Archive | inspiration

Befriend Your Cravings

Your body is simply amazing. She is an amazing source of intelligence, always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, breathing in and out without thought, digesting whatever food you put in her and maintaining balance as best as she can.

But why then, you may ask, do you crave certain things? Are cravings due to your lack of will-power or discipline? Is this reliable, beautiful, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving ice cream or a hamburger or cupcakes?

No actually she isn’t and I’d like to suggest that cravings are not a problem. They are instead key pieces of information that tell you what your body needs in any given moment.

We have all been there, our minds whispering, and then pushing and finally shouting for that thing, perhaps something sweet or salty and usually not terribly healthy. The dictionary defines a craving as an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing. I agree that it can be intense and feel urgent but isn’t abnormal. It is natural, it is normal and it doesn’t mean anything is “wrong” with you because you have a craving.

The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave.

Perhaps your diet is too restrictive or devoid of essential nutrients. Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring or stressful.

Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message in the form of a craving. It’s your her way of getting your attention.

For example, a craving for something sweet could mean you need more protein, or more exercise, or more water or more “sweetness” in the form of love in your life. Craving sugar is as natural as our desire for air. Long before the readily available processed forms of sweets, our bodies had been programmed, though evolution, to long for sweet-tasting food. Back then the only source of sweet tastes came from plant foods like fruit, squash, root vegetables and grains and it was no coincidence because these foods are great sources of nutrients, energy and fiber, the things that your body needs.

The key to stopping the sugar craving, or any craving, is to take the time to be curious about it and then give your body what she really needs.

There are tons of books and theories that can tell you what to eat but none can give you the awareness of your body and her needs. Of all the relationships in your life, the one with your body is the most essential. It takes patience, communication, love and time to cultivate and build that relationship with your body. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deeper and lasting level of health, balance and well being.

So, the next time you have a craving, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of as a weakness. Before you reach for what you think she wants, try one of these first:

  • Ask yourself, what is out of balance in your life? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving?
  • Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.
  • Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.
  • If you find that you still want that thing that you want, when you eat the food you are craving, slow down and enjoy it, taste it, savor it; notice its effect on your body and on your mood. With this slowing down you will become more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.

Shame? On Me?

A couple of week ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Brene Brown, the shame and vulnerability researcher, give a brief talk on the tour for her New York Times bestselling book, Daring Greatly. She is a dynamic and soulful speaker that is completely accessible both as a speaker and as a writer. I believe in the universality of her work so much that I gift her last book, The Gifts of Imperfection, to all of my health coaching clients.

(In case you have never heard Brene Brown speak, start with her TED talks here and here.)

I left the talk completely inspired, literally buzzing from the insights that she was sharing, thrilled to have some idea on what was in store for me as I continued to dive in to her new book. I was so caught up in the moment that I did not realize that diving into her work is just like diving into the deep end of the pool.

Two weeks later, I find myself only about half of the way in because I have to take it slowly and come up for air when I need. I have found my breath short and ragged after consuming passages that resonate so deeply that they touch the vein of shame long since buried and forgotten inside me.

She writes “the primary trigger for women, in terms of its power and universality, is the first one, how we look. Still. After all of the consciousness-raising, and critical awareness, we still feel the most shame about not being thin, young and beautiful enough.”

She goes on to say “… motherhood is a close second. And (bonus) you don’t have to be a mother to experience mother shame. Society views womanhood and motherhood as inextricably bound: therefore our value as women is often determined by where we are in relation to our roles as mothers or potential mothers.”

Oh sh*t!

She talks about these competing and conflicting expectations that I have carried with me for as long as I can remember.

“Be perfect, but don’t make a fuss about it.”

“If you’re really good, perfection should be easy.”

“Just be yourself, but not if it means being shy or unsure.”

“Don’t get too emotional, but don’t be too detached either.”

As I am reading I am reminded over and over again that to be human is such a tender thing. Even though it is something that we are all experiencing, this humanness, it is something that we use to separate from one another. We forget that we are not alone in our most tender feelings and the key to combating the shame and alone-ness is to be open and be vulnerable.

Last week, one of the most creative people I know, Vivienne, opened her arms widely and shared her truth about the evolution of her relationship with her body using her camera lens. She wrote about the bullying that we do of ourselves. My last post, was about a heart breaking moment of self-bully that I witnessed and it asked you to begin to notice how you speak to and about yourself. So much of the work that I do with my clients is around changing the conversation that we are having with our bodies. You can lose weight on the latest diet and you can push yourselves but if the words that you are saying when you catch an unguarded glimpse of yourself don’t change, eventually you will find yourself right back where you started.

So I invite you to become curious about how you treat you. I invite you to reach out for support in changing the most important relationship you will ever have, the one you have with your body.

Whether it is reading the work of Brene Brown, or taking a self-portrait class with Vivienne, or working with me as your health coach and companion on the road toward health and wellness, begin your work, dive in only as deeply as feels right in the moment but do it, do it now because you are worth it.


Scenes From a Weekend: Inspiration Overflowing Edition

This past weekend left me so incredibly full, satisfied, satiated, and completely overflowing with inspiration and excitement. On Saturday, I went to hear Brene Brown speak at a local reading for her new book “Daring Greatly,” and as if that were not enough goodness, on Sunday I went to Teahouse Studios for the Hunger Stories workshop hosted by the tender tag team of Rachel Cole and Laurie Wagner.

While there was so much wisdom that I want to share from this weekend, I find that I must first take the time to digest the experiences to make them my very own but I can share with you some words that emerged yesterday as I put pen to paper and wrote and wrote and wrote deep beneath the surface of things.


Visiting friends, old and new

I love to travel both physically and virtually.  It is such a joy to visit the home of old friends and new.

In case you missed it, you can find me as a guest chickadee over at Chickadee Road, the wonderful kindred soul party thrown by the creative duo of Kelly Barton and Liz Lamoreux. They asked me to answer the question “How do you nurture yourself?” and being a huge advocate of extreme self care, I was oh so happy to share what nurtures me.

I also popped over to ask the question “How Do You Want To Feel?” at the beautiful blog home of Asuyeta.  I am excitedly sharing one of my favorite new grounding tools inspired by Danielle LaPorte and her soul-shaking book, The Firestarter Sessions. Erika, Asuyeta’s hostess, creates clothes with a soul. Each and every piece is designed and handmade with love.

Who knows where I may pop up next but rest assured, you can always find me here at home, and on the Her Holistic Health Facebook page . Or why not just follow me on Twitter and Pinterest? You are always most welcome.



The Body… Beautiful

I first saw this Nike ad in a blog post a couple of weeks ago on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s website. It asked the question, “Does Nike’s New Ad Champion or Jeer at Overweight People?” The ad was run during the coverage for the Olympics and it was greeted with a wave of controversy because it depicts a 12 year old English boy named Nathan Sorrell who is in middle school, who is 5 ft 3 in and who weighs 200 pounds.

It brought to mind this ad for Equinox which depicts Briohny Smyth, a strong and sexy woman, doing a morning yoga routine in her underwear, steps away from her still sleeping boyfriend. Provocative for different reasons, it also, at the time it first appeared was not without its own controversy.


Both are first and foremost advertisements and ads are trying to sell a product, and each ad uses a bit of controversy to get people talking. Beneath that, they have really stuck with me for the same reason. The depiction of the human body doing physical activity and the controversy that resulted. The human body comes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. It comes in all different levels of abilities and it, in its various forms, is beautiful.

In my health coaching practice, I work with women to come to see themselves as beautiful. Through ads, we are often sold this line that perfection is attainable but what if, we were already perfect just as we are? What if we are each our own unique version of beautiful. A woman who inhabits her body fully, a woman who embraces her curves, accentuates her attributes and accepts her imperfections and her flaws is in the body beautiful.

“It’s important for all types of women to know that you don’t have to fit a prototype of what one person thinks is beautiful in order to be beautiful or feel beautiful…. People think, Sexy, big breasts, curvy body, no cellulite. It’s not that. Take the girl at the beach with the cellulite legs, wearing her bathing suit the way she likes it, walking with a certain air, comfortable with herself. That woman is sexy. Then you see the perfect girl who’s really thin, tugging at her bathing suit, wondering how her hair looks. That’s not sexy.” ~JENNIFER LOPEZ, Readers Digest, Aug. 2003