June 16, 2015
In the days and weeks leading up to my 30th birthday I have been asked numerous times about how I feel about entering the next decade of my life. The honest answer is that I pause and say 'I feel grateful and excited for what is to come' and I do feel this way.
But the pause is important, because it has become a part of my daily practice when it comes to using my mindset to my advantage. I don't always say what comes to mind first, I say what I have spent a fair amount of the last few years creating: an attitude of gratitude and choice.
I could easily say I am frustrated to turn 30, that I wish I had more money in my savings account or that I had ran a faster marathon or that I didn't have so many gray hairs sprouting on my head daily. But I choose not to focus on those things. I choose to focus on the fact that getting older is a gift that not everyone gets to have. I choose to focus on all that I have learned about myself over the past 30 years of this crazy thing called life.
So today, the first lesson I want to share with you is a big one, it has changed every aspect of my life. My relationship with my husband, my family and my friends. It has changed my relationship with food, with money and my outlook on life.
You are not your feelings.
Ahhh. As a total feeling-centered person, this was a tough one for me to learn. But if I am not my feelings, then how do I know if I am being true to myself or not? If I do not listen to my feelings then what do I listen to?
Feelings come from a variety of sources including fear, hope, insecurity, frustration, excitement, impatience and they are not always true. Practicing naming and noticing your feelings as they come up and not always acting upon them is one of the toughest and best tools you can use to improve your relationship with food, money and other people!
Think back to a time when you have had a stressful day. You feel like heading to the kitchen and having something sweet, or salty or both. Really, what you are looking for is decompression, correct? And food is not always the best tool for this. Having a bath, lying on the couch with tea or talking to someone can be much more relaxing than a momentary serotonin-induced sweet.
The practice of noticing and naming your feelings and not acting on them is essentially a form of mindfulness. It is the opposite of impulsive activity and it takes time to master. For me, mastering the next lesson actually made it easier to create space between me and my feelings.
Know your love language and the love language of those closest to you.
Taken from the book 'The 5 Love Languages', this theory states that we all have dominant ways of giving and receiving love. We usually give and receive love primarily in the same love language, but that is not necessarily the same way our friends and family communicate.
The five love languages include quality time, gifts, acts of service, physical touch, and my primary love language which is words of affection. The best way to determine your primary language is to read the book (it is a fast, easy and eye opening read) but you may have an inkling of how you communicate love to those around you.
This is more than simply romantic love, think about how you show appreciation for your friends or your children. My Mom would always talk to us affectionately and prioritize communication, so I believe that words of affection are likely her love language. Whereas my Dad spent hours playing sports with my brother and I, cooking our family dinners and driving us to countless hockey and soccer practices, so his love language is likely quality time or acts of service.
Knowing that my own way of showing affection to others is usually through words (spoken, or written...go figure!) helped me to realize why I value honest conversation, and speaking to my family on a daily basis. My husband's way of showing love is through acts of service, so he tends to fix things, be very helpful and do things for me.
Spending the time figuring out how those closest to you give and receive love is vital to feeling connected and appreciated. You can speak their language to show you care. I hate changing lightbulbs and cleaning, but I do it because I know my husband appreciates it. He is not a gushy person but always says I love you and goodnight wherever he is in the world because it makes my day.
The final lesson I want to share with you is all about inspiring those around you by being real and uplifting.
Share your struggles and most importantly, what you do to get past them.
I'll never forget the day I was giving a lunch and learn presentation on nutrition (you know, clean eating, vegetables and stuff) and one of the participants raised his hand and exclaimed 'I don't know if we are at the same level, you see, you've never eaten a whole pizza before'.
I was taken aback because of course I have eaten a whole pizza before. But clearly, I wasn't sharing that information freely. I was focusing constantly on talking about veggies and salads and getting enough protein. I think there was a part of me that thought 'I don't want other people to know that I have eaten a whole pizza, because then they will think I am some kind of fraud'.
Deep down I think many of us have a fear of being found out. Like what if everyone realized that I struggle with the same things that they do? Would they stop listening?
But honesty and transparency are so important. They let others see us as humans who struggle and are not perfect. Our struggles really are universal. We all have such similar challenges, they are just dressed in different clothes, in different households with different names.
The more I shared tools that I use to combat things like staying up late, drinking more than two glasses of wine, my love of coffee, stopping at a drive thru and wanting chocolate every day, the more results and resonance happened.
As a special offer to celebrate my 30th birthday, I have put my Balanced Meal Blueprint on sale until tomorrow. You can grab your copy here, for 30% off the regular price. It is my pride and joy, a 3 week process to help you quit calorie counting, portion size obsessing (traps that I have fallen into in the past and overcome with the exact tools I give you in this guide) and learn to make healthy, lean and simple meals that support your goals. With over 20 recipes, a 21 day journal and an accompanying mindset guide, it is the first step to a consistent eating plan that works while traveling eating out and at home.
So my hope for my next thirty years is to be more open, more honest, more transparent and more inspiring through being exactly who I am, feelings, words and all. How about you?
As always, thank you for reading my words of affection,