The beginning of a new year always brings the latest diet craze, as well as, a gym membership, some kind of home fitness equipment or a new BeachBody DVD. I must admit I got a Peloton bike AND a pilates reformer, but more on that in another post! I am not a stranger to starting fresh in the new year and trying on a new eating plan, but how has that worked for me in the past...not so great! In my last post I talked about the cookbook "Eat With Intention" by Cassandra Bodzak. It's life changing! I'll explain why.
Fad diets don't work!
They just don't! We've all tried them and we've all failed. Why? Because we all want the quick fix. We don't want to do the hard work. We are too busy and too tired to grocery shop and prep our food and do what's necessary to eat well, so we reach for the juice cleanse or the 30 Day detox to shed some quick weight. What do we learn from that? That juice cleanses are expensive and make us hungrier and a 30 day detox may last us one or two days! We get so hungry we binge and end up gaining weight.
For busy moms this is a foreign term. We are so used to doing for others, aka, our kids, and putting ourselves last that the thought of putting ourselves first is a fantasy. We feel selfish if we are not cleaning the house, making dinner or chauffeuring our kids around. When you think about it, taking time for ourselves should be a necessity. When I make time to get a pedicure or treat myself to a relaxing bath while watching the Hallmark channel (lol), I feel like a new me. Everyone in my family benefits from my little time away, especially me. So why is it so hard for us to do that? Because these days we are so overbooked and overstressed that we never take time to fit in some "me" time. I was the queen of multi-tasking. After years of no sleep, severe restless leg syndrome and what felt like early alzheimers, I found out that multi-tasking results in
getting less done. It also leaves you awake at night, with anxiety, making a mental to-do list, while staring at the ceiling at 2am.
I have been working one-on-one with Kristal Fiorentino, an AMAZING wellness coach in Granby, CT, for the past year, on slowing down and trying to make peace with my body. I have been so abusive to my body over the past 20 years through rigorous exercise, that I have had 5 surgeries (2 hip and 3 shoulder) in the past 5 years. My body was crying for help and I was not listening.
When to ask for help
When I started with Kristal, I was desperate and willing to do whatever it took to heal my body. I was in utter pain, constantly and I knew I had to try something unimaginable to order to feel better.
For those of you who know me, the thought of me meditating is hilarious. I'm super hyper and always on the go. I can't sit still for 1 minute, let alone close my eyes and relax my body for any length of time. I was desperate and willing to trying anything. Who knew I would be AMAZING at meditating! I was ready. I was hooked from day one and it literally changed my life. I started sleeping like a dog (babies don't sleep, dogs do). My restless leg vanished. I had a sense of calm and I actually slept until 7am instead of 3:30am. Meditation is no joke. It works. It heals your mind. If you believe in it, it will change your life.
Righting my wrongs
Another really unique task Kristal made me do was write a letter of apology to my body. I didn't flinch at the request. It made me stop to think about all of the vigorous exercise I had done over the years, pushing my body beyond the norm and ignoring it's cries for help. The act of physically putting pen to paper and thinking about everything I'd done, all of the surgeries I've had in the past 20 years (it's a lot, in the double digits) and how my body always bounced right back as if I'd done nothing. So forgiving and resilient. Did I ever stop to thank it? Never. Did it ever cross my mind that I was asking too much of it? Not once. I was so used to being a quick healer and jumping right back into my crazy exercise routine that I paid no attention to the utter pain I was constantly in. I was so used to it, I thought it was normal. My body was pleading for help and had no other recourse but to snap. Like when you stretch a rubber band too far, it will eventually break.
I have been practicing gratitude ever since Kristal made me more aware of what I was doing to my body. I went from meditating 3 minutes a day to 20. I often meditate for over 60 minutes a day. The more I meditate, the better I feel. My head is clearer, I can finally sleep and I'm not in any rush to be the next American Ninja Warrior (yet). I shifted my mindset from feeling crappy about my broken body to appreciating it and loving it for supporting me. I became grateful for it's ability to bounce back. I became more thoughtful about how I needed to treat it. Practicing gratitude for my body made me less stressed about my body. I began to thank my body for it's strength and loyalty. Why was my body so loyal to me when I was so abusive to it? I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and a desire to treat myself with love that I forgot about obsessing about food. I had turned my focus inward and worked on being grateful for all of the amazing things my body could do. It was during this time that I came across Cassandra Bodzak's cookbook, "Eat With Intention" it was like an angel had fallen from heaven. I don't even know how I found the book. I bought it used off of amazon back in December. When it arrived, I had forgotten I bought it.
Eat With Intention
When I finally sat down in front of my fireplace and opened this book, I couldn't put it down. It was as if I myself, had written the words in front of me. Was there a hidden camera in my house that I didn't know about? Was my Alexa secretly taping my every move?! I have no idea why I bought this cookbook. I loath cooking! I know meal planning is necessary if you want to be successful with healthy eating, but I abhor it! Grocery shopping is something I do NOT love to do. I put it off until there is no food left in my house. I'm a really good mother, right?! :-)
Something clicked with me when I started reading this cookbook. It resonated with me. I had been though many of the same things as the author. This was not like any cookbook I'd ever read. It was my therapy. It all just fell into place. Everything I have been working with Kristal on. Paying attention to the little things and being kind to myself. Wow, somebody has been listening. Something foreign took over my body. I found myself at the grocery store not once but 4 times (in one week) buying different vegetables. I starting cooking these amazing recipes. It was like a magical organic-vegan-fairy took over my kitchen and starting pumping out these tasty meals, except I was the fairy. I was enjoying the art of cooking! I was nicer to my kids and my husband and not stressed about what I was going to make for dinner every night. I was on auto pilot.
In my next post I will break down why I think this book is so amazing and why it's so much more than just a cookbook.