I love starting the new year with a fresh focus, a fresh intention, maybe even a fresh goal or resolution. But there is so much noise these days, and some of us are still barely hanging on after 2020!
I recently welcomed Thomas Thompson onto the podcast to discuss all the above. Thomas has led churches in Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado for over 25 years. He now works with a coaching ministry, Lead Self Lead Others, as well as a city focused non-profit, COSILoveYou.
In this episode, Thomas shares practical ways for us to cancel out the noise and live with an intentional focus in the new year. Download and listen here or find wherever you get your podcasts.
– The way that 2020 exposed us all
– How increasing connection with others may not be a good thing
– Why harnessing our focus and being intentional is important
– How to prioritize the information we receive
– Dealing with overwhelm, anxiety, and worry
– Daily rhythms to implement
– Why we need to train our brains to direct focus
– How to ask ourselves the right questions and practical tools
Learn more about Thomas and his work at leadselfleadothers.com/thomas-thompson/
Fasting is a practice that has been implemented for thousands of years for a variety of reasons. It isn’t a dieting trend, though it is often misunderstood as another weight loss quick fix. While there are plenty health experts promoting it as a great option to bring balance to your body, optimize insulin sensitivity and support digestion, there are others who treat fasting as if it’s a type of starvation tool that will lead to an eating disorder.
This is why fasting must be addressed with an individualized approach – what I teach in my Feast 2 Fast program!
Most people can benefit from different types of fasts, whether it is a true water fast, or fat fast, or even a bone broth fast. It is a good way to improve your health, and it can be a beneficial spiritual discipline as well.
The majority of studies on the trendy 16:8 style of intermittent fasting have been done on men and postmenopausal women, so it’s important for women who still have a menstrual cycle to nourish hormones and not restrict food too much at all cycle phases. That can really backfire and cause stress to your body!
My advice? Start with a 12 hour fast. Everyone can benefit from a 12 hour break between their last meal and first meal. And hey – if you’re sleeping 8 hours at night most of your fasting will happen then, which makes it even easier!
This program is one of the most science-based approaches to health I have seen! But we don’t just target physical health; that’s secondary. Every day you will receive nourishment for your soul in the form of a short devotional. We even meet weekly on Zoom to individualize our approaches to even more!
“Through Feast 2 Fast I learned to listen to the natural cues from my body. After years of dieting I had stopped listening to the natural cues like hunger. Feast 2 Fast slowed me down and forced me to listen and learn what is best for my body and not just follow it because some ‘diet’ tells me it’s right. It literally brought joy back to my relationship with food!!” – Jen
“The feast to fast program allowed me to stop and really think about the way food affects me. It was truly like a reset and I now feel more in-tune with my body and mind! I lost a lot more weight than I expected and gained confidence in my ability to listen to my body!! That is priceless!” – Laura
My friend Heather Creekmore (Compared to Who) and I teamed up in January to bring a different kind of detox for the new year. We wanted to bring women a mindset detox, heart detox, and a spiritual reset about health and body image. It was a success!
We start our final round on November 30. In this 14 day e-course, you will receive daily videos from me and Heather, written inspirational posts, and tips for whole body health. I include a FREE recipe download for all participants, and Heather provides her ebook “Mountain Top Experience: Personal Body Image Retreat.”
The cost of the group is only $28. This includes two full weeks of daily content, an additional month of access (in case you get behind or want to watch the videos again!), interactions with me & Heather through the week, and a live Q&A call on Zoom where you can get your questions answered! Other online coaching courses may cost about the same –but you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a course like this that will give you direct access to the facilitators through Facebook conversations every day!
Here’s what a few past participants have said:
“Listening to the heartfelt, prayerful, and knowledgeable videos by Erin and Heather was like having good friends giving me a heart-to-heart. I looked forward to every single video and post, and gained a renewed and healthier perspective on food and body image. Thank you so much!”
“This was a GREAT value for my money. I couldn’t believe how available Heather and Erin were to answer my questions and dialogue about tough issues. I’m sad it’s over!”
“I loved this group so much. . .Every single post was so well planned. I liked that both Heather and Erin would reply to people’s comments. I learned tons from the posts and the videos but I also learned from the comment section.”
Sign up here! You don’t want to miss this opportunity to renew your heart, mind, and body this holiday season!
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!
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.
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.
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”→
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.
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”→
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!
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?
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.