Last year, I went on a trip to Ireland with a group of women — most of them I didn’t know before I went, and now can call them friends.
I had a few conversations with one woman in particular, Lisa Tammen Smith, about the changes I’d made in my life since 2011 — namely, how I’d lost almost 40 pounds and remained at my healthy, natural weight since that time.
She knew I’d worked with my own coach, and I told her about how one part of that process was a food journaling practice that I committed to.
Whenever possible, I want to share something that’s going to help another woman, so I told Lisa that I’d send her a collage I made for my blog a few years back that showed actual snapshots of pages from my food journal over the course of a few months.
I can remember sitting on the plane in Ireland before takeoff and sending it to her via Facebook messenger with lots of love and encouragement.
Fast-forward to many months later, and Lisa and I found ourselves in the company of one another again — this time, in a business mastermind this year with our incredible coach and friend, Susan Hyatt. We’re a group of women coaches (life, weight, business, parenting, money, health and so much more) who are taking our work to an even higher level in 2016 and we gather by phone and in-person to encourage one another, brainstorm, create, share ideas, collaborate, inspire one another and laugh our asses off.
Lisa and I were sitting at lunch one day on our group retreat in Maui talking about our work and things we were creating for our clients and clients-to-be. We were talking about my program, Body of Work, and how my dream was to create a course to reach women in numbers far beyond what I was doing with individual clients.
We were talking about all of the areas where I could coach and teach women to spark their mind-body connection as a path to losing weight in a healthy way (if that was their desire), to love their bodies (for sure), and create a lifestyle that matched the kind of woman they wanted to be.
Lisa suggested I include food journaling somewhere in the curriculum to show women the power of that tool — how accessible it is and how much it can teach a woman about her body and how she feels. It could show them that they don’t need a fancy app, watch, system of measurement or time-intensive practice to support themselves.
But honestly, she said, when she first received my message with that photo of my journal entries, it didn’t look anything like she thought it would. I never asked her for an exact description of what she thought she might see when she opened the file — but maybe it was something like this:
- dry salads
- almonds in very specific rations
- a few ounces of protein without butter or seasoning
- no starch
- nothing sweet or processed in any way
- no alcohol
Nothing wrong with any of that. If that’s your jam as far as eating and you feel good (that’s the key), more power to you and all that you can be. My way of eating did not look like that — still doesn’t.
What stood out to Lisa was the fact that while I had some “expected” foods like soup, baked chicken, fruit and vegetables, there were other items that a lot of people would never eat if they wanted to lose weight. In fact, I’ve had a lot of clients say they “ban” certain foods like these when they diet. They say they can’t trust themselves.
Lisa just came right out and said it: “All I could think was how the fuck did she lose all of that weight and she was eating Teddy Grahams? I was both jealous and curious.”
Here’s the thing. Loud and clear: I was not dieting. And I lost the weight that I needed to lose.
My journal was a map and a prayer to myself every day. It helped me trust myself and learn what combination of foods in my life gave me a nice blend of power / fuel and pleasure.
It helped me learn what was hunger and what was a craving. It helped me learn my body’s physical cues for hunger and satiety.
My journal helped me see when and how I was honoring my intentions for myself.
It allowed me to stand in curiosity (not harsh judgment) when it gave me evidence that I might be ignoring or even rebelling against myself.
It showed me that with each passing day, I was learning what kind of physical exercise inspired and motivated me. I was embracing the truth that my body was born to move.
Between July 2011 – March 2012: 175 lbs. down to 147 lbs.
Today, I’m almost 10 up from 147. That’s where my body wants to be right now, and I’m strong, healthy and feel quite beautiful.
I move every day.
I eat and live well.
I am happy.
I experience struggles and make mistakes like everyone else, and when I do, I pay attention and offer myself patience and kindness.
My body is a gift and I take good care of her. My life is a gift and I am a good steward to it.
When you look at that before-and-after photo, I know you see the transformation of the body. Yes — take that in and then look at it through my daughter’s point-of-view. This is what she told me last night when she pulled this photo up on my laptop:
“Look at your eyes, Mom. That’s what blows me away. The change is really so big because of what I see when I look in your eyes in the second picture versus the first one.”
(Yeah, I almost bawled my eyes out).
She’s right. Those eyes are the window into the transformation — from a woman who was once so tired and burdened with the weight of being so hard on herself; who wanted to live a life of fun, connection, independence, partnership, adventure and to be seen — to not hide or shrink or be afraid I was taking up too much space with my body, my words or ideas.
My body responded to my inner expansion by releasing what I didn’t need — and you see that in the weight loss.
My eyes are open.
Are you in a place in your life where you need this work? Where you’re tired of shrinking to fit and thinking there’s some “secret” no one told you about how to be truly happy with your body and your life?
Do you see eyes like mine in that “before” photo above when you look in your own mirror?
I have been there. And now I am here.
I am here to coach, teach and guide you to create your own Body of Work to transform, change or improve your life — whether that’s your relationship with food and your body, your work, your relationships, your self-concept — or all of the above.
I have created this process and am giving you all I’ve got in my toolbox as a clinician, coach, fitness professional and woman who’s taken a deliberate and powerful journey to love who I am and how I show up in the world every single day.
My work in this life is to offer that to as many women as I possibly can, because when woman heals or transforms her relationship with herself, that heals and transforms the world.
Registration opens tomorrow for the Body of Work telecourse. The first class is on Wednesday, June 15th. Space will be limited.
I’m also hosting a live event the week after (Saturday, July 30th) for 10 VIP participants of this course. This will be an elegant, celebratory dinner here in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
You will meet your new friends, have meaningful conversations, laugh A LOT and be well-cared for.
That’s how we roll when we think highly of ourselves, my ladies. That is how I wish for your to see yourselves.
This is your prime.
This is your life — your greatest masterpiece. Live it like the work of art that it truly is.
To be sure you can register right away and save your seat : ) for the Body of Work course when it opens Tuesday morning, sign up to receive updates from me (it’s that little box off to the side where you give me your email address and permission to send you only things from me — no other outside entities).
You and other members of my community will get an email with all of the details before I post the registration link on Facebook or Instagram.