One Avocado Too Many?

Literally, me.

Literally, me.

I fucked up, y’all.

It’s a weird thing to write about, being wrong, but it’s an elemental part of my process and, as always, I hope that my experience might help someone!

If you’ve been following along on insta, you know I’ve been on a journey with keto for the last few years, and transitioned over to a more plant-based approach this winter.

For the most part, I’ve felt great. I lost some emotional weight I’d gained, had a ton of energy, my skin looked amazing etc. But there’s always been something about it that was hard for me. There were things I missed, and, if I’m being honest, the level of attention that any keto diet requires in the way of tracking and restriction… well, it started to get to me.

I took breaks here and there, trying to give myself the space to enjoy things like fruit and Oatly. In the summer I want an ice cream every now and then. On the rare occasion that I go to the movies, I like popcorn! Normal, fun, summer, human things to want to enjoy. But no-go on keto.

So I tried to pepper the fun things in while sticking to the plan, but I just felt awful. Physically, sure - mostly because I was slowly gaining weight and didn’t feel good in my body. Mentally too, because I’d gotten to a place where I was internally conflicted about my food choices, and when I did give myself permission to eat something off plan, I always beat myself up about it. I was constantly unhappy and torn between what I thought I knew to be true about my nutrition choices and what I intuitively knew that my body wanted - and I was just trying to hang on to something that made sense.

This constant push and pull didn’t do my energetic body any favors. Everything I ate started to make me sick. I got bloated from so much as thinking about food. I was continuously uncomfortable and tormented, and my digestion had gotten so erratic that I was in actual pain most of the time.

Something had to give. 💩

Fortunately, a co-worker came into town this past week, and as we were talking and discussing our relationships (as women) with food, she suggested that I look into a book called Liver Rescue by Anthony William (who you may have heard of as the Medical Medium).

First off - a medium? Eye roll. Second of all - this program goes against everything I’ve learned about food for the last few years. He essentially eschews all fats and animal protein in favor of plants in the name of liver health. I mean, okayyyy, but really?

So I picked up a copy of the book, made a massive Costco run, dusted off my juicer, and started reading.

It made SO. MUCH. SENSE.

In my head, but also in my body. When I read about the symptoms that can come with prolonged high fat / high protein diets, I literally felt the truth of what he was saying. The last seven months of high fat + high caffeine + high stress had devastated my liver’s ability to help me digest my food, and my symptoms were my body begging for relief. Now, I understand that you’re supposed to take breaks from keto, and I know that I had gotten to a place of moralizing my food choices which isn’t healthy. But I’m educated! I’ve done my research! How the f*ck did I get here?

Wellness, like most things, is a game of incrementalism. I made small tweaks to my program over time, and the combination got me into a place that I’m only beginning to come out of, and somewhere I never want to be again. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t pooping. I wasn’t happy. My skin was broken out. I was drinking so much coffee to solve the not pooping that inevitably lead to the not sleeping which I’m 100% sure is why my face broke out…

WTAF even is this?!?

WTAF even is this?!?

It was a vicious circle, and the only thing that made sense was to start over.

So, here I am. Off caffeine and eating carbs! WHO EVEN AM I?!?

But it’s Day 3 on the Liver Rescue protocol, and I feel so much better already, I’m shocked at how quickly things are coming around. Since I transitioned to a mostly plant based form of keto this winter, I wasn’t hurting for bacon and cheese, but bringing oats and quinoa and potatoes back in and letting go of cashews and olive oil and avocados has taken some mental renegotiating on my part, but it feels really good to let my body have what it wants, not obsessively count macros, stay off the scale, and let myself heal - physically and emotionally.

Oh, and take really good poops!




The Tao of Dylan

In the fall of 1990, I was ten. I did the usual ten-year-old things - had sleepovers on Friday nights, made friendship bracelets, and watched Beverly Hills, 90210. I cut out pictures of cute celebs from magazines like TigerBeat and Bop, and (much to my mother’s dismay) taped them into a collage that covered an entire wall of my bathroom. I drew hearts on photos of Johnny Depp and Edward Furlong (Mrs. Catherine Depp? Catie Furlong? John and Catie Depp?) and - with a fire that burned with the heat of a thousand suns - I hated any woman who, by so much as appearing in a photograph with my loves, might come between us.

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I spent countless hours playing MASH with my girlfriends, trying to decipher which of the teen heartthrobs I would marry and live in a Mansion, Apartment, Shack or House with, and I remember being jealous in my bones when my mom dropped me off to spend the night with my friend Alex one weekend and I saw the life-size poster of Luke Perry hanging on her bedroom wall. It was like he was there. The bathroom wall was fine, but there’s no way my mom would let me hang a six foot poster of some actor next to my bed.

In re-watching the first season of 90210 for “research", I realized that Luke Perry / Dylan McKay doesn’t even show up until the third episode, when some bullies threaten freshman Scott Scanlon in his tech shop class.

As Brandon is checking out Scott’s class project - a floor plan for the perfect dance club, because: California - he asks how Scott designed it since he’s 14 and has never actually been inside a club.

I used my imagination instead of my experience,” Scott replies.

At which point the bullies start making fun of and threatening him, until an ominous voice tells them they better not touch Scott’s computer. From the shadows of the tech lab, we get our first glimpse of Dylan McKay. Dark and dangerous, but obviously with a strong moral compass as per his coming to Scott’s rescue. Dreamy.

If he’ll save Scott from the bullies, maybe he’ll SAVE ME TOO.

What followed was an obsession the magnitude of which can only be contained by the heart of a teenage girl. Johnny and Ed took a backseat, their faces on my bathroom wall papered over by the brooding eyes of Luke Perry. There was a heart-shaped pillow and matching heart-shaped earrings from Claire’s with his face on them. There were entire magazines dedicated to him. In the pre-TMZ era, the grocery store rags were our only source of information and I pored over them with fanatic attention, pasting photos into my diary, describing down to the tiniest detail the life we would have together when, finally, we met and he realized that I was, in fact, the only girl for him. Nevermind that at this point Luke Perry was 23, and I was still 10. What was age in the face of destiny? I cried into my heart-shaped pillow on more nights than I could count at the mere thought of my dreams not coming true. Every day that kept us apart caused me physical pain.

In thinking back on this time, the one thing that strikes me most is how real it all felt. There was so much possibility in those days of pre-teen heartache, because no one had told me that my dreams were impossible.

I used my imagination instead of my experience.

In the winter of 2011, I was 31 and living in Baltimore. Things weren’t playing out there as I’d hoped. I was not married to Luke Perry, but had just broken up with my non-Luke-Perry boyfriend and found myself working for lululemon. I was about to have my first lesson in manifestation.

Sitting in a goal-setting workshop one day in early February, I had to write down where I wanted to be in the next year, two years, five years, etc. I wanted to teach yoga and I wanted to leave Baltimore. I shared this with the team, wrote it on my vision board and went about my business.

A few days later, a post from my old yoga studio in Boulder came across my Facebook feed - they had one spot left for a teacher training that started in three weeks. On a whim I emailed the teacher and asked if it was still available and could I apply? It was and I did. I had seventeen days to get myself to Boulder.

Through yoga teacher training, workshops, and online courses taught by the likes of Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte, I continued to develop my powers of manifestation. After I started meditating, I added manifestation to my routine by sitting for a few extra minutes, and tapping into the idea that I already have the thing that I want, and exploring the depths of the feeling that getting that thing will give me. I save photos of my future home to Pinterest. I write detailed descriptions of my future partner in my journal. I tap into the energy of future me on the reg.

While the vocabulary has evolved, the practice is much the same as it was when I was ten. The law of attraction and creative visualization look a lot like a desperate teenage crush and the collage on my bathroom wall. I didn’t just tap into the feeling that life with Luke would give me, I wallowed in it for weeks and months at a time.

But here’s the thing:

What manifestation teaches is discernment. Where to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’ on the path toward the future you’re trying to create. When you spend time in the feeling that you’re chasing, you know it when it hits you and new opportunities either trigger that feeling or they don’t. The path is clear. When that post about the yoga training came across my feed, I was able to recognize it as an opportunity because I recognized the feeling it triggered as something that I wanted.

I used my imagination and my experience.

As I’m on the hunt for #dreamjob, I’ve been putting this practice into play again. And while I don’t know what the job looks like yet, I am intimately acquainted with how it feels.

So when an interesting (#dreamjob tangential) opportunity popped into my inbox a couple of weeks ago, and my first impulse was “I want to do that!” - I recognized the feeling as being a part of what I’m trying to create. Even though it didn’t seem realistic to head to Texas for the weekend, something about it pulled me in and I started playing with the idea of making it happen. I started feeling that pre-teen sense of possibility again.

Flights seemed reasonable. Lots of places to stay. I’d just gotten a limit increase on my credit card, so even if I didn’t have the cash… That seemed a little forced at the moment, but rather than agonize, I decided to sit back and let the answer come to me, and, when the time was right, trust that I’d know what to do.

A few days went by, and I just sat with the idea. I sat in the morning. I sat in the evening. I let the idea roll around inside my head when I was at work. I was exhausted and burned out and desperately needed a change of pace, but I wanted it to feel right. So I waited. A few more days. A week. Whatever.

And then I knew. On Monday, I knew. I still didn’t have a ticket, but I knew. And things just started to take shape. A ticket to Austin. An Airbnb that seemed to appear out of nowhere two days before SXSW. I found the cash and I didn’t have to put anything on my credit card. The plan materialized piece-by-piece and I began to take action that supported the feeling I was chasing. It didn’t feel forced, and I never felt like if it didn’t work out, I would find myself crying into my pillow at the loss.

Maybe that’s the real difference between manifestation and obsession - attachment to outcome.

While I certainly made this happen, it’s an important distinction that I also let it happen. I left room for it to happen, for the magic to come in, for the feeling to take shape. I left room for that pre-teen feeling of possibility. I left room for discernment, and maybe that’s what separates teenage-heartthrob-death-grip love and the love that I feel when I explore my future - the space.

As I sat with the loss of Luke Perry this week, 10 year old me was devastated. 39 year old me, however, was really just shocked that he and I never ended up together. According to everything I’ve learned about manifestation techniques plus the detail and frequency of my early 90’s practice, how could we not?!

But what I see now is that the ten year old was trying to just will it into being, the goal was the outcome, not the process. And even now it’s still easy to force things - especially in light of all the motivational blah blah about taking action that comes through our feeds these days. And, yes, we do need to take action to make our dreams come true, but that action comes in quieting our minds and stilling our bodies so that we can create space to feel what’s right.

And as I move closer and closer to #dreamjob (and #dreampartner, and #dreamhouse) I’m continuing to play with the feeling that I want and I’m careful to check in with myself to make sure that I’m actually moving toward that and not taking action for action’s sake. Because a lot can get lost in the striving toward the specifics of a goal, but so much can be found in the stillness when you leave room for the possibilities to take shape.

Onward. And RIP, Luke.

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Confession: My #GOALS Are Bullshit

I need to come clean.

Yesterday I posted to my IG stories in a way that might make it look like I’m crushing my #2019goals.

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Here’s the truth:

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A) That post was supposed to be funny right up against the post that followed showing me drinking a beer.

B) Everything that I mentioned in that post was started long before January 1st.

Let’s be clear, my goals for 2019 are not:

  1. Start Keto Diet.

  2. Start working out 5 days / week.

  3. Begin a meditation practice.

My actual goals for this year are to blog weekly (slow start, yes I know), make moves on my podcast (I’m in the process of editing the first two), read 50+ books (I’m at 10 but I’ve put 3 or 4 down because they weren’t that interesting), find my #dreamjob (so close!), move my bod everyday (most of the time), eat in line with my values (most of the time), and land a column in a major magazine where I can discuss topics related to fitness and wellness that help women love their bodies. *NOTE: all of these have qualifiers. Nothing is do/don’t do black and white, because: everything is a process.

I started messing around with keto in December of 2016. I started going to Pure Barre in 2013. I began my meditation practice exactly a year ago. So my goals were really about refining things that I was already working on, which makes building and maintaining momentum much easier. This isn’t to say that if you didn’t start any of these things forever ago that you should just sack out and eat a box of donuts, but rather that the best way to gain some forward momentum on anything that you care about is to just start where you are with what you like and see where you can up the intensity in a way that makes you feel good.

It’s taken me actual years to figure out keto in a way that makes sense in my body and feels good. The first time I did it I gained 12 pounds in 2 months! I’m still trying to find the balance that makes the most sense for me because in spite of having lost 6lbs (I’ve gained 3 or 4 of muscle so maybe lost 10lbs of fat? - dunno) I also lost my period so I still don’t have it figured out. I’ve given up Bulletproof coffee and added some healthy carbs like yams back in to tweak my macros in a way that might work better for me and my hormones.

I’ve played around with my workouts - CrossFit, yoga, online programs that I do in the gym at my building, running, etc. - but coming back to Pure Barre feels sustainable because it feels so good in my body. No matter how tired or sore I am, I can always make it to class. It’s a great place to make friends. It leaves me humming on endorphins and with more energy than when I started. And it’s the best place to blow off steam from a shitty date or a crap night at work or whatever feels like it’s dragging me down.

I took the Transcendental Meditation course in February of 2018 and had a committed twice daily practice until I moved to Denver last summer. For whatever reason, the change in my routine sidelined my meditation. However, when I realized how much I wanted #dreamjob, I began to see the value of reinvigorating…er, resuscitating my practice, and when I found Ziva Meditation, it was really just a tweak to something that my body already knew how to do, so putting that back in place was pretty easy. Also, for whatever reason, the Ziva formula of 2 minutes of mindfulness + 15 minutes of meditation + 2 minutes of manifestation feels RILL GOOD and leaves me with a body buzz that is right up there with edibles. Again, just a tweak.

And I write this because, sweet lord, please don’t think that I just woke up on January 1st and decided change my diet and start meditating and get in shape and poof, two months later I’ve done it!

Really what I did was go to bed on December 31st having decided (after months/years of working/thinking) to make certain parts of my life (movement, food, mental health) a priority to support other parts of my life (work, creativity, relationships) so that everything works together in way that feels sustainable and let’s me do the things that I care about and put some good out into the world.

And if my sharing this helps you make small changes to feel good and move forward on any of the things that you care about, then I’ll add that to my 2019 list of #bullshitgoals!

Onward.