All that we consume—food, relationships, media, energy—either feeds us or drains us. Are you making the connections?
We hear the phrase repeatedly — you are what you eat. We actually are. We are the living, breathing manifestation of our intake. Why? Because it’s all connected. All parts of our lives intersect and make up our amazingness. But here’s the thing: we don’t get to overlook one part of ourselves and think we get a pass, or that the other aspects of ourselves can carry the burden. That strategy only lasts for so long.
If you were to take a literal inventory of your daily intake, not just the obvious food and beverage, but also of energy — how are the people you’re hanging around with making you feel? How do you feel when doing your work? What kind of media are you consuming — disturbing nightly news before bed, trashy gossip magazines, social media? Or things that uplift you and feel expansive? Note the common denominator: How does this make you feel?
Are you asking yourself that question when you are consuming?
A + B = C. What we consume and why we consume it produces our present day outcome. Uh oh. That means we have a role in this and accountability for what’s not working. The flip side of that and the good news is that it’s also in our hands to shift it, to claim our true essence and step into our vibrant selves.
It’s easy to get stuck. Whether we like to admit it or not, and even for all those who pride themselves for being adventurous, those who like to shake things up — on some level, we are creatures of habit. And one of those places is with our vices; yep, we’ve all got ‘em. Don’t try to kid a kidder!
When I look back over the course of my life there were so many vices, probably too many to recount.
I’ve pretty much run the gamut. Sugar (check). Cigarettes (check). Caffeine and Wine (check, check). Relationships that hurt me (check). Reality TV that zapped me (check). Oh, alright…and anything salty, crunchy and remotely resembling a potato chip (check).
We all have different things that motivate us to look at our vices. For me it was weight (yes, vanity can be a great motivator). The sugar addiction goes waaay back, all the way to childhood. Just ask my teeth! But it wasn’t the diet of choice for a young teenage fashion model living in Paris. I remember my strategy quite well, and all of the shame that accompanied it. All I knew at the time was that I wanted pastries (it was Paris after all!). I would go down to the local patisserie and purchase, not 1, but 2 sugary delights. (FYI – in France, that would feed a family). I’d take them home and devour them all by myself, never tell anyone and hide it all from my agent. If I wanted more, I’d head back out; however, I always made sure not to go to the same patisserie (I didn’t want to make them think I was a pig). Ha.
There’s so much to unpack just in that single purge:
- Sugar never satisfies you and will always leave you wanting more, like any good self-destructive relationship. Today I think of sugar as legalized crack.
- I was more concerned with what other people thought than what I thought — more worried that others might be counting my intake than taking time to understand what I was doing to myself.
I didn’t have the tools to ask, What’s going on here? You are sneaking around eating foods that aren’t satisfying you and simultaneously sabotaging your modeling career. Hmmm. I didn’t yet know how to get underneath things, how to search for deeper meanings. There were lots of underlying reasons why I was doing what I was doing, but it would take me decades to begin to peel back those layers. Even a decade later, in New York City with a successful career, I was beginning my day with a doughy white bagel and a double cappuccino followed by a birth control pill. I never questioned that my low-grade depression may have been associated with any of those things. Again, I wasn’t asking questions. I wasn’t connecting dots. And I carried on consuming unconsciously.
Fast forward to today, I recently embarked upon a dietary reset which involves cutting out many of my favorite things: wine, caffeine, dairy and a few other food items. Sugar is off limits as well, which thankfully no longer has its clutches upon me. I no longer eat a lot of sugar, but I drink a lot of sugar. Wine is liquid sugar in a pretty glass.
It’s interesting what comes up for us when we not only refrain from things, but we bring a new level of consciousness to them — and what comes up when we redesign our relationship to them altogether. My approach at this point in my life is quite different than it was as a young 16-year-old in Paris, left to her own sugary devices. I let cigarettes go over 7 years ago and the funny thing is that I never think about them now. I curiously look back and ask, Who was that person? I got underneath my smoking. I began to discover what it was I was searching for and what I thought it was providing me on a subconscious level.
There is a belief that our lungs hold our sorrow and that smoking is a means to self-medicate that pain. And for me, cigarettes also represented a ‘time-out’, a break, ‘me time’. But there had to be a better way to handle all of this without being destructive to my body. The tricky thing is that when we remove one thing, we can easily replace it with another. For me, wine became the new cigarette. Removing that of late has been an interesting journey.
I share some of these stories with you, not to tell you what to eat or to shame you in any way, but rather to prod you to take your own inventory and ask yourself how consuming anything makes you feel, before, during and after — and what’s underneath it.
Bottom line: Everything we consume either feeds us or drains us, heals us or hurts us.
And if I can get under this stuff, so can you. I want you to dust off and reconnect to your sparkle!
I’m going to break this down into 3 categories: Mind, Body & Spirit
- MIND: Look around and assess your environment — what makes you feel constricted, deprived or uplifted? Take a look at the information you are consuming: the news, the kinds of movies you watch, what are the people you hang with talking about? Everything falls into one of two categories — it either feeds you or it pulls you down. It either feeds your self-defeating thoughts, your limited beliefs, judgment of others, sense of blame and martyrdom — or it defeats those things. We all know the buzz we feel following time spent with someone who lifts us up, sees the best in us and pushes us along towards our best selves. More of that please! (Conversely, we’ve all felt the buzz-kill)…
- BODY: Food is medicine, end of story. As my friend Dr. Will Cole says, “Every food is either feeding health or feeding health problems.” Is the food you are putting in your mouth feeding your body or taxing it in some way? Check in and ask yourself how you feel while you consume it. Does it feel nurturing or guilt-ridden? And when all is said and done, do you feel energized or fatigued — is your body happy? Are you happy with this body?
- SPIRIT: Give yourself an energy audit. Do you sparkle and shine brightly or are you feeling drained, dulled and lethargic? Are you feeling connected to others, to nature, yourself and a higher power? Or is there a sense of isolation? Sometimes the world around us can feel out of control and overwhelming. One gesture can shift the energy. One step of helping others, helps us. One step of helping us, helps others. Unleash your intuitive voice — the one that skips and sings. Listen, follow your passions, follow your gut instincts — and refrain from anything and anyone who doesn’t fit into that equation.
Awareness and truth-telling are your precious reset buttons. I get all the realities you may have in your current circumstances that you feel may be blocking your way. I know that the longer we are away from ourselves, the longer the journey home may feel. However, I can tell you that one small step can initiate great change. One small act of self-love and kindness, like removing a food or a toxic relationship from your life — can create ripple effects of goodness in your world.
Yes please. I’ll have another serving of that guilt-free pie!
Do 1 thing, make 1 shift and see what unfolds. You are meant to live vibrantly, passionately and happily ever after. Your unstoppable Best Self awaits — so what are you waiting for? And one last thing, this isn’t about perfection or being a purist. Life is meant to be rich and diverse — but it’s also meant to be mindful. You know what feels good for you, body, mind and spirit. Go forth and do more of that!
As always, I LOVE to hear from you. Where are you consciously or unconsciously consuming?