Category Archives: Mindset

Some things are just hard … or are they?

I was talking with a client the other day. She was sharing her frustration with a change she has been trying to make for some time, but she keeps sabotaging herself. She said she felt like “it’s a lot to let go of” and “it’s pretty massive giving it up”.

As someone who is always listening to the stories we tell ourselves, I was intrigued by the words she chose. Hard. Massive.

Boy, if I was trying to make a change that I told myself was “hard” and “massive”, what do you think my chances of success might be?

So I innocently offered: “Well, what if it weren’t hard? What if it were no big deal?”

You see, your thoughts and beliefs create your experience. I know I’ve talked about this before. But this is another great example where of this, one that you might be able to relate to.

Just as two people can witness the exact same event and have very different experiences, because they bring different beliefs to the table, two women can be confronted with wanting to make essentially the same change, but for one it seems easy while for the other it’s nearly impossible. Because they hold different beliefs, they have different stories about themselves and about the world.

What if you chose to change your story?
What if it were no big deal to do so?

Funny thing is, I recently found myself caught in this very same belief trap (this is why even coaches need coaches). I found myself stuck in thoughts like: “running a business is hard”, “marketing your services is hard”, “creating clients is hard”, and the like.

You see, in the past few months, I’ve been published in a number of very reputable sources (including being an expert contributor to an article in the Diabetes Council’s online site) and interviewed for podcasts and other live shows. In each of these, I invite people to a free consultation or offer them a discount on one of my services. And what have I been getting back? Crickets.

I could tell myself it’s just too hard, or even worse, “I suck” or “what I offer isn’t of value”, and react from that place.

Or I can tell myself something different. It’s easy. And fun!

I mean, when I think of the amazing people I’m privileged to be working with, it wasn’t “hard” connecting with them and partnering with them on their health journeys. In fact, it was, and is, a joy.

And that gets me to think of all the fun I get to have doing what I love. Whether it’s writing or speaking or connecting with clients individually or in groups. And that warms my heart.

Yup, I think I’m going to choose the easy and fun road. Ah, that feels liberating.

How about you? What stories have you been telling yourself? What have you been believing is hard? What if it weren’t? What if the opposite were true?

If you want to share your thoughts on this, send me an email.

In the meantime, I look forward to dancing with you on easy street.

Warmly,

Dawn

p.s. Check out my latest video interview on the Dr. Jaime Show. You may learn a few things about me that you didn’t know. And please – leave a comment.

 

The ONE THING everyone wishes they had more of

Hello and Happy October!

If you’re like me, October seemed to sneak up pretty fast. And now it’s here! Which means we are moving quickly towards the holiday season.

I bet, being that I’m The Food Freedom Coach, you might be thinking: Oh, holidays… she’s going to share something about food and the holidays.

Nope. I think we’ve all heard enough about that over the years, right? And hey, you know I’m all for Food Freedom – freedom to make your choices, own them, and enjoy them, without guilt. So what else could I possibly say about that? (But if you are worried about food and the holidays, I’d be more than happy to chat with you.)

What I really want to talk to you about is time. The one thing, in my experience, everyone wishes they had more of.

As we approach the holidays, time seems to compress! There’s even less of it. The days get shorter. There’s more to do. Overwhelm takes over.

And overwhelm leads to stress.

I recently wrote a guest article where I shared my Top 5 Strategies for Creating More Time. These are the same strategies I share with my clients, and now you can have them too. Check them out, more importantly, try them out, and let me know what you think!

And do me a favor while you are at it. I would really appreciate it if you could comment on the article and share it. This helps increase the visibility of the article in search engine’s eyes, which means this information can impact more people.

Next week I’ll be sharing a home cooking video showing you how to create a simple, healthy meal for 4 people in about 10 minutes! How’s that for a time saver!

Until then, I wonder: if you had more time, what would you most want to do with it?

Warmly,

Dawn

 

 

Is this shutting down your thyroid?

Well, it’s almost the end of September. How’d that happen? 🙂 

That means we are at the end of our focus on thyroid health. Why have we spent an entire month on this? Because:

  1. So many people are experiencing thyroid dysfunction (whether officially diagnosed or not).
  2. Your thyroid affects so many systems. If it isn’t working properly, you can’t be your best YOU. And your best YOU is what the world needs!
  3. There are simple, natural strategies you can implement to improve the health of your thyroid!

In previous emails, we’ve talked about toxins, food sensitivities, and critical thyroid nutrients.

Today I want to focus on the thing that has the biggest impact on your thyroid (and overall) health: Stress.

In today’s world stress runs rampant and often lies hidden as one of the root causes of disease. In a study performed by the Cleveland Clinic, the number one factor they discovered that improves health across the board is pro-actively reducing stress.

How does stress affect your thyroid? Well, when we are under stress, our adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol, which produces a number of effects in the body. Concerning the thyroid, when there is too much cortisol in the body, TSH conversion in the brain gets blocked, leading to a buildup of reverse T3, which “puts the brakes” on the thyroid. (TSH and T3 are hormones that play an important role in thyroid function.)

For those of us who recently experienced the extended stress of Hurricane Harvey or Irma, our adrenals were probably working overtime producing excess cortisol. You may have noticed that you felt fatigued, or your appetite was off, for several days after the event passed. I know I did. That’s your adrenals affecting your thyroid.

It’s time to take a comprehensive look at how stress shows up in your life and begin to take small steps to lessen it.

In my coaching practice, I share my 3-layered approach to stress management, as depicted in the Stress Management Pyramid:

  1. Resilience – cultivating a frame of mind and body that is resilient in the face of stress so that you experience stress less frequently, and when you do, you don’t react as strongly.
  2. Reactivity – shifting your mindset through cognitive flexibility exercises so that you are less likely to react to situations in a stressful way.
  3. Release – building a menu of tools that will help you effectively release stress when it does occur.

While I can’t get into all these layers here, I will share my top 3 strategies for building stress resilience:

  1. Mind-Body Nutrition – this includes giving your body adequate vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and adaptogens to help it be stress resilient. But it goes far beyond just what you eat.
  2. Meditation – regular meditation practice can contribute greatly to improving  your stress resilience.
  3. Sleep quality – poor sleep is a stress on your system, while getting consistent, good quality sleep will help you build stress resilience.

If you are looking to reduce your stress, whether its to improve your thyroid health or your overall health, let’s chat! As you know, I offer affordable, effective self-study courses and coaching programs, and I’d love to talk to you to see how I could serve you further.

Just reply to this email and we’ll set up a time to chat on the phone. What’s the worst that could happen? And what’s the best that could happen?

Now go ahead and rock your day!

The Hurricane Diet

Thanks to all of you who reached out to me to ask about how I was doing during the Hurricane. We chose to stay in our house. We put up hurricane protection over all windows and doors and prepared as best we could. Thankfully, the storm had weakened somewhat by the time it reached us. We have some minor external damage, but we are fine. We didn’t lose power during the storm, although it has been flickering on and off since then as crews work to restore power to millions of homes in the state (apparently this is the largest power outage ever recorded in the US).

Normally I’m a pretty calm person, but during this event (including the days leading up to it and the days after), I found myself operating at an elevated level of anxiety. Watching the news and reading the social media definitely contributed. Plus, I tend to absorb the energy of those around me. I tried to maintain my regular routines as much as possible – still eating the way I normally would, still sticking to my regular morning and evening routines. But life felt somewhat surreal. Grocery store shelves empty. Gas stations without gasoline. And as I am writing this, it will still be some time before things return to normal.

As a Food Freedom Coach, I admit I have been amused by some of the comments I have heard and seen on social media about food during the hurricane. Take for example this meme that’s been passed around on social media channels:

From what I gather, people are elated that this hurricane event is an opportunity to go off their diet!

Hmmm.

If your “diet” is such that you get excited when an impending unwelcome event gives you an excuse to eat differently, shouldn’t you re-examine what you are doing regularly?

Now, I’m not talking about taking comfort from food during difficult times. There are times when I do believe that needs to happen. Even when we normally have other tools at our disposal to help us handle difficult emotions, sometimes those tools (like going to the gym) just aren’t available to us.

I’m talking about the sentiment that the way I’m eating feels restrictive and depriving, so let me jump on this opportunity to suspend that. 

And yes, this meme could also be taken as humor during a difficult time. But where does that humor come from? From the notion that we should all be dieting, restricting, and depriving ourselves. 

And that’s sooooo not true! Or at least that’s not the way I choose to live.

I consider myself to be a healthy eater, but definitely not a dieter. I eat the way I do because I like to feel good – I like having good energy, feeling balanced and satisfied, not suffering from cravings and deprivation. I don’t deprive myself of foods that would give me pleasure. Nor do I deprive myself of feeling good!

Why would I not want to do the same during a time of crisis if I can? Why would I not want to feel my best during this time too?

I used to be a restrictive dieter. So I can appreciate the idea of “yay I can throw my diet out the window for a few days!”

But I have learned that feeling free is so much better.

I continuously hope that others can achieve the same peace and freedom that I now enjoy.

Wishing you continued vibrant health,

Dawn

xoxo

Mind over lunch: Using the gut in your brain to boost digestion

It seems every day we are learning more and more about how our gut, commonly referred to now as our “second brain”, communicates with our brain, influencing our mood, our mental health, and more.

But what’s still not getting a lot of attention is the reverse, what I call the “second gut”: the gut that’s in your brain. I’m talking about the influence your mind has on digestion and nutrient assimilation, and consequently on your hunger, cravings, and overall relationship with food.

So in honor of Mindfulness Day, September 12, I want to share with you how your brain affects digestion, and how you can use that to your advantage.

Attention and the Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (the CPDR)

If you’re like most people, you don’t give too much thought to eating. In fact, you’re probably engaged in some other activity while “eating on the side”.

If this is you, then you are missing out.

Research estimates that 30-40% of our digestive capacity comes from paying attention.[1] Digestion actually starts in your brain. Your Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR, where cephalic means “of your head”) combines catalogued information about the food you are eating with input from chemical receptors on the tongue and in the oral cavity to prime your digestive system for what’s coming. The CPDR initiates secretion of digestive enzymes needed to handle the incoming food.

If your attention is elsewhere while you eat, that is, if you are multitasking, you’re not fully engaging your CPDR, which means your digestion is operating at about 60-70% of capacity. Your body will not absorb nutrients as efficiently, which can lead to increased hunger and cravings, as your body tries to get the nutrients it needs.

In addition, hunger later on is influenced by our perception and experience of what we ate.[2] Experimental evidence suggests that people’s hunger levels are better predicted by their memory of how much food they ate rather than by how much they’d actually eaten.  But if you aren’t paying attention when you eat, you won’t remember.

In other words, by paying attention – by being present and mindful when you eat – you will digest and assimilate nutrients more efficiently, and your appetite will be satisfied.

Your thoughts influence digestion too!

What kinds of thoughts, beliefs, and emotions do you bring to the table?

Your mind is extremely powerful. Your thoughts create your experience, including your eating experience. And your thoughts influence digestion.

If you are thinking stressful thoughts while you eat, whether it’s because you choose to discuss the day’s challenges or the news, or because you have an embattled relationship with food such that the very act of eating brings up thoughts like “This food will make me fat,” “I shouldn’t be eating this,” “I wish I didn’t have to eat at all,” “I hate this bland diet food,” your digestion will be impacted.

Think of stress and digestive power as being in opposition: the more stressed you are, the weaker your digestion will be. By thinking negative thoughts that trigger stress in your body, digestion and nutrient absorption are diminished.

Enter the skeptic: but there can’t be all that much of an effect here, right?

Well, think about the placebo effect. It’s estimated that 35-45% of all prescription drugs may owe their effectiveness to the placebo effect, and the percentage is even higher for over-the-counter medications.[3] In one very powerful study [4], subjects given a placebo but told they were testing a new chemotherapy treatment actually experienced hair loss. To quote Marc David [1: p. 125]

“If the power of the mind is strong enough to make our hair fall out when taking a placebo, what do you think happens when we think to ourselves: ‘This cake is fattening’?”

You’ve probably heard of the mind’s ability to heal the body. Why is it so far-fetched to acknowledge the mind’s ability to empower digestion?

So next time you sit down to eat a meal, be mindful of the experience and think positively about how the food is going to nourish and energize your body. Perhaps say a prayer or grace or give thanks for the food that is before you. After all, thoughts of gratitude and appreciation will help you relax and put you into the state for optimal digestion and nutrient assimilation. I doubt that’s the original intention of saying grace before a meal, but if doing so can have that effect, why not?

 

[1] David, Marc, 2005, “The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss”. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. 

[2] Brunstrom, Burn, Sell, Collingwood, Rogers, Wilkinson, Hinton, Maynard, Ferriday, 2012. “Episodic Memory and Appetite Regulation in Humans”. PLOS ONE, December 5, 2012.

[3] “Placebo—The Hidden Asset in Healing”, in Investigations. Institute of Noetic Sciences Research Bulletin 2, no. 14. 1985.

[4] Fielding, J.W., 1983. “Adjunct Chemotherapy in Operable Gastric Cancer,” World Journal of Surgery 7, no. 3.

Do you take time to Power Up in the morning?

In my last post, I talked about routines, specifically a nighttime Power Down Hour. I wonder: did you make any changes? What worked for you?

I like to think about change as an experiment. Whenever I decide to make a change, I do so with open curiosity. I look for feedback. How is it making me feel? Is it resonating with me? That is, does it feel good from an intuitive perspective? Do any adjustments need to be made? Do I need to add in some flexibility?

When you approach change from a place of curiosity, where you are an experimenter who is not attached to any specific outcome, but you remain open to see what evolves, there’s no room for failure and judgment. From that perspective, change isn’t scary at all. Actually, it’s kind of exciting!

With that said, let’s move on and talk about morning routines, or what I like to call my Power Up routine.

Are you one of those people who just gets up and runs out the door?

Or do you take time in the morning to start your day in a particular way?

I can’t just get up and go. I do much better when I go through a particular routine. Here’s what my morning routine looks like:

  1. While still in bed, I ask myself “What do I get to do today?” and I visualize what my day might look like. For example, maybe I get to workout. I get to work with some amazing clients. I get to write a blog post. I get to go to the grocery store. I get to do some laundry. From the biggest to the smallest things, from chores to work to play, these are all things I get to do. By thinking about these things in this way, I get out of bed with an attitude of positivity and gratitude.
  1. Meditate for 10-20 minutes. Most of the time I’m listening to my Zen12 brainwave audio tracks, but I also have a number of other meditation tracks that I play. I don’t generally sit in silence, although I do sometimes listen Zen12’s white noise tracks. I let my mind wander, and when I notice that it has gone of track, I return to focus on my breathing, or a mantra, or an affirmation.
  1. Journal. I journal about whatever came up during my meditation, if anything. I also write about insights from yesterday and intentions for the day. I end my journal entry by completing the sentence “Today I would like to experience…”
  1. Stretch via a brief yoga routine (while negotiating around two cats who like to go underneath me during downward facing dog).

This whole routine takes about 30-40 minutes, and it is time well spent. I like that it is time alone where I get to contemplate from a place of gratitude.

However, I admit that sometimes I don’t feel like doing all the things in my routine, and that’s ok. Because I know that this is what I do most of the time, and it suits me to be flexible about it.

How about you? What’s your morning routine now? Would you like it to be different? If you want some support in making a change, let’s talk!

 

p.s., There’s still time to schedule your Pay What You Want transformational coaching session! Don’t you owe it to yourself? Plus, half the proceeds will be donated to my local Hospice organization. It’s a win win!

 

You have a superpower!

If you’ve been reading this blog or following me on Facebook, you know that I recently spent time in Las Vegas for an Isagenix convention. The last half of the last day, we were treated to four hours with Tony Robbins.

To say there were a lot of good nuggets would be an understatement. I took 6 pages of notes. But I wanted to share my biggest takeaway. And honestly, it isn’t something that’s new to me. But it may be new to you. Here it is.

You have the power

to choose your experience.

Consider this your superpower. Really.

People vastly underestimate their own power, their ability to choose how they experience the world.

There are people with very little who are living happy lives, and there are people with much who are living miserable lives.

What’s the difference?

They are making different choices concerning:

  1. What to focus on
  2. What meaning to make of it
  3. What action to take

What you focus on has a huge impact on your experience. What you focus on grows. In addition, you tend to be blinded to things outside your focus.

For example, you can choose to focus on what you don’t have or on what you do have. Which do you want to grow?

Next, we get to choose what meaning we make out of the things that come into our focus. Do we choose to make it mean we aren’t good enough, we’ll never get there? Or do we choose to make it mean we are moving forward, we are unstoppable?

Of course, the meaning you choose is then going to influence how you choose to act.

But it all starts with what you choose to focus on.

You can choose to focus on things that lead you into a state of beauty (Tony’s words) or a state of suffering.

What do I mean by state of beauty? That’s where gratitude, love, happiness, joy, compassion, and service live. Above the line.

The state of suffering is characterized by stress, anxiety, fear, anger, depression, sadness. These are below the line.

Now, there’s no expectation that we’ll be above the line all the time. I believe it’s natural to experience the full range of emotions – they do have their purpose. But because we have the power of choice, we can choose to move ourselves above, or even below, the line when we want.

The easiest way to quickly move yourself above the line is to make a choice. You can choose to think of something you are grateful for, or choose to think of a happy memory and really step into for a few seconds. That will help move you above the line if you feel yourself dipping below and don’t want to stay there.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Really, it is.

So how will you use your superpower this week? What will you choose to focus on?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Either comment on this post or share on my Facebook page, using hashtag #IHaveASuperpower.

 

With gratitude,

Dawn

 

p.s., A reminder: my Pay What You Want fundraiser for Hospice is going on now. For details and to see how you can participate, visit this link.

Who do you surround yourself with?

Have you heard that expression You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with?

There’s truth to it, of course, and that’s part of what makes change difficult. When you’re the person trying to be different, while those around you are staying where they’re at, there can be conflict and you may end up sabotaging yourself in order to continue feeling connected to your peeps. It’s like – you try to step a little bit outside the circle, but as Michael Corleone said, “they pull me back in.”

If you’re trying to break free of dieting, if you’re trying to become an intuitive embodied eater, ask yourself: are your five closest people wedded to diet culture and to the myth that dieting makes you thinner and healthier (a topic for another day)?

I mean, if you were concerned about the effect of second hand smoke on your health and well-being, would you surround yourself with smokers? I didn’t think so.

So what can you do about it?

Well, you can’t change people, but you can be an example and continue to express your true self. Then they can choose to move towards or away from your example. You can speak your mind, talk about what you are doing, and see if they lift you up or bring you down. And guess what, if they bring you down, you need to face the hard truth that they may not be right for you at this stage of your life.

I’m about to travel to Las Vegas for an Isagenix convention where there will be about 15,000 people in attendance. Yup, it’s big. I mean, Tony Robbins is delivering the keynote.

I love Isagenix superfood nutrition products. They make me feel great, they taste great, they are an important part of my everyday well-being.

What I don’t like is the heavy emphasis Isagenix places on weight loss. It creates a conflict for me. So I choose to stick to my message, to be an example of how Isagenix products can support a healthy lifestyle for any body shape and size. When I share Isagenix with people, it’s to help them feel energized and vibrant, to help their bodies get the quality nutrition they need to be their best.

I’ve never been to an Isagenix conference before. Will I be surrounded by thousands of people who are representatives of diet culture? I suspect so, since that’s the majority of the population today. So why would this convention be any different.

But I’ll share my message. If I can open just a few minds to the dangers of dieting, I’ll have done my job.

I’m going to pack my Magic Bullet and my Isagenix shakes, bars and vitamins because they make me feel good and give me great energy. Something I’ll definitely need on this trip. And I’m going to have some fun.

Then after the conference, I’ll be spending a couple days in Sedona for a 1-day intensive with my coach followed by a 1-day mastermind. And I’ll get to check out what is supposed to be the brightest Perseid meteor shower ever (peaking on August 12).

I’ll be posting updates on Facebook – follow my business page to get them.

And when I get back, I’ll share my takeaways.

« Older Entries