Meal Prep, disaster waiting to happen

Meal Prep Required Meal Planning

When you embark on a new lifestyle, a healthy one, meal prep and planning is the key to success. It is one of the things that will keep you on track and focused. Meal planning takes the guess work out of grocery shopping. You make a list and stick with it. It is, in my opinion, the easiest way to navigate lifestyle change. I know this from experience as a coach, as well as, personally.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Meal planning is exactly what I did. The only problem was my planning wasn’t my usual way. I like to write down what I am going to make, the page number for the recipe in the book and take it with me. Getting everything at once leave little room for multiple trips to the grocery store. I have it all written down for the week. This time I put just what I needed in my phone. Technology is great, I have decided I don’t like it for meal planning. Maybe 21 Day Sugar Detox needs a meal planning app. I might like an app that does meal prep too. Just a thought.

All That Preparedness

I headed off to the grocery store with phone in hand ready to get all the goodness I would need for the day. That goodness, as it turned out, required two different grocery stores. Strike one for the day. The good news was I was done with both grocery stores before 9 AM. It was going to be a great day after all. I had to go to a meeting at ten but after that, it was all about meal prep. I was excited, I was ready!

21 DSD

fresh cabbage and bok choy slaw from 21 DSD

The time had come to prepare all my food for the week. My roommate, or as I call her, my sister and I were going to do it together, it would cut down on the time. I got my book out, or for the next 21 days, my bible, and I proceeded to cut and chop my heart out.

Since I am just getting back to eating meat, my sister will be handling the meat portion of this event. She still wasn’t home. I cut and chopped myself into a frenzy. I actually had it almost finished when she walked in the door, only a couple things left.

Cut and Chop and Chop and Cut

I love the cool, crisp flavors of the fresh cabbage and bok choy slaw, that will be a staple. Apparently cutting and chopping isn’t going away, of course I know it isn’t. Doesn’t mean I will like it. The very reason I need to be on this program is my sore hands, ironic isn’t it? I have to suffer through to end the suffering.  Moving on to bacon and root veggie hash, this time I had to grate the carrots and parsnips. With these hands, which by the way are numb now, I pushed on. Until I couldn’t, so we have half grated/ half chopped bacon and root veggie hash.

21 DSD

bacon and root veggie hash, grated and chopped

After I finished with what I now look fondly back on as, the pain in my hands is horrible and I never want to cut another thing as long as I live, time, I was ready to move on to the next project….sauces and dressings. More chopping ensued, so much for never cutting anything else as long as I live. That is about the time disaster struck.

Read the Directions

I was going to make the homemade mayo from “the bible”, we loved it last time and it would be great to mix with tuna. I didn’t really read the instructions I just put everything in the food processor and waited for the liquid to turn into a thick, beautiful mayo. It didn’t. What is this about one egg yolk at a time? Drizzle the (expensive) macadamia nut oil in….Uh-oh. I did something very wrong. I had just made egg yolk and macadamia nut oil soup.

As it turned out, that is NOT what I made last time, I made a garlic aioli from a different cookbook. That recipe didn’t require drizzling and one at a time egg yolks. Lesson learned read directions, or make something easier. I vowed I would go to the store and get a compliant mayo and never make such an expensive mistake again.

Moving On

I decided it was time to lick my wounds and move on to sweetner-free ketchup. I loaded up the crock pot with the ingredients and set the timer for 3 hours. Then it happened, the doorbell rang and it was friends of my sister coming by to see the new house. Yes, I forgot all about what was in the crock pot. About an hour after it should have been taken out, I was deep in conversation with one of our guests, I did, however smell the ingredients, and still, I ignored it. After another 45 minutes I finally removed the mixture, slightly too thick and put it in the blender. It turned out just fine…thankfully.

That was it, meal prep for the week was finally over, well except for the turkey meatloaf I was going to attempt tomorrow. Wasn’t my roommate supposed to do the animal portion of this adventure? At this point, she is roommate again, not sister. I will have to touch raw meat. More on that tomorrow.

I am no worse for the wear after a long day of meal planning. There is a varietal of odors in the house, but we are set. No going out to eat, no wondering what we will have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I have survived the day. My hands? Well, they still hurt, but I am hopeful they will get better. Of course, I am also hopeful I can make homemade mayo…..

 

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Choices….Again

Again…

I found myself recently at a crossroads. I have been there before, many times. Once again, I was feeling conflicted. It seems so simple, really. If you aren’t a regular reader, then what I am about to share may seem inconsequential, almost ridiculous. However, to me it weighs heavy. I’m talking about lifestyle. I’m talking about giving up my vegetarian towards vegan lifestyle. Even typing it, it almost sounds silly. It isn’t. I have been on this ‘lifestyle’ roller coaster many times. What am I searching for? Moreover, how am I going to find it?

Sitting at dinner the other night with my roommate, aka, my sister, I finally felt the need to confess to her my feelings of health and wellness. I was a Certified Health Coach, I know what works and what doesn’t. I;ve know the ins and outs of autoimmune disease, not just from clients, my own diagnosis. There I was ready to confess my denial. I was ready to come clean with the fact that I have been in denial of my autoimmune disease for some time now.

My numbers had been low enough, my Western medicine Doctor confirmed it was low enough not to give it another thought. I finally heard what I wanted to, I was normal and my numbers were in normal range. Then why did I feel so horrible? Why was I living with pain on a regular basis? How did I let brain fog become commonplace? Why on Earth was I making this my normal?

Confusing Decisions

I have written several posts on health and autoimmune disease and Hashimoto’s. I talked all about how I was going to live with it and make changes. Don’t misunderstand, I did. I made the necessary dietary changes. Really, I tried. Then I just stopped. It was then I had decided eating meat wasn’t right for me after all. I had to give it up again. I had only gone back to animal products to improve my disease. The problem was, I was eating bad foods, foods covered in cheese and heavy sauce. I was no longer taking care of myself, I was making myself sick, and worse, my autoimmune disease is in the middle of the worst flare I have ever experienced.

I had recently watched the movie, ‘What the Health‘ and decided it was time to go back to veganism. The film makes a very strong case regarding health and veganism. Unfortunately for me, that is not the path I should be on right now. In the meantime, I thought I would start as a vegetarian, let’s face it, I wasn’t ready to give up cheese. I think after a particularly tough moment I realized this was ridiculous, I am making myself sick. The sicker I got the more fed I up I was becoming. I hide it well so that was the easy part. I can move through my day at record speed and do a great job. No one knew what was going on with me. I became so good at it, I barely knew, I was believing the act.

Back at Dinner

As I confessed my denial over dinner, my Sister let me in on a little secret. She too was thinking of going back to a different way of eating. Autoimmune disease can be a fun, family trait. There is so much we know about it, and still so much we don’t. Family connection to autoimmune disease is one of the things we are just really coming to understand. She shares the same thing I have. For the most part, her diet was pretty good, save for dairy, another family trait, a love of cheese. She mentioned the time we did something called The 21 Day Sugar Detox, reminding me when we did it before. We had great results and loved it, we just sort of fell of the wagon. Remember: cheese.

21 Day Sugar Detox Book

the choice is simple, this book

We had a long discussion and decided to we would embark on this detox again. It really is a perfect way to get started back on the path to fighting autoimmune disease. We decided we would begin immediately. The program is offered several times a year but we didn’t want to wait. We would plan our meals and start Sunday. I assured myself if I was going to do this, I was going to do it for keeps.

The Right Choice

So I decided I would blog my journey on the program. The good, the bad and the ugly. Finally, I’d realized in the wee hours of Friday evening there would be no more labels. No longer would I identify as vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, keto or any of the other labels that define a lifestyle. I am simply taking back my health, making conscious choices, that’s all.

I am excited to embark on this journey in a more public way. It will be difficult, eating meat is still a little daunting to me. This is it, I have to jump in and do it. My very well being depends on it. I look forward to having you bear witness to this quest. I am facing full disclosure here and for the first time in years I have finally found what I really want to write about. Stay tuned….tomorrow is meal prep day….UGH….

 

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Massage, the Essential Self Care Tool

Self care is back full time in my life. Shout it from the roof tops. It took a while to find myself practicing what I preach, however, the self care hiatus is over. I am getting plenty of rest. Okay, not as much as I would like, you see the pup is on a barking kick. Every two hours some nights. For the most part, I am getting my eight hours. That does mean winding down earlier, I think it is worth it. I am eating on program again, taking my detox baths, and generally enjoying a focus on myself.

Self care is so important, with autoimmune disease it becomes imperative. Eating healthy and according to the Autoimmune Protocol is only one limb of the many that go into managing your autoimmune disease. I have realized, I need good physical movement, plenty of rest, and lots of gently self care. Yesterday, I found myself back on the massage table.

It had been years since I was able to enjoy the incredible massage from my old therapist. She had all but disappeared and then all of sudden, I found her. Reconnected, and the rest is history. Finding a good massage therapist is essential to the experience. Massage is, also, an important part of my self care tool box. Massage has many benefits.

A Few Health Benefits…

1. It eases muscle pain. Probably the most obvious. If you have a job where you sit all day, your posture is affected. Massage can greatly benefit the postural stress. I stand every day and that can create back pain. Massage helps alleviate back pain with regular sessions.

2.It mitigates anxiety and depression. In a professional, non threatening environment, massage has proven to lessen anxiety and depression. Human touch is important for thriving. We need human contact to feed our senses. Massage creates a safe atomosphere.

3. Promotes better sleep. I need that, who doesn’t? Those with autoimmune disease can often experience joint and muscle pain. Massage relaxes the muscles and the overall body to ensure restful sleep.

4. Boosts immune function. Ding Ding Ding. That is a big one for me, and if you are ready, probably you as well. Massage decreases levels of cortisol, causing less stress. Stress can create an immune response in the body. More massage, less stress, less cortisol production…you see where I am going with that right?

There are many types of massage. Finding the right one for you is important. I like Swedish, my body cannot take deep tissue, aches and pains remember? That information notwithstanding, there are a variety of techniques; lomi lomi, hot stone, sports massage, many to choose from. Just choose.

These are just a few of the health benefits of massage. I could go on and on. Lowers blood pressure, increases range of motion, improves productivity, the benefits are endless. I would love to say I get a massage every three weeks like clock work. I don’t. I am a once a month girl. Wellness isn’t cheap. It is, however, the best money you can spend for an hour. If you haven’t made massage a regular part of your self care routing, do it now. It really will be the best money you’ve ever spent.

As a side note, if you are in the Scottsdale area, I highly recommend Purity Skin and Body. Ask for Kristen. 

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The Healthy Portion

We are a nation of eaters.  It doesn’t matter if we are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivores, we enjoy dining out.  What I have noticed about dining out lately, is that not all restaurants are created equal, and not all portions are created equal.  I am talking about the “healthy” portion.  An interesting idea when you think about it. I asked a friend today what she thought of last night’s dinner.  She told me they were healthy portions.  So I pondered that for a while.  As a health coach who sometimes has to create meal plans for clients, I have thought a lot about “healthy” portions, so much so, I have created several slow cooker meals in order to insure leftovers, as well as multiple uses. This post is not all about the portions I eat now versus what I used to. When I think of a healthy portion, last night’s dinner was not what I had in mind.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Let me begin with yesterday’s lunch.  Once again at my favorite restaurant of late, True Food.  I had the Farmer’s Market Salad, a nice healthy portion of salad of farm, fresh ingredients.  It was full of English peas, artichokes, corn, kale, romaine, and asparagus; all in a light champagne dressing. It was the perfect size, the perfect “healthy” portion if you will.  I didn’t leave full, it was just right.  As a mindful eater, I was pleased with the just right amount of food on my plate.

Last night’s dinner was also a healthy portion, but not in the same manner.  At the Italian restaurant, my portion could have fed four.  It was a large amount of food.  It was angel hair pasta with Pomodoro sauce, delicious.  If a normal of serving of pasta is two ounces, then my calculation could be off by two, and I could have fed six.   It was  a great meal, and one I will enjoy again tonight, with some to share even still.

It is interesting to me that a restaurant known for its nourishing benefits, serves portions that are just the right amount of food, enough for one sitting and for one person.  Yet, the Italian restaurant, not necessarily known for its nutritive value gives you enough food to feed a small family in one entree. There is definitely a difference in restaurant genre here.  But is that a fair assessment of the issue?  Am I being too judgmental?

Perhaps we go to some establishments knowing we are going to the healthy portion, read: larger portion, we have come to expect.  Getting more for our money, or getting our money’s worth.  Why do we equate the value of a meal with its size?  Wouldn’t it be a better value in spending money on a balanced, beneficial meal?  I have come to realize since eating in this new way, the cost of eating a nutritious meal is a better value in the long run. I have realized that mindful, healthy eating equals less money in the long run in health care costs.  That healthy portion could go along way in saving on my checkbook.  In case you are wondering, I mean the health inducing portion.

Eating Mindfully

But we are, as I said, a nation of eaters.  You can’t go anywhere without finding a deal for you and your family, friends, what have you. There are “all-you-can-eat” offers, the buy one get one, and even the value meal.  All come with plenty of food to stretch that dollar.  I have had the pleasure of eating at several healthy restaurants in my area now, and not one of them has any of these deals.  I am seeing the direct correlation in portion size based on eating establishment. Since not every place I have been in the Valley is healthy, I am fully aware there is a noticeable difference.

I will continue my mindful way of eating, it has become such a habit for me.  Portions will always be a challenge for me, but I am winning the battle.  In my quest for eating more consciously I will continue to seek out places that dish up the kind of portion I like, a healthy one. Oh, and as for last night’s dinner, I did have two dinner rolls.  I said I was winning the battle, still working on the war…..

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Practicing Forgiveness

The Act of Practicing Forgiveness

As humans, our capacity for forgiveness knows no bounds. It is when we do not show forgiveness that we do ourselves and injustice. And yet, forgiveness is a practice that can be difficult to master. When we feel wronged our mind becomes reactionary, lashing out and taking action against the person that wronged us feels like a normal response. In reality, we are only hurting ourselves. Forgiveness is NOT acceptance of a wrong behavior, it is simply a way of letting go and moving forward.

When it comes to our health, forgiving the transgressor is key to vital health and well being. When we are treated with a personal injustice, our blood pressure rises, digestion suffers, you may suffer headaches; the stressors of being wronged can create a firestorm of issues in the body. Our physical, emotional and spiritual health all suffer when we hold on to the anger and refuse to forgive. Sleep is another part of life that suffers when we hang onto the anger. When you lack sleep the body is incapable of functioning at one hundred percent.

The very idea of forgiveness is easy, it is the action that is difficult. Most people believe that by forgiving they are accepting what has happened to them, when it is really the contrary. When you forgive, your heart opens up, your self esteem rises and you become a more compassionate human being. This does not open you up for being taken advantage of, it opens you up to more possibilities to what life has to offer. How? By widening your vision, allowing yourself to see more broadly how things are possible when there is not resentment holding you back.

Resentment and the inability to forgive creates a negative impact on those around you and in yourself. In anger, you become addicted to your story, you show up in the world in a more negative way. This negativity creates a wedge between you and those in your life. People do not gravitate towards negative people and you find yourself alone. Ignoring forgiveness can sometimes take you to a place where you find discord in other things in life as well.

The Art of Forgiveness

 So just how do you practice forgiving those that have transgressed against you?  Old hurts run deep and can be difficult to let go.

 ~Break up with the story. Do not let it have a force in your life. You have the ability to re-write the story and forgive.

 ~Remember that forgiveness is for you, not the one that wronged you. They may or may not think they have done anything. Absolution is yours, for you alone.

 ~Do not put yourself in the situation again. If you keep repeating the same behaviors, you will get the same results. Create situations that lift you and those around you up.

 ~Send them love and light. I know this is difficult, but remember, I said forgiveness is something you do for YOU.  When you send them love and light, do so and drop it. Do not let the situation re-enter your mind. Gain your perspective and move on. We must always be learning from our mistake.

 The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. -Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness isn’t easy, it is however, essential to your well being. Some positions may seem bigger to you than to your offender, that is what makes us all different. As difficult as it is to put ourselves in another’s position, try it. There may not have been any harm intended, nevertheless, perception is reality.

 Next time you experience an infraction towards yourself, stop and think of what the harm could be in forgiving. You will go along way in doing something good for your mind, body and your spirit. Forgiveness is a choice, you can choose to forgive or not to forgive. What a beautiful practice it would be if we all chose to just let it go and live life unconditionally.

 

 

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5 Signs of Food Addiction

Food Addiction, An Autoimmune Love Story

There is one word that wreaks havoc on a food addict more than any other, restrictive diet. I know because I was a food addict. I remember several years ago I went to a weight loss clinic and the practioner asked me why I like to eat. She prodded me for answers that didn’t exist. She wondered about a dysfunctional childhood, intimacy issues with a significant other, something dark from my past. The answer was simple, I like food. She seemed genuinely disappointed that I wasn’t harboring some deep, dark secret that sent me into a food frenzy. I dont’ think she grasped the idea that someone could actually be addicted to food. After all, what was the harm in that?

Looking back over the years, my addiction to food started pretty early. “Sneaking” food was a mainstay in my life. I spent the better part of my life eating what I wanted, when I wanted. Sometimes with others, and sometimes alone. Sounds sad, but the reality is, food addiction accounts for 78 million obese Americans in this country. I am talking about the addicition of eating. I am not talking about anorexia or bulimia, that would be another topic all together. It is staggering to think about how many people are suffering in this country. I know, I was one of them.

The habits creep back every now and then. However, after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease it is difficult to feed the addiction, pun intended. I am now on a very strict, very restrictive elimination diet. You might as well put me in a straight jacket and put some delicious cheese in front of me. I might likely chew through the restraints to get to the cheese. Sound drastic doesn’t it? Food addiction is a very serious issue, yet so is my autoimmune. Finding balance is tricky, but not impossible.

5 Signs of Food Addiction

  1.  The inability to stop eating once you have started. Eating the entire carton of ice cream, not just a scoop.
  2.  Thinking about food constantly. As a planner, I likde to think about what I’m going to eat. I liked to watch cooking shows and fantasize about the food I could make and eat. Luckily my food planning now involves healthy, whole food options only.
  3.  Emotional eating. I’m happy, I would eat. I’m sad, I would eat. Bad day at work, I would eat. Great day at work, I would eat. You get the idea.
  4.  Eating in private, away from others. This was a big one for me. I ate in my car, in my apartment alone with the blinds closed. Who was I hiding from? Birds? It was very covert. It was actually very sick.
  5.  Trying and failing a variety of diets. I have been on more diets than I can count. It wasn’t until I stopped the madness and got healthy did this yo-yo dieting behavior stop.

I realized recently that perhaps being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease may have been a blessing in disguise. Of course I don’t want to have it. The truth is having this disease has made me realize how poorly I treated my body for years. It is a fact that lifestyle plays a big factor in how you get this disease. Years of being a food addict has led me to this stage of my life. I am now paying the price for my addiction. A wake up call of massive proportions. Yet through it all, I am actually okay with it. I may or may not be a little obsessive with this diagnosis. I may or may not be addicted to eating the healthy, correct way for my diagnosis. Whatever the case, I am getting healthier, mind and body.

I have moments of regression, it just shows up differently. I may have something not on my elimination program and I suffer with symptoms of my autoimmune disease. I then realize I should not have done it. This doesn’t mean it won’t happen again, but I am recognizing it for what it is. Food addiction and restrictive diets couldn’t be more opposite. The biggest commonality is control. I used to have an addiction I controlled and lived with on my terms. It doesn’t differ much in approach. I still plan my food, think about it and enjoy it. I just am more open about it. It’s all a healing journey anyway.

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Practicing Radical Forgiveness

When I think about how many times over the last month I have sat down and stared at this blank screen, it brings a sense of sadness. Just when I thought the struggle of body image was over and I had overcome the issues, it seemed to rear its ugly head. I stepped away from the mat as well. While it hasn’t been too long, it seems a lifetime ago that I found myself in practice. Body image is not an easy affliction. There are good days and bad days; there are days when medicating with food seem like the only answer. Just when I think I am back where I started the answer appears.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear ~ Buddhist Proverb

I received an email a few weeks ago about a workshop at my favorite yoga studio. This workshop is on Radical Forgiveness. In true nature, I moved on and ignored the email. After all, what did I need to forgive these days? My spiritual practice wasn’t suffering, I was at peace in so many other ways, or was I? The Universe has a funny way of showing us what we need, if we just allow it. Emails were showing up in my inbox from this yoga studio, more about Radical Forgiveness and the workshop. Fine, I’ll go. Maybe there are some things that will come up that I can work on and practice forgiveness.

Around the same time that I was thinking I had nothing to forgive, I found myself watching a movie about a blogger. She blogged daily, created a project, set a goal and did it. Even when she had nothing to say, she wrote. In this movie, a true story, she began to receive offer after offer from publishing houses, why was I not receiving the same. I sent out a text to my tribe of women telling them my sad story of how I was not successful like the woman in the movie and then BOOM….They called me out. They said what needed to be said, they told me to get back to yoga and write about it. Really? That simple?

A Light Bulb Moment

It really is that simple when I think about it. Get on the mat, confront my food addiction and body image issues and forgive myself. That said, I am attending the Radical Forgiveness workshop today. I have no idea what to expect, so I ask the Universe to guide me to be open to the process. In an effort to heal past wounds, I have decided to blog about my yoga experience as it transforms me. I will tackle body image issues through yoga, and chronicle my journey. I love yoga, I have for years. I work towards living a yoga lifestyle. Now it is time to put my money where my mouth is and show up. So this is me, showing up and practicing radical forgiveness……Namaste

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Saying No with Confidence

Are You Saying No with Confidence?

 

In my last post I wrote about setting boundaries. In that post there was a point made about saying yes or no, as it serves you. How often do we find that we are unable to say no, so we say yes? Even when no is what we really want to say, and we know that we will feel miserable doing something that we don’t. Saying no is not difficult, it just takes confidence. In my practice I often come across people that struggle to say no. There is a fear wrapped around those two little letters, for such a small word, the impact is enormous. Saying no when you want to is a challenge for some, for others they have mastered it with ease. Many times we find that saying no can be translated into a selfishness, or we worry we will hurt the other person’s feelings. The reality is, we are only hurting ourselves. There are many ways to say no. When carefully thinking things through you can easily utter the word and not worry about the ramifications.

4 Tips for Saying No with Confidence

1. Be gracious. The receiver is asking for a variety of reasons. Be as gentle as you can, provide a reasonable explanation if you can. Never sound harsh. Offer the excuse for no, if it is valid. Not wanting to do something asked of you can be precarious, make sure you don’t upset the apple cart when it comes to friendship.

2. Leave the guilt behind. Saying no doesn’t have to make you feel guilty. Examine why you are saying no, is it in your best interest? Remember you can’t say yes to everything. We all want to help family and friends when we can, but we can’t do it all. Don’t ignore your needs by saying yes, especially if you already had a prior commitment.

3. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Many times we become so annoyed with a friend or loved one that by the time they ask a favor, we lash out our no and create a bigger problem. If you know you are not going to be able to accommodate the request, don’t mull it over anyway, just say no.

4. If you can’t say no, figure out why. Sometimes we become “yes” people because we are to afraid to say no. We make our minds that family will be upset with us, our friends will withhold their friendship from us, it doesn’t matter the reason. Find the confidence to stand up for yourself. Lifehack.org has a great article on saying no and the ramifications it causes us. Click here to read it.

It Isn’t Easy, But It Is Gratifying

Saying no with confidence is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Learning to say no with grace and compassion will go a long way to creating boundaries with family and friends. You don’t have to say yes to everything. Keep in mind that if you do, you are setting yourself up for difficulty in saying no when the time comes. Allow yourself to do what is best for you. Sometimes saying no is can be a valuable tool in self love and growth. Next time someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do, say no, and say it with confidence. Then congratulate yourself on a job well done.

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Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is a fundamental part of having a healthy life, both physically and emotionally. Boundaries are essential to living a healthy lifestyle. Allowing yourself to create clear and concise personal boundaries is a necessary part of life. It is also one of the most difficult things to do. Many people go their whole lives with out every setting boundaries. Not setting boundaries can lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and eventually manifest into poor physical health. Knowing this would make it easy to set boundaries, unfortunately it is not.

I like to think of boundaries as our own little houses. Sounds simple, but to really understand how boundaries work think of it this way. We all have our own home, picture this home with an imaginary fence. There is a fence around a neighbor’s home. You know it is their property and it is being marked off by a fence. You don’t go inside this space because you have not been invited. Boundaries are like the fence. You do not enter unless it you have been given permission. It is the invisible line that should not be crossed.

How To Set Emotional Boundaries 

Emotional boundaries are tough. There are different types of emotional boundaries, I am talking about the boundaries we create with family and friends. These boundaries are fundamental for good health and self respect. Many times we choose to loosen our boundaries with the people in our lives as a means to create better personal connection. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. By blurring the lines of what we expect and accept, we are exhibiting a lack of self respect for ourselves and others. We must define clear cut, guiding laws for ourselves. Here are a few ways to do that:

Say no, or yes. Depending on your stance on a subject, you are training the people around you to know what you will and won’t do. You must be prepared to accept a no from these same people. Boundaries go both ways. Be confident in your “no”. If you are being asked to do something that is against your belief system, or you simply don’t wish to indulge in something you are being asked to do; be secure in your decision.

Realize that your needs and desires are yours. Own them. We all have different needs. Our needs vary from those around us, whether we are close to them or not. Things that you need in your life my differ from family members. They raised you, but somewhere along the way, you grow and become the person you are to be. Sometimes this can be in contrast to other members of your family, and your friends for that matter. There is nothing wrong with living differently than the family paradigm.

Don’t feel guilty or selfish. You aren’t. You have a right to your feelings, just as others have a right to theirs. And never apologize for the boundary you are setting, have the courage of your conviction. It is difficult to set boundaries and if you are new to it, anxiety can prevent you from doing this. Regrettably, setting boundaries can be difficult when you are afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings.

Time Is On Your Side

Setting boundaries doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience, patience with yourself and patience with others. Change is difficult for people, when those people are family and friends, it is even more daunting. If you are “changing” the pattern on them because you never had boundaries with them, this can be a difficult situation. Reassure them that you love them and it isn’t personal, it is something you need to do for you to thrive. Realizing that establishing boundaries helps you to understand your needs better while giving others the opportunity to understand you as well.

Do you need to set some boundaries? If you find yourself ranting or complaining, resentful or angry? Chances are you need to set some boundaries. Decide what is right for you and begin the process. You will go along way towards creating a more healthy life for yourself and your relationships when you forge ahead with this process. Surround yourself with those that lift you up and garner their support anytime you feel yourself need reassurance. Boundaries is not a negative, it is one of the best things you can do for your own health. Try it. Here’s to building your own personal “fence”…..

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The Vulnerability of Fear

Acknowledging the Fear

I find it daunting when I tell some people I’m a writer. There is a fear that wells up in me, the moment it comes out of my mouth I wish I could reach out and grab the words and stuff them back down. I then find myself apologizing for my work not being worthy of the person I am talking to. Fear is a funny thing, it is a dance of rejection and approval that lives in all of us. This dance has the capacity to take on a life of its own when we let it. We end up having a love/hate relationship with our ego.

When I was writing my blog in San Francisco there was less fear, I felt as if living in the creative city by the bay gave me the fortitude to stand up and be accounted for. I AM A WRITER! I also did it anonymously. No picture on the website, there were readers that never knew it was me. Only the few that I held close to the vest were privy to my online identity. I was safe and fear was never a matter of contention. It’s easy to be fearless when you hide who you are. Then in one decision I decided to move to the suburbs and live near family. Fear was racing down the track and I was its only target.

As it turned out when I left the city I had called home, my corner of the world; I left my writing moxie behind. Writing from a place of vulnerability left me feeling cowardice. I could no longer write what was in my heart, I was consumed with fear. But why? Where was this coming from? The answer is simple, family.

Life in the city was freeing, it was a habitat I was comfortable with. What if writing in the suburbs made me less of a wordsmith? How could I write what I wanted to and still keep everyone happy? My views are very different than that of my family. Now what was I going to do? How was I going to find my creative outlet?

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”  ― Brené Brown

The answer came to me during a conversation with a friend, she said do it anyway. Wait what? That was the wisdom coming from someone who may or may not read my stuff anyway. None the less, she was right. I knew it was time to face my fear and just go for it.  It was time to suck it up, and  go out on that limb and just break myself wide open. What is the worst that could happen? Probably nothing an apology can’t fix. And that fear of what others think of me. Yes I said it!! I said what so many are afraid to say. We put our creative selves out there for the world to judge. Whether we want an opinion or not, there is always that chance of getting it. So what?

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

It’s like this, if someone doesn’t like what I write about, my writing style, whatever; who cares? All that matters is that it resonates with those that do enjoy it. Taking a chance and putting it all out there is what legends are made of. Just jump, throw caution to the wind and speak your truth. Face your fear. Let  rejection and approval move rhythmically through you. Embrace fear, it doesn’t go away, it needs to learn its place.

Fear can be a great learning too. It can make you vulnerable too. You learn to embrace it. Fear is just your ego sitting in judgement. We all have it, it’s how we handle it. I choose to feel the fear and do it anyway. I can’t care what others think, it really isn’t my business anyway. So next time you feel fear creeping in, just stand at your precipice and JUMP!!!

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