About re-discovering intuition and using it for better health and nutrition.

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Our body is amazing and can do so much! If only we would take care of it and nourish it. The body is constantly trying to tell us what it needs to feel nourished and be a better vessel for our souls. The thing is, we don’t really listen. Our head gets in the way.

Yes, our head gets in the way with all its knowledge and experience, with its shoulds and shouldn’t’s, with its predictions and calculations. But wait, for over and above there is also intuition, that immediate gut feeling frequently silenced by our head.

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Intuition in the sense of listening to our body’s wisdom, is the ability to understand something without the need for conscious reasoning.

When we connect with our body, listen to our body, and follow our intuition to discover what is truly needed to feel nourished, then both our nutrition and health begin to morph into an optimal state. This optimal health state (different for everybody) is often forgotten while we listen to what our head tell us instead of our body wisdom.

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Intuitive nutrition is an amazing way to seek our very own perfect nutrition, balance, and health. Simply because each body is unique and there is no a perfect way for everybody. Also, there is not a way to nutrition that will work forever because we, as human beings, are constantly changing.

Re-discover intuition: Ask yourself what your body needs now. If you are craving, what’s missing? And if you are hungry, what’s needed: food, a walk, rest, or hydration?

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the web.

About uncertainty and striving for perfection.

How wonderful it is when we can finally find ourselves in a calm place! How often do this happen? Not as often as we wish. We are usually at war with ourselves, drowning our calm with meaningless comparisons, drowning our own feelings, and striving to keep reality as a (false) positive one by force.

Today I wanted to share some wise and true are words coming from my dear teacher and friend, Melinda Jacobs (see video). She talks about the ‘striving for perfection paradox’. It’s so important to know that things, just as they are in our lives (and the way we are right now too) are perfect. Calm can be found in uncertainty.

 

You can find Melinda at quantum-therapeutics.com

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Image by Richard Larssen

“Break the rules or break yourself”

First, I would like to address the reason for my absence these past months. I have been on my own journey of growth and healing and needed some time off.  Also, I needed to work on myself,  refresh and concentrate on my studies for a while. The truth is, there is no end to what we need to learn and unlearn, it is a constant process.

I owed this effort to myself, my family, my clients and to whomever dare read my blog. Having been preaching about the importance of self-care for a while now, I could only but follow my own advice and take some time to continue evolving without excessive stress, to do some mind wardrobe cleaning, soul healing, and complete some certifications.

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Clean is the word I choose to describe how my heart feels right now. So, back to blogging!

Yesterday, I had an amazing opportunity to be present (via Zoom) during an interview to Pilar Gerasimo, founding editor of Experience Life magazine, co-host (with Dallas Hartwig) of “The Living Experiment” podcast, creator of the “101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy” and author of “A Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed Up World.” She is amazing and the title to this blog entry comes from her.

From this wonderful interview (I took tons of notes) new insights came to me and I’d like to share some of them. The “Break the Rules or break yourself” applies to the rules each of us carry inside which prevents us to follow our intuition (for our own good or others). Our heads contain rules as to the way things should be or the way we should do things.

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What rules are in my head or your head? Probably those installed by transgenerational learning or by social media, or simply those created by ourselves: Rules about what should be achieved, how it should be performed, controlled, or in what ways we should conform. The thing is, we usually know what we need to do in order to take care of ourselves, but we don’t do it. We place our mind over heart and gut feelings. Most of us are living in ‘reaction’ without even knowing it and the constant stress that this produces takes a high toll. It’s important to know how to disengage and pull our energy back by having quiet slabs of time and relaxation. We cannot take good care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves first.

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How important it is to discover our own thinking and our own feeling about things in life! We live in a world where anxiety sometimes seems to be the only operating system, and everyone is breaking themselves by living this way. Stress insanity is violence against our bodies, hearts and souls.

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“The mind is where the soul goes to hide from the heart”. So, fight to quiet the mind and slow down; emotional care comes first and all others are just a tad behind.

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet

My body during times of emotional distress.

I find myself currently reading two books. I’m very happy to be able to do this since it’s been a while since I had much time to sit, relax, and read. I also wish I had better memory to remember what I read afterwards. It is a fact I tend to forget a lot but there are always a few sentences which will stick and stay, and I’m grateful for it.

The first book is Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel. Reading this book has been a delight. I have not read a book that made me feel this way since I read All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot a decade ago. Both books are completely different but give me the same (not easy to describe) pleasing, homely, human feeling. This one is simply about walking (through the US) meeting people and being human (it contains so much depth!). It is such a treat and very light to read.

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The second book I‘m reading is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D. A book packed with science and powerful human stories, it’s been amazingly interesting to say the least.

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As of late, while reading both books, I have been going through some very stressful situations, so I decided to share how my body usually reacts during hard times. Believe me when I tell you that both books are related to my train of thought in curious ways.

I am imperfectly human and unashamed to describe how sometimes I go through rough patches. Some expect psychologists to be perfect, have perfect families and perfect knowledge or control over our emotions.  Such ideas are nonsense. The more experienced (in life) and humble about it the psychologist is, the more he/she is able to help people. Perfection helps no one.

The way my body reacts during times of stress is that every single time I experience overwhelming stress or a strong negative experience there is a direct effect on my weight. Yes, weight gain (even if I don’t eat) and stressful times seem to be inevitably linked for me. My digestive system is also invariably affected, migraines and muscular pain are the next step, lack of good sleep, and finally exhaustion are my most common symptoms during hard times (not that all of these happen all the time or in the order in which are mentioned). Always varying in intensity depending on the event, these symptoms are the very reason I got passionate about self-care and eating psychology in the first place. This is the way my body process emotional distress. Through time, I have learn to work on these reactions (and ask for help when necessary), to take care of myself better during difficult times in order to minimize the blow and the recovery time. There is always room for improvement and since life goes on, we never stop learning (or healing).

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I am a strong believer in sharing our experiences in order to help one another. I am also a strong believer in empathy. I believe that there are no bad events or experiences that last forever (unless we keep feeding them). Self-care is a priority, healing is always possible and that’s why I am really enjoying both books so much right now.

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the web

 

Grateful by Practice.

We all go through times when we are living in darkness and feeling the brutality of intense pain either physical or emotional. We usually receive sympathy (not good), if we are lucky we get empathy (so much better), sometimes we receive nothing. It is indeed during these dark times when we may hate zen advise the most. We may get to hear things like: “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”; “What doesn´t kill you makes you stronger”; “Someone else is happy with less than you have”, etc. Yes, we know these phrases to be true but we are not up for it when in the middle of a storm.

Nevertheless, there are phrases that do help, because they are practical. I particularly like: “I will practice gratitude to access joy” (Brené Brown).

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It is my opinion that being optimistic about the benefits of a new habit while also being realistic about how difficult building the habit may be, is the key to success. Being able to recognize the obstacles (mainly the pain and darkness felt at the moment, amongst others) that may get in the way is absolutely necessary.

In this case, we must accept there is no other way to get to be grateful (even if we definitely don’t feel like it) than to practice. People who are grateful even in the most difficult situations, weren’t born that way, they worked hard to be so and even they failed many times.

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Always reach out for help and support during times of hardship, darkness and pain.

It’s easier to be grateful during good times. I am still practicing being grateful during the hard ones. Would you?

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

(Images from the internet)

 

 

 

 

A not so simple opinion on forgiveness.

This was one of my first blog posts. I wanted to share it with you again. I would love to hear your opinion on forgiveness…

We all get hurt one way or the other. Such is life. It is the way we react that counts, or so I’ve heard. The truth is we need to forgive constantly in order to move on. In fact, we tend to forgive small things on a daily basis without even noticing. But when a major offense (or group of accumulated offenses) like abuse, serious lies, betrayal or any action resulting in a major loss comes crashing our way, the reaction is different. It may be immediate or it may take some time but we feel hurt, confused, vulnerable and  sadness, resentment and anger explodes within us.

 

 

 

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We have a problem now, besides the offensive act commited againts us I mean. We click into survival mode and find that pain and resentment are so uncomfortable that we try with all our might to put those feelings and emotions away, bury them and forget about them. This process may last hours, days, months or years. The subsequent effort in denying what we feel may create health consequences. Now, this may not be true for some people, but for some people it is. It happens that our heart knows, our soul knows and every cell in our body knows that we are in pain and that we are unable to forgive at the moment, and our whole being acts accordingly, even if our mind says otherwise.

Permanent unforgiveness causes chronic stress. Our feelings and emotions are alive and if buried, they will try to find a way out. This chronic stress response causes our body to release cortisol and excess insulin, to say the least, which results in short term or long term health issues that may include: low immune defense system, indigestion, weight gain, inability to loose weight, excess weight loss because of malnutrition or malnourishment, headaches and even depression.

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It is important to notice that forgiveness of a major offense will not take away the pain and resentment right away. Forgiveness is the switch that turns the power of healing on. Healing is a process, a slow one sometimes, which would be easier to undestand with an example of physical injury. Such may be the case of a person  riding a motorcycle when, suddenly, a newly licensed texting and driving teenager hits this person. They rush him/her to the ER and after a month in intensive care, this teen comes to see this person looking for forgiveness. This is a nice person, so compassion fills his/her heart and he/she forgives the kid. Did this person got out of the hospital the minute he/she forgave? Did the pain go away? Did the broken bones heal instantly? No. Healing will be a process of months, maybe a year or more. He/she will have scars, maybe for life and will need therapy, probably. But this person will go on and life will be good again someday because he/she is strong and just helped the recovery proccess by forgiving the kid for everything.

When a person is devastaded on the inside, the healing process may be slower than a physical one. It may take an hour, a day, a week, months even years but forgiveness always starts the healing process.

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Time doesn’t heal everything, it can make it worse actually, specially if we don’t forgive. So we have to choose either to forgive, let go and start healing or to resent, hold, bury and start affecting our health. So, forgiveness becomes a self care decision. We don’t forgive for the offender, we mainly forgive for our own self. Because we should love ourselves enough to care for our own well being. Because we live once and do not want to waste away life. Because we want to help our body, soul and heart to let go and relax in order to have a good working metabolism, better health and live in the best way possible.

It is so important to take our unresolved emotional and psychological issues into account when there is a physical health problem and viceversa. Forgiveness is key, it is within our reach and it is so worth it.

Choose to be kind and grateful. 

Images from the internet

Diets everywhere I go.

I felt compelled to write about the subject because it seems to be everywhere. Last week, I attended four dinner parties, two brunches and a (whole day) pool party last Sunday. Those who know me well may swiftly testify that such a quantity of events is huge and abnormal for me. Still, I could not manage to avoid the subject (diets) at any of them!

Peer pressure is defined as “a feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one’s age and social group in order to be liked or respected by them”. Diet peer pressure exists. There are hundreds of serious articles published about this.

I’m 45 and even though many may think I’m in need of one, I am not on a “diet”. Nevertheless, my personal health, the same as my family’s, is always a top priority for me. We all happily exercise in whatever way we enjoy the most (because healthy exercise is supposed to be about joy not torture) and we thoroughly enjoy eating (quality food) mindfully and joyously. My life has not been ruled by diets for years. Notwithstanding, it still bothers me… the fact that diets overpower any other subject as conversation topic at dinners, brunches and everywhere else. Even though I’m sure about my lifestyle choices, I can still feel the social pressure and general dissatisfaction.

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Sometimes it even pains me. Yes, it pains me to watch life’s moments wasted away like that, energy that could otherwise be used for so many positive topics. But the worst part is to perceive that uneasy feeling silently shared by everyone: The feeling of not being beautiful enough, not thin enough, and not good enough; the feeling that lingers silently within each amazing soul I see at the table around me. Such valuable people, accomplished women, incredible and amazing daughters and moms who have achieved so much, such big beautiful hearts being uncomfortable, terribly uncomfortable with themselves.

The situation may bother me but most of all worries me. Since dieting is a temporary food plan, diets are not sustainable and neither do they create sustainable change for most people. Moreover, the deprivation of restrictive diets may lead to a diet-binge cycle which in turn may lead to guilt and frustration, finally leading towards self-loathing (specially in teens /// all other women or men not excluded though). Also, years of chronic dieting may result in slowing down metabolism and health issues.

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I really hope lack of self-appreciation not to be the result of the permanent year round ‘in a diet’ status of the wonderful people I saw recently. I hope it with all my heart. I also hope to go to a ‘diet free’ social event and soon.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet

Body confidence: A battle for many, who only a few dare describe.

An epidemic which silently steals away energy, happiness, and life itself! I hear stories like the one portrayed here ever more often than I wish. Please take the time to read it completely. Thank you to Embracing Authenticity for sharing this. You are so right!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked in the mirror and been left feeling utterly deflated. Believe me you’re not alone, I have both hands raised too! Thinking about it I don’t really know anyone who is completely satisfied with their body, it’s either too big, too small, to short. Blotches, pimples, wrinkles and hair […]

via Body Confidence – Why it’s not all about change… — Embracing Authenticity

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Image from the internet

You don’t need an eating disorder for your weight loss pursuit to become a chronic form of self-abuse.

I have two beautiful daughters. I have fought hard to help them choose to deter themselves from materialism, to love themselves and their bodies, to respect themselves and their souls above all.

We live in a difficult city where looks and what you own takes precedence above all. Now more than ever, I would like to tell so many teenagers that they are beautiful just as they are. Just the same, I would like to tell so many women that the fact that 40 does not usually look like 20 is not a tragedy and that obsessing about it depletes life of energy and takes away time that could otherwise be dedicated to loved ones and to new, enriching, and exciting experiences.

Some weeks ago I read another blogger’s (Tracy I, Fit is a feminist issue) as she wrote about having been suffering from food poisoning. She wrote what follows: “Back in the day I, or one of the friends whom I complained to about my affliction, would have thought or said something like, “at least you’ll lose some weight.” Now, this is a ridiculous thing to say, I realize. But back then it was assumed that weight loss was an ever present goal in the life of every woman”. Sadly, I believe it still is an ever present goal that somehow has morphed into this idea that losing weight will make every trouble in life go away. So, lets do ourselves a favor and post this somewhere we can see it as often as needed:

Important note to self:

Loving myself and taking care of myself and my health is a priority, if the self-care nourishing process I choose includes losing pounds it´s ok. However, if the way I am or the way my body looks prevents me from living a full, happy life and I choose then to attack myself and my body until the process becomes a perennial obsession, then it’s not ok. Get help.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet

The time to change is now.

That thing you would like to experience someday, why not do it now?

The person you want to be someday, why not start working on being that person now?

The way of life you are putting on hold for when you are older, richer, healthier, less busy, prettier, thinner, why not start living it now?

It is a mistake of gigantic proportions when we think that putting life on hold, shielding ourselves from evolving via fear and excuses, is in any way justified. It is a terrible waste of life and life’s opportunities to grow.

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Sometimes we need to acknowledge our circumstances. Life is complicated, and therefore caring for a child, an elderly person, or a sick one may prevent us from doing or being where we would like. Nevertheless, these circumstances have the amazing potential to become selfless acts of love which, even if we resist, may bring evolution, change and growth if we let them. No, these circumstances are not the same as shielding or staying within a fence unable to explore beyond.

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It is an interesting process to self-discover and analyze the way we may cast ourselves down, the effects of toxic self-talk and negative thinking. I particularly worry about the number of women (for example), that would not wear a swimsuit, that think they cannot be in a relationship or deserved to be loved because they don’t look as they “should” or are somehow overweight. So many persons think themselves too old to start anew or to study new things, to learn a new sport, profession, or skill. Others will think that they need only have a certain job or status in order to thrive and live a happy life.

Maybe some will read what I’m writing now and will be glad not to be in such a situation as described here, but experience tells me they are a minority. In the end, we only have one life, so the time to start healing and living is today. The time to change is now.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the web