4 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Working Out

Three years ago today, I opened the virtual doors to ValerieBisharat.com. I’m celebrating by sharing four things I wish I knew when I first started working out.

1. Lift heavy weights. Heavier weights than you ever imagined!

Quick story: I initially went from no activity to regular exercise (elliptical and two strength training days per week) and lost a noticeable amount of weight.

But after a year or so, I couldn’t figure out why – despite exercising all the time and eating what I thought was a “good” diet – I didn’t look leaner. The results didn’t seem to reflect the effort.

At the same time, I started working out with a female personal trainer who lived and breathed the weights. She inspired me to not just do a few bicep curls here and there but to assume lifting – with a significant amount of weight (for reference, I can currently deadlift 150% of my bodyweight) – as my workout mainstay.

As you can see below, once I started lifting with intensity, my body dramatically changed.

Far right photo by NayMarie Photography.

Far right photo by NayMarie Photography.

But what you can’t see here – and what I never could’ve predicted – were the mental and emotional benefits that came from lifting. Lifting showed me how to set a goal and achieve it. It proved to me that I can do much of what I set my mind to. It made me stronger in every sense of the word. I can’t imagine who I’d be without it.

2.  Focus your attention on the ACTIONS required to be healthier rather than the parts of your appearance that you want to change. You’ll save a lot of time and energy.

I learned the hard way that focusing on perceived flaws gets us absolutely nowhere. Every day, probably multiple times a day, I’d look in the mirror and analyze what I wanted to change. Looking back, I see that I could’ve just focused on taking care of my body through eating yummy, healthy food, enjoying moving my body, and cultivating an empowering inner dialogue to get where I wanted to go aesthetically and emotionally. Easier said than done, but with practice, totally possible.

3. Get adequate sleep and be proactive about stress reduction. Both are critical to doing this forever.

We hear a lot about “mind over matter” in the fitness industry – and while I agree that we all hold an almost unfathomable amount of potential, there’s relatively little focus on what it takes to recover from all that limit stretching. If you want to start working out more, or maintain a super active lifestyle, it’s imperative that you fortify your sleep and stress reduction habits. Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. Proactive stress reduction comes in here too: meditating, spending time in nature, unplugging… taking specific actions to reduce your stress levels. 

4. Above all, create a healthy lifestyle that's based on YOUR inner guidance and sensibilities rather than other people's ideas, comparison, or how you think the world might perceive you.

It’s so easy to bog ourselves down with comparing what we ate to the meals your favorite food blogger is posting on Instagram, or otherwise take other people's’ sensibilities and perceptions as our own. There’s nothing wrong with seeking inspiration and learning from other people, but the key is to do so with the knowledge that you’re crafting a lifestyle that works for you. No two people are the same, and no one protocol is THE answer. Dance to the beat of your own food and fitness drum.

I hope this gives you inspiration for ideas and habits to implement! If you have questions, leave me a comment below. I'll be sure to answer them.

Interested in working together? Click here for more details.

Valerie's 2016 Gift Guide!

Hey beauties!

It's the season of giving, so I wanted to pull together a list of my favorite items that support nourishment, health and overall well-being.

Peruse the list for your girlfriends, family, sister... perhaps even yourself!

Enjoy,
V

1. "No Mud No Lotus" hand-stamped pendant from Blooming Lotus Jewelry

How gorgeous and soulful is this necklace? A reminder that challenge is beautiful, you can order this in either sterling silver or 14k gold-filled at 16 and 18". Check it out here.

Image via Blooming Lotus Jewelry.

Image via Blooming Lotus Jewelry.

2. Hardcover Moleskine Journal (Large size)

A new Moleskine is filled with possibility. I use and love the hardcover at the Large size for my journaling because: 1) it fits easily into almost every purse 2) it doesn't get tattered or worn, because it's hardcover, and 3) the pages are big enough to write on comfortably without it being an inconvenient size. Check out the Moleskine here. I recommend getting a dark color so it won't easily show dirt or pen marks.

Image via Moleskine, @moleskine_world.

Image via Moleskine, @moleskine_world.

3. Nourish, the online course helping you live healthy as a lifestyle rather than the next diet

Give the gift of nourishment. Nourish is my 8-week online course designed to help you feel healthy, comfortable in your skin and in love with life – no matter how long weight, eating and healthy living have been a struggle.

It consists of 8 hour-long weekly video sessions, accompanying informational PDFs, weekly Action Steps to move your closer to your goals and an optional Facebook community. Check out the program here.

4. Cuisinart 3.5-Quart Slow Cooker

Before I bought my slow cooker (spoiler alert, this is the one I chose and love), I did a ton of research. I wanted one where I could make 4ish servings to eat myself then have leftovers to eat conveniently throughout the week, but not feel like I was filling a ridiculous vat. The 3.5-Quart has been great for that purpose. If I were feeding a family or significant other on a regular basis and wanted leftovers for convenience's sake, I'd get double this size. Check out the slow cooker here.

Image via Amazon.

Image via Amazon.

5. Chemex Pour-Over Coffee Maker (6-Cup)

Can you imagine how delightful it'd be to make your coffee every morning with this little situation? It's supposed to make the most flavorful coffee out there. Grab this as a gift that your favorite coffee lover will use every day. Check it out here.

Image via @katelynclaire on Instagram.

Image via @katelynclaire on Instagram.

6. Chloe Open Back Top by Haven Collective (in black)

I discovered Haven Collective at a wellness fair here in NYC and literally immediately was drawn to the quality and beauty of their garments. I tried on this open back top and was in love – the quality seriously gives Lulu a run for its money. Plus, athleisure is totally a thing for those of us who would be down to look cute with little to no effort. Wear this to the yoga studio or gym, with jeans, or even for a night out with a long pendant necklace. As of this writing, sizes 0-6 are on backorder but you can get sizes 8-14! Check it out here.

Image via Haven Collective, @havencollectiveyoga.

Image via Haven Collective, @havencollectiveyoga.

7. Love So Deeply Candle via Danielle LaPorte

I chose to grab one of these candles a couple months back because they're 100% soy and therefore safe to burn in your home. I love that Danielle's candles are infused with intention, so whenever you light it, you're connected with something thoughtful and meaningful. Check out Danielle's Love So Deeply candle here and peruse her other candles if you want options to compare it to.

Image via DanielleLaPorte.com.

Image via DanielleLaPorte.com.

8. Vegetable Spiralizer

One of the key ways to make healthy eating sustainable is to make your healthy food just as delicious as those that don't support your goals. The spiralizer is famous for turning any veggies into noodles so you can eat them as highly nutritious pasta, in soups, added to salads, etc. People always say not to play with your food, but this is one way you totally should! Check out the Inspiralizer (one brand of the spiralizer) at Williams Sonoma.

Image via Williams Sonoma.

Image via Williams Sonoma.

Are you going to pick up any of these gift ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Feel Like You Need a Post-Thanksgiving Reset?

Feeling frustrated and discouraged about your health and fitness goals after Thanksgiving? 

So are lots of people, so I'm writing today to share with you a couple post-Thanksgiving nutrition and mindset strategies to help you break the cycle of any guilty thoughts and have your healthiest, happiest holiday season yet. 

First, let's talk about what a "reset" is. I used to think that "resetting" essentially meant cleansing... i.e. restricting. Eating only home-cooked foods with no flavor, counting my calories and exercising to burn calories.

But what I learned first through personal experience, then through years of study, and now help my clients and students learn and change, is that going back to restriction is the flip side of the same coin that caused in the behaviors one feels they need to "reset" after.

Put plainly, research shows that restriction causes overcompensation. And the overcompensation often makes us feel like we have to go back to restriction. Negative feedback loop... unless and until we break the cycle. (Easier said than done, but I'm here to say it 100000% can be done!!)

So, how does one live a healthy lifestyle and lose body fat (if that's a goal of yours) WITHOUT dieting and restriction?

You live healthy from what I call a Nourishment paradigm: eating whole, unprocessed foods, working out, sleeping enough, caring for yourself out of a trust in and love for life rather than sense of inadequacy. (There are plenty of specific tools you can use to put this into action, some of which I lay out below!)

So, when I share these tips for "resetting" after Thanksgiving, what I'm offering are tools for resetting your mindset and food habits in a way that is nourishment-based (sustainable and live-giving) rather than restriction-based (emanating from a place of feeling not enough.)

HERE ARE 3 TIPS FOR HOW YOU CAN "RESET" YOUR MIND AND THEREFORE YOUR BODY AFTER THANKSGIVING:

Photo by Sojourner Society.

Photo by Sojourner Society.

  • Focus on eating a full serving of protein (~25g or a fist size) at each meal. This is going to take some practice, because most people eat nowhere near that. Try it for a day or two and you'll notice immediately that you have more energy and your mood is elevated. Stable blood sugar, baby! Works insane wonders.

  • Do a journal free-write every day for a week. Some of you may have not journaled in awhile or much at all, but extensive research has shown that journaling improves physical well-being, decreases stress and even helps heal physical ailments. (Crazy, I know, but look it up!) Processing your thoughts = awareness = solutions for change arrive = your life changes.
     
  • Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise four out of every seven days, exercising from a place of celebrating life and feeling fully alive rather than self-punishment. It's amazing what can happen when we reframe what exercise is for. Instead of looking at your workouts as a box to check off on your to-do list, think of them as an opportunity to shake up your energy, experience delicious sensation and shake off any stress.

Speaking of... I'm super excited to announce that I'm offering a totally FREE 5-Day Holiday Reset Challenge, no strings attached, that starts Friday 12/2. 

This'll be like a free 5-day mini-course that walks you through, in a precise and detailed way, my strategies for resetting post-Thanksgiving and heading into holiday parties, Christmas and Jan 1.

Enter your info here to sign up for the Challenge. Again, it's totally free:

Love and light,
Valerie

How to Do 4th of July "Damage Control"

We’ve all been there, for real.

Feeling guilty about our food choices, whether that simply means breaking your healthy eating streak by eating some items “off plan,” or entirely throwing caution to the wind and not looking back.

This is particularly easy to do on the 4th when food is everywhere and alcohol abounds, and there’s that largely unspoken belief that holidays = indulgence.

I’ll raise my hand and say I remember a 4th of July several years back – when I was still a restrictive eater coming off my Figure competing days – when I decided it was a complete eff-it day and along with one of my best friends, polished off… 3 pints of ice cream.

The guilt was overwhelming. That feeling where you want to please please please just escape yourself.

(It’s important to say here: while the food = guilt, I did actually have a lot of fun at points throughout that day… I mention that because in popular culture we look at food issues in such a clinical, reductive sense. It’s totally possible to be fun-loving and open in certain areas and to struggle in this other area. We are all beautifully complex.)

And as is so seemingly logical and certainly tempting, my response was to try and “undo the damage” by pulling my diet in even tighter and program the heck out of my workouts the next day and in the weeks to come. I think many of you will be able to relate to that, on some level.

This inevitably created a cycle of misery, because the restriction caused the overindulgence, and the overindulgence made me want to restrict. I could never actually arrive at my destination because it was inevitably 10 steps ahead, perpetually out of grasp.

That’s where the 4th of July “damage control” plan comes in. I will say, this isn’t “damage control” in the typical sense for 2 reasons:

  1. The term “damage control” implies that you did something wrong, which is a judgment. Judgment is the place we can be in the habit of letting our mind gravitate to, but it's counterproductive here. Going forward, it's helpful to practice replacing judgment with curiosity, which is neutral… curiosity about what this experience can teach you, what there is to glean here. (So, one might call this a post-4th of July eating “approach” or “philosophy.”) Curiosity opens up the space to gain insight and therefore break patterns.

  2. We will be focusing more on post-holiday eating mindset vs. what to tactically eat. The change many of us are seeking with food/body will and must happen in the mind first. This is unsexy, it doesn’t get instantaneous results, and it does not appeal to our ego sides (we all have ‘em, of course.) But I can’t sit here and pretend that the real answer is just to cut calories or select a 21-day jumpstart as the way out. Mindpower is what creates our lives, both with food/fitness and otherwise.

So, before I jump into the post 4th of July approach/philosophy, what’s implied by the above and important to say is this…

The work that it takes to eat healthy every day of the year but not stress out after the aberrations when you don’t happens moment-to-moment, during the day in and day out. Not only post-holiday when the challenge is pronounced.

That said, here are 5 ways to do post-July 4th “Damage Control”:

  1. Accept where you are. This is a step that we often don’t even think of, but is necessary and actually easier than it sounds. All it means is: take note of where you are, SEE IT, and accept that it’s the reality before trying to change anything. We can’t actually find a real solution(s) until we get real with our starting place, our baseline. Plus… accepting where we are in itself is a huge relief and opens up the space to create new, more nourishing patterns and habits. The How: Aside from taking a minute or two to process this mentally, you can also journal about it.

  2. Instead of opting into a diet regimen (outside-in approach), use your body as the ultimate source of wisdom as to what you should eat today and in the days ahead (inside-out approach). This is an ongoing journey for sure, and a scary one at that, because it requires deep trust. But what we often forget is that our body is designed to crave ingredients that maintain life (i.e. whole, unprocessed foods that support energy and vitality, and promote stable blood sugar.) Translation? If you listen to your body, you will naturally gravitate towards ingredients that will help you de-bloat, detox, get healthier, and lose body fat. The How: Really slow down today and when you find yourself hungry, ask yourself: What does my body feel like eating right now? What would nourish me? Then go eat that. For many of you, this will likely be water and lots of greens today. And remember, this is a practice that will become more effortless with time.

  3. Ask yourself: “What’s the lesson(s) here?” Life is always teaching us something, and as we all know, our struggles are our greatest teachers. Get down and dirty with tapping into your wisdom and finding the lesson beneath the food… journaling is, in my opinion, the most powerful way to do so (it forces you to sift through competing ideas and hone in on what's true.) This is The How. Today is actually a huge opportunity to learn so you can then apply that knowledge going forward and create deep, lasting changes.

Hope everyone had a fun weekend. If you have any questions or reflections about this, leave them in the comments – I'd love to hear 'em!

Love and light,
Valerie

P.S. Want more food, fitness, and mindset info just like this? Join my free email community by entering your info below. I send emails weekly-ish and you can unsubscribe at any time.

4 Tips for Avoiding the BBQ Binge

Photo via The Everygirl.

Photo via The Everygirl.

Hope your Memorial Day Weekend has felt relaxing and spacious. And that you’ve gotten to kick back at some point with something(s) that brings you pleasure: a good book, some amazing music, maybe some good ol' silence.

Today’s topic is one that so many of us wrestle with: how to not throw caution to the wind, so to speak, when it comes to eating at a BBQ or event. (Friends outside the U.S.: it’s a holiday weekend here, but these strategies will come in handy the next time you head to an event of your own!)

Holidays are a time when, whether we like it or not, our relationship with food comes under a microscope.

Between there being more food in front of us than usual (stimulating our senses), being around so many other people as you’re eating (various social dynamics at play), and the narrative of it being a “special occasion”…. holidays can feel like a real internal challenge on the food front.

Truth is, there are certain habits we can adopt that create exponential shifts in how we relate to food, helping us eat more mindfully and intuitively. No matter who we are or our history with food. 

These tools will help you:

  • Feel able to focus on conversation instead of food
  • Stop eating when you’re actually full
  • Naturally and (eventually) effortlessly choose foods that energize you
  • Eat just ONE bite of dessert instead of 30 (it can be done… I promise!)
  • And be able to get up from the table and never think about that meal again.

With that said, here are 4 of my top tips for avoiding the BBQ binge and eating more mindfully:

  1. Remember that the root of the issue isn’t the binge eating, it’s the restriction. I call this the Pink Elephant Effect. When I tell you: “DON’T think about the pink elephant,” what’s all that you can think about? Same goes for carbs, sugar, and any other food we deem as off limits. They get built up in our minds and become such a point of fixation that when our willpower inevitably runs out, we dive in headfirst. So, if we want to release binge eating, it becomes about letting go of that restriction (so much easier said than done!) in favor of adopting what I call a nourishment paradigm. Learning to live healthy because we’re in love with life, using our bodies as the ultimate sources of wisdom as to how to eat, move, and live. Letting go of restriction in favor of nourishment is no doubt a huge task – it’s the task, in fact – but for that reason, it had to be #1 :) This process is what we dive into in my online program, Nourish.
  2. Focus on eating protein. Make sure you get at least a serving (4 oz cooked or around a fist size for women) per meal of protein to keep your blood sugar stable and stay satiated. And make it delicious: add the relish, hot sauce, seasonings, sliced avocado, grilled onions… any low-sugar, less processed options to add a flavor punch.
  3. Keep your eyes on your own plate. We often look to others for permission to eat that which we’re craving or to otherwise triangulate what we should be eating. This is a recipe for making choices that are not in alignment with what you and your body truly want. Think about it: it’s a random mixture of other people’s opinions, food philosophies, and possibly second-guessings. There’s no true information there. When you notice yourself looking to others, remind yourself: “Eyes on my own plate!” and continue making choices based on your own process and wisdom.
  4. Take a moment to fully arrive in the moment of eating before you pick up your fork. When we’re distracted and not present while eating, we don’t fully experience our food and take in the pleasure that it has to offer. The result? We end up wanting more and more. So, to fully arrive in the moment, sit down with your plate and pause. Put your focus on getting present (this is easiest done by connecting with the 5 senses), looking at your food and noticing all of the colors, textures and smells. Then, take 5-10 rounds of breath in and out of your nose. When you feel yourself feeling more present and aware, pick up that fork and enjoy! 

I hope this inspires you approach food with curiosity today. Til next time...

Love and light,
Valerie
www.ValerieBisharat.com

Want to stay in touch and learn more about food, fitness, self-care, and mindset? Enter your info below to join my free email community.

One of My Top Tips for Sustainable Healthy Eating

Photo via The Everygirl.

Photo via The Everygirl.

Hi loves,

Hope this post finds you well and inspired.

Today I'm sharing one of the single most important habits you can cultivate if you want to eat healthy in a sustainable way: planning and prepping your healthy meals for the week. This is a great beginning-of-week practice.

Implementing an easy system for recipe searching, meal planning, and food prep is incredibly empowering. It means…

  • Healthy food becomes just as convenient as food that doesn’t support your goals – in this day and age, how key is that?
  • You spend less energy ruminating about food because your general action plan is already laid out. That means more energy to spend on your relationships, your fun time, your work, your life!  
  • You save money by eating in more often. I have a client who literally started saving hundreds of dollars per month when we shifted to having her cook at home.
  • Your schedule and life becomes more efficient because you know exactly when and how you’re nourishing yourself.  
  • You enter the week feeling happy with yourself for honoring your goals. Becoming aligned in this way increases confidence and plugs the energy leak that gets created when we have an intention but aren’t yet acting in line with that intention.

This doesn't need to take longer than it would to spend time perusing a takeout menu, placing your order, venturing out to grab a pre-made meal... it just requires knowing the tools and being willing to put them into play.

To learn the specific system I personally use and recommend to my 1:1 coaching clients for food planning and prep, click here.

Hope this helps you move through the week in a way that feels good to you.

I’ll talk to you soon!

Love and light,
Valerie
www.ValerieBisharat.com

Frustrated in your relationships with food, workouts, and self-care? Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.

4 Steps to Get Back Into a Workout Habit

Photo by Sojourner Society / Bethany Michaela Jones.

Photo by Sojourner Society / Bethany Michaela Jones.

Well, it's 6:30am and I'm typing to you from a black (faux) leather chair in LaGuardia Airport. After an insane travel day yesterday that included a "2 hour" journey that turned into 4, then the worst traffic that my cab driver had ever seen since he started the job in 1998... I missed the flight I was supposed to take to Vancouver to spend a long weekend with my grandma.

So here I am, Round 2, getting ready to get going!

I don’t know about you, but between work, friends, family, and for me lots of travel, it seems like 2016 has been seriously busy... and has flown so far. 

That said, let’s jump right into today’s topic, one that's been coming up a lot lately and is one I know we’ve all struggled with: how to get back in the gym or doing physical activity when you’ve stopped for a period of time, whether that’s weeks, months, or even longer.

Knowing you should be doing something – whether it’s working out or any other behavior – but feeling uninspired to is super frustrating. Irritating, even.

It sends you into rumination mode. It burns energy.

And ultimately, it means that you don’t reap the joys of moving, letting go, and having the pleasure of being in your miraculous body.

Luckily, re-building (or building!) your workout habit requires what accomplishing anything else in life does: transforming your mindset.

Thought patterns and habits are malleable, which is proven by the fact that (as an exaggerated example) some of the world’s most “successful” and influential people – think Oprah, Tony Robbins – faced tremendous hardship early on, coming from “nothing,” and harnessed the power of their minds to embody their visions and create massive impact.

Translation? It’s totally possible for you, along with anyone else who wants and resolves to, to work with yourself, mold your mind, and will your way to a consistent workout routine that you love and sustain the majority of the time. :)

So, here are those 4 steps for shifting your mindset and getting back into a workout habit!

  1. Accept that you’re in the rut. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but acceptance is always the first step in change. You need to make peace with the present in order to move on from it because otherwise any actions you take towards change will still be loaded with those old beliefs... and nothing can transform. How to accept? Journal, journal, journal. Unload about what's bothering you, what makes you feel bad about yourself, getting as honest as possible. Honesty breeds release and gets at the core of what’s real – always love, never fear and defect – allowing you to eventually see yourself in a new light. And once you can see a new way, you realize that you aren’t a bad person for finding yourself in this rut. Then…
  2. Make the clear, marked decision to move your body consistently. Grab that journal (buy one if you need to!) and write out a clear sentence declaring your intention to start moving regularly again. Brain to words, pen to paper makes it real. This step is important because otherwise, the reinstated habit just remains a thought rather than a goal with inertia.
  3. Fall in love with the work that it takes to get fit. Nothing comes for free, and the more we wish for that, the greater the distance we create between our goal and where we are. Giving yourself up to that higher intention and doing the work that it takes to get there can feel like an honor if we allow ourselves to be humbled and transformed by it.
  4. Find a way you love to move, do that 3-4x/week for a month, then build from there. Maybe it’s dance, yoga, tennis… for several of my clients recently, it’s been rock climbing. The point is to get moving in a way you’re pulled to so you reconnect with how satisfying it feels to move. Once you create that structure for yourself, you can start to add in other movement modalities that you know would benefit you.

And at the end of the day? Not every workout day will be exciting, and that’s okay.

Some days, you WILL need to drag yourself to work out and move your body even when you don’t feel like it. (Usually, those are the days when you get into the swing of things and are SO glad you showed up.)

And that’s part of living this lifestyle – deciding to do what’s best for you long term even when it’s not your first choice in the moment, unsexy as it may be.

The rewards of cultivating that outlook are immense, and spill over to every area of your life.

If you have any thoughts or a-ha's that you want to share after reading this post, leave 'em in the comments. I'd love to hear what you think!

Til next time...

Love and light,
Valerie

P.S. Want to stay in touch and learn more about food, fitness, self-care, and mindset? Enter your info below to join my free email community.

7 of My Top Tips for Ending Food and Body Obsession -- SIGN UP for the 7-Day Challenge!

I remember the nail in the coffin. I was complaining to my then-boyfriend about how hard it was to get lean. I'd been obsessive about my food and workouts for a couple years, at that time landing at 9% body fat.

He inquired, "You know why it's so hard?"

Me: "Uh..."

Him: "It's not supposed to be that way."

Woah. At that moment, I knew I was fighting life on a very basic level.

And over the following few weeks/months, I slowly, reluctantly, surely realized that life was passing me by.

What experiences was I closing myself off to because of how much time I spent on my "healthy" living routine?

What thoughts never even crossed my mind because most of my brain space was allocated to thinking about food?

That realization -- wanting life more than I wanted my attachments to keep me "safe" -- coupled with action is what fundamentally transformed my relationship with food, my body, and myself. 

If you too are done spending life obsessing about food, feeling guilty after you eat, and feeling bad about your body, the 7-Day Nourish Yourself Challenge is here to show you another way.

Step by step, prompt by prompt, action by action.

It's time to stop trying to hang onto the bandwagon and learn to live healthy from a place of joy, connection, and nourishment.

We kick off Wednesday 2/17. 

>> Click here to get details and sign up. <<

See you on the inside,
Valerie

P.S. Interested in working together? Click here to book a complimentary call so I can learn about your goals and needs. Can't wait to talk!

3 Practical Tips for Bringing Joy Back Into Eating

This article was originally published by Wanderlust.

It’s driving you crazy.

The loop, that is.

Maybe it’s that steady, addictive rumination about food. Maybe it happens most noticeably after eating dessert or carbs. (The guilt can either be subtle or foreboding.) Perhaps it happens when you know you’re stress eating, but don’t know how to stop.

The loop: I just ate x. Should I have eaten x? I want to stop thinking about x. I can’t stop thinking about x. (Am I crazy?) I just ate x. Repeat.

Frustrating? An understatement.

Here’s the reality: As a culture, we’re collectively starving for a way to live healthy without anxiety, stress, shame, or any more g-d diets. On some level, we know we’re capable of this: We know that vibrant health should not come at the expense of sanity, nor self-love at the cost of physical health.

In a word, we need to learn to nourish ourselves. To feed ourselves goodness from the inside out—with devotion, love, joy, and lightness of being.

The payoff is big.

It’s not just that we stop feeling guilty around food. It’s not just that the loop slowly slips away and dissolves. Instead, when we do this work, we free up the brainspace to think about more empowering, perhaps more expansive things: our passions, how to serve our communities, how to be a boss lady, to name a few.

That’s why today, I’m excited to share with you 3 practical, simple tips for nourishing yourself and bringing joy back into eating.

Tip #1: Home cook a healthy version of your favorite dish from childhood. My favorite way to find healthy takes on a dish are to search “paleo [insert dish name].” While I’m not here to preach any one diet, using the term “paleo” will narrow your search to recipes containing mostly whole, unprocessed foods. Eating foods that you’ve always loved help you reconnect with your inner kid—someone most of us could use a lot more of these days!

Tip #2: Get in the habit of setting a beautiful table. Most of us eat in a total rush—scrolling through Instagram, texting, or at our desks. Take a moment to put some positivity into your eating space. Candles, flowers, placemats, what have you. It’ll help you connect with your food and associate eating with a pleasant experience.

Tip #3: Take a long, leisurely walk outside. Yeah, this one’s not directly related to food. But many of our issues with food/our bodies stem from giving all our energy away to others and not taking time to be alone, learn about ourselves, and just be. Walking is so lovely because you get to just hang out, check in, and enjoy your environment. I like to do 45 mins–1 hour.

Not so hard, right?

Pick one tip and implement it today. Your new commitment? It starts now.

Did you benefit from this article? Imagine how much we could accomplish in an hour-long coaching session. Book a session by clicking here.