What are your self-care ESSENTIALS?

Truth time?


I've been on a bit of a self-care bender the last few months. And if I'm being honest, it's about dang time! Perhaps you can relate?

For most of 2016, everything took priority over me, myself and I. 

Exercise? No time.
Healthy eating? Verrrrrrrry inconsistent.
Whitespace? White-what?
Personal development? Consuming but not integrating. (I see this ALL the time with my clients, btw!)


And then as my 30th birthday approached, I realized it was time to get serious about taking care of me, because if not me, then who?


Rather than go balls to the wall and try to change ALL. THE. THINGS. in one go, I started slow. I found a gym that would make it easy for me to exercise regularly. I built this habit slowly through discipline, consistency and support. (And if you live and/or work downtown, you've GOT to check it out!).
 

And now I have a daily movement habit that fills me up and makes me feel vital.
 

Next I focused on my eating. I spend much of my day driving around in my car, which has the potential to cause me to eat mindlessly and choose food options that aren't the most nourishing or healthy. I started to scout out more healthy options that I could feel good about buying and thankfully, Toronto has an abundance of healthy and delicious takeout places to choose from! 


And now I have a list of amazing restaurants and shops where I can go to in a pinch and buy food that is guilt-free.


I'm a high-stress person by nature and have always struggled to build in down-time for myself. Like, I reallllllllly struggle. As a Holistic Health Coach, I know the benefits of striving to make doing and being harmonious (because balance is not a thing), but the doing comes much more easy to me than the being.

Enter yin yoga. It couldn't be more opposite to my heart pumping, sweat inducing, and totally #vomilicious workouts that I love; instead, in yin yoga you let go of the control, relax your muscles and let your body sink into each posture. It works deep into the connective tissue, poses are held longer and the focus is on exploring postures and then being still and observing how your body is feeling. It's a mental bootcamp to be sure!

 

And now I've found a practice I love that is restorative and relaxing, lowers cortisol (win!) and causes a serious boost in those feel good hormones that we all crave. Amiright?

 

As you can see, it's taken me a while to build up to these different practices and ways of taking care of me but now, they are essential parts of my life. Do I practice them every day? Most often, but not always. And that's okay. The point is not to be "perfect" and #nevermissaMonday, it's about cultivating practices that nourish you, make you feel vital and help you show up as the best version of yourself. And these practices are ESPECIALLY relevant when life gets cray and taking care of you is the last thing on your to-do list.

 

My take home message to you is this: taking care of you is always a priority.
 

But it doesn't have to be time consuming, expensive or look like what anyone else is doing. It just has to make YOU feel good. And if you struggle to identify what that is for you, send me an email and let me know. I'll send you an email right back and help you come up with some ideas to try on.

 

Now over to you: what are your self-care essentials? Those things that you do on a daily or weekly basis that help make you feel your best? I recommend aiming for 3 that are non-negotiables (but simply having 1 is good too!). Having these in place comes in handy on those weeks when life is just a bit crazier and you feel like you have to do EVERYTHING!

 

I can't wait to hear from you!

Decode Your Cravings {Part 1}

Before we dive into today’s post, I want to preface it with the following: food cravings are not a sign that something has gone horribly wrong.


Granted, we’ve been led to believe that cravings are things you must avoid at all costs. Run from. Pre-empt. Despise. Control. And ultimately, crush.
 

I beg to differ.


With beliefs like that, no wonder diets fail, people fall off the wagon (there is no wagon, by the way, but I’ll leave that for another post) and the common sentiment, “Fuck it, I’ll get back on track on Monday” is so widespread amongst people looking to lose weight and get healthy!
 

Here’s the deal sweet friends: cravings do not have the power to consume you, sabotage you, determine your success or dictate your happiness.
 

Instead, think of your cravings as DATA not DIRECTIONS.


In order to help you decode your cravings, I’m going to talk to you about the five types of cravings that I've identified for myself, how to distinguish between them, and what to do about each. Because of how many different types of cravings there are (it isn’t always about nutritional cravings as you might have been lead to believe), I’ve broken this post up into a 4-part series. What can I say? Once I get going on a topic, I can’t stop!).
 

In Part 1 on this series on cravings, I’m going to talk about Emotional Cravings. The way this information is presented may be totally different than anything you’ve ever seen before and in my opinion is a HUGE missed opportunity when it comes to helping people find freedom around food and once and sustainable weight loss.  
 

‘Emotional hunger’ is what is commonly referred to as emotional eating and is most often triggered by feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion. When we are emotionally triggered, we experience an alienation from ourselves and reach to food as a source of comfort, control and a way to cope.
 

When you think of this type of hunger, ask yourself: what feeling or emotion am I trying to feed with food?
 

Emotional eating is best understood as the attempt to access positive feelings or not fully experience our lives through the consumption of food instead.  And the reason why we don’t want to face the truth of our lives? Because we don’t want to experience any type of negative emotion.

 

We feed ourselves when we’re stressed, sad, overwhelmed or bored.

We feed ourselves when our needs are left unmet.

We feed ourselves to distract ourselves from the pain of the past. 
 

But the truth is, food can never really fill the emptiness that you feel inside because it isn’t a food issue at all. The distraction, the dopamine hit, the comfort, the semblance of control—it’s all temporary.

 

What To Do Instead: 


Become aware of and acknowledge times that you are eating to soothe or silence negative emotions and understand that we are not entitled to feel happiness and pleasure 100% of the time. And that’s not just me being a Negative Nelly, that is simply the nature of being human! You should expect to feel negative emotion at least 50% of the time and if you are willing to feel any negative emotion (rather than avoid, distract, or numb out), it has no power over you and as a result, you will have no need to eat to buffer these emotions.  This is actually GREAT news!

I know this concept may seem a little mind bendy, but just trust me with this one. And if you’re ready to stop emotional eating and have freedom with food, your body and your emotional life, get in touch with me and we can talk about how I can help you do just that.

 

Question for you: Do you identify with having EMOTIONAL cravings? Were you previously aware of them? If so, what do you notice typically triggers them? Let me know in the comments below!


Stay tuned for the next post in this 4-part series all about MENTAL cravings.