One of the first audio books I ever listened to was called "The Fitness Lifestyle."
The first (or one of the first sentences in the book was something to the effect of "your body is just the outward representation of the condition of your brain."
Out loud in my car I responded with "you arrogant fucker. How dare you pretend you know the state of my brain."
I mean never mind that I was deep in the middle of depression and anxiety.
Never mind that 3 months later I would attempt suicide.
This body was not a brain problem.
This body was a laziness problem…
It was a food problem.
It was a fitness problem.
There was no way this was a brain problem.
I listened to the book.
I made plans for my fitness as the author suggested
I broke plans for my fitness as was the custom.
I put the information about the state of my brain deep in the back corner of said brain where it collected dust.
Until very recently.
I bought a “Manifestation detox” in January. I did it for 6 days. Then I quit…because detoxes suck mostly (but I wanted to manifest some more money. And I can for sure stop sugar for 6 days to have the magical money cloud open up.)
On the free coaching call, the purveyor of the detox was describing her program as a place where people quit sugar so they can feed their body what it is really calling out for. (Of course you cure your sugar cravings by stopping the consumption of sugar…which has worked suuuppper well for me all the other 500 times I have tried it.)
I responded with this thought which I didn’t even know was in my just fine brain: “What if ones life has so little fun and joy in it that what their body is truly calling out for is sugar and gluten. What if that’s the joy and that’s why ones body is calling out for it.”
She had no answer for this.
I quickly realized that this was not a rhetorical question. This was real life Sarah asking a real life desperate question (but please remember that my brain was just fine, thank you.)
I bought another detox in March. You could gather by just this post that I am very well versed in what happens during a detox.
I got the typical headache, fatigue and bad mood.
In 6 days those symptoms did not lift. They stayed present. The depression I felt was slightly alarming because I had not been feeling acutely depressed before the detox.
On day 6 during my meditation, the voice of God (or whoever) broke in and very clearly stated “Sarah, you will never be able to diet your way out of this.”
It wasn’t the first time. I used to scour the Bible for diet advice and always landed on such gems as “it’s not what goes into your mouth, it’s what comes out” (words) or “eat the fat, and sweet, drink the wine.”
I just assumed that God had nothing very science based to say about diets and moved on to asking for advice on something else.
Everyone will tell you that what you eat is for sure the cure to everything that ails you. Mental and physical. There is nothing some super foods and gluten removal can't fix.
Except it never did.
On day 7 of the detox I went out for sushi. The depression lifted. The fatigue went away and I thought maybe that voice of God had something real to say.
After I quit detoxing, I continued to meditate and listen to books by Dr. Joe Dispenza. He speaks at length about the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and it’s role in regulating your body. In addition to listening to his books, I also started researching the ANS on my own. I stumbled across a video about it’s role in energy regulation which basically said this:
If your brain waves are disorganized, your ANS is unable to properly digest food and regulate energy production. Wait...so all this calorie defect just gets fucked by my brainwaves. Is that why I'm still overweight 2,000 protein smoothies later????? Is that why I can only actually force myself to eat well for 6 days before my head explodes???
This little factoid dusted off that old bit of fitness lifestyle wisdom with a gust of fresh air.
This IS a brain problem. And not even a conscious brain problem. Not a problem that can be solved with affirmations or more fitness knowledge. It is a problem that can only be solved by organizing my brain waves.
One of the best ways to make coherent brain waves is through meditation. Which ironically, I am very into and can get super excited about. Ever since I made this discovery, I have meditated for an hour each day. I have no weight loss data to report, but I can tell you that I actually feel like a different human. Plus those disorganized brainwaves took a while to establish and this time I will employ as much patience as I have.
Here is what I want you to know. If you struggle to lose weight and if you have tried all the detoxes, diets, fitness protocols and things that don’t light you up, look to the things that do light you up.
It’s easy for me to fit meditation into my day. I love doing it. I cannot say the same of diets or exercise (cue lifelong personal trainer hiring because I do love muscles).
There is something that is the same for you. Maybe it is working out. My husband loves doing weight room things. I have friends who say things like “my day is not complete without my workout.” If that truly lights them up, that’s their thing.
But friends, please find your thing…and know that if you have been struggling unsuccessfully to fit your desires into the current trends of diet and exercise, you are not lazy. You are not flawed. You might need to try something outside of what is normal.
I spent my whole life thinking “there has got to be a way to be a healthy thriving and super hot human without doing HIIT (HAATE) or eating kale (spoiler alert...it's not super tasting).
If meditation is that thing, I am soo down.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the obesity epidemic lately. Maybe it's because I've been part of it for 30 years. In 3 decades my body has had a BMI of 25 twice, lasting for a sum total of approximately 6 months. Both times required a level of dietary restriction and dedication that was pretty superhuman for me. Both times I left that diet thinking "this is the last fucking time I order dry chicken and vegetables in a restaurant.
For three decades (longer than many of my current friends have existed on planet Earth), I have been trying to find the flaw in me that makes me crave food that society says "is not good for me." First I thought it was my will power. I read every book and YouTube video on will power that I could get my hands on. I created habits....Weight Watchers habit, water habit, measure your food habit, track your food habit. Eventually they would all fizzle and I would go back to searching for the flaw. "There must be a mother fucking flaw here, because humans are supposed to be thin. I am not thin. I am also apparently not a weight watcher. Everyone knows that Weight Watchers works. So I must be the non working part." (Aside...a post for a different day is that Weight Watchers works for the same 5% of people that any diet works for.)
In my last decade, I spiritualized it all. Maybe I need to pray over my food. Maybe my food doesn't have enough love in it. It's the trauma. My aura is dented (also the reason for my lack of business success. Dented aura. It's a true problem.)
I'm telling you my struggles because they aren't just mine. Ninety-five percent of people who embark on any given weight loss journey "fail." That's diet culture language. In reality, diets fail 95% of people. That's human with empathy speak for the same statistic.
So this got me wondering for the last couple months. If food and exercise or calories in calories out or sugar or carbs or wellness or it's a live it not a diet (again, please go fuck thyself Weight Watchers) are failing so many people, why are we still studying it. I see wellness people all the time posting a "new" study showing that this exercise pattern or this dietary pattern is the key to weight loss. And still. Not only no weight loss, but not even any significant progress in fixing it.
So what if this....
What if THERE IS NOT AN OBESITY CRISIS.
There is a crisis. Let me be clear. Americans and increasingly other nations are in crisis. But fat is the surface.
As I was studying how to fix my dented aura so I could be finally be healthy, thin, well and visually pleasing, I read 2 books. The first is "The Body Holds the Score" by Bessel Van der Kolk, MD. I think this book should be required reading for humans. It is a fascinating (and scientifically backed) foray in the ways that we hold trauma in our bodies. We all have trauma. Some big, some small, but very few if any of us are not holding some trauma in our bodies.
After I uncovered A LOT of things I was holding in my body, I read "It Didn't Start with You: HOw Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle." by Mark Wolynn. This one took me a looong time to finish because it was a lot to digest and also I don't come from a lineage of people who like to talk about uncomfortable things." So I would basically call and ask my mom 1 question a month.
These 2 books led me to this pondering this morning:
What if my generation has been carrying around generations of trauma that older generations were not equipped to deal with...World Wars, wars that were not world wars, sexual harassment, sexual assault, unrealistic pressures, jobs that we thought we needed that killed our souls and filled our wallets. There are a lot of things in the collective that have just been carried along from generation to generation without healing them. What if the obesity crisis is actually a crisis of us not healing what we came here to heal.
Obesity basically started around the same time as my generation. My generation (xennials and millenials) are clearly hear to stir shit up. We have gone about life rearranging paradigms and old ways of doing things while older generations lose their shit because we aren't doing it there way (why are those stupid millenials so lazy. Why don't they just want to make widgets in a factory. Why are those stupid millenials always on their phone. They should thumb through volumes of books, just like we did it. Does that millenial not wash her own hair????)
I think. I think hard, that this generation is hear to also rearrange the paradigm of our bodies. That our bodies are just the arrangement of our energy. They carry our energy and the genetic imprint of all those who came before us. We are here to heal and change and reshape. BUT...so many people have invested so much in the food and exercise model of <healing???> (can I call it that....that bullshit has been the least healing thing to happen to humanity.)
So what if this. Instead of continuing to buy into a clearly flawed paradigm that is NOT solving a problem and has not solved a problem for decades, what if we acknowledge that a new way of looking at obesity is needed. It is time to stop dealing with surface level fat and dig a little deeper so we can do some individual and collective healing.
One of my true loves in life is researching the spiritual and emotional causes of seemingly unrelated physical symptoms.
I have a weird hive thing going on on my face. I deduced that it was stress-related (when it happened in the complete absence of food consumption or beauty product useage). I didn’t have any real reason for it, and it just popped up seemingly randomly.
But the last couple months it has been persistent. Omnipresent. And annoying AF. So as I was researching, one of the things I came across is that face issues present as a result of not accepting yourself or not liking what you show the world.
I decided to try and see if I could publicly share the things that brought me shame. I know that bringing shame to the light is the quickest way to kill it.
So here is shame point number one.
I always wanted to marry rich. I wanted to marry rich so I would not have to work hard. Here’s the situation. For as long as I have memories, I have hated hard work. Human Design says I hate work on the wrong things…which I suppose is true. There are things I have truly loved working hard on. But I knew from a young (like teenage young) age that I wanted a rich husband so I could pick what I worked hard on.
When I went on my first date with Ryan, he said the word “Vice President” like 700 times.
I was meeting with a bank vice president and…
When I was chatting with the vice president of thingamajig department…
My boss, the vice president of whatchamijiggies….
We had chemistry. He was fabulous and funny.
All those mentions of vice presidents let me know that he was important….at an important bank. I envisioned my life as Eva Longoria in Desperate Housewives.
Eventually we got married and here’s what happened.
I started realizing that the women who got the praise were women who WERE vice presidents of thingamijiggies, not women who married them.
So I pushed. I created opportunities. I was a success. I did what got praise and recognition.
I abandoned that thing I wanted as stupid. I started declaring that I was a CEO and not a mom and wife.
It was exhausting. Part of why I know the exhaustion of settling for that which is not meant for you is that I have been there.
One day I called my upwardly mobile, successful husband crying from the corporate wellness job I had created for myself crying.
“I cannot do this anymore. We are having kids. Because if we have kids, I will get 3 months off from this hell I have created.”
So babies we had. I quit working to be a mom.
My kids go to school now. They are in day care so I can write blog posts. I am basically living the life I always dreamed of. I am also exceptional at manifesting money through Ryan. Like I actually declared his salary before we moved to California.
But I am deeply ashamed of how I live. I keep launching things and scrambling to make money so I can prove that I am a hard-working success.
Very infrequently do I sit here in my beautiful, well-lit California house and be grateful that I manifested the life of my dreams. I forget to consider all that I have manifested a success.
I feel ashamed….like some kind of lazy fraud.
I don't meet the widely accepted 2019 standard of a successful woman.
But in the way that I would coach clients, I am a success in the truest sense of the word, I had a vision. I live a vision.
Here’s the thing about life. You do truly get to define what you consider success. You also have to be in touch with your desires to not be ashamed if your success does not match the definition of success that is widely accepted.
If you are ashamed of your unique successes, it keeps you from moving forward into more successes.
So I’m Sarah. I successfully married rich. I am no longer ashamed of that. I am ready to reclaim the rest of my vision and dreams for my life.
If you are feeling stuck and like you can't move forward into what you envision for your life? Look at where you might be feeling shame around what you have or what you do. Shame serves no purpose but to keep you stuck where you are.
Last night I couldn't sleep. I was tired. I needed sleep. Badly. But here I was, still awake at 3 a.m. in a tornado of body hatred. Why won't you sleep, body? Do you hate me, body? Do you not know how badly we need sleep, body?
So as one would expect at 3 a.m., I wrote my body a nasty-gram. Like a really mean letter. Ryan found it this morning. Like a coach's husband, he said "honey, I want you to do what you would tell a client to do. Write the exact opposite of this letter to yourself. Then read it. A lot.
I actually love the revised letter. Not quite as much as I love my husband for telling me to do it. Read on to see how I transformed a moment of true self loathing into exactly what my body needed to hear:
You are the most brilliant magnificent work created by God. You deserve to be loved and lavished with all the good things. You deserve deep nourishing sleep.
I know you are doing your best, body, and that sleeplessness and excess belly fat are a message from you. Those bags under my eyes and extra weight do not diminish my beauty. They are a sign that I am a human who sometimes ignores the messages her body sends.
You are worthy, powerful and deserving of all the love and support that you need to thrive. In addition to all the healthy food and habits, I acknowledge that sometimes, body you just need a good, sweet perfect brownie. I will not deprive you of this if that is what you truly ask for. I declare, right now, dear body that I will stop caring for you in the way that society tells me is best and I will take care of you in the ways that you show me you need. I am done, body.
I am done ignoring you in favor of what the current and fleeting wisdom on health tells me. I am ready to listen to your message. If that message must come to me at 1 a.m., I will listen and act accordingly. Thank you, body. Thank you for continuing to communicate with me even when I plug my ears and hum at you while you do it.
Do you believe your words have the potential to impact your finances?
Let me tell you a story. When we first moved to California, we set up our life to have the exact same things we had in Minnesota. Kids in private preschool, house, same pets, new car, same eating out budget.
The cost of living in California and Minnesota is not the same. Not even actually close. So we felt broke. Probably at least once a day we would say “we can’t afford it.” Or we are so broke. This went on for a year. Until the fateful day we got the year end statement from our kids preschool. The statement said we spent $30K on preschool in 2016. A light bulb went on. Holy shit, we’re not broke, we’re heavily leveraged in the Spanish preschool industry.
I made a resolution to never say “I can’t afford it again.” As I stopped saying “can’t afford it” and “broke” something weird happened. I stopped being broke. 2017 was the year that we started giving 10% to our church. It was the year that we started affording things that were written in my goals…trips, new beds, business courses and still fancy preschool.
I had known the power of words for a long time, but never really thought about their power to actually change finances.
Everything that comes out of your mouth is a little prayer to God. So if you are trying to get your money to get you more of what you want, saying “I can’t afford it.” Or “we’re broke” is like a little prayer to stay in your current financial reality.
Practice using your words to create the financial that you really want. If you want to continue to be able to not afford the life you desire, for sure keep saying “I can’t afford it.” If you’re ready for a new reality, here are some new words to create a new reality.
10 things to say in place of “I can’t afford it”
Educating our kids is important to me. Honestly, so is alone time. I am an unbelievably introverted human who needs a lot of alone time to maintain life as a me. This investment seems astronomical to lots of people, but it is still worth it to me.
This is what we’re doing in Buh-Bye Broke. We’re setting priorities. We’re making our money deliberately match our desires. We’re learning how to use better language, budgeting tools and being honest about what we want to create a reality that we actually want to live in. If you’re ready for more luscious living and less broke, you can still enroll at the presale price of $197. We start January 11, just in time to make good on your New Year’s Resolution.
There's a narrative that happens whenever the topic of mental health comes up. Check in on your loved ones. Make sure they know you care. I'm here to drop a truth bomb on you.
I don't fucking need you to check in on me.
I don't need one bit of the lip service that comes with a perfunctory text or FB message saying "I hope you are well." I just don't. Those are actually insulting because mental illness does not arise from a crisis of me not being aware that people care if I'm alive or not. I am actually very well aware that many people care enough to text me when I post something worrisome on Facebook or when they haven't seen me at the gym for a while. I'm grateful-ish for this level of caring in my life.
But here's the truth. When I dig into virtually every bout of depression I have suffered through, it boils down to this...I don't have a community. I don't have a community because the world of adult friend making sucks. I'm pretty convinced that's why moms put their kids in so many sports. Because in the absence of sports and activity, there is just no good way to make friends as a grown up.
I have tried to schedule play dates, only to be given the "we're busy for the next 10 months. How does next July sound." Next July sounds shitty. I suppose I could put my kids in a bunch of stuff. But they truly are not interested. Soccer? Hard no. Cheerleading? Nope. Robotics? You guessed it. And since my husband and my kids are currently my ride or die group, I wish not to offend them (and waste my energy) dragging them to activities they don't like in the hope I'll friend another mom.
I cannot figure out how to break the barrier of moms that stands between me and a group of ride or die friends. I held off on writing this because I thought "maybe you're just alone in this." But I see comments all day every day about how alone moms feel. I see and experience first hand how hard it is to build a community. And let me be honest with you. I have no interest in being part of a community of check ins.
Friends, I don't know the answer. But I know this, mental illness is an epidemic in this country. People are suffering in mass from lack of real connection. People are crying out for ride or die friends. While this is happening, we just keep busying ourselves. We are exhausted from working in jobs we may or may not like and living in places that may or may not suit our needs. We are tired from keeping up super mom masks. Tired from bringing our kids to all their sports and events. All this exhaustion means that we have no mental capacity left for building community. And what American needs to fix what ails us is community. In order to form community, we need time to find our people.
So if you are planning to check in with me and have said no to 10 invitations for real connection? Save your 2 minutes. I don't need a check in. I need a community. We need a community. I share my suffering loudly because so many of us suffer really quietly. I have spent actual decades summoning up all my courage to ask people to make plans with me and I am tired and frustrated. I'm likable so people are usually like "yeah...someday." Someday almost never arrives. And because I always wanted to stay likable, I never say what really goes on in my head.
Not knowing why people say no to me is soul crushing. Asking people to hang out only to have them last minute cancel is heart breaking. Offering to fly my people out to see me and having them refuse over and over again wreaks a havoc on my heart that those people will never know (until they read this, then I guess they'll know). I have been praying for a couple days now. Dear God, what is in me that needs to be spoken. Dear God, why am I so tired no matter how I sleep? This is the answer to my tired. I'm tired of trying to build a community. And I'm tired of pretending I'm not hurt by how poorly it's going.
I want to give voice to people who struggle silently and alone, hoping a community will come through for them. I feel you. I am you. I hurt alongside you.
Last year I fell in love again. It was with a man who wasn’t my husband. Let me be really clear here. I love my husband. We are happy. We have sex. We go on dates. We had no indication of being dissatisfied with our relationship.
Given all this love, the last thing I ever expected was to fall in love with someone who wasn’t my husband.
The first time I met the man who I would later fall in love with, I knew that there was something…some kind of weird unexplainable connection. I didn’t love him when I hired him as my personal trainer. Actually in the earliest days, I didn’t even like him. I wanted to fire him, but was scared of hurting his feelings. So I didn’t. Everything works out for our good.
My husband first picked up on my feelings. I didn’t even know something was happening until dinner at a little Italian restaurant. It was a date where we may have spent the entire dinner discussing my personal trainer. Knowing me, as he does, my husband asked: “Do you have feelings for your personal trainer.”
Initially we called this an emotional affair. I was much more invested in the feelings of this human than I had ever been in any other person. It was unknown territory. I had never looked at real life humans as potential partners since the day I met my husband. We had an agreement about Bret Michaels, but other than that, other men were simply passersby in my life.
So we talked, Ryan and I. I continued to meet with this other man a couple times a week to work out. Ryan and I made an agreement. I would be open about my feelings (to Ryan) and we would see what happened. In this agreement, I had full freedom to explore dating, sex and emotional attachment to someone else.
Friends, I want to pause the story here to tell you, that I am unbelievably lucky. My husband did not flip out. He did not stomp around, threaten divorce or even (as I think would be customary) demand that I get a new personal trainer. He simply allowed it to progress.
The relationship with the other guy never progressed. We remained friends for a while after the end of our personal training relationship. I never told him how I felt. And I never acted. It just never felt like the right time. Part of that was fear of ruining both relationships. Part of that was fear of getting my heart broken.
It was an uncommon path that Ryan and I took. I’m so glad we did. I confided in a couple of people about my feelings and the general consensus was that I should run far far away from this other man. That I should protect my marriage at all costs.
I didn’t. I’m defiant like that. I am writing this story because not only did falling in love with someone else not destroy my marriage, it deepened our connection. It deepened my connection to my sexuality and sensuality. I brought all of this home to my husband.
The cultural dialogue around marriage is that we should shut down any feelings and desires that are not socially normal. Often desires that are not for our partners are viewed as sinful or wrong…even by people who are not religious.
So many partners shut down emotionally when their partner has desires that feel threatening to them. And I want to share a story of trust, love and openness. I share these lessons in the hope that people will stop shutting down their desires and those of their partners and embrace what is truly human…to feel, to connect and to explore.
So what happened?