healthy

You. Food. And Worth.

I am good. I am bad. 

One of the first things I do with a new client is a food journal review. The same statements come up again and again:

“I was really bad on this day"
“I was having a major cheat day"
“Oh, this is what it looks like when I am really good"

And so on.
These lines are said with a laugh, but words are powerful. And these words - that declare a person good or bad - have deep roots and jagged edges.

It breaks my heart.

You are not good or bad based on what you eat. You are just making choices.

Some are more nourishing than others, but it is all a spectrum.

I can relate. I get where it comes from and have been guilty of it myself. Which is why I know how powerful it is to change the narrative.

You can start by looking at your motives - why are you trying to eat healthy? To look good naked, to play with your kids, to avoid disease?

Whatever the motive - the common thread is to gain something in life that makes you feel better.

The words you consume can be more deleterious than the food you eat. They can have more of an impact on your body. The relationship you have with yourself and your food matters.

And it is important to know that no matter what you have eaten today you have value as you are right now. 


Before and after

We love a before and after shot.

When searching stock photos for before and after this is what I found, I happen to think both ladies are lovely. 

When searching stock photos for before and after this is what I found, I happen to think both ladies are lovely. 

Shoot, I love a before and after shot. Who doesn't?

It gives us hope.

It gives us a feeling that change is possible.

That hard work nets results.

That (potentially) we've been doing it wrong and if we just fix this one thing we can change.

If we have more discipline. If we really really focus this time.

Then we too can be like Sally Smith from Sunport and drop 5 sizes in in 5 months.

Or we too can go from couch potato to killing it at marathons in 2 months.  

Or we too can go from just an average joe to RIPPED SUPER HERO STATUS. 

We love a makeover. 

The problem is these are just moments. There is SO MUCH MORE to the story. The fits and starts. The forward progress and backfire.

The after that goes back to the before. 

An image can be deceiving. 

What I am trying to say is that the journey to health, happiness, and strength is complex. It isn't a straight line up and to the right. There isn't always a moment where the "pounds melt off" or where you suddenly feel strong and powerful all the time. There are bright moments and there is a trajectory, but there are a lot of bumps and backslides. 

Sometimes we need to believe in the ease of a before and after to START.

But, don't let the before and after seduce you into feeling like a failure when the journey gets tough, when you have a bad day, or week, or month.  

Keep going forward.

Start and keep starting.

The road may be more muddled than expected, but moving forward is the way you will succeed. 

Sugar, SUGAR, SUUUUGARRRRRRRR | Part 1

EVERYONE SHOULD GO TO A NUTRITION WORKSHOP BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS (OR MAYBE NOT).

In my "normal" everyday life I do not eat sugar. At. All.

Now it took a while to get to this point (aka a LOT of ebbs and a LOT of flows), but  now I can say with confidence I do not eat sugar (yes I do consume alcohol, but that is another story). 

When I worked in an office there were ALWAYS (always... always) treats coming in through the door. People would bring in donuts to share, there would be homemade cookies, pies, brownies, and more!! There were ALSO candy dispensers that were always stocked full o' tasty treats (gummi bears, m&m's, reeses peices, skittles, etc).

My rule was to just NOT partake. Just don't do it. And I never did.

Things become easier when the rule is absolute. 

I would however sometimes get into a gluten-free treat kick. French macaroons, gluten-free cupcakes, gluten-free brownies, gluten-free cookies, coconut milk ice-cream! Now, NONE OF ME thinks the absence of gluten makes ANY of these treats "better" or "good" sugar is still sugar in whatever form. I would treat myself one day... and then I wanted to treat myself the next, and the next. Once a week would become twice week... to three times a week.

Just not optimal.

So.

About three months ago I tweaked my diet a bit and HAD to take out the sugar and the chocolate (I'd been allowing myself 70%+ dark chocolate). In three months I have had a bit of honey, but that is it. The reason for the diet tweak is therapeutic, I am working on my digestion and sugar is trouble for a lot of digestive issues. It feeds some of the bad stuff (if you have bad stuff) in your gut (more on that later).  

And you know what? It has been awesome. My skin looks better, I've dropped weight, my energy/mood is better, pretty great right?

So now let us fast forward today. Michigan. My home.

The cupboard of death (and delight)!

The cupboard of death (and delight)!

I come to Michigan about four times a year and when I am here I typically throw a lot of the rules to the wayside. The way I live in Seattle I say ... eh WHATEV. And do what I want in Michigan.

My parents are a fan of candy. You can see the pictures. There are cupboards just lurking with tasty sugary treats. 

Now not everyone has a thing for candy. I do. And I don't want just a "taste" I want A LOT !

I want candy until I am overloaded with sweetness and am bordering on sickness. (Handfuls, you guys, handfuls is what I want.)

The drawers of merriment (and pain)!

The drawers of merriment (and pain)!

In Seattle, I follow the first rule of self defense aka don't be there. In Michigan, that isn't possible so I indulge! At first it is great... and then it isn't... and then I feel pretty terrible. 

But.

It is Michigan!

It is my special time!!

Not this trip. 

The weekend before coming here I was at an onsite nutrition workshop and blood sugar regulation was a HUGE topic. Learning what it does to you internally when you overload your system was really impactful. Like really impactful. It gave me the resolve to say no to sugar for the holidays, for my trip to Michigan, and for the foreseeable future. Like I said I do REALLY well when I work in absolutes. Grey areas are where I get tripped up. Michigan has been a grey area, but no more my friends no more. 

Next post I will be getting into the nitty gritty of what good blood sugar regulation looks like... and what an overworked system looks like and why it is harmful for your awesome body.

Until then. 

Cheers!

You all rock.

I eat "pretty healthy"

Growing up in the mitten state aka Michigan...

I never thought much about food. I never thought about what the human body needs from food. I never thought about the fact that to run this body and to run it well - I needed to nourish it.

I understood that some people “ate healthy”, but that was just fiction something to be made fun of on sitcoms. The people that were granola and kooky “ate healthy” not REAL people.

I grew up in a small town called Ortonville and though I think my parents did their best to feed us “healthy” food, they were slightly misinformed. We had a garden, which was awesome, but we also had a BOAT-LOAD of processed food and to be honest that was the majority of our diet.

We never ate as a family. The only time we gathered together for meals was holidays and that was the only time I was exposed to "side dishes".  My Dad was the cook and he would make one thing and only one thing for dinner.  This could be burrito pizza (his invention), spaghetti for days, chili, or a taco salad.

I had two sisters and the three of us would sit at a table together facing a window as my Mom and Dad sat in the living room and watched TV.

This was how we did dinner.  

As we grew up dinner became less of a thing and often we were allowed to make our own food.  I never really understood how cook real food - so I’d stick to baked potatoes and noodles (LOTS of noodles).

You know, good fat-free, options.

We never had breakfast together.  We were a fend for yourself pour some cereal tribe. We had Lucky Charms, Smacks, Cap’nCrunch, but we also had Raisin Bran, Cheerios, and Honey Bunches of Oats, you know the healthier choices. (See why this is terrible here.)

We’d all pack our own lunches for school.  Typically peanut butter and jelly - some sort of fruit snack and then maybe cookies with a juicebox. PACKED LUNCHES EQUAL HEALTH LUNCHES, right?!

As I grew older I thought it would make sense to try and go through school without eating much (PORTION CONTROL).  I remember not bringing a lunch and purchasing one singular oatmeal cream cookie and slowly eating the whole thing.  

I’d then go home and eat SO MANNY BAGELS. Bagels are fat-free = healthy! Then I'd spread on margarine = a healthy choice and I might also add low-fat or better yet completely FAT FREE cream cheese to garnish my - at least - 2 bagels.  Healthy, healthy, healthy!

I have a vivid memory of one night really craving some chips, but choosing a half a loaf of potato bread (fat free!) instead - I was so proud of myself.  

If you had asked me, I would have said “I eat pretty healthy” because I thought I did. I really truly thought I did. I thought it was all about portion size and I knew sometimes I went a little nuts with the amount of food that I was consuming, but all in all - I didn’t do too bad.

I believed that working out was the solution.  

Food was secondary.

And man. I felt awful.

It would take me a long, long, LONG time to learn how to properly nourish my body and understand what "pretty healthy" actually means.

To understand what food to eat, how to enjoy it, be nourished by it, and not constantly be hungry.

I had to discard SO MUCH that had been ingrained in me and realize that being the kooky sitcom person is in fact sustainable.

So my question to you is how do you define "pretty healthy"?