Okay, hold up a second while I take a deep breath and continue.
This kind of writing is really hard for me. Like, really hard. So forgive the grammar and errors, but at this point I’m just trying to get the words out.
How many people already hate me for that title?
I’m tempted to preface this with an explanation. But, I don’t want to do that. I have done a lot of explaining and appeasing and trying to be really likable in the past, and this post is about getting to some naked, uncomfortable truths, for me. It’s also about MY experience and the research and humble pie I’ve had to eat up since that experience.
So, I guess the only place to start is to just start. A handful of years ago I signed up as a Beachbody coach. It was a move made with clueless enthusiasm. What was Beachbody? I had no idea. My little no cable tv bubble let me get away with never having heard of or seen the infomercials previously.
Setting: My first baby was about year old at this time. However, this isn’t a mommy weight loss story at all. I know the mommy weight loss story, and empathize with it. This was very different.
This also wasn’t a story where some MLM network marketer jumped at the opportunity to prey on the new mom and her new baby body. Yes, that does happen.
In fact, it was a friend and a colleague who I still like very very much that reached out.
I received a message on Facebook that was really quite simple. “Hey Sarah. Would you be interested in joining the Insanity Challenge?” Something like that.
We already had a relationship, she had noticed my sudden interest in the health and fitness and nutrition world, and it made sense to make the invite. I didn’t mind.
It had the word challenge in it. I love challenges. I’m a teensy bit competitive and was instantly curious.
Why not? I said yes without having a real clue as to what it was I was saying yet to.
The biggest draw truly was that prospect of coaching others. I signed up right away.
I was already a licensed teacher and had tutored, coached, and worked with people for as long as I was allowed to. And at this particular time in my life, nutrition was my ruthless mistress.
This mistress nutrition had lured me in and she did change my life. But, she was a little controlling and sometimes outright abusive.
A short backstory: I grew up with severe asthma and it stuck around until this push to go a more natural route kicked in. Natural as in, stop treating my body like shit. So, if that’s hippy dippy natural, I’m cool with it.
What I ate was huge in helping me kick asthma’s butt out of my life for good (but there’s way more to that story, and it’s a good one for another time).
So, that’s just some context. I was already clearly interested in the health nut world at this point and my competitive brain was jazzed about the word “challenge.”
I didn’t really know what could be wrong with any of that.
I was unaware of my own disordered behavior around food.
I was so bought into the culture of sexy bodies and controlling your body and celebrating your body based on how it looks compared to 30 days ago.
And, I was losing weight at an alarming rate. Conveniently, I chose to remain blissfully unaware of that as well.
The big drop in weight and body fat happened before Beachbody. So did the need to control and curate my body to feel okay.
Did I mention my daughter was barely a year old at this point? There was not a shred of evidence of that because I had hurled my body into so much confusion with all the different diets and restrictions I put myself on and topped it with the new obsessive exercising I was doing following Insanity, Asylum, and more.
Because my control freak brain had to follow the system, had to get the perfect diet down, had to do everything right, I was literally making myself sick.
I would stay up until midnight just to get in the workout on the schedule because there was no way I could get it in fully while also working part-time as a teacher and taking care of my little one at home.
And the food, did I mention the food?
When I found freedom from my symptoms and disease, I got sucked in big time to the world of superfoods, pure, perfect dieting. Just look at the language used to advertise Shakeology! Sounds like a superfood orgasm in your mouth, right? He handpicked the ingredients? Whaaaat? Give me some of that perfection.
Why so obsessed?
Pure and simple, it was fear.
I feared my symptoms returning and feared any other diseases to come. I read everyone’s story of how they had healed this and that and how perfect their health had become by their perfect eating lifestyles.
I read, watched, and followed blindly.
On one trip, I got so sick, my husband had to rush me to urgent care because my immune system was breaking down. But, I was supposed to be the healthiest person ever!
My health would continue to do weird things. It started with fatigue. I fainted a few times. Then the digestion started to go out the door. Let me tell you how embarrassing it is to feel that urge when you’re in the middle of teaching a class of teenagers. Even worse, this was at a school where we couldn’t leave the students in the class unattended, so I always had to call someone to stand in for me. Yep, digestion issues don’t let you ignore them.
But, what does this have to do with Beachbody coaching?
I felt like crap, and was confused as could be. How could I feel this way?? I was eating the “perfect” diet, drinking my shakes, had willpower out the wazoo, and never missed a workout.
And I was signing women up for programs! Here’s where my stomach sinks as the big fat apology is coming.
I was so oblivious to my own disordered dieting and workout behavior, I was in no position and was not qualified to dish out any coaching, at all. I had not completed my coach certifications at this point. I did not take the functional nutrition courses at this point yet. I hadn’t yet discovered biomechanics and pelvic floor health and what constitutes safe exercise for certain situations.
I WAS JUST A CONSUMER OF A FEW PROGRAMS INVITING OTHERS TO DO THAT SAME PROGRAM.
That is NOT coaching. That does not qualify one to coach. It is network marketing, plain and simple.
And, I was not the only one with this illusion of coaching practicing what I have now come to learn are quite harmful ways to coach, motivate, and teach.
As a coach, you join a group of other coaches. My group was actually super sweet and so so nice. Truly, a great group of people. They were one of the rare groups who was anti-spammy marketing practices and I liked everyone just fine.
That being said, it was still a place where you could go and live with all your disordered mindsets and behaviors in naive bliss.
Before and after pictures galore.
Comparing numbers on who weighs what, who lost how much, who got what results.
Accountability that never questioned the program, it questioned you if you didn’t follow the program.
And I watched a lot of coaches and their customers, and my own customers, go up and down and up and down on this giant collective seesaw of yo-yo dieting.
Lose weight, gain it again, lose it again, gain it again. Get more willpower, count those calories, you can do it you guys. Insanityyyyyyyyyyy.
But it was pure fucking insanity. Why, if this was such a brilliant way to get healthy and lose weight, why were so many customers going back and forth with their results?
And, why was I feeling like total shit?
Here’s the worse part and the pit in my stomach is returning.
When I messaged customers or potential customers, I just can’t believe the shit I said.
Me: What’s your goal?
Potential customer: I want to lose weight?
“Tell me a little more? Why do you want to lost weight?”
“I just don’t like my body right now. I don’t feel comfortable in it. I want to be able to wear a bikini to the beach.”
Now this is where I should’ve paused and listened like a human fucking being, and not someone trying to sell a program. Today, when a woman tells me she wants to change her body because she doesn’t like herself, I want to know whyyyyyyy? Why can’t you love yourself now? What are you really desiring to feel? I love your body. You’re a freakin’ goddess. How can I help you realize that you’re such a Queen now and can treat your body like a Queen too, without feeling miserable along the way?
But noooo, that is not what I did. I nodded my head behind my screen and thought, well, there’s a program for that.
So, I’d ask follow up questions…
Me: What do you want to change about your body? (gag)
And then would come many many details into specific areas that needed to change. Some women even sent me pictures of where exactly on their body they wanted to make changes. Who did I think I was? A fucking plastic surgeon???
So, that’s where the pitch comes in. “Ah, well, yes. It sounds like you’d really like Insanity. I mean you just had a baby and all and all that jumping and intense movement may cause you to blow your uterus through your vagina (at worse) and pee yourself on the daily at best. But, yeah, in my Beachbody coach opinion, go for it. Everyone needs a little prolapse in their lives anyways!”
If only I even knew to say that.
What was the humble pie?
I got sick. So sick I had to stop working out. I was on some stupid smoothie cleanse and had hit a major wall and it was that or check myself into a hospital.
So, I chose to stop and study instead. I put my academic brain back on, the one that inspired me to study history and French and to master in Education. I put my researcher brain back on and got to work.
I studied, I completed trainings and certified as a health coach and Eating Psychology Coach, and I continue to read, research, and take trainings and courses to this day.
It was honestly Marc David’s book, Nourishing Wisdom, that really snapped me out of my madness. It was the first honest approach to food I had ever witnessed. I completed the training at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, which became one of the best decisions I have made in my coaching career.
I heard stories from women with chronic pain who had been told they had no willpower or their pain was in their heads and they had to suck it up to stick with their workouts.
I listened to women who had recovered from cancer or were navigating an autoimmune disorder and were told by MLM marketers that they wouldn’t be sick if they drank their shake, or took some pill, or some crap.
I listened to those same women tell me about the many diets and protocols they followed and the frustration at not having the same experience as the website or diet book promised in the testimonials.
I talked with women who had really busy lives, children, jobs, spouses, and responsibilities. They felt tortured by the Pinterest meals and Instagram #foodporn they couldn’t seem to make time for. They felt like failures every time they chose a cookie and a glass of wine over a crunchy vegetable for a night time snack. They also thought they didn’t have the willpower for the lifestyle they thought they’d try again on Monday.
I heard from moms who felt targeted by some coaches who only saw them as a “mom body” looking for her before and after shot. I talked with women in their 60s who had been dieting for the past 30 years and had no positive news to report on the matter.
This couldn’t be it, right? The dieting culture couldn’t be it?
It’s not it. But, it’s what’s seen as normal and the thing to do.
And I took part in my own way. I bought in and spread it around in my own way.
To this day, there are things I’m still unlearning on this path to knowing more what’s really true for me.
That’s the freedom ticket right there. It’s not a magical weight loss number. It’s not a motivation or willpower matter.
The freedom to make choices about my habits without the judgey and even harmful restrictions.
The freedom to help myself and in turn help the clients in my life make choices about the habits they thrive on comes from knowing the truth behind what we all really desire to feel, to release, to let go of, to pursue, and to be as individuals.
So, for the shitty things I said before, I am sorry. I didn’t know then what I know now, and I’m so grateful I know now.
If this message resonates with you, join the convo on Facebook. We’ve got a free group for that 😉
(Full disclosure: any links I share are my links as I’m proud to affiliate with and share what I actually use and have learned from myself. The use of affiliate links also allows us to keep doing what we’re doing and donating the money we donate to support organizations that help women and men build their lives after abuse.)
First and foremost, the Institute for the Psychology of Eating was the first Training where I felt that “aha, this is the shit I’ve been seeking” feeling. My lovely friends Marc and Emily, the peeps who run the place and who also have huge loving hearts, they teach an intro masterclass on what this kind of coaching is if you’re curious. You can find out about that HERE.
Secondly, after training with them, taking the Dr. Sear Wellness Institute training, recently completely some trainings with the Integrative Women’s Health Institute, I kept finding myself gravitating back to this thought leader Queen over and over: Danielle LaPorte. Her words, her work, and her integrity to tell the truth is what brings me back to everything she teaches and writes over and over. So, I was beyond THRILLED to become a licensed Desire Map Facilitator so I could incorporate her beautiful work into the work I also do. That’s how the Desire Mastermind was born and has ben THE COOLEST EFFING program I’ve ever taught. I also teach an intro class on that you can jump into like right now, and the intro class is FREE. Learn more HERE or simply click the pic below:
While I would eat this in a heartbeat (or in a couple of heart beats, because slow mindful eating matters ya know!), I can’t claim it.
Really, the only photogenic meals I’ve created were made and displayed for 10 minutes just to take a picture to slap on a blog or Instagram with a recipe to share.
And some people I know will NOT like this next statement: This “food porn” way of sharing healthy recipes has let a lot of people down!
I’m looking through even all the foodie blogs and social media accounts I have followed and thinking we’ve all let certain people down in a BIG way.
I should know better too! I’ve spoken with hundreds of women in the past year, hundreds of women with lives, careers, children, spouses, responsibilities, and better crap to do than whip up Facebook ready meals.
But these women, clients and workshop attendees, admitted to more than one failed attempt at making the healthy eating plan stick. Even making the eating (decently) healthy(ish) plan work in 2017. You know, without going mad and all because we all have LIVES.
It’s a dang disservice too, and I’m guilty. As an Eating Psychology Coach, I make it my business to get to the why’s behind our habits just as much, if not more, than the how to make change.
Here’s a big fat realization: the habit of eating healthier is not so much the roadblock.
Most of us can do it.
So many bloggers to follow. So many cookbooks to buy. So many gurus saying do this and don’t do that, and they’re all arguing with each other.
And the everyday life in 2017 just isn’t built to have the time or energy to navigate this crazy nutrition landscape, unless of course you’ve made it your career to do so.
So, it’s ridiculous for those of us who do get to do the research, who do get to take some of the sexy pictures, who do get to study and teach and learn in on this topic more to assume we’ve made it more accessible by presenting it in such a, well, douchey way to be honest. (I wish I could say look at my incidentally perfect display of here, this is just #everydaylife ya’ll! When really this lifestyle lasts for the 50 minutes that likely went into snapping a perfectly lit angle on this beautiful picture.) Again not mine. These are awesome pictures come thanks to all the amazing photographers at Unsplash.com
~The other night I gagged down a mush of leftover noodles and veggies that didn’t reheat well while my girls enjoyed canned salmon and random cut up veggies that had to go before they, you know, went. Planning fail for sure.
~I am so lazy about prepping my veggies, I eat cucumbers whole and sometimes eat the baby spinach right out of the package.
~I order Thai food about 3 times per week and never regret it, except tonight because wholly moly the spiciness was insane.
~I consume some kind of chocolate at least everyday and absolutely never regret that.
~When it comes to the meals I do love, that do nourish me, I pretty much eat the same thing over and over every week and do not care anymore. It takes a special occasion and some serious alignment of the stars these days to inspire me to whip up something new and fancy and take a picture of it.
And truly, I’m not dissing what’s out there. There are some out-of-this-world beautifully delicious recipes that prioritize the kind of ingredients I know I like and tend to work better for my body so I also don’t spend the whole next day on my porcelain throne. It’s nice to know there’s a special cake recipe out there that won’t send you reeling backwards on a slide of inflammation, or congestions and digestions woes in my case.
But, it’s not everyday life and I’ve observed really smart women one full stop on the healthy eating commitment they want to make because of the inaccessibility of eating the “picture perfect” meals.
You know what’s the real issue? (And if you made it this far, you deserve a gold star. Drop a comment and I’ll even send you one!)
Okay, the real issue is this: Mindset. Was that an exciting answer or what?
You have to ask yourself “Why do I even want to eat healthy at all? What am I hoping I’ll feel?”
And then we ask, “What B.S. mindsets have convinced me I’m not cut out for this endeavor?”
And the “I have to get it right” mindset is definitely a big one. You even have proof in all the perfect food bloggers you’ve been following! 😉
But, no one, not even they are doing it perfect all the time. Most of the time, we’re just mediocre eaters finding what works to make us feel the way we want to feel most of the time. That’s really the sweet spot.
So figure out what you want to feel and find the mindsets that stop you.
This is actually something we do in great depth and are reopening our mastermind that going into the WHOLE shebang if you want to take this conversation further into actual solutions.
You can sign up HERE, or down below:
Recently I shared a story describing my dance with bouts of depression.
Talking about things like depression is not the most glamorous story. And, it’s highly misunderstood.
No one really wants to talk about the entire week they spent in bed because they had zero emotional or mental energy for much more.
Depression itself can mean different things to different people. It’s important to know the difference between feeling sad and clinical depression.
But, whether it’s a period of grief, intense sadness over a specific situation, or the full throes of clinical depression, all of it gets the cold shoulder from society.
Because, when it comes to deep, piercing, heavy feelings, it has been my observation that the norm is to villainize the feelings themselves and blame the person feeling them. Therefore, the solutions are often fixated on how quickly or swiftly we can make them go away.
And, if you can’t, the next solution is to try and not burden others with your big feelings.
Push through or push down. Fix it. Fix you.
I have memories of melting down in my room when I was about 12 years old, crippled by the overwhelm of what to do with this unexplained feeling of despair. My mom shouted through the door in the crack “do we need to put you in counseling?”
I had already been referred to a school counselor by teachers and even anonymously on three separate occasions by that point.
But, if you were to ask any of my childhood friends, they had no idea.
That was the point.
We desire to feel part of something, part of a tribe, part of our peers, accepted.
Dark feelings or sharing all you was unacceptable, embarrassing.
I cut slices in my skin quietly. I sat in my dad’s closet, staring at the gun he just bought. Just really shitty thoughts. . .
And in the days of social media, the urge to curate our stories and images is stronger than ever. We leave huge parts of ourselves behind in order to scrap together what will put us at less risk of rejection.
I set a big intention last year, a long term intention, to choose wholeness over broken and curated self-image.
So when it comes to the shittiness, I am doing my best not to chop it up and leave pieces out.
Moments with darkness have been a giant lesson about where I am now and where I’m going.
And it has also better equipped me to walk with clients.
Whatever the case, however deep the darker times, feelings are going to be a huge part of your story.
Life asks us to feel things really big. Feelings, in my experience, are where our real truth lives.
Being disconnected from our feelings leads to the worse kind of fixing we have all fallen victim to.
When women believe they need to be fixed, they are the targets of the worse kind of quick fix schemes out there:
Take the world I work in and love: Wellness.
Wellness though has been butchered into Image.
How you look takes precedence over healthy.
If this weren’t true, then so many damaging, and scientifically unsound fitness/diet fixes out there would’ve been ripped from the market by now for the sole reason that they are completely ineffective for the longterm.
Worse, they are oftentimes harmful.
Here’s how the scheme usually plays out…
~Don’t feel great about your body? You’re told this whatever product will melt off the pounds in no time with little effort.
~Feel unfit and unable to make time for exercise? You’re told there’s a quick fix solution for that too that requires little effort once again.
~Feel out of control with food and cravings? You’re told there’s a pill that will basically destroy your appetite, which you’re also told is the enemy.
*None of this true. The fixes aren’t true and the message that you need fixing are absolutely untrue.
The big lesson here?
The fixing actually creates more problems than it solves.
A cycle continues into so many of our life areas: lifestyle, livelihood, self-worth, relationships, etc.
Life is about a whole lot of feelings.
We experience the world and feel a certain way in response. So, in the end, most of the habits we adopt are fueled by a desire to feel or stop feeling a certain way.
And those habits are not always the kind we want to keep.
You might turn to a tub of ice cream for comfort. You find you binge on Netflix instead of diving into that project you’re dreaming up. You deliberately avoid mirrors or any outfits that expose parts of your body you’re not comfortable with. You pick a fight with your partner instead of talking about what’s really going on.
These are all habits in the same way eating healthy and exercise are habits.
If you have a mindset of FIXING, you will also be in the habit of fixing yourself instead of getting to know yourself and what’s really going on.
And when the fix doesn’t work, the diet doesn’t stick, the cravings don’t stay at bay, the things you set out to do fall apart as the darker mindsets creep in.
Darker mindsets such as …. “You’re not enough.” “You don’t deserve to do better than this.” “Who do you think you are?”
And for me, that’s where the depression starts to take hold and my legs feel weighed down by a ton of weights. Getting out of bed is an accomplishment in and of itself.
What do you do then?
Your mindsets are where your self-belief lives. There are the mindsets we are aware of, and the ones lying underneath the surface.
Those mindsets help form the habits that are in reaction to the way you want to feel.
Say, you want to feel “lighter.” I’ve met with many clients who share they just want to feel “lighter” in their bodies or to lighten the stress in their lives.
Many start with this negative belief: “I’m too heavy, I’m not worthy or deserving of love when I’m this heavy, I won’t be okay until I am lighter or shed some pounds.”
Understandably so, if this is a belief you carry around, you’re going to feel the pressure to find a solution…and fast. That’s why quick fixes are so damn sexy sounding. Fix me in just 21 days? Sign me up, right?
But, the fix doesn’t stick. And the thing with fixes is the creator of the fix will paint YOU as the problem. It didn’t work because you didn’t work it, or some bullshit along those lines.
Therefore, the uglier, deeper mindsets start bubbling up to the surface. They are the darker ones that make feeling the way you desire to feel seem so impossibly far away.
For me, the darkness starts to swallow me from the pit of the stomach up.
And that’s okay. Really.
The darkness reveals where there is work to be done. Where healing is ready to take place.
And, that my dear woman, is the beautiful part of this process that we dive into in the Desire Mastermind in wonderfully focused depths with oodles of support.
(While we are not open for enrollment yet, get on the waitlist soon so you qualify for early enrollment bonuses right out of the gate!
>>>Get on waitlist HERE.)
And, here’s a big ass mantra I love to grasp onto for times like these:
“I am deserving. I am always deserving. I have a purpose that’s bigger than any fix can offer. On this journey of ups and downs, no matter what, I love and accept myself.”
A little over a week ago, I started sharing inside lessons to our online community from our current Desire Mastermind.
If you didn’t know already, the Desire Mastery Mastermind has been one of our most successful, life changing groups to date. So, what is Desire Mastery?
Let’s start with a story about Desire and how it can make or break how your body feels and how you feel when you…
~Wake up and slip into (or don’t slip into) clothes for the day
~Catch your naked reflection in the mirror just before you step in the shower
~Deciding what to eat as you stare at the menu at your favorite restaurant
~Open up your bank statement or write a check for bills
~See your loved one walk in the room
~Spend time by yourself, whether you’re single, married, or dating
Desire permeates into everything and most of all is intimately connected to your body’s health.
Desire influences all of your daily mindsets and daily habits.
With most of my clients, we first cross paths because of the work I do in the wellness world. I’m a certified Eating Psychology Coach, licensed educator, and Desire Map facilitator. I have been teaching, mentoring, tutoring, creating and coaching since I was 18 and couldn’t believe anyone my age would ask me for advice.
But, truthfully, I have also been the rejected one, over and over. I remember one blaring incident on the playground at school hearing the harsh news from one friend, that I was officially exiled from hanging with the group. I was too much.
That freakin’ sucked. It wasn’t the first time I had been ostracized, singled out, picked on, or told I was not wanted, worthy, or desirable.
I grew up believing desire was something we earned from others. We had to become desirable to them to earn their love, attention, affection, and approval.
I desired to feel desired because of the fear of rejection and the fear of never feeling enough.
THIS IS NOT DESIRE.
Desire is NOT something you have to earn. This mindset is particularly harmful because it leads to a flurry of reactionary habits that chip away at your quality of life.
~You give into the packaged image of a desirable body and spend years torturing your own. Why do you think Weight Watchers has seen so much success in SELLING it’s monthly programs over and over to the same women? It’s not because they have such raging success as far as results go. They have the yo-yo dieting system mastered.
As long as women are expected to look a certain way, the beauty industry will thrive on insecurity marketing.
~We buy into the belief that being desired by another is the ultimate hero, love story. My lesson started with the movie Aladdin that I enthusiastically watched over and over as a kid. I played the scenario repeatedly with my dolls shortly after each viewing. Two men fight for Jasmine, the princess, as their prize. Her only happy ending is that she is fought for and won by the “right” guy. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to be Jasmine.
So, I too followed the path to many unhealthy relationships where it was my job to package myself to be desirable enough.
Let’s flip this into the real lesson here:
We have really screwed up this whole Desire thing.
You desire to feel a certain way, and you deserve that. Figuring out what those desires are will dramatically shift how everything unfolds: how you feel, how your body feels, how you show up in relationships, how abundance shows up in your life, how secure and safe and loved and worthy you feel.
Here’s the non-negotiable part:
In order to realize how you truly desire to feel about yourself, in your life, in your relationships, about money, your health, and so on . . . you have to figure out WHAT you desire, and no one else.
The things we do to ourselves are fueled by how we are trying to feel (or not feel).
But, we are also knocked off track by fears, insecurities, and other people’s judgements.
For example, you desire to feel FREEDOM.
~You desire to feel free to love your body.
~Free to have time to yourself.
~Free to create and see what happens when you pursue your sleeping passions.
~Free to go to the spa for a day, without guilt.
~Free to take a 2 hour lunch and read a magazine without interruption.
~Free to be on the receiving end of that massage, foot rub, or bedroom pleasure.
~Free to own how you deserve to feel.
Then you start to feel the fear.
Is it selfish to want this?
What about the kids?
What about the spouse?
Is it reasonable? Is it fair?
Maybe you caught yourself dreaming TOO big. You started thinking of that business you wanted to pursue (or may have been trying to pursue for some time now). And, you fear that it will flop. You’ll prove all the naysayers right. You’ll feel even guiltier for pursuing something for yourself.
And, this is what has to stop.
It has to come to a full stop because you NEVER STOP desiring what you deserve to feel.
The desire feels smothered, angry, and demanding. And, it will come out all the ugly ways: through habits that don’t get you where you want to go.
Instead of pursuing the pleasure you desire to feel in ways that are healthy and uplifting, you find you crave food. Lots of food. You fill your body with food, or alcohol, or anything else that can hit the pleasure itch.
Instead of loving your body the way it deserves to feel loved, you put it on another diet. You scowl at it in the mirror. You throw your partner’s hand off your belly and reject affection.
Instead of believing in the abundance you deserve, you unknowingly reject money. You don’t feel deserving. You spend on things you can’t explain. Or, you horde. But, it always feels like there’s never enough.
The plain and simple truth here is that we all desire. We can either choose to get really clear and honest about what we truly desire to feel. Or we spend a lot of life in surrender to habits and mindsets that result from hiding all those parts of ourselves demanding to be seen.
Here’s the first lesson:
Really figure out how you truly desire to feel. How do you want to feel when you wake up? When you eat? When you undress? When you lay your head down for the night?
It’s that freakin’ simple to start. It’s the very first place we start in the Desire Mastery Mastermind.
We aren’t open for new members yet while the current cohort is finishing up. However, you can put your name on the waitlist HERE to be the first to know when we re-open and qualify for early-enrollment pricing.
And, I have just one question for you.
If you had one single desired feeling that could change everything about how you feel, what would it be? What do you think you desire to feel most of all?
Be the first to know when we reopen the Desire Mastery Mastermind and qualify for the early enrollment bonuses by signing up for the waitlist below:
About a year ago I launched one of my online programs known as the Yo-No Diet. It was, for me, the solution to the bullshit we moms put ourselves through when it comes to healing our bodies, caring for our bodies, and feeling like we freakin’ deserve it.
The brief backstory is this: I’m a mom. I have two wildly smart and energetic young girls. I also used to have health issues with severe asthma and allergies. I healed from those health issues through studying nutrition and got locked into perfecting that shit. I did not, under any circumstances, want to have a relapse or see it happen to my kiddos.
So I became OBSESSED with healthy eating. I went a little cuckoo over trying to figure out the perfect way of eating. Obsession evolved into fear of food. I would go a whole day without eating more than a smoothie because I was so locked into that fear of what was okay to eat anymore. I travelled from one fad diet to the next, looking for the final solution.
Crazily enough, I did that while also figuring out how to be a mom. Like a nasty virus, perfection chasing in one area feeds perfection chasing in another. Like the perfect diet, I wanted to do motherhood flawlessly. So I obsessively read, judged myself, and tried to master all the milestones the way I was told I should.
My marriage was also suffering. To be honest, my marriage had been suffering from the start. Let’s just say I ignored those alarm bells that blared off the moment I agreed to secretly get married in my kitchen while holding my toddler in my arms. The reasons are vague now, having mostly to do with my mom not being there to appease my future husband’s dislike of her. Why I didn’t just say “well, let’s not get married in the kitchen,” I’m not so sure that matters anymore.
What it did was set the stage for the most unromantic marriage ever. I had this other fear that, like my dieting craze, I wasn’t going to measure up as perfect enough for him. (It was a fear that was validated more than I’d like to admit)
Perfection is fear in disguise. It’s fear of not being enough. It’s fear of being judged. It’s fear of the unknown. It’s fear of losing control. Next time you catch yourself thinking or saying “perfect,” I challenge you to replace it with “fearful.”
I was on a hunt for a fear-based diet, not a perfect one. I was focused on a staying in fear of judgement around my post-mom body, not perfecting it. I was fearful that my marriage was actually a lot more terrible than I wanted to admit. It had nothing to do with being perfect.
And as I started to figure out my own crises more and more, I started to expand my world to hear the stories of others. I started an Eating Psychology Coaching practice where my first year of clients were almost all moms.
While our stories as mothers and women were different, our experience and desires were so similar.
~Moms wanted to feel free to just eat something pleasurable during a quiet moment when there were no fires to put out or screaming voices commanding more of “MOM!!”
~They wanted to feel free to sit in a long bath, read more than one chapter of a fiction book, to be the one who slept in while someone else put together breakfast that morning.
~They wanted to feel free to see a messy house, a pile of laundry, an empty pantry, an incomplete meal plan for the week and know they weren’t alone in those responsibilities.
~They wanted to feel free to say no, to set boundaries, to set expectations, to pursue their own passions and dreams. (Without guilt for doing so)
Freedom is the word that rang through my head all of 2016.
Behind the scenes, I was navigating it all myself. I was learning that my body, even as a wife, deserved boundaries. I was figuring out what consent looked like, even in a marriage. I was saying no to overwhelm, double standards, and wild expectations to get everything perfectly right.
I started to do the one thing that scared me the most: ask for more help.
I had a number of breakdowns, episodes of panicking and shaking, and I started to go to bed fearful each night. I couldn’t make sense of it all, but what I understood is “I don’t feel safe here in this place in my life, in this home, in this marriage. I don’t 100 percent know why. But, I am going to break if I don’t do something about it. That would be the worse thing ever for my children.”
And that’s when my relationship with motherhood took a big left turn. What was the point I started to wonder? What was the point in all of this if I’m missing out on the best part of all: being a present, healthy, sane mom to have experiences with my kids.
I didn’t want motherhood to be complaining about a messy house, standing in the kitchen all day, stressing about food prep and groceries, figuring out crazy contradictory schedules, focusing every waking moment on what is needed to be done, bought, sent, cooked, in order to run a household of kids.
Just as I had decided that I did not want to look back on my life and say “wow, I left a really great legacy of obsessively dieting my whole life,” I did not want to look back and think “I gave up life to be a perfect mom.”
It’s bullshit. Just as my blogger friend for One Mother to Another, Melissa Mowery, recently pointed out regarding mom jokes “they have no long-term impact and they don’t challenge us to grow.”
Yes, the memes are hilarious and appropriate at times. But, is this seriously what it means to be mom? We have to hate our post-mom bodies, lament about the good ol’ days, and spend the rest of our days feeling overwhelmed by all the expectations placed on us for reproducing?
And yes, I said mom. Dads, I have a lot of love for you and I know there are different situations where this is dad’s world. But, this statement resonated with me from comedian Ali Wong, “It takes so little to be considered a great dad, and it also takes so little to be considered a shitty mom.”
So, I created this course for moms and looked at all those tips on meal prepping and blah blah and said “fuck this.” I am not going to pile on a shitload of things to add to the list of what we women and moms have to do to get this thing “right.”
I don’t want to deliver another “do this my way and be a whole new you” crap advice we’ve already heard.
Because that’s the real issue. It’s not that we suck and need a novel, more refined version of ourselves.
It’s that we lost touch with US, ourselves, who we are, our truth, and that sucks the life out of, well, what makes life great.
And I sincerely know that motherhood enriches and makes life really damn great. So, why is it being allowed to be this thing that we are expected to suck us dry? Mom life does NOT have to suck.
So, here is where I went with this. I started telling my students to stop. Stop overloading yourself with expectations. Stop writing gigantic to-do lists. Stop taking on the whole world of responsibilities to take care of everyone.
When it comes to meal time, you deserve to sit through a full meal with your family without having to jump up to ten demands being made by others at the table. You can set a boundary that says “when mom’s sitting, she’s going to finish her meal before she gets up again.”
I started asking “What am I doing for my kids that they are fully capable of doing for themselves.” Then, that is what I started to practice. Not some hack to be able to do more. I’m over that shit. I said, what can I unload? If my daughter can fill her own water cup, why am I jumping out of my chair, letting my food get cold, and feeling annoyance settle into my body to do it for her. Would I rather be an annoyed or relaxed and well-fed mom?
And I took it from there. We lived out in the country at that time. Going to the grocery store with the two kids was not always an easy feat, especially in the winter. My husband worked right next to a dang grocery store. I started asking him to pick things up more. I started asking if he’d cook breakfast more. And it was happening. It really really was!
It was a ripple effect from there. I started to ask for a few hours to myself on a Saturday. I had been in charge of all activities, story time, gymnastics, coaching soccer, play groups, ballet, all of it. The more scheduled we got on top of all the other expectations, I started to sense that same fear of “am I doing this right? Is this enough? Am I mom enough yet?”
That fear is my red flag. It’s my signal from life that I’m way off track. Because I committed to not being a burned out, pissed off, resentful mom (deep down, you know?)
So, I started to ask for my time to feed my passion for coaching and teaching. I would take an hour here and there and then eventually developed a schedule. My mom helped, we hired an amazing woman to help, my oldest started going to preschool, and my husband would agree to be with the kids for a few hours on a Saturday if I had a client or was writing a course.
I started to do more life things. I went to a conference that was for my own personal development, I took on contract jobs I loved, I wrote and read a ton more than I had in years, I was eating and loving food, I had a badass meal prep plan figured out, I was getting help, I was not feeling solo in the mom thing anymore, and I felt balance.
I felt so damn deserving for the first time in a long time.
Then this happened. Be prepared, because it’s pretty awful.
It all blew up in my face the moment I, in my momentum of declaring boundaries and consent for what happened to my body, and claiming my joy, asked my husband for a divorce.
As I mentioned, the marriage was not exactly going to end up a Hollywood love story hit. We had troubles from the start. I entered into the relationship with a pretty low self-esteem and took on and absorbed every criticism, every poor remark about me, every judgement about my family, all of it.
When I had our children, my body changed and my desires changed. I started to shut down under the panic of everything else and the intensity of not feeling fully loved or wanted by this person I married. Was all of it true, those fears? I don’t think so. I think he suffered too and his suffering closed his heart, which only dug a knife further into the pain.
But it was hard, the shut down body. I shuddered when touched, it never felt like consent anymore. And I didn’t fully understand what it meant to demand full consent, what that means. So the knife dug deeper and deeper, the fights were worse and worse, and I rode the wave of levity and freedom that had come from exorcising myself from old wounds with food and motherhood and saw that this was our final ending. I asked for our ending.
It felt horrible and right at the same time. But it was not received well at all.
And in all the horrible legal matters that ensued, it was this that challenged everything I had come to declare about being deserving as a mom: The statements, made in the defense against me in order to win more custody of the children, was based solely on disgracing me as a mom.
What was the claim? In sum, it was that I was not mom enough, wrapped up in legal language. I read sentences about how I had not cooked breakfast some mornings, and he had to do it himself. I was forced to recall all the times I had asked him to pick up the groceries instead as a sin on my part. I felt the stab of implications where statements were made about me choosing to spend time with my visiting childhood friend during my Birthday party rather than spend that time holding and watching the kids.
I had stepped out of the full duties of being mom that year according to those mom expectations. For four years I had cooked most meals, even spent all of Christmas Eve by myself while everyone else went ice skating to make my husband his special pierogi meal. I meal planned, prepped, shopped, organized activities, breastfed the children, purchased activities, did activities, sent cards to family, cried myself to sleep after my newborn baby woke up for the 8th time in one night 7 nights in a row, cried and winced as my newborn baby latched improperly on my cracked nipples, lost friendships, stayed home on the weekends with the kids while he burned off his steam on a bike ride, and I really don’t need to go on. It doesn’t feel good to go on. I was there. I know what happened…
It feels awful, and heavy, and gross to claim who did what. And that feeling, that heaviness and fear and perfect mom shit, that is what I was being told, what so many moms are being told, that it’s what we actually deserve. But it’s not!
In the last year because I had asked for more time to myself, I was no longer a deserving mom.
In the last year because I requested not to make every single meal every single day, I was no longer a deserving mom.
And as I shake and write this I know this, that shit, that ugliness, the baseless quotes, the shame any mom has felt, the fear moms have felt, that it’s complete and utter bullshit.
It started to eat at me. Doubt began to creep in? Did I fuck this up? Should I have done all of those things? Should I have just waited 18 years to begin my life?
I started to catch myself over-stretching just to prove myself worthy again. I had to prove I was a damn good mom by doing all the things that made it hard for me to be a sane, happy, present mom. I was starting to re-buy into the belief that I had to be a burned out, crashed out mom to make the cut.
So, when he started to ask me to watch the kids while he resumed his old schedule at work when it was his day with the kids, I could never ever say no. I would take them for the full day even while I worked just to prove I was a damn good mom. I stopped asking for things. I secretly asked my mom for help, but we kept it our secret. What if he found out and I was exposed as a shitty mom again?
But, again, it’s complete and utter bullshit.
I demanded boundaries and felt punished. But I did not deserve to be punished. No one does for that.
I demanded consent and was called a liar. But I did not lie and I deserve better. Everyone does when it comes to consenting to their bodies.
I demanded balance, asked for help, and looked for how to bring the joy back into motherhood, and yes, was punished. But I did not, you do not, no one is deserving of punishment for that.
And so I am finding a wonderful return back to myself after that awful period. He and I, as two people who co-parent are finding out what that means to us, however unconventional, how to heal, how to put love for these kids above all of that heavy gross proving oneself crap. I am forgiving myself and others. I am stronger, louder, more assertive, a little bossier even. Our Empowered Women communities are thriving. And I know without a doubt, I am and you are deserving of joy at all points in life. And if you are a mom, your kids really need you to have that joy. They really do.
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