Heal Emotional Eating to Heal Your Body and Yourself


Emotional eating is a struggle for so many of us. It can dampen and diminish life in so many ways. Emotional eating causes you to not experience the full range of your emotions. Emotional eating often creates feelings of frustration and defeat related to unwanted weight gain. Overall, emotional eating causes a sense of disconnection from both your mind and your body. For so many that struggle with emotional eating, healing your relationship with your body can be the biggest challenge to overcome.

Body image issues run deep. A disturbing number of girls put themselves on a diet as early as the third grade. Many teenagers say that they want to lose weight to look more like images they see in fashion magazines or on social media. Most men and women say they feel insecure when they see celebrity images and other ads. This is not cool. Not only does the struggle with body image, insecurity and not feeling good enough begin quite young, many say that these stereotypes and feelings are often perpetuated within their peer groups and families.

Emotional eating can be driven by a negative body image and feeling less than, not good enough, or inadequate. These feelings create further uncomfortable internal experiences which will inevitably trigger more emotional eating. The first place to begin is to develop emotional awareness, which if you are unfamiliar with how to do this you can read more on several of my past blogs, one of them you can find here. When you are actively working towards emotional awareness and feeling more present and connected to your emotions and your life, it will be helpful to address the emotions that surface related to how you feel about your body.

How often do you complain about your body out loud? How often do you complain to yourself about or wish your body was different? How often do you judge other people’s bodies, either to yourself or to others? This is where you can begin to create the change you desire related to body image. First of all, if you are judging other’s bodies, practice thinking kinder or more neutral thoughts rather the negative biased thoughts. If you are talking about other people’s bodies, practice pointing out what you might compliment versus judge. When you treat others with kindness and respect and end the judgement thoughts and statements you can begin to heal yourself.

Working to heal your relationship with your perception of your own body may be more of a challenge than changing your perception of others. It starts with healing your relationship with food and feeling as though you are not intentionally harming your body or sabotaging your body with negative thoughts, beliefs and actions.

Even though you desire to heal the root cause of your struggles with emotional eating and body image issues, weight loss may be a goal for you. This can bring up additional uncomfortable emotions such as fear. You may be fearful of the attention that weight loss attracts. You may fear the line of questioning around your weight loss such as, “how did you lose so much weight?” or “what diet did you use?” and so on. You may also fear only being noticed for weight loss. You may fear being judged or even being more attractive to others and what that might mean. You may fear being considered “good” if you lose weight and “bad” if you gain weight. This is super complicated stuff. So to think a diet, a workout plan or even a few compliments will heal these deep-rooted thoughts, beliefs, feelings and actions, think again. It starts with healing yourself. Food and even weight have only become metaphors for the challenges, fears and insecurities you experience.

Many of those I work with initially say that they want to lose weight. But really, as we dig deeper, they want to feel more confident about their body. They want to make choices that create a sense of control and empowerment within their lives. This is where the real work begins. You see, there is no diet that will offer anything more than a temporary feeling of accomplishment. There is no workout plan that will help you address and explore your emotions. There is no compliment that will change your mind about yourself or your body if you don’t believe it in your heart. 

When you set out to begin healing your relationship with food, your body and yourself, here are some important elements to consider. I recommend getting out a journal and spend time reflecting and writing down your answers to the following questions.

-What do you like about yourself?

-How do you want to feel?

-How has your past impacted your body image and your choices? (You can read more about your food story here.)

-How have comments from others impacted how you feel about yourself?

-How have certain food choices from this past week caused you to feel about yourself now, why?

-When in your life did you feel your best about yourself and/or your body, why?

When you take time to deeply reflect on yourself, your body, your thoughts, beliefs, actions and choices you can begin to know yourself more deeply. The more deeply you know and understand yourself, the more you can practice self-acceptance. When you reflect on your answers to the questions above, what stands out to you?

Now begin to determine your strengths. Take time to acknowledge what you like about yourself. Become very clear about how you want to feel—both about yourself and in general. Begin to work with these elements first. How can you use your strengths to empower yourself to take ownership over your choices. How can you use the positive attributes you can recognize about yourself right now to heal your life? Now move into awareness of your emotions (if you’d like to learn more about this process you can read more here). Practice noticing, accepting and understanding them. Move into a space of applying this same practice with food. Ask yourself with each food choice you make if that choice supports feeling a sense of self-respect and self-love.

As you grow in your ability to make healthy, intuitive and mindful choices relating to food, the next phase of healing is to move your focus into your body. While this may feel awkward in the beginning, integrate a time to practice being grateful for individual elements of your body. Practice looking at a specific body part, such as your feet, and express gratitude to them for walking you where you need to go. Focus on your heart and thank it for never missing a beat. Gaze into your eyes in the mirror and express gratitude to them for allowing you see all of the beauty of nature and those you care about. These practices of appreciation for all that your body can do will allow an internal shift of how you experience and care for your body.

When you offer your body gratitude, you are offering yourself a place to feel more accepting, loving and kind towards yourself. Allot time daily to engage in the practice of healing your relationship with your body and with yourself. I recommend keeping a journal through this process as you will begin to experience a powerful shift as you practice over time.

Another step to heal your relationship with yourself is to compliment yourself. Acknowledge when you working hard, and tell yourself that you appreciate this hard work. Acknowledge when you practice elements that are challenging and thank yourself for remaining dedicated even when it is hard. Acknowledge when you make a specific choice that you feel proud of allow yourself to really feel this pride within. Practice stating to yourself what you do like about yourself, what you are good at, what physical attributes you appreciate about yourself. Validate your feelings to yourself and be grateful to yourself for choosing the difficult path of healing as opposed to remaining stuck in a space of struggle and fear.

You see, you are not your body, but you do live in your body. You have to determine what kind of home for yourself that your body will be. Will it be one that you fight with, detest, complain about and harm? Or will it be one that you respect, treat with kindness, love, and deeply care for? As you treat yourself with care and make choices that support how you want to feel, you create an opportunity to transfer that care to your physical body. Conversely, when you are kind to your body, you are creating a deeper kindness for who you are at the core of your being.

As you heal, your relationship with food will transform. Over time, you will not judge, restrict, binge or complain about food. Over time you will treat your body and mind with the respect and care that they deserve because you will feel your worth and have a longing for this deeper well-being.

When you work with these practices I would love to hear about your experience. If you find these concepts to be overwhelming, you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out for support either from me or from someone you trust. Know that there is hope for healing.

How to Take Personal Responsibility for Your Life: Bridging the Gap Between Knowing What to Do and Actually Doing It

Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility could be loosely defined as “adult-ing.” When you take personal responsibility for your life you are closing the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it. Have you ever felt as though you missed out on some book or class that we are all supposed to read or take that teaches us how to be an adult? Taking personal responsibility for your life can be tough and there is no special book or class to read or take. It is about taking action and ownership over your life. Taking personal responsibility is about committing to yourself, committing to your goals and committing to doing what it takes to create for yourself what you say you want.

I imagine that in many areas of your life you are actually quite good at this adult-ing thing. Maybe in these areas of your life you may not feel as though you have a choice. Whether it’s showing up to work because, well, you’d get fired if you didn’t—or waking up early to get your kids off to school because if you didn’t you’d be labeled as a bad parent. 

I am sure there are plenty of days you don’t feel like going to work or would rather stay in bed than getting up early to take care of your household responsibilities, but you do it anyway. Why? Most likely there are external forces at play that create a sense of responsibility and obligation, so you show up for those responsibilities. You push through any resistance and get yourself to work—or wake up early and take care of what needs to be taken care of in your household. This is evidence that you are indeed capable of being a responsible, maybe even a high-functioning adult. Somehow this evidence just doesn’t always translate to your own personal goals.

So here’s the big question: if you are able to push through resistance to these adult-ing tasks, why don’t you apply that same push-through motivation to your personal goals—to your health and well-being goals? Good question, right?! The truth is, you always have a choice. So why don’t you show up for yourself the same way you show up for others?

You—and only you—can successfully manage your lifestyle and your behaviors. So long as you blame any external factor on why you are not following through with your personal goals, you are distracting energy away from doing what is necessary to achieve them. Of course time is hard to come by, of course resources might be limited, but the more you focus on these external reasons of what you do or don’t do, the more powerless and out of control you will feel when trying to reach your goals.

Anytime you externalize a problem: “I don’t have enough time to cook/exercise/meditate/read/do self-care…” you increase feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, frustration and stagnancy. On the other side of the coin is taking personal responsibility, “Today I will make time to incorporate cooking/exercise/meditation/reading/doing self-care…into my schedule.” This is taking control over your life. When you take control you allow yourself to experience less stress and frustration. Now this is adult-level problem solving at its best! Taking personal responsibility for your life, your health and your well-being is rising to the occasion and showing up for yourself, no matter what. 

Excuses are always at the root of failing to take personal responsibility. And who do you think loves to make excuses? Your internal Deal Maker! Just a quick reminder, your Deal Maker is the part of yourself that always has excuses in the form of a deal: “I don’t have time right now to exercise, I’ll do it later (deal?).” When later arrives, there’s just another deal…”I have too much to do tonight, I’ll get up early and do it first thing in the morning…tomorrow, (deal?)…” You know quite well you are not going to wake up tomorrow morning if you didn’t this morning! Your Deal Maker is always prepared with another deal. This part of yourself will sabotage your goals over and over and over again. When you show up for yourself, you develop Inner Strength, so you can STOP the negotiations, STOP the excuses and just START. Start somewhere, seriously, anywhere is better than stagnancy and excuses that are getting you nowhere!

When you think about the excuses your internal Deal Maker makes that leave you feeling stuck, lazy and sinks you into frustration-giving-up-mode, what comes up for you? How can you reframe these? What comebacks can you develop for these excuses and deals? Think about the impact these excuses and deals are having on you right now. Think of how they are keeping you from seeing and taking the options that will help you feel and become in control of your life. Do you believe in your potential to do anything you set your mind to? Think about it, how much of a factor are these excuses in derailing the potential of being your best self?

Some other common excuses that are important to be aware of sound something like this: “Yes but…” and “If only…” The next time you hear these words either coming out of your mouth or running through your mind—STOP—write them down and evaluate them. Ask yourself: are these words really the truth or are they just lame-o excuses? Yes, I know I want to go take a walk but I am just too tired…” Or, If only there were more time in the day I would have time to take a walk, time to cook dinner, time to meditate, time for self-care…”

When you take time to discover, uncover and expose these excuses and deals that cause you to feel stuck, you can begin to figure out what you can do about them. Once you are no longer fooled by excuses and deals you can work on releasing them. You can begin to take personal responsibility for your time, effort and energy. You can begin to work more effectively towards self-management.

Avoiding and denying are two big-time defense mechanisms that often come into play with excuses and deals. These defenses will seriously hold you back. These defenses will keep you stuck in the space of perpetually making excuses and deals. What truly is holding you back from taking action towards your goals? Why aren’t you making the changes you say you want? Is it fear? Oh yeah…most likely it’s fear. Luckily, the most useful tool you have to deal with your fear is action. You have to practice feeling your fear and doing it anyway—over and over and over again—until it’s no longer so scary. Address these factors that are holding you back from feeling empowered when it comes to YOUR LIFE and you will begin to gain clarity. Once you understand your excuses and deals, you will want to take action. You will want to push through fears and show up for yourself. You will begin to want to take personal responsibility for all areas of your life.

For the next week, practice writing down the excuses that you hear yourself saying out loud or in your mind. Practice paying attention to, acknowledging, and preparing comebacks to the deals that your internal Deal Maker uses to sabotage your goals. Take action—and take it consistently. Believe in your ability to grow up. Be an adult and take ownership over your life—show up for YOU. One of the harsh truths about being an adult is that no one is going to do anything for you. No one can create the change in your life that you say you want. You have to do this for yourself. However, one of the benefits of being an adult is that you have the ability to ask for your needs to be met. So, if you need support, ask for it! Ask your significant other, friends and family members (or get a health coach!) to be on your team. Ask them to cheer you on. Let them know your goals and why you want to accomplish these goals. Your story just may inspire someone else to elevate their goals and increase their effort to take personal responsibility.

Practice living your priorities. Practice taking personal responsibility for how you choose to spend your time. Be ok with being “imperfect.” Perfectionists lose time excelling at tasks that could require WAY less time for an equally acceptable outcome. Reduce the time-wasters in your life. I surely know I have some favorite go-to time wasters. Assess your day and determine where you might be losing time due to these time-wasters! You don’t have to eliminate them all together, you just can’t let them take over. Consistently remind yourself that your goals are your priority.

Learn to say “no.” When you practice saying no to things you either don’t want to do or don’t have the time to do, you ultimately say yes to yourself! You say yes, this is my time, these are my goals and dreams and I can make them happen. Align with your values and dedicate time, energy and resources to yourself.

Are you ready to start taking personal responsibility for your personal goals? Let me know how you will take personal responsibility for your life today!

The Keys to Self-Love


Do you love yourself? Do you feel as though you are enough, just as you are, right now in this moment? Do accept yourself unconditionally? Here’s the radical, complete and honest truth, you are lovable, you are enough, just as you are right in this very moment. Not because I say so but because you are alive, you are here and it is your birthright to feel whole, to feel as though you are enough. It is your birthright to love yourself unconditionally. 

While this might sound really nice to love and accept yourself without condition, self-love can be a missing element and hard to come by for so many. Some view self-love as a negative, ego-driven problem. Others of you may view self-love as a challenge. If that’s you, is it because you put your love out into the world and into others and don’t reserve any for yourself? Self-love is important, it is vital to living a fulfilling, peaceful life. Self-love is more about how you view, value and treat yourself internally and externally. The good news is that self-love can be created, grown and developed with consistent practice.

First, let’s address the faulty belief that self-love is a negative, ego-driven problem. While it can be easy to label others as selfish if it seems that they are only considering their problems or needs when they make choices in their lives, that does not necessarily mean that they actually love themselves. The ego can be dangerous and overbearing. When you are living from a space solely based of the needs of your ego, it will cause problems in relationships and interpersonal interactions. However, someone who has the ability to truly love themselves is able to set boundaries and create a way of communicating their needs in a way that is diplomatic, grounded, kind and reasonable.

Having a strong sense of yourself, your values, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses is a good thing. Understanding the cravings and desires of your ego is a good thing as well. You just don’t want to over-identify with your ego’s often frivolous cravings and shallow desires such as attention, material attainments or praise for the hope of being viewed by others as superior, better than or even worthy. This is not self-love, this the ego’s desperate attempt to gain attention and love from others in a way that is not healthy or from a space of knowing yourself deeply. These attempts for external validation of being lovable or worthy can stem from fear that you are falling short in the opinions of others and need to over-compensate through an over-striving ego. Phew, that was a mouthful…I could go on and on about the ego. It is a challenging, dynamic and important topic, but right now I really want to get to the good stuff about self-love!

When you are practicing self-love you are treating yourself with respect and care. Self-love is striving to grow into who you know you can be and truly are at your highest, strongest, healthiest version of yourself. Most importantly, self-love is never giving up on yourself. When you truly love yourself you are resilient, courageous and confident—because you love you! When you truly love yourself you don’t seek love from others, however you are completely open and unafraid to receive love from others. When you truly love yourself you believe that you are indeed lovable and worthy. Is this how you feel? If not, you are not alone. Many people at times feel inadequate, not good enough or not deserving of good things, like love, in their lives. When these negative beliefs are strong and overwhelming it can cause self-sabotage or relationship sabotage.

The key to building and creating self-love is to know yourself fully and deeply and to actually like and accept who you truly are. To know and accept yourself means that you are not afraid of your shadow side (the not so great stuff about yourself that you fear others will figure out about you and then run fast and far) and that you actually embrace and accept the shadow parts of yourself as a part of the totality of who you are. This can directly have a positive impact on your ability to accept and embrace elements of others that you may find to be “unacceptable.” Light-bulb: this will help expand the unconditional love you are able to offer yourself to others as well!

One way to practice building and creating self-love is self-reflection. There are many ways to reflect, including journaling, meditation and attending therapy. For today I will focus on journaling as it super accessible. Using a journal consistently will help you reflect and know yourself more deeply creating an opportunity to grow and build self-love. To begin, use prompts such as: “what are my strengths?” “what are my weaknesses?” “what do I like about myself?” “what would I like to improve about myself?” “what are my personal values?” “what do I struggle to accept within myself, why?” what do I struggle to accept about others, why?” When you start answering these questions and take time to review them, what stands out to you? Thank yourself for taking the time to reflect and grow in your ability to love yourself through the process of self-reflection.

Another way to create self-love is to date yourself. When was the last time you did exactly what you wanted to do exactly when you wanted to do it? If it wasn’t pretty recent, chances are you are depending on others too much for your happiness. When you take yourself out on a date you get to choose everything you want! Do you want to go a particular restaurant? Then go there! Do you want to see a specific movie? Take yourself to it! Do you want to curl up with a good book and cup of tea? Do it! When you learn to befriend and love yourself, you are never alone. When you find yourself wanting something from someone else and they are not—in your opinion—providing it for you, give it to yourself! See how this feels to spend time, to get to know and care for yourself. Meet your own needs and be proud of the relationship you can cultivate with yourself. There is nothing ego-based about that!

On this same line of thinking other ways to offer yourself self-love is to write yourself love notes, positive affirmations and positive messages. Remind yourself that you are worth time, effort, reflection and getting to know. Remind yourself what you like about yourself, what you accept about yourself and that you want to have a healthy, loving relationship with you.

One last way to create more self-love is to change patterns of negative thinking that have led to not loving yourself unconditionally in the first place. This requires hard work, but it’s totally worth it. Examine your thoughts, beliefs and opinions you have about yourself. How do those make you feel about yourself? What kinds of words are running through your mind about yourself in the form of thoughts? How do those thoughts make you feel in your body? Is it pleasant? Are they kind? Are they negative, self-deprecating and harsh? Do your thoughts support being loving and kind towards yourself? If not, write them down and practice the powerful technique of Reframing.

Reframing is taking your negative or unkind thoughts and putting them into a more neutral, reality based statement. For example, if your thought is, “I knew I’d fail at ___________” (which triggers feeling as though you are inadequate/not good enough/unlovable), try changing the thought to something such as, “Failure is an opportunity to grow, I will figure this out” or “I have failed in the past and survived and I will survive this time as well.” Note: this is not the power of positive thinking, (which I do recommend, just not for this process). This is reframing your thoughts so they are more aligned with what is real and what is true RIGHT NOW. This is allowing yourself to build trust in yourself that your mind will not continue to cause and perpetuate a harmful, conditional-love-based relationship with yourself.

This all may seem like a lot. And while I wanted to write about it all from a happy-happy-happy place of self-love and acceptance since it’s Valentine’s Day and all, this is the reality. This is what you are faced with within your own mind on the regular. It’s time to take ownership over your mind, your thoughts, your beliefs and your actions. This includes how you treat yourself. If you want to be loved, love yourself! If you want to be treated well, treat yourself well! It all starts and it all ends with you—no one else can create self-love for you. While this may feel daunting and maybe even harsh, it’s powerful when you put it into practice! You can create the reality you desire not by seeking love but by creating love. Not by pouring out all of your love but by giving yourself love, refilling your own self-love cup. Remember, there is an infinite supply of love. You deserve to be loved. You deserve to love yourself. You deserve love.

What will you do to grow your self-love today?