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.

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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