Empty Calories Don’t Exist

Empty calories don’t exist. All calories exist to provide us with energy, to give us life.

The only thing that’s empty when we label foods in this manner is our relationship with our body. We end up feeling empty and depleted when we label foods as “good” and “bad”, resulting in us continuing to reach for more food as comfort.

By relaxing into all food options, by surrendering to our body’s infinite wisdom and honoring our cravings, we can begin to feel whole again.

Relax. Take some deep belly breaths. What is your body asking for? How can you honor your body right now?

The light in me honors the light in you.

Own. Occupy. Accept.

OWN. OCCUPY. ACCEPT.

OWN

Own the body you have right now, just as it is. Without relaxing into the body you currently occupy, life is filled with dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Why? Because if we can’t truly love and accept ourselves for who we are, then attempting to find external happiness, or chasing a happiness that will occur once we have a “goal body”, is futile.

OCCUPY

Occupying your body means living embodied. Living in your body. So often we find that we’ve just existed, that we’ve filled our life with distractions of diets or exercise regimens. When is the last time you just sat with your body? When is the last time you looked in the mirror and spoke words of kindness to yourself? Making the choice to occupy your body tells your body that you are here, you are present. Choosing to occupy the body is a massive step in healing your relationship with food and your body.

ACCEPT

Acceptance is a celebration of living life in this very moment, with the body that has gotten you this far! Acceptance is honoring your past bodily incarnations, loving your current body, and sending gratitude to your future self for all of the adventures you will take with that body.

Accept that you were put on this Earth to be more than a body. Accept life free from diets and restriction and shame. Accept it because you deserve it.

The light in me honors the light in you.

A Beginner’s Guide To Journaling

As we head into a new year, we may begin to think of new habits we’d like to begin or put into practice. It seems this time of year motivates me to look at my current habits and examine what I may want to cut down on, and what I may want to invest more time doing. I’ve reflected and realized that I’d like to cut down on my social media time and invest more time reading. 

Years ago I began intentionally journaling more frequently in an attempt to help process thoughts and emotions. This eventually became a habit that I truly enjoy and I use journaling as a regular practice as well as a tool I utilize when I’m struggling with something in particular. I find that once I put pen to paper, my inner wisdom is able to come out and guide me in the direction I am supposed to go.

If you’re interested in starting a regular journaling practice it may seem overwhelming at first. Journaling does not have to be a taunting task- many times I simply start writing anything and everything that’s in my head. No judgments on what I’m writing is allowed- I simply write until I feel the desire to stop. However, if you would prefer some direction, here are some prompts to assist in starting some of your very own journaling entries!

I am grateful for…

I admire the following 3 people because…

My body taught me today….

I wish someone would tell me….

Lessons I’ve learned recently have been…

What I would like to say “no” to more…

What I would like to say “yes” to more…

If I could tell my younger self something, I would tell him/her….


blank-brainstorming-business-6357.jpg

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Do you have a regular journaling practice? I’d love to hear what strategies have worked for you!


The light in me honors the light in you.

Living with Intention Series

I’m excited to announce that Good Vibes Tribe Cincinnati, a community outreach program designed to heal negative  body image through the power of yoga and community, will be hosting a mindful eating series in January at Haven yoga studio in Middletown, OH. You can check out more details of the series here or here.

I’m the co-founder and co-facilitator of Good Vibes Tribe Cincinnati, and have seen firsthand the power of a group of individuals coming together to heal their relationship with food and their body.

In 2019, let’s chose intention over resolution.  Join our Tribe for a four week series designed to empower each participant with a greater understanding of their own unique body, how it communicates, & how it is asking to be nourished.
Through the practice of mindfulness, we will explore the body’s innate wisdom, using intuition, cravings, emotions, & physical sensation as our guides to restoring relationships with food & body image.
This year, ditch the diets & let your body be your guide.  We will be meeting Wednesday evenings 7-8:30pm, January 2-January 23.

nicole-honeywill-545398-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Here is some of the feedback we’ve received from surveys after our past workshops:

“facilitators were honest & open, creating an environment where participants felt comfortable being vulnerable”

“this workshop was so much more than I even knew I needed”

“facilitators are EXTREMELY knowledgeable & incredibly supportive”

“thought provoking, healing, & encouraging… amazing experience… thank you!”

 

If you’re in the Cincinnati area, I hope to see you in January! Please send me any questions or concerns you may have. Let’s make 2019 a year of healing and empowerment!

tessa-rampersad-346634-unsplash.jpg

 

Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

The light in me honors the light in you.

Tips For Great Sleep

Sleep can be elusive for some. At various seasons of life sleep may be more difficult to come by, and for some of us (myself included), difficulty falling and staying asleep can become a chronic issue. With the holiday season in full swing, staying healthy is of utmost importance.  The seasonal ickiness has officially descended, and when you combine that with all of our holiday celebrations and obligations, it’s all the more important to focus on rest.

Sleep is imperative to functioning to the best of our abilities during the day. Beyond affecting our daily grinds, lack of sleep can also have detrimental affects on our health. Chronic sleep deprivation increases the prevalence of heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression. Here are a few ways in which we can increase the quality and quantity of sleep.

benjaminrobyn-jespersen-540757-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Benjaminrobyn Jespersen on Unsplash

1. Shut down, literally.

Turning off or setting aside the electronics at least two hours before bedtime will impact your ability to fall asleep as well as the quality of your sleep. Blue wavelengths benefit us greatly during the day by increasing our attention, reaction times, and brightening our mood. However, these are not qualities we want when we’re trying to settle in for a great night’s sleep. Try slowly shutting down earlier and earlier in the evening and observe how your sleep is impacted.

joanna-kosinska-470407-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

2. Establish a routine.

Establishing a nighttime routine will signal to your mind and body that it’s time to wind down. This could include a routine as simple as reading a few pages in a book or perhaps enjoying a warm beverage like a decaffeinated tea or my favorite Cinnamon Pumpkin Warm Milk.

heather-schwartz-731014-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash

3. Utilize Natural Resources.

If you’re having difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep, there are a few all natural resources to utilize. Some of these include CBD oil (my favorite can be found here), Melatonin, Lavender essential oil (can find this here), and listening to recorded meditations.

I use CBD oil almost every night to keep my anxiety from creeping up and keeping me alert when I want to rest. Ensure you do your homework and find a high quality CBD oil to take advantage of it’s many benefits.  I also love to rub some lavender essential oil on my pillow or temples, and you could also diffuse it, put some drops of it in a bath, or create a bedtime room spray.  Taking some deep breaths of this soothing scent tells my nervous system it’s time for bed.

I pull out the Melatonin when I just can’t sleep and nothing else has worked. There are different dosages of Melatonin so keep that in mind when selecting this supplement. I recommend starting at a low dose, or even taking half a pill and then working up from there as needed.

rawpixel-1137676-unsplash.jpg

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

4. Move your body.

Moving your body regularly, whether it’s vigorous exercise or a walk in nature will help utilize energy during the day so your body can completely let go when it’s time to hit the hay.

I find when my body has been stagnant during the day it’s more difficult for my body to relax, as it has energy to burn. The key is to listen to your body and honor what it is telling you. Also keep in mind that body movement does not mean working up a sweat. Many times an extended stretching session on my living room floor is enough to give my body what it needs for the day.

 

Finding what works can be a fun experiment, and will also change depending upon life events, time of year, and more. By ensuring we are getting enough sleep, we are taking a major step in improving our overall health. Sweet dreams!

 

The light in me honors the light in you. 

Winter Diffuser Blends

December is just days away, which comes with it some scratchy throats, house guests, and busy schedules! I have transitioned what I’ve been putting in my essential oil diffuser, and have shared below some of my favorite diffuser blends for this time of year. I use doTERRA essential oils and you can read more about them here.

So when you have guests coming over, you’re trimming the tree, or you start to feel a cold coming on, reach for one of these recipes and let the essential oils do their thing! Enjoy!

cozy night in.png

sleep well stay healthy.png

 

cough and cold.png

Warm & Spicy.png

christmas tree glow.png

 

joyful and bright

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

 

Embracing The Holidays

With Thanksgiving a week away and the holidays in full swing, this is also prime time for diet talk, juice cleanses, low carb diets, and fasting to dominate social media feeds, television and radio commercials, and our general discussion amongst friends and family.

This time of year and it’s diet-obsessed energy always kicks my messaging into high gear, because I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to be terrified of the food that will be before me that day, and the day before, and the day after. I know what it’s like to feel weak, like a failure because my willpower failed me once again. If you are feeling anxious about being around family and friends this holiday season, if you’re feeling anxious about this body you inhabit, and the food you may or may not be consuming- I see you and I hear you.

I also know that you deserve so much more than the experiences described above. You deserve to feel empowered in your body and around food. You deserve to be able to be around food- any type of food- and be relaxed. And you deserve to set healthy boundaries.

brooke-lark-385507-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I’ve listed a few simple tips below that may be helpful to keep in mind over the next couple of months.

1. Identify & Acknowledge Triggers

If we don’t identify and acknowledge what is triggering our feelings of depression, anxiety, or perhaps body shaming during this time of year (or any time of year!), we won’t be able to heal it.

This is a difficult journey because we have to come face to face with the deeper reasoning behind these feelings. However, once we get to this place, the healing can begin. You may know right away what may trigger emotions this time of year. If you do- excellent! If you aren’t aware of underlying emotions or triggers, journaling is a great way to identify and acknowledge. Simply put pen to paper and write about feelings or thoughts that have been arising for you lately. Don’t stop to analyze what you’re writing, just keep writing for 3-5 minutes. You could also ask trusted friends or family and they may be able to provide you with some insight.

Identifying and acknowledging is an amazing first step. Once we identify and acknowledge, we can start to pay attention to our feelings and emotions as they arise. At first we may only recognize them after the fact. This is fine- still acknowledge and sit with that feeling. Identify it- give it a name. Then perhaps you will be able to identify these feelings in the midst of the trigger, and maybe you’ll then be able to notice when they may occur before the trigger happens. Also keep in mind, you may never reach this point and that is ok! The power lies in identifying and acknowledging, not preventing the feeling from occurring.

derek-thomson-425630-unsplash.jpg

2. Set Boundaries

As the incredible Brene Brown says “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” Wow, how powerful is that?!

If you find yourself at a place where you’ve had or attempted to have healthy discussions about your feelings and the environment remains toxic, it may be time to set some boundaries.

Setting boundaries is choice we make to no longer expose ourselves to an environment that is harmful or toxic. They exist to give us permission to establish or maintain our mental health.

The concept of boundaries often comes up around the holidays because much of the anxiety that is felt this time of year is related to being around family members that we may only be exposed to during this season.  Further, many of us are taught to suck it up, to tolerate it in the moment, only to walk away feeling shame, pain, resentment for the remainder of the year until it happens all over again. Yes, there may be some anger or pain in response to boundaries being set, but this time the energy of this response will be different- because you will be different. When healthy boundaries are set, you will be treated differently because you have established your value.

Even if this means no longer participating in the family’s traditional holiday celebrations, you have freed yourself of a toxic environment and can move forward in your new boundary-setting journey!

priscilla-du-preez-444000-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

3. Eat Food

Yes, most of us are surrounded by and consume more food than we normally do on holidays like Thanksgiving. Sometimes we also have parties to attend with friends, events at work in which food is catered or provided by your fellow co-workers. Simply being around food and consuming food does not mean anything about you as a person. Not eating some food does not inherently make you better than others, and eating large quantities of food does not inherently make you less than anyone else.

Diet culture kicks into high gear around the holidays. I’m always amazed with the advertising of the average number of calories that are consumed on Thanksgiving. Just think about that- what is the purpose of this discussion? Does it change what you chose to consume that day, or does it only serve to make you feel worthless while doing so? On a day that is meant to stir feelings of gratitude for all that we have in this life, many of us expend that precious time and energy berating ourselves for what we’re putting in our bodies on one day. I also discuss how dangerous it is to label foods as “good” and “bad” here, and this is very apparent around the holidays.

Maybe this year instead of focusing on the food, take some deep breaths and look around. Look at the faces of your loved ones around the space. Feel your body and send gratitude towards it for keeping you here one more year. List some things you are grateful for, in that moment. And then eat.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

Frankincense: Benefits & Creative Uses

I’ve been sharing my journey with essential oils on the blog here and there. As I learn about the incredible healing powers of essential oils, I get so excited to pass along this knowledge to you!

Although I have yet to come across an essential oil I don’t love, I have a few that I consistently reach for based on their amazing benefits. One of these oils is Frankincense and below I’ll explain why this is one of my favorites, and share some creative uses for this oil in your life.

What Is Frankincense?

Frankincense oil is sourced from the resin of Olibanum trees, otherwise known as the Boswellia Carteri. These trees grow in Oman, Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia. Frankincense is the dried sap of these trees, and when dried, the sap is burned as incense and thought to have several medicinal properties.

Frankincense oil has been discovered in the remains of ancient Egyptian and Anglo-Saxon civilizations, and is closely associated with religious traditions and rites, particularly the Christian tradition. Although it is ancient, it’s healing properties are still closely studied and utilized by traditional and non-traditional practitioners.

Benefits & Creative Uses: 

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: 

An active agent within Frankincense called Boswellic acid is thought to be the reason why this essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and can mimic the action of NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

If you’ve been following my healing journey as well, you’ll know that I’ve been dealing with inflammation related to Dyshidrotic Eczema, and Frankincense has been imperative throughout this process. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of Boswellic acid, Frankincense can be used to treat diseases such as arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s, and even bladder, pancreatic, and skin cancers. Frankincense also shows a lower risk of unpleasant or dangerous side effects compared to NSAIDs.

Home:

Frankincense is naturally disinfecting, so it can be used to get rid of bugs and germs in your home, without the need to introduce harsh chemicals.  Dilute the Frankincense by adding 5-7 drops into a medium sized spray bottle.  Bonus: Your home will smell amazing!!!!

Beauty:

Frankincense has the ability to encourage skill cell regeneration while also toning, tightening, and lifting. It can also help to decrease wrinkle, reduce acne breakouts, diminish stretch marks, scars, sun spots, and more. Tip: When applying to the skin, be sure to use a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, or sweet almond oil. I know it sounds counter intuitive to put oil on your face, but they can do wonders for the skin!

Stress Relief:

Using Frankincense to relieve stress, fatigue, and anxiety is how I was originally introduced to this oil. I typically rub it on my pulse points (wrists and sides of neck), and also rub it into my feet. Did you know the soles of the feet have over 200 pores?! Also be sure to use carrier oils such as jojoba, coconut or sweet almond oil, when putting essential oils directly on the skin.

I also rub it on my palms, hold my palms up to my face and take 5 deep breaths. Sometimes I will also speak affirmations or mantras on each inhale and exhale. The combination of the aromatherapy, the long deep breaths, and the mantra immediately decreases my stress and anxiety. Some examples of mantras would be: inhale “I breathe in safety and peace”, exhale: “I release what I cannot control”. Or simply stating “I am breathing in” on each inhale and “I am breathing out” on each exhale.

Have you tried Frankincense, or any essential oils? If so, how do you use them in your life?  What are your favorites? You know I love to hear from you!

The light in me honors the light in you.