Listen to Your Body

As I explained in my post, Failed Fucking Fairy Tales,
there are no magic fucking beans.

There is no one right answer that fits every body. There is no food plan that is perfect for every human, no exercise prescription that suits every life, no one plan that will create the a healthy body/life for every person.  That’s why we can’t just read a book, follow all the guidelines, and create our body in whatever image we deem perfection.  If there were one right way to transform our body, that “way” would have been discovered and marketed for zillions.  

There are billions of dollars being made annually by diet systems, workout plans, and nutritional supplements, but have you noticed how different they all are?  Some say eat large amounts of protein, some dictate no protein at all.  Other diets are non-fat, while still others include healthy fats at every meal.  Some are effective for some people.  All of them claim to be the magic bean – the one system that works miracles. 

While it’s true that many of these methods may be effective for some – at least short term – how do we know which one works for us?

If you feel confused or frustrated around this topic, it’s with good reason!

What should I eat?  What exercise should I do?

These questions have been documented and debated to death for decades.  It’s no wonder so many people are confused about what works and what is hype!

So how do we do what is best for our health and our body?  If I have a goal to transform my body in some way, what is the best approach for me?

There is only one authority on your body and your health: YOUR Body.

If we ask the body what it needs and then listen, our body will clearly tell us what is beneficial and nourishing, and what is not.

This is a super simple technique, but it requires slowing down and being present.  In our fast-paced society where time is in short supply, we rarely do that.  But if you are telling me that some kind of transformation is your goal, slowing down and being present will allow you to find your way.  YOUR way, the way that most benefits you.  

The path to the healthy body you desire will not be found in books, but in slowing down and really listening to what your body says.  This takes practice, and patience, and time.

Elimination Diet – 

The elimination diet is one of the BEST ways to help people find out what is, or is not, working for their health and their body.  An elimination diet is NOT a diet meant to sustain us for life.  It is meant to be used over a few weeks to discover which foods we eat regularly are not serving our health.

The main thing I want to tell you is that NOTHING IS FOREVER.  Many people won’t try the elimination diet because they fear they will find out they are allergic to a food they love, and will have to give it up forever. 

Nothing is forever.  This is just an experiment to see how different foods nourish or deplete the body.  Even if you discover that you are allergic to something, you don’t have to give it up!  That’s a choice you get to make.  We make better choices when we are informed, so this is simply a way to gather information.

Think of the elimination diet as a playful experiment to uncover valuable treasure.  In this case, the treasure is information that allows us to make choices to improve our health and transform our body.  There are myriad reasons one may wish to undertake a playful experiment with the elimination diet.  Many kinds of digestive complaints are eradicated with an elimination diet.  Many people release all kinds of other issues including skin problems, headaches, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, sleep issues, low energy,  brain fog, and more!  Many people accept these issues as a normal part of life, when they may actually be caused by something we are eating regularly.  If you suffer with any of these, wouldn’t it be AWESOME to be able to stop the suffering?

The elimination diet is a very simple basic experiment that anyone can try without paying a dime.  Since it’s not profitable, we don’t hear about it.  It doesn’t have an advertising budget.  The elimination diet provides specific answers right for YOU.  Then, armed with body wisdom, you get to choose.

I will briefly discuss each step below, but I attach a PDF HERE from the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine that explains the details fully. 

Grow on!

Explore which foods enhance your life, and which foods are depleting your energy.

Step 1 – Planning
• Decide which foods to avoid, which to include.
Ask yourself a few key questions: 
– What foods do I eat most often? 
– What foods do I crave? 
– What foods do I eat to “feel better”? 
– What foods would I have trouble giving up? 
– What foods have I noticed symptoms of irritation when I eat them? (Runny nose, burning sinus, upset digestion, low energy, headache, etc.)
Make a list of the foods from your answers above, and any from the list below that your health care practitioner advises:
Foods problematic for many people:
Dairy
Gluten 
Soy
Corn
Eggs
Peanuts
Tree nuts
Citrus
Shellfish

The list you just made is your list of foods to avoid for 2 weeks.
Now make a list of foods you CAN include! 

Step 2 – Avoiding
Enjoy eating from the “Eat this” list.
Avoid foods on your “avoid this” list
• For 2 weeks, avoid the foods that may be causing issues.  Many people notice health symptoms improve in the first few days.

Step 3 – Challenging 
• If your symptoms have not improved in two weeks, stop the diet and talk with your health care practitioner about whether or not to try it again with a different combination of foods. 

• If your symptoms improve, start “challenging” your body with the eliminated foods, one food group at a time. As you do this, keep a written record of your symptoms. 

To challenge your body, add a new food group every three days. It takes three days to be sure that your symptoms have time to come back if they are going to.

Step 4 – Choosing
• Based on your results, choose which foods you want to continue eating, which foods to let go, and which foods you want to eat in smaller amounts.


If you would like further guidance in creating a sustainable way of eating, and a happy relationship with food and body, please, schedule a free 30-minute chat HERE to see if I’m the right Mind Body Eating Coach for you! 

Celebrate the Body!

Over my nearly 20 years as a massage therapist, I’ve seen hundreds of clients over nearly five thousand office hours.  I’ve seen every shape and size of body, but the one thing I’ve seen that every single body has in common is that it is truly a miracle, without doubt.  You may have forgotten that your body is a miracle, and if that’s true for you, you are in the majority, because most of us have.  

We forget about breathing because we don’t have to think about it.  Our miraculous lungs do that for us.  We do not have to think about making our heart beat, so it’s easy to take it for granted and forget that our entire form is a miracle.  When a baby is born – our children and grandchildren – we glimpse the miracle of human life, we may even remember that we are also miracles.  But days, weeks, months, years later we simply don’t think about it because we don’t have to.

Our miracle bodies often take enormous abuse and neglect before breaking down.  They support us 24/7 without ever stopping – even while we sleep – until they stop for good, then our Soul/Spirit/Energy moves on without the body.  The true essence of Who We Are moves on, and leaves the body like an astronaut stepping out of her spacesuit.

Our spacesuit supports life, so it’s worth taking care!  We care for all kinds of things; plants, kids, cars, pets.  If you own a home, you take care of it.  The body is no different!  It is the home for the physical experience of your eternal being.  Our body is supposed to be loved and nourished in return for all it gives us.  Our physical body is meant to be enjoyed while we are in it, and it’s so much easier to enjoy when it’s feeling great.

It’s super easy to fall out of the habit of self-care! 

I’ve been fascinated for years by something I have observed as both a massage therapist and a life/health coach.  I have observed that any time humans feel short on time or money, we let go of the things that serve us best to make space for the “have-tos” in life.  We focus on finances and chase work hours at the expense of our health.  We take care of parents or children, and let go of our own spiritual and physical needs.  Most of us assume that at some point things will calm down and we’ll get back to the yoga class or the spiritual practice when we have more time.

I invite you to celebrate your spacesuit NOW!  That miracle you’re wearing has been with you, supported you, given you life 24/7 since you arrived here.  I invite you to celebrate that amazing feat, that miraculous performance, that steadfast support, in whatever way feels satisfying to you!

Honor the temple that houses your eternal spirit in ways that elevate your spirit!

The following is a short/incomplete list of little daily acts that honor/celebrate/nourish the body.

Brush & floss teeth.
Wash hair.
Moisturize skin.
Eat slowly.
Choose foods that nourish YOU (different for everyone.)
Be present when you eat.
Rest. (Two ten minute relaxation periods a day do wonders.)
Hydrate. 
Soak in the tub.
Move in ways that feel good.
Make love.
Focus on breathing.
Get a massage/facial/mani-pedi.
Walk barefoot in the grass or sand.
Ask the body what it wants and LISTEN to what it’s saying. (MORE on this in my next post!)

Grow on!

Make a list of ways you are already celebrating your body.
Congratulate yourself for all the things you already do.  That’s awesome!
Look at the list above and pick one or two that sound really great to you.
Add them to your schedule and try them out.

Slow Food

Remember last week’s blog post when I talked about stress, the effects of stress on our body, and the difference between life stress and self-chosen stress? 

If not click this link to read all about it!


This week I want to talk about one self-chosen stressor in particular.  It’s insidious in our culture, and most of us are not even aware that it is a stressor!  

Are you a fast eater, a slow eater, or a moderately paced eater?

Ninety percent of people asked this question answered, “fast”.  And guess what?  Human biology interprets eating fast as being stressed.

Remember, we saw that constant low-level stress causes increased insulin, and increased cortisol which can lead to:

  • weight gain
  • inability to lose weight
  • inability to build muscle
  • decreased calorie burning
  • increased fat deposits at midsection
  • increased inflammation
  • gut microbiome die off
  • nutrient wasting
  • decreased energy
  • appetite deregulation
  • desensitivity to pleasure
  • decreased metabolism
  • decreased Thyroid function 
  • decreased oxygen uptake
  • poor sleep

Imagine how this affects us if we have a weight challenge, or body transformation goal!  Even if we are not pursuing a food and body goal, none of these optimizes our health.  It makes complete sense that we want to reduce stress whenever possible. 

If you answered that you are a “fast” or even “moderately paced” eater, then you have now identified a stressor that you can choose to get rid of!  Reducing stress always has positive benefits, so why wouldn’t we put some effort into slowing down with our food?

The main reason is because eating fast is a habit. 

Generally, until someone asks us this question, we never even consider our eating speed.  In fact part of the problem is that many of us never even consider our food! 

We may skip breakfast or grab a pastry at the coffee shop, then eat lunch at the desk or running between clients, then grab some take out on the way home for dinner.  If any of these behaviors sound familiar, then you have a golden opportunity to release some of the stress that you carry!

(Slowing down with food is also a first step in releasing patterns of bingeing, after-dinner eating, and overeating.)

If you are interested in trying to break the habit of eating fast, you have much to gain!  So what do you have to lose (besides stress)? 

Here are some other symptoms caused or exacerbated by fast eating which can also diminish or go away completely:

Eating fast is a habit.  Eating more slowly requires some effort because we are creating a new habit, and new habits take time. This is NOT about counting bites. This is about relaxing with food and increasing pleasure! This is about enjoying our mealtimes and boosting happiness. This is about being present, becoming aware & listening to our body.

Fast eating is a habit.

Slow eating is a habit worth cultivating.

Grow on!

If you want to release the stress of fast eating, start by coming to your meals in as relaxed a state as you can.  Try to eat somewhere quiet when possible, or at the very least not in an environment that feels stressful.  Don’t watch the news, and incorporate some music that relaxes you if that appeals to you.

Before you begin to eat, take two or three grounding breaths.  Allow your heart rate to calm, then turn your attention to your meal.  Be present with your food.  Savor the flavor.  Explore the textures on your tongue.  Really enjoy the relaxed time with your food.  Food is meant to be a satisfying pleasure.

If you are eating food you do not enjoy, ask yourself, “why?”.  Food is meant to nourish body, mind and spirit, and we absorb far more nourishment from food we enjoy than from food we do not enjoy.

If you generally take 5 minutes for your meal, try to make it last 10 or 15 minutes.  If you generally eat in 15 minutes, try to stretch that out to half an hour.

I hear you!  

Life is busy.  Sometimes, unfortunately, we might actually have only five minutes to eat.  We can still approach our meal in a more relaxed and calm manner.  If you truly only have a short time, make that time count.  Breathe deeply and relax.  Taste what you are eating.  Be present to the flavor and texture. 

Enjoy!


Find lots more information on the benefits of slowing down when we eat in this fabulous book by Marc David, the founder for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Stop Choosing Extra Helpings of Stress

The dictionary says stress is a state of mental or emotional tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

The dictionary is wrong.  How do I know?  Because stress is a feeling – an emotion – and the only place our emotions come from is from the thoughts we think.

Adverse or very demanding circumstances will absolutely cause some people to think thoughts that lead to feeling stressed.  Those exact same adverse or very demanding circumstances will cause others to think thoughts that lead to feeling exhilarated.

Our Thoughts create our Emotions, which drive our Actions.
We each brew our own TEA.

What Thoughts/Emotions/Actions am I conjuring?

Since this is absolutely true, we want to select our thoughts with great care and intention.  

Self-chosen stress vs normal, natural stress.

What is a “normal” or natural life stress?  These are stressors that we cannot control, like aging, health concerns, natural disasters, financial setbacks.  Those kinds of stress show up in every life, and Google can offer myriad advice on how to handle them.  I want to talk about optional stress – the stress we choose that is completely unnecessary – yet is often MORE damaging to our health and peace of mind than natural stress.

Self-chosen stressors include, but are not limited to:

  • negative self-talk
  • self body shaming & body hate
  • adopting weight loss strategies that are stringent & impossible to maintain
  • artificially controlling appetite
  • limiting a needed macronutrient such as protein, fat, or carbohydrates
  • believing we are unlovable, and will never be loved unless we lose weight or look different
  • trying to create an impossible-to-have body
  • unfavorably comparing oneself to others
  • believing we are alone in this world, or that the universe is against us

The list goes on, and is different for each of us.  When we choose these stressors, we live under a constantly higher level of stress than is necessary. 

Most of us have plenty of natural stress in life, so why would we choose this type of self-harming thinking?  We have been conditioned over a lifetime to choose these stressors. We didn’t make this stuff up.  We didn’t invent thinking negative thoughts about ourselves.  The world we live in trained that behavior into us, some more than others.

Other than the fact that stress feels crappy, why do we want to begin learning how to let go of these self-chosen stressors?  Constant stress causes increased insulin, and increased cortisol which can lead to:

  • weight gain
  • inability to lose weight
  • inability to build muscle
  • decreased calorie burning
  • increased fat deposits at midsection
  • increased inflammation
  • gut microbiome die off
  • nutrient wasting
  • decreased energy
  • appetite deregulation
  • desensitivity to pleasure
  • decreased metabolism
  • decreased Thyroid function 
  • decreased oxygen uptake
  • poor sleep

So how do we begin to let go of these self-chosen stressors?

Awareness is always the first step.
We cannot change it if we do not see it.

The Grow on! section below includes a way to begin cultivating more awareness around self-chosen stress.

Don’t beat yourself up for thinking stressful thoughts!  It’s a conditioned human behavior. Give yourself some grace, practice letting go of self-chosen stressors, and see what happens for yourself!

Grow on!

How does stress show up in your body?   
Write a physical description of how it feels when you are STRESSED about something. For some people it will include sweaty palms, or a racing heart. For others it might feel like a twist in the solar plexus or a kick in the gut. Whatever it is for you, take a minute to describe the physical sensations that arise for you when you feel stressed out.

Practice awareness by noticing these physical symptoms each time they show up. As you become aware that you are feeling your symptoms of stress – ask yourself what thought you were thinking that caused the symptoms. Then ask yourself if it is a life stress, or a self-chosen stress.

If it is something you are choosing to think/believe, what will it take to give self permission to let it go?

Reframing thoughts is a superpower that grows with coaching! 

If you are ready to let go of some of your self-chosen stress and need some help or guidance, I would love to chat with you! Click THIS LINK to schedule a free conversation to see if I am the right coach for you!

Be Your Own Best Friend!

Have you ever told your best friend that she looked fat in her outfit, or that she needs to drop a few pounds?  Have you ever looked your best friend in the eye and told her she should be ashamed of her body or her weight?  No?

Then why the fuck would you do it to You?

Have you ever looked at an infant with her chubby knees and thought, “I just can’t love someone with all that fat!”  I seriously doubt it.  

So why do we withhold love from ourselves, or shame ourselves for fat on our body?  Why would we hold ourselves to a higher standard of perfection?  How possible is it to love ourself the way we love our friends?

Hate does not help.  Hate does not motivate.  Hate does not inspire.

If we perceive that someone does not like us, we often feel wounded, or hurt.  It is no less painful when the disapproval comes from self!  Disapproval of self can damage the psyche, delay healing, and derail our goals.  

We cannot hate ourselves into loving our body, and as a wise client recently reminded me, we cannot heal what we hate.  If we live in a home we hate, how much effort will we put into repairing it?  Same goes for our body!  If we have a body transformation goal, how much effort are we willing to put in if we constantly tell ourselves the body is unlovable as it is, and needs to be fixed?

Next time you look at yourself appraisingly, give yourself as much love and support as you would give your best friend!  Next time you get a little off track with your plan, or goals, try gently encouraging yourself back on track rather than belittling or berating yourself for a perfectly normal human moment.  

Perfection is a damaging illusion, a standard to which we rarely hold others, yet frequently try to hold ourselves. Our body transformation goals cannot manifest when we are under attack.

What will it take to treat you like your own best friend?

Grow on!

Practice looking in the mirror and telling that beautiful human how MUCH you love them. This is challenging for many people, so don’t give up. Persist with the practice of telling you that you love you, more often than you tell yourself negative messages.

Next time you catch yourself saying something mean to self, pretend you caught yourself saying it to your friend, or your child. What would you do? I might hug them and apologize and promise to be more intentional as often as possible moving forward.

Make a list of everything that you appreciate about your body! Our body is a miracle that we often take for granted. We can be so grateful for our lungs that breathe without any effort, a heart that beats for our lifetime, and so much more! We cannot focus appreciation and disgust onto the same object at the same time, so keeping this list handy can help when we are feeling frustrated with our body in some way.

Body Transformation Playground ~ FREE!

I am SO excited about my Mind Body Eating Coach certification training at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating!

I am studying Mind Body Nutrition, and Dynamic Eating Psychology.

Soon I will be a Certified Mind Body Eating Coach with several unique tools to help people with issues like emotional eating, stress eating, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, under-eating, food guilt, body shame, food and body judgment, intense appetite, digestive issues, and more.

I am discovering so much, and am eager to share with others!

I crave space to share the concepts and tools I am learning, and opportunities to answer questions that will arise in my coaching practice. I want to share with YOU if this is something that interests or excites you!

I envision creating a group coaching program where I help women and men – who have tried repeatedly to transform their issues with food and body – to finally achieve their goals. 

To align with this vision, I created Body Transformation Playground!

I am inviting you to play!

I know many people think of body transformation as hard work, and I want to reframe that by introducing some fun things we can do that lead to sustainable change. Of course if your goal is a super lean body and six-pack abs, then some kind of hard work and sweat will be involved, and most health and nutrition coaches have tools to help people map a path to this kind of goal.

I’m talking about helping those of us who have lifelong food issues we have repeatedly tried to “fix” with one kind of eating/exercise plan or another.

I sometimes engage in emotional eating.

Like so many people, I have used food to soothe stress for my entire life. Until I learned to address the emotional reasons I eat, no plan that my coach and I concocted could ever succeed, and no changes I made would stick. Weight loss and workout plans sometimes create results, but until we address the deeper issue of what to do about our stress, we can easily get derailed, or after progress we slip back into pre-programmed habits that land us back where we started.

If you are experiencing emotional eating, stress eating, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, under eating, unwanted weight, food guilt, body shame, judgment around food and body, intense appetite, or chronic digestive issues, you are NOT alone! PLEASE join me on the Body Transformation Playground for six months FREE!


You heard me right! The Body Transformation Playground is open to you for FREE for the next six months – if you choose to join – just because you’re on my mailing list, or because someone on my mailing list forwarded this to you!

If you want to explore real body transformation, I am here to play!
Let’s make it fun!

What’s Included?

Body Transformation Playground includes a twice-monthly email focused on the juiciest tidbits, toys, and tools for body transformation that I discover in my psychology of eating classes. The emails will include fun ways to transform our relationship with food, journal topics around food and body, motivational images, ongoing encouragement, and so much more!

Once a month on zoom (audio only), I will host Body Transformation Playground live, where I practice teaching the concepts I am learning, answer participant questions, and possibly even do a little live coaching when time permits!

I will share all I am learning about eating psychology and how to free ourselves from our eating issues, and in return all I ask is that you submit questions, and give feedback.

Submit questions. Tune in to hear answers. Give feedback. That’s it!

My coaching skills are solid, but my tech skills need polishing, so these first six months will be a learning space, play space, and experimenting space for all of us while I learn how best to create fun effective content, record videos, post replays, and handle Zoom meetings, all while playing with the toys and insights I am learning at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and sharing them with you!

Beyond this six-month series, I will be offering the Body Transformation Playground as part of a package for paid clients, so jump in now!

Join me to play with the idea that body transformation can be more fun than we have been allowing! Join me to discover more ease and enjoyment on the path to sustainable transformations!

If you are interested, subscribe by emailing me at cyndicombs@gmail.com

Simply email with “SUBSCRIBE TO PLAYGROUND” in the subject, and I will manually add your address to the list.

Currently, I am committing to Zoom meetings (audio only) on the following dates, but I may add more dates!

Dates to add to your schedule if you are interested in Body Transformation Playground:

All times listed are Pacific Daylight Time

  • Sunday, April 24 @ 6pm
  • Friday, May 27 @ 6pm
  • Monday, June 20 @ 6pm
  • Saturday, July 23 @ 9am
  • Sunday, Aug 21 @ 6pm
  • Monday, Sep 26 @ 6pm OR Friday, Sep 30 @ 6pm

I chose different days of the week to accommodate many schedules, and I am willing to be flexible with these dates based on feedback!

If joining this series excites you but you cannot make these dates, please reply to this email to let me know what day/dates/times would work for you, and we will try to work something out and add at least a few dates that will work for all of us!

Thank you so much for being willing to play some new ideas!

My practice grows through referral!

As you can tell, I am SUPER excited about my expanding coaching practice!

PLEASE forward this email if you know anyone who struggles with weight issues, emotional eating, stress eating, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, under eating, food guilt, body shame, food and body judgement, intense appetite, or digestive issues!

THANK YOU. I appreciate you!

Accepting Divine Guidance

My mother turned eighty this week.  I bought a ticket to fly to Iowa in the dead of winter to help her celebrate the big day, but I didn’t tell her.  I decided to surprise her since no one who knows me would ever suspect that I would fly to Iowa in February.  (I am allergic to snow.)

I have been planning the trip since October.  I bought a new coat since winter coats aren’t really needed here in California.  I bought some leg warmers.  I packed my suitcase about two weeks ago because organization is one of my superpowers.  I paid to check a bag because, winter layers.

Two days before I was to fly it became very clear that travel was not worth the risk of covid, as fully vaccinated and boosted people were being hospitalized with the newest variant.  I chose to cancel my plans.

Of course I was disappointed, but I accepted the situation as Divine Guidance.  This was simply not the right time for my trip.

As I unpacked woolen socks and warm winter wear, I realized I had the next ten days off with nothing scheduled. 

My logical mind rushed in with a plan to reach out and book as many massage clients as possible.  Instantly I felt my energy drop, as if just booking them would exhaust me. 

My intuition speaks to me in my gut.  I have learned that when something feels warm in my gut, I move toward it.  If something feels cold in my gut, I try to move away from it.  Rebooking my week felt cold, but I momentarily resisted my intuition because one of the voices in my head was whispering, “we need the income!”

Luckily for me, a recent episode of my favorite Podcast, the Spiritual Sandbox, was whispering in my other ear, “Give. Yourself. A. Fucking. Break!”  That felt warm.  Then a Karen Drucker song popped into my head to join the party singing, “Money is coming to me easily and effortlessly!”  I laughed with relief, knowing that I didn’t need to break my neck to rebuild the week’s paycheck.  

I finished unpacking and picked up a book I had been meaning to read.  I spent the rest of the day reading and playing a silly word game that I love.  The next day we drove to San Francisco, took a long walk and enjoyed a picnic by the water.  I went shopping for a new pair of walking shoes one day, and found a really great deal.  I slept late, wrote blog posts, and finished watching the Book of Boba Fett on Disney. I meditated each morning, and made time to journal, and connect with friends.

I let my mom in on the planned surprise and Divine redirect. She agreed with the wisdom of my choice. We chatted daily, and agreed to celebrate her birthday in May when Iowa weather won’t be so bitter. 

It was a really relaxing, energizing week.

My tax refund arrived yesterday and covered the week’s bills. I feel well-rested, rejuvenated and ready to rock a full week of coaching, and massage clients!  I needed time off more than I realized. The Universe knew that, and arranged it for me – when I was willing to follow my gut.

The Universe is always guiding us.

Grow on!

What is your gut telling you?
When you consider a decision, does it feel warm or cold?
What happens when you follow that guidance?

Be Your Own Best Valentine

Regardless of our relationship status, each of us deserves to feel loved unconditionally. 

Even when we have romance, it’s possible to feel less loved than we might like sometimes.  The other person in the relationship is human after all.  What if they forget Valentine’s Day, or your birthday?  It more likely means they were focused on something else, rather than they don’t love you, but it’s normal to feel less than completely loved in those situations.

It feels amazing and wonderful to experience love and validation from the world around us, of course it does. We’ll take all of that we can get! But it’s also crucial to cultivate unconditional self-love.

When we deprive ourselves of a deep self-love (which is frequently the case for humans) we actually block ourselves from fully receiving all the love that is flowing to us.  When we refuse to practice self-love, we unconsciously teach others that self-love is not worth practicing.  When we practice the opposite of self-love, beating ourselves up, telling ourselves we are not enough, feeling shame about our bodies, guilt about our food, or questioning our own worthiness, then we increase stress to both mind and body, decrease our energy, weaken our immune system, accelerate disease processes, and feel disconnected from Spirit.

Cultivating deep self-love allows others to love us more deeply, and unconsciously allows others to love themselves more deeply.  Cultivating deep self-love gives us more energy, allowing us to offer more energy to the people and projects we love.  Cultivating deep self-love provides a sense of balance and stability when the world around us is in chaos.  Cultivating deep self-love means our cup is always full to overflowing, so when we choose to serve others we do not deplete ourselves.  Cultivating deep self-love boosts our immunity, and is the healthiest thing we can do for body, mind, and spirit.

photo by Dani Navarro

So I invite each of you to become your own best Valentine!

NOT just on February 14, please. I invite you to be your own best Valentine every single day.  Make sure that connecting with You becomes a priority, until it becomes a habit.  Add time to your schedule each week to date yourself and use that time to connect with You, do something you enjoy, and charge your batteries.  Use the list below as inspiration to create your own ever-changing list of at least ten to twelve things you enjoy doing alone.  When the time you have selected arrives in your schedule, choose something off your list and enjoy!

Don’t put it off, or say you’ll do it later! How would you feel if your lover rescheduled a date?  It would likely make us feel undervalued, or taken for granted! I know that’s how I would feel.  Would we put off a date with someone we were truly in love with to do the laundry ,or scroll the internet, or work overtime?  Not unless it was a true emergency!  Right?

Don’t make yourself feel like an afterthought!  Make yourself number one!  Schedule a date to do something you love with You now, and show yourself how truly loved and appreciated you are!  The BEST way to feel loved and well-cared for is to immerse ourselves in unconditional love consistently, every single day.

Grow on!

These ideas are NOT just for single people!
Don’t forget to turn off your cell phone so you can be totally present with You.

Ideas for dating your beautiful self include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Watch sunrise/sunset at a local beach/park.
  • Lie on a beach, or in your backyard and feel the sun on your skin.
  • Take yourself to a feel-good movie.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Cook your favorite dish.  Put flowers and candles on the table.
  • Take a good book, your journal, or a favorite podcast to the park and spread a blanket in the grass.
  • Create a romantic atmosphere in the bathroom and enjoy a steaming bath with Epsom salts, coconut oil, and lavender.
  • Take yourself to a local cafe to be alone with your thoughts.  Bring your journal.
  • Get dressed up and take a dance class.
  • Write a love letter to yourself.
  • Take yourself to a fancy restaurant and read the love letter to yourself while you wait for your meal.
  • Take a long walk at sunrise or sunset.
  • In front of a mirror, look deeply into your own eyes, and make a list of everything you appreciate about yourself.
  • Take a picnic somewhere pretty and revel in your own company.
  • What’s your favorite thing to do?  Add it to the list!

Be Selfish in Service of Others

Most of my clients live to serve others.  Nurses, parents, teachers, supervisors, business owners.  All of these people have a lot of things they want and need to do, but doing what WE need or want is often at the bottom of our to-do list, AFTER all the stuff we do for others. 
It’s human nature!  It’s the way we have been conditioned.

Why do my workout when I can fold the laundry in service of the household, or cover a shift for a busy co-worker? Why take time to meditate when there are so MANY things on my to-do list?  It seems so selfish to rest when I could help a friend instead.

If any of these thoughts resonate for you, you may feel exhausted a lot of the time.  Many of my clients tell me they feel selfish when they take time for themselves, or that they simply do NOT have time to do things that they want to do because they are too busy.

Is a cell phone selfish for needing to be charged?  
Is a toddler selfish for napping?  

Of course not.  We know that the charging and napping are a natural part of the cycle for the phone and the toddler.  It’s the same with us!  

In serving our own needs, we are not being selfish. 
We are completing the cycle.

We can’t just give and give and never fill ourselves back up. 

When we try, we get sick.  We get symptoms of stress.  We feel resentful towards others.  We may overeat in an attempt to soothe our emotions.  If any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone.  If someone you love comes to you and tells you she has no time to do the thing she loves to do, what advice would you give to her?  Most of us would encourage them to do THAT, to make time for it because we can see how important it is for them.

What fills YOU up?  

If you are not sure, think about things you USED to do that made you feel engaged, creative, excited, or happy.  If you enjoyed dance classes in your youth, maybe there is a local class to join, or maybe you can put music on in your living room and just move your body.  What’s stopping you?  If we’re too tired, maybe we need a rest day, or maybe our battery needs charging.  In the latter case dancing will increase our energy, not deplete it!

Many of us need to take a rest day.  When was your last day off that wasn’t full of errands and housework?  Allow yourself to schedule a day (or an hour) where you actually rest!  Take a nap.  Try restorative yoga. Sit and watch the sunlight sparkle on water.  Try just being instead of doing for a little while. 

Figure out what feeds your soul, and feed it daily.  Or at least weekly.  Maybe once in a while?

The more we charge our batteries, the more energy we have for any cause we want to serve.  It sounds SO simple, yet most of us resist it because our culture has conditioned us to resist it, to keep moving, keep producing.  

Society wants us to prove our worth through action, but we are worthy because we exist.  Once we accept our worth, it becomes vastly easier to see the value in giving ourselves whatever we need to thrive. 

Grow on!

What do you need right now?
How soon can you fit it into your schedule?

Ask Yourself this Important Question

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! 

Crazy, right?

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!

Grow on!

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.