Lent is NOT a Diet

I was raised in a non-denominational church. Lent was not something we practiced, and not something I knew of until my late teens. I have grown to appreciate the beauty of this season, but the idea of Lent, of “giving up” something for spiritual discipline, initially appealed to me for all the wrong reasons.

The first person I knew to give up anything for Lent was my sister. She gave up French fries. I remember thinking first that she was SO spiritual, much more sacrificial than me. My second thought was, “Wow, I bet a person could get skinny doing this Lent thing.”

So that’s how it began. I liked the spiritual purity of it, and I liked the fact that weight loss may be an “unintentional” side effect. Lent became a way for me to combine my diet goals with my spiritual goals. Fasting has been a spiritual discipline for thousands of years, but thanks to diet culture and my insecurities, all I could think was how nice it would be to serve God AND get skinny. Under the guise of spiritual purity, I could accomplish something that would appeal to my poor body image.

Looking back I can see how much of a contradiction that is. To “sacrifice” for Christ in order to achieve the body of my dreams. It’s kinda laughable, actually. And of course it never happened. I never followed through, I became discouraged by my failings, and I ended up berating myself for my lack of spirituality and self-discipline.

I don’t think that’s the point of Lent. Continue reading “Lent is NOT a Diet”

Moms, You Don’t Need to Get Your Body Back

Dear New Mom in the Age of Internet Perfection,

Recently, my eyes have been opened to the onslaught of messages on social media telling YOU how to get your body back.

I get it. I birthed and nursed three children. My body changed drastically with each one. I lost muscle tone. I retained a layer of nursing-fluff every time, even though I kept thinking breastfeeding was going to be the calorie-burner everyone says it is (which further proves that the calorie in/calorie out idea is completely useless… but I digress).

Even with my last pregnancy, which was by far the healthiest one due to the superior multivitamin, probiotic and other supplements I was on, my shape changed and, for lack of a better word, I was just fluffier than usual.

So I understand the urge to want to hurry and get “back” as soon as possible.

However, I want to pose another way of looking at it.

Your body is amazing. You grew an entire human, and you are now continuing to grow this human. It takes a LOT of emotional and physical energy. You are not sleeping through the night. When you do sleep, it is probably not quality sleep. Your hormones are off, and I’m not talking estrogen and progesterone and all that stuff – your HUNGER hormones are thrown off from your sleep being thrown off. So you may be hungrier than usual throughout the day, a bottomless pit of cravings (and if you’re nursing, that factors in as well).

So this is what I want you to hear:

You don’t need any added pressures. Nurture yourself so you can best handle the changes happening around you, NOT to live up to anyone else’s expectations for what you need to look like or do.

Continue reading “Moms, You Don’t Need to Get Your Body Back”

My Business IS Your Business

This month marks the launch of my integrative nutrition coaching business!!!

Yes, I am still promoting the life-changing supplements that I love so dearly!

I am expanding my business to include nutrition for body, mind and soul – something I believe we don’t integrate into our lives nearly enough… but has been so crucial for my personal healing.

Last year I went through a program at my church called Repurposed that helped me assess the patterns and passions of my life so far. It was so eye-opening to see repeated themes.

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What I know – I am a TEACHER, number one. I want to inspire people to think differently and learn something about themselves they didn’t know.

What I want YOU to know – I share my story, not because it’s a one size fits all solution to every similar story, but because there are tools we can all implement to live fuller, brighter, purpose-filled lives.

We are three-in-one uniquely designed beings – body, mind, and soul. I would love to partner with you to discover how to spark wholeness in your life.

My 2019 word of the year is SOAR. Soar means to maintain height without flapping wings or using engine power.

In 2019, I want to depend less on my own wing-flapping and engine power and focus on HIS power. I want to rise above fear and negativity and maintain distance from them. I want every move I make to be a reflection of the grace and peace and FREEDOM I have been given as a child of God, and I so desperately want you to experience this true freedom as well, in every area of your life.

Learning from my December Lows

The hardest part about living with a chronic illness is living with a chronic illness.

Meaning, I have to be aware of my triggers, the things that make me sick, at all times. Excess busyness, excess activity, excess inflammatory foods and alcohol… all those things are difficult to escape in December… but they take a toll on me in ways most people don’t have to worry about.

I go big. I love parties. I love people. I love LIVING life. Until it all becomes too much, and I crash.

This last week I felt a crash. Minimal crash compared to the destructive collisions of the past. I have an excellent support system, I am self-aware, and I am learning to communicate when I need help. So to be clear, I am OKAY. But I knew something was off. I thought I was getting sick. My chest felt tight like I couldn’t breathe, my body felt heavy, and I couldn’t get through my typical yoga practice without taking multiple child poses to rest. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to read my new nutrition book (big sign something was off). I was negative with my husband and my kids, who I love more than the world.

photography of barrel wave
Crash: (noun) a sudden failure which puts a system out of action

Continue reading “Learning from my December Lows”

Being Med-Free: My 4 Year Anniversary

They told me I’d need medication the rest of my life.

4 years ago this week, I was weaned off my last medication, 10 milligrams of Celexa. I had vertigo for 3 weeks. Some days I felt like I was riding a roller coaster. After 18 years of being medicated, it wasn’t an easy transition for my body.

My doctor said I was ready. I was eating healthier, working out regularly, and sleeping consistently. I would never have done this without her support. This wasn’t the typical bipolar action of, “Hey, I’m going off all my meds!” It was something that took years in the making. It wasn’t a decision anyone took lightly.

It took time to adjust. I needed to actively monitor my stress levels. I needed to remember to slow down and rest. I took my supplements diligently. I ran. A year and a half later, I found yoga.

Today I feel better than I ever have.

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Continue reading “Being Med-Free: My 4 Year Anniversary”

Tis the Season… for Transition

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Guest Contributor: Myles Wren

We all go through various life seasons. Some are pleasant; some are not so pleasant. I asked my friend Myles to share about her experience with emotional wellness during those aching times of transition. Myles is one of my favorite people to “follow” on Instagram. She is so classy, fashion-wise and life-wise. Her style inspires me and her personality and drive motivate me! I knew she would drop some words of wisdom on this topic of transition, and she doesn’t disappoint. If your conviction button doesn’t go off on this one, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Kidding… Kinda. – Erin

2018 was full of transition. Quite frankly none of the transition that I experienced this year felt good and it wasn’t easy to go through; it was all very difficult for me. I started the year off in a very comfortable place, with people around me that made my life fun and exciting. By mid-year, all that changed and without any warning my perfectly comfortable you-don’t-need-to-put-any-effort-into-what-you’re-doing-because-it’s-a-too-easy-life, was no longer.

Talk about bubble busting!

So, here we are having just passed Thanksgiving and fast-tracking towards Christmas and the New Year! (I’m still in shock that we’re here already.) I want to share with you a few things that I learned about myself having gone through a bad season of transition. Continue reading “Tis the Season… for Transition”

Holding On To My Teen

Currently, there are one gazillion articles floating through cyberspace about holding your babies longer because “time passes so quickly and before you know it they’ll be grown.” And yes, those of us with littles need to be reminded of that ON THE DAILY. It is physically exhausting chasing little kids and constantly being puked on, pooped on, peed on. I have holes in my walls and stains in my carpet as battle scars from my two active little boys. I never go to the bathroom alone, and taking a shower alone (or at least without someone screaming at me) is a luxury as well.img_4756

As moms of littles, our mommy guilt usually involves thoughts of “Would I give them more quality time if I was working away from them?” or the opposite – “Am I missing out on too much because I work away from them?” Or maybe even the occasional, “Am I screwing them for life up by letting them have candy for breakfast because I don’t want to hear another tantrum?”

But there is something missing in this ongoing conversation topic. When the days of toddler tantrums are over, the years of elementary school performances and participation trophies are long gone, what is left? Does time speed up now that we’re done with those long, difficult days?

I wish.

They tell us “the days are long but the years are few.” I disagree.

The battle scars of the toddler years are nothing compared to the battle scars of the teen years.

Continue reading “Holding On To My Teen”

Top Tips for Immune Support

Fall is here, winter is coming, and with both – all sorts of viruses. Hand sanitizer and a flu shot that is estimated to be less than 20% effective this year is not enough for me. Managing cold and flu season for my family requires the same 4 steps as managing my mental illness:

  • Nutrition
  • Supplementation
  • Movement
  • Relaxation

1. Nutrition – let’s start with sugar. Sugar is public enemy number one when it comes to illness. It will wreck your immune system. Studies have shown that at a blood sugar level of 120 (easily obtained by drinking a soda or juice or a latte or eating candy or a cookie), the white blood cells’ ability to absorb and destroy viruses and bacteria reduce by 75%. It takes 4-6 hours to get back to normal. Don’t forget that refined carbs like processed white flour spike blood sugar even more than sugar itself (like that burger or sandwich you had for lunch AFTER you had a muffin or toast for breakfast). Think about that when you’re figuring out what to do with your kid’s Halloween stash. Continue reading “Top Tips for Immune Support”

Where My Political Loyalties Lie

I am conflicted. Political ads make my stomach hurt. The next election looms before me like a thick gray cloud, filled with double standards and broken systems and sanctimonious voices crying that their way is the best way. I can’t choose, because I see light and darkness on BOTH sides, and sadly, I see my Christian brothers and sisters contributing to the noise.

On one political side, we say black lives matter. The other side scrambles to save the unborn black lives (at the expense of voting a self-proclaimed womanizer into the highest office).

On one side, we say we want freedom for women to choose, to have control over their own bodies. But we still believe in one-size-fits-all medicine. We don’t want those women to have informed consent and choose what they believe to be necessary for their children based on genetic factors and previous medical history. The vaccine-injured fight to be heard, yet we want the sexually abused and misused to have freedom and safety to cry out “me too!”

We don’t want to serve a “gay wedding cake” and we want rights to be able to serve whom we choose for religious reasons, but only for OUR religion. Posting the Ten Commandments in a building is okay, but don’t mention anything about the Koran.

Both sides want to address mental health reforms, but neither side wants to acknowledge that maybe the corrupt food industry and big pharma with all its “side effects” play a part in making matters worse.

We want to honor those who give their lives for freedom to peacefully protest, but we don’t want to honor a peaceful protest for those who give their lives HERE, based on the color of their skin. Continue reading “Where My Political Loyalties Lie”

Active Monitoring

I taught public school for 11 years, and every spring we received a special training in “active monitoring.” Nobody looks forward to active monitoring. It is the  job teachers take on during the end of year state assessments. All certified teachers must stay on their feet during the majority of the test, walking up and down the aisles, making sure nobody is looking at another test, or marking in another section, or eating, or ANYTHING that would cause them to get marked up as a “state testing irregularity.” I dreaded these days every year, because I knew if I lost focus for one second, something could happen and I would get marked up and have my state teaching certificate questioned or revoked or torn up or SOMETHING horrible would happen.

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Living with a mental illness requires active monitoring. Much like how I used to roam the aisles of my classroom, eyes alert for any misconduct or twitch of movement, I constantly roam my brain and my body for signs of disorder.

Continue reading “Active Monitoring”