OMG! She just said that three letter word!!!
Yes, I did.
Why don't we talk about sex more? And I don't mean in a slutty, porn-focused, threesome way. I mean in a calm, sophisticated, mature adult way.
My first job was at an adult toy store. I had lived a very sheltered life, dated little, and rarely cursed. In the 90's we didn't have non-stop access to social media and Google, so I knew little about sex aside from what I had heard from friends and watched on TV.
At the time I applied for this job, I had dated for a year, recently lost my virginity, and was still figuring out how to keep my eyes closed while kissing.
So at 18, against the better judgement of my parents, I walked into a high-end boutique adult toy store in the heart of Rockville, MD, dressed as though I had just entered a convent, and asked for a job. I laugh about it now, but I brought my resume along with me. Who knew that "sexpertise" (or lack thereof) wasn't something you could fit on a resume.
I was hired immediately. The manager loved my innocent, yet outgoing personality. I was wet behind the ears, learned more about sex than I ever wanted to know in those first days on the job, and left two months later to find a more fulfilling career that would offer me more growth potential. (No pun intended).
I'm far from innocent these days and I have tried to forget most of the stories heard from customers (especially the one from my math teacher, who happened to walk in one day while I was working), but I learned so much from those two months.
Yes, I learned the obvious lessons, like how to choose the right dildo, how to pick a material that won't irritate your insides, and that there are toys for him, too. But I also learned more important lessons, like sex is healthy, talking about sex brings couples closer together, and masturbation won't make you lose your eyesight. In fact, masturbation builds confidence, offers you the opportunity to explore what pleasures you, and allows you to better direct and advise your partner.
So the question I pose is, "why don't we talk about sex?"
We teach kids and teenagers how to have protected sex, prevent STDs, and encourage them to wait until they're older. In fact, we shove it in their face....all the negative stuff.
My mother sat me down with index cards and drew pictures of the fallopian tubes to teach me about baby-making at the age of nine, before I learned it from the health teacher, or fellow students. But nobody taught me about enjoying sex for more than baby making, exploring different positions with a partner, the importance of open communication, or the benefits of masturbation.
I remember being told by a number of adults that masturbation was for people not in a relationship. Fortunately, I have since learned that they were full of ______. Obviously their own upbringings sheltered them from a healthier relationship with themselves.
Instead of learning these things from a trusted parent, or mentor, teens learn from magazines, books, and movies. And now they're learning from YouTube, snapchat and Lord knows what else!
Because we don't talk about sex, it becomes something shameful, hidden, and negative. No wonder we struggle to find fulfilling relationships as we get older. We've been basing a healthy sex life on what we see in the movies, which is all-too-often an altered reality.
Then there's the topic of same sex relationships. Movies don't depict them well. Usually there are two straight women cast as a lesbian couple who are both so hot that they should be on the front page of Playboy magazine. Let's be honest - same sex couples in movies are cast to meet the needs of heterosexual men.
What about gay men? Aside from Brokeback Mountain, mainstream media rarely depict them.
So where are teenagers who are attracted to the same sex supposed to learn about healthy sexual relationships? Why aren't same-sex topics covered in school? No – talking about gay sex in school will not make your straight kid gay, but it will help the gay kid feel more supported and it will educate your straight kid on acceptance and diversity.
And what about the transgender kid who experiences gender-dysphoria and has no idea how to even address the world of intimacy? Who's teaching this teenager?
Some of you by this point may have a funny feeling in your belly as you read this, be annoyed by my words due to guilt or your religious upbringings, or defensive about your parenting skills. And others may agree with me, want to jump on a sex bandwagon, or wish you hadn't been missing out your entire life. Wherever you are at this point in your life, it's ok.
But something's got to give. Tuesday was National Coming Out Day, so it got me thinking about being our authentic selves in all aspects of our lives. So why not bring the topic of sex out of the closet?
I don't classify myself as a sexpert. Two months at a toy store doesn't equate to a degree on human sexuality. I am also not a therapist, or a social worker. But I do know that most couples fight about three main topics: kids, money, and SEX!
The irony? These are the three things we learn little-to-nothing about in school, but they are the most difficult topics to address in a relationship.
It's time to be authentic. Sex is such a big part of who we are and how we make connections with those we love. It's how we get to know ourselves better, show love to ourselves, and build confidence in our bodies.
When we talk about living a healthy lifestyle, or promoting positivity, that means in all aspects of our life. Sex is part of that. So, let's talk about sex!
This weekend we celebrate July 4th, Independence Day. In 1776 the United States made the brave and bold decision to separate itself from Britain and regard itself as a new nation made up of thirteen American Colonies.
Our country celebrates this historical day with fireworks, food, family, friends, parades, and festivals. This year, like most Americans across the country, Fay and I will celebrate with a pool party and barbecue at a friend's house.
When I think of Independence Day, I can't help but think of personal freedom. Are we truly free?
Yes, we live in a country which declares that all men are created equal. But are we?
As women, we can vote, but we can lose our jobs for being married to women. We can own a gun, but so can a terrorist who uses his second amendment to destroy an LGBT nightclub, a sanctuary to many. We can own a home, but our trans friend can be kicked out of their apartment for simply being who they are, and then not welcomed into a homeless shelter.
And what about mental freedom? The freedom that comes from within? The freedom from our own inner critic, from needing to please others, and from self-loathing?
When you think about July 4th weekend, do you worry about finding a bathing suit to wear, eating too much ice cream, or leaving a party early without offending the host to go to another party where you may be considered arriving late? If you are hosting a party, do you worry about pleasing the gluten free-ers, vegans, and diabetics? Do you worry about leaving people off the invite list, not having enough food for guests, or spending too much on the party?
While we celebrate our national freedom, our country, society, and minds take away our individual freedoms with outdated laws, stagnant social norms, and internal judgment.
I don't know about you, but I'm ready for true FREEDOM!
So, I'm making a commitment to myself and I hope you will do the same. I promise to love myself unconditionally and to feel pride in what I wear, my size, who I love, and my success. I make a commitment to wear whichever bathing suit I want to wear this weekend, eat as much ice cream as I choose (knowing that I will walk it off later), and to attend any party that brings me joy. If I host a party, I promise to invite people who make me smile and not worry about leaving those out who attract negative energy. I promise to make food that I enjoy, knowing that I will wind up eating the leftovers. And I promise to stop questioning everything and anything I do, because I know that everything I do comes from a place of love and happiness.
As humans, if we start working on our internal freedom, and begin to love ourselves as we should, enjoying the true beauties that we are, social norms will begin to change. People will change. Society will change. And laws will change to be more inclusive of all people. It all starts from within. And never be afraid to speak up for what you believe.
Happy Independence Day!!
Tonight, as I sit here and watch CNN report on the tragedy that was June 12th, I feel the need to write. To express myself in written word, as I am speechless.
Last week, we celebrated the LGBTQ+ community in a Pride Fest celebration in Phoenixville's Reeves Park. We celebrated our diversity, our love for one another, our acceptance of those different from ourselves. We celebrated people of all ages, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. We celebrated our history, our present, and our future. Still, today, we are stunned. Today, we are dumbfounded. And today, we are all speechless.
I talk to groups about reshaping their lives. I teach people how to be authentically them. Today is no different. While it may be easier to hide behind the shelter of what society defines as "normal", we can't hide. We must not let hate win. We must not let bullies win. We must not go into hiding because we are afraid of those who hate. We must be fearlessly authentic. We must be fearlessly ourselves. We must fearlessly love. LOVE will ALWAYS win.
Today's message is for all of you. Skinny, fat, gay, straight, black, white, transgender, cisgender, tall, or short, we have all been bullied. So today I challenge you to be fearlessly authentic. Stand up for who you are and what you believe. Embrace your self-identified labels and unique characteristics. Let them shine!
Reshaping your life is more than reshaping your outer beauty. Reshaping your life is about reshaping your inner beauty, accepting yourself in all of it's character, ability, and form – then loving yourself unconditionally, un-endlessly, and unapologetically. Never let anyone define who you are and how you should be. That is your job.
Be gay. Be bisexual. Be transgender. Be Black. Be Asian. Be Jewish. Be Catholic. Be fat. Be skinny. Be tall. Be short. Be loud. Be quiet. Be outspoken. Be shy. BE YOU! But, BE HUMAN. And most importantly, BE LOVE!
"Why purple?" I was asked by a friend last week, while showing off my newest hair and nail color.
"Purple represents my spirit," I replied. "Pride, purpose, passion, and positivity – these are the four P's that define who I am – my chosen labels, so to speak. So it's only fitting that purple be the color to represent me."
Ironically, purple is also a popular color in the LGBT community. There are six colors on the rainbow flag: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, and violet for the human spirit. Our spirit is what keeps us moving forward, allowing us to unite and overcome challenge.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure and honor of hosting the first LGBTQ+ Chester County Pride Festival in over a decade. The festival was followed by a Gala at the Spring Hollow Country Club on Sunday, June 5th. The weekend was nothing short of magical. We hosted people of all ages, races, genders, and incomes. We even hosted dogs! In fact, this weekend celebration was the most diverse LGBTQ+ event I've ever attended, let alone hosted. There was no denying the overall feelings of love, acceptance and unity that permeated the weekend festivities.
During the planning process, a friend asked me, "why do you do what you do? Is it for ego? Money? What keeps you going?" I sat for a moment and thought about her question. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the recognition. After all, I'm only human. It feels good to receive kudos for hard work. But it's more than that. Ego doesn't keep me going. Pride, purpose, passion, and positivity do. They heal me. And my persistence and persuasive nature make it all possible.
While I hold the title of non-profit President, I am a simply a hard working volunteer, meaning that I make nothing for the hours I spend pulling these events together. Down the road, who knows what will happen. Perhaps we will creative an Executive Director role with a paid salary, but we're not there yet. To me, the money isn't important. I've held corporate sales jobs, earning nearly six figures, but my sales jobs were far from rewarding. They were thankless, lacked purpose, and kept me yearning for more.
My lack of sleep, non-stop work hours, and never-ending stress is nothing compared to the stressors of coming out in a religious family, transitioning and losing a spouse or family member, being homeless at age 14 because your parents won't accept you, or having to look both ways before going to the bathroom. I'm blessed to have never experienced these struggles.
My personal struggles (and negative labels) are those of obesity, anxiety disorder, and chronic pain. We each have our own struggles – those negative labels that keep us from achieving our full potential. The beauty of helping others is that when I focus on others, my struggles are minimized. When I speak in front of a group of people at a gala about making a difference, creating change, or unifying our community, my weight isn't important, as I feel beautiful in that moment. When I speak about what needs to change, and how we can all be a part of that change, my anxiety goes away, because I become fearless in the face of adversity. When I talk about the pains of others, and healing those who are broken, my chronic pain subsides. My work heals me.
This weekend my dress was a bit tighter than usual, my anxiety was causing me a bit of vertigo, and my pain kept me from dancing around the dance floor. But when I spoke about our need to unify, watched breaths taken away as Grant Holcomb sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and listened to 14-year-old Braeden Lange speak about nearly taking his life after coming out, my problems went away...or at least for a few hours. I felt proud, passionate, and purposeful to have been a part of bringing this weekend of activities together.
I speak about rewriting labels to reshape lives and this weekend epitomized this lesson. Two months ago I was curled up on a sofa, fearful of leaving my house, as my anxiety had gotten the best of me after my wife's father passed away. I was afraid to let everyone down, to give up on our pride weekend, and to face failure. But I refused to let my anxiety disorder define my life. I grabbed onto those 4 P's and held them with all of my might. By taking life one day at a time, I refocused my intentions and thoughts. I rewrote those negative labels, which have, all too often, kept me from achieving my fullest potential, and I overcame diversity. Rewriting my labels, by focusing on my P's, saved my life.
I AM pride, purpose, passion, and positivity, and my purple hair is a reminder of this. I am NOT obesity, anxiety, or chronic pain.
While walking in the Dogwood Parade a few weeks ago, with rainbow flags surrounding me, someone yelled from the crowd, "Looking Good!" It threw me off, as "looking good" had historically implied that I had lost weight, or was all dolled up for a special event. I surveyed my torn jeans fitting snugly around my thighs, my sweatshirt too small to zip, and my winter rainbow cap flattening the hair atop my head. "Thanks!!" I yelled back, knowing exactly what she meant. I had pride, passion, purpose, and positivity. I did "look good". My purple hair is now a reminder of my strength and my 4 P's.
After months of hard work, my book is written, my Health Certification Exam is over, and my business is reshaped...well, it's nearly there. I've created speaker sheets, restructured my website to promote my speaker business, and received the support of numerous well-known keynote and workshop speakers to further hone my craft. And I'm getting there...one talk at a time.
My life is amazing. I run a for-profit business, Reshaping YOU, promoting well-being, and a non-profit organization, LGBTea Dances, supporting the Chester County lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. As a Speaker, I motivate change, help people achieve goals, and encourage individuals, corporate clients, and community groups to overcome barriers. As a non-profit Founder & President, I work with a team of volunteers to foster a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQA community members. In both worlds, I embrace diversity, save lives, and promote authenticity.
So, why do I struggle with my own authenticity, especially when it comes to my weight and ego? The truth is that I nearly lost control of my weight last year and I refused to open up about it. I feared being judged, or ridiculed for failing at my own career!
In December, while enjoying the holiday festivities, I realized that I was out of control. In just under three years, I had regained nearly forty pounds of a 125-pound weight loss! I almost threw in the towel. I was days away from giving up on myself, my career, and my health.
Over the past two years I'd ignored my increasing weight, keeping it well hidden under larger jeans and looser shirts. I enjoyed my social life, dining out with colleagues, and networking with potential clients over cheese and wine. I stopped tracking my food intake, I found little time for the gym, and I got involved with too many activities. When the clothes in my closet stopped fitting and I had flashbacks to 2009, when my weight loss journey began, I realized I needed more than just bigger clothes. I needed help. I needed accountability. I needed to go back to what worked.
So, six weeks ago I swallowed my pride, let go of my ego, and walked back into my favorite weight loss center. It was time to take care of me again. I stood in line to get weighed in as tears rolled down my cheeks. Tears of anger, tears of defeat, and tears of embarrassment. I was angry at myself for letting go. I felt defeated, because I wanted to be successful on my own as the "weight-loss expert". And I was embarrassed to see familiar faces who cheered me on years ago. But I also shed tears of relief. I was relieved knowing that I was exactly where I needed to be to get the help I deserved.
At first I thought of myself as weak for needing help. Afterall, I had accomplished the impossible by losing nearly 125-pounds. I opened a weight loss business shortly thereafter and helped others achieve their goals. I kept off over 100-pounds for nearly 5 years. I was the "expert", or so it seemed. The truth? I was far from an expert on weight loss and maintenance. I suppose by technical standards, I'm an expert. So are all of the weight loss gurus in the country. But none of us are true experts! The "experts" who have never experienced a substantial weight loss will never be experts at losing weight as an obese person. And those of us who have lived the obese life? Well, we all struggle from time to time. Maintenance is never-ending and lapses happen. And sometimes we need to ask for help ourselves. You see, while I was helping others overcome barriers, manage change and lose weight, nobody was helping me.
I've said this before and I'll say it again until we all realize the power of these words: "weight gains aren't failures – they're learning curves." I had a "learning curve". And I learned a lot. Mostly, I learned that I, too, needed a health coach.
Well, it's been 6 weeks and I'm down 8 pounds. I feel more energized, more organized, and happier. In fact, I've had the most productive 6 weeks of my life!
My advice for anyone reading this...don't be afraid to ask for help. Go on, you deserve it! Be authentic, be healthy, be YOU!
Remember three months ago when I said, "we all fall down...even the professionals?" Well, we all get up too, albeit not always as fast as we'd like to.
Since my post about falling down, I have started a non-profit, reorganized my class schedule due to summertime vacations, conducted more cooking demos and corporate talks, attended numerous fundraisers and networking events, scheduled a huge fundraiser for June, and stressed over pleasing everyone. Needless to say, my schedule hasn't been regular, eating at home has been a novelty, getting to the gym has been the last of my to-do's, and my priority list has been majorly messed up. My health has taken a back seat.
Last weekend, I spent time at the YMCA Camp Speers in the Poconos Mountains, along with my sister, Sara, and close friend, Michelle. I taught three classes that weekend: Nutrition Label Reading, Be Happy with You, and a cooking class. The scenery, the time with my sister and friend, participating in other classes, especially the art class, and my time spent teaching was amazing. Fortunately (and unfortunately), so was the food. It was too good and the chefs were extremely accommodating to my sister and me, both gluten-free and my sister, dairy-free. This meant that we couldn't avoid the normal unhealthy options like pizza, dessert, and pasta, because at every meal the chefs would hand-deliver special meals just for us. At first I agreed to have a bite out of courtesy, but what I realized is that when I'm having fun, hormonal, and served a hand-made gluten free french toast topped with peach cobbler, I have little-to-no-control. And once the overindulging begins, even after 6 years, I still have a difficult time putting the food monster to rest. The dessert was followed by dark chocolate, wine, toasted marshmallows, gluten free pizza, and lots of snacks. I remember enjoying the taste of the foods, although never seemed satisfied. It was as if I was looking for that first bite of cobbler all over again, with each bite I took. I have since reminded myself that nothing ever tastes as good as that first bite. By the time I got home on Sunday night I was bloated, uncomfortable, and emotional.
After the weekend food-fest, Monday came as a rude awakening. I was 176.8 lbs on the scale. Not only did I feel like a failure, I had also joined my Thursday-night class in a weight loss challenge and I was up nearly four pounds. I was also at my "tipping point". Nearly six years ago, on October 3, 2009, I weighed 277 lbs. When I got to 177 lbs around my 30th birthday, I promised myself that I would steer clear of 177 lbs, so I could always maintain my 100 lb weight loss. That, for me, was always my "tipping point"...the point that things start feeling like quicksand. I almost laughed when I saw 176.8 lbs (and not 177 lbs) on the scale. It was as if the Universe was telling me that it hadn't quite given up on me yet...and that I shouldn't give up on myself either.
This week I was back on track and feeling great. I had healthy veggie, fruit and protein powder smoothies for breakfast (and sometimes for lunch if I was running around), sensible meals for lunch and dinner, and snacks of veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. I omitted the processed foods, added sugars, and dairy products, like cheese and ice cream (both danger foods for me), and focused more on adding veggies and low glycemic fruits. This morning, a week after my "tipping point" was reached, I weighed in at 169.8 pounds... an amazing 7 lbs down!!
Tipping points don't have to mean quicksand...and quicksand doesn't have to mean giving up. We just start fresh. I'm not starting over. I'm simply starting anew. 176.8 is my new start weight. I need to let go over my former fat self. She is long gone. It's time to embrace the new me and realize that the goal, moving forward, is to maintain a heart-healthy weight, get back into my summer clothes (to avoid the expense of purchasing new ones), and to simply be happy!
Next goal...get my butt into my favorite capris!
We all fall down sometimes -- all of us....even the professionals. The difference between you falling down and the pros? We usually don't talk about our falls. We are the motivators, role models, and teachers. We are invincible. Right? Wrong! The truth is that we all fall down!
Last year I started an amazing new business venture: Reshaping Nutrition. I developed a weight loss class, taught cooking classes, participated in more networking events than I can remember, handed out information at health fairs, spoke at Johnson & Johnson and other large corporate companies, and finished the year by winning two incredible awards: The American Heart Association's Lifestyle Change Award and the PV Chamber Small Business Star Award. My year was incredible! And my Reshaping Nutrition journey and successes continue. However, my crazy schedule, lack of personal planning, non-stop networking events with lots of food and wine, and blatant laziness have gotten the best of me and my weight.
I have kept this information to myself (and Fay) for the past few months. I didn't want people to look at me, or my business, as a failure. I suppose I figured that things would just fall into place at some point and the weight gained would come back off on its own. But I forgot one important thing -- healthy living takes work, determination, and balance long after a goal weight is reached. It's a lifetime commitment. You can't only motivate and help others...you have to do the same for yourself. I spent the past year loving my business, my clients, my wife, and my friends, but I forgot to love the most important person...me!
As a pro, we hold the world on our shoulders. The reality is that giving advice, teaching, and motivating others can often be exhausting. We often give more of ourselves than we give to ourselves. Personally, I do this because I love to help others. I help for the "aha moments"....the "I get it" moments....the "I'm so proud of myself" moments. I am often so proud of my clients and their successes that I get goosebumps, because I KNOW how good that success feels from personal experience. Still, there are days when I wake up and need motivation myself. Whether it is due to an achy back or body, PMS, general laziness, or whatever else. Just like you, I too need a boost every now and then.
Why do I share this? So you know that we are not invincible and that you are not alone. I want you to know that when you have a bad day, we are having them too. When you have a year where you just want to give up on your health, we've been there too. When you have a moment of indulgence and have no interest in getting back on track the next moment, we get it, because you are right...the chocolate does look better than the broccoli. When you don't want to go back to the gym, because you are afraid of a back injury again, we have similar fears. When you don't want to go clothes shopping, because you can't stand the number on the tag, we feel the same way. We are sucking in our bellies to fit into our current pants, even though we can't breathe or sit, hoping you don't notice.
However, WE CANNOT GIVE UP!! None of us....not you, not me, not us...nobody! We owe it to ourselves to love ourselves more than yesterday. We owe it to ourselves to share our highs and lows. We owe it to ourselves to help and motivate each other. We are in this together for the long haul...the entire journey. I will not give up on any of you...and I make a commitment to myself not to give up on myself either.
Earlier today, I went upstairs to take a shower and get dressed. Before doing so, I decided to step on the scale. The number shocked me: 173 lbs!! Yes...there it is -- out in the open for all to see...even my clients. I looked at the number for a moment and thought, "You are 4 lbs away from being less than 100 lbs down. You are walking a slippery slope. You cannot do this to yourself. You will be out of a job, you will let all of your clients down, and most importantly, you will let YOU down if you continue in this direction. You need to start loving yourself again!!" As I reached for the shower handle to drown out the sounds of my internal voice with running water, I yelled out loud to myself, "turn that water off...get on your workout clothes...and get to a gym NOW!" And so I did!
After avoiding exercise for nearly two years, for fear of reinjuring my back, I joined a local gym. I even signed up for a one-year commitment plan. I let my fears go today and got back on that treadmill. It felt empowering to move again. I even pushed the speed up to a light jog for a short while. Then I enjoyed a 15 minute stretch. I rewarded myself with the hydro massage afterward, instead of the chocolate.
I am excited to feel recharged. Tomorrow, I will work on my break-up plan. I'm breaking up with the foods that are toxic to my life and adding back in the foods that love me as much as I do. I hope you will all do the same.
It's March 26th and I'm sitting in my bedroom staring out the back window looking at a field covered in snow. SNOW! I tried to bring back the warm weather from Florida last week, but obviously failed. Oh well. At least the snow is pretty to look at and will be long gone by the weekend. Until then, I will keep my mind occupied with more important things...like Reshaping Nutrition!
It's official. I am a business owner! I submitted my LLC paperwork to form my own official company, set up a business bank account, and opened a business credit card. After lots of back and forth and online votes, the logo is in the works and the website will be updated shortly to reflect those changes. I am ecstatic! I realized that I didn't need an RD to do what I do best -- teach people the HOW of eating healthier and living a more fulfilling life.
Our medical system often baffles me. Don't get me wrong...there are many amazing doctors out there doing wonderful things with science, food, and medicine. In fact, my friend, Dr. Ana Negron, is one of the most forward-thinking family doctor's I know. However, many of the doctors I meet tell patients to lose weight, go on a diet, eat less sodium, exercise, reduce carbohydrate intake, and when all else fails -- take medication. Then these patients read articles about GMO's, organic food, the effects of soy, juicing vs smoothies, paleo vs vegan, the Virgin Diet...the list continues. By the time they're done speaking to our medical team and listening to Dr. Oz, they are so confused that they don't know where to start and HOW to move forward. Their already poor relationship with food is made even worse. Nobody addresses the HOW to change, or deals with more important issues like what is getting in the way of change. Dietitians are typically more equipped to handle these patients, but I still feel like there is usually a piece missing -- the piece that teaches people HOW to cook, HOW to shop, HOW to find creative outlets to fill the void that food fills, HOW to look in a mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are regardless of your size, and HOW to improve that food relationship.
This is where Reshaping Nutrition comes in. I wanted to start a company that focuses on the bigger picture...not just counting calories, making food recommendations, and telling people that they need to lose weight to lower blood pressure and avoid Diabetes. Rather, I want to motivate people to change, while meeting them where they are. I want to educate people on HOW to take the steps to move forward, especially when all of the information received is overwhelming. I want to show people HOW to get the nutrients they need, using plant-based recipes, without using supplements (unless medically necessary). I want to teach people HOW to use the simplest forms of food to create delicious and healthy recipes. I also want to work with corporate companies to improve employee wellness programs and events, because healthy employees mean happy and more productive employees.
Reshaping Nutrition will offer a variety of services, especially in the corporate setting. We will offer motivational speaking events, grocery store tours, cooking demos, cooking parties, one-on-one motivation/wellness consultations, lunch-n-learns, recipe reshapes, and more!
My big goal at the end of this journey is to teach people HOW to love food again and not fear it. Food is not only meant to nourish our bodies, it is also meant to be enjoyed in it's purest and most natural form...without the additives and chemicals. For more information on my services, please check out the services tab on Reshaping Nutrition.
Attention Mothers: When you get up to get dressed this morning, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are. Do not mention your flaws, your wrinkles, or your size.
When you watch a movie tonight, don't compare yourself to the hot actress that wears a size two and looks flawless with all of her makeup.
Don't wish to be someone else.
Don't make comments about your need to lose weight.
And never call yourself fat.
Reaffirm how gorgeous you are and don't make negative comments about the hot chick on TV either.
Reaffirm your beauty.
Make sure your daughter hears your words.
We tell our children all of the time how gorgeous they are, but we are quick to judge ourselves and others. Our children learn by example. When ours girls get older, they begin to judge themselves. All of those complaints you made about yourself and other women are never forgotten. Those comments becomes who they are, regardless of how many times you told them that they are beautiful. They learn to question their beauty, their importance because of your example. They then wish to look like others on TV, to be skinny, to be prettier.
Let me assure you...skinny is not the solution to the inner beauty problem. Those that lose weight, or change their looks still struggle with inner beauty. Weight loss, plastic surgery, and boob lifts don't fix everything. Then these beautiful children will look elsewhere to feel good...
Tomorrow morning when you wake up, stand with your daughter in the mirror and tell yourselves how beautiful you are just as you are. Everyone is uniquely beautiful.
And when you are older and realize the mistakes your mother made and how they might have affected you, don't blame your mother. Just forgive her and love her and all of her flaws, too!
Note: I know this is slightly different than my regular posts, but I've been reading lots of comments and listening to women around their children regarding personal beauty. Something needed to be said.
Well, hello there!! I am happy to report that I survived the 21 day cleanse in January and got the "spiritual and mental clarity" that I hoped for. After a couple of very clear dreams and conversations with my therapist, I made the decision to walk away from my internship. My director was very understanding. We agreed to stay in touch and be a resource for each other for future community opportunities.
An enormous weight has lifted from my shoulders. This decision was extremely difficult. I was afraid to admit failure and defeat, I was afraid to walk away from an opportunity that I worked so hard for, and I was afraid to be judged by friends, family and fellow interns that kept rooting me on. I also thought about the money wasted on the internship, although I suppose we now see it as a learning experience. In the end, I realized that walking away was the only option I had to get healthy.
The day before I made my decision, after a very emotional weekend, I made a list of everything that makes me happy.
Rachel's Happiness List
-Cooking, developing recipes, eating
-Meeting new people
-Art (drawing, painting, charcoal)
-Sales, marketing and networking
-Motivating others, Teaching
-Parties, entertaining, and party planning
I realized that I already had all of the skills necessary to find my happiness. Becoming a Registered Dietitian would be a bonus and a nice credential to have, but it wasn't a requirement for me to be successful and happy. The next day, I quit my internship and started involving myself in my happiness activities.
During the 21 Daniel cleanse I cooked, developed new recipes, and ate lots of yummy food. I shared my recipes with friends, made healthy desserts for my family, and discovered new foods. I played with new and old kitchen appliances and had lots of fun with my Vitamix. In fact, I loved using it so much that I inquired about a job with Vitamix as a product demonstrator. Two days after sending in my resume, I was offered a job! Unfortunately, I declined due to physical lifting and standing requirements, but the offer made me feel confident about future job opportunities.
Next, I explored my creative side. In 2004 I received a Bachelor's degree in Imaging and Digital Arts and nearly completed an Associate's Degree in Advertising Art. I haven't picked up a paintbrush, stick of charcoal, or photoshop "pencil" since. So, two weeks ago, during one of our numerous snow days, I sat and looked at old animations, video shoots, and art projects. I felt inspired. I found all of my old drawing supplies, curled up on the big brown chair in the living room, and drew the chair across the room that had light casting beautiful shadows across it. I was grateful that a 14-year-long art hiatus didn't meal forgotten skills. After that day, new opportunities for creativity were presented to me almost immediately. The next day a friend asked me to help design a poster for a health fair and I jumped at the opportunity. A few days later, I played around with my digital camera, capturing gorgeous photos of our snowy back yard.
Later that week I called my friend at the YMCA and asked if she could help me with the next two items on my list: fundraising and networking. She suggested I help her organize the 2014 Healthy Kids Day event. I spent the next few days calling vendors, requesting food donations, and using social media to network with new companies to get involved. I also attended an involvement fair at the Y that weekend, asking members to support our Y Cares campaign while giving out green smoothie samples. I had so much fun!
As for decorating, Fay and I spent last weekend reorganizing the upstairs bedrooms and living room. Our hard work made the house feel cozier and gave both of us a little personal space for our own projects. After posting a picture online of our decor changes, a friend invited me to SC to help her redecorate her house. This means travel in my future, which happens to be the next item on my list!
Next, I tackled nutrition. During my internship, I was asked by the Food Bank to help create cooking classes for low income families in Phoenixville that use produce from our local food pantries. When I told the Food Bank that I left my internship, I was offered a contract position to teach the classes. I already secured a location for the classes and am working on lesson plans. This will be a great opportunity to motivate others, teach and cook all at the same time!
As for the "party planning" and "entertaining" happy list items, I decided to unite a group of local "foodies" interested in plant-based cooking. I started a group on Meet-Up called "Plant Based Foodies (Meat Eaters Welcome)". In less than two weeks we enrolled 42 members. This Wednesday we have our first big party and movie night.
Just when I thought the week couldn't get any better, the owner of our local chocolate store called and asked me to sell chocolate for her at an upcoming corporate Valentine's Day event this Wednesday. Once again, the Universe provided me an opportunity to fulfill additional items on my happiness list: sales, marketing and CHOCOLATE!
Since I was on such a roll with my happiness list, I decided it was time to sit down and write a new blog post. I am happy to report that I am doing better each and every day. Even the back and nerve pain has improved somewhat.
Today, while I was out hiking in the snowy woods of St. Peters Village taking photos and breathing in the fresh, cold air, I reflected on the past year. A year ago, I carried around a back pillow and took three Motrin and 2 tylenol a day to deal with pain problems. Six months ago, I started having panic attacks-- two of which sent me to the ER. A month ago, I felt hopeless and lost. Today, I feel alive and excited. I am off all meds, including my anxiety and depression meds. Although I am still guaranteed a few lousy days every now and again, I know that the future is bright. I can't wait to continue my happiness journey, because it's bound to bring me health and success. I am grateful to have a partner so supportive of my journey and I am excited to take her along for the joyous ride!
"I have taken several of Rachel's workshops! All of them have been educational, challenging and enjoyable. The most recent "Reshaping You" workshop has helped me with my mental, emotional and physical aspects of becoming healthier! Rachel is a great motivator! Thanks!" - C.K.
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