Dear body, thank you for taking on these extra 5 pounds.

This winter, I gained a solid five pounds. Maybe a couple more, I’m not entirely sure to be honest.

Initially, I was kind of upset about this extra weight. But lately, I’ve gained a tremendous, deep appreciation for it.

I talk to women all the time about body image and I believe that our bodies tell a story. When we naturally lose weight, it is typically a result of us being relaxed, happy, and less stressed in our lives. Many women talk about losing weight on vacation when they are chilling out and at ease. When we gain weight, it is usually a sign of something else going on. Stress, boredom, lack of excitement in our lives, overwhelm.

I’m pretty in touch with my emotions and how to take care of myself on all levels, but I have to say that starting a business threw me for a big loop. As hard set I was on keeping some sort of peace, balance and sanity during this new venture, I’ve quickly learned that I have to get used to NOT necessarily having those things right now. I’ve become increasingly comfortable with this, but I struggled with it at first. And I see the reflection of that in my body.

However, when I look at my body, with the extra weight it’s holding onto, I look at it in such a loving way.

When I look in the mirror, I see a body that supported me starting a business from scratch.

I see a body that had my back as I faced a lot of fears and took a lot of risks.

I see a body that was with me through making some of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make with little idea as to how to make them.

I see a body that supported many sleepless nights when my brain wouldn’t stop churning about who knows what.

I see a body that helped me get up after those sleepless nights and devote my full attention to talking to my amazing clients all day.

I see a body that gave me energy to keep my relationships strong, exciting and healthy during times when I felt worn down.

I see a body that took me for runs when I needed to clear my head and let me sleep like a baby when I truly needed it.

I see a body that fueled me to go out dancing with my friends for hours on end when I needed to let it all go.

I see a body that let me eat cereal at 3am to get me through a project I needed to get through, and occasionally rely on ice cream to mentally check out when I just didn’t know what else to do.

When I look in the mirror and see that my cheeks are a little fuller, my thighs a little thicker and my stomach a little rounder, I see a girl who ventured into unknown territory and a new phase of her life and a body that supported that.

I’m not superwoman (dang, wish I was), and although I talk about emotional eating and self-care, I also tell people that sometimes you just have to do the best you can. Sometimes we get thrown curve balls, or we move into a new chapter of our lives and aren’t quite sure how to handle the new lifestyle and challenges that it brings. We need to relearn how to take care of ourselves, how to adjust, and how to grow.

Although I have taken care of myself in the best way that I know how, I’m still learning as I go through a new phase of my life, and I’ve learned that the best thing I can do for myself right now is be understanding, patient, and compassionate with myself. There have been days that I’ve overeaten to comfort or distract myself, weeks when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, times when I haven’t managed my stress as well as I could have, and many days I haven’t gotten outside and stretched my legs as much as I know my body has wanted to.

But I’m still here, and I’m still kickin’.

And I’m starting to get the hang of it. And I know that each day I’m learning more about what I need and how to make this all work. How to balance taking care of myself, taking care of my business, and taking care of everything else.

So for now, here is a little letter to my body…

Thanks for being patient with me and supporting me through so much unknown and uncertainty lately. I look at those extra 5 lbs and I see them as a reflection of everything we’ve pushed through in the last several months. I know I haven’t treated you perfectly, but thank you for being there for me anyway. We’ve accomplished a ton, and I couldn’t have done any of it without you. As I get used to this new life and keep figuring it all out, I know that I will be able to  focus more and more on taking care of you and giving you what you need. Thank you for hanging in there with me.

I want you to look at your body the next time you’re in front of the mirror and thank it for something. For something it has gotten you through. Are those extra pounds a reflection of something you’ve gone through and an example of where your body has taken one for the team? Did you eat to get through something, or stop working out because you were dealing with another area of your life that needed attention? Is that extra tummy roll there because you can’t stand your job but you’re doing it anyway and constantly hitting the M&M jar to get through the day? Are you going through changes in your life and still trying to figure out how to take care of yourself under those new circumstances? Where has your body supported your decisions and kept you afloat? Where has it taken on some physical weight because it was too hard for you to take on the emotional weight? Can you compassionately thank your body for that?

Weight fluctuations are normal. We go through things in our lives and constantly have to adjust. We go through break ups, we deal with extreme joy and pain, we change jobs, we move, we build families. And its normal that as we go through changes, our bodies do too.

So what’s next? How about these 5 pounds?

Well, I’m not too concerned about the weight. I know that it will go away eventually, and my number one job right now is to just keep working on creating a lifestyle where I am able to pay attention to my body in the way it deserves. In these past few weeks I’ve felt like I am kinda sorta getting better at this new entrepreneurial territory I am swimming in, and I am going to continue to just keep figuring out how to make it all work for me.

I plan on sharing a series of posts over the next several weeks explaining what lifestyle changes I’ve been/will be making in my own life in order to take care of myself even better. It will be a combination of what has worked for me in the past plus new strategies that I’ve been trying out lately. It’s going to be a lot of little things, no drastic changes, but I figure I might as well share how I’m learning to take care of myself with a very unstructured schedule and a lot of uncertainty, change and unknown going on in my life right now.

So if you’re interested, stay tuned!

I’d love to hear from you. Regarding the questions above– can you compassionately thank your body for something its helped you get through, even if it has taken on some weight? Do you have any ideas of something you can shift in your life right now in order to create more room for taking care of yourself and giving your body more of what it needs? 

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The Week I Talked To 35 Women About Their “Food Issues”

After running the February Intuitive Eating Challenge, I strongly felt that the next time I did the challenge, I should add an initial and final one-on-one coaching call for me to connect with each of the women, personally. I wanted to understand them better, and I wanted them to feel a connection to me as I guided them through a three week journey that was going to drastically challenge their “dieting” beliefs. Most importantly, I wanted to give them the opportunity to just talk.

So, as part of the March Intuitive Eating Challenge, I added in two 15 minute one-on-one coaching calls for each of the participants.

And last week, before the March challenge started, I held all of the initial calls. I sat in my little studio apartment and spent my time talking to 35 women about their relationship to food, their bodies, and themselves.

The week that I talked to 35 women about their food issues was one of the most meaningful, touching and eye opening weeks I have had in a long time.

Each of these women has her own story, her own history and her own struggle with her body and her weight.

These struggles run deep, and these talks were emotional. Some of these women even cried to me within minutes of our first words.

These women are from all over the United States, are of all ages and backgrounds, and have totally different lifestyles and jobs.

Some are college graduates, and some are moms of four kids. Some are marathon runners and some struggle to get off the couch. Some are trying to lose weight, some are trying to maintain, and some are trying to gain weight.

Some have been dieting for 3 years and some have been dieting for 30 years.

But despite their differences, I was so deeply moved by how much these women all have in common in regards to their “food issues”.

When it comes to the relationship that these women have to food and their bodies,  there are such obvious themes that connect all of them, and that I believe connect so many of us, as women. 

These women are exhausted. By the voices in their heads that beat them up for eating what they shouldn’t be eating. By all of the questioning. By the constant cycles of dieting and bingeing. By the weight gains and weight losses that they keep experiencing.

They are exhausted from trying to control everything.

Each of these women has a hard time with self trust, self love or self care in some form of another. I know that, as women, we can all relate to this. We question ourselves constantly. We judge ourselves and compare ourselves to other people. We aren’t sure if what we really want to eat, do, say, is “right” or if it’s enough.

They feel like they need permission to do what they actually want with their diet.

They all struggle with:

Lack of trust.

Need for Control.

Self- Doubt and Self Criticism.

Restriction, rules, judgement.

Emotional Eating.

So you know what happens when 35 women come together and try to give up all of the dieting mumbo jumbo, repair their relationship to food, and work together on getting back to themselves, their cravings, and what they actually want?

Watch. Out.

The support among them has seriously blown me away. We have this Facebook Group and it’s a non stop outpouring of support for one another.

One woman posts a success, or an “ah-ha” moment, and everyone celebrates.

One women posts a struggle, and she is clearly beating herself up. Others are there for her within minutes. Telling her that they just had a similar experience the night before.

It has become clear that there are so many other qualities that these women have in common:

These women are incredibly loving.

They support the hell out of each other.

They are open to something new.

They are aware.

They are willing.

They are strong.

They want to learn about themselves again and learn to trust themselves. They want permission to give up the “shoulds” and just be themselves. They want to see what this feels like. They want to feel free.

The week I talked to 35 women about their “food issues” was beautiful, meaningful and so profound.

I realized the strings of connection that tie us, as women, together. The themes, struggles, and desires that are prevalent in so many of our lives.

And most importantly, I realized the power that we have when we support each other. It blows my mind.

An IINspiring Weekend… Back Where It All Began

This weekend was a really meaningful one for me. In 2010, I graduated as a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. (IIN)

Although I was working in finance at the time, I went to Columbus Circle two weekends a month and sat in this gorgeous auditorium to learn.

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This weekend I went back for a Live Alumni Event for the whole weekend.

Before the weekend, I hadn’t thought much of it. I was excited, and particularly excited to see certain speakers. But it wasn’t until I sat down in those chairs again that everything started to sink in. Of course, I got a little emotional… you know me!

As soon as I sat down I thought, man… 3 years ago, when I was sitting here, I was so lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do about my career, I loved the idea of making Health Coaching my career but knew that I did not have the courage, I was struggling with my own body and weight, and had a general lack of fulfillment in my life at the time.

3 years later, and things are so different. I actually do have that health coaching career that I only dreamed about the last time I was in those seats. I have figured out my own body and weight issues, and my life is way more fulfilling. I took a few minutes when I first sat down to just think about how much of a difference 3 short years can make.

I know that I still have so much I want to learn, do, experience, and so many areas I want to grow in, but it was a really interesting point of reflection that I wasn’t expecting to feel this weekend.

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At IIN, there is a general theme that in our lives, we all have “Primary Food” and “Secondary Food”. Primary Food are the various aspects of our lives that feed our soul. They have nothing to do with food. They are areas such as Relationships, Career, Spirituality, Finances, Social Life, Home Environment and Joy. When these various components are not satisfied, we reach for Secondary Food, which is actual physical food. The food is there to fill some sort of a void that we have in our lives.

As coaches from IIN, we know that Primary Food is so important. I see it time and time again with my clients– it’s really all about the Primary Food. Most of us know what to eat, but we aren’t doing it. Why? Because our Primary Food is unsatisfied in some way.

This weekend, the point was to make sure that we, as coaches, were paying attention to our OWN primary food. It was a weekend that made us look at our own lives and examine various areas of lack and fulfillment. We all have such strong missions to help people, and this was such a good reminder to fill up our own buckets as well.

And it was an opportunity for us to get honest about what was going on in our lives. What we were neglecting, what we were paying too much attention to, where we felt balanced and unbalanced.

I left feeling renewed, inspired and empowered. I felt taken care of, like I have this whole community of people who have my back.

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Do you think there are areas of your life that feel unbalanced? Are there any Primary Foods that you aren’t feeling satisfied with? Do you feel that this concept of a lack of Primary Food causing you to overeat or not take care of yourself is something that’s going on in your life?

Share if you’d like or simply just think about one area in your life that you’d like to be more fulfilling– whether it be your relationship to your boyfriend/husband or your job or your home environment– and try to put some extra effort into that area today.

And if you have any questions about IIN after reading this, definitely let me know!

Chocolate Giveaway: With Love from Me to You

Happy Valentines Day!!

I got you a little present.

It’s really cliche, but I couldn’t resist.

Look how pretty!

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Everyone needs a little chocolate, and this is my favorite kind.

I’ve tried almost every flavor and they all have their perks. Some are spicy, some minty, some are strong, some more mild, some fruity, some nutty.

So I chose six flavors and they’re all yours.

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I wanted to share some love on this Valentines Day because you have all been so good to me over the past year. It’s because of your support for this blog that I now have my own business and am doing something I love. It’s because of you that I have this outlet to share my thoughts and experiences, and it’s because of your openness that I have the opportunity to try to help some of you in making positive changes in your lives.

I think I owe you a few more chocolate bars for that.

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I hope that you take some time today to not only show your love for everyone around you, but to also take some time to love on yourself. Do something just for you today. Because loving yourself should be your number one priority. It is only when you really love yourself and fill up your own bucket that you can show everyone else how much you truly love them.

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And now I’m rambling about love, so I’ll stop and just cut to the chocolate chase.

To enter in the giveaway for these Chocolove Chocolate bars, just leave a comment on this post telling me one way you’re going to love yourself today. It could be anything… from eating something you love to listening to your favorite music while driving home. Whatever it is that fills up your bucket. Share it with me!

AND if you’d like to tweet about it, you get an extra entry. Just tweet something about the giveaway and add my twitter handle in there (@studioeats14) and the link to this post so that I know you’ve tweeted.

I’ll keep this giveaway open for 4 or 5 days and will announce the winner mid-week next week.

YAY for chocolate and for this day of love and especially for you.

And if you haven’t signed up for my 21 Day March Intuitive Eating Challenge, but are interested, go on and sign up! We are getting an amazing group going and I can’t wait for it to kick off.

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21 Day March Intuitive Eating Challenge

*Note, if you’d like to sign up for the next month’s challenge, head over to this page*

On February 1st, I started running the first 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge. 45 brave souls decided that they wanted to work on their relationship to food, their weight, and themselves. I think it’s safe to say that the challenge has been a learning and growing experience for all of us, and I’ve loved being able to support everyone each step of the way.

Starting March 1st, we’re doing it again…with a few tweaks.

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Here is more information about the challenge:

The point of the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge is to make steps toward becoming more Intuitive Eaters. This means:

– breaking the Diet Mentality

– listening to our own bodies instead of outside rules telling us what and when we should eat

– eating what we want when we are hungry

– respecting when our bodies are full and satisfied and reducing the amount of times we overeat

– eating mainly for the purpose of physical need and reducing the amount of times we eat for other reasons (emotional, etc.)

The Challenge is for you if: 

– you feel like you constantly need to control your diet and exercise

– you deprive yourself and then overeat/binge

– you often times eat for reasons other than pure hunger

– you know what you “should” eat to lose weight, but aren’t able to

– you feel guilty when eating unhealthy food

– you have a constant chatter in your head telling you what you “should” and “shouldn’t” eat and you just want it to stop

Here is what the challenge entails: 

Two 15 minute one-on-one coaching calls with me. One will be before the challenge starts. During this call, we will hone in on your personal, specific struggles with emotional eating, overeating, controlling your diet, and intuitive eating and figure out how you should personally approach the challenge to get the most out of it. The second 15 minute call will be at the end. This will give us a chance to debrief and recap how the challenge went for you, discuss any questions you have, and talk about how you can work on being more Intuitive in your life going forward.

– Daily newsletters from me that arrive in your inbox every single morning at 6am. Each newsletter outlines a different topic and lesson pertaining to Intuitive Eating and challenges you to try to incorporate the lesson into your life from that day going forward. The newsletters have a flow to them – they strategically guide you so that the lessons build on one another.

– Personal one-on-one coaching with me through email. I respond within 24 hours and coach you through your own personal struggles, questions, and successes. Some people like to email me daily to check in, others email me with road bumps or situations that are specific to their own lives and schedules.

– Access to the private Intuitive Eating Challenge Facebook Group. This has been really active with the February group- people have posted pictures of their food, how they are taking the lessons each day and incorporating them into their day-to-day, “ah ha” moments that they have, and questions for the group. It is not mandatory to be part of this group if you want to remain private. 

The cost of the Challenge for the month of March is $49.

The challenge starts March 1st. If you’re interested and want to be on the list, please email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com

I can’t wait to have you be a part of it 🙂

The 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge (Starts Feb 1)

Hi everyone!

I am really excited for this post. I’ve done a lot of thinking and have come up with all the details for the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge that I’m hosting starting Feb 1. I’ve casually posted about this a couple of other times, but here are all of the details.

The 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge

What it is: 

For 21 days, starting Feb 1, I am going to be focusing on fine tuning my own Intuitive Eating skills and invite anyone who would like to join me to do so as well. (Here are two posts I wrote last week about Intuitive Eating: Intro to Intuitive Eating and the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating.)

We will be focusing on the 10 Principles and in a nutshell, we will be freeing ourselves from the Diet Mentality, eating what we actually want and crave throughout the day, paying attention to our hunger- eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are full- and trying to make every single meal as satisfying, enjoyable and delicious as possible. We are going to let our bodies guide as, trusting that they know what we need.

What Joining the Challenge Means: 

It’s totally free, and is all done through email. I won’t really be posting on the blog about it;  instead, it will be lead through emails that I’ll send out each day for 21 days. You can remain completely anonymous throughout the challenge, meaning that nobody besides me needs to know that you’re in it.

What To Expect: 

  • A detailed email right before the challenge starts giving you more in-depth information about Intuitive Eating, my own experience with it, and how to get the most out of the 21 days. 
  • Emails from me in your inbox bright and early each morning with either a tip about incorporating IE into your life, an experiment for you to try that day/week, a story from my own journey or an experience one of my clients has had with it, a practical tactic for keeping up with the principles, a strategy, or some other nugget of good information.
  • Complete email support with me for those 21 days. I will get back to you within 24 hours. You can email me with daily wins and successes, questions, confusion, any “ah-ha” moments, or any struggles.
  • There will be opportunities to interact with the other people involved- sharing experiences, asking questions, and offering/receiving support. Again, you don’t need to be a part of this part if you want to remain private. 
  • We’ll have a hashtag (I’m thinking #IEChallenge) to post pictures, successes, things we are proud of, thoughts, or really anything to the same place. Sometimes it’s easier to feel motivated when involving others and social media outlets.
  • Depending on how things go, I may host a call halfway through to discuss our experiences and answer any questions that I can.

What I Hope You Get Out of the Challenge: 

I’m working with one of my clients on incorporating Intuitive Eating into her life. She called me today for our scheduled session and she said “Jamie, I am just so HAPPY. I am eating what I want, going out to dinner and ordering exactly what I want. And I feel more satisfied than I’ve felt in years. I am just so happy, and notice such a difference in my mood and spirit. I am just really really happy!” She couldn’t stop saying how “happy” she was. It was so cute and put such a big, goofy smile on my face.

This is what I hope for you. I hope that by doing this challenge you open yourself up to the possibility of ditching diets, nutrition “rules” that get thrown at us everyday, and learn to just trust yourself and your body. I hope that you drop into your intuition and out of your head. Into your body and out of you mind. I hope that you give yourself permission to eat foods that you thought you “shouldn’t” eat. I hope that you start to observe and understand and know your body better- what it likes, what it doesn’t, what makes it feel good, what doesn’t. I hope that during these 21 days you start to trust yourself again.

And if you’ve been practicing IE for awhile, and already feel that you are a pretty good Intuitive Eater, I hope that you use this challenge as a time to really focus on your hunger, cravings, and do some fine-tuning. That’s what I’ll be doing and can’t wait to have you on board as well.

How You Can Get Signed Up: 

Send me an email at jamiemendell@gmail.com with “IE Challenge” as the subject and I’ll add you to the list. Or, you can just leave a comment on this post and I’ll add you.

I’m seriously psyched about this challenge and can’t wait to have you be a part of it. Woohoo!

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Intuitive Eating: The 10 Basic Principles

Good morning everyone 🙂

Another Intuitive Eating post today. I have to say, I have been blown away and so touched by some of the emails you’ve sent me about Intuitive Eating and your interest in the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge. So many of you are tired of the diets, want a new approach and are open to this concept. I was already excited about the challenge, but now I just can’t wait to get it started.

I’ll be formally announcing the details of the challenge sometime next week, but you can continue to email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com with the subject line “IE Challenge” to get signed up.

Forging onward! I feel like the next step is to outline the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating (taken directly from the book, Intuitive Eating) and my interpretation of each one. This lays the groundwork for the concept as a whole and the challenge as well.

So here we go:

Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality

This one is huge. In order to let IE in, and use our body as our guide, we have to let the idea that “there is a diet out there for us” go. Diets provide us with an amazing sense of control which can be empowering at first, but ultimately defeating when we get fed up with following some plan or we “fail”. And by the way, it’s not our fault that we fail at diets. We fail because most diets go against what our bodies actually want, and that inherently feels wrong.

I’ll be honest: you will probably get annoyed or fed up with IE at some point and resort back to a diet for a few days. IE takes longer, you have to be patient. It’s about the journey, learning about yourself and what works for you and what doesn’t. There is no “plan” to follow. In the past 4 or 5 years, I have had moments of “this is way too hard, I just need a diet, a plan, someone else to tell me what to do”. And I’ve gone back to diets. But overtime, I learned that they just kept not working for me, and IE was always what I came back to. Now, diets aren’t even an option.

Principle 2: Honor Your Hunger

We should be eating when we’re hungry to keep our metabolisms going. Hunger is GOOD. I love being hungry, because then I eat! This principle is all about trying to level out the periods of restriction followed by overeating. Keeping yourself fueled throughout the day with foods you want and love is essential.

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Principle 3: Make Peace with Food

This one is fun but scary. Making peace with food means giving yourself permission to eat what you actually want and crave. You know those lists you have of “good food” and “bad food”. Say goodbye! 🙂 There is no such thing.

A common question I get about this one is… but if I eat whatever I want, then I’ll just eat junk all the time and I’ll blow up (or in the case of my Dad, he is convinced he would just eat hotdogs and cheeseburgers all day, everyday). To that I say… yes, you definitely may eat a lot of “junk” (higher fat, sugar, calorie) food at first, but over time you’ll learn that you body just wants to feel good, and feeling good will come from incorporating nutritious food into your diet too.

A friend told me a story recently about someone she knew who started following Intuitive Eating several years ago. She started eating 6 Dairy Queen Blizzards every single day, because that is what she had been depriving herself of for years. Eventually, she needed less and less ice cream, and her body finally said “Enough of this, I need real food”.

I went through this too, and I’ll be sharing some of my experiences with this during the 21 Day Challenge.

Principle 4: Challenge the Food Police

Release the guilt that you’ve associated with eating “bad food”. As the book mentions, the food police is ingrained deep into our psyche. This principle is about controlling your thoughts and not letting in those thoughts that say you are making a bad choice. Just let it be. You are experimenting, you are learning, and you’re listening to you.

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Principle 5: Feel Your Fullness

Another huge one! This is about learning what it feels like to feel full and stopping when you’re full. I know this is a tough one for all of us, because… sometimes we just want to keep eating! The food is so good. I’ll also be addressing this in the 21 Day Challenge.

Principle 6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor

This is one of my favorite principles. As I just wrote in an email to someone today “you deserve to enjoy every single thing you eat”. The motto that the IE book has is:

“If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it”

We don’t need to be eating things we don’t like. As you’ve probably seen, I eat a lot of vegetables but I make them in a way that I love. I used to eat them in a really boring and unsatisfying way, but what’s the fun in that? I also eat a lot of chocolate, carbs, fats, and my fair share of ice cream and wine. This is a key principle. Pleasure and enjoyment are crucial! 🙂


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Principle 7: Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food

Okay, so, this one is a doozy. It really is. If there is one principle that I think is the hardest, it’s this one. Honestly, I wish the book spent more time going through this, because I think this was a missing piece for me for a while after I started trying to incorporate IE into my life. It wasn’t until I focused here (which took me a long time), that everything kind of came together for me.

This is tough… so many of us eat because we are bored, or we are distracting ourselves from a long day of work, or we are stressed out or overwhelmed. Or we are at a dinner and the conversation is boring so we just keep finishing our plate even though we are no longer hungry.

It’s essential to develop strategies and tools to deal with this outside of food. I’m going to go over some things that worked for me in the 21 Day Challenge, but I would just say that this is a part of Intuitive Eating not to discount. From my experience, I’ve found it to be really important to focus on developing these coping skills.

Principle 8: Respect Your Body

Phew. This is another big one, and one I have a lot to say about. But here is the gist: this principle is all about self care. It doesn’t matter how overweight you are, how badly you’ve treated your body in the past, or how far away you think you are from your goals, you deserve to treat your body with respect NOW.

This means feeding it with delicious food, dressing in clothes you love and that are comfortable, moving your body in a way that feels energizing, looking in the mirror and only allowing yourself to tell yourself positive things (even if you aren’t where you want to be yet), and stopping comparing yourself to other people.

The book mentions:

“Body image expert and psychologist Judith Rodin notes in her book Body Traps, “You don’t need to lose weight first in order to take care of yourself. In fact, the process actually happens quite in the reverse!””


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Principle 9: Exercise- Feel the Difference

Move your body in a way that you love. Walk if you like it better than running. Dance, do yoga, and if you don’t want to go to the gym, just put on some tunes and dance around your apartment. Just move in a way that feels good.

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Principle 10: Honor Your Health– Gentle Nutrition

This one is important to go over because I think a common misconception about Intuitive Eating (from my experience in talking about it with people) is that you ignore all nutrition guidelines. It’s really not the case. In fact, to me, IE is all about doing what feels best for me. And what’s best is often times really nutritious food. However, it took me a long time to get here. I had to go through letting go of the “bad food” judgement first and letting myself eat exactly what I wanted and when I wanted it. Overtime, things level out and our bodies just naturally want a mix of high nutrition food and food that may be lower in nutritional value but that we just enjoy. The leveling out does take time and from my experience, it’s important to go through the process to get there.

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And that’s that. There is SO much more in the book about each principle and the authors do a great job of incorporating real life scenarios throughout the book. I could also say so much more about each principle and how it has played into my own experience with Intuitive Eating. In the next week or two, you will hear from a couple of my friends and people I’ve worked with who either practice the IE concept or have given it a shot, and then in the challenge, you’ll hear several tips and pieces of advice that I have for practically incorporating IE into your life.

Have an awesome day and if you get nothing else from this post, I hope you at least give yourself permission to eat something today that you absolutely love 🙂

Intuitive Eating: What Does This Mean, Anyway?

In the summer of 2007, I picked up a book that completely transformed the relationship I have with myself:

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A deep statement, huh? Well, there are few things that I can speak incredibly passionately about, and this book is one of them.

So I’ll tell you why.

When I first picked up this book, I was searching for answers. I was in the middle of a grueling internship where I was working around the clock, and my eating habits were all over the place. Stuck in the office at 3 or 4am, we would snack on anything that wasn’t nailed down just to keep us awake. I was so exhausted that I’d reach for sugar constantly. I needed more control, so I ventured into the book store to figure out some sort of diet plan.

This book popped out at me, and as I began to read about it, I just knew deep down that this book was my answer. Not temporarily, but for good.

The concept of Intuitive Eating (IE) first talks about completely scrapping the diet mentality. Who knows what is “best for us” anyway? One day you read something that says to eat a lot of protein, and then you read other books and research that says that animal protein causes cancer. Some research shows that dairy is an essential part of our diet and that it helps with bone strength and digestion, but other studies show that we should stay away from dairy as it causes breakouts and inflammation. So what the heck are we supposed to eat? Why are we trying to follow so many “rules” and guidelines from what we read?

In most cases, diets simply don’t work. It is widely quoted that 95% of people who diet end up failing, and so many of the people who temporarily lose weight just end up gaining it back and more.

Instead of dieting, Intuitive Eating proposes that we get in touch with our own bodies. Our bodies are insanely brilliant systems that know how to operate optimally. When we listen to what we actually crave, honor our hunger, and stop when we are full, this is when our bodies can thrive. And this is when natural weight loss occurs. Think about little kids– kids are intuitive eaters by nature. Before they learn all of the “shoulds” (what they should eat, when they should eat, etc.), they run around eating when they want, stopping when they are full, and maintaining healthy figures.

“Intuitive Eating provides a new way of eating that is ultimately struggle-free and healthy for your mind and body. It is a process that releases the shackles of dieting (which can only lead to deprivation, rebellion, and rebound weight gain). It means getting back to your roots- trusting your body and its signals. Intuitive Eating will not only change your relationship with food, it may change your life” – from the book, Intuitive Eating

At first, the concept of eating whatever I wanted seemed so scary to me. I thought for sure that I’d just eat bagels and ice cream all day. And to be honest, that is all I wanted for a while. I had deprived myself in my mind of so many things, that these are the foods I wanted to eat when I let myself. But over time, the need for all of the carbs and sugar went away because my body knew that it could have it at any time. There were no more rules.

Over the past few years, I have worked hard at this concept of adopting the Intuitive Eating principles. Intuitive Eating means trusting yourself, and trusting that your body will guide you in the perfect direction, knowing what is good for you personally.

Some things that I’ve personally learned about my own body through this process:

  • I’m a carb girl. I need them, I love them, and when I don’t have them, things get ugly.
  • I need a lot of fat in my diet – at every single meal.
  • I don’t always love eating breakfast right when I wake up. Also, on most days, I like eating lighter during the day and more in the evening. This goes against some standard nutrition advice, but it works well for my body.
  • I like some animal protein. Although I’ve tried veganism and vegetarianism at different times, it doesn’t work for me. My body craves some meat, on most days, but definitely not at every meal.
  • When I crave a lot of sugar, it almost always means I’m overwhelmed. I do other things now to take care of myself.

I could go on and on. It’s been a process, but this is what I truly believe is the answer for our issues with weight and diet frustrations. It’s about forgetting the information that is coming to us from the outside, and instead, looking inside. We have all of the answers we need, we just need to listen.

When I started getting really good at Intuitive Eating and listening to my body, the extra college weight just started falling off. I exercised intuitively too, in a way that felt good. I just keep eating in a way that felt good and exercising like that too, and everything just flowed. All of a sudden, weight loss was easy. I never feel deprived. I eat what I want, I (usually) stop when I’m full, I give in to all of my cravings, and I trust that those cravings are also in line with what is best for my health.

I’m going to be talking a lot about Intuitive Eating in the next couple of weeks. It has transformed my relationship to food, my body and my health completely, and not to get too deep on you, but it led to me trusting myself in every single area of my life and has brought about some amazing changes for me in those areas. People who teach Intuitive Eating say that IE is a gateway to Intuitive Living. I completely believe it. It’s all about looking within and trusting our intuition. Nobody knows us as well as we do.

I’m also going to be hosting a 21 Day Intuitive Eating challenge starting February 1st. During this challenge, I am going to focus on fine tuning the principles of Intuitive Eating in my own life for those 21 days, and I invite anyone else to participate with me. We will focus on thinking about what we crave throughout the day, eating what we want when we are actually hungry, stopping when we are full, and letting our bodies guide us. Throughout the challenge, I’ll send daily emails with practical tips about how to incorporate the IE principles into your lives, and I’ll provide 21 days of email support to help you through it. To sign up now, email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com with the subject line “IE Challenge” and I’ll get you on the list.

As my friends and family know, I have been talking about Intuitive Eating for years and feel so strongly about it. I could literally talk your ear off about it if I was given the chance. I hope you like these posts and get something from all of the talkin’. I have so much more information for you to come in the next couple of weeks! Stay tuned.

I’m curious– have you heard of this concept before? Is it something you practice in your own life? What specific questions, if any, do you have about it that I can help answer over the next couple of weeks?

30 Minute January Jog Workout

Good morning! I can’t believe another week is coming to an end… this week seriously flew by for me. I’d just like to pop in and say a sincere thank you for all of the love you guys gave me about launching my business. I am so grateful for all of you.

I have some exciting plans for the blog next week, but for now I just have a quick workout to share. This is a treadmill workout I did a few weeks ago. The intervals keep it interesting, keeps your body guessing and your heart rate up. Perfect for the winter when we are sometimes prevented from running/working out outside.

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That’s all for now. Have a fantastic weekend and can’t wait to share some cool stuff with you next week!

Thanks again for being amazing.

Official Launch of my StudioEats Health Coaching Business

I am really excited to announce the official launch of my StudioEats Health Coaching business! I am putting 100% of my time and energy into working with clients on achieving their health goals.

In December you may have noticed the new additions to my blog regarding my Health Coaching business including pages describing what I’ll be doing and the programs that I offer. I was waiting until I had everything up and running to formally announce it on the blog and I am happy to say that everything is ready to go.

Here is a little bit of background about myself and how this has all come together:

In 2010 I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Health Coach. While there, I studied over one-hundred dietary theories and was given powerful tools for starting my own coaching business. I started health coaching on the side and saw a lot of success with it, but in 2010 I wasn’t ready to turn my interest in health and nutrition into a full blown career. I had graduated from Emory University in 2008 with a Business degree, and was committed to my full-time consulting role in the Finance industry. But going to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition planted a huge seed in my head and ignited a passion in me that I couldn’t ignore. It was just a matter of time before I finally had the courage to devote myself, 100%, to pursuing my passion of helping others on their own healthy journeys.

And that time is now and I could not be more excited. With my successful business background, my training from one of the best nutrition schools in the world, my own personal path to a healthy lifestyle, and my work ethic and passion, I am ready to truly start sharing my professional knowledge and experience to help others.

Although I see my business as having multiple facets, my primary focus is one-on-one coaching with clients over the phone. I’ve devised a 3 month and a 6 month program that clients can sign up for in order to work on:

  • weight loss
  • completely breaking the diet mentality and releasing all of the stress that comes along with it
  • moving away from strict food and exercise regimens
  • overcoming emotional eating
  • achieving an ideal body weight naturally by following the principles of Intuitive Eating and Living (listening to your own body and creating your own rules) while still enjoying your life
  • cooking with whole foods to increase energy and overall health
  • meal planning and grocery shopping techniques

My approach is unique in that I believe in a person listening to his or her own body’s wisdom for answers on how to naturally lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. I don’t believe in diets or cookie cutter plans. As a Health Coach, I help my clients focus inward and experiment with various recommendations to come up with what works for them, specific to their own body.

Clients can expect:

  • food and exercise experimentation specifically tailored to them
  • custom informational guides and exercises/activities for each session
  • recipes and cooking strategies for their personal lifestyle
  • support with addressing any elements of their life that are holding them back from achieving their goals (i.e. career, relationships, stress, lack of play/fun, etc.)
  • my personal commitment to their health

Just in the past month, some really amazing opportunities have presented themselves to me. I’m working with a couple of clients and I’ve been asked to speak at a school in NYC about affordable healthy eating for families. I’ve also been asked to speak several times about my own Health Journey.

I am thrilled to be doing this and can’t wait to see what 2013 brings. Thanks for all of your continued support and for reading along. It’s in large part due to your response to StudioEats that I feel prepared to take this giant leap.

Now I have a favor to ask of you…Please help me spread the word about StudioEats and the launch of my Health Coaching business! If you know of anyone who is seeking dedicated support on moving toward a healthier lifestyle, please direct them to the following places on my website:

To read about an Overview of my Health Coaching Philosophy: “Work With Me: Health Coaching”

To read about more details about my Approach: “My Approach”

To read about the standard Programs that I offer: “My Programs”

To go ahead and sign up for a free Health Consultation where we go over your health history and goals moving forward, you can sign up right here for a 45 minute phone call with me.

Thank you for all of your continued support. I definitely would not be here, doing this, without all of you.

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