present and engaged with my family, and now can enjoy the endorphin rush of working out again.

So my homework for you, if pain and discomfort are creeping up into your life and you can’t seem to figure out why, is to research what emotions might be associated with where and how your pain manifests itself, and be open and willing to look deeper into it. We do a very good job at ignoring emotional pain to soldier on as the good girl we know to be, but eventually, it catches up with us.

What if instead you could find gratitude in the pain for the valuable lesson it is here to teach you? What if you could take that first action step towards acknowledging and owning some of the desires and emotions you have been keeping trapped in your body?

Pumpkin Chocolate Scones

1.5 cups almond flour
1 cup rice flour
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 T honey or maple syrup
2 T melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup chocolate or non-dairy chips

Preheat oven 350F and place parchment paper on baking sheet. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients, excluding the chocolate chips. In a separate bowl whisk together the wet ingredients and combine with the dry ingredients. Roll the dough into a ball and place on the parchment paper.

Flatten and cut into slices. Make it easy by using a pizza cutter.

Bake for about 20 minutes (more or less depending on how you like your scones).

Let cool and enjoy warm.