The Power of Your Breath: How to Become a Mindful Eater and Wake Up in Your Life

Kate walked into the house after a long day at work. She dropped her handbag on the kitchen counter and went straight to the food cabinet. She was tired, frustrated and so eager to relax. She grabbed the bag of chips and salsa, poured herself a glass of wine and then parked herself in front of the TV.

Less than an hour later, ¾ of the bag of chips had disappeared. Without noticing, Kate just stuffed herself. And now, instead of slipping into the easy part of her day, her belly was bloated and all she could do was watch yet another episode of Homeland.  

Sadly, the promise of Kate’s low key and relaxing evening was just stolen from her. She quickly forgot about her plans to catch up with a friend and go to the gym.  In her desperation for a well deserved break, she checked out of her body and lost all awareness of what she was doing while eating chip after chip. After chip.

Kate had a very easy tool that could have made her evening go exactly as she planned. A tool that she carries with her 24 hours a day and doesn’t cost her a penny. It’s the power of her breath.

Asleep at the wheel:

So many of us are mindlessly walking through most of our lives. And when it comes to meals and snacks, this results in eating more than our bodies need or want. Mindlessly overeating is like being on autopilot, or in a trance. We don’t taste what we are eating. We don’t notice when we are full. During these times, we are often paying attention to something else. A TV show, Facebook, email.

When using the power of your breath, the exact opposite will occur.

The power of breath:

Your breath puts you in your body. After a few intentional inhales and exhales, you can become aware of sensations in your chest , belly, fingers and ankles. Your breath allows you to notice your body.

Your breath grounds you. Instead of flitting around like a butterfly, you can be steady and still. You can sit down, stay and not seek out distraction.

Your breath makes you feel calm and peaceful. Your breath can melt away any frantic edge and allow you to experience what’s underneath. Calm. Peace. You have it in you, and your breath is the bridge to take you there.

Why breath works:

When you use the power of your breath, you create space between your thoughts and your actions.

In this space, you have an opportunity to be intentional about your choices. You have an opportunity to set the course of your actions instead of mindlessly going through the motions. 

After a quick breathing practice, you feel more calm and centered in your body. When you are more calm and centered, it’s easier to make better choices in your life.

Using her breath, instead of stuffing herself, Kate could have eaten the exact right amount, given herself the break she needed and then moved off the couch and onto something else.

How to:

A 3 count breath and can be done very subtly anywhere. Breathe in to a count of 3, hold your breath full for a moment, breathe out to a count of 3, hold your breath out for a moment. Do 3-5 rounds of this breath.

Consider the power of your breath to be a miraculous gift. One that you have with you all of the time. Use it often throughout the day and you will wake up, make intentional choices, become a more mindful eater and shift the course of your life.  

Why Stepping On The Scale Is Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts And 5 Things to Do Instead

Lauren had her morning ritual. Before she got out of bed, before her feet even touched the floor, Lauren would ask herself “How is this day going to go?”. She then walked into the bathroom to step on the scale and find out.

Lauren would have two numbers in her head. Her goal weight and what she weighed last. Depending on how she worked out and ate the day before, she may be mildly scared or a little hopeful.

When the scale offered good news, Lauren felt that little high and privately celebrated. She felt good about herself.  When the scale offered bad news, Lauren was in disbelief. “Maybe the scale is wrong”, she thought.  She would step off and on again, hoping for a lower number. When the number didn’t change, her stomach would drop and she felt defeated. “I can’t believe I let myself get here”, she would say to herself. She felt disgusting.

For Lauren, the scale isn’t just assessing how closely she had followed her diet plan. It’s personal. When Lauren sees that number on the scale, she also sees if her hard work has paid off, if it’s worth it to keep trying to eat so well, and ultimately, if she has been good or bad.

What comes next is critical. How Lauren felt about herself and her body in that given moment would set the tone for how she ate that day. If she felt good, she would likely eat well. If she felt bad, she would likely throw in the towel, and would inevitably overeat and binge.  

For Lauren, who is a made up aggregation of many of my coaching clients, stepping on the scale every morning put in motion food patterns that were destructive and disconnected from herself and her body.

The scale is a tool to measure body weight. However, for many dieters and those interested in weight loss, weighing themselves isn’t as simple as finding out how much they weigh at a given point in time. Ultimately, the number has meaning. The number becomes a personal story of individual self worth and value. The dieter will then choose how to eat based on how they see themselves in a positive or negative light.

Our self worth doesn’t come from something that makes its home on our bathroom floor. Nor do we need to let the number on the scale determine how we treat ourself and our body.  

It’s time to stop the madness that comes from stepping on the scale. This ritual is NOT the way to achieve long lasting health, vitality, and yes, even permanent weight loss.

At first, Lauren was afraid to not weigh herself. She was panicked because she believed the scale was her way of staying in control. Until she understood that stepping on the scale was ultimately creating chaos in her day to day life, was she able to consider something different.  Until she saw that the scale was disconnecting herself from her body, determining her mood, and dictating how and what she ate, did she find the courage to try something different.

If you have found the same courage, here are 5 things you can do to stop letting the scale rule your life:

  1. Create a new morning routine that doesn’t include weighing yourself. A large glass of warm water with lemon is a beautiful way to start the day.

  2. Move your scale to a part of your home where you won’t see it regularly.  If it’s in your bathroom, take it out.

  3. Find 3 other ways to measure your health and vitality. Consider being aware of your energy levels, how well you sleep, how clear your skin is, and your patience.

  4. Ask yourself, “how do I want to feel today?”. Keep that intention in the front of your mind for the whole day.

  5. Connect with yourself by asking “what do I need?” throughout the day. More often than not, drinking more water, rest, movement, and getting outside are all things that will make you feel better.  

Permanent weight loss, health and vitality comes from creating daily habits and rituals that are rooted in love and connection. Start your morning with the question “How is this day going to go?”. Instead of letting the scale answer for you, choose for yourself.   You have the answers you need.  


One Simple Step to Take to Stop Overeating

I sat in the sunshine on the front steps of my house. It’s finally warm enough here in New Hampshire to be outside.  It’s lunch time and I’ve left my laptop, phone, iPad and any other reading material at my desk. It’s just me and my big-ass salad. No work. No distractions.

For years, I would work through lunch. I would eat quickly at my desk, prioritizing a project deadline or catching up on emails ahead of anything else. I firmly believed that I didn’t have the time, not 5 minutes or  20 minutes, to take the time to just eat. Work was too busy and I had to keep checking things off my “to do” list.  Taking the time to eat was simply a  waste of time. I could be more efficient and effective by multi-tasking.

During that same time, my relationship with food was all about:

·       limits and restriction,

·       numbing and overeating,

·       shame and defeat, and

·       disconnection and discomfort.

I was desperate to lose that last 5,10, or 15 pounds and I was trying every diet I could to do it. What I didn't realize at the time was that my painful relationship with food was in large part due to not listening to my body. 

How can anyone tune in to hunger cues, fullness signals or how certain foods made their body feel if they don't listen?

When you don’t eat with your full attention, you are missing an opportunity to notice feedback that your body desperately wants you to have.   

Now that I eat my meals with all of my attention, I leave food on my plate. After decades of overeating and binge eating, this simple habit is a small miracle. I notice when I’m no longer hungry. I no longer rush through my meals. I enjoy the taste of what I’m eating and feel much more satisfied. Eating has become a nurturing act of connection.

If you are reading this while eating your breakfast, lunch or dinner, put your fork down and push your meal away, even for a few moments.  

Practice eating at least one meal a day without any distraction.  Start with the meal that’s the easiest to focus completely on.

When I first started not working through lunch, it only it took me 12 minutes to eat. I quickly realized that taking this small amount of time allowed me to return to work with fresh eyes and renewed energy. I increased my productivity by giving myself this break.

Whether or not you struggle with overeating and binge eating,  doing one thing at a time and being mindful is the key to fully experiencing life. Consider that taking time to simply eat a meal is a way for you to slow yourself down and enjoy a few moments in the day. Practice eating with all of your attention. It will become practice for how you want to live: fully awake, connected, and present to the warm sunshine on your face.


5 Ways to Make Permanent Change in Your Life

My bookshelf is filled with books offering the best, life-altering diets, the cure for overeating, and the secret to making peace with food. I bought my first Geneen Roth book in college, and from there, I was insatiable. I couldn’t get enough information.

I wanted to know. How could lose weight? Why was I overeating and how could I stop?

One would think that because I knew so much and I was so well read, that I must have been able to solve all of my eating problems.

Far from it. I was really good at collecting information, but I had a very hard time making a permanent change and following what the books told me to do.

If we KNOW how to make the change we need to make, why don’t we do it?

What I have come to find out for myself is that knowing just doesn’t matter. Having the information is only one small ingredient in the recipe of everlasting change. But many of us stop there and think reading that “miracle, end all be all” book will be our quick fix. You know that you feel better when you work out at least five days a week. But unless you get off your duff and get to the gym or lace up your running shoes, knowing that doesn't make any difference. 

“We first make our habits and then our habits make us.” John Dryden, 1631-1700

This is the key. We must repeatedly take action until that change is who we are.

> Stop seeking and start doing. Spending time reading and following the latest fad and what others are doing can be a distraction. If you already know what to do, take one step in the direction you want to go in right now.

> Keep the change you want to make top of mind. A daily reminder and a plan in your weekly schedule will certainly help. Keep a sticky on your laptop or bathroom mirror or a reminder on your calendar.

> Drop the idea that it’s hard, painful or it’s going to take a lot of work. I’m in the process of kicking my caffeine habit. Initially, I assumed that when I’m no longer drinking my caffeinated tea or coffee that I will have a big brain fog, get a caffeine withdrawal headache, and simply feel miserable. My idea of what would happen when I kicked the caffeine habit was initially keeping me from making any change at all. Letting go of that idea made it much easier for me to begin making the switch to decaf.  

> Connect the dots between the change you want to make and how it impacts your life. When I drink more water, I just feel better. I have more energy. When I sleep more, I have so much more patience with my family, and it feels so great to have more energy to do the things I love. Take a careful look at why this change you want to make matters so much to you.

> Replace perfect with your best. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Many of us want to do things perfectly or exactly as planned, but that may keep us from doing anything. Your ideal workout may be 45 or 60 minutes, but if you only have 15 minutes, that is better than nothing at all.

There will come a point when the change you want to make is no longer a change you want to make, it will be the fabric of your being. If you are not doing what you know to do, you just won’t feel like yourself. You have changed yourself forever. And you will know that for sure.

With Love and Inspiration~


If It's Not A Diet, What Is It?

**This is the final post of a multi part series on why diets and the diet mentality simply cannot work, the distraction and impact diets can have on living the life we are meant to live, and how to shift our view of food to eat in a way that supports our health and vitality, and ultimately brings our bodies back into balance.  **

I remember going on Weight Watchers after I gave birth to Ryan, my oldest. I was assigned 36 “Points” to eat a day based on my current weight and my weight loss goals. I quickly learned I could eat more food that was lower in fat and higher in fiber. I would eat a whole bag of low fat microwave popcorn because it was only 3 points. It didn’t matter If I was hungry for the whole bag or not, nor did it matter if it felt satisfying or not.  Microwave popcorn was cheap food, and I convinced myself I was getting a huge bargain.

When I couldn’t stay on Weight Watchers any longer, I struggled with not knowing what to eat, when to eat it or how much to eat. I felt so lost and didn't trust myself around food. The Points calculator was still in the back of mind. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was overeating and bingeing more than ever before because I was trying so hard to restrict calories and fat.

Dieters embrace the mentality that they must restrict calories to lose weight. The sad part is that despite best intentions, food restriction leads to overeating and bingeing.

The good news is that there is a much better way to nourish yourself and bring your body into balance. A reliable, effective and permanent solution to making food choices. It’s not a diet or a mind-set of restriction. It’s a process of connection and listening.  Ready to fly solo and make diets a thing of your past? Start here:

  • Understand what you value most.  When it comes to your health and your body, what is important to you? Be specific. If your answer is, I just want to lose weight, then look a little deeper. What are benefits of weight loss? How will you feel when you weigh less? Maybe this means you have boundless energy so you can chase after your kids all day like a superhero and then have enough left over to clean your house before you go to bed or maybe you want to run a half marathon and want to feel lean and strong all the way to the finish line. When you are clear that you may simply want to feel light, radiant, energized or strong in your body, then your food choices will be so straightforward. They will either support what you value or they won’t.

  • Ask your body for feedback constantly--before you eat, when you are eating and after you have finished.

    • What do you want to eat?
    • How does your food choice make you feel?
    • Did your food choice give you a steady amount of energy?
    • Did your food choice fill you up for a few hours or are you hungry a short time after?
  • Shift your view of how you look at all food. There are high quality choices and low quality choices. Throw out the idea that food is good or bad. Quality is defined as how the food serves you, your health and what you value. Your food choices will fall in a range between serving you and fulfilling a higher purpose and what you value (higher quality) or it will not serve you as well (lower quality). When we label a certain food as bad and off limits, we may be drawn toward it and want to eat it more. The more you focus on choosing high quality food on a daily basis, the better you will feel.

  • Love your body, not matter what it looks like. You are not your body. Your body houses your spirit. Caring for your body is choosing to love and nurture your highest self. Your body isn’t something to showcase or define your self worth. It’s something to honor and cherish.

What we discover when we stop dieting and start listening, is that certain foods don’t make us feel good and feeling good is important to us. When I was eating bags of microwave popcorn, what my body desperately craved was some protein.  After eating all of that popcorn, my belly still felt empty, and I was hungry a short time later. I no longer diet. Now I ask my body what it needs and I listen.

Listening to the wisdom of your body is the answer to vibrant health and balancing your body. Trust that listening is all you need to do. It won’t lead you astray.

Wishing you peace and connection~


You Have Finally Made Peace With Food... Now What?

When I was struggling with food, I would binge most Sunday afternoons. Maybe it was on a couple of extra bowls of ice cream, some chocolates from a past holiday, or leftover brownies I made for the kids. This binge pattern took away my loneliness or my anxiety about the upcoming week, or sometimes it was my last chance to indulge before I had to be “really good” and go back to my diet. I would wake up Monday morning, quietly despising myself and determined to stay on track with my eating.  This pattern, even though deeply painful, was also oddly comfortable and well-known. It felt safe emotionally and mentally when, at a subconscious level, I knew the outcomes of my battles.

I’ve since transformed my relationship with food. Without my destructive patterns, I’ve created a clearing and an opening. I have time and energy to create something new. In the past few months, I’ve done a major clean out of my closet and have taken some pretty significant steps to expand my businesses. I keep asking myself and the Universe “How do I serve my communities with my highest and best self?”.  My food struggle wasn’t just keeping me safe, it was also keeping me from living a bigger life. Now that my struggle is behind me, there is nothing in my way.

Even though that sounds incredibly exciting, it’s actually pretty freakin’ scary. I’ve known myself for so long as someone who struggles with food. Now I have gotten to know myself as someone who thrives, is mindful and compassionate around food and my body, and has created habits that serve me best. This new “me” doesn’t know what the future looks like because I’m finally not recreating my past, over and over again. I’ve been scared that this new “me” will disappear, that she is too good to be true, and that I don’t deserve to be her.

As I’ve navigated these new waters over the past year, I’ve come up with a few strategies that have helped me deal with my fears and embrace the newly created “me”. It’s our divine right to live a life full of passion, inspiration and love. If you too have cleared some space and are ready to start living a bigger life right now, try this:

  1. Name your fear. You may need to do some soul searching and deep inquiry here. What is it that you are truly afraid of? Write it down. Get it on paper.  
  2. See that named fear as false. I love the acronym for FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real. Your fear isn’t real; it’s just something you created.
  3. Stay present. Our fear is a projection of the future. When we are truly in the moment, fear, anxiety and worry cannot exist. Keep yourself present by asking yourself, “What is actually happening right now?”.
  4. Commit to not letting your fear stop you. You are meant to live a life you love. Commit to forward momentum every day.
  5. Say a daily mantra to yourself. Make up your own or try one of these: "I breathe in love. I breathe out fear." "I am safe. I am supported. I am enough." "I am present and grounded in this moment." "I release my fears and stay open to the love and support all around me."
  6. Don’t wait. Even if you are still struggling with your relationship with food or some habitual pattern that is wearing you down, move forward toward the things you want in your life. The momentum may be small, but the impact of moving past your fear is significant.
  7. Practice living with fear. It’s not about removing our fears, it’s about living fully despite them. When we try to remove our fears, we are giving them more energy. Living with them means quietly acknowledging them as artificial and then moving forward.

If you are considering some big and exciting things in your life, that’s an awesome thing. You are ready. Leave the safety of the unknown and embrace what is possible. Simply take a big breath and SHINE bright.

With Love and Inspiration~



Why We Let Diets Distract Us From Living

**This is the second post of a multi part series on why diets and the diet mentality simply cannot work, the distraction and impact diets can have on living the life we are meant to live, and how to shift our view of food to eat in a way that supports our health and vitality, and ultimately brings our bodies back into balance.  **

Do you remember your very first diet? If it was anything like mine, I felt so motivated and inspired to take on this brand new undertaking. I poured through the pamphlets, note cards of recipes and calendars of eating plans.  After all, I wanted to lose weight, and this was a way for me to get there.

I treated this diet like a part time job and was willing to go to great lengths to follow it to a T. I chose to forego wedding cake at my cousin’s wedding, bring my own meals out to a restaurant, and stay up late logging my food intake and counting calories.

If you can relate, you also believed this effort was an investment into a skinnier version of yourself. But what I was really doing was sacrificing my precious time, energy, and attention in the moment for some future hope. Instead of enjoying my life with family and friends at a wedding, I found myself fretting over cake. Instead of enjoying a great conversation and connecting with friends at a restaurant, I worried about what I was eating. Instead of getting a good night’s sleep or reading a great book, I assessed my performance on my diet plan.  

For many, the diet mentality locks us into a belief that we must sacrifice today to have the body and the life we desire tomorrow. We take that thinking one step further and actually put our life on hold for some fantasy in the future. In the backs of our mind, we believe:

“My life will be ________ when I weigh ________” . Fill in the blanks.

My life will be complete when I can fit into my skinny jeans. Or, when I wear a size 6, I’ll be finally the young professional woman I think I should be, and I’ll have it all. Or, when I lose 15 pounds, more men will be attracted to me, and I’ll be in an amazing relationship.

But we can’t blame diets and a diet mentality for this. They are not the problem. They are just covering up something much more painful that we don’t want to confront: We believe we are not good enough.

This mentality started before we went on our first diet. The diet was there to distract us from looking at this painful belief. If we run from it and hide from it by dieting, maybe we can convince ourselves that we are good enough and prove this little voice inside of us wrong.

While we are dieting our life away and putting our hopes and dream on hold until we finally believe we have become good enough, life is happening around us. Our bodies may not be perfect. Our life may not be ideal. But they are the only ones we have, and we don’t get another one or another chance. We can live our life trying desperately to change our bodies and our lives, or we can live today like we want to live and feel at peace with our bodies and our lives. Stop struggling with the thought, “I’m not enough.” It’s simply not true. You are enough. Your body is enough. Your life is enough. Put down the fight and the distractions that come from dieting and pick up the truth. Your life is waiting for you, and it’s time to live it! 

With Love and Inspiration~


How to Stop Your Overeating Habit

How to Stop-1
How to Stop-1

Are you one of those people that eats everything on your plate no matter what? I’m a former member of the Clean Plate Club myself. Actually, I often had second helpings at meal time. You can say I was a member of the Two Clean Plates Club ;). It didn’t matter if I was hungry or full. I just ate what was in front of me, and then some. I started my journey to transform my relationship with food and my body because I knew I was overeating and overstuffing. Sometimes when I was hungry, I felt empty. Not just physically, but emotionally. When I was full or even very full, I felt calm and a little sedated. These emotional causes and side effects of my overeating created a very well-ingrained habit that was in place for many years. It took me a while to break this habit, but after trying and failing a few times, I found a practice that made a big difference. Try this exercise to eat just enough and leave every meal satisfied:

  • Sit down to eat your meal when you are hungry. Please notice the two important things: Sit down to eat. Eat when you are hungry.
  • Create the intention that you are going to eat mindfully. Eat your meal slowly.
  • Put your fork down occasionally to check in with your body. Drop your awareness to your belly and notice.
  • When you have come to that point when you have moved past no longer feeling hungry and begin to feel satisfied, PAUSE.  Promise yourself that you are going to temporarily set your food aside for 15 minutes. After that time, you can freely and without guilt, eat what’s left on your plate.  Wrap up any remaining food, whether it’s one bite or 10 bites, and put it away.
  • After 15 minutes, check in with your belly. Are you hungry? Does the idea of finishing or eating more of your meal appeal to you? If so, sit down and eat. If not, save your remaining food for another time.

People overeat for a lot of different reasons. You may find that overeating has become a habit you would like to break. Stopping overeating takes awareness, patience, and practice. Try this exercise when you eat your next meal, and you will be well on your way to honoring your body and yourself in a very powerful and loving way.