Tag Archives: life coaching

Hold the Shame, Pass the Sweet Potato Fries

23 Feb
The day I decided to nourish and accept myself. It was a good day.

The day I decided to nourish and accept myself. It was a good day.

I don’t think we ever plan on ordering a side of shame with our sweet potato fries. I know I didn’t, but it happened. There I was, standing by the sweet potatoes in the grocery aisle, having a full-on guilt-trip about whether I should buy them or not.

I picked up the sweet potato. “No, it’s a starch.” I put the sweet potato back. “I don’t want to make my stomach issues any worse.”

“But my body needs carbohydrates.” I picked up the sweet potato again. Anxiety swept through my body. “I shouldn’t.” I put the sweet potato back. “I’ll just buy a butternut squash instead.”

Have you ever experienced the constant chatter of “shoulds” and “should nots” running through your mind about food? It’s exhausting, and believe me, you aren’t alone.

In 2008 my stress levels were at an all-time high, which turned into my health’s all-time low. I was diagnosed with low hormones, stage III adrenal fatigue, gluten intolerance and a parasite. Yippee. Part of my health restoration included cleaning up my nutrition, so I did. I felt physically fantastic and I was quickly healing… but emotionally, I began to get anxious around food.

Throughout this time, I continued my studies with nutrition and the psychology behind it to better help my clients. It was through this journey that I finally saw the disconnect between the valuable health coaching I was giving my clients, and the fact that I wasn’t listening to any of it in my own life.

I realized that I was using food to “fix” everything I thought was wrong with my life and me. This awareness lead me to read Marianne Williamson’s book “A Course in Weight Loss,” where I was introduced to the concept of mindful eating. A concept that stated I could truly enjoy food without judgment AND use it to nourish my body. Umm, yes please! It was the Cat’s Meow and I had to learn more, so I did. And I practiced. A lot. And I realized that food is not only a great source of enjoyment, but also an opportunity to nourish our body and respect our inner wisdom.

Thankfully, I also realized that food isn’t the only source of pleasure in our lives. Our heart is hungry for a lot of things: companionship, laughter, gratification, acceptance. Maybe that sweet craving isn’t for our favorite sweet treat, but maybe it’s for more sweetness in our life. More smiles. More bubble baths. And I’m pretty sure more hugs, which I have plenty to share… along with my sweet potato fries.

 

If you are holding yourself back from fully living life until you lose weight or have the perfect body, or you struggle with food anxiety, fatigue, cravings and digestive upset, please join me for Truly Nourished. This eight-week journey will help you move through negative self-talk, build a supportive environment, teach you to listen to your body and awaken your natural ability to support your health and well-being. Classes begin soon. Please contact me at stephsbell@yahoo.com for more information and to register.

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I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

12 Jan

ghost-crab_w725_h476Have you ever heard of the Crab Theory? It’s pretty interesting. Here it goes: if you place one crab in a pot, it will easily crawl out, but if you put multiple crabs in a pot, they will pull anyone down who tries to escape to ensure they all meet the same fate.

There are many theories on the why: jealousy, resentment, equal the playing field, feel better about themselves… kinda sounds like human nature, huh? Have you ever attempted to make a positive change, like cutting down on cookie consumption, only to have your spouse restock the cookie stash (after you asked him/her not to) or your best friend telling you you’re “no fun” since you don’t want to go to the coffee shop that sells your favorite cookies? Yep, that sucks and makes doing something good for yourself feel like a drag.

Social support is critical when making positive change. So until your new change has become a habit, try spending a bit more time with people who build you up and a little less time with those that tear you down. While you build your new power posse (the friends and family that will go on a walk with you and enjoy eating healthier foods), try communicating the importance of why you are changing to your other friends and family and how much you’d appreciate their support. You can even assure them that while you want to be healthier for your grandkids, you will not guilt or pressure them to do the same. Who knows, if they don’t feel judged or feel scared that you’ll leave them behind, they may even warm up to ditching those cookies too.

Mindful Eating for the Holidays: A Guide to Ditching Food Shame and Elastic Waistbands (Part 1)

10 Nov

Have you ever finished your Thanksgiving meal feeling bloated, guilty for what you “shouldn’t have eaten” and wishing you had on expandable panel pants with fart-blocking odor technology? Sucks, doesn’t it? Feeling miserable is no way to spend your holidays. So let’s cut the self-loathing and bring Holiday Cheer back with mindfulness.

Mindful eating is not some woo-woo foodie concept. All it means is to be aware of the nourishment that real food provides us without the judgment and criticism (aka enjoyment!). And it starts by paying attention to what our body is telling us (not our mind).

So let us reclaim the wisdom of our body, shall we? Rather than ignoring the signs of suffering that is evident in the farting, burping and bloating, let’s help our body ditch the Rodney Dangerfield complex and show it a little respect.

The next time you eat a meal, listen to your body and take note (buying a special journal for this works best) of how you feel. If you feel energized, satisfied and your skin is glowing–your on the right track. If you feel sluggish and your poop smells like last weeks rotting cabbage, don’t judge and berate yourself for what or how much you ate, just say, “Sorry body. What can I do differently to feel and look better next time?” And that’s when you’ll check out my handy-dandy chart below to make small changes to feel awesome!

Action Jackson: Practice listening to your body now, so when Thanksgiving rolls around, you’ll have a more attuned idea of what portions and what types of food work well for you. If you need more personalized support, shout me a holla’ down at stephsbell@yahoo.com and we can work together to help you reach food relationship bliss.

Digestive Symptoms_Page_1

Digestive Symptoms_Page_2

We Never See Our True Beauty

29 Sep
Are you ready to feel amazing?

Are you ready to feel amazing?

I was 17, the summer before senior year, watching a PBS documentary on ballet dancers. I, a dancer myself, was in awe of their beauty and grace. About 10 minutes into the documentary, I had an awakening.  Let me back up…

Like many females, I have wrestled with body image issues since I was young. I was called a “dog” more times than I care to admit and have been ridiculed for being too skinny, too flat-chested, too dorky, too everything! Unfortunately, I chose to believe those comments and soon found myself staring at my body and face in the mirror with hatred and disgust. All I could see was a homely girl with frizzy hair, glasses, a flat chest and a big butt. I even created a mantra in high school, “I’m glad I’m not pretty, because I actually had to develop a personality.” I used that mantra a lot.

But then came that PBS documentary. As I was watching the ballerinas, I realized they were small-chested like me; had a muscular butt and thighs like me. I went numb processing that discovery. For once in my life, I felt like I belonged. I felt like it was finally okay to have the body I have, regardless of what anybody else said.

We never see our true beauty…

I’m not over my body issues. I’ve used food to cope with loneliness and to “fix” me; and I’ve believed that when I’m prettier with a better body, I will finally deserve happiness. I worry because I work in the fitness industry—an industry notorious for placing emphasis on how an individual looks, rather than how healthy and happy they feel—and who wants to train with a fitness coach who has a (gasp!) flawed body?! Through a lot of practice, I’ve become more mindful, more aware that I don’t have to wait until I’m “fixed” to live my life fully. There’s nothing to fix.

Breathe that in… there is nothing to fix.

Whether we’ve been teased for being too fat or too thin; too tall or too short; red hair or blond hair—it hurts all the same. I work with amazing people who struggle daily with losing weight, feeling energetic and healthy, knowing what to eat and thinking that their life would be better if only they looked like this month’s magazine cover girl. I can relate. So, here’s a thought, let’s work on loving ourselves, on embracing our beauty, showing compassion towards others, being mindful of our own needs and celebrating each other for our intelligence, humor and grace. Let’s encourage each other to have strong, healthy bodies; let’s compliment each other; let’s be ridiculously gorgeous without apology; let’s cook healthy amazing food and feed it to our friends and family; let’s be the person our loved ones can be proud of—that we can be proud of. Let us just BE… and embrace all that that is.

If you would like to feel truly nourished and create self-acceptance and body freedom, join me for a 6-week course beginning October 21st, 2014. Please email or call for more details. 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

Negative Self Talk: A Love Story

18 Aug
IMG_1126

Sometimes you feel like you are struggling to get to the top, until you realize just how beautiful the journey is.

One day Negative Nancy met Negative Ned at the grocery store. Which, of course, never really happened because they were both so caught up in their own head that they couldn’t even acknowledge each other. Thus Negative Nancy and Negative Ned continued being negative.

Then one day Negative Nancy was checking out the strawberries because, as she told herself, “I’m so fat. I need to eat better, because this,” she grabbed her stomach, “is so disgusting.” Negative Ned was two feet away at the supplements aisle checking out the protein powder because he thought, “I need to get ripped. No woman wants to date some scrawny loser.”

Negative Nancy placed her strawberries in her cart and glanced to see an attractive man looking at supplements. That same man she saw two weeks ago. They made eye contact. She immediately looked down, slouched her posture and thought, “He’s so handsome. He can’t see me–I look horrible. Get out of here!”

As Negative Ned turned towards the fruit stand to buy some berries for his protein smoothie, he made eye contact with a beautiful woman. That same beautiful woman he saw two weeks ago. “Say something, smile. No,” he told himself, “she’d never talk to you.”

Negative Nancy and Negative Ned stole glances from time to time as they continued shopping. Finally, Negative Nancy stopped in an aisle and took a few deep breaths. “Okay. You can do this. You are a smart and caring person. Any man would be lucky to have you. Now stand up straight, and if you are lucky enough to run into him again, smile. You can do this.”

One aisle over, Negative Ned was doing the same thing, “C’mon man. You’re funny, you’re a good guy,” he told himself, “say hello and ask her a question. You got this.”

Once again, Negative Nancy and Negative Ned met… well… their carts crashed into each other.

“Whoa! I’m sorry! I should NOT drink while driving,” Ned said, holding up his water bottle and smiling.

Nancy laughed. They continued chatting and laughing, and then they realized that being Nancy and being Ned felt really good–no–it felt amazing… and Ned totally got her number. Way to go, Ned!

Aww… love stories. Now I want to hear from you. When you notice the negative self talk going on in your head, try these three tips, because you never know what you could be missing around the corner.

  1. Congratulate yourself because you are aware.
  2. Notice how your body is reacting (what is your posture like, how does your stomach feel, etc.).
  3. Take four deep breaths and think of two positive qualities about yourself.

How do you feel now? What is helpful about these three tips? What other strategies do you use that are helpful? Sharing is caring, so leave a comment below.

Go get ’em, Tiger!

Why is Stillness So Dang Hard to Do?

28 Jul
Lauritzen Botanical Gardens, Omaha, NE. I find peace in nature.

Lauritzen Botanical Gardens, Omaha, NE. I find peace in nature.

It’s scary to be still.

Our brain can be such a nasty thing when we want to be present. “Hey lazy,” it will shout, “how about you get off your butt and do something for once! Try losing a few pounds, loser. You aren’t going to get that promotion–you’re not good enough. Ya sure, they’d go out with you–if you were the last person on Earth.”

Ouch.

It’s a blessing that we aren’t our thoughts. In fact, sometimes they desire a verbal Kung Fu chop back to reality with factual examples of all the times you’ve experienced success–big or small. “Hey Brain. Actually, I just finished a 30-minute workout and replaced my daily soda with this awesome herbal tea–I feel great! And even though I’m nervous waiting to find out about the promotion, that’s okay. I’ve increased my productivity and I’m proud of it. And… I really want to get to know this person and the only way I can know for sure is to ask. Plus, if I was actually the loser person you say I am, then I wouldn’t have such great friends.”

Ka Pow! Kung Fu chopped.

Turn your attention inward again. Listen to your breathing for 10 deep breaths. Listen to your body, not your brain. What is it telling you?

And smile… always smile.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you ever find your monkey mind trash talking yourself with negativity? If so, what do you do or say to silence it?

The Hero’s Journey

8 Jul
The Avengers

The Avengers

I love superhero movies…. and it isn’t because of the spandex (although I won’t complain). It’s the simple fact that these superheroes choose compassion despite their hardships.

 

… and it’s not because they’re pure goodness . They are remarkably human–minus the genius gizmos, gamma ray goodness and demigod status, of course. They make mistakes and face a ton of setbacks along the way. They have a shadow side that doesn’t always act in the best interests of others (well hello Mr. Dark Knight!). There truly is no black and white or good versus evil in my opinion… and I find this refreshing and hopeful.

 

You see, we can learn a lot from superheroes. We can learn to feel our emotions fully and channel them towards the greater good. We can learn to embrace our shadows because therein lies our creativity. And we know that bottling up anger turns us into big green creatures of destruction. True story.

 

So if your brokenhearted, feel the sadness. Grieve the loss, recognize your role in the relationship ending and channel that heartache into volunteering at Habitat for Humanity where you meet the cool volunteer plumber whose best friend just happens to be the future love of your life. Yeah, life really is that generous… if we let it be.

 

Embrace every emotion. Act with compassion. Enjoy the journey.