OMG, I'M HOSTING A COACHING EVENT!
This is so scary. And awesome. And scary.
I'm so excited to share that the first ever YES! coaching event is HAPPENING!
It took a lot to get here... so let me backtrack.
About two years ago, I had a life changing realization. I always been really tough on myself-- putting myself down, following the negative voice in my head, doubting my abilities. For years, I sought to boost my self-worth by measuring myself based on how many exciting plans I had in the future, how many friends I had, how skinny I could be, or how well I could do at work. I thought that this was just par for the course for Type A perfectionists. I thought there would always be something 'wrong' with me.
I tried lots of different things to 'fix' myself: therapy, nutrition counseling, medication, meditation, devouring books. And nothing really stuck in a meaningful way until I started working with my first life coach. If you're anything like I was then, you're thinking to yourself "what the $#%^ is life coaching?"
Which is why I'm writing today. Coaching changed my life in the most positive of ways, and it was very unexpected. I had no idea what coaching was or how to take part in it. I'm lucky to have had a soul-seeking bestie introduce me to my first coach, Caroline. And I'm incredibly lucky to have parents who helped me to pay for the 'pricey for a twenty-something in NYC' sessions. Today, I'm a person who truly loves and believes in herself, who supports herself fully. I don't believe I'd have made such major shifts without coaching.
It's my mission to help change the paradigm about coaching: to make it more known, accessible, and affordable for anyone looking to up their game in life. I'm enrolled in a coaching training program called Mentor Masterclass, led by the wonderful Jeannine Yoder. My ultimate vision is to create a coaching model where people like you and I can drop in, without paying hundreds of dollars, and leave changed. And I'm calling it YES!.
My current coach and business cheerleader Alex Kip (he's also co-host of one of my favorite Podcasts!) has agreed to help me as we start to test what a drop in version of coaching could look like. So for our first event, Alex will be doing the coaching and believe me, it will be magical. He's a master of Tony Robbins-ian coaching, aka he will totally change the way you think. Consider this event a Beta Test, except one that will be super amazing and leave you feeling more in touch with yourself and ready to take on what it is you want out of life.
The first ever YES! coaching collective is happening!RSVP and more details can be found on our site, and please feel free to email me if you have questions!
Thursday, September 10th at 8p
The Caledonia (17th and 10th in Chelsea, NYC) (thanks Joe!)
Group coaching by Alex, happiness, and jams!
It is with an open heart that I share this with you, and hope that you'll appreciate my spamming of your inbox. If my story resonates with you and you want to learn more, by all means, let's chat! I would love it. And if you're in NYC, I'd love to have you there. I believe it will be a really special evening, and the start of something awesome.
In the words of that one wrestler.... YES! YES! YES!
p.s. I'm doing some free one-on-one intro coaching sessions. If you're interested, shoot me an email!
p.p.s. Need a promo code for our event? Lemme know!
I'm gonna get real about my relationship with food for a minute. Today, food and I are lovers and friends. But it wasn't always this way. In college, I really struggled with eating. This manifested itself in an incredibly restrictive diet, ocd amounts of exercise, and a short but real bout with bulimia. Which was really, really not okay. And hard to get over. But with lots of work and honesty and resources, I got through it. I realized I had a problem, and that I didn't want to feel uncomfortable and anxious and gross and unhappy with my body all the time. I wanted to change, I went on a journey, and eventually I did. It all came down to not feeling good about myself, and wanting to control my personal perceptions of "good enough" by being the skinniest person in the room or at least feeling "in control" of my weight. Not quite the best way to define your self worth (UNDERSTATEMENT).
Seven years later, I'm so, so grateful to be in a much healthier and more balanced place in my life. I never thought I'd say this, but I rarely struggle with eating fears anymore, though body image issues still creep every once in a while.
I feel better than I ever have in my own skin, I exercise in moderation, and I eat basically whatever I want (though I try to be pretty healthy most of the time).
Which leads me to today's post on incorporating more nourishing foods into my diet.
How are these things connected?
In college, I was incredibly restrictive when it came to food. I was all about low fat, low calorie. I started using only skim milk, I thought lean cuisines and diet coke were the jam, and I would inhale cereal and baked lays or 100 calorie packs of shitty snacks like it was my job. If it was low-cal, it was a-ok. I had brain-washed myself in a big way.
I knew that what I was eating was pretty empty food, but at the time I thought that it was what I was supposed to be doing. My friends were eating similarly, low cal/no cal was still all the rage, and I didn't really care as much about my health as I cared about being thin. The result was a really terrible way to live.
Over the following years, I basically had to let go of my food obsession and learn to allow myself the freedom to make choices and eat real food again. I had to ward off of all restrictions. I worked with a nutritionist to learn which foods were healthy and nourishing and which weren't, but I found that what worked for me at the time was not overly obsessing about any one thing. I had to learn to let go of food habits and rituals and crazy planning and dieting. And I did it.
The only thing that continued to nag at me was that as a result, I became afraid of making any major changes to my diet. I was afraid to do anything that could translate itself in restriction, comparison, and ultimately spiral back into fear.
This year I've been working really hard on body image, thanks to some amazing guidance and tools provided by Caroline, and I feel the strongest I ever have. Not only that, I have started to really crave nourishing foods and to crave kicking chemicals, etc. I've started to make some small, healthy tweaks to my diet that are not limiting, but rather things to add in or swap in when I feel like it. I'm in no way restricting, and still letting myself eat whatever I feel like.
Instead, I really feel like I'm listening to my body and what it wants to thrive.
Here are a few of the things I'm working on incorporating or eliminating:
- Cutting out caffeine- Caffeine was a really tough one for me. For years I've had a HUGE coffee or two in the morning at work, and felt like I couldn't get to lunch without it. Then, I'd have one or two diet cokes. Now, I have a tea in the morning, sometimes with a small bit of caffeine, and no more diet cokes. It was super tough at first, but I feel so much less anxiety and more alive. It feels great to shake that dependence.
Adding in more greens- whether through adding in spinach when I'm making dinner or throwing some kale into a smoothie, I'm trying to get in as many new greens as possible.
- Finding more nourishing breakfasts- I'm a fan of cereal, but it may be the least nutritious meal out there. I wanted to find an option that actually made me feel like I was fueling my body. Lately I've been turning to gluten-free oatmeal with chia seeds, cinnamon, and some fruit. Today, I made my first mason jar steel cut oats.
- Swapping in brown rice or quinoa pasta- Italian cooking is huge in my family and I'm no exception. I've been doing whole grain pasta for a while, but recently was turned on to the idea of cutting out unnecessary gluten by trying alternative pasta types. Turns out, they're just as good! And they make me feel better.
- Whole Milk- this is a really tough one for me as it's been ingrained in my mind that skim milk is the only way to go if you want to be fit. But, since I've been eating healthier breakfasts, I have been using less milk and trying to just put a bit of whole milk in to cut down on hormones and processing. So far, so good.
For me, it's all about small, simple changes and moderation. I'll still have plenty of days where I eat regular pasta, or have cereal for breakfast because I feel like it. But I feel great knowing the foods that I'm choosing are contributing to my well being in a big way.
And it feels amazing to have kicked such a big food fear in my life.
P.S. it's tough for me to talk about my past eating disorder, but it's also incredibly important to me to be honest, vulnerable and to own my story. If you or someone you know is looking for help, here are a few incredible resources that helped me:
I received this email this morning from the lovely Jamie Greenwood, and it really speaks to a theme that I'm finding myself facing at the moment. She wrote:
“Just tell me!”, I pleaded.
“I can’t, my love. There’s no more thinking to be done,” she said.
“No really,” I begged. “There must be a structure, an outline, a plan to follow. Others have come before. There must be a right way!”
“Yes,” she said, “Others have. And the “rightness” of their path, as with each, is personal. Not universal.
“You must venture out. Test. Play. Slow. Sprint. Feel. Open. Pray to the heavens fall to the ground come up with nothing and go again, until the foundation under your feet firms until the light rims the clouds as bright, golden thread, until you weep and laugh, together, for nothing and everything, until the voice, your divine voice, rises from the shelter behind your sternum, golden itself to say, ‘I’ve been waiting for you. Take my hand, my dear, and we’ll travel together the rest of the way.’
“And when will THAT happen?” I pressed.
“When you trust,” she said.
I think we all know that feeling: the challenge of WAITING for the thing you most desire to happen to you. Whether it seems that life keeps putting mountains in the way of achieving it, or you just feel like you lack control, it can be one of the most uncomfortable experiences life throws at us.
Most of my adult life has felt like an endless waiting room in line for my own personal 'white whale': the love of my life. And as time goes on, it's easy to replace what was once hopefuly exuberance with fear and impatience. I'm fearful of never finding the deep, lasting love I crave. I’m afraid if I don’t, my life will be perceived as a failure- by myself, and by my peers. I'm afraid that I'm not doing enough, doing too much, and am generally unable to move myself forward.
In that fear, I feel powerless and volatile, easily thrown back and forth from faith to fear by external circumstances.
But despite my struggles with patience, I'm beginning to realize that it isn't giving up or losing. It's trusting in grace.
Last week I went to see an astrologer with co-workers, an outing that we had planned for "fun." The two women who went with me are both solidified in deep, close-to-married relationships with their partners, and their chart readings matched up to that quite neatly. Mine, however, felt like a setback. The astrologer opened my charts and immediately asked me if I was single. After a series of concerned clucks, she mentioned that my "7th house of relationships" is plagued by Uranus until 2018, meaning that I will essentially not find a committed love until then. "I used to curse and curse and curse Uranus," she cried. "but, better than to start a marriage that will end in divorce." She encouraged me to work on myself (umm... haven't I been doing that already?), and to watch out for people who aren't who they say they are. Great.
To say this news wasn't thrilling is obvious.
I felt at once both vindicated (ah, so this is why my ex wouldn't commit!) and terrified (I have to wait four years to meet the one?! I'll be 31!). My trust in the universe shattered.
I felt myself on the verge of complete panic at times. The universe was CONSPIRING to keep me from finding a mate until 2018. I was a victim! It wasn't fair. How could I survive in "unconventional" relationships, or worse, ALONE, for four more years?!
Then I realized... I have a choice. Well, two choices in this case.
1. I can choose my beliefs.
I can choose to believe the astrologer's unhappy news. I can choose to believe that I am powerless to the universe. I can choose to be completely and utterly afraid that the next four years of my life are going to be difficult in love.
OR- I can have faith. I can believe in my own personal power, and the power of the universe to support me in my intentions. I can go inward rather than defining my belief system by what others say.
2. I can let patience flow through faith and grace.
I can fight against my own impatience and continue to berate myself for not finding love yet.
OR- I can trust that love is coming, and find pleasure in the patience. I can let go of fear and worry that I'm not deserving of amazing love as I am. I can love myself fully and commit to the belief that a wonderful and loving relationship is coming to me, guaranteed.
It's EASY to believe in what other's tell you.
It's BRAVE to choose to believe in your story and to put trust and faith in yourself.
So today, I choose not to believe in what the astrologist said.
I choose to believe in love.
I choose to have faith.
I choose to trust in me, and in a higher power that leads me to bliss each day.
Not in some limitations imposed by my birth coordinates and planetary... stuff. Not fear of the unknown. And certainly not fear of what others want me to believe.
I trust that when it happens, whether in one year or four or ten, it will have been for a real, true, and positive reason. It will be part of the perfect path of my life.
It's no secret that as women, we all have a chip on our shoulders about our body image. Some chips are larger than others, and mine have been gargantuan at times. I've worked really, really hard to get to a healthy place with how I feel about my shape and size, and I would say at this point, I'm happy with who I am and how I look 85% of the time. But, that other 15% can be BRUTAL. Most of the time that 15% comes into play when I'm feeling out of balance. When I'm tired, I suffer. As much as I like to go out and socialize as much as possible, if I don't give myself at least one night of me time and lots of rest, I feel out of sorts and less well equipped to fight the anxiety monster. The bottom line: when I'm cranky, I criticize myself. Sometimes it's really hard to maintain the balance, especially when I'm feeling pulled in 100 directions and don't want to let anyone, or myself, down. But taking a step back is crucial. And if I don't, I end up in a bad spiral, with that Mean Bitch in my Brain singing a chorus of "oh my goodness, my stomach looks bloated" or "oh man, I really need to put in a harder work out, I've been too easy on myself" or "my arm looks SO FAT in that picture!" And with that soundtrack playing, it's almost impossible to feel good about yourself.
I've come a LONG, LONG way. I exercise, but in moderation. I don't beat myself up when I miss a day at the gym. I speak kindly to myself, with loving eyes, as much as possible. I don't worry about dieting, but I integrate healthy foods that make me feel nourished without restricting myself entirely. I take time to be active in ways I enjoy, without a rigid "30 minute" limit: citibike, long walks, and soul cycle are three of my favorites. I fight the urge to compare my body to others. And I feel good, most of the time. But, every once in a while, I fall back into the Mean Bitch soundtrack. Last week was one of those once in a whiles.
Luckily, I was able to mostly shake it off, but I did notice something this morning that I think can be a helpful tool for women having an "I feel fat and I don't know how to stop criticizing myself" day, week, month, or even moment.
I'm in the midst of an E-cubed experiment that focuses on changing our tune when we wake up in the morning. If you haven't read E-squared or E-cubed, I highly encourage it! The books are an amazing example of the power we all possess, and our innate capacity for miracles. So today, I was extra mindful of my wake up routine -- and I noticed something KIND OF AWFUL. Each morning before getting in the shower, I do a quick "how do I look" evaluation on my body. I check to see how bloated I feel, how flat my stomach is looking that day, & anything else that I might be concerned about.
What I realized: Basically, I'm starting each day reinforcing my fears and concerns about weight gain. I'm continually emphasizing a limiting belief that skinniness is fleeting and can change at any moment, from one day to the next. And, I can tell you that the days I'm looking at myself with fear in my eyes, I'll find something to feel bad about. Why would I want to set the tone for my entire day this way?
Today, I instead started my day by saying "Thank You." I put on one of my favorite happy jams ("Classic" by The Knocks), I danced in the shower, I sang, I pumped my fists. I celebrated the joy of the day. And, I did my best to not feel the need to look in the mirror and make sure I hadn't gained 5 pounds overnight.
And I can tell you that today I feel like myself. I feel grateful, I feel fit, and I feel comfortable and happy.
And that's about as much as I can hope for.
The bitch has been silenced.