Healthy food

Mindful or Mindless Eating – Your Choice

“Stuffing your face is not mindful eating. Enjoying the experience of eating your meal with all parts of yourself in an intuitive joyful awareness is mindful eating by heart.”

~ Ronald B Wayman

“Mindful eating is a way to become reacquainted with the guidance of our internal nutritionist.”

~ Jan Chozen Bays

I have been practicing the Live by Heart method of mindful eating for several years now. After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, emotional gorging, stints of exercise, and bouts of nearly starving myself, it was time to get real help. Though I’ve been in the nutrition field for 20 years and have coached many people, mindful eating was a concept I never really understood before.

You don’t think that mindlessly eating whatever you want is harmful or has consequences, besides a few extra pounds of course. Mindlessly sticking to the new fad diet isn’t necessarily helpful either.

Let’s compare mindful eating and mindlessly eating. I talk to anyone and everyone who will listen about mindful eating. To me, mindful eating isn’t just about being intuitive and present when you eat; it is also about discovering your underlying issues behind why you eat what you eat and the way you eat. It has been a beautiful path for me, and I am passionate about sharing that joy with others.

My sister thought it would be fun to challenge my beliefs!

“You don’t even know what it’s like to eat unhealthy anymore. Just eat whatever you want! What if you feel just fine?”

Well, I have tried to change my diet so many times before, only to have to add another coin to my FAIL bucket.

But my heart has changed. My beliefs changed. This time when I changed my diet, it felt different. I didn’t have to force myself to stick to it. I wanted to eat healthily. I tried to pay attention to and integrate with my body, heart, mind, and soul. I learned how to intuitively eat what my body needs. I can close my eyes and see the beauty of the rainbow of colors in my diet. So many beautiful vegetables and berries. I eat vegetables at every meal.

To my sister’s surprise, I accepted her challenge. I decided to open the door of old patterns and peek inside. Instead of eating what I’m drawn to, I would eat whatever was put in front of my face for two weeks. I ate pizza, ice cream, cake, potato chips, hamburgers, granola bars, cookies, enchiladas, corn dogs, bread, cereal, and more. I still had some of the usual foods I eat: eggs, vegetables, and some berries. And some of the junk foods were eaten in secret, just like old times. I didn’t even tell my business partner I was doing this. That would be too authentic! I would be held accountable! No way!

The first two days I felt incredibly sick.

It was a feeling of being hungry, but not hungry at the same time. It’s when I start to question myself, “Am I going to throw up or do I need to eat something?” My growing headache was not fun either. But after those initial few days, I didn’t feel so sick anymore! Perhaps my sister was right; I do feel just fine! Maybe I can add back in what I call garbage foods, and I’ll be okay! Did it taste good? Some of it did! Ice cream, for example, was my big addiction before I changed my life. I enjoyed it! I thought I would be repelled by it after eating healthy for so long; I know some people are, but not me! However, even though it tasted good, my belly disagreed with me after eating a whole bowl of it. Okay, fine, two bowls. I felt heavy, sticky, and gross. You know that feeling, right?

Was I okay? I always tell people that they have no idea what symptoms they are experiencing are caused by the foods they eat. It has been YEARS since my low back hurt. Suddenly, it was burning all day, every day! I was way more emotional. My feelings got hurt over things that I know wouldn’t have affected me before. I was short-tempered with my children. The joyful bounce in my step was gone.

Speaking of bouncing, I was so exhausted all the time! I was getting more sleep than when I ate healthily and yet I felt extremely depleted during the day. Everything was sluggish, from my thinking to my working to my dealing with kids to my speaking to my walking. I wanted a nap. An all-day-long-nap!

I kept eating food. I didn’t want to stop eating food. It was like I was looking for the nutrients that would wake me up! SURELY the pizza I was eating, or the piece of chocolate I was sucking on would give me the energy I needed to run around with my kids?

Besides the headaches, backaches, and sluggishness, I experienced other unpleasant bodily disturbances like constipation, congestion and a leak that wouldn’t go away. (Oh wait, those were just emotional tears.) Yikes!

Oh, and I gained seven pounds. And that was WITH exercise.

Two weeks was enough for me!

Switching back to my mindful eating and intuitive lifestyle proved to be a bit difficult as well. It seems the effects of eating like crap linger much longer. After feeling so depleted, tired, achy, and depressed from gaining weight, I wanted to crawl into a hole and continue eating. But I know exactly where that road would lead.

So how did I get out of it? I used Live by Heart’s LITE breathing program. While using the Swing Breath technique, I honored the emotions that came up, released them, and meditated on becoming one on the inside again.

Then I started with a glass of celery juice. I swear it never tasted so good! What an amazing experience! I say that because eating like that for two weeks brought awareness to how different I feel when I’m eating mindfully and intuitively, with joy and peace rather than stuffing my face with junk and trying to survive from day to day. Can I eat a piece of cake in a healthy, mindful way? Yes! And I’ve done it! And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s a beautiful thing to be able to enjoy those kinds of treats from time to time and not feel the heavy emotional attachment to it.

But my favorite treat is a handful of berries. Yum!

So yes, I do remember what it’s like to eat mindlessly and unhealthily. I suppose I could have done that experiment for months or a year like I know some people have, but I would not be honoring my body that way. I genuinely love to Live by Heart! To be mindful and feel free to choose the way I want to live. To be intuitive and have a healthy relationship with my body, understanding what it needs. I am also grateful for the experiences I had to live inauthentically or out of sync with myself. I get to learn and grow!

Eat by Heart, Live by Heart!

Have you ever experienced drastic lifestyle changes? What was it like? Comment below!

And if you are interested in learning more about Live by Heart’s LITE program, click here. If you are interested in attending one of our Eating with Monsters seminars, click here.

 

happyEating

Eating by Anger

Eating in anger sucks. Seriously.

Eating by choice, with awareness, and in peace, works!

“Be aware of your emotional state when you sit down to eat. Sit. Breathe. Feel peace. You will enjoy your meal far more when you are eating in choice and in peace than if you are stressed and weighed down by negative emotions. Your body will easily release anything it doesn’t need, and accept and absorb nutrients far better when it isn’t trying to digest negative thoughts and emotions.”

This is a statement I have made many times over the years to clients. It has made a profound difference in my life and the lives of others.

Until one day I forgot…

I sat in my car, hands clutching my belly, trying to breathe through a wave of nausea. My head was spinning, and tears filled my eyes. The anger of the morning was slowly starting to release. I replayed in my mind the emotional upset I had spewed all over my children.

Eggs. I usually love eggs. I felt queasy just thinking about them. Why did they make me so sick this time? Did my body decide that because I was spewing anger, it may as well spew my food?

My mind reflected on my first conversation of the day.

“We’re late for school, Jackson. Please go get dressed.”

“I can’t Mommy; my legs don’t work.”

“Jackson. Get ready for school, right NOW! I’m late for work and have a million things to do today. Go. Now!”

And the fight ensues.

Have the words, “I hate you!” ever escaped your child’s lips? Not fun.

I’m sure I am not the only person who has ever had this experience. Man, I was so angry! As a single mom, I don’t get many breaks; baths, teeth, laundry, beds, housework, homework, taxiing children to and fro, starting a business, paying the bills, church responsibilities, and on and on.

This particular morning was special. After my early morning meeting, I was going on a work retreat! So, everything needed to go just as planned.

And of course, when my alarm went off, I accidentally hit the dismiss button instead of the snooze button. It was set to give me just the right amount of time to get everything finished before it was time to go. Now, I’d lost a half an hour.

Struggling to get everything ready: breakfast, kid’s lunches, my lunch, myself, finish packing and get the luggage in the car; I desperately needed the children to be responsible and take care of themselves.

Of course, this would be the morning that my seven-year-old decides to have “broken legs.”

I quickly scrambled eggs for the 3 of us, threw them on plates, and we all rushed to the car. Still angry. Jackson, bawling his eyes out because of the fight, tells me, “I love you with all my whole heart, Mommy.” Rather than letting his little voice calm my heart, I angrily pointed my finger at him and told him that it’s never ok to say to someone you hate them.

In my anger and hurry, I scarfed down the eggs between spurts of furious words while driving my little girl to school. She hated this particular preschool and cried every time I dropped her off. I didn’t need another crying child. I kissed her tear-streaked little face, pushed her towards her teacher and we left for my son’s school.

And then it hit. Like a rock. Specifically, the eggs were like rocks in my tummy. I was SO sick. It was one of those moments when your stomach turns queasy, and your mouth starts to water, in preparation to evacuate the food you just consumed. It was tough to focus on the road.

All I wanted to do was lie on the bathroom floor, close my eyes and breathe the pain away.

I have always taught that eating when you are upset is not a good idea. Or when you’re anxious. Or any stressful emotional state. But at that moment, the only thing I was thinking was, “Get the kids to school. Feed myself. Feed the kids. Get to work. Damn Jackson for making today the day to be defiant. Damn me for not getting up earlier. Life is horrible. Nothing ever goes my way.”

Were those things true? No. But at that moment, it didn’t matter. It’s the reality I was living and feeling at the time. Once I got to his school, we hugged, and I told him I was sorry it was such a rough morning (understatement), and I told him how much I love him.

The truth? Well, that came while I sat in the car allowing my body to calm down, helping my body let go of the physical turmoil I experienced after devouring the eggs. The more I calmed down, the more easily I saw the truth. Jackson didn’t ruin the morning. He wasn’t being defiant. He is a 7-year-old little boy who was tired because he was up late the night before. He was going to miss his mommy because he knew he was going to Daddy’s that day, (and there’s a whole host of emotions that goes along with that) and he needed to feel loved and cared for.

I didn’t get up late on purpose. I was also up late the night before trying to get everything ready. I was tired, and I also desired to feel loved. I was going to miss my babies.

Everything was going to be okay. And guess what? Everything was okay. I arrived in plenty of time to spend a few moments taking care of my emotions and tummy. My meeting was fantastic. There was time to go back to my house and grab the things I had forgotten for my work retreat.

Trust.

I had forgotten to trust. When I trust, it is easy to feel peace. When I forget to trust, my life turns to chaos.

Trust that everything really will work out. Even if it isn’t the way, I imagine. And when everything blows up around me, trust that there’s a reason. Because believe me, things blow up sometimes. Trust that I can, if I choose, find the gift in every experience, seemingly good or bad.

Had I allowed space for trust this morning, perhaps I would have been more aware of what I was feeling and would have been open to my little boy and his needs.

Boy, do I have a way to go before I’m good at this stuff!

What is the lesson here? What is the moral of this story?

Please, please, do NOT eat eggs when you are angry. It is NOT a pleasant experience.

Comment below about a time when you ate while in a negative emotional state. How did you feel? Physically and emotionally? Check out our products and programs that can help bring you to a place of choice in life.

Weights

Lose Weight? YEAH RIGHT!

“Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip.”

~Arnold H Glasgow

I have struggled with weight issues since I was a young teenager.

Not only weight, but depression, anger, anxiety, loneliness, and a whole host of other issues. My parents are both overweight and both struggle with other medical and emotional challenges.

My mom tried so very hard to help me see the horrible path I was walking with my food choices (all the while having a bag of cookies hidden in her room). Very confusing when I was young if you ask me. She resorted to unkind means to get me to change my life, physically.

Those tactics didn’t work.

I remember, at 13 years old, I begged in prayer for God to make me skinny.

To make me beautiful. To make someone love me. In my 13-year-old mind, that prayer was never answered.

As an adult, I resorted to some of those same unkind methods to “make myself” be healthy. Telling myself that I will be fat and ugly, and no one will love me if I don’t stop, or that I’m not worth anything if I’m not healthy. Punishing myself for giving in and eating something unhealthy, usually also hating myself and then stuffing down more food. And I continued to gain weight. At 21 years old, I was 250 pounds. At that time, I went to work for a health company that researched what was genuinely healthy. We created whole-food supplements and taught people how to eat healthy, exercise, use supplementation, and stay focused on their goal.

I lost quite a bit of weight while working there; 100 pounds to be exact. But I was one massive ball of depression and anxiety on the inside. And when I was filled to the brim with negative emotion, my body tried to match the size. I had no idea what to do with all this emotion. I still hated myself.

Funny thing, I discovered that whether you’re fat or thin, you’re still the same person on the inside. You still have the same life experiences, the same beliefs about yourself, life, and others. It doesn’t just magically go away. Crazy right?!?! Yes, I believed that if I made myself super thin; I would literally become a different person.

I approached my boss several times with the thought that perhaps emotions had something to do with someone’s physical health. He brushed me off and reminded me to stay focused. “Focus on your goals, and you can accomplish anything,” he would say.

I was determined. Motivated through anger and self-loathing, with a side of pleasing others. That focus turned into an addiction. I discovered how much I love the feeling I have when I exercise. I still love that feeling, by the way. But at 22 years old, that feeling became an escape for me. I could forget about all the static and yucky feelings going on inside of me and could feel the burn, strength, and energy I got from exercising.

I exercised morning, noon, and night. I was a trainer for a short time. Becoming an exercise coach myself, I found that helping other people was just as fun as doing it myself! Though sometimes, I had to fight the urge to shove my client over and hop on the machine myself. Weights were my favorite. But I loved aerobic classes, dance classes, the treadmill, the elliptical machine; I could do it all.

I clung to exercise too tightly. Eventually, my body won. It always does.

One of the beautiful gifts of our bodies is that it genuinely wants healing. It is always working towards healing.

I have found that when there are emotions that need to be discovered, processed, learned from and released, our bodies will give us multiple signals. They are trying to tell us that there is healing that needs to happen. These signals can be weight, aches, pains, headaches, anxiety, depression, hunger, cravings, etc. I believe our bodies want to live in a state of joy. True joy. It is where we are happiest.

Years later, I eventually learned to celebrate these signals. Gaining a few pounds? Excellent, what is my body trying to tell me. A headache? A backache? Anxiety or overwhelm? OK! What do I need to learn? What belief do I get to change or give my body? What do I need to look at emotionally? It indeed is a beautiful system.

At 22 years old, I snapped. As hard as I tried, the exercise was no longer working. Eventually, the pull to ice cream, popcorn, pastries, and other junk food crept in. There were all kinds of excuses. I deserve it. I’m all grown up, living on my own, and can do what I want. I’m sad and need to feel better. This food will make me feel loved. Loving myself means giving my body what it is craving. Watching a movie? Where’re the treats! So. Many. Excuses.

That 100 pounds I lost slowly started to come back. Then, 13 years ago, I had a realization. If I don’t let go of my addiction to exercise, I will never heal in the way I need to and have TRUE joy. Something clicked for me, and I KNEW I had to face my emotions to truly heal.

I let go of exercise. But really, I was letting go of my prideof.

I foolishly thought that I was fine. Because I exercise! And yet, here was this other addiction to sugar, other junk foods, and food in general that were being ignored because, hey, I’m an exerciser. That means something special, right?

I started emotional processing with my life coach; wow, was that a rough road. I imagine it happens a lot faster for some, but I didn’t want to let go of my precious comfort food. The happier I felt, the more I ate. The sadder I felt, the more I ate in secret. I was a whopping 300 pounds. How on earth did I let that happen? And yet, I honestly felt like I had no choice and no control.

Nevertheless, I was consistent. I continued to work through my emotions. I kept the practice of looking at my stories, my beliefs, my shadows, and working through them.

Two years ago, I started using the philosophies we have in Live by Heart™. Everyone always asks me what I’ve done to lose so much weight. How it is that less than six months after an ugly divorce, starting a new business, a move across the country with two small children, school, and many other changes, I’m still losing weight AND I am so incredibly happy! How is that? What am I eating? What am I smoking, haha!

What is it exactly?

I could tell you exactly what my diet is. But here’s the thing. I’ve done more diets than you can imagine. Don’t believe me? I’ve done the protein diets, the fat diets, all raw, no sugar, low fat, the lemonade diet, the vegetarian diet, the Mediterranean diet, the HCG diet, diet pills, the pineapple pills diet, the forget-it-I’m-going-to-eat-whatever-I-want diet. I’ve also tried hypnotism, meditating, focusing on what I want, and even the ‘force yourself just to walk away’ method. I’ve done them all.

So, I could tell you what my eating lifestyle is like; but it’s not the point. I could not have done it, had I not started practicing the Live by Heart™ way. At Live by Heart™, we teach people how to find the underlying issues that cause issues with weight, addiction, depression, and anxiety. We offer tools, training, and supplements that help you regain the power to choose and have joy.

Do I ever have a treat? Heavens yes. The difference is, I have a choice. I can choose to eat it, and there is no part of me on the inside that is incongruent with that choice. Or I can take one bite and be done. Or choose something healthier. I even find myself still eating emotionally from time to time. That makes me giggle.

It is a miracle. I don’t know about you, but I spent too much of my life beating myself up for any choice I made that was not perfect.

Now? I observe the experience of the meal, snack, or treat I just ate. I learn from it. I lovingly accept where I am. And I move on.

Thank you for letting me tell you my story! Please click here to learn more about our programs! Also, comment below and tell me what emotions you feel when you eat.

meditation

I Live to Tell the Story

Do you like to tell stories?

How many life stories can you recite? Stories can be exciting, funny, and even inspiring. They can also be depressing, painful, and discouraging. Stories can keep you stuck in a belief pattern or lift your day. They can keep you living in the past and wishing for a different future.

Let me tell you one of my own stories:

I sat in the car, put it in reverse with my foot on the break and thought, “Wait, where is my cell phone?” I looked around, then remembered, “Oh yeah! It’s on the hood of the car!” Late for an appointment, I jumped out of the car and jogged around the door to grab my phone.

It all happened in slow motion. The four kids I had in my car started screaming. I turned around and watched the vehicle creeping backward. Shoot. I forgot to put the car into park!

Survival instincts kicked in and I leaped back around the door in an attempt to jump back in the car and hit the brakes. I jolted and spun around when the crash of my door hitting the three large garbage cans standing beside the house startled me. They started to slide toward the fence. In that split second before the door pinned me against the fence and either smashed me or forced me under the tires, I managed to spin back around, slip into the driver’s seat, and hit the brakes.

The pounding of my heart matched the scream coming from my 5-year-old in the back seat. Even now I can feel the pressure in my head from the trauma of watching my life flash before my eyes.

I put the car in park and rushed to the back seat to check on my frantic little girl. Her brother and two cousins sat there in silence. Everyone was ok, physically. There was shock waving through the car, and I was the conduit.

Feeling better that we all survived the ordeal, I hopped back into the car and shut the door. Except, it wouldn’t close. I tried again. Nope. “What the…?” I inspected the inside of the door and found that the swing stop, I believe it’s called, snapped in two. Panicking again, I held the door as close to the car as I could and drove it to where I needed to go.

When I arrived, I got out of the car; shock rolled through my body again when I saw the outside of the door. I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed or thought to look before! The door was crushed, along with the front panel. I felt the blood drain out of my face.

Trauma.

What had I just avoided? What happened? How bad could it be next time? I was filled with fear! The shock was evident of that. I was also angry with myself that I forgot to put the car back into park before I jumped out. Why couldn’t I have remembered my cell phone and just avoided the whole scenario?

“I’m so stupid. Why can’t I remember anything? Why can’t I be aware and act appropriately?” “What will other people think of me?”

“I’ve destroyed the car. How much is this going to cost me?”

These and other negative thoughts raced through my head.

The fear and shock magnified as a result.

At that moment, I stood at a fork in the road; I had several options I could take for storing this traumatic memory.

One option was to relive this moment over and over in my mind. Keep that fear close to my heart to keep me “safe.” Every time I get in the car, I could use that fear and anger to help me be aware of my surroundings and make sure everything and everyone is exactly where they should be. Fear and anxiety could help me inch out of my driveway and make sure I don’t hit anything. And let’s take that one step further. You never know what could happen in the driveway, on the road, or anywhere!

Wow, that doesn’t feel very good. Right? Can you feel the muscles in your neck and shoulders tense up? Can you feel the internal shaking? I can!

Here’s what that looks like:

Reliving that moment over and over again.olding my breath every time I’m in the car. Shaking. Tensing up. Getting anxious and angry with anyone in the car with me. Yuck.

Here’s another option.

Tell yourself; “Wow! What an experience!”

Life is practice. It’s an experiment.

We practice all kinds of things; how to interact, how to judge, how to be healthy, how to be happy, how to express ourselves, how to drive with awareness (haha), and so many other things.

I was given an opportunity to practice my reactions to experience. I got to experiment with my emotions. I got to test how I store a memory.

What would a positive result of this experience look like? What kind of a road would I like to take?

I have always wanted to be more aware of my surroundings. I would love to have gratitude for this experience and create a peaceful aura around me where ever I go. When I get in my car, I am present. I am aware of what is going on around me. I truly Live by Heart and enjoy the peaceful moments I have in the car while driving to my destination. What a different feeling this would be!

What a gift it is to be able to choose how I am going to present myself in each experience I encounter.

Another outcome from my experience is feeling grateful for what I DO have, rather than focusing on what could have happened. Live by what is real rather than the what-ifs. I didn’t get pinned to the wall. I didn’t end up under the tires. I am healthy and whole, and my two children and nieces are safe. I have insurance to take care of my car. I am a better person having experienced this and learning from it. If that is what I choose.

I did experience shock and anger. That didn’t change. My reaction to that event, however, did change. And because of that, peace, awareness, and understanding took the place of fear, shame, and anxiety. Having these emotions opened up helped me to realize that I have carried the feeling of shock and trauma for many years.  The accident gave me an opportunity to heal some old wounds, like childhood family trauma, divorce, and car accidents. Even minor things can be stored as trauma when you are a child. My little girl also built strength. She experienced something difficult and then saw evidence that everything turned out ok.

We have choices in life. We can choose to be weighed down by fear, anxiety, anger, and depression. Heaven knows I’ve lived in that space time and time again in my own life. I now choose to see those experiences and reactions as great teachers!

We can choose to Live by Heart. Choose to live in the moment. Choose to see each event in life as an experiment. A teacher. A gift.

I choose to Live by Heart.

Thank you for letting me share my story with you! Please comment below about a time when you could have gotten stuck in a past story, but instead chose to transform from the experience and stay present. Or if you have ever heard yourself telling the same story over and over again.

If you would like to learn how to resolve your past negative thought patterns, beliefs, and stories, and transform into a person who Lives by Heart, click here to learn more about our Live by Heart programs!

vision

All Hail the Bathroom Scale

There’s a beast in my bathroom!

I’ve tried to conquer this barbaric creature, but to no avail. And everywhere I go, people seem to have this same unsightly creature in their own bathrooms. Let me share with you my personal battle with this common bathroom apparatus.

We all have anchors in life. We can choose to anchor ourselves to trust, peace, truth, choice, and ultimately joy. Or, we can anchor ourselves to our debilitating beliefs. We can focus on the evidence around us that reminds us how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we are. We can lean on other people, objects, food, and addictions to make us happy or miserable. But, what happens when one of those anchors crumbles or ceases to serve us?

One of my negative anchors was the scale.

For me, getting on the scale felt like a papercut. With salt and lemon juice poured into it. Every time I succumbed and stepped onto its cold, unsympathetic face, it spewed back numbers that would pierce my soul. I would tip straight into a day of wallowing over those numbers, trying to dig them out of my brain so I could live my life. But I couldn’t. No matter how much I tried to shut down the image of those numbers with food or loud activity, it wouldn’t go away. Eventually, I began avoiding the scale like a bottomless pit trying to draw me in, because it had an uncanny power over me. I felt the pull of its power, trying to drag me down into depression. For years, I left the monstrous scale alone for fear of getting sucked back in.

Then, I joined a weight loss competition. I told the facilitator that I refused to look at the scale. I couldn’t look at it, I was in too much fear. She agreed to weigh me without my having to see the numbers. That worked fine, until I was on a trip, and had to weigh myself and report to her. With some deep interval breathing (known as LITE), trying to get the anxiety under control, I stepped on the scale. I didn’t like the numbers, of course, but where did the bottomless pit go? It wasn’t there! I wasn’t spiraling into depression!

Why you might ask, was this so exciting to me? Because in the previous year before I started the competition, I had worked hard to find the underlying issues that caused my depression, my anxiety, and my weight gain. I spent so many years as a young adult trying to lose weight and it wasn’t working, so I sought help through a life coach and eventually decided to take a different approach. I wasn’t even focusing on losing weight -which was strange for me- I was focusing on being happy; no matter who I was, where I was, or what I was doing in my life.

My focus shifted from not being good enough based on pounds and other evidence to support that belief, to learning how to live in trust, choice, and peace. Learning how to accept myself and live life in joy!

Now, standing barefoot on my friend’s scale, I was NOT wishing I could hide with a box of cookies. Apparently, the path I was on was working!

I discovered the hope that I didn’t even realize was there until I was brave enough at that moment to step on that scale and look.

After that momentous experience, getting on the scale was fun for me. Having worked through the emotional issues that caused the weight gain in the first place, I was able to watch the numbers go down without the feelings of despair tormenting my soul. The pounds dropped pretty easily, actually. I was enjoying my new lifestyle, the joy I was experiencing, and the food I was now eating: lots of veggies, no more sugar, beautiful dishes created with an energy of love. To learn more about my new-found blissful journey, read my blog titled A Day In The Life of Eating by Heart: How I Lost Weight and gained Joy.

End of the problem, right? I wish…

For most people, the first thing you lose is water weight, which can come off pretty quickly. Then the fat starts coming off. For people like me, that means the weight loss slows down. I started to panic about my weight loss plateauing and feared to see the numbers start to creep back up.

I found myself paying tribute every morning to that same cold, all-powerful, unsympathetic bathroom scale. It didn’t spiral me into depression like it did before or drop me back into a bottomless pit, but it did dictate what I ate every day, the way I felt, and the thoughts I lingered on. I felt the weight of the scale all day long, which often times lead to eating more food to “bear the burden of the weighty dictates of the Scale Sovereign.” I no longer listened to my body and what it needed, but I listened to the rules that the scale set forth.

While working on the book, Veggie Snacks, with my business partner Ron Wayman, we talked about the issue of giving your power over to the scale. We wrote in the book, “That which you focus on, is what will manifest in your life. So, if you are trying to survive the dictates of the weighty scales, then the body might forget that eating is for living, not for scaling the rolls of tummy fat and vanity shows.” In other words, our body obeys our thoughts. Do I want to continue to support a belief that trains my body to do whatever it takes to be thin, or do I want to support a belief that retrains my body to be and live healthy and happy? In my experience, retraining my body to be and live healthy and happy means I lose weight more effectively and more permanently. The focus isn’t on the loss of weight itself or the numbers shifting, but rather the joy of life experiences. Discovering who I am on the inside. Finding what sparks joy on the inside, where I get to make choices, where I am still stuck in old debilitating beliefs and discovering how to work through them.

Anyway, I tried to ignore the fact that I was not living the way I was teaching others, but those realizations kept finding their way into my thoughts. I was definitely not eating to live! The joy of living and experiencing was being sucked out through my feet every time I stepped onto the scale. I didn’t mind when the numbers went down, or even when they went up. But, if I’m being honest, there was an underlying stress and frustration over the fact that I wasn’t consistently losing anymore. I figured it was an ok emotion to live with since I wasn’t spinning out of control like I had been before.

I was stuck. Stuck in my weight loss. Stuck in the dictatorship of the Almighty Scale and stuck in the thought process that if I didn’t continue losing weight, how will people ever see the example of how well following the Live by Heart program works!

So, I made a decision. Stop living by the scale.

But then, when should I get on the scale? Do I get on the scale at all? How do I keep track of my progress? How do I keep myself in check? Some people teach about eating and living according to how you feel, your energy levels, other body symptoms; basically listening to your body. Others suggest following a strict regimen, both in physical activity and diet. And there are many methods in between.

I’ve tried these methods. They are great for various reasons, but I didn’t need an answer on how to eat or what exercises to do. I needed an answer on what to do with the scale on my bathroom floor. Ron suggested, perhaps I should try only getting on the scale when I intuitively feel drawn to it. I already had a lot of practice eating, exercising, and living intuitively; it is a huge part of who I am, and now a huge part of the foundation of my business!

Now, I was being given the opportunity to dig a little deeper. I thought I was good at listening to my body, and in a lot of ways, I am! But I find that being human, I am constantly presented with opportunities to fine-tune my listening skills. Take back my own personal power and trust that I will be drawn to what I need in my life when I need it.

Stepping away from the scale has been a big step in helping me better connect with my body and the food I am eating. I have slowed down, stopped worrying about if the scale will punish me if I eat the “wrong” thing or about whether or not the stress of what the scale is saying will take over my day.

I live more in the moment, focusing on what really matters in life.

A month later, I had a surprise waiting for me when I felt ready to step on the scale again. Even though my diet was not technically “perfect,” I was past my plateau! After months of not budging, I was moving forward again. And, I didn’t hear the dictates of the scale nor did I see the bottomless pit of depression. I was in peace again, balanced in body, heart, mind, and soul. The weight-compass turned from a tyrant to a non-living, useful tool that is only there when I feel the need to check in with myself.

So, I recommend walking away from the Sovereign Scale. See it for what it really is. Allow your mind, heart, and body to direct you toward what will help you look, listen, feel, connect, and live.

I’m so glad I did!

To learn more about our LITE program mentioned in this blog post, click on this link! And comment below on your experience with a bathroom scale. Do you have one? Do you use it? What does it do for you?