Don’t.Give.Up: the crazy stuff I’ve done for health

In my neck of the wood, winter has not given up yet, which means relief from the winter pounds and blahs is not as close as I would like it to be. As I explained in the last newsletter, even if I would like to start detoxing for spring, my body has other plans and still wants to hold on to its “safety” blubber to keep me warm.

So with that in mind, I know it will have to get a lot warmer for a lot longer before I can let go of those extra pounds. You will have the opportunity to join me when I launch my brand new online group reboot this coming April. I am super excited about it as it will be quite different from the ones I have led in the past. Look for information regarding this later on!

Now on to the subject at hand…and the message I carry with me at all time:

Don’t. Give. Up.

I could have given up when my health crashed three years ago. I could have given up when no doctors was coming up with answers. I could have given up when I finally figured out what was wrong and it was overwhelming. I could have given up when I was told I could not change or “fix” myself. I could have given up when the pain was too strong or the despair too loud.

And I almost did…many times. But in the end I kept going, one step at a time, one question at a time, one answer at a time, one failure at a time.

It’s frustrating when THEY can’t fix you, when THEY let you down, when THEY don’t understand what you are going through. You can use that frustration to fuel the fire, your fire.

I have tried all sorts of “therapies” while trying to get better, from acupuncture, colonics and energy medicine, to spiritual healing and Emotional Freedom Technique, with a lot in between. All of them helped to a point, but none of them was THE solution. I still rely on some of them to get me through rough patches, but mostly they taught me one major lesson:

What if I was the only one who could truly know what my body needed?

Most people will balk at that idea, and I hear it in my practice a lot. Fix me. Tell me what’s wrong with me or what I’m doing wrong.

But it worked. I did what I was drawn to, what felt totally foreign to me yet incredibly luring: I went on a raw food diet and overhauled my lifestyle completely. And although not all health issues have successfully disappeared, two major ones (Hashimoto and thyroid disease) are no longer picked up on my regular tests.

This is NOT to say that you should jump on a raw food adventure or any other drastic “diet”. What I mean is that if you would be open and willing to drop into your body long enough to “feel” what it needs, you could be amazed at the answers you get. This is true for health and weight issues alike.
If you have struggled with resistant weight for a long time, don’t give up, you can crack the code!

Here are tools to help you out in this process:

  • Start asking questions. Your body has an awareness that is different than yours. And most of the time, you are not paying attention to vitamin deficiencies, you are only concerned with how fat you look, what others think of you, and if it is late enough in the day to start drinking! Ask your body what it wants to eat, how it wants to move, what message it is trying to convey. It can be frustrating at first but you will eventually get it.
  • Stop forcing change. How often do you see people at the gym or at a vegan cafe looking utterly miserable? If your body wants to spit out the food, this food probably has no benefits for you. If your body hates running and manifests its dislike with constant knee pain and injuries, try Zumba!
  • Stop labeling yourself. I have acid reflux. I have IBS. I have depression. Do you? Or is your body telling you that the foods you eat don’t work, that your gut needs some loving, or that it’s time to leave that job?
  • Appreciate the feedback and allow for change. Trying to see the lesson in the challenge helps take consistent action and teaches you that your needs are evolving as you age. What worked once may no longer work. Stop trying to do the same darn thing!

I really hope you will consider trying a different approach to your struggles, be it with weight or health. And yes, you still need support on this journey, but ultimately, you know best.

Bottom line: never give up…gather up your determination and keep on searching, doing, asking. The breakthrough is just on the other side!

Chocolate linked to lower body fat…hell yeah!

Cacao-lovers, this one’s for you: A new study has linked chocolate consumption and lower body-fat levels, a finding that goes against the conventional wisdom that chocolate is fattening. Obviously they didn’t feed their participants Hershey kisses…

Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain found that eating chocolate was associated with lower level of total fat deposits, even in cases where people were not dieting or exercising.

The researchers, whose findings were published in the journal Nutrition, speculated that the results could be due to catechins, a type of antioxidant that may positively influence cortisol production and insulin sensitivity — both factors in becoming overweight or obese.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has received some good press in recent years for its antioxidant properties. Most nutrition experts agree that chocolate with 60 percent cacao or higher has the most health benefits. Still, it has never been a dieter’s darling due to its sugar, fat, cholesterol, and calorie content. And when you look at the ingredients in most chocolate brands, it looks more like candy hell than antioxidant heaven…

But hey, as a chocolate lover, I’ll take any kind of study telling me to keep eating it!

Just as with everything though, quality trumps quantity, so look for the best (at least 65% dark) chocolate you can afford, and really savor it. For me, I would not make it through another New England winter without my Alain Chartier dark chocolate bars.

A word of caution before you go and grab your favorite choco treat:

  • If you know or suspect adrenal fatigue, bypass the chocolate. I had to forgo chocolate for a year while nursing my adrenals back to health. Chocolate will not make you feel good if your adrenals are burnt out.
  • If you have trouble with falling and/or staying asleep, don’t consume dark chocolate everyday and avoid indulging past lunch time.
  • If you cannot give up your afternoon chocolate treat without becoming hysterical, then it’s time to let go sister! Addictions are never recommended.

Other than that, I say go for it! Lick it, chew it, swoon over it…it’s all good:)

Eating like the French… simplified

Sharing the research around the relationship between the French way of eating and a slim and healthy body is a big part of my work…and my passion.

The most painful and stressful habit most American women suffer from is an obsession with food. They think about food daily, agonize over “bad” foods and the fact that they shouldn’t eat them, stress over what they’ll make for diner, lust over their partner’s plates, and process complex math to count their calories.
This is total madness, slavery, and a life doomed for misery.

Not to mention that it usually backfires as a weight loss plan, and that many divorces probably were the results of the lovely wife turning into a total witch from chronic starvation and food obsession.
Are the French wives nicer you ask? No, there are not. They are demanding, sarcastic, and opinionated. But they put their energy and time towards looking good, cooking a mean and savory meal, and taking their brood on 20-mile bike rides. As a bonus, their libido does not suffer with age…nor does their waist size.
So clearly, putting a little French into your lifestyle can really pay off!
When working with clients on a long-term basis, we really dive into the depth of what that means in their daily lives and they get to implement over the course of several months, but for the sake of speed and simplicity, I have compiled 7 easy tips for you to try out.
This could transform your relationship with food (and your partner!) for the better…

  1.  Eat only at meal times, and only at the table. French women do NOT snack. They also do not eat in cars. They do not eat standing up, while watching TV, browsing the internet, checking email, or on their phones. Sit down and eat properly. Constant snacking is the ban of a healthy and lean body, despite all the conflicting information on eating multiple small meals. As a recovering snacking addict, I am a big believer of the French model of three square meals plus a “gouter” between lunch and dinner. My clients and I have seen a significant improvement in blood sugar balance once we ditched the constant eating. And unless your full attention is on your meal, the necessary body chemistry and satiety signals necessary for proper digestion and avoid over-eating.
  2. Eat real food and don’t drink your calories. Real food is what your great-grandmother would recognize as food. French women don’t sweeten things with fake sweeteners. They use real fats. They eat vegetables. They eat full fat dairy products. Real food means shopping more frequently, finding local food providers like farmer’s markets, farmers, butchers, fishmongers. It may mean (yikes!) spending more money on food. Why do we shy away from spending more money on quality food but don’t mind dropping $5 for a fancy coffee? French families eat out far less frequently than Americans do. Perhaps we should reallocate some of the eating out and Starbucks budget on real food?
  3. Get cooking! Once you clean up your body and taste buds of junk and highly processed food, you can really start tasting and appreciating fresh ingredients, which in turn sparks an interest in cooking. French households usually have two working parents, yet they manage to make home-cooked  meals every night. Success in cooking with a busy life is all about the right plan and the right strategies. The French don’t eat out as much as Americans do, favoring instead high quality ingredients.
  4. Eat mindfully and slowly. This one is probably the hardest for me. I am always the first one done with my meal when I visit my family and friends in France. However, this is the tip that can give you the most results IF you commit to work on it. Eating slowly and mindfully means better digestion, absorption, regularity, and less weight gain. This is probably the biggest gift you can give your body and yourself. You deserve it…after all, eating is not a sin, it’s a pleasure!
  5. Eat lighter at night. In France, lunchtime is the main event and generous in size, where as dinner is usually light (soups, salads, omelets, or a simple pasta dish). This makes for much better sleep, and the body can focus on repairing and regenerating instead of digesting. And as far as weight loss is concerned, just know that sumo wrestlers put on their pounds by consuming most of their calories before bed. Your body is a chemistry lab, and the strongest digestive efficiency happens around noon and is the weakest at night. Night time snacking will sabotage all efforts to lose weight.

Now you can easily benefit from putting a little French into your busy lifestyle, no trips to Paris required!

Open letter – It’s Not About Raw Food

Since I started my company two years ago, spurred by my own healing journey and my desire to help others on the same path, I realized that my services appeared to be all about raw food, detox, and health.

And while I DO offer detox programs and raw food coaching (because it works), I need to come clean here and let you know that I really don’t care about what you had for dinner, and whether or not it should be raw, include kale, or contain heathy fats.

Because from my very personal experience, raw food, vegan, paleo, or macrobiotic can only take you so far. Yes, a raw food diet and a lot of juicing ended my diagnosis of Hashimoto and thyroid disease, and brought me back to a more vital life. But it didn’t cure me, or change the fact that I have a gene mutation that gives me a run for my money almost on a daily basis. There are still many bad days among the glorious days, beyond what I do or do not eat.

Most people who run into me and are familiar with what I do immediately feel like they should justify their food choices, tell me how good they were today with making their green juice, or are quick to hide the month supply of Diet Coke in their car.

So I want to set the record straight here: I don’t care about what you eat.

I’ve come to realize that the real success in my business has nothing to do with how many programs I sell and everything to do with how many people actually COMPLETE them and continue to thrive and change much past the end date.

I have turned down many potential clients because they were so intense and obsessed with the “perfect” way to eat, creating so much stress in their bodies and lives that they were unable to really open their mind to the other parts of thriving and living a life you love. Not to mention that it doesn’t make for a fun family member!

The truth is that what a person eats is not the only key to how happy they are. I have met many people following very strict diets that were probably the most unpleasant and rigid souls out there.

Yes, I promote raw food because it works, will simplify your life, and can help you reach your goals faster and with less effort, but another juice detox isn’t going to change your life if you have failed over and over to change your habits, patterns, or beliefs.
It comes down to self-sabotage and an unwillingness to change, pure and simple.

I know. The most frustrating part of my quest to better health has been the realization that there is a very strong part of me who does NOT want to heal, who is looking for drama, and who thinks that life is not worth living. She won’t let me BE. I’ve known this unconsciously for a while, but watching this documentary
really solidified the knowing in a very painful way.

Your body will always offer you a way out, or an excuse not to live your life to the fullest, if you are looking for one.

There are many layers to addictions, unhappiness, disease, or emotions. Although an important one, food is only one of them.

That’s why raw food is only a small part of my work now, and the French lifestyle has taken on a bigger role. Everything is energy, either something feels good and energizes you into action, or it feels bad and sucks the life out of you.

By connecting back to YOU and what makes you feel super delicious, while eliminating resistance at the same time, is where the gold is. This is how you will meet confidence, success, and power. The rest is just a journey. It’s up to you to take the decision to be vulnerable, to be yourself, and have the courage to keep looking deeper for answers. And to ask for help.