Back-to-School 2017: Embrace Your Feelings; Honor The Now

As I sit here in the quiet of the house, my son is napping and my daughter is at her first-day of second grade. Why is my heart so heavy with mixed emotions? I don't think my lady hormones are helping me much, but my heart truly feels so full of emotions. For me, I am always planning or thinking about what next that I often miss out on the now. This summer I decided to abort a lot of planning. My lists were very few and usually lasted about five minutes before I lost them or they got shoved in my back pocket or sribbled on. This was the summer of FUN and just allowing. 

I had a lot of adult celebrations with amazing wedding celebrations, 15-year college reunion and more. But in the midst of the crazy we squeezed in summer fun. I am talking small things like walks to the library (for the record we only went twice), quick neighborhood swims before teaching yoga or just being together while little brother was napping. It was something I will not ever forget. I can see her smile and hear your sarcastic jokes at lunch while the construction is so loud my annoyance level was up...saying "wow, this lunch is SOOOO relaxing!" Oh man, her light and sense of humor kept me going. Don't get me wrong there were many moments of crazy and me ignoring them or sibling fighting. However, when I reflect of course I sift through all of that. Similar to child birth and our distorted memory of it all. :) 

This summer I knew that I was behind on everything. in fact, early July my website went down because of technical issue that for most is a five-minute fix. After trying to consequctive mornings with the help desk I decided to abort and just enjoy the various "fun" we had on the schedule. If I felt called to write I would, but it didn't matter because what was in front of me mattered more. I did find time for me in small and big ways this summer and for that I am grateful. But some of my favorite memories involved my sweet second grader, just the two of us. Like the below picture where we came up with a no-bake cookie recipe for our kid's cookbook we are working on (slowly of course).

summer kitchen creations!

summer kitchen creations!

So today I just sit. I sit with my emotions as mama. As a torn mama, a woman that is on the fence about what my role should be as mom and professional. A journey I am developing as I sit. I am not sure what the future holds, how the days will flow, or how it will all work. However, I know what is the MOST important to me right now? Me. My self love. Time for me to feel how I feel and process all of the feels. What is most important is NOT knowing but allowing me to not know. What is is most important is my big learning about what self love is. I realize that none of it matters, not work, not alone time with the kids or family time or date time or a successful career or organized house or a website that is up and running if I don't love myself first. If I don't have faith in life first. If I don't let go of ALL of those things I cannot control, included in that today are my feelings and my lack of clearly knowing much of anything but that my heart is FULL. I am not perfect and have a long way to go as I show up in this life as a human.

Summer sunset fun!

Summer sunset fun!

Even though I know I am not perfect, I know that my little ones (second grader and preschool boy) won't wait for me to figure it out. They are watching me NOW. They are watching if I am complaining or being positive. They are watching me turn a crappy day around and bring back the joy that we all so deserve in all the days. They are watching me be kind to the slowest cashier in the history of Target. Why? Because I am their role model. Isn't that how it works? And yes, I know I have not been perfect (oh are there stories), but I know that because of the abundant amount of life lessons these little humans have taught me, I CAN and WILL and MUST keep going. I must show up and love myself enough to pause and feel and know that deep breaths, relaxed shoulders and looking these little ones in the eyes is a lot of what my job is. 

I will hug them and make lunches for them and yes, I will make them put their stuff away. I sometimes wonder how that will happen, but I will NOT give up on any of it. I will raise kind and responsible and loving humans because they are already so far ahead of what I could have imagined such small people could be. Through the honor of being mom it has become very clear to me that a lot is so innate. We are good. We are Love. And all of that light and potential lives in us the moment we take our first breath. Yes, I am a role model and a guide, but that personality is not taught and that light is what makes the world go round. So today I simply say, thank you for letting me be your mama. And thank you yoga and family and sometimes wine at 3 p.m. to help remind me to let myself feel so the days you come home sad or scared or mad I don't make you push it away and I sit with you and "let you feel!" 

Whatever your emotions are...allow the feels. Allow yourself to not know, but at the same time know that you are okay right now. Look around. Take a breath. Go to bed early. Take a bath. And just be okay with right now. No matter your feel, you let it roll off you like "water off a ducks back." Life is a little bit easier when we allow ourselves to flow with feelings and flow with life. 

Sending all you mamas and dads and caretakers LOVE and more LOVE on this day of transition (or coming transition). I couldn't quite get out of bed snuggling my son at nap today because I know some day he won't want snuggles from me so then I just stayed a little longer today. Why? Why not.

Namaste and love to y'all!

Kristin 

Resisting: parenting and the existence of children being children and parents learning too!

PARENTING WIN - THE KIDS LOVED THIS ONE!

PARENTING WIN - THE KIDS LOVED THIS ONE!

I cannot tell you how many times I have set a new goal of not yelling at my kids or not getting frustrated or impatient. Sometimes I hide in my closet or in my bed. Sometimes I want to have a tantrum like a three-year old and just bang on the floor. Why? Why? Why? Why won't they pick up their shit? Why won't they listen to me the first, second or third time? Why do they make a mess and lay they clothes everwhere (insert laughing b/c I am not so good at putting my 10 pairs of workout/yoga clothes away)? Why do they want what they want? Why are they so adamant when they want the gloves vs. the mittens? Why do they jump on me when I just need a minute to breathe? Why do they actually want mom vs. dad when I am not patient and can be grumpy and unintentionally mean? 

Oh, that is right, they are kids. They are simply being kids. They are little humans figuring out the world. They are watching our every move and word (gasp) and they are navigating a lot of things for the first time as they continue to have birthdays. And when I think about it that way, well, I think I might be a total jerk of a mom. And then I think again and say, wait, you are just a big human. You might be a grown up, but you are a kid when it comes to parenting. I have only been parenting as long as my oldest has been a kid. Funny how that works right? So isn't it fair to think that I might screw up, not be patient, and have learning to do too? 

The answer to that is yes. I must remember that I am learning as mom, and my kids are learning as humans (brother, sister, friend, student, grandchild, neighbor, etc.). And when I remember that I am still learning, my shoulder softens and my face relaxes. Maybe I am doing an okay job after all. Maybe I am trying too hard to not yell and at the same time setting myself up to fail as a mom because I want it neat or I want them to "listen the first time" or I want them to just roll with it. How can I expect them to do that if I am not a role model of these exact things? And then I think to getting dressed in the morning. Why is it such a struggle? Obvious. Why do us big-kids like to stay in our pajamas on Sunday mornings or the mornings of holidays and have an extra cup of coffee and snuggle in? Because we are human and it feels so flippin good, especially when it is so cold that your clothes and dishes are cold from being near in outside wall (thank you Minnesota winter).

As I was reflecting on parenting after a decent morning last week it still was filled with a parenting "incident" of tension and a perhaps some raised voices by both parties (we won't say who started it). I reread a text I got from my coach and why I get so frustrated with my kids. She reminded me oh so gracefully that each time I give resistance everything regarding parenting is going to be that much harder. And on top of it my body will be filled with cortisol, which we all know isn't awesome for the health or the waistline. And then I smiled when I read this because my latest test results at my physical show a very similar hormone panel as last fall. Thus, I would imagine that if I tested my cortisol again it might be a little low as it was early 2016. Why? Because I am using it all up getting so darn mad at the the little things.

So then why resist all of it? Why try so hard? Why not be more effortless? Why not roll with it and instead of resist do the opposite, be at ease? Allow for them to not listen to me the first time but still encourage respect and kindness. Because that will only make me healthier, their hearts less beat up from intense parenting/kid moments, and our house a happier place. 

The above sounds nice right? Be at ease? But like my sister always encourages me to to do with everything I asked myself, what is the root cause of my impatience? The last parenting moments I have been aware and I think I nailed the biggest reason for me at this current time in my parenting journey (or learning). I am not patient with them because I am not present with them. Not because my phone has a bigger appeal, but because I am thinking about various responsibilities that distract me and are the farthest from parenting and the present moment.  Examples: I might be thinking about the class I teach at 6 a.m. that I am not prepared for or something that I know is coming fast regarding an obligation/to-do. Or what about about the pressure of am I moving fast enough with my business or when can I get a shower in? Or how about what the heck is for dinner and what about lunches? Do I really feed them that again? And the examples could go on and on. 

WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS OF TANTRUMS OR SADNESS? I think I don't have many because THEY ARE WAY LESS FUN THAN THIS CUTENESS! :)

WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS OF TANTRUMS OR SADNESS? I think I don't have many because THEY ARE WAY LESS FUN THAN THIS CUTENESS! :)

You know that feeling of being behind and never prepared. That is a huge distraction for me and impacts how patient I am with the kids. Thus, it is one thing for me to say, "I am going to parent with ease, stop resisting and let us learn together because we are all kids." And it is another to set this intention with the awareness of my triggers and instead of try to battle these, avoid them all together (as best as possible). I am sure I could get a long list of what sets me off (one that pops in my head is making lunches, cleaning up, making breakfast, getting us all ready, and helping with homework all in an hour's time...no wonder we are late and I feel like a volcano when we are done). Additionally, attempting to carve out the time I need to be prepared for teaching, family business, writing and more! It is not going to be perfect, but I am willing to do the dance and honor both my children and their learning and my parenting learning as well. I will try to ease up and resist less; it is worth a try in my mind especially for the love and trust these little munchkins give me.

What are your parenting battles? Are you constantly doing the same thing or beating yourself up for not being perfect? I am sure we all have them; parent guilt is real. And if you don't have kids, what are your battles that get you all hot and heavy? What makes you mad and actually deters you from being at ease, ultimately impacting your day and overtime your health? Become aware and curious. Be kind. And most import, remember you are a learning too. Isn't that the fun of life? 

In love, light, and gratitude (and hopefully ease),

Kristin 

Check-in Monday: Connection to the Soul—Dec. 5, 2016

Today I am going to keep it pretty simple. Last week's update I wasn't feeling so hot: mind, body and spirit. It was tough to acknowledge, but with the help of my coach, my yoga practice, husband, friends and family I can say that I am moving forward and feel a bit better. My joints are less in pain, my stomach issues aren't as frequent and the best news, I feel more connected to my soul and me than I have in a few weeks. 

This small taste of feeling better and more grounded in me is keeping me going and determined to heal more from the eating issues and the constant judging of whatever I didn't do good enough: parenting, teaching a class, listening to a friend and more. I actually feel oh so grateful for the blip of not feeling so hot because I know it will drive me forward and help me to work through something that has been so deeply rooted in me in many ways. 

So without any more words (usually there are a lot), here is this week’s focus:

1. Weaning from caffeine. I already have a caffeine headache and I still had three shots of espresso on Sunday morning. Yikes. I definitely used caffeine as my way to get through days of less than 6 hours of sleep and sometimes a few in a row. By noon I hit a wall and then I want the second round of caffeine. I am going to switch to decaf or at the maximum, one shot of espresso on the days I really want one. However, Ideally my caffeine is coming from a good grean tea. I will be drinking decaf though because last year trying to give it all up was a disaster and right now I am not ready for that. Obviously I will allow myself to wean as slow as I need. 

2. Staying away from alcohol. I know how much I love a good whiskey, tequila or a glass of wine, but the impact to me recently shows up in not so pretty ways. I often feel more emotional, sad or angry days following drinking. Additionally, even if I have one glass of wine it feels like the next day I have gained 3 pounds. This is not an exaggeration and doesn't make sense. So as much as I crave it, I am taking a break for the month of December. 

3. Slowing down and being present, with the intention to heal my adrenals and hormones. I know they are still off and my recent test results are there to confirm it. As someone that lives in this busy world with kids I am often thinking about what next or what hasn’t gotten done or what happened and spend less time in the present. This morning I gave it a try, I decided to pause the morning routine and snuggle each kid on the couch while looking at the tree. I asked them three questions about the Christmas tree. It felt nice; I noticed things like how they smelled and the smile and twinkle in their eye. Bonus: I think they behaved better too! 

4. Connection. When I connect with others and laugh, listen, am heard, and more, I feel connected to their souls and I feel happy inside. I think I recently read an article that when people have good friendships and family they are happier because of the human connection; it does something to your brain for the better. I will take that!! 

5. Acceptance. Finally, and most important is my intention to accept and ultimately be more loving all around. Obviously this one starts within first, in order to give love to others. I say a lot to myself, “I do not judge _____, I accept _____.” And then comes the love and less frustration or anger or whatever it is that the judgment is focused on. It is in this place where I do not go to shame but rather refocus my energy on the now and moving forward. I will keep trying this technique because so far, it is working!! This technique was all from my amazing coach, Laura Burkey. I am pretty lucky to have her support I have to say. :) 

I think that is it for me this week. I am excited to share more ideas on how to stay balanced as the holiday season progresses, fun recipes and more!

How are you doing this week? What is your intention for yet another new week? How can you still take care of you in the midst of crazy this December?

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

The secret to health both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, not to anticipate the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
— Buddha

 

Honest Monday Check-in: Nov. 28, 2016

I have to be honest in today's Monday check-in.  I'm okay. I am not thriving like I know I can and I would be lying if I said that the holidays have been easy. I don't have any grand answers except that when I reflect on the last month I definitely did less movement (walking, yoga, exercise), less sleeping, less meal planning and thus grabbing for crappier food options, more wine, less vegetables, less connection and more. I feel like my energy, generally, was dispersed in many different ways, leaving me feeling like I was running around with my head cut off with not a lot to show for it. I did get a new teaching gig and I am grateful and excited to share more! Also, I am spending time enriching my yoga studies through the Vinyasa Krama online training with Rod Stryker. It has been work, but I am so grateful to learn and expand! 

Based on all of this I choose to be kind to me and honor that I am not just sitting on the couch. However, I know that I can feel better, physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

If you are curious of more of what isn't feeling good I have captured below. 

My body:

It hurts. Physically my joints hurt, my skin is inflamed and hurts and itches in various places. My physical body hurts because of being out of alignment; I have been teaching, doing workouts out and yoga, but not enough foam rolling and restorative activity. Ouch. Additionally, I feel puffy everywhere. In fact, it isn't a feeling it is a reality because my clothes are fitting a lot tighter in just the last few weeks. And finally, my bloat is awful. I know my tummy is off and not happy lots of times in the day. in fact, almost every time I eat lately my stomach hurts or I can hear the rumbling. Because of all of this I know a little healing will go a long way. 

Emotionally/Mentally

My mind is all over the place. I have a lot on my mind regarding work and home, specifically thinking up various ways to approach each. I am experiencing a great amount of mental spinning (where I take a thought or idea and run with it, usually not for the positive). I am harder on myself, sensitive, and sometimes so anxious I can barely sit still during meditation. This is absolutely a reflection of me being out of balance, in particular not sleeping and more importantly short-cutting my practice to the point that even when I do it I am so tired it doesn't count. I feel connected to something higher than me when I am in nature and when I sit still and find myself in breath and meditation. When I do not do that, the cumulative effect is noticed. In fact, I talk about this a bit in the Pain of Not Practicing post. This awareness will definitely be leverage and motivation for me to show up in my practice because my mind will absolutely benefit. :)

The Process of Healing - why don't more people talk about the process of healing? I am curious.

In reflecting in the last couple days following the peak of feeling crappy I have been thinking a lot about how not a lot of people talk about the process of life or the journey of losing weight or healing from a sickness. I wonder why? It is in the process of pain/suffering where I feel the most alone and confused. I know I am not alone and I reach out to those close to me who often hold me up, but why do I hesitate to share the journey, especially when it isn't pretty? I think it is because it makes me vulnerable. Also, a lot of people share the story of, "one day I had this suffering and then I did x, y, and z and now I feel great!" I am not judging or saying that is not an okay way to share your story, because each one of us gets to choose how we tell our story and how/when we share. What I am saying is that I crave to hear more of the journey and process of others on the way to moving through something that was hard and didn't feel good.

I also hesitate to share sometimes because when you look at my life I am pretty damn lucky. How could someone that has a lot to be thankful for be suffering? It doesn't make sense at all. But then I realize I am not alone in my journey of internal suffering. In fact, we all have these things inside that are here to teach us. And if it wasn't painful we wouldn't have the desire and drive to stand up again and keep moving forward. If it wasn't painful we wouldn't want to make changes and choices in our lives to feel better. And as much as I know that is hard to make changes, especially at the beginning (because sometimes it is easier to stay out of balance), I know what is on the other side, and thus I am very very determined to keep moving forward. I also hope that me sharing the process I am going through as I struggle and get back up again might help just one person.

My Aha-Cycle - Specific to eating, body image, and health (gut health, skin stuff etc.)

I want to go in depth soon about my aha-cycle that I realize I deal with, in particular with my eating and body-image issues. If I am being honest, I am carrying a good 15 pounds, maybe 20 pounds more than what I used to call my set-point weight. In fact, I used to feel chubby during that weight, and now that I have the extra puff (for lack of a better term) and I think, "what was I thinking?" For me it is more than the weight; It is the fact I can feel so awesome one moment and so awful the next moment that I wonder, am I doing it all wrong? Am I defective? Do I simply not have enough will power? And on and on on. So when I was not feeling so hot this last Friday (post Thanksgiving) I pulled out the book, Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth and I found my notes I wrote in the summer. It was pretty incredible what I learned in my reflections from reading this book back in July. (This book moved me faster in my healing of my eating issues than anything I've every done). In my own reflections I quickly became aware of three stages that I am often cycling through. Each stage has a set of behaviors and thought patterns. Essentially, this cycle is one that helped me see the destructive pattern I often find myself in, which ultimately sets me up to not feel good and frankly, think too much about it (food/body) all. 

Here is a pic of the high-level cycle I drew out one day that hit home for me:

In no particular order the three phases are:

  • Connection to Source: Highest good/choice
  • Awareness of positive feelings (or negative) and/or change, leads to Attachment and more focus/attention on food/body.
  • Disconnection to self and not being fully present, feelings of shame.

I look forward to digging deeper into this as I grow and hopefully I can share even more in the future. For now, I will honor that the cycle can exist for me and that I am healing and getting stronger each day. I respect and am accepting of my ability to use my awareness to drop into the present moment and love me exactly as I am today, and tomorrow and the next day. I cannot image that this self love will do anything but help me to make better choices, be kinder and to hopefully thrive. Thus, in sharing I am thankful for this suffering because it has made me more awake and alive. 

So what next?

  1. I am doing everything I can to be fully present in ALL of life. I am challenging myself to feel all of my feelings and slow down. Often times I numb myself or distract myself with staying up too late, looking at my phone, getting a snack or thinking about food too much. Thus, I am not truly living in the moment, right? Also, I realize I am often crabby and impatient at home and at the stem of it all is that I am often thinking about what I need to do to be prepared to teach or do something esle and instead I am doing parenting things. Thus, I am quickly reactive and not my best self.
  2. Honor my truth. I am working closely with my coach to realize and accept/love all of me, the good, the challenging, and the quirky. And instead of constantly try to improve or judge myself, I am working to accept and LOVE it all. After all of this recent awareness I realize that I am so incredibly hard on myself it actually makes life a lot more difficult and amps up my anger and impatience to a pretty high level. 
  3. I will LIVE my YOGA! Daily yoga means living my yoga; each moment I see as my practice. To be kind to myself, my kids, and those I come in contact with. This will lead to nourishing foods, moving my body, connecting, and practice--giving myself the healing gift of yoga to move, change my energetic body and pause my mind enough to connect to the place in me that is unchanging and bright.

I believe in my heart that this small moment of not feeling so hot is a gift to me to adjust and do what I know I need to do to honor me, my path, my blessings and more. I also now know what it is like to physically feel not awesome and to have my weight not budge, regardless of what I am doing. I know what I need and I plan to carry on. I allow the hurt and the feelings. I dig into a deep place of me that will not try to be it all or be perfect but to be present: more breaths, more pausing, more allowing feelings to come in and out. Thus, hopefully more real moments of bliss, laughter, joy and true gratitude with effortlessly flow into my life. 

Am I right? Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have something you are working through and are you allowing or are you pushing it away? Can you learn from your challenges and honor the process? Ask yourself questions and continue to be curious because the lessons are in the everyday moments and your heart. And of course the real sweet spot is allowing it all to happen and find that acceptance in your mind, body and spirit. You are worthy of love today.

Thanks for reading and for honoring you! Wherever you are today and on your journey you are exactly where you should be. Can you give yourself a little more love and grace today? Can you slow down and be a little more present? I know I can and I will try. I look forward to reporting back on how it is going. 

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

p.s. I couldn't resist putting this little cutie and our bright tree in the pic. The tree might be my favorite part of December. :) 

p.p.s I am feeling better now that it is Friday and I have made small changes. I look forward to sharing more. xo

Listen to you body - or maybe not today

What does listen to your body mean to you? Honest. What comes up when you read those words? Read them again, but this time insert your name. "________, listen to your body." Pause. What are you feeling in your body? 

For me, when I hear the phrase "listen to your body" I have a mixed bag of reactions; it depends on when you catch me:

-On a good day I might feel: empowered hopeful, excited and trust 

-On a bad day: anger, distrust, defective, frustrated, and alone. 

The good day is pretty easy to understand right? It's the same reason so many of us in the health and wellness field say these words, "listen to your body." It makes sense in in theory—when you tap in and listen, you know exactly what you need physically, mentally and emotionally. 

However, take a tougher day—a day when you've spilled your coffee, yelled at your kids, screwed up a proposal, you are battling a heartbreak or a loss of any kind. These are the days it's hard to know what you need in all areas of your life. 

Let's break down "listening to your body" a little more. 

Physically—Breaking Down Listening to your body

My physical body has been a huge battle for me. I gained an extra 20 lbs in the last two years and I'm not Preggo. There is a long story that goes with my weight gain that I will share as I talk more openly about my story. However, in this regard I trusted nothing and nobody. At this time in my life healthy food made me sick, sleep wasn't happening and disordered eating was at its greatest. Additionally, my psoriasis was high and my heart was torn, I wanted to be home with the kids but I felt like I was trapped. To stick with the theme of my body, in a nutshell, my body wasn't working for me. The more I tried the more I could hear jack squat. Nothing. I was so angry that I couldn't even make a damn soup because they all had tomatoes and beans and peppers, all which made me incredibly sick. Not to mention I felt like I was not myself with extra 'love' and a wardrobe that didn't fit. Sweats and yoga pants were the name of fashion in my world. And if you've ever been there you know how that feels. It makes you feel worse. Finally, why is my psoriasis so bad? Why is my body fighting with me as I nurse my sweet baby into a healthy world? Enough said. 

Mental-Emotional—Breaking Down Listening your Body

Let's put mental and emotional together because they go hand-in-hand and are easier to talk about at the same time. As I mentioned above, my heart was hurting. After having my son I found the transition into life was harder. I cried a lot, was angry a lot and while I knew I wanted to inhale the smells, sounds, and touch of this gift to be home with my baby and my little girl, I couldn't actually be present enough to enjoy. I compare it to eating lunch while driving or watching a movie while doing work emails, but even more painful. Because not only am I NOT enjoying, I am also hurting and filled with feelings of SHAME. What the F is wrong with you Kristin? Can't you see what you have In front of you? Can't you actually enjoy what you wished for? Why are you mean to the best husband and dad you could dream up? And why is your body failing you? I would think, "I can't eat anything yet I'm still fat," or "I must be defective because my stomach hurts, my joints hurt, my skin is fared up, my girlie part is broken, not to mention my abs are separated and I might never do a sit up again. And I don't have the willpower to eat what doesn't flare me up." I felt broke. 

The food stuff started with me sneaking the cereal in the cupboard with oats and sugar and things that make me sick. It had been a couple years of me trying to eat a fairly restrictive diet. Quick snapshot of my no's and yay's in the food department. The bottom line, I attempted a modified yeast-free diet and then it turned into variations of that as I progressed. Just because this was my attempt doesn't mean that I followed this the entire duration; there were ups and downs. It was always my intention to eat clean and lots of the right veggies, gluten, dairy, yeast and sugar free, but there were many moments I would choose otherwise. Sometimes I would physically feel worse when I ate things off of the "no list" and sometimes I wasn't sure. This experience by itself caused a lot of confusion in my mind because I wondered if what I was trying to do was actually going to work? That is just a small part of the equation. Below is a snapshot of the Yes/NO list from 2011 - 2015

Snapshot of Yes/No List from 2011 - 2015

Foods on the "Yes List"

  • Proteins were a yes, fresh is best (beef, chicken, pork, eggs, etc.)
  • Vegetables, the non-starchy ones were better. Sweet potatoes were only on occassion or a little amount, same with other squash like butternut squash, but I could eat just not loads of them.
  • Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa (this is now a no for me ironically)
  • Fruit that were a yes: apples, especially green because of the low-sugar content, strawberries, some blueberries and raspberries
  • Fats like avocado, nuts, seeds all okay. These sat well with me sometimes and other times almonds, cashews and other nuts made me sick. So it truly depended on the day. 
  • Beans were okay at the beginning

Foods on the "No List"

  • No Gluten
  • No Dairy
  • No sugar, including maple syrup or honey
  • Little to no fruit 
  • And absolutely No dried fruit
  • No vinegar
  • No ketchup, dressings or sauces
  • No wine, or very minimally
  • No coffee (but I figured espresso seemed okay)
  • No dessert even the "healthy upgrades" including chocolate
  • No Nightshades
  • No Corn
  • No Oats
  • No beans of any kind as time progressed

Attempting the restricted diet f'ed with my mind. Because I couldn't have it, I wanted it. Then I wanted it because my turkey and broccoli didn't satisfy my (wonder why), and at nap time I would sneak in the kitchen and pour a bowl of that cereal. Just a little bit. I would eat it and want more. So another pour and another. And then shame quickly happened. That moved on to days when I would eat a little and then say something like ,"wtf" and I would pause and spit it out, but then go for another bite and then spit it out again. And there became the dysfunctional pattern. The dichotomy of wanting something I knew would make me sick but the desire to have it. I was stuck between two worlds. Thus, I picked neither. I didn't resist nor did I eat it. I would eat and spit it out. It was so nauseating and awful, yet I continued to find myself in that situation. Sometimes it was a small bowl of something and sometimes it was a whole bag of candy. Yup. The day it became more than a little "event" (we will call it) was Halloween night three years ago. Eat some of it? Nope. Forbidden. And bedtime happened and hubby was out with neighbors. And I thought what the hell, it's the closest thing to enjoying the candy right? I won't do it again. And there it happened. How could I do it so I left zero trace? A little of this and a little of that. A few times I ate a little and a lot of others I just couldn't. 

Holy f. What just happened? It was such a blur to me and so out of body (just like writing this is**). One more important detail in all of this. I had been trying for almost two months to not eat (or eat as little as I could). What? Why would anyone do that? Again, this one is a long story I would like to elaborate on later because it is a huge piece of my story. The summation of this desire was I was sick with a parasite in July that year (2014( and lost 10 + pounds--you know, the extra baby weight I couldn't lose plus five extra. Once I was well again, instead of have the wisdom to be grateful I was so SCARED to eat. I was so AFRAID of getting fat. Thus, I tried to eat the least amount I could. I completely disconnected from my mind, body and spirit. And in that state, there is NO way I could "listen to my body." None. I was so clouded by this fear and this desire to stay in my clothes. And to be enough. And to top it off my food choices still were quite limited so I had to plan and cook and think about food all the time. 

Needless to say, this was a silent pain in my heart. A suffering that made me feel even more defective and alone and an inability to trust my body or mind. My suffering, in hindsight is the biggest blessing I could have ever had. It is now becoming clear to me that I needed to learn a lot. That although I thought I got help in 2002/3 I still had a "monkey on my back." I had more healing to do, and as I write this I know I must stay true to always knowing my triggers and realizing each day I can create a safe and healthy environment where these behaviors are not me, they were just moments or " an event." And that is so freeing to think about. I am not Kristin with an eating disorder. I am Kristin with moments in my life where I had disordered-eating behaviors. I am free and I have power within to choose my thoughts and thus my actions. These were misunderstandings in my mind and moments that likely have many causes and reasons. In fact, I still wonder if there are additional factors during that October 2014 when I had just taken an anti-parasitic and was likely beginning my challenge with adrenal fatigue. Those can all impact your mind and behaviors. 

A year ago I wrote a post filled with so much push-back and anger against the phrase "listen to your body!" However, it never felt right or that it was the whole story. Until recently, I read the book Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth. 

This book asked me to pause, listen, and feel. This author asked me to be curious and see what this whole "food thing" was all about. So I gave it a shot. I tried to pause more and listen more. I've found thought and story lines and key points to it all just pop in my head. My little girl caught me not in the cupboard the other day but feverishly writing post-it notes. These notes came from a different place, a place so deep in my soul and heart that I had to write fast. Perhaps I am not defective at all. Perhaps my story and experiences are critical to exactly where I am now. Perhaps I have even more to learn. And although it is coming to me in pieces, and my hormones continue to feel off (I am burning hot when it is 60 degrees out and am wired at midnight), I have promised myself to keep listening and be curious. But what I have also promised and learned through it all is that "listen to your body" isn't easy or clear or even simple. It is a journey and on many days can be clouded by life, experiences, feelings, and situations and deep-rooted pain or joy. 

I cannot say what this phrase ("Listen to your body") means to you, but I honor that is different for all of us. Thus, I beg all of you to keep being curious, keep dropping into the present and to the NOW. But know, it's okay if listening is just too hard, you are doing your best, you are enough and only YOU KNOW what YOU NEED.  

I wish you only the best and many moments of joy and present moment contentment. Thank you for honoring your story and your life. 

In deep gratitude, love and light,

Kristin

P.S. After reading this story and my list of "no's" you can get a better understanding of why the name, "No Rules Wellness?" I think we all know that when someone tells us "no" to something we almost instinctively want it more. Thus, the No Rules Wellness was born because instead of what the experts say, how about you be the expert? I like that a lot more. Namaste!

Be just how you are

"I want you to be just how you are." Responds my husband when asked by me, "do you ever wish I would drink beer with you?" As he cracked open a beer on a Saturday night. My jaw dropped. What? How can you be so loving and kind? Did I really marry you? Speechless, I left for my slowest run in years. Okay, I may have snuck in a few words before I finally dragged my butt outside, but I finally left to move my stuck energy. It was 4 p.m. and I had the "gremmies" and we all knew it (note, in our house "gremmies" is short for gremlins and it means we feel stuck and cranky and need to move our energy to feel better). My husband and six-year-old daughter were thinking...'send mama for a run!' 

You are perfect just as you are

You are perfect just as you are

I started walking, and then started to jog—one foot in front of the other. I stopped and started and stopped again. Down a hill I went and then I didn't stop. I kept going. This was hard. Should I be doing this? Am I pushing myself? When I push myself like this is it only harming my attempt to heal my hormones? And oh, my thighs are rubbing together and let's not mention the fire in my chest (BAD heartburn) and the fire in my bottom (aka my "v"). Okay, yes it is too much information for some, but this time it cannot be left out. I was uncomfortable and I mean SO uncomfortable. My physical body was screaming at me on this run in many ways. 

What happened next is a reflection to me of my journey. I am growing and healing and sometimes I don't even know it. Instead of focus on the thighs or the discomfort of my body and why it's unfair that I have heartburn and an on-fire "v," I instead shifted. I heard the wisdom again of my dear husband. He said to me, "Go out and truly enjoy our neighborhood!"

Ah, such good advice. So I start to look around. I felt the cool fall breeze on my body and it felt so good. I felt my feet hit the pavement each step. It wasn't easy but I was doing it. Wow, I thought to myself, ‘I am lucky that my body is able to do so much.’ And then the lake, it was so beautiful with a blue haze over the lake and big waves. The goodness of life and people were everywhere this late Saturday afternoon.

On my jog there were people biking, running, walking with friends and pushing their babies in strollers. I found their eyes as I passed by and I looked in their eyes for a brief moment and felt their stories. They too, are on this planet for the same reason as I am. We all want to avoid pain and feel pleasure. We all want and need to be loved. I felt so grateful at that moment and each subsequent step. No matter the discomfort or scary moments or joy or bliss, we are meant to be present. In this brief and powerful moment (like many are when I run) I realized how infrequent I truly am in the present moment. And I long for more moments of dropping into to the present moment, so that I can feel the breeze on my face or smell the sweetness of my kiddos or truly see the love in my husband's eyes. On this challenging yet glorious day, I was reminded that it is these moments and the little things that truly matter. And all of these little moments add up to your days, weeks and months. 

Let's go back to what my husband said to me. I want you to be just how you are. Read that again but read it like someone you love is saying it to you with all his/her heart. I want you to be just how you are. How does that feel when you read it and feel it? What is going on in your mind and heart? Maybe read it again or maybe just feel and truly think about those words. 

What if exactly how we are, our struggles and ailments and all the challenges that come our way, are here to shape us? What if they are here to help us to rise above? What if they are here to help us to make a lot of little and big choices to do something great and to thrive? And I mean really feel every moment and LOVE ALL OF WHAT YOU ARE. Maybe you have a lot of fire like me and you fly off the handle. Maybe you swear too much or work too much or pick fights with those that love you. Or maybe you procrastinate or are always late or watch too much television or...or...or. God knows we all are imperfect. But maybe we are perfectly imperfect like the quote says. 

I am perfectly imperfect
— Anonymous

And my friends, as I write this I cannot help but think about how I have been fighting "me" since middle school. This resistance and challenge of wanting to be just how I am isn't something that has come naturally to me. I think back to those intense younger years and I used to think things like, 'why am I the bigger kid? Why am I the most inflexible girl in my class? Why do I have boobs and hips and none of the other girls do? Why did I seem like ten years older when it came to responsibility? Why did I feel like I was okay at everything but not really good at anything? Why did I want to look different?' And on and on? What went on in my head as a young girl was intense (and I am sure I am not alone in this regard). I was sure something was wrong with me. If only I lost weight or told less jokes or, or, or. 

Fast-forward twenty plus years and I am starting to get it all. It is starting to come together as I reflect, pause and be curious. Maybe it is time for me to stop resisting and share the feelings that my husband said to me so effortlessly Saturday night. So today I say to myself, "I want you to be just how you are." Perhaps you could say the same thing to yourself, if even just for a day or even a weekend. Stop resisting and honor you, exactly how you are

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin