brain

I would like to eat all the cereal

I love cereal. Love it.

I remember watching cartoons and digging into bowl after bowl.

Eating it by the gallon in college. A versatile food serving as a snack, a breakfast, a lunch, or a dinner. 

I remember coming home a little (okay maybe a lot) tipsy from the bars back in my twenties and being so proud for grabbing the cereal versus a pizza. And. Just. Chowing. Down.

So many delightful cereal memories. 

My super big weakness is Fruity Pebbles a serving size is 3/4th cup which yields about 10 servings per box.

HA.

HA.

HA.

I have never experienced a reality in which I could get 10 servings out of my box o' pebbles.

And this is the big reason why I do not indulge in cereal. It is a trigger for me, I also don't think it is the best choice for getting quality nutrition into the body, but most important it is a trigger.

Do you know your triggers?

How do you choose to interact with them?

I made a typo yesterday

Typos are lame...

...and somewhat unavoidable if you are me. 

My superpower is NOT proofreading. I fail at grammar and punctuation and my life is made better by spellcheck. 

Yesterday, my friend pinged me "Annette, did you mean to say 'BENG' versus 'BEING'?" 

No.

No I did not.

This typo was located in my newsletter, not on my site where such things are fixable. It was my first sentence, in caps, in bold, and when I realized I had made an error I felt the wash of embarrassment and the warm flush of shame.

But then I took a moment and thought about a couple things.

  1. Thing one. I'd rather be done than perfect. I preach the act of doing, starting, going, and building. In my world I'd rather create than create perfectly. Which means, typos are bound to happen. 
  2. Thing two. BRAINS ARE COOL! They fill in the gaps. I re-read my post a number of times and did not see the typo because my brain (tricky brain) was filling in the error. It is why we can still read this.
  3. Thing three. I got great feedback on my post. Another friend of mine read the content, enjoyed what I had to say, and didn't even mention the typo. Which means FLAWS AND ALL the message still got out. Which is a great metaphor for life ;)

So, yes, typos are lame. And yes, I will strive even harder to make sure they do not occur, but having them happen is human. Which means it is ok. Not everyone will agree with me, there are PLENTY of people that cannot hear the message when it is contained in a typo ridden case. And that is okay too. 

So, I'm curious, would you rather have perfect or finished?

Butter.

Butter on all the things.

I have been reading a lot about butter.

Pop quiz:

  1. Do you use butter?
  2. When I say BUTTER what do you think?
  3. If you do use butter, how do you use it? How often?

I am going to sip some coffee while I let you think about that...

...some delicious butter coffee nom nom nom omm.

(Have you heard of butter coffee aka bulletproof coffee? Curious? Go check it out here.)

Kerrygold Butter is an excellent choice.

Kerrygold Butter is an excellent choice.

Okay, lets go back to our butter contemplation.

As you can probably tell from above, I am a fan of butter. More correctly I am a fan of butter from happy cows aka grass fed cows living off the land like they were meant to do. Fortunately for us this type of butter is pretty easy - and affordable - to come by these days.

 As you might know I grew up in the Midwest on a diet of everything low-fat and that included my buttery spread. My family was a big-time fan of margarine (what's up Country Crock in the huge tub!). I didn't even really get exposed to butter until later in life, I remember being a teenager and having toast at a friend's house - they put butter on the toast and I was like WHAT IS THIS MAGICAL SPREAD?! I had no idea how magical it truly was -

Butter is good for us for so many reasons, here are just a few: 

  1. It rocks in providing us with fat-soluble vitamins (most notably A, E, and K2). Vitamins are needed to keep our bodies functioning and the problem with a lot of our food is that it lacks proper nutrients. We are a society of good enough rather than how do I optimize the eff out of everything which vitamins help us to do. 
  2. You NEED fat to absorb vitamins. Vitamins A,D,E, and K are ALL fat-soluble vitamins, which means you need fat to be able to process them effectively. Otherwise they are un-usable by the body (lame).
  3. Butter vs. Margarine. Butter actually lowers our risk for Cardiovascular Heart Disease in comparison to margarine which seems to raise our risk. When I learned this I was like WHAT how are they able to call margarine "heart healthy"??! How?! You can check out more at PubMed here.
  4. Butter is a great source of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which has been linked in various studies show it to support better body composition/metabolism and is even sold as a weight loss supplement.
  5. Lastly, butter is amazing for the brain. It helps with clearing brain fog, it helps in thinking, it helps in satiating your body. 

Anecdotally, I can tell you that upping my butter intake has only helped me improve my health and I have not noticed any negative side-effects. Send me a note to ask me more if you desire.

As with everything, people are people and some people need more fat, others need less. Butter is a really interesting and tasty tool in a your toolkit and if you haven't thought about it, or played with how you consume it - I recommend giving it a whirl.

Surrender

Stop the noise

So. I was on the bus heading to meet a friend and listening to a podcast (this is my life in a nutshell - podcasts and walking or busing).

I'd recently discovered Strangers (which is great and if you like narrative I highly recommend it), the episode I was on was called Falling Slowly.

Man.

You should check it out.

The main character, Lyena, was so in her head so busy, busy, busy thinking she wasn't able to be present.  She wasn't really there. She and her boyfriend go for a walk and all she wants is to not engage with him so she can be alone with her thoughts. She just wants to think all of her thoughts and not be with this person. 

Can you relate to this? That desire to just have the quite to think, think, think? 

Anywho. To get away she climbs a tree.

And she falls.

As she is falling her brain clears and she just knows there is nothing she can do, so, she surrenders. She lets go to the inevitability of the fall...

and time slows down...

and her thoughts stop...

And she can see the beauty of the tree, the details of the bark, the leaves on the branches - the way she describes this moment is so beautiful I teared up.

When she lands her spinal cord is severed and she is rendered completely and wholly paralyzed from the waist down. The rest of the story is about her recovery and her coming into her own in this new body. 

It is awful that it took such a monumental occurrence for her to wake up to her life (like really awful) but, the point of her story was that she wouldn't trade it. 

So many of us shut out the world. So many of us want to be left alone to our thoughts. So many of us are anxious to get to the next thing. That we are never really present. Never really IN our life.

And then what?

That is what I took away from this story. The power of choosing to be present. Of choosing to engage. Of choosing to surrender. 

 

#PAUSEDAILY

Hey, what're you doing? Stop. Breathe. 

You guys. 

It is so important to take a moment and just stop. Look around. Be aware. Where are you, what's around you, how do you feel?

We move so fast through everything.

Do this, then that, then that, and what am I having for dinner tonight... do I need to stop at the store? Wait no I don't, but right when I get home I'm going to have to take out the meat and SHOOT I DO NEED TO STOP I don't have any salt, shoot! Oh and I need to send that email... and... oh wait... it's the 2nd I need to pay rent!

Whoa. So many thoughts. Lists. To-dos. All the time. It is easy to bubble up and not take in what's around and this is OK, but do you know how magical it is to just pause?

Stop for a second. Settle your brain. Breathe in and look around.

Disconnect from all the shoulds, needs, have tos, and did Is - and just appreciate the present moment for the space of a breathe.

Pause. 

Daily. 

It is like the most awesome, lightweight, impactful, meditation you can do.

Sleep.

I'll SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD!

There was a time in my life where I subscribed to the philosophy “I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD BITCHES!!!!” Go, go, go, so much to do all the time! Never time to miss the FUN. At the time, I had a few friends that were SUPER into their 8 hours of sleep every night. And I remember thinking -

 WEAK!

They were made of frailer stuff than I. I who was doing AWESOME on my 4 to maybe 6 hours of sleep. I WHO WOULD RULE THE WORLD.  If I could just stay focused long enough... and not fall asleep on my desk... and not... zzzzz.... what? what just happend?

Looking back I want to shake young me - SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT - I want to stress this so hard that you tell me to shut up, you tell me ANNETTE WE GET IT, CALM YOURSELF!

Sleep is magic for your body.  People pay a crazy amounts money on powders, supplements, cleanses, detoxes, etc. when a more effective cure is free and overlooked.  Sleep is way more powerful and impactful to your health than you realize.  

Sleep affects how you see the world.  It affects how you make decisions.  It affects your mood.  How you recover. Aging, your digestion, how you learn, how you retain.  It affects weight loss (or lack thereof).  It affects your stress levels.  Your focus.  Your memory.  Your ability to be patient.  To be kind. To be grateful. Sleep plays into all of that.

Mark Sisson over at Mark's Daily Apple wrote a great guide to sleep, worth a gander. 

I know a lot of people have the best intentions when it comes to going to sleep, but have trouble shutting down. There are a few things you can try to make this transition easier:

1) Get off your devices - do this at least an hour before you intend on going to bed. The light is stimulating and messes with your body's understanding that it is time to shut down.

2) Night time ritual - I recommend tea and writing. Dim the lights, make some tea, write down thoughts of the day, or a few things you are grateful for - doing this regularly will make your body understand ahhh this is the thing we do before going to bed. It is like a puppy, sometimes it needs to be trained.

3) Bring down the lights - transition into a more nighttime looking world.

4) Focus on breathing - calm your mind by sticking with your breath. Breathe in - count one, breathe out - count two, breathe in - count three, breathe out - count four, and so on until you reach ten - then repeat.

 

Sleep is money on the table.

Pick it up, put it in your pocket - see how awesome it feels.

Gimme caffeine!

You know what is magical?

Coffee.

Oh man, it is good stuff. I hold it closely to my heart and my lips. Coffee has been my friend through good and bad. I love the smell, the taste, the routine, and that fun little buzz I get.

Sadly. Coffee is a beverage of diminishing returns.

One of the jobs I worked I got in at 6 am, which meant getting up at 4:45... which meant that by the time I was dropped off in Downtown Seattle all I wanted was coffee in my mouth. I didn't want to TALK to people, I didn't even want to hold up the thin veneer of social grace and be semi-polite to people. I just wanted my coffee. Now. Yesterday. GIMME!

I'd order a 12oz 4 shot Americano. It felt amazing for 2 seconds and then I needed another hit. GIMME MOAR! This was in my less enlightened days where I was still consuming sugar on the regular and thought there was nothing wrong with having a Redbull daily (along with my coffee).

I was constantly looking for a boost. Though I wasn't really aware that is what I was doing and if you had asked me at the time I would have said - I don't know why I get so tired/unfocused/fatigued I eat a pretty well! I workout all the time! I digress... 

Let's focus on the caffeine.

There are different viewpoints. Dave Asprey famous for his butter/mct oil/coffee blend (which I dig) is a big coffee fan and he believes that as long as the beans are sourced properly most people will be okay attributing some of the negative side-effects to mycotoxins that can be found in not properly prepared beans.

Mary Vance is on the more conservative side of coffee, she loves it, as I love it, but tends to keep it to once or twice a month due to negative side effects like "anxiety, energy fluctuations and blood sugar instability".

I flirt on both sides of the line.

What I know from self experimentation is that pulling coffee out sucks. I have a bad couple of days. It feels like all the "happy" has been taken from me. Why life. Why ever do anything. How be happy?  = my brain on no coffee... AT FIRST and then I get over the lack of happy. I begin to feel ok again and I notice the benefits:

1) I sleep better

2) I wake up better (much better, I mean a lot... like I actually don't mind waking up)

3) Overall better energy regulation

Then when I reintroduce caffeine I am like WHOA THIS STUFF IS IMPACTFUL! THIS STUFF PACKS A PUNCH! 

It is really cool to actually FEEL what coffee does to you again. And for this reason alone I recommend cutting it out for a while.

NOW...

There was a time when I cut it out and I did no coffee whatsoever - meaning - no decaf, no stimulants, no teas - etc. I just drank water in the morning. I was SOOO miserable. I love the ritual of coffee and this made me super sad. Almost not worth it sad.

So this last time I switched to decaf, I do tend to use the bulletproof decaf because I appreciate the care that goes into processing AND it tastes good! Going decaf was so much better for me - so much less painful - I got to have my ritual, my morning drink, and that made everything so much better.

Most recently I am back on the caffeine dragon. My mornings are suffering. I realize it is time to jump back off for a bit, but friends, let me tell you - this can be hard.

But.

It is worth it.

Give it a try. See how magical coffee can be again :)

 

Lightweight Accountability

Guidelines are magical. 

Making changes is about resilience and being able to bounce back into your goals. Having a rigid structure can be too brittle and have the propensity to break.

Now. Everything has a time and a place. Sometimes it makes perfect sense to be on a really, really, strict program like the the Whole 30 so you can actually FEEL a drastic difference. Having a clear cut program in this scenario can be super beneficial.

Also. Willpower. It is a real thing and we have it in limited supply. If you can make something a habit - i.e. I NEVER EAT BREAD - then it doesn't have to play on your willpower stores and you can use that resource for a more challenging situation later on!

My point is that rigid has a time and place.

Always being rigid often (not always) leads to a bad time. A time of going into completely the opposite direction and then feeling like crap because you did. 

So. Guidelines.

They allow you to stay on the rails, but not so strictly on the rails it becomes painful, fragile, and breakable.

I am ever so skilled at making everything precise and neat... 

I am ever so skilled at making everything precise and neat... 

What I love is a simple card system.

Take an index card.

Add a grid to it.

Select what you'd like to keep track of - this could be things you either want or don't want to do. 

For example: No Grains, No Dairy, or Meditate, Clean, etc. 

You choose what makes sense for you. Give yourself a check or an X every time you do or don't do the thing. It is super lightweight - no need to log detailed calories, macro-nutrient ratios, weights, etc. (which all have their time and place) this just serves as an easy accountability system.

Will you have that cookie in the breakroom?

Then you wouldn't get a check on your card. Your choice.

This is a gentle hand to help keep you in check, but not overly consumed by structure. 

What Happens First?

Yesterday I brought up belief. 

I mentioned that belief drives behavior which drives results.

Think about that. 

I mean really take a moment to consider it. 

What are your behaviors?

What are your beliefs?

Does changing your behavior also change your belief, or do you always need to start at belief?

For me it was really a combination of both. By shifting my behaviors I had more space to question what I believed.

Whoa. What do I mean by that?

YEA YEA YEA Annette - WORDS! What do your WORDS MEAN?

Ok. What I mean is the relationship between how you feel and what you put in your mouth. Sugar is killer for me. As I mentioned in the last post it is like pure cocaine for my body and sugar begets sugars - meaning the more you eat the more you want to eat. When I am consuming sugar my brain is less happy. I am less likely to make good choices and I actually don't even really care because I am feeling pretty crappy. In this frame of mind I could give a flying eff about beliefs and results. I don't have energy to care, I don't think anything will change EVER because things feel hopeless. 

Let's level set here. 

I am not going to feel this way from one square of Dove chocolate, but in general if I am going on a bad food bender I am leading myself inevitably down a path of low grade depression. And when you are in that kind of muck everything seems SO very hard. 

My point?

The behavior had to shift for me to be able to get the space in my brain to reflect on what I actually care about. 

Tomorrow I will delve into this further. 

Spoiler: It is all about food. 

 

STOP.

About 6 maybe 7 years ago I was in a play.

It was a really bad play, but we had established an amazing sense of community. Our rehearsals were physical and long and we'd often bring snacks to share. It was around Easter and my FAVORITE in the whole world candy - ROBIN'S EGGS - were available. They are an amazing blend of malted milk ball and candy shell they just melt with such a wonderful sugary burst on the tongue - it is incredible. 

So these candies were there and I was NON STOP moving candy from bag to mouth. Oh the joy of mass consumption! After about 10 the joy was fading and the sickness was setting in, but I really didn't want to stop. WHY STOP? The pleasure of pure refined bliss was just moments away!!

I remember turning to a fellow cast member explaining this and he just looked at me and was like - "Annette. Just stop." 

HA. I thought, HA. I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW I SHOULD! 

But I really didn't feel like I had control. Their mere physical presence spurred me on. If they existed where I existed HOW WAS I TO NOT CONSUME THEM?! WHO AM I!? A FICTIONAL CHARACTER THAT MAKES CHOICES BASED ON HEALTH?? HA! SCOFF! HA!

Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on moments like this from my past and wondering what has shifted from then to now? What actually allowed me to stop?

Knowing I should stop, wasn't the thing.

Wanting to stop, wasn't the thing.

Having a logical understanding that 30+ Robin's Eggs is not the way to a trimmer waistline and a greater sense of wellbeing, also was not the thing.

I love the phrase "simple, not easy" and that pretty much sums it up. The way I got from point A to point B wasn't revolutionary, but it did take a lot of self discovery and a lot of understanding of what motivates my choices. 

Belief drives behavior which drives results - so what was I truly believing? And how could I shift that belief to be in-line with  my actual priorities? And how could I create an environment to support the results I wanted?

What things do you do that you KNOW you shouldn't be doing, but feel powerless to stop?

What are you actually believing?

 

 

What Do You Struggle With?

You are awesome.

You have value just being you sitting there reading this post. You don't need to do anything more than exist to already be winning today. 

What I am curious about is what do you struggle with? 
What are the lifestyle changes you'd like help with? 
What do you need support on?

Give me a word, a sentence, a story. I'd love to hear from you.

It is easy to think that everyone is like me, they struggle with what I struggle with, they'd like help where I'd like help and then I remember... NOPE.

Everyone has their own challenges and priorities and asking is the only way to know what actually matters.

You rock. Let me know how I can help you rock MOAR.

A.