Several times a day, I hear my partner ask our dog, “What do you need?” Each time telepathy relays the answer and a walk ensues, or lunch, or a rousing game of squeaky ball. I’m only human, so I started to feel a little resentful toward the dog, and wondered who was looking attentively after my needs.
Well whose job is that? (Hint: It’s not my partner’s, and when that’s what I think, I become resentful.)
After a little coaching, I remembered that it’s mine. It’s my job to be sure my needs are being met. So I started asking myself,
What do I need right now?
It’s incredible what a difference that little question makes! Not only are more of my needs being met, but I feel genuinely cared for and supported!
Eighty percent of the time the answer is water, so I hydrate. Often I just need a few minutes to catch my breath, so I allow myself to sit and breathe. Can you imagine?! When I need to catch my breath, I just sit and breathe for two minutes instead of feeling frustrated, and resentful that my needs are not being met, as I rush off to do whatever comes next.
It seems so simple, yet how often do we do it? How often are we checking in with what we need in this moment? The answer for most of us is not very often because our culture conditions us to think of that as being selfish, and regularly encourages us to put other’s needs before our own.
What we NEED shifts moment to moment and day to day, so it’s not going to be the same every time you ask/answer the question. And what we need is not always the same as what we want. We might want coffee to get us through the afternoon at work, but if we ask what we truly need and genuinely listen for the answer, we may find we need a twenty-minute nap, or a ten-minute walk outside, or a cup of herbal tea, or electrolytes.
What would it be like if we asked ourself this question once a day? Twice a day? All day long? What changes when we ask the question before reaching for a processed snack food? What will shift if we ask the question all week?
It’s possible we’ll feel more cared for and supported. It’s possible we’ll feel happier and more relaxed. We might even have more energy to give to the people and projects we’re passionate about. Truly tuning in to our body’s needs will reveal deeper wisdom that might be the key to finally reaching our ideal weight. We won’t know the vast extent of what’s possible until we try!
Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”
If it’s something simple like rest, water, or a bathroom break, give that to yourself! If it’s something bigger like a new career, you can ask, “what steps do I need to take right now to move in that direction?”
Coaching can help!
I offer the first TWO coaching sessions free of charge so you can see if coaching is right for you, and also see if I’m the right coach for you! If we’re not a good match, I have a long list of peers to whom I can refer you. You’ll walk away with at least one action step to move you toward your goal, so you have nothing to lose! Book your first session HERE.
Travel anxiety was about being unsure, uncertain. There was an unheard voice telling me about ALL the things that could go wrong! An unheard voice telling me that I will be alone and unable to handle whatever challenges come up.
But how fucking true is that?
Not at all! It’s not even a little bit true! Isn’t it interesting that I’ve always associated travel with anxiety? I love exploring new places and taking photos of coastlines, waterfalls and ancient cities that I have never seen before! But somehow I convinced myself that “getting there” (the ‘travel’ part of traveling) was fraught with danger, delays, mishaps and challenges.
Maybe it stems from the anxiety that my mother MUST have felt the first time I flew. I was six months old. My sister was two, and my mother traveled from Spain to Iowa with both of us, by herself, to attend her father’s funeral. Her stress level must have been palpable to an infant open to all the energies of the Universe, especially to her mother’s.
Maybe it stems from the time I was stranded in Chicago when I was eighteen and felt so utterly alone and powerless to help myself. Perhaps it stems from anxiety that has nothing to do with travel at all. Where it came from is not important.
Releasing the old story full of anxiety is crucial. By writing a new tale of thrilling adventure and ecstatic joy, I avoid the anxiety I experienced around traveling in the past.
My New Story
I feel so COMFORTABLE on any airplane! I am able to relax and sleep in any airline seat. The Universe handles all the connections with ease, and my job is to relax and enjoy the FUN interactions with people along the way! My experience includes friendly people, helpful airline staff, upgrades for no reason, fine food, and fluffy white pillows in a bright blue sky!
I look for reasons to smile, and find them everywhere. I look for interesting photos and snap them up wherever our feet take us. We experience only high quality foods that amaze and delight us whenever we travel! We even find amazing food in airports at whatever hour we are there.
Money exchange is easy and becomes second nature, just like booking ferry and train tickets in Europe. We explore everything we want to see and have energy to spare! We find undreamed marvels, and peaceful scenery down roads taken on intuition alone. We enjoy scheduled adventures, and also discover unexpected pleasures and treasured memories that elevate our vibration for decades!
I am married to amazement.
I am present, and enjoy every single moment. The rhythm of the airport thrills me. I feel joy and easy excitement. I know that I have all the skill and knowledge required to handle anything that comes our way. I know that I don’t have to handle any of it alone, because the Universe loves and supports me always. Whatever we need always flows to us. I can relax into faith. Faith in myself. Faith that the Universe always has my back. Faith that kind, helpful people will be sprinkled liberally (by my angels) throughout the travels we have planned.
Every face I see is the face of the Universe. The face of God/Mother Goddess. Source. Great Spirit.
Each and every person we meet is a face of the ever-supportive, fun & playful Universe – thrilled to have my back and flow to me any little thing I need.
If something does not go as planned, it’s not a mistake! It simply means the Universe has a better plan! I’ve made a LOT of plans for our travels because I adore planning. I savor the planning as a really fun way to manifest travel adventures, and to milk the excitement for much longer than the trip actually lasts. But I am not attached to my plans.
I am open to the guidance from the Universe that flows through my intuition. I won’t experience sadness if we don’t do something, or feel like we missed out. I will relish the opportunity to do something different instead, or nothing at all.
When I am present in the moment, I miss nothing!
I surrender the entire plan to the all-knowing Universe now. My only plan is to enjoy the unfolding, to be present, and savor each moment. Each and every moment is a gift to be opened in amazement! Even in the airports. Even on the airplane. Waiting in line for the ferry. All of it is a rich, delicious experience of which I intend to savor every beautiful, satisfying, vibe-raising moment.
I fucking LOVE travel.
What stories are you telling yourself that decrease your enjoyment? How true is that story? How would you LIKE to write the story?
When we struggle, we sometimes forget to reach for the tools that help us most. Example: We plan to go to yoga after work, but we have a challenging day and decide to sit on the couch and eat junk food instead of doing the yoga thing. Very NORMAL human behavior. But how helpful is it?
Yoga helps us relax and release stress. It raises our vibration. Eating on the couch actually depresses our energy (sugar and wheat do that, as do other types of junk foods). Our energy goes to an even lower vibration if we decide to beat ourselves up for eating the junk food instead of going to yoga.
All of my blog posts – EVERY tool that I offer, every growth-inducing question I pose – are designed to help YOU identify what raises your vibe.
FIND them. Make a list of ones that work for you. Use them every day, but especially when you don’t want to!
I know I have recommended this one before, but it raised my vibration so HIGH this morning, I decided maybe someone needed the reminder that Jill Lebeau and Amit West have a podcast that will blow your mind and open your heart.
Fear is a learned behavior, and one that humans practice ceaselessly. The more we practice fear, the more anxious, insecure, and fearful we feel. The more anxious, insecure, and fearful we feel, the more willing we are to buy whatever makes us feel safer, or more secure. The more anxious, insecure, and fearful we feel, the more willing we are to give up pieces of our freedom to feel safer, or more secure.
Can we ever be truly free when living in fear? Feel free to disagree, but I don’t think so.
The good news is that fear is a learned behavior!
If we learned it, we can unlearn it. We learned fear through repetition of fear-filled, worrisome thoughts. We can learn faith, and feel more calm, through repetition of calming thoughts that build faith – not religious faith, but faith in yourself. Faith that no matter what else happens, at least you can control your own energy, your own response to circumstances.
Now, there is no blog post anywhere that will move you from fear to faith, because like fear, faith requires daily practice over time. That practice will take many different forms for different people, but one of the best ways I have observed is practicing affirmations.
Create or adopt positive statements you believe and repeat them frequently when it feels good to do so. If the affirmation does not feel good when you say it, it’s not the right affirmation for your situation.
Affirmations are a simple tool that help millions of people feel better.
Guidelines for selecting or creating affirmations that work:
It must feel true. Keep it simple. Repeat it frequently – as often as you remember it and it feels good. Write it down and read it frequently. You may notice that I like to put my on pretty photos because the photos also help raise my vibe, but sticky notes around the house can be equally effective!
When you become aware that you are experiencing doubt, or fearful thoughts, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that nothing has gone wrong, your mind has simply reverted to the old practice and that’s to be expected! With more practice of positive-feeling affirmations, the fear and anxiety visit less and less frequently.
Freeing our minds from fear will take more than one tool, more than just affirmations. But affirmations feel good, they’re free, and it’s a really easy first step for lots of people.
What affirmation will help you move from where you are to where you would love to be? Here is a short list of links to long lists of affirmations to get you started:
It’s time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and put that beast in our rear view mirror. But before we put this bitch to bed, let’s remember that each of the challenges presented to us is another fucking golden opportunity (AFGO*) to expand our awareness (LEARN something). The more aware we become, the happier and more confident we feel, so we want to harvest these opportunities and not just run away as fast as the new calendar will carry us.
I challenge you to take stock of what happened for you this year.
Make a list of the golden fucking opportunities life handed you in 2020, and remind yourself what you have learned, what strengths you uncovered, and what energy you want to carry into 2021 with you.
2020 seemed like one long string of AFGOs. Am I right?
My partner got a cancer diagnosis. It’s curable and not for one minute did I experience any fear of losing him because my intuition is powerful and told me I would not lose him. However, I was unprepared for all the ways my life would change. Had you asked me six months ago if my relationship were codependent I would have laughed at you. I am FAR to independent for that shit. Or so I thought.
As it turns out, I depend on him for FAR more than I realized or was willing to admit. He does a million little things (that I appreciate IMMENSELY) that allow me my independence. His innumerable contributions allow me the freedom to “single-handedly” run three businesses, stay active, eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, live in a fairly neat home, and enjoy the companionship of the magnificent Captain Boscoe P. Jenkins who apparently does NOT walk, nor feed himself. Who knew?
AFGO for me in this was to move past some VERY limiting beliefs.
I had been telling myself, “Without him cooking for me, I don’t have time to eat healthy!” That belief opens the door to fast food, allergy foods, and eating habits that deplete my energy.
Due to the eating challenges presented by chemotherapy, we now have foods in the house that we do not normally buy. The myth of “not enough time” allows me to choose fast & easy over lovingly-prepared & healthy. If I am making a grilled cheese sammich because it sounds appetizing to him, why not save time and just eat one myself? (Because you are allergic to wheat and dairy, Cyndi!) He needs more support right now and I am delighted to be able to support him! So who has time to support me too?
But do I want my health to be dependent on him being here to cook nutritious meals for me? Do I want my health to be dependent on what’s fast and easy?
Nope. I sure don’t. So even though the day is coming when he will be cooking healthy, nutritious, delicious, amazing meals again for us – right now, I need to have my own back. So I have been spending less time blogging, and more time cooking for us. I choose to make two different meals when needed, even if it means something else goes undone.
My new mantra for 2021?
I intend to align my energy with my own healthy intentions first and allow the rest to fall into place. I’m putting health first!
How about you? If you feel like sharing the biggest challenge you transformed into opportunity, or your biggest gift from 2020, I would LOVE to hear about it! Leave it in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a list of all your fucking golden opportunities in 2020. Then identify the gift in each AFGO! What did you learn about yourself? How will you use those insights growing forward?
*My appreciation to my coach, Jill Lebeau for the acronym AFGO or Another Fucking Golden Opportunity.
The last six months have been challenging for all of us.
COVID 19 Quarantine Trapped indoors by smoky skies and raging fires Travel restrictions Canceled vacations Weddings postponed or socially distanced Reduced financial resources People we know sick, or dying Increasing tech stress ‘Homeschooling’ our kids The utter LACK of hugs in this world!
Not to mention any personal challenges your may be facing like sick pets, vehicle breakdowns, relationships ending, or health issues – other than pandemic viruses – that force you to expose yourself to situations that could allow you to come in contact with the virus.
Normally, I am a beacon of buoyant energy. One of my superpowers is seeing the opportunities in the challenges, knowing there IS purpose to the apparent madness, and keeping my balance despite what’s going on in the world or my life.
However recently I have been feeling the heaviness of it all. “Golden Fucking Opportunities” (GFOs) for growth have been raining down around me. I have a travel addiction. Travel opportunities feed my soul. So far this year we have canceled nights in Monterey, Yosemite, and Burney Falls, and weeks in Colorado and Arches National Park. It helped me to know that I am NOT the only one who had to cancel travel plans. I am not alone in this. We are all canceling plans, and adjusting to our own set of GFOs. But then I found out that we have to postpone our trip to Hawaii (booked since February) and don’t have any way to know when we will get to go. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
Suddenly it was ALL just too fucking much. Hawaii had been my carrot through all the other challenges, so when they took that from me too, I hit the wall.
In the past
In the past when I hit a wall emotionally, my world would go black and I would crawl under my blankets for days or weeks. I would beat myself up telling myself I didn’t deserve fun, travel, happiness, or even love. I would open the dark umbrella thought of “who cares?!” which lead me repeatedly to eat damaging foods, stop working out, and to thinking even more emotionally draining thoughts! In the past I would lie there wondering WHY I felt so shitty, and why the world hated me and was being so mean to me.
And who could blame me? Given that set of circumstances, anyone could want to react that way.
But now I know better.
Therapy and coaching have helped me discover how energy draining that old behavior is, how depleting, stress-inducing and disease causing.
So last week when I hit the wall, I asked myself, “Cyndi, what do you need to feel better right NOW?”
1- Knowing what I need has made a huge difference in my life. 2- Allowing myself to do what I need is THEE difference in my life.
Ever since I learned that what I was doing was NOT working for me, I have been on a quest to become aware of what DOES work for me.
Some of the things I have learned are: Having something to look forward to is CRUCIAL to my state of mind. Talking to my coach ALWAYS lifts my energy exponentially. Getting a massage ALWAYS releases stress.
Rather than spiral into darkness like I would have in the past: 1 – I texted my fabulous coach, Jill Lebeau, and moved up my session. 2 – I scheduled a massage for my day off. 3 – I decided that I would schedule some travel or go stark raving mad.
Despite travel restrictions and the great inability to determine what the fuck the pandemic or politics will bring next, I have been planning my next trip to Croatia for almost a year now. I couldn’t know when it might happen, I was just having fun dreaming of all the places we will visit when it DOES happen. I’ve been watching ticket prices for months and they have been pretty steadily priced around $1,300. That’s less than the last time we flew to Europe, but I was convinced I could get a better price than that!
Monday morning I decided that I didn’t care WHAT bargain rate I might get later. I knew without doubt that if I had airline tickets for my dream vacation in hand, I would feel buoyant again, and all my challenges would morph back into opportunities. I decided that I would just PAY the $1,300 fare. We have been saving for this trip, so we already had enough saved for the two tickets.
It would be worth paying full price just to feel better!
The instant I had that thought, my spirit lightened immensely!
I pulled up searches of all my favorite airlines, checked different cities to fly into, tried different hubs to fly through, looking for the best deal available and the most AMAZING thing happened. I found a fare on a reputable airline, with reasonable travel times for less than $800 round trip for each of us. YES! I checked all the details a second time, then booked the tickets.
Then I had a dance party in my living room.
I was SO right! My energy popped back up like a cork I had been holding under water. Suddenly my energy was vibrant and flowing. At my coaching session, instead of my coach helping me out of a dark place where I had gotten stuck (as would have happened in the past), I was telling her about the miraculous return of my energy, and increased capacity to support others through the MANY golden fucking opportunities that are happening all around us! I knew without a doubt what my soul needed to shine, and I didn’t hesitate to give it to myself. Some might think it selfish, but that bit of self-care was crucial to my emotional wellbeing, and paid off tenfold!
My coach wisely pointed out that deciding to spend the full price because I deserved to feel better embodied an abundance mindset, and that vibration of abundance allowed me to attract the super low fare on a high-quality airline.
And now, I feel INCREDIBLE, nearly invincible! I am manifesting what I truly desire by trusting my KNOWING about what I need, and allowing that to outweigh the financial consideration. I feel far more able to focus on my life and my clients.
Did all my challenges/opportunities just go away? Hell no!
But the things that frustrated the crap outta me a couple days ago seem like nothing more than minor irritants now. They seem far more like opportunities than challenges.
And burdens that had felt unbearable – the unexpected death of a beloved pet, a best friend facing months of chemotherapy – became at least manageable, and I am able to remember that, in time, even these burdens will reveal gifts for us.
Am I saying that if you are struggling with GFOs you should plan a trip to Croatia? Maybe. If that’s what turns YOU on. Heavens no, if you don’t enjoy travel.
What I am saying is that when the world seems to be crumbling around us it’s extremely beneficial to know what it is YOU need.
Then allow yourself that. ALL of that.
What works for you? What person, place, thing lifts your spirits no matter what? How can you allow yourself more of that? What’s holding you back from allowing more of that in your life? What will change for you when you allow yourself more of what feeds your soul?
Recently one of my clients expressed an apprehension to look forward to anything with eager anticipation, or visualize her ideal outcome for fear the actual outcome will fall short of her desire and disappoint her. She is certainly not alone! I mean, why get your hopes up just to have them dashed?
Actually, many of my clients, family and friends have expressed these same kind of thoughts. They are afraid to imagine the outcome they desire for fear it will not manifest, and then they will feel a sense of loss or disappointment. Yet, some of them also seem perfectly happy to imagine the WORST that might happen. They invest time and energy worrying what might happen, what could go wrong, what others might think. The stark image of whatever they are imagining failure looks like is vivid as a movie screen in their minds.
This kind of imagining allows us to feel the exact emotions we are afraid we might feel if we envision success and don’t achieve it! We actually practice feeling the emotions we want to avoid like guilt, anxiety, grief or disappointment in advance. Instead of avoiding them, we create them, perpetuate them, and cling to them.
It’s the story we’re telling in our head causing the emotions, right?
Because the thing we are fearing or dreading is still in the future! Hasn’t even happened yet, but we are willing to mold this incredible energy-draining story around it that ends in disappointment and failure.
How much does this resonate for you? Sound familiar at all? If it does, you are not alone!
What would shift for you if instead of following the storyline to the worst possible conclusion, you allowed yourself to follow the storyline to the most beautiful outcome you can imagine?
Stick with me for a minute, because I can still feel your energy protesting that if you imagine that beautiful image, and don’t get your imagined outcome, your heart will break and you will be forced to endure heartache and disappointment.
Did you see that catch 22? By avoiding imagining positive outcomes in order to avoid disappointment, we instantly create disappointment. Crazy, right?
The key then is to follow the storyline you are creating in your head to the BEST outcome you can imagine, then don’t attach yourself to the outcome.
Allow yourself to dream the biggest dream you have – and feel the satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment of standing in the moment of achieving it – and then remember that yours is only one scenario in a million possibilities. The Universe may have something even BETTER in mind for us than anything we can dream.
Often we identify what we want, but instead of continuing to focus on WHAT we want, we try to figure out HOW to get it, and that’s where we get sideways.
Imagining the moment of achieving your dream and allowing yourself to feel the satisfaction of it, tells the Universe you are ‘open to THIS please’ and things that feel like THIS. Then your energetic frequency is vibrating in harmony with what you want, and the Law of Attraction brings you things that match your vibration.
The trick is to imagine the best possible outcome we can, and then:
1) realize that it’s NOT the (lover, home, job, whatever) that we desire. It’s the way the (lover, home, job, whatever) makes us FEEL that we truly desire. 2) remember that the Universe can imagine INFINITELY more ways to make us feel that way than we can. Certainly more than the one scenario we created in our mind.
This FREES us from attachment to any outcome.
And it’s certainly more FUN than just not thinking about what you would LOVE to create (today, next week, next year, in 5 years, ten…) because you don’t know HOW it’s going to happen for you. Just imagine you WILL get to feel the way you truly want to feel. And if you are envisioning it and vibrating what it feels like to receive it, you are already feeling what you truly want to feel!
Envisioning the outcome we desire is a great way to speed up manifesting that desire – like a supercharge. If we don’t allow ourselves the pleasure of envisioning that manifestation, we slow the rate at which our desire can manifest. But once you put the energy out there, be open to however the Universe chooses to deliver your desire!
Sit back, chill out, and allow the Universe to surprise and delight you!
What do you most want to manifest? How will you feel when you manifest your desire? How do you feel when you think about achieving that desire? How possible is it to let go of the outcome and trust that the Universe is delivering that or something better? Which feels better to you; reciting the mantra, “I will win the lotto this weekend!” or one of the two affirmations below? Why?
Embracing positive expectations, and letting go of attachment to outcomes is something I help my clients do every day.
If you need some help sorting out the specifics of your expectations and attachments, schedule a free 20 minute chat with me and walk away with at least one actionable step to help you move toward whatever you truly desire!
Breathing itself is a superpower, because that’s what inspires life. Literally. Without breathing, we cease to exist. Powerful!
Yet many people pay little or no attention to what’s happening with their breath. Our lungs function without any conscious attention or effort on our part, so most of us take our breathing for granted.
What if I told you that becoming aware of our current breath pattern, then consciously choosing to shift our breath allows us to harness that superpower?
Try it right now. Stop reading and take a long slow deep breath.
What shifted for you? Likely what shifted is that more of your energy is here, now, which means more of it is available to you. Focusing on the breath brings us into the present moment.
There is a Hindu belief that says the number of breaths allotted to us in a lifetime is predetermined, and that we can delay the time of death by regulated breathing. Read more on that here and learn some breathing techniques to lengthen your life!
Shifting breath is a helpful first step in processing our emotions.
It’s pretty well documented that we can change our breath pattern to disrupt negative emotions and change our mood. Deep, slow breathing into the belly is strong medicine for anxiety, fear and anger. Expectant mothers take classes in how to shift their breath so they are better prepared to face the pain and endurance required during childbirth. Athletes focus on breathing practices to help reduce fatigue and promote stamina. I used to suffer from severe travel anxiety and changing my breath was the best tool I found to curtail it in the moment.
I encourage clients to take a deep grounding breath as soon as they realize they are experiencing any emotion they do not wish to feel. It’s the pause that gives us just enough space to choose how we wish to process the emotion. Focusing on our breath can be a powerful first step in shifting old behavior patterns, or trying to break a habit.
This article in Psych Central talks about a study that indicates that emotions may be caused, at least in part, by the way we breathe!
A shift in breathing is a shift in energy, and often allows a calmer perspective when we find ourselves in chaos. We can use breathing to decrease stress, calm nerves, sharpen focus, minimize negative thoughts, and increase energy!
Like I said, Superpower!
How much attention do you pay to your breath?
What is your normal breathing like?
How do you feel when you slow and deepen your breath?
Try inhaling deeply, then exhaling forcefully when you are experiencing an emotion you do not enjoy. What shifts for you?
Explore different breathing techniques on YouTube. Which ones appeal to you?
I used to think it was NORMAL to put on 5-10 pounds during the holidays. I told myself it was no big deal, everyone does it, I’ll drop the weight later.
Sometimes I did. More often I gave up. I grew heavier as years passed.
Two years after I got sober I was using food like a drug and weighed over 220 pounds. I would eat like I could NEVER get full, even when I was full, then restrict my calories ridiculously, and try to lose the weight as fast as possible.
I beat myself up for the extra weight I was carrying, scolding myself, causing increased stress, which caused me to eat more and gain weight, for which I scolded myself. I felt ashamed for being so WEAK that I turned to food for comfort. That caused MORE stress and MORE eating to numb those feelings.
That was my pattern for over a decade.
My chiropractor told me that my debilitating pain was caused by inflammation in my lumbar spine, and that inflammation was caused by inflammatory foods. He did not say what foods were inflammatory, but I cleaned up my act and stopped eating so much sugar, at least for a little while. As soon as my back felt better, I went back to eating whatever I like. Then I woke up one morning with half my face paralyzed. The medical doctors had a name: Bell’s palsy, but no idea what caused it or what to do for it. They told me the symptoms could last for as little as three weeks, or be permanent. They had no way to know.
The palsy symptoms have slowly improved over time, but have never gone away completely. Several months after the onset, I read a book that suggested that palsy symptoms might be due to inflammation. That got me to thinking about inflammatory foods again.
I knew that some of the foods I was eating were damaging my health, and that the medical community was of no help. I decided to start looking for a naturopath hoping that she might be able to help me.
I searched for a naturopath for months before finding one completely by accident. In early October, I was driving home from the beach and pulled over to stretch my legs. When I got out and walked around the sidewalk there was her sign. I should have made an appointment right then, but I took a picture of her sign with her contact information and filed it away.
I really wanted to talk to someone about those lingering palsy symptoms, but I knew without a doubt from the center of my being that she was going to tell me to change the way that I was eating.
I made a conscious decision that I was not willing to give up sugar and treats until after the holidays, so that I could eat whatever I liked and enjoy myself without feeling restricted or left out.
I put it on my agenda to make an appointment with the naturopath early in the new year.
That holiday season I ate like a fiend. Everyone knows if you’ve got a diet coming up you double down on calories, right?
Between Halloween and Christmas that year, I gained 20 lb. When January came I was miserable. My energy was depressed. I wasn’t working out. I had night sweats that soaked my sheets. I was ashamed of the way I looked. I didn’t like the way I felt. I was nauseous most mornings. I was hungry all the time, and I was heavy with shame.
Of course I forgot about calling the naturopath right away, and in early February, I awoke one morning with pain in my intestines that I was certain would kill me. I was really sick. And I was scared. I had a panic attack, and my blood pressure rose off the charts.
I went to the hospital, and got no answers, and no warm fuzzy feeling the answers were coming. Then I remembered that I was going to call that naturopath. So I did.
At our first appointment she told me that she suspected food allergies. She did a blood test, and put me on an Elimination Diet that excluded all the foods known to be troublemakers for two weeks while we waited for the results. I had no problems whatsoever sticking to the eating plan because the pain was an all-too-real indication that there was something seriously wrong with me and I needed to make some changes. Digesting HURT, and I didn’t’t eat anything but produce for nearly two weeks.
When the food allergy test came back, it told me something I had long suspected. Dairy is not my friend. In fact, the food allergy test showed that I am allergic to dairy, sugar, and wheat.
I thought my life was over.
The idea of living without dairy and wheat seemed impossible, restrictive, and heinous. As far as I was concerned the perfect diet was bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, quesadillas for lunch and pizza for dinner. Everyone knows the perfect hiking food is a big hero sandwich loaded with cold cuts and cheese. This is the reason I hadn’t gone to see her in October!
But, I knew that my health was in serious trouble. My body was giving me very clear messages about that. It needed to make changes in what I was eating.
So I stopped eating dairy, wheat and sugar.
And guess what? Not only did I feel better right away, and start to see improvements in the symptoms I had been experiencing within a week, I started to see improvements in things I had not related to food. My skin cleared up. The Eczema on my ankles and elbows went away. The night sweats vanished. My energy level increased tremendously. I started sleeping better, and my libido returned.
By the time my birthday arrived in June, I had dropped 50 lb without doing a single workout. The only change I made was to lose the dairy, wheat, and sugar. It was like a miracle. I had been trying to drop excess weight my entire life.
Sugar In The Wound
Despite my triumph, when stress began to increase, or I was pressed for time, I headed back down that well worn path to the comfort of food, and the ease of wheat and dairy foods.
I mean salads, REALLY, who has time for all that chopping?! Am I right?
Just two weeks before my first vacation to Europe, I was SICK again. I put myself on the elimination diet and called my naturopath. This time I got a diagnosis of SIBO. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is no joke. I was sick at least part of nearly every day of my European vacation. I lost 10 pounds the first 5 days we were there. Horrible, miserable intestinal symptoms. We still had a fabulous time, we simply had a lot of challenges along with the fun.
It was after that trip that I realized that dairy and sugar had become my new booze. At the time, I actually had many thoughts about being powerless over sugar. I told myself things like: “I can’t pass up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, I can’t resist free candy, Halloween is my favorite holiday, I can’t leave any cookies for later, If it’s in the house I have to eat it.” And I knew with every cell in my body I didn’t have the power to pass up cheese on a buffet table.
That kind of conviction will override healthy intentions every time! I had these mantras in my head that blocked my success despite my overwhelming desire to regain my health. I felt like I must be crazy!
Even though I lived through evidence in my own life that proved this eating pattern makes me sick, miserable, and unable to enjoy my life, I returned to it again and again when I was feeling stressed or lonely!
Even though I suspected long before my naturopath told me that I was allergic to cheese because of the way I craved it – just like alcohol – I returned to it whenever I was upset, AND whenever I felt like celebrating. It was truly a deadly double edged sword.
Even though I had experienced hangovers from overeating just like I did from over drinking, if I was stressed or upset when I walked into an event with free food, I was almost guaranteed to overeat even when I told myself I wasn’t going to do it.
But after Europe, I was finally ready to admit that I needed to make changes. I wanted to feel energized and healthy.
I knew I had to make changes, but in my experience, I could not eat a little or I would end up eating a lot. I had learned that with my addictive foods, it was ALL of it, or none of it, so I restricted myself completely. That year at Christmas, I ate ZERO goodies. I avoided parties and gatherings as much as possible so I wouldn’t screw up. I didn’t make my usual holiday candies or cheeseballs. The entire family complained. I didn’t buy candy to put into stockings. I shot resentful looks at people enjoying holiday goodies. I was miserable, resentful and I felt left out, but by golly, I had my food addiction under control.
How many of you think that lasted? By Halloween that year, I was sick again.
Turned out that being aware that I needed to change was a great start, but I still didn’t have the whole picture. I was trying to resist the food cravings with willpower alone, and my willpower eventually ran out.
I was so tired of the weight roller coaster, the night sweats, the inflammation, the achey joints, that powerless feeling I got around chocolate. I was sick of it all.
Worse than that, I was tired of letting myself down! I felt trapped in an vicious cycle of wanting healthy change, planning to make those changes, and then not following through. It left me full of self-doubt and lacking self-confidence!
I felt like I was spinning out of control, like I was powerless over food, like I would never figure it out. And right in the middle of my turmoil, my normally helpful and supportive partner brought home a couple of bricks of cheese from the grocery store.
Why would he do this? He knows I can’t eat dairy! He knows I am sick! He obviously knows I can’t resist it. He knows this will end up on my burger and he doesn’t care! I wanted to eat ALL of it because – who cares?
I clearly heard the voice in my head say, “I care.” Who cares what he brings home? He’s not forcing me to eat it.
And like a ton of bricks it hit me.
Esther Hicks and Abraham tell a wonderful story about getting tabasco in your pie. Just because the tabasco is in the kitchen does NOT mean it will get in your pie. The only way the tabasco gets in your pie is if YOU put it in your pie.
SAME with the cheese, Cyndi! The only way the cheese gets in your pie hole is if you put the cheese in your pie hole!
I had NOT been taking responsibility for what I was eating.
I had been refusing to take responsibility for what I was eating by pretending to be powerless over certain foods. I was giving away my power by clinging to the belief that if certain foods were available, I HAD to eat them. I was pretending that I could not control myself around sugar and dairy, when in fact, I am the ONLY one who can choose my actions. I was simply choosing to give in to temptation and pretend it wasn’t my fault, that it wasn’t my choice, that in fact – I was powerless to change the foods I was eating.
EVERYTHING changed for me with that simple realization.
I took the steps I needed to take to STOP overeating, and stop eating foods I am allergic to, foods that cause harm, inflammation, and all kinds of health problems.
I’ve learned to navigate the holidays without spiraling into stress and overeating, and I’ve developed a process to help clients do the same!
Is your body ready for some healthy changes?
Join me for my first masterclass to explore these key questions:
● Why do I overindulge even when I tell myself I won’t? ● What’s kept me from achieving my health goals in the past? ● Why do I backslide into old behaviors when I’m stressed? ● How can I reduce holiday stress that leads to stress eating? ● Is it possible for me to avoid weight gain during the holidays? ● How can I stay motivated during the holidays? ● BONUS – How can I indulge a little bit without overindulging?