WHEN LIFE KICKS YOU DOWN AND LIFTS YOU UP… AT THE SAME TIME

WHEN LIFE KICKS YOU DOWN AND LIFTS YOU UP… AT THE SAME TIME

Have you ever felt so beat down by a situation that it makes you want to hide from the world and disconnect?
This exact scenario happened at the end of last year and that’s exactly what I wanted to do:  fall off the face of the planet and ask God for “re-do”.
Now I’m not playing the victim here.  One of the beautiful benefits I’ve received from a solid meditation and yoga practice is that I see clearly my part in any situation.  But at the end of last year, my stress level was at an all-time high and I started to doubt in my ability to do just about anything.

Why do I share this with you?

Because two weeks ago I gave my first Nutrition Lecture in over a year.
In other words, despite wanting to disconnect, I chose to put myself out there and do what I do.  
And you’ll never guess what happened. : )  Here’s the short list:
  • In the audience I saw clients I’ve known for over a decade come out to support me and hear me speak about nutrition and eating psychology.
  • When I asked the audience why they came, the first woman to raise her hand told me she’s here because she’s been an email subscriber for a few years and thinks I’m inspirational (she didn’t even have a nutrition question!)
  • Another encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing in the world because she thinks I’m good at it and I help a lot of people.
  • A professor of Biology at Stanford(!) was in the audience, and at the end of my talk, he told me my science was sound (phew!), and congratulated me on getting this message out to the world.  He even said he teaches some of these concepts in his classes.
So why do I tell you all of this?  It’s certainly not to brag.
But after being “under a rock” for a few months, it was a great experience for me to have.  And it all started by me being willing to put myself “out there” despite wanting to retract.
It’s also a great reminder that life will always kick us in the pants at some point… one way or another. 
Life handed me an opportunity “pull up my big-girl panties”, grow up, deal with what needs to be dealt with, all while keeping my heart open and the channels of forgiveness open.  (Not just forgiving other people for their harm, but forgiving myself for my part, too.)
Life gives us kicks sometimes… we get to choose how we respond to it.  Life gives us tickles sometimes, too. (Sometimes, like in my case, it gives you BOTH at the same time!  Ooohh how I love the bitter and the sweet!  )
The question is, can we keep our hearts open and learn the lessons presented to us with equanimity to the kicks AND the tickles.

I’ve decided to keep my keep my heart open.

That’s why I’m offering another lecture at the Sports Basement this Monday night from 7:00-8:15pm.  Last week I talked mostly about Basic Nutrition 101.  This week I’m digging deeper into eating psychology, emotional eating, and how our stress response is keeping us locked into a body (and often life) we’re unsatisfied with.  
In addition to having some real conversation around topics in eating psychology, I’m also going to talk about nasty things you need to avoid (like the artificial stuff) and 8 really simple daily habits that if you begin to incorporate into your day, can have a profound effect on your health, energy, and waistline!
This lecture will be super casual (I’ll be coming straight from taking a Be Fit Boot Camp class!) and it’s NOT to be missed.
THE HUNGER SCALE

THE HUNGER SCALE

MotivationMonday-9.1.14

Have you ever sat in the absolute back seat of a commercial plane? I’m talking about the last row, where the seats don’t recline and you’re right next to the bathrooms.

Well, that’s where I am right now as I write this to you.  On this plane, the jets cover the windows, so you can’t even see outside.

I’ve just spent the past 5 days in “The Big D”, (aka: Dallas), mixing some family time with a business trip.   I tackled 2 (yes….TWO) big family reunions in one very long weekend.  It’s always good to see my family, young and old, who travel from all over to be together for this short spell.  There is always waaaayyy too much food, including my grandmother’s homemade ice cream, which when it’s about 100 degrees outside, is the only thing I really wanted to eat.  : )

Sharing a meal with some of my crazy family : )

In my nutrition coaching programs, one of the first things I teach is “How to gauge the hunger scale”.  And with the incredible amount of BBQ Brisket, Tri-tip, 7 varieties of potato salad, that weird pink fluffy “salad”, 3 different homemade cobblers, banana pudding, a birthday cake for my Great Aunt (who celebrated her 90th by the way…) and of course, homemade Big Red ice cream, this particular hunger scale came in very handy this weekend.

HOW TO MONITOR YOUR HUNGER AND FULLNESS

Truth time:
Most people don’t take the time or even bother to check in to see what’s really going on in their body.  They eat because it just happens to be time to eat, or because everyone else is eating, or because some emotion evokes an eat-everything-in-sight moment.  This is not a judgment against you (or myself for that matter), but a cold-hard fact.  Putting nutrition aside, if you are not at your body’s natural weight, it is because you (your mind) are eating when you (your body) is not hungry.

And a full weekend of buffet style family reunions can be looked at two different ways:  one, is of horror, while you eat everything in sight, completely unconscious of your body’s communication… or the other is option is to view it as an opportunity to tune in and listen to the subtle messages your body is giving.

YOUR CHOICE! (Don’t you love free will?)

THE SCALE, from 1-10

1:  Get the *&*&%* out of my way…. I.  Need.  Food.  NOW!!!
(just a side note…this is a totally rotten place to be.  When you get here, usually it’s a sign of your blood sugar dropping way below normal and you will stop at nothing to get some food in your body.  At this point, often consciousness is gone, and it is extremely easy to overeat reaching a 9-10 on the hunger scale in 5 minutes flat…yikes!)

2:  Okay…I’m dropping too low, I can really tell I’m hungry.

***Eating somewhere around/between 2-3 is ideal***

3:  More than just a little hungry

4:  You’re starting to feel a little hungry.  It’s just below neutral, so it’s subtle.   Nothing crazy here, so if you pay attention, you notice the very subtle feeling.

5: Is “neutral”.  You are neither hungry nor full.  Maybe this is where you are an hour or two after eating.

6:  Is just above “neutral” in terms of fullness.

7:  Feelings of satisfaction with the amount of food you’ve eaten.  You can tell there’s no more hunger, and feelings of over-eating are also not present

8:  This number is easy to get to, when you’ve decidedly moved to a 7, and then even just 1 or 2 bites more and….BOOM…you’ve reached an 8.  The fullness factor has increased. (ps… this is not easy to pay attention to if you are hooving food in your mouth at a rapid pace.  Slow down grasshopper…. put that fork down.  Breathe.  Get your monkey mind to connect to that hot body of yours!)

***stopping somewhere between 6-8 is ideal***

9:  Oh boy…you’ve ignored (or just flat out didn’t realize) your body’s very subtle clues and have passed the point of no return. : )  Now you’re on the couch ready for a nap.

10:  You know the feeling you get when you ate too much dinner, then kept snacking in the evening, and now it’s time for bed and it just hurts to even lay down?  It’s like you turn to one side, but your belly stays over there!   A very unpleasant feeling, indeed, brought on by unconsciousness and neglecting your body’s very gentle and subtle feedback systems that tell you you’ve had enough.  But, it’s ALL good (even the bad)… there’s always tomorrow. : )

Here’s how it works:

  1. Your body is miraculous and does not fail you.  If this belief does not come easy to you, then it will be difficult to believe that your body actually does give you the right messages…it’s just your job to pay attention!
  2. Start tuning into your body and really listen to the clues it gives.  This is difficult at first, but over time becomes easier and natural.
  3. Each time you are about to grab for food—whether it’s mealtime, snack time, or cravings/compulsions time—ask yourself if you are really hungry, and then give yourself a number from the scale.
    1. What this does is open your consciousness to decipher what’s really going on inside.  Are you stressed? Lack of Sleep? Are you eating because it’s just time?  Are you truly hungry?
    2. Once you dig deep, you might realize you’re not hungry at all!  Then you can use your free will to decide if eating whatever it is will serve your body, your purpose, and your greater good.
    3. Or you might figure out that you are indeed hungry and it’s time to eat.
  4. If you decided it’s time to eat (you’re below a 5 on our scale), now comes the fun part:  Paying attention while you are eating!
  5. Notice while you are eating if you are on auto-pilot or if you are taking your time.  Notice if you can put your fork down occasionally and pause in the middle of the meal.  And most importantly, can you notice as you slowly move from below 5 and into the 6, 7, or above range?  And more than noticing…can you stop with happiness and content before hitting those higher numbers?  If you can’t…why not?  What’s going on there?

Look… I realize this isn’t rocket science….

But nevertheless, most people find it difficult to stay conscious enough to let this process occur.  Start practicing before the big party, and let it be your guide everyday.   In our nutrition coaching programs, this is one of the many methods we use to get you the results you need and deserve.

MY PERSONAL STORY

This might have been my best trip to Texas.  As most of you know, I’m not a big fan of deprivation.  If you “go on a diet”, there is an equal and opposite binge waiting around the corner for you.

But using this scale and staying present, in the moment, conscious (whatever you want to call it), I enjoyed all the foods from my family, eating when I was hungry, and stopping when I was full.  As for my Nana’s homemade Big Red ice cream, the small bowl I savored s-l-o-w-l-y, might have been the best bowl I’ve ever eaten.

Because it’s really not the ice cream I want.  It’s what the ice cream represents.  It’s the feelings of a hot, humid summer afternoon, sitting on the porch swing, hanging around with my grandmother and family, listening to the kids play, and my great aunt’s laugh.  It’s the full realization of the moment, taking it in and savoring every sight, sound, taste, and touch.  That’s what I want….and unconsciously eating 3 bowls of Big Red ice cream won’t get me anything but an upset stomach.  And most importantly, what I was really craving—connection with my family—would never have happened because I would have been too busy stuffing my face instead of feeding my soul.

And how did I do it, and how can you do it, too?

By getting a little mechanical with your life and implementing a system that works.  The hunger scale above combined with mindfulness just plain works.  This is the stuff we teach in my nutrition-coaching program.  Working with a coach (as I have found out for myself) can literally catapult you into a new level of consciousness.

Now it’s your turn:  Share below your conscious experiences connected to food… AND even your let-it-all-loose eat what ever’s in sight! (because when it’s all said and done, neither is better than the other, but both are powerful learning lessons if you want them!)

HORMONES, CRAVINGS, SEX, AND FREEDOM

For this Motivation Monday episode, I’ve got three things for you, and they’re all insanely valuable, yet free. (Isn’t that a paradox?….)

While they might seem unconnected, a deeper dive in will reveal to you just how integrated hormones, cravings, sex, and freedom all have in common.

Let me explain.

First cool thing:

There’s this event I’m putting on with Dr. Kelly called Breakthrough to your Best Body: The truth about Hormones and Weight Loss Resistance.

As a subscriber, I’m sure you’ve read about it, and many of you have already registered for this free event that takes place next Wednesday, September 3rd at 6:30pm.

Dr. Kelly and I met back in January at a high level mastermind for heart-centered health entrepreneurs looking to make a big impact on the world. His work in integrative and functional nutrition was so complimentary to my work in eating psychology and mind-body nutrition that we knew we needed to work together.

Below is a pic of us at a dinner when we met again in June and started putting together The Breakthrough Seminar.

If you have any inclination to understand how hormonal imbalances impact your cravings, weight, and a slew of other more serious health concerns you might be dealing with, make sure you read all the details here and then register for the free event.

Second cool free thing:

Do you think hormonal balance, cravings, or excess weight play a part in your sex life and your sexual expression?  In my opinion:  hell yeah!

But starting the sexual conversation seems a little more difficult than talking about cravings and mind body nutrition… am I right?

That’s why I want to share with you this amazing book my friend Layla Martin wrote… S

She’s breaking out of the awkward silence around sex and pleasure and offering a very raw, vulnerable look at an area in our life we can probably all use a little levity, healing, and pleasure around.

Her book is free for you and might help you connect some dots in your life with sex and your relationship with food.

Third super cool thing:

Lets tie it all together here.

In my opinion… it’s all about freedom.  To feel fully alive and fully self-expressed without judgement or shame is freedom.

But it’s one thing to talk about it… it’s a whole other thing to DO IT!

That’s why I put together my action-based 21-day Freedom Challenge.  This is the challenge that will tie in all your new found knowledge into action!

The challenge begins September 15th.  Get on the list here!

There you have it!

Three amazing resources for you at a price you really can’t argue with.  : )

I hope you are having an amazing start to your week!

xoxoxox, Audra ; )

PS.  I feel the need to tell you something…
Dr. Kelly and I have been working around the clock to make sure the Breakthrough Event will blow your socks off.  My friend Layla slaved over this book for months and it’s even made a few ‘best sellers’ list… it’s a quality read that you won’t be able to put down.  And I personally have put 100’s of hours into the 21-day Freedom Challenge because I only want to give you the best.  Don’t let the word ‘free’ trip you up.  All three of us offer paid for programs that are well worth the money, but we ALSO realize there are folks who may never buy a program for us.  And we’re okay with that!  As heart-centered entrepreneurs our focus is always on delivering our best, no matter what the price.  So if any of this is ringing true for you, then go dig deep… you’ll probably get your socks knocked off!  : )

CELEBRATING BIG WITHOUT CRASHING INTO SUGAR

CELEBRATING BIG WITHOUT CRASHING INTO SUGAR

I know I’ve been talking about my birthday A LOT this year, am I’m pretty positive this will be my last post about it, but I’ve been really trying to dive deep into the ideas of big celebration as a part of life WITHOUT it totally deterring my health.

In the past, I usually spend the entire month of July in a sugar addicted stupor.  By the time August rolled around, I couldn’t stop thinking about where I was going to get my next sweet fix, and every meal had some sort of sugary dessert finale.

I used food to celebrate instead of using LIFE to celebrate.

This year was a little different.

Dad and I hanging out in Dolores park walking on a slack line! crazy fun!

I decided to take all my efforts on curating the best summer ever filled with family, friends, fun, play, and adventure.  And I PURPOSELY decided to put “food for pleasure” on the back burner.

Research shows that one of the biggest predictors for anyone relapsing on alcohol, sugar, or any other addictive substance, is a too much focus and time going toward duties, responsibilities and work… and not enough focus and time on fun, play, pleasure, and adventure.

When work and responsibility become disproportionately out-of-balance with fun and play, It’s actually the number one predictor for relapse.

And think about it… doesn’t that make sense?  When you’re all caught up in the daily grind, not including spontaneous fun and play… it makes that pint of Ben & Jerry’s seem like a party in the freezer at the end of your boring day!!!

Screw Ben & Jerry’s! I wanna go roller skating!!!

The results of my experiment were nothing short of amazing.  I discovered that I had big fears around celebrating myself.

I believed that putting together a birthday party or any celebration was “just too much of a hassle… who would show up anyways?  I’ve got too much work to do… I don’t have time for this… (or my favorite…) I’m not really worthy of celebration.”

All the above are TOXIC BELIEFS that keep us small in the world, and keep us looking for celebration and pleasure in other forms… for me go for anything that seems like a “fun food” topped with sugar!

Making the decision to celebrate this year actually took me to my edge where I was very uncomfortable!  I was able to see my toxic beliefs for what they were, and I was able to show up in a bigger, more authentic way to my life.

And by doing so, using food for celebration became less important.  Instead it was about connecting with my friends and family, and doing fun adventurous things (like walking on a slack line with my Dad and rollerskating with my friends!  Crazy fun!)

So now, I want to hear from you:

Share with me and our community how YOU celebrate yourself.  Or, are you like me and notice you didn’t have enough fun, play, or celebration in your life… what can you do THIS WEEK to change that?

xoxo, Audra  : )

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P.S.  I’m putting on a FREE live event Wednesday, September 3rd.  I’ll be going into depth on other eating psychology strategies to start living your best life so that you start to see your body and health shift as food takes it’s rightful place in your life.

If you’re in the Bay Area, you’re not going to want to miss this talk.  Holistic nutritional science + eating psychology…. this is the only approach I’ve discovered that actually works.  Learn more and register here!

WHAT CAME FIRST?  THE CHOCOLATE OR THE EMOTION?

WHAT CAME FIRST? THE CHOCOLATE OR THE EMOTION?

Mot-Mon-7-28-14-chicken-egg

Is your emotional experience dictating your food choices?

OR….

Are your food choices creating your emotional experience?

The high-stress/emotional situation OR the chocolate cake? 


If you’ve been a Motivation Monday subscriber for any length of time, then you already know I went through life altering emotional and stressful situations.  
 
At that time, following any healthy-food protocol went out the window.  There were no rules and my eating was dictated by my emotions.   I was tired, depressed, obsessed about sugar, and brain fogged out all day.  

It was obvious to me that my emotional experience was clearly creating my food choices.  

And from this space, exercise went out the window, the healing balm of sleep was sporadic, and it felt like a vicious cycle.

It wasn’t until I started to heal (i.e. acknowledge) my emotions, did I slowly start to pull myself up by the boot straps and naturally start craving a more elevated lifestyle with healthier foods and exercise.

OR….

Could it be that I have it all backwards?  That there was another approach that might have saved me years of food cravings and mindless eating?

Could my hormonal and biochemical environment that was present in my body back then BE THE REASON WHY the emotional and stressful situations in my life felt so unmanageable?  

What would have happened if my metabolism was at full force?  My hormones balanced?  
 
From this biochemical state, emotions are soothed, better integrated, and also less dramatic!

Stay with me… Here’s why I bring up this question for you…

Last month I met an extraordinary chiropractic doctor who specializes in healing hormonal imbalances using nutrition. 
 
(And just so we’re on the same page… these are the only “Dr types” I trust.  In the realm of nutrition, MD’s have a biased towards fixing you with a pill, stapling your stomach, or ordering tests that actually DON’T help….just sayin’…)

The stories that he shared with me about his patients getting real relief from food cravings, sugar addictions, and finally experiencing weight loss because he helped them re-balance their biochemistry blew my mind.

From my perspective, my stress eating and mindless eating triggered my hormonal imbalances, and inability to lose the weight.  

From Dr. Kelly’s perspective, if my biochemical world was in check, then I would have experienced my emotional world differently.

So what do you think?

Do your food choices create your emotional experience?  

Or…

Are you going through an emotional experience that is creating your food choices?


The surface question I’m asking is, “Which came first:  The chicken or the egg?”… or shall I say… “The emotion or the chocolate cake”… wink wink…. 😉

But it my opinion… who cares?  

When I heard how Dr.  Kelly is helping his patients from a hormonal and biochemical re-balancing perspective, I was so excited because it’s an approach that’s lacking in my programs.

And when he heard how I integrate eating psychology and mind body nutritional strategies into my approach, HE was blown away because that’s what’s lacking in HIS programs! 
 
You could call it a merging of  science + soul.
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So the way we see it, it doesn’t matter if your emotions are what triggered your stress-eating (thus creating hormonal imbalances over time), or if your out-of-whack hormonal environment has been the cause of your sugar cravings, stress eating, and inability to lose weight.  

The important thing here is that we are now able to address your cravings, weight loss resistance, and health issues with a holistic perspective and from many directions.

How cool is that?!?

If you want to learn more about healing your cravings, hormones, or over eating from a truly holistic perspective, we are putting on a FREE LIVE EVENT September 3rd or 4th (you choose the date that best for you), 6:30pm at the Santa Clara Marriott to educate and inspire you! 

And did you catch that?  ….IT’S FREE!  


This is our way of coming together to teach and inspire you to understand a better answer to your health, body, and weight issues.  

I hope you’ll join us!  Details and RSVP here!

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xoxo, Audra


PS… Combining eating psychology, mind body nutrition, and hard science IS the missing link.  At our live event, we’ll show you how it all fits together and you’ll walk away with clear strategies you can start implementing immediately.  

PPS… This is the first live event I’ve put on in two years.  I decided to do it (despite the enormous effort and time crunch involved) because it’s THAT important and because I know it will serve you if you come.  Details and registration here. 
CELEBRATING AUDRIKA GIVING YOU GIFTS!

CELEBRATING AUDRIKA GIVING YOU GIFTS!


It’s funny, I’ve never really connected celebration of life to the celebration of my body/health/size until just recently.

Most of my friends at this point have celebrated wedding showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings, baby showers, and first home parties.

While I haven’t celebrated any of the above, it hit me that I haven’t celebrated ANYTHING at all!  The last shin-dig I put on for myself to celebrate my life was exactly 10 years ago(!) for my college graduation.

Which got me thinking about celebration and how integral and important it is to being human.

We celebrate a rite of passage, whether it’s a wedding, birthday, or the world cup.  Then we pour rituals over the celebration to anchor the experience into our emotions and psyche.

The rituals, the celebration, the emotional memories of it all are what deepen our sense of connection to each other and our own human-ness.  They bring the sacred into our everyday life.

In my work I get the distinct honor of helping people overcome struggles with their health and their weight…. holding space for them to release shame and negative emotions about their body and self-image….in this space, it’s easy to get side-tracked by only focusing on whatever exercise regime you’re following, or which detox might be better for your health, or which food might be a better choice.

But how can we deny that pure pleasure and celebration are intricately tied to our health and happiness?  I’ve read studies that clearly report increased immune function from simply adding more fun and celebration into your daily life.

The real question might be why aren’t you celebrating?  What belief inside of you makes you think you’re unworthy of celebration?  I know for me it’s become clear that my limiting beliefs were:

  • I’m not good enough…
  • I’m not worth it…
  • I don’t want to bother anyone….
  • Who would come to my party?

And so as I keep embarking upon what I want to experience as a “life well lived”, it’s clear to me that celebration has been severely lacking in my world.

And so with love and bravery, I boldly declare:  “It’s time to celebrate!”  I love summer, I love the month of July, and I’ve declared it Audrika!

And I want to celebrate it by giving away the things that I love the most TO YOU!!!  Each week I’m giving away something I love!

  • July 14-20:  A blowout from the BlowDry Bar!
  • July 21-27:   A luxurious massage!
  • July 28-Aug3:  A signature mani/pedi in your city!

Here’s how to win:

1.  Sign up for my weekly Motivation Monday Newsletter

2.  Like me on facebook

3.  Share this to YOUR social media friends so everyone has a chance to win!

4.  Leave a comment below and tell me:  1. That you signed up for Motivation Monday, liked my facebook page, and shared it on your social media site.    AND…  2.  Any of the ways you have or will be celebrating your beautiful life!

(Make sure you do step 4 and leave a comment!  It will be next to impossible to track without leaving a comment!)

I’ll be announcing the weekly winner during each Motivation Monday newsletter and on my facebook page!