healing journey, Uncategorized

Closing out the year

As I reflect on 2019 coming to an end I’ve been thinking about the year I have had and, man, has it been a hell of a year. I put my father under hospice care and had to give the orders to remove all life-saving treatment. And then I watched my father slowly leaves this earth. Predictably my health took a nosedive and I had to step back from working full time which put me into a bit of tailspin of questioning my self-worth. Then the whole year culminated in being fired from my job.

I would be justified in giving the whole year the middle finger but the truth is I’m really grateful for this year. Yes watching my father die was heart-wrenching but it was also holy. Getting my health kicked out from underneath me was a bit of a hit to this health coach’s ego but it’s good to be humble and to be reminded that our mind and our body are inextricably connected. It also lead me to a compassionate and smart functional medicine practitioner that is helping me grow stronger every day. And yes losing my job and being unemployed at 41 really really sucked but it’s okay because I learned a lot from the time I had in the position and I know that whatever comes next will be wonderful too.

This year I confronted loss and failure (two things I have been so afraid of my whole life) and I’m still standing and my life feels more textured and whole in some way.

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”― Anne Lamott

healing journey

Another side of wellness


When we think about what it looks like to be healthy, we envision eating lots of vegetables and doing lots of exercise. While all that’s true, sometimes being healthy looks a little different when you aren’t. (Think cold and flu season.)

Imagine, if you will, that your partner/kid/loved-one is really sick. Your response (hopefully) is to get them to bed, make them some soup, and give them comfort. We do this because we know they feel awful and we don’t want them to feel awful. Now, try to remember the last time you were sick. Did you push yourself to work through it? Did you say horrible things to yourself because you aren’t exercising like you needed to be? Did you change your diet to reflect your body’s needs? Probably not.

Our body sends us messages all the time about what it needs, but we are either deaf to it or willingly ignorant. If we want to be healthy — full of energy, a healthy body weight, strong and happy into our old age, etc. — then we have to start listening. When your body says sleep, sleep! Listening to those signals and actively working to heal your body when you are ill is just as important as all the kale salads and trips to the gym you take when you are well.  So speak and treat yourself like you would someone you love and let the healing commence.

healing journey

Snap out the negative thoughts


A few weeks ago I wrote about how important mindset is to our overall health and provided some easy ways to begin shifting your mindset by shifting where you put your attention. But sometimes we need to do a little more work to change our default thought pattern from negative to positive. While this may seem a daunting task it can be as simple as finding a rubber band and committing yourself to making the change.

Negative thoughts are extremely damaging to both our quality and quantity of life and are just as potent as any drug. Leading up to my diagnosis, I struggled with negative thoughts. I attribute those thoughts to the inflammation in my body. But I’m healing, and I believe that becoming aware of and shifting away from those negative thoughts has been critical to my health journey.

While I have gotten better at recognizing and addressing these negative spirals, it’s still important to stay vigilant, especially when my stress level is higher — like around the holidays. Recently, my practice has included rubber band snapping or rather lightly snapping a rubber band around my wrist when I catch myself going down that negative path. This technique comes out of the field of cognitive behavioral therapy where the goal is to change your patterns of behavior/thoughts by using tools to help you become aware of your negative thoughts so you can change them.

How you do it:

  1. Wear a loose rubber band around your wrist.
  2. When you catch yourself in that negative spiral, you lightly snap it.
  3.  Follow it up by saying something you would rather be thinking.

For example, when I start to worry about my children’s safety at school, I just snap the rubber band and tell myself, “They are safe.” Or when I start having thoughts of all the ways I fail as a mother/wife/health coach/business woman/friend/citizen, I snap the rubber band and say, “I’m enough.”

The rubber band has no mystical powers, but it is a great tool to help you gain control of your negative thoughts and replace them with the thoughts that will help you build the healthy life you want.

Let me know about your experiences with rubber band snapping or thoughts you might have in the comments below.


P.S. If your negative thoughts are out of control or you feel completely hopeless, I urge you to reach out to a therapist.

healing journey

Stop stressing yourself out!

alex-sickThis past week was one of those weeks that they invented that really irksome proverb “Man plans; God laughs.” I’m a planner because it gives me joy, direction, and security. And this week was no different. I had planned out a whole list of things that would have been awesome.  I planned so much that I had created a whole vision of how my week was going to work. But….

But at the first of the week, my partner went out of town at the exact same time my two-year-old came down with the dreaded hand, foot, and mouth. At first, I was spinning trying to stick to my vision while comforting a screaming toddler 24/7. But then I relented. I had to call an audible. As much as I really really wanted to, I wasn’t going to make my vision happen, and butting my head against that reality was just going to cause stress which was going to harm my health and keep me from being the mom my kids need. Dealing with a sick kid is already stressful enough without creating stress to add to the pile.

Don’t be fooled, this skill of identifying and addressing when I have created stress did not come naturally for me. It was only when I started really dealing with stress as part of my healing journey did I realize how much of my stress was self-imposed. In the past, I would have held tight  to my vision despite reality glaring me in the face and I would have suffered for it.  And we do suffer through stress when we try to defy reality and hold on to our vision even when there is no chance in hell it’s going to happen. So as you are settling into this holiday season remember this: While it’s good to have a plan, it’s more important to know when to be flexible and call your own audible.  I hope you have a happy healthy holiday season!

For another take on embracing the imperfect this holiday season, check out this post from one of my favorite bloggers.

healing journey

Mindset matters

Created by Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks

As we round the final bend of 2016 I want to take a few seconds to reflect on this year and how important our mindset is to our health. The very witty ornament pictured above pretty well sums up how the world felt this year. Deaths of icons, a stressful election season, and injustices of all sorts hitting the headlines daily — it was a pretty crappy year when you take the 1,000-foot view. In all honesty, it was starting to take its toll on me.

I spent a lot of time feeling angry, sad, and completely helpless, and this started to manifest in my health. I was starting to lose energy and have those tell-tell signs of inflammation in my joints. Those of you battling illness know that this usually signals a downhill spiral. I know because I’ve spiraled away many times before. But not this time.

This time I took stock. Yes, the world can be a broken and horrible place, but how has my year been? My kids are healthy and growing. My marriage is strong and supportive. I’ve got the love of my extended family and have even seen some of them this year. I’ve got friends, I’ve got a roof over my head, and I’ve got the desire and ability to do good in this world.  In short, I’ve got a lot.

Next, I reduced my triggers. I found that when I got into the car and turned on the news my mood would sink, so I started listening to music. Likewise, Facebook and Twitter were sadness destinations, so I took a break.

Finally, I ramped up the self-care: More walking, more baths, more fun reads and silly podcasts, a fancy new coloring book with my own fancy colored pencils, and more time with people that lift me up.

This does not mean I am shirking my responsibility to be a well-informed citizen or viewer of funny cat videos. It means that I have made the choice to do those things that will allow me to act intentionally as opposed to  reacting to all the ills the world has to hold. This is me shifting my mindset so that I can continue the work of healing my body.

healing journey

I’m not perfect and thats ok


Since dedicating myself to the mission of helping others live the life they are meant to live, I’ve gotten pretty concerned with how I appear to people. What will people think if they see my kid eating sugar? What will people think if they see me eating sugar, being stressed out or one of the many other things that people could use to judge me? Then I had an epiphany: I’m not perfect and you don’t have to be either  to have the health you want. You just have to make health your priority.

This epiphany came to me one night when my husband was held up in traffic after getting off late and I was standing in my small kitchen making dinner trying to keep things light while “helping” my oldest do homework  when my naked two-year-old informed me that there was poo-poo in her room. Fantastic!

My life is not perfect. My kids aren’t perfect, my house isn’t perfect, and sometimes my refrigerator smells like my daughter room did that night. BUT, I make my health a priority and I put into place those things that support my health.

Like meal planning so those crazy nights don’t end with expensive take-out. Or stress management so I can more easily handle the chaos. But most importantly, I know that my health is a reflection of what I prioritize. When I “mess up,” instead of punishing myself or going down some hedonistic hole of binge eating, I just remind myself of what I really want and get back to doing those things that will get me there.

Make your health a priority by contacting me today for a free consultation.

healing journey, Health, self-care

Self-care, dang it!


I’m taking a break from my gut health series to write about something that has been on my mind: self-care.  Self-care is vital to our health and, in many ways, is the linchpin of creating and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. And while it’s one of those things that is talked about ad nauseam in health blogs and in health-focused magazines, it’s really hard to get people to actually do it.

In fact, self-care might be the most challenging aspect of health for my clients.  I preach it because I know how important it is, but even I can have a hard time incorporating it into my life. In fact, over the last month I’ve not tended to myself at all. And I have excuses. There’s my business and volunteer commitments, unexpected travel, illness, and now a toddler that can scale just about anything.  In the face of all that, I just let self-care fall off the list. And you know what? It did not serve me. Here I was trying to serve everyone else, but I had nothing to give.  I did it; I took care of those diverse needs, but I wasn’t eating as well as I should or exercising enough. I felt overwhelmed; I had very little patience for those around me and  started to seriously feel resentful. I don’t know about you, but this is not how I want to live my life.

Part of the challenge of incorporating self-care into our lives is that we don’t really know how to do it.  When pushed to say what we think it is, we tend to think about eating right and exercising. While there is truth in that, it goes a little deeper.  It’s really about the why and how. Self-care requires a shift in our thinking. We prepare good food or exercise not because we are beating ourselves into submission but because we know that when we eat well and move our bodies we feel better and we can handle our lives with more grace. It’s about turning off the T.V. and the phone at the end of a long day and curling up with a good book so that we can get deeper, more restful sleep. It’s meditating, spending time with friends that lift us up, and paying attention to and managing our stress.  It’s about making those things that build us up and nourish our body and mind a priority.

Here are a few tips for incorporating self-care into your life.

  1. Pick your self-care. Decide on one or two self-care practices you want to work into your life. Maybe it’s just using all that fancy face washing things you got for Christmas or maybe it’s practicing yoga daily. Pick something that will nourish you.
  2. Schedule it. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, put it on your calendar each day and treat it like you would a meeting with your boss.
  3. DO IT! Seriously, you will always have too many things on your list and not enough time. What does it hurt to take half and hour or less to focus on your health? Nothing. It hurts nothing.

If you need help figuring out how to get self-care into your life or are ready to transform your health, contact me for a free consultation. 

healing journey

Healing isn’t linear

By the amazingly talented Frizz Kid. Check out here art work at http://thefrizzkid.tumblr.com/
By the amazingly talented Frizz Kid. Check her out here.


Healing is not linear. It’s such a simple concept but it took me years to learn the truth of it. It’s easy to give up on healing when you work so hard only to  start to feel the same crappy way (or even worse), but these bad days are part of the healing process too. If you listen to your body and continue to make healing a priority,  you will see the fruits of all that hard work pay off.  Good luck, my friend!

healing journey

(Self) Love is all you need


As I’m writing this it’s International Women’s Day, so I thought I would take a break from my usual posts and talk about a key and often missing ingredient to living a happy life full of energy: love of self. You can eat as well as possible and work out religiously, but if you aren’t doing it from a place of love, it’s not going to get you very far. We know that people with low opinions of themselves don’t fare well in this life. They’re suspectable to depression, suppressed immune system, etc.  As one very dry research paper out of UT Austin concluded, “People with negative self-views think and behave in ways that diminish their quality of life.” Ain’t that the truth!

I spent a good portion of my life loathing myself. I was too dumb, too fat, too whatever to be worth anything. In my early teens, that turned into an eating disorder; in my twenties, it was staying in the wrong relationship; and in my early thirties, it was crushing depressing and constant fear of being found out. And through it all, my body got the message. I was wrong; it was wrong.  Even though I would cut calories drastically and workout like I was being chased by a bear, my weight stayed the same and my health got worse.

My quality of life was not great. But I turned it around. I sought help, and I learned how to catch my negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk. I had a little girl, and, through her, I realized that I was precious too and deserved to be talked to the way I spoke to her. And finally, I had this revelation that I’m going to die. Not that minute or anything, but that, at some point, this journey will come to an end. Did I really want to spend it hating myself and punishing myself for not living up to other peoples expectations? Hell no!

Getting here, to this place of healing and self-love, was not easy; but along the way I learned how to see my value and, just like any nutrient that finally makes its way into the body, loving myself began to do its magic.

Tip: Pay attention to your negative self-talk. Once you get good at catching yourself, replace those words/phrases with positive ones. It takes some time for this to feel natural, but I promise that speaking to yourself positively will eventually come just as naturally as speaking to yourself negatively does now.


healing journey

Don’t discount your struggle


I’ve spent endless hours in specialists’ waiting rooms, had more blood drawn than I like to think of, and spent a small fortune for medicines that only made me feel bad in a different way. I’ve felt like hell, and I’ve gone through times when hope was nowhere in sight. But I’m here now. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, and hope and I are tight.  My poor health instigated so much positive and beautiful change in my life.  No matter how horrible those years were I wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world.  Stay strong, my friends!

healing journey

My healing journey

Thank youhttp://www.thewoodconnectionblog.com/ for such a beautiful message.

It’s November, which means we Americans are gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving. Mostly this means we are making travel arrangements and planning menus, but a few will take this month as an opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things in their lives. I love seeing peoples’ “30 Days of Gratitude” posts on Facebook because I believe in the power of giving thanks.

A few years ago, I went through one of the most trying times of my life. Something was wrong with me, but none of the many specialist could figure it out or agree on a course of treatment.  Additionally, the project manager I was assigned to at the time did not suffer fools, weakness, or absences, and, at that point, I was all those things to her. Getting tested for rare forms of cancer and feeling completely incompetent really starts to wear on a lady. During those months I went to the darkest place I have ever know. It still scares me to remember that time and the thoughts I was having about my worth.

At that point I had been on my road to healing for just under six months. Because of this process, I had something to lean in to. This healing journey became my priority because the alternative wasn’t an option. But just focusing on what I should and shouldn’t eat and how I should move wasn’t helping me tackle the crippling depression that kept me in bed when I wasn’t working or had me faking my way through mommyhood. I didn’t start to overcome that until one day while walking my dog I just took off my headphones and started to name the things I was grateful for. Let me be clear, this one walk did not sort out all my problems, but it gave me a tool that allowed me to switch my perspective. I didn’t lie to myself and say “everything is cool” because I knew it wasn’t and I wasn’t sure it ever would be. But I did know that at that moment I had things like food, a roof over my head, and sturdy walking shoes, and that was something to focus on.

I used my gratitude practice to drive off the demons of insecurity, fear, and doubt. When that voice popped up saying “you aren’t…” I would list all the wonderful things I was thankful for that I am, most importantly alive and loved. This was the beginning of my understanding that in order to achieve healing I can’t just muscle my way through a “diet,” I have to nourish my mind and spirit as well as my body.