TRIGGER WARNING: This post references an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some.
“When you quit drinking you stop waiting.” ~Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story
I’m now at 181 days teetotal. I prefer teetotal to sober. I say sober sometimes, but teetotal feels lighter, airier, and I feel lighter and airier these days.
For the life of me, I can’t remember when I took my first sip of alcohol. It probably came from a grownup’s glass.
What I can remember is being sixteen or so, half waking up from a blackout with a friend’s hand down …
“Take care of your mind, your body will thank you. Take care of your body, your mind will thank you.” ~Debbie Hampton
4:00 p.m. I am suddenly aware of my heartbeat. It feels more insistent than normal. Is it faster? Is it jagged? Am I out of breath?
I try to reason with myself: I’ve just done a brisk walk pushing the stroller over some hills.
My anxiety responds: Those hills were awhile back… you wouldn’t be out of breath from that.
Anxiety sufferers have a heightened sense of, well, a lot of things. For me, I am acutely aware …
One day, toast changed my life.
It was many years ago, when I was working as a personal trainer and nutrition and wellness coach.
I spent my days helping people “get fit” and “eat healthy,” so of course I was always preaching about lifestyle changes, “healthy” eating, and “whole, clean, nutritious” food, while demonizing “processed” foods, as most others in those worlds do.
Toast, at the time, was a big no-no. Especially toast made with white bread.
That’s basically blasphemy in the “healthy eating” world, with two strikes against it. First, bread has carbs, which I learned, from Atkins in …
“The Phoenix must burn to emerge.” ~Janet Fitch
Many people were shocked when I relapsed after twenty-three years of recovery. After all, I was the model of doing it right. I did everything I was told: went to treatment, followed instructions, prayed for help, and completed the assignments.
After returning home from treatment, I joined a recovery program and went to therapy. Once again, I followed all the suggestions, which worked when it came to staying sober. I had no desire to drink or do drugs—well, at least for a long while.
When I went to treatment, I was …
“Standards of beauty are arbitrary. Body shame exists only to the extent that our physiques don’t match our own beliefs about how we should look.” ~Martha Beck
I have so many women around me right now—friends, mothers, clients that are on a diet—constantly talking about their weight and how their bodies look, struggling with body image.
I am profoundly sad about the frequency and theme of those discussions.
At the same time, I deeply get it; it is hard to detach from our conditioning.
I too struggled with body image at one point in my life, and for a very …
Growing old gratefully. Yes, you read that right. Gratefully. Why on earth would I be grateful for getting older, less youthful, and more wrinkly with every passing year?? I hear you cry. Let me tell you why I’m trying hard to do just that.
One bright Saturday afternoon some years back, while chatting with my uncle, he reminded me that my fortieth birthday was fast approaching. I rolled my eyes and said, “Yes, Uncle, thanks for the reminder.”
He looked at me for a minute and then said, “You know, you should be grateful for every year of life you …
“Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
When I went on my first diet in my teens (low-carb, it was back in the Atkins days), I wasn’t even overweight. I weighed less than 120 pounds, but my jeans had started to get a little tight, so I thought I needed to lose five pounds or so. At the time, I didn’t have a bad relationship with food; I just ate like a typical teenager—not the best choices.
About two hours in, I remember starting to obsess over the things I couldn’t eat …
“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” ~Anne Sweeney
So many people make the positive choice to have a sober start to the year in January, whether it’s a New Year’s resolution, a detox, another wellness goal, or part of a fresh start program, but perhaps it’s worth considering prolonging the benefits further into the year ahead.
A break from alcohol is always a good thing, whether it’s a few days, a week, a month, or longer, and the bigger the break, the more you get a …
I was an award-winning personal trainer and nutrition and wellness coach for over eight years.
I also spent close to three decades struggling with my own weight and food issues—trying to “stick to” diets and/or healthy eating and lifestyle goals. And many years struggling with binge eating, bulimia, and (what I thought at the time was) an uncontrollable sugar addiction.
During the years I was working in the fitness and nutrition industry, whenever I’d get new clients, I’d find out what their health and fitness goals were, and I’d give them the perfect plan to help them get there.
You and I will probably come across a hundred articles about New Year’s resolutions in 2023 … again. And, if you and I are like the majority—the well-intentioned, regular people who genuinely want change—we will aspire to big things and later get frustrated and give up on the list we made … again.
But what if we kept it really simple this time? What if we didn’t have to make an endless list and be reminded, by looking at it, of all the things we may fail at again?
What if we made it as easy as one, two, three?…
“Don’t mistake being informed by trusting what you hear or read in the news. The most trusted information is what you feel in your gut.” ~Charles F Glassman
I was in my kitchen enjoying breakfast when a report about a murder was mentioned as one of the headlines on the radio news.
One of my boys started to ask me questions, none of which I could answer. They were questions about a detail of the murder, which I didn’t know, and also about bigger life issues, which at 7 a.m., I was struggling to get my head around.
I chose …
“We eat the way we eat because we are afraid to feel what we feel.” ~Geneen Roth
Sometimes I feel like asking me, a recovering overeater, to work from home is as unreasonable as hoping a sex addict will pen a report from the lobby of a brothel.
Snarky email? Feel annoyed. Get Penguin bar from cupboard.
Meeting over? Feel relief at no longer being on camera. Eat Wagon Wheel from cupboard.
Worked hard today? Need a reward. Wait, who ate all the kids’ lunchbox treats? Never mind, people, all good: I found the cheese.
This was me when …
“Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.” ~Kristi Ling
There’s something I haven’t told many people. I kept it to myself because it clashed with my “identity” and the image I hoped to project (hello, ego!).
I’ve been creating content and working in the spirituality and personal development fields for a number of years. Although I don’t strive to become like Buddha, there’s a part of me (call it my spiritual ego) that expects certain things of me, such as to …
“Embodiment is living within, being present within the internal space of the body.” ~Judith Blackstone
When I was a little boy, I would dance whenever I heard a catchy pop song on the radio. There are photos of me throwing down dance moves, exuding joy and vitality. At some point, though, I lost my ability to dance.
If I were to guess what happened, I would say that I stopped dancing when I became self-conscious. I was no longer just being; suddenly, I became aware of being someone with a body.
So a long and complicated relationship with my body …
“Your body does not need to be fixed, because your body is not a problem. Your body is a person.” ~Jamie Lee Finch
I was thirty years old when I realized that I was completely dissociated from my body.
I grew up in the height of the purity culture movement in American Evangelicalism. Purity culture was based on one primary concept: abstain from sex until marriage. But the messaging went further than this.
I sat next to my peers in youth group while the male pastor stood on stage and told us young women to always cover our bodies. For …
I went on my first diet when I was around fourteen or so because, as they often do in growing teens, my jeans started getting tight.
And because I grew up in the same anti-fat culture we all have, I hated myself for it.
Around the same time, an adult in my life who was always obsessed with “eating healthy” gave me a copy of the new book she was reading outlining the healthiest way to eat.
It was a book on the Atkins/low-carb diet.
The author spent the bulk of the book demonizing carbs, explaining in convincing-sounding …
“Nothing is more revealing than movement.” ~Martha Graham
It seems like only yesterday that I was at home with a newborn, a kindergartener, two dogs, and a husband who, just like me, was working from home, when we were thrown into the unthinkable COVID19 pandemic.
It didn’t take long for the stress and tension to build in my body. The feeling of instability, uncertainty, and fear, not to mention the post-partum anxiety, took its toll on my body as it became more rigid, bound, immobile, and frozen.
All the ways I had relied on movement as exercise were taken away, …
“Never be ashamed to say, ‘I’m worn out. I’ve had enough. I need some time for myself.’ That isn’t being selfish. That isn’t being weak. That’s being human.” ~Topher Kearby
Years ago, my extended family, who I am very close with, migrated from Vietnam to America as permanent residents. Four separate families had a couple of kids in each family. They are nice, kind, and loving people, and their kids were super cute and respectful.
My relationship with my extended family has taught me a lot of lessons throughout my life so far, but this was one of the most …