Feb 20

What’s your happy?

Is it a physical place? Is it a person? Is it a thing you find or carry with you? Is it a memory? Or is it simply being?

I write this while basking in the embrace of my long-time happy: the mountains. So, partial to personal locale, I originally began with, “what’s your happy place,” assuming all else required the elusive achievement of enlightenment. Ha! How silly…and yet, I think it is safe to say that most of us will answer that “happy” is inspired by or dependent upon something more tangible than existence alone. We covet our things in this life: our connections and our possessions both physical and thought-based. Having not (yet?) found enlightenment myself and selfishly not wanting to undermine the beauty I feel when happy, I’ll also say that I think that it is OK. Selfish happiness has a place in this world. If for no other reason than having something that makes you happy has the potential to make you a kinder and more generous person. Not to say that happiness and niceness always coexist, but perhaps we can agree that happy people are more likely to be nice to those around them than people who are grouchy and mean.

I digress! So, what’s your happy? Why do I even bother asking? Because it’s important! Why? Because how are you ever to live a happy-dominant life if you don’t know what gets you there? And I don’t mean get there for a minute, I mean the kind of happy that seizes control of your every essence and saturates your heart with contentment, causing it to pump out HAPPY! through the arteries and perfuse every fiber of your being. The kind of happy that leaves you wanting nothing but to feel it forever; you have found what makes you hum and with it, you are bigger than you’ve ever imagined you can be and smaller and more humble than you’ve felt before. Yes? Know it? Or are you raising your eyebrows and sick of reading? It’s not the gluten-free, sea salt, organic cricket granola talking, this is real- it CAN be real, you just have to find what brings it about, latch onto it, and then work to achieve that in your every day. Easy!

Letting yourself feel happiness- be it in the form of excitement or ease, can be a challenge. Correction – a massive, seemingly insurmountable challenge. In our society, happiness carries so many negative connotations- especially if you live in a big city. Happy people are lazy…happy people selfish…happy people have no ambition…happy people don’t put enough emphasis on what really matters in life…really?? What value does anything in life have if you’re not happy? It’s why money can’t buy happiness…it can just buy things you like and make yourself and others more comfortable, maybe making it easier to find happiness, but those are two very different things.

Happiness has suffered a great devaluation somewhere along the history of mankind. I think about how long it took me to forgive myself for wanting to be happy. How ridiculous that looks now, jotted down in type. But, it’s true. I felt such overwhelming GUILT for wanting to be happy. The years, months, weeks, days, until I finally felt the weight of my unhappiness in every second of the day. I actually had a continuous countdown in my mind to the moment when I would be allowed to be happy. Look at that sentence! Sure, there were positive moments, but nothing pervasive. I could barely even imagine what that would mean. All I knew for sure was that it was going to be sublime, if I could ever get there. And then, l realized I might get there, but what would be left of me when I did? Who would I be? Not the person I wanted to be, of that I was positive. Why did I have to suffer to become a person I would not want to be around? It is a terribly awful feeling to not even want to be around yourself. To know with every passing moment that you would rather be somewhere else in life; I mean to really know in your bones that you were not where you were supposed to be. I would ask myself daily why I was making myself suffer, why I was so unhappy, and believe me you, I had answers. So did my family. They all centered around guilt, expectations, norms…not happiness. With the help of a beloved friend, I was reminded (OK, to be honest, it was pounded into my thick skull that had thankfully been dampened by all the tears), that it was OK to want to be happy and to take steps to make that happen. Phew! How hard that was to accept! I hadn’t fully accepted it when I started making changes, but at least I started to believe it. I had to endure the disapproval of friends and colleagues, and you might as well if you decide to refocus your life around being happy. It’s not easy- in fact, it was the most difficult thing I have ever done. But, I can now proudly say that it was the single bravest thing I have ever done.

So, here the great big secret happy people know – YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY!! No excuses. None. Thinking of a time you were less than stellar? Of debts owed? Of obligations? Not to dismiss what have clearly arisen as important objections, but they don’t negate your right to happiness. You don’t have to earn it. You were born- congratulations! You earned the right to be happy in the split second you took that first breath. You don’t have to endure a path of misery to make the happiness sweeter. Start getting used to the concept. Roll the word around on your tongue. See how it feels to say, “I am happy.” Imagine what it would feel like to shout it out into the wind. It might take days, months, years to get there; it might take a courage you’ve never dreamed of and all the love and support of those around you, but you CAN CHOOSE to be happy.

So, what’s your happy? Think about it. You’re on your way.

Why can’t every day be a 10?

May 16

There are those who go through life mellow, passive, flowing and rolling with whatever comes their way never pausing long enough to contend or diverge. I think they live happy lives. Content lives. Then there are those of us who are ferocious: we are outspoken advocates for our own or shared interests. Our passion can be intense, our drive intimidating. For better and for worse, our hearts and souls live in those aspirations. We make things happen, and we get upset when, despite our best efforts, those things go wrong. When we know success is within reach; we’ve tasted it in the past and it was so sweet. But, suddenly or gradually, it seems birds are crapping on that outstretched hand. It’s not insurmountable, but it’s irritating. It’s not the dream you’ve lived before or know deep within you can bring to life. It’s not a 10.

Those lucky enough to know a 10 day have likely known many. From my experience, you can live months of them on end. But, reality is not perfect and even in fairy tales there is usually conflict and resolution. The upsets are important. We fail in order to learn not just how to succeed, but just how sweet it feels. We need the contrast to recognize and appreciate the 10. Does that make those stumbles better? More digestible? Not at all. In fact, it can make them all the more frustrating because you know you can do better. Sure, you can insert a multitude of motivational discussions on not being hard on yourself and appreciating what you have accomplished, but for those of us driven and teetering, they are only pretty excuses. And we don’t excuse ourselves. We make things happen. And then sometimes they don’t.

So how do you accept less than a 10? You can consider the merits of failing. Failure has receive a lot of attention over the past few years in the medical community and learning process in general. We need to be allowed to fail- not just by our peers, but by ourselves. Short-term failure I can handle. But what about failure with no success in sight? What about slips that force you to redefine your definition of health? Force you to modify those goals to levels you had previously blown past? Now that’s challenging. We want to be all we can be–not all we have already been or less.

I don’t have an answer, although I’m sure many can be found in the Tao Te Ching. I’m reminded of a few lines from the 8th verse that someone very special brought to my attention. A verse I often keep at the back of my thoughts, taking on new meaning from time to time when my attention is drawn to its subtle melody. Here is part of one translation, as I remember it:

Best to be like water

which benefits the ten thousand things 

and does not contend. 

It pools where humans disdain to dwell

close to the Tao.

When the 10’s are nowhere in sight, maybe we look to our mellow yellow brethren and practice our flow, our mindful disconnection in order to reconnect with something more important and see the beauty in the mishap. Perhaps we let the failure wash over us and sigh out, “best to be like water.” At least the thought of sighing bubbles underwater should bring a smile to your face.


When the voice in your head isn’t enough

Apr 23

Where do we find the motivation and power to persevere?

Normally, we can fuel our own fire, but everyone reaches a point where that is no longer enough. Where no matter how hard you scream at yourself to keep going or how desperately you try to convince your body that it’s just a little further, you need more. If you have not yet experienced this, then I will safely assume that you have been maintaining your activities within a comfortable range of difficulty, possibly only gradually pushing your boundaries. No worries – that’s a perfectly respectable way to go. But, were you to really step outside of the safety net and try something that scares you, you might start to hit that point where really, you should not technically be able to go on. Anyone who has reached this point knows, really knows, that it is here where something magical can happen.

I will talk in terms of physical activity, but this is absolutely applicable to dietary and social situations.

When most people reach this point, they acknowledge it and back down. Shut off. Call it quits. Recognize it as the end of whatever they were doing. Because your body is beyond fatigued, your mind can no longer support you, and you likely aren’t thinking clearly from the exhaustion. So, what do you do? This is where us crazies are distinguished from the common athlete–you keep going. Why? Reason says, “NO!” Something else says, “go.” But how? Ah, here is where it gets interesting. I will speak from personal experience…

Ultra-athletes will talk about this feeling, regular athletes might whisper about it to someone trustworthy. When reason is no longer relevant, (because you’re GOING to go on, so there’s no point in listening to why you can’t,) an opportunity presents itself. If you can’t get yourself over that hill, who or what can? The universe can…whatever that means.

Now, this is not as wacky as it seems. We actually all do this at to a small extent during routine or gradual pushes. When someone smiles at you on a trail, gives you a thumbs up, or yells a word of encouragement, what happens? Your spirits lift. You might even smile, and for at least a minute, you feel lighter and faster and confident. It’s not just personal interaction that has this effect, nature can also buoy spirits and help you push on. When I come across an unexpected patch of flowers on a trail, or see a blue heron in the water, or a deer on the side of the road, I find myself running with more ease. Why? Not sure, but I do know that the common identifiable reaction is that all these things bring about a smile. Happiness. And haven’t you heard people talk about how light they feel on a sunny day? There’s a reason why we think about skipping along effortlessly in the sun. Maybe the weightlessness comes from the smile…the power of happiness. More on that in another post! Here, the relevance is that your body exceeds your expectations in that moment because of what you receive from your environment.

So, back to the point beyond desperation: without the energy to fight it, you open yourself up to the universe and beg for help. To your favor, you are exhausted beyond the ability to reason away this connection. What happens after this point is difficult to explain. But, you find yourself continuing on, and even finishing what you set out to do. How? That’s impossible! You should have collapsed in a heap and been scraped off the ground. Unfortunately, we can’t use our overly-educated brains to reason out the answer – because the answer lies in the space where reason stops. Cast it off as hippie dippy silliness (as one of my friends calls my forays), but if you’ve been there, you know it. And you are forever grateful for what you will never understand.

I have experienced this in small doses many times. But, the first time this happened to me in a truly life or death scenario was about 7.5 hours into a backcountry ski ascent. With a pack full of food and clothes for 3 days, and over a foot of heavy fresh snow to break trail through, we were all at that point. The trail was gone, the GPS’s were giving fluctuating distance readings, and the light was fading. We all handled it differently. One person had crying breakdowns where she collapsed into the snow and refused to get up, three times. Another described the end of the ascent as, “I cried every time I put my left foot forward, and recovered with my right.” The two guys with GPS’s put all their effort into navigating and the other into breaking trail to make it a little easier on those of us following. And me, with my scientific and philosophical mind? I abandoned everything, because really, I had nothing left give. I had been at sea level in spring the day before, and now for all I knew we were completely lost at 11,000ft, and it was snowing. I knew if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop; the possibility of falling into the snow and dying of hypothermia or being attacked by animals was real. Palpable. Because unlike the girl who got up three times, I knew I did not have that strength. In my mind, I asked for help. I didn’t have any expectations; in truth, I might have done it simply because it was a different path to take my completely exhausted mind. Maybe a distraction. Or, maybe a leap of faith that there might just be something bigger than myself out there. Something that could help. And help came. A calm voice. A sense of support. And I floated. No, there weren’t any god rays or booming voices–I was still trudging on skis up and up zig-zagging through our makeshift trail in the woods. But, I floated. Disconnected from the pain and fatigue in my body, I went on. And at 9 hours, I heard my friend up ahead yell, “HUT!!!!” From nowhere, we pushed forward, and there it was. Our destination. A warm fire. A safe haven. I snapped off my skis and threw my arms around the nearest friend, and heard myself say, “we made it? We made it?! Can I cry now?”

I will never fully understand what happened on that day, but I will respect it. I walk the planet with a greater appreciation for everything around me because I know when I truly need it, my connection to this world and all the spaces beyond will help me. We work so hard to develop and maintain ourselves as autonomous beings, but we need each other. We need each other in ways no study will ever be able to evaluate. The easiest way to start connecting with this network of love and support is to smile at a stranger. Try it, you might be surprised how such a mundane meant for another will lift your spirits, and who knows, that might be all the encouragement that person needs to overcome a hurdle in his/her life.


Why is it getting harder?

Apr 17

Have you noticed that the second day, second week, second go of just about nearly anything that you have proved to yourself that you can do once is oft times more challenging than the first? I am currently encountering this with both cycling as I push to get back into shape for a season jam-packed with centuries, and diet as I strive to return to a sugar-free daily intake after gorging at Seders. I have a few ideas as to why this might happen: the most convincing one that I have hit upon is that the option to fail because you simply can’t do it is no longer a legitimate excuse.

Try to follow me – the first time you set about doing anything, there is the risk that your body, mind and soul might not be up to it. It might turn out to be simply not possible for you at this point in time or perhaps ever. There is fear in this possibility, but also some comfort because it could be your one way ticket out of something that would have proven to be a real challenge. For example, you sign yourself up for an 8k run. You’ve completed a few 5k’s and don’t consider yourself a runner, but this is for a good cause and hey, you might as well give it a shot. So, off you go on this run having never completed the distance prior, and perhaps you have to walk at several points or even the second half. You put out a good effort, but it just wasn’t there for you. How do you feel about trying a second 8k? You might be highly motivated. Maybe you caught the running bug watching everyone else. Great! So, you sign up for another. Going into this second attempt, you hope to do better than you did previously, but if you need to walk again, that’s OK because that’s what you had to do the first time. Maybe you can go a little further without walking – excellent. Let’s say you even go so far as to complete the entire distance without stopping. (Or, you completed the entire two weeks without cheating on a negative food group!) And the people rejoice! Victory! Here’s the ugly catch though – you just proved to yourself that it is possible. The option to fail is of course still there, but you’ve lost that psychologically comforting “out” that comes with the excuse of failing because you’ve never done it before and maybe you’re taking on more than is reasonable. Living up to what you have proved is possible can be really hard.

So, for me, seconds are always more challenging than firsts. What then brings me to continue on with thirds and fourths with an insatiable appetite for challenge? The joy of knowing you can – because that second finish (be it a dietary, physical or even spiritual accomplishment) is even sweeter than the first. It’s justification. It’s proving to yourself that you’re not a fluke. That your actions are intentional, controlled, and successful. That you can actively make positive changes and then continue to make good decisions that result in you feeling invincible. So, take that little taste of success and now push. Push past that little voice that’s saying you proved you can do it, but eh, let’s go back to easier. Do it for you. Because pretty soon, that challenge will seem like a walk in the park, and when the next presents itself (or better yet, you create it) you will have the previous victories to use as mental ammunition. Onward!

A new perspective

Apr 8

So, how is it going? Right about now, you might be buoyed by success, or frustrated at the “restrictions” you now feel confined to exist within. Or a mix of both? Regarding the later: stop thinking about what you can’t or shouldn’t eat, and start thinking about what you can! When people hear that I can’t eat what constitutes the majority of a typical American diet, they look at me appalled and gape, “but then what do you eat?!” This always causes me to smile, and I respond, “why everything else!” It just involves a little bit of creativity and perseverance to step outside the norm and put your health first. What do you do when you can’t eat breakfast from a box or container? You learn to make your own. Just because the food industry says breakfast should be sugary, quick and packaged, doesn’t mean that’s right for you. You have to find your own voice, because you’re an individual, not a lemming, and individuals require individualized eating plans! So, a new opportunity has presented itself to you – a chance to go against the grain, change your perspective, and see what kind of delicious creativity follows!

Rich Roll eloquently sums up this concept and everything we have been talking about here:

“This is not about deprivation. Instead, it’s about a willingness to release old ideas you’ve harbored your whole life about what a healthy diet entails. It’s about being open to the adventure of experimentation, exploring and rediscovering whole foods in their natural state. It’s about developing an enhanced connection to and relationship with your body, learning to pay greater attention to the nexus between the foods you eat and how you feel and function. And ultimately, it’s about developing a more acute intuition about what truly serves you, so you can reprogram yourself to make better choices that are in your best long-term interest physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”

In my own personal journey, small changes weren’t that hard, but the two big changes I needed to make were so hard to mentally accept that I had to reach the point of being very sick before I was finally ready to listen to my body. I’ve always been great at seeing both sides of a discussion and debating one or both sides with eloquent, convincing determination. So, you can imagine the internal struggle between body and mind. Complicated by the fact that it’s not just internal: if you live in a city, eating out can be daunting. At first, I would cheat even though I didn’t want to simply because I didn’t want to be a burden or to embarrass my dining partners. But, nearly every restaurant you go to has something you can eat regardless of your requirements, it just might not be obvious from the menu. You have to take the extra step and say out loud, “I have X sensitivity or allergy, what would you suggest?” or “can you make substitutions here?” It really only takes about 1 extra minute total when I’m out, and servers and chefs are generally very open to accommodating you. But, you need to be accommodated, and that can be a really hard hurdle to get over and might even lead to feelings of embarrassment. This is not insurmountable! Your health is worth the extra minute! And, you will probably come to find that your dining partners not only don’t mind, they admire your dedication. So, own it!


Apr 2

Change is hard, and it’s supposed to be. If it was easy, it would just be part of your normal continuum, but that’s not what we’re looking for. We don’t want to stay sliding along the same path, we want to expand to a new dimension. Here are some very reasonable barriers to change:

You’re just not ready. Maybe you’re not, and that’s OK! I certainly wasn’t when a dietary change was suggested to me 8 years ago. An acupuncturist, (who I now credit with saving my life,) offered the observation that perhaps sweets were not the best choices for me. I looked at him, trying to determine the kindest way to say that he was insane for thinking I would remove cakes and bakery rewards from my diet ever, let alone while trying to juggle medical school and bizarre health problems, but simply said, “women need chocolate.” And with that, I concisely and effectively closed that door with that provider because I was not ready to even begin contemplating opening it. Sure, in retrospect, I wish I had the insight and motivation in that moment to make all the changes that I now live by, but I didn’t and I couldn’t, and that’s OK. If you’re reading this, you are already making a change. A very amazing patient taught me that sometimes the strongest thing you can offer yourself is to simply show up.

The noise in your head. Now, let’s recognize that your body is brilliant. Brilliant! Unfortunately, so is your mind. So, you need to actively shut off the cravings voice, the rationalizer, the justifier, and listen to the voice of your body. This is a constant learning process! Your brain is big and very powerful, respect it, but try to respect what your body is saying as well.

You cheat. Good! You should cheat. Not all the time, because then you haven’t made a change, but when a craving is unbearable. I encourage it because that’s how you learn just how awful that food type or group was for you. Use negative reinforcement to convince yourself that the new choice is healthier for you.

On my own personal journey to achieving a healthier me, the first thing I recognized as a food group to monitor was refined sugar in the form of cakes and cookies. As I slowly tried removing these items and subsequently cheated and reintroduced them when I felt like I needed a “treat” or “reward,” I started finding that I could barely motivate to do anything the following morning. After one particular binge night in medical school, I remember having to leave class the following day because I had such a bad headache, was irritable and too groggy to focus on the lecture. That was my personal wake up call to refined sugar.


Why aren’t I just telling you what to eat?

Mar 26

The point is that YOU feel YOUR foods, feel YOUR body, and find out what is right for YOU.

Frustrated? Do you just want a clear cut map that details what you should eat when to find the hidden treasure of energy that you know lies deep within? I understand. But, I can’t write the map for your body – only you know exactly what will lead you there. Sure, there different laboratory tests that can help elucidate what is holding you back or steering you in the wrong direction towards that cave with the scary looking skull and cross, but really only you know. You are the only one existing in your very unique and special body. You are not the average 70kg person that medical personnel learn to diagnose and treat in text books because sadly, that person does not exist. You didn’t read the text books, right? And even if you did, you would find discrepancies exist between you and described diseases and norms. It’s hard being green, but you are.

My food fuels MY body, mind and soul to accomplish physical feats with ease and laughter. I am no longer eating for one activity, such as I did in high school training for the AIDSRide, sailing competitively in college, and in med school going to the gym to sweat out the stress for an hour or two. In all those endeavors, I was able to succeed at a high level, but with limited durations, fatigue, bonking, and a lot of negative motivation and attitude. Even at my “peak” as a college athlete exercising 3-4 hours, 7 days a week, I could barely make it through a 5k run.

Now, I eat for life and for happiness, and while I have always been athletic, I can truly call myself an athlete. Be it going from sea level to running a half marathon between 8-10,000ft, finishing a cycling century only to want to do it in reverse the following day, paddle boarding 6 miles in choppy open water followed by a 90 minute yoga class, running a 17 mile trail race for fun, or just creating a movement continuum on a daily basis of going from work to a swim or bike, to a run, to a yoga class, the key is that you feel like you can conquer the world and here’s the amazing part—YOU CAN! With minimal recovery time and laughing all the way. The laughter is key (we will touch on this later).

But, that’s because I’ve found out how to eat for ME. What is right for me, really might not work for you at all. I have athlete friends who need a lot of animal protein, others who swear by carbohydrate snacking and loading, some who rarely need food in the morning before they exercise and others who love a huge dinner. Those dietary plans fail miserably for me, and I know because I have experimented with them all over the years.

If you are looking for an exact list on what you should or should not eat, I challenge you: look within, dig deep, take the challenge, make it your own, and find out what is on YOUR list. This way is more time consuming and perhaps painful, but the rewards of health and learning to learn from and nourish your body are priceless.

Take the feel good food challenge!

Mar 25

You have just spent over a week accumulating a lot of data on how your diet affects your energy and mood – now let’s use it.

1. Identify potential pitfalls in your dietary intake using the emoticon food diary that you just created. Or, if you are more of an intuitive, bigger picture person, just think about the foods that you crave and perhaps feel guilty about.

2. Find a food that you are willing to eliminate for 2 weeks. If you are at a loss for what to pick first, go with that food or food group that you feel extra guilty about. Meaning that even before you ingest it you have negative associations. Remember, you should be proud and happy with your food choices! Guilt is a sign of a problem food. Cravings can also be a bad sign if the craving changes your mood by leading to a short lived or negative mood change. If you are still not sure what to choose, cutting something involving refined sugar, dairy or over-processed grains is generally a good universal first step to learning to feel your food. Pick one and commit to not eating that food or food group in even the tiniest amount, for two solid weeks.

3. Expect this to be hard. Real dietary changes do not happen overnight! My own personal food revolution has taken 6 years. The first week will be the hardest. During the second week cravings might be an issue. Then, I promise it’s uphill from there! After 1-2 months those cravings should significantly subside or disappear altogether simply because the feeling of health and happiness overwhelms the roller coaster of short lived satisfaction.

I expect that you’ll cheat and test yourself. Try your hardest not to cheat in the first two weeks, so that way you can clean out enough to feel what happens when you do. Now, when you cheat and eat a “detractor” (a food that reduces your overall sense of health and happiness), you should be able to have a better sense of how that food affecting you. If it is a true detractor, it will suck you down, maybe make you a little grumpy whereas before you were feeling great, maybe upset your stomach, maybe lead to feelings of guilt and regret. This is a good thing to experience, because you’ll be discouraged to go there again. It might take multiple burns to really drill it home (my personal journey took months of watching myself get sick from certain food groups before I could really commit to eliminating them), but in the end, I believe you can pull through and make the changes that your body demands, because I know you want to be healthy. So, give it a go and let’s see what your food is really doing to and for you.


Why do you eat?

Mar 11

I firmly believe you should eat for energy and happiness. This means that you should feel good about what you choose to eat both before, during, and after you eat it. Now, wait a moment! If you just made a painful moaning noise, don’t despair! We are all very hard on ourselves. I continue to be amazed at how most of the time when I ask patients what they eat or drink, the response takes the form of, “probably not enough of ________.” I didn’t ask them how the (impossible) perfect human would judge their choices, I only asked for a little insight as to what those choices were. We have these big brains that are capable of extraordinary thoughts, so we think we know exactly what we should be doing. But, we can simultaneously use that big brain to make fabulous excuses for doing else wise, and then make ourselves feel bad about those decisions. It’s just not fair. While you are partaking in the journey laid out in these posts, I challenge you to step outside of that overly judgmental you, and be an impartial observer. Just tell that irritating, nay-saying, Debbie Downer voice to go for a long walk and preferably, never return. Aim to exist in a place of quiet where whatever you decide to do is just that, plain and simple and without judgment. Yes, some people can go places driven by guilt and negativity (i.e. the internal or external coach yelling all your shortcomings in your face), but how much fun is that? And how sustainable? I think you can get somewhere amazing and stay there if you feel good about yourself along the way.

So, how do you feel about your food? A good way to start thinking about this is to keep a food feeling diary. If you made the moaning noise, go back and read the first paragraph. On paper, a word document or some fancy phone app, create a 4-5 column chart. The first column is for listing the food item that you ate. Because we tend to eat things that have many different ingredients, try to list all the big ingredients you can identify. For example, instead of writing “turkey sandwich,” try “packaged turkey on multigrain bread with tomato, lettuce and mayo.” Add notes about what was organic and what wasn’t, if that is part of your own personal food journey. Now, the fun part: next to each entry, you will log three faces that are smiley, neutral, or frowning. Put down one for how you feel when you decided to eat that item, one for how you feel while eating it and one for how you feel 20 minutes later. Or perhaps you’re a sticker person who uses farm animals in place of frowning faces and super heroes for smiley faces. Not a fan of faces? Use words or make check columns. Get creative and add colors and notes! Feel free to introduce a 5th space for whether you were able to successfully quell the judgmental voice, or if it interfered. After even just one week, you have enough data to start analyzing which foods make you feel good, and which foods are potentially detracting from your health.



Mar 9

I’m going to say “health” a lot. What I am referring to is your sense of well-being. There are many facets to this and they will vary from person to person. For me, to be healthy means:

  • The ability to maintain a happy mood and not get irritated by little mishaps.
  • Waking up feeling energized and excited for the day.
  • Avoid coming down with illnesses that are passed around social circles and office spaces.
  • Having the energy to tackle whatever physical endeavor I want.
  • Smile and laugh with ease.

What does being healthy mean to you? To be healthy at this moment in time might be different than it was a year ago and will likely change as your environment and external pressures change. That’s OK. Work with your reality. Think about it what it means now, write it down, and embrace it—that’s your goal.