Living with Intention

Are you one of those people that get excited about the prospect of a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate? Or are you of the variety that thinks it is a little ridiculous to treat the end of 2016 any different than the beginning of 2017?

I definitely fall into the former. I love setting weekly, monthly, yearly goals anyway- so the beginning of a new year for me bring so much gratitude and growth. Since I keep a journal almost daily- it’s very interesting for me to look back to last year and see where I was mentally. I definitely think we have the capacity to completely change our lives in one short year. If you think back to how quickly 2016 flew past, you can probably agree. Imagine if we lived every single day of 365 days with intention? Imagine what you can accomplish!

I’ve personally found that starting each day with “intention” to be an amazing way to begin my morning, and has created a lot of change within my life; taking it one day at a time. If you could create one new habit this year- I highly recommend this one. Basically, when you get up in the morning set aside 10-20 minutes to write out your intention for that day. Now- I definitely don’t mean a “to-do” list that causes you anxiety the minute you wake up. I mean think about how you want to feel today. An example of my morning intention would be “Throughout today I feel joy with each passing moment. I’m full of gratitude for my clients and ready to inspire change. I’m full of energy, and feel a calming peace throughout my mood and my day”.
And then I’ll take that intention and visualize my day for about 5-10 minutes. We all have a rough estimate of how our days are going to look- so I take myself from beginning to end of each hour of my day and how it’s going to feel to realize my intention from start to finish. (This is basically a form of mediation). By already living your day with your intention through your head- you really set yourself up for success.

This little trick has helped me really expand my business, fall in love, strengthen friendships, create mental change, and find a new zest for life and get past those fears that you can hold you back.

Do you live each day with intention towards your goals? Or are you letting your day run you? Take back your personal power with this exercise and watch your life start to unfold- just how you want it to.

Any thoughts? Do you guys meditate or visualize or journal?

Do you “guilt” eat?

This is part of my new series of helping you to overcome binge eating and find a happy balance with food. I’ve written a lot about this on my blog because it is definitely the biggest thing I’ve had to deal with and I remember how helpless I felt. I just wanted hope that there was a way out. Perhaps you aren’t as deep into it as I was and you just struggle with the occasional binge here and there; but I hope this helps anyone and everyone who has ever struggled with overeating and guilt around food.

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The very first thing that I have to mention, is that if you aren’t eating enough; your body is automatically going to be craving food and leading you towards EATING whatever you can get- so none of the stuff below is going to work until you are getting your nutrition in check. To start, aim for at least 2000 calories/ day and getting in 3 balanced meals and 2-3 snacks in. You should feel satisfied and energized and NOT starving! For some people who have past or current eating disorders; 2000 calories may seem like a lot. I challenge you to add up how many calories you eat in the course of a binge (for me it was usually at least 3,000) and then divide that up over every few days or how often you binge. When I realized that the calories I was taking in during a binge COMPLETELY negated any low calorie days in between I realized I need to up my calories majorly to keep me full and HAPPY. As soon as I upped my calories and ate more, I binged less and ending up losing weight. (Not that this is about weight loss, but I know for some of you this may be motivation and if it gets you to eat more, that makes me happy!) Secondly, I don’t want calories to be the focus here and have only used these numbers as a rough estimate.

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Once you start eating enough and getting in all your nutrients- you need to start focussing on your BRAIN. In my opinion, the main cause of binge eating has NOTHING to do with self control, willpower or being a “sugar addict”. It has to do with the thoughts swirling around in your head that control everything! Once you start changing your thoughts about food and your body- you truly change your life.
Step 1: Get in tune with those thoughts. You can’t start changing them until you know they are there! Ever find yourself midway through a massive binge and you had no idea how you even got there? That used to happen to me all the time. Once I started practicing more mindfulness I could start to see the triggers. Whenever I was feeling tired or overwhelmed I noticed I tended towards all or nothing thinking. It was either “sit here and focus and do all your work” or “fuck it I’m going to buy chocolate and sit in bed and hide”. Once I had the option to say “fuck it!” you can guess what I did 90% of the time. Now I’m learning to recognize those thoughts and find a better balance. I now shift towards more grey thinking as in “Ok, I’m not really feeling motivated right now, so why don’t I give myself an hour to read my book and relax guilt free, perhaps have some chocolate mindfully and then come back to it?” Listening to your thoughts can allow you to create more options that you didn’t see before. This also comes in handy if you are one of those people that as soon as they “slip up” on a diet- you just figure that day is ruined and eat everything in sight so it’s gone. When you think about this logically it’s actually so NUTS that we do this! A good analogy is if you get one flat tire- instead of changing it and moving on down the road- you slash the other four and end up stuck on the side of the road all day! So if you find yourself labelling foods “good” or “bad” and when you eat “bad” foods you just want to eat them all- challenge your thinking. Is that what you really truly want? To sit on the side of the road all day with 4 flat tires? Or do you want to ENJOY that delicious dessert and move on with your day without obsessing over food? I think all or nothing thinking is extremely common in people that struggle with addiction or eating disorders. Here is the thing- perhaps with other addictions such as drugs/etc you can be “all or nothing” when recovering. With food- you are never going to have that option- so you might as well learn to live in harmony with it, rather than constantly fighting with your brain and cravings. You are going to spend the rest of your life eating, so lets make it joyful and satisfying shall we?

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This brings me to my next suggestion… Erasing GUILT around food. I have gotten so much better at this, but I definitely still find myself berating myself for wanting dairy queen or feeling bad if I want 2 servings of dessert. We need to take the GUILT AND SHAME out of eating. Here is the cycle when guilt & shame are included:

Wake up and have a “healthy” breakfast (again- labelling good and bad foods.. which we want to avoid). You feel pride, a sense of control. 
Getting hungry an hour later- you’re feeling annoyed and like you already had enough food so why are you hungry again? (judging yourself, and your hunger signals is never good)
You force yourself to wait till lunch because you think you don’t need more food (deprivation)
You forgot your healthy lunch at home and go out- you are starving by now so pizza looks amazing. You know you “shouldn’t” but it just looks so good…
Wolf down two slices of pizza while barely tasting them- and continue to feel guilt around your lunch “that wasn’t the most nutritious option, I should have had a salad, ugh why did I do that, I feel sick..”
Feeling hungry mid-afternoon but since you ate pizza you don’t think you should be snacking on anything.
You get to the end of the day after feeling like garbage all afternoon and decide “Screw this! What’s the point in going home and making myself a nice dinner? I don’t deserve it. I already ruined things by eating that pizza. I’ll just pick up something on the way home and start again tomorrow. “

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Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Now imagine if we took the guilt and judgement and shame OUT of this equation:

Wake up and have what you are craving for breakfast. Two slices of toast, 2 eggs, avocado, yum! You eat till satisfied and go on with your day. No judgement over how big or little the breakfast was. 
Getting hungry an hour later- oh! Well guess I’ll have an apple right now, that sounds good. I’ll enjoy this nice juicy apple. 
Lunch time rolls around- You forgot your healthy lunch at home and go out- you are starving by now so pizza looks amazing. You eat pizza. That’s all. 
Afternoon- feeling pretty hungry again and need a pick me up- I think I’ll have a handful of nuts, and ooh a latte sounds delicious! (No judgement, just enjoyment) 
Dinnertime: I am craving that healthy lunch I left at home, perhaps I’ll have that and a nice glass of wine to go with it! Feel satisfied and enjoyed every bite.

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Can you imagine being person #2? Where you just eat what you like? Enjoy it? Don’t obsess over food all day? Well, the first step in becoming person #2 is to start actually recognizing your thoughts. Trust me- no matter how crazy you feel around food right now- it is possible for you to be able to simplify eating and enjoy every bite.

I’ll leave you with this, start listening to your thoughts and identifying triggers. This does take time and I’m not saying you are magically going to become someone who barely thinks about food all day and “forgets to eat”. (Who are you people??) but, you will start noticing patterns, thoughts, and perhaps this will help you with the next step of enjoying all foods guilt-free. Try not to place restrictions on yourself. The more you give yourself UNLIMITED FREEDOM the less pull any food has on you. It’s pretty crazy but the best feeling in the world when you realize the food doesn’t control you!

Comment below any questions, or thoughts you have with this- I would love to hear it!

Tara

 

Food: Then & Now

This post is somewhat of a reflection on my past eating disorder and hatred towards myself. I actually forgot how bad it truly was until I found one of my old journals and read some entries from a few years ago. Here’s a small sample…

September 2013

It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m WIDE awake and my mind is racing and I’m super anxious and feeling so panicked. I don’t know what’s going on but all I want to do is cry.  I feel all fucked up about my body (I hate it, and none of my clothes fit and I feel like a fat disgusting COW) and I hate that I have no one to talk about it with. I can’t remember the last time I actually felt good in my body. My self esteem feels like it’s at complete rock bottom. I wish I had someone to just grab my face, look me in the eye and tell me I’m beautiful and wonderful. I’m crying just thinking about it. Will that ever happen?

October 2013

I’m feeling super down lately, I just don’t feel happy because I can’t get my nutrition in line. (Read: nice way of saying I can’t stick to the diet of the week). Obviously my binge eating is a bigger problem than just diet, it just keeps getting worse and worse. I don’t know if I should be more strict with myself? Or the complete opposite? I feel so lost. I feel like I have an inkling of what I want my life to look like but no idea how to make it happen anymore. I really just want to feel happiness again and not have binging and purging control my life. I threw up over 20x today – I feel completely out of control around food and in life. I just binged today because I could. It’s habit. No other reason. (Read: I didn’t see the reasons because I was binging to push the emotions and feelings away). How can I stop? Will I ever stop? What if this is my life forever? I just keep thinking one thing will come along and cure me, but I’m realizing its a combination of things. It’s just so much WORK it is exhausting. I want to snap my fingers and be recovered.

Basically my journal was a mixture of one day of depression as above and then another day full of hope and excitement because I found a new “diet” or “meal plan” or “cure” and I’m going to be great! I will be skinny and happy and confident again! I look back and it fills me with such sadness. They are filled with measurements, the food I ate that day, what I weighed, what I will do when I’m skinny.. etc. They are not filled with memories, vacations, fun times, friendships, or memorable moments. It’s food, diet, body and constantly trying to change myself.

I am not writing this post to garner sympathy from people. I am writing this post because I want people to see that they are NOT ALONE. I know so many people experience hating their bodies and maybe they think I don’t understand because I’m generally pretty happy and confident these days. Trust me, I know what it feels like to grab your stomach and literally want to cut it off. To cry when you look in the mirror. To be filled with such hopelessness and feel so lost in what “to do” that you can’t even face it and it just turns you right back towards the food again. To avoid friends, family and social situations because you don’t want to face the food. To secretly binge and purge at parties and dinners, to eat until you feel so sick you cannot even move. To be filled with such disgust for yourself you don’t know how you could ever be deserving of the life you want to live.

But here is what I also know: I know what it feels like on the other side. I know what it feels like you never weigh yourself again, to go days without even thinking about dieting, exercise, or how you look. To check yourself out in the mirror and think “damn! I am look fucking great!” (ps.. I weigh the same now as I did when I hated myself.. ironic much?) I know how it feels to eat without guilt, to not constantly second guess yourself, to forget how many calories are in things, to not even worry about the nutrition label. I know how it feels to just straight up love yourself and skin you’re in, UNCONDITIONALLY.

I remember I had a therapy session one day and she asked me what I thought life looked like without my eating disorder. I still have the image in my mind. I described to her that I woke up and wore whatever I wanted, without fussing about how I looked, and spending hours to find the perfect outfit to make me look “thinner”. I would be out for lunch with all my best friends and having a glass of wine, eating a burger and fries and laughing so loud and with so much joy that people turned around to look at who this radiant, happy confident person is. I glowed.

I’m here to tell you that this life can come true. You can lead your life without an eating disorder. You can be radiant, and happy and not worry about food or your body. You can just be. You can be free from the restrictions of dieting, and can find your own self worth through so many other things than shaping your body. You can have your dream career, you can leave chocolate in the house without being worried about eating it all, and you can live the life you’ve always thought was out of reach.

So how do you get there? Well, there are many things… and I hate to tell you that the biggest thing you are going to have to do is learn for yourself. We are all different and different things may speak to you vs. what spoke to me. I know I spent years searching for the “answer” to stop binging. I’ve learned it’s a cumulative effect that takes time. You probably don’t want to hear that, but I believe its true. It takes hard work, self-reflection, self-improvement, mindfulness and a lotta tears. I can tell you it’s so fucking worth it though. Everything that I had to go through led me to this wonderful life; and now I want to help anyone and everyone that ever felt as hopeless as I did.

On that note, I am going to start a blog series of all the things I did that helped me find my happiness, stop my self-loathing, and end binge eating for good.

Follow along and maybe these tips can help you find your dream life too!

Tara