I began working with this particular client a few months ago. After a few years of working at her demanding job, she thought it was time to shift the focus on her health and wellbeing, and came to me for some guidance. Contrary to most of my clients, she didn’t have any specific health concerns and wasn’t looking to lose weight. She was simply looking for someone to help her engage in more consistent self-care practices when it came to nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
Whenever I meet someone new and they ask me what I do for a living, the first thing they usually say is something along the lines of, “oh don’t look at what I’m eating.” For the record, I’m not. Or, they’ll ask me about some specific food or exercise like, “what do you think about avocados?” For the record, I think they’re delicious.
I don’t know about you… but I’m a little overwhelmed with all the movements. It feels like even though as a culture we are moving farther and farther away from fad diets, we are still finding something else to replace them with.
Lose weight! No wait, Love Your Body! No wait, Heal Your Gut! Eat Whatever You Want! Except Gluten! Or Dairy! Or Meat! Unless it’s Grass Fed! Even a professional BS-sifter like myself gets overwhelmed by the amount of information out there.
But now, in the midst of a new project (that I can’t wait to share with you) I’ve been challenged to take a closer look at the gray, which can be extremely challenging in our black and white extremist culture.
I recently finished Marie Kondo’s book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and it did in-fact, change my perspective on my life (whether or not it will change my life is TBD… too soon to tell!).
There have been numerous blog posts on people who have completed her (now) world-renowned tidying method, and if you want to give it a try yourself I highly recommend purchasing the book. In a nutshell, Marie’s method (The Konmari Method) helps you declutter and tidy once and for all (supposedly without “rebounding”). Having always dreamed of being a neat and tidy person, I was eager to give this a try.
I’m not going to lie, about halfway through I wanted to give up. I wanted to actually move apartments so I could just start over and not have to finish this project. Over the course of three days (and even still now), I discarded almost 10 bags of garbage/recycling, and almost 10 bags of clothes, shoes, handbags, and books (I donated those). After going through every. single. possession, this cathartic process, and this book taught me three things that will serve as my 2016 (and beyond) resolutions.
1. Attract Things (and Experiences) that Spark Joy
The Konmari method challenges you to ask yourself of each item you own: “Does this spark joy?” At first I thought this was insane. This toothbrush does not spark joy, but I need this! I then text my friend Colleen (another tidying graduate) to say “none of my underwear spark joy, but I kinda need those!” She responded: “maybe you just need some new underwear!” She was right. Once I came across the things that truly sparked joy, it made it much easier for me to discard the things that didn’t, including almost all of my bras and underwear. Now if you see me, you’ll know that I’m completely commando. Now when I think about wearing something, purchasing something, or doing something I ask: “Will this spark joy?”
2. A Place For Everything
Marie recommends (or demands) that you have a specific place for everything you own. Every. Single. Thing. You might think you do, but you don’t. As I began giving all of my things a dedicated space (electronics, craft supplies, cleaning items, bags, kitchenware etc), I realized how having a place for everything not only keeps everything neat and organized, but it also makes it easy to take stock in what you have, and what’s missing. I realized this idea, a place for everything, is essential to all parts of your life. It means you have to create space for the important things, people, and projects. For me, this means setting more clear boundaries between work time, alone time, and time with friends and family.
3. Take Care of All Things.
When I was going through the depths of my closet and storage area, I came across so many bags, shoes, and other items that once sparked so much joy. But now, they were dusty, faded, wrinkled, and scuffed. I couldn’t believe I just left them to rot like that. I’ve made a vow this year to take the things I kept like bags, boots, and jewelry in for a spa day to get them cleaned, repaired, and polished. This idea is also helping me STAY tidy as I don’t want my things to end up in that sad condition again.
4. Give… give. give.
When I was clearing out my clothes, I created two discard piles. One pile I was going to attempt to sell to the local Buffalo Exchange and the other I was going to donate to Goodwill. Anything leftover would also go to Goodwill. I walked into BE with about 6 bags of clothing and they decided to only buy 2 items. 2! I made $6. When I walked outside I felt so silly for not just donating it all in the first place. At that point a woman came up to me and asked me if I had any spare change, and I decided to give her my $6 commission before donating the rest of my clothing to Goodwill.
Now since I’ve only been home a few days since I’ve completed the tidying process, I can’t say for sure that it will have long term results, but I am sure going to try! I’ll follow-up in a month and let you know how it’s going.
What about you? What’s one area of your life that you could tidy up? It might be clothes or kitchen, or it might be relationships with your close girlfriends. Let me know in the comments below!
This week I am SO excited to share my interview with Jill Talve. Jill is a Clinical Ayurveda Specialist and Pancha Karma specialist. She is the owner/operator of EverVeda, an Ayurveda wellness center in Oyster Bay, NY.
At the beginning of this year I met with Jill and she gave me a full (three hour!) Ayurvedic assessment and ultimately helped me adopt a morning routine to help me boost my immune system and set me on a healing path.
If you're unfamiliar with Ayurveda - this interview is a great place to get started. Jill offers an easy-to-digest definition of Ayurveda as well as three simple actions you can add to your morning routine to set you up for a successful day and a good nights sleep.
We both emphasize this idea of adopting daily practices (whether they be in the morning or not) to serve as catalysts for other healthy choices. After you watch the video, leave a comment below and let me know, what is one daily practice you'll begin to implement? It could be something we've talked about, or something you make up on your own!
PS - if you're interested in grabbing a tongue scraper - pick one up here.
With the rise of apps such as Lose It! and My Fitness Pal, food journaling has become a way for people to track their food intake and exercise as a method to track calories in and calories out for weight loss. Thats GREAT - but its not the only thing that’s happening when you write down what you eat… Journaling brings a whole other level of awareness and accountability to your habits, and if you do it correctly, it can be a powerful agent for creating permanent change.
Check out this week's video for my 4 tips for effective food journaling. Everything is included in text below as well.
1. Write in the Moment.
Many times keeping a journal (or using an app), can feel like a chore, so we wait until the end of the day, or the next day and write down everything we’ve eaten retrospectively. We’re busy, it happens - but writing down what you’re doing in the moment, or shortly thereafter, will bring the most awareness to your habits, and give you the opportunity to change something then and there.
2. Don’t Just Write Down What You Eat.
Tell me, does this sound like you when it comes to healthy eating?
“I know what to do, I’m just not doing it.”
If yes, listen up. Of course, with a food journal writing down what you’re eating is important, but it’s worthless if you don’t include a couple of other key factors. HOW you eat, and WHY you eat are just as important (if not more) as what you’re eating.
HOW: In front of the television, in front of the computer, in the car, during a meeting, at the dinner table etc.
WHY: Hunger, sadness, depression, stress, anxious bored etc.
When you tap into the how and the why, you have the power to change lifelong eating patterns that are keeping you stuck.
3. Keep in Touch
One of the powers of food journaling is the ability to get in touch with your hunger and fullness cues. Before you eat, write down your hunger scale (or take a conscious mental note). On a scale from 1-10 how hungry are you? 1 = FULL, 10 = STARVING. Rate yourself again after you eat.
There is no right or wrong answer, but you will likely notice some patterns; AKA opportunities to change.
At the end of each day or week, reflect on the food journal and notice patterns and opportunities. Sure you might see that your diet is lacking in vegetables, but you also might see that your food choices are mainly driven by stress, and not hunger. In that case, maybe you would benefit more from stress reduction techniques than an overhaul in your diet.
Beyond the Journal
If you’re like me, the thought of doing this for the rest of your life sounds like torture. Ultimately, a food journal is just a tool to keep you aware and honest. And if you can keep awareness and honestly present at every meal or snack - you can throw away the journal. Check out my post about mindful eating for some tips on how to do that.
Now, I'm going to challenge you: Keep a Food Journal using this 4 tips for 1 week. Then let me know - what did you notice? Did it help clarify your goals? I'd love to hear from you!
Today is a VERY happy Monday! It's the FIRST installment of Meet Up Monday (#meetupmonday)! This particular project has been floating around in my brain for a while, so as we kick off a new month, I'm psyched to kick off this new project.
Tune in weekly to meet up with me (and some other awesome experts) to get some inspiration. I think todays topic is a perfect fit to inspire you to come back and spend time with me every week. It's a simple and effective tool to stay accountable with your goals, and it might just be the missing link when it comes to reaching them.
P.S. if you're still unclear on your goals - check out my method for setting them straight.