How to End Comparison and Release the Burden to Be Better

So often in the world of wellness, we find ourselves getting caught up in chasing optimal health yet finding out that there’s always a better goal, diet, plan, solution, etc.

Heather Creekmore is a body image expert, speaker, and the author of Compared to Who along with the newly published The Burden of Better.

In this episode we discuss her newest book, the inspiration behind it, and WHY we need to stop comparing and set aside the heavy burden of better. Download the episode here or listen wherever you get podcasts!

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But that’s not all! Heather and I are excited to share that we are partnering together one last time in 2020 to bring you our 14 day ecourse, Re-Focus 2020! In this course, we tackle the topics of body image, wellness, spiritual health, nutrition, and so much more!

To learn more about Re-Focus 2020, and to sign up, click here.

Being Bipolar in a Global Crisis

No amount of sugar or substance can make my brain buzz the way a dose of hypomania can. The ideas, the thoughts, and the LIFE that course through my head – all those are amplified in a time of crisis or extreme change. Being thrown off my daily routine or sleep schedule is a risk to my mental health. So throwing me into a global pandemic and giving me access to information 24/7 can really shake things up.

I find myself hopping around from medical research sites to conspiracy theory groups to political commentaries and read over all the comments and opinions. I am an excellent mimic. In order to manage my symptoms early on, I found a way to adapt to acceptable behavior and commentary, so I wouldn’t have to stand out any more than my buzzing brain could allow. I know what I shouldn’t voice in public or on social media, at risk of anyone thinking I am “crazy,” the C word accusation being one of my biggest threats. I fear other people’s opinions of me more than the average person, because deep down inside I know that my brain functions differently from everyone else’s, and that is scary. So I turn inward, and obsess, and research some more, and head down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, at the expense of my sanity.

At first the racing thoughts and buzz are a high, and they fuel me and energize me. At some point though, my brain reaches breaking point and I have to make it stop. I’ve been down these roads long enough to know where they end – in verbal explosions or in heavy medication to shut it all off.

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The carousel ride that is bipolar disorder.

So I fight. I maintain my mind by shutting off my triggers. I stop researching, stop listening and reading to anything that will throw me into a black hole of information. I take naps, and I go to sleep early. I’m fortunate in that I’ve never struggled with sleep. I can always breathe myself to sleep. In for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, out for 8 seconds. I burn off the energy through heavy exercise. I write, I dig into my feelings and name what is going on instead of escaping through obsessive behaviors.

The thing about bipolar disorder, is that it manifests differently in everyone. Everyone struggles in a unique way, and everyone has different triggers.

*To hear more details from others who suffer and how they manage, click to listen to Episode 29 of the podcast on my show page or subscribe on iTunes.

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tools for finding stability during times of major stress or life change. Before I list them, here is the caveat – these tools aren’t always effective in the middle of a full-fledged episode. It is really hard to tell someone who cannot physically get out of bed due to depression, “You should just lace up your shoes and go outside. Why are you just laying there?” Or telling someone who’s manic, “Slow down and go to sleep.” It doesn’t work like that. These are physical illnesses that affect the physical function of our bodies. Our brains aren’t capable of telling our bodies to do what our bodies need to do. This is why we have to be on the offense and employ these tools REGULARLY, during times of stability, so that they are habitual and instinctual. The sooner we can tighten up these strategies at the beginning of the roller coaster climb or at the beginning of the dip downward, the better off we will be. Continue reading “Being Bipolar in a Global Crisis”

Re-Focus 2020 – It’s Back!

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Can you believe it’s almost March? This new year isn’t so new anymore. Maybe you’ve already forgotten your word of the year, or broken your resolution. Or… maybe you’re still figuring out if you should have a word or resolution!

In January, my friend, body image expert and author of Compared to Who, Heather Creekmore, joined me to coach 50 women in an online group called Re-Focus 2020. This group was a huge success. We both believe strongly that being caught up in body perfection is enslaving. We created the group because we want to help women change their views of themselves and find purpose outside of the scale, pants size, or mirror. We want women to see that there are ways to nourish yourself that have nothing to do with a restrictive diet plan.

Here’s what a few participants had to say about their experience in January: 
Continue reading “Re-Focus 2020 – It’s Back!”

The Age of Outrage

I try to be very intentional about what I choose to speak out on. I am a woman with a LOT of opinions on a lot of things, but I prize relationships over my opinions so I don’t speak up if I fear it will hinder authentic relationship-building.

That being said, I have spent the last 5 days silently observing the frenzy taking over my newsfeeds. It has deeply disturbed me, though maybe not for reasons you would think. I’m ready to speak up now.

We are currently caught up in a viral response system. We are tangled up in an age of outrage, and nobody is immune.

As a result of this age of outrage, everyone is REACTING to everything, and nobody is RESPONDING to anything. And there’s a physiological reason this is occurring.

But before I explain that, here is what I mean by the age of outrage:

After a skillful performance that was a dazzling and empowering celebration of Latin American culture at the Super Bowl halftime show, my newsfeed blew up in criticism. I’m not surprised by much anymore, but that caught me off guard. I didn’t expect anything different from performers like Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, so I didn’t understand the outrage and shock. (Side note – I also spent most of the show dancing along and trying to do whatever they were doing, so I didn’t scrutinize every movement either.) Did it bother me that a 50 year old has to strive to look like a 25 year old to stay relevant and desirable? Maybe. But again, I didn’t expect anything different from the entertainment industry.

What affected me the most and what caused me to silently observe, hesitant to say anything at all, is that everyone seemed to be REACTING based on their own perception of the show, based on their own life stage and season, based on their own personal triggers. And so many of these reactions and post fed MORE posts, and shares, and back and forth commentaries.

For this reason, I am NOT going to share any more of my personal views, as they are multi-layered and will cause division and have nothing to do with the reason I am writing this. Now, I could talk about clothing choices and unfortunate camera angles (seriously – was J Lo’s gynecologist filming???) but that’s not what I want to get at here. Continue reading “The Age of Outrage”

A Taste of Grace – Interview with Melissa d’Arabian

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to sit down and talk to Melissa d’Arabian, Food Network host and author of the bestselling Ten Dollar Dinners, about her newest book Tasting Grace.

In her book, Melissa describes 16 invitations that transform the way we view food and our relationship with food.

I don’t know about you, but I have felt burdened by all the food rules lately. Everyone has an opinion on what is “good” or “bad” food. This book was a breath of fresh air in shaping my perspective on food as a gift and a joy.

In my interview with Melissa, she talks about why she chose to write this book, the intentional process she went through in forming it, and she shares some of her views that helped shaped the invitations in this book.

If you are feeling caught up and confused in the “eat this, not that” culture we live in, this book and episode of the podcast offers a fresh and balanced perspective. Food can unite us, and we can utilize what we’ve been given to be filled with more gratitude – and grace.

If you love this interview, I can’t recommend the book enough. It is a love letter to food and the Giver of good things. For more information on Melissa, check out her website here.

Be sure to subscribe to the Sparking Wholeness podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts! To access my show page, click the tree to the right!

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Kanye, Bipolar Disorder, Religiosity, and My Thoughts

While my entire Facebook feed is filled with articles and comments about Kanye West’s new album and recent conversion, I have stayed silent. Why?

Because number one, I don’t really know anything about Kanye to begin with (other than the time he hijacked Taylor Swift’s speech on the VMAs and the famous rant about George Bush not caring about black people). He has kids with weird names and a wife with an awesome body. That’s about all I know. Superficial? Maybe. I can’t tell you the name of any of his songs. They’re not on my running playlist.

Number two, what he does or says doesn’t have any affect on me personally. If he wants to sing songs about being rich and famous or songs about Jesus – cool. I typically don’t speak up about issues in pop culture unless I feel they have some kind of heart-twisting impact on me and my life… or if they have some kind of mental health connection.

So when I heard he suffers from bipolar disorder, that’s when the light bulb turned on. How did I miss this? Talk about a plot twist! It led me to take an interest in all the Kanye news of the last year or so. While many out there are debating whether his conversion is real or a publicity stunt, my first thought upon learning this is – is this all a manic episode?

Continue reading “Kanye, Bipolar Disorder, Religiosity, and My Thoughts”

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”

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.

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”