How Overeating Keeps You Safe


Quick question--are you clicking on the songs and letting them wash over you so that joy permeates your week? Just checking...because music truly does make a difference. Don't forget to send me suggestions for songs that will light our fire and get our week off to a good start!

Okay. Back to this overeating thing. There's so many aspects to food and how we treat it. Food is important, obviously. We need it to stay alive, unless you're abreatharian. Food is also family, celebration, togetherness, happiness, sadness, loneliness, memories, and so much more. But today I want to talk to you about one aspect of food that you may be experiencing without even knowing it: overeating to keep you safe.

Emotional eating almost without exception is overeating. We eat more than we need, we eat when we're not hungry, and we in general eat for reasons that have nothing to do with physical nourishment but everything to do with emotional nourishment. Unfortunately that "nourishment" usually means numbing out. We numb out so that we don't have to deal with emotions that are incredibly uncomfortable. Anxiety, sadness, stress, anger, misery, self-loathing, boredom...just to name a few.

When we overeat, the vast majority of us gain weight. When we gain weight, we tend to beat up on ourselves. We think we look bad. We think we're gross. We also think we're not good enough (because society has been feeding us a message that thin is best since we were born and even if we understand that there is just so much destructive BS in that point of view, it's pretty hard to escape it without some serious work. And BTW, we need to do that work and I'm going to take you there). When we think we're not good enough, we stop living our lives fully. We hide out. We wait...we wait to buy nice clothes, we wait to ask for a raise, we wait to go for our dream job, we wait to start looking for a romantic partner, we wait to have sex with out partner...we even wait to go on vacation because, you know, if we're not thin we're not allowed to go on vacation. Seriously. WE HIDE OUT.

Even if we do some of the things we want to, it is only after a cheerleading sesh from friends and family so that we can have the courage to go to that party, or whatever it is we want to do. The thing we want to do could be big or small, but it just comes with an extra layer of HARD when we're in that mindset.

So--we're all miserable with our weight gain (and I've had clients that feel this was even with just 5 extra pounds. It's never really about how we look and ALWAYS ABOUT HOW WE FEEL ABOUT OURSELVES.) and we're HIDING OUT. On the surface it all seems so bad. But here's the thing. When we are HIDING OUT we are SAFE. There's a reason for everything. We don't have to try. EVERYTHING IS ON HOLD. I mean, what feels better than sitting at home, binging on Netflix and knowing that it doesn't matter because you look like crap and nothing good will come of heading out into the world. It's sooooooooo safe safe safe and cozy. That extra weight and corresponding self-criticism becomes such a lovely security blanket.

Guess what? When our subconscious/critter brain feels all safe and cozy, it is going to do all it can to KEEP US THERE! That's why when you set a goal for yourself, and you're walking towards that goal with confidence--probably even making progress--and all of a sudden you snap back into old patterns and are back where you started. Your subconscious/critter brain is all about survival. And staying at home, hiding out, eating popcorn/ice cream/cookies/whatever is soooooooo much safer than getting out there in the world, showing up powerfully and asking for a raise/going for your dream job/putting yourself on a dating app/buying clothes that might mean you get some attention...omg, no. That stuff is all really really scary because going for what we want is vulnerable.

In the week ahead, start noticing all the habits you have that keep you safe. In this context I mean behavior that essentially holds you back in your comfort zone (we applaud the part of us that knows how to keep us safe and out of danger). The big rule about this is you notice without judgement. Instead of judging yourself, GET CURIOUS. Curiosity is playful, fun, and nonjudgemental. Judging ourselves is not the way to go--that just has us eating more ice cream.

I'd truly love to hear from you about this--do you notice ways you sabotage yourself to keep yourself safe/hold you back from the juicy life you desire and deserve? It could be around food, which is such a common one, but it could be around other habits as well! Pay attention! Hit reply to this email and let me know!!

Now...for your song to get you into your groove for the week! We're going old school today to a woman that was a trailblazer, Lauryn Hill.

Definitely read the lyrics to this one--part call to activism, part existential inspiration. It's one of my all time favs.

Everything is Everything by Lauren Hill



Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

I wrote these words for everyone who struggles in their youth
Who won't accept deception, instead of what is truth
It seems we lose the game
Before we even start to play
Who made these rules? (Who made these rules?)
We're so confused (We're so confused)
Easily led astray
Let me tell ya that

Everything is everything
Everything is everything
After winter, must come spring
Everything is everything

I philosophy
Possibly speak tongues
Beat drum, Abyssinian, street Baptist
Rap this in fine linen, from the beginning
My practice extending across the atlas
I begat this
Flipping in the ghetto on a dirty mattress
You can't match this rapper slash actress
More powerful than two Cleopatras
Bomb graffiti on the tomb of Nefertiti
MCs ain't ready to take it to the Serengeti
My rhymes is heavy like the mind of sister Betty (Betty Shabazz)
L-Boogie spars with stars and constellations
Then came down for a little conversation
Adjacent to the king, fear no human being
Roll with cherubims to Nassau Coliseum
Now hear this mixture, where Hip Hop meets scripture
Develop a negative into a positive picture

Now everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

Sometimes it seems
We'll touch that dream
But things come slow or not at all
And the ones on top, won't make it stop
So convinced that they might fall
Let's love ourselves and we can't fail
To make a better situation
Tomorrow, our seeds will grow
All we need is dedication
Let me tell ya that

Everything is everything
Everything is everything
After winter, must come spring
Everything is everything

Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

You Don't Have a Food Problem

HAPPY SUNDAY! Guess what? YOU DON'T HAVE A FOOD PROBLEM! Aren't you relieved?!!

You may not be relieved. You may think I don't know what I'm talking about. You may have a list of reasons that prove that I seriously am clueless. That list might include:

  • I eat too much (see, food problem, duh!)
  • I crave sugar and other food that is "bad" for me ( = problem! Hello!)
  • I'm overweight and want to lose weight but I still eat too much! (food)
  • I seriously don't know what to eat to make me lose weight. It's a problem (
  • I am STRESSED about food. I mean--it takes up a lot of my headspace. Like, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT???! (food)

There's many many more additions to this list but I know you have things to do today so I'll trust that you get the picture. AND. I'm telling you--you don't have a food problem.

Disclaimer: if you're eating total crap all day every day (and by crap I mean highly processed food, fast food, nothing made at home. food laden with additives, little to no fruit or vegetables etc..) then YES. YOU HAVE A FOOD PROBLEM. And you most likely have some health problems, too. And if you don't have health problems now, you will eventually. So to be clear--when I am saying you don't have a food problem this kind of eating is the exception.

For the rest of you--those of you that eat a lot of whole foods, cook at home often, and avoid processed foods as much as possible (except when you don't)--you don't have a food problem! YAY!

What you have is a LIFE problem. Yes. You do. You're obsessing about food instead of obsessing about life. You're not letting joy be your guide. You're seeing all the stuff that isn't working and not noticing all the stuff that's going right. You're also plugged into some really damaging belief paradigms around how you're supposed to LOOK and that alone can cause you to not be living your life as fully and joyfully as you have the right to.

Food is a SYMPTOM. Food covers up stuff for us. It numbs us out. It also keeps us safe (if we have a few extra pounds on we are safe from getting unwanted attention, for example).

If you find yourself being even mildly obsessed with what you eat, you are robbing yourself of joy. And you are also IMMEDIATELY putting yourself into aDEPRIVATION MINDSET because the obsession about food is really about what you can and cannot eat. And once we say, "No more sugar!" all we want is sugar. ALL WE WANT IS SUGAR. I mean, we may be fine for a little bit but then, when we can't take it anymore, we are going to eat the sugar--but not just *some* sugar. We're going to eat A LOT of sugar because, you know, f**k it! I might as well eat a second piece of cake, a third brownie, or whatever it is.

So how do you address this? There's many ways to start FREEING yourself from you "food problem". One of the most important things to do, I believe, is to figure out what you're using food for. What is food standing in as a substitute for in your life?

The way to do that is simply by starting to pay attention. If all of a sudden you find yourself craving sugar, or craving chips, or even just feeling hungry when you know you're not really hungry...slow things down and start to see what was going on in your mind or life the moments before the craving hits. Sometimes this is hard, but keep at it. You'll start to figure it out. (Yes, I know I've said this before but you guys--THIS IS IMPORTANT! I probably repeat this in the future so be prepared.)

Once you start to uncover the stuff you're covering up with food THEN YOU CAN START TO LOOSEN THOSE SHACKLES!

My story (Reader's Digest Version): when I started Vibrant Living I noticed I started "eating emotionally" more often. I couldn't figure out why. I wasn't working in the job that was sucking the life out of me anymore, I was doing what I wanted to why was I overeating? Short version is this: I got a coach and did some deep work and found it it was directly related to an incident when I was 5 years old in which I decided, "If I speak my authentic truth, people yell at me, I upset people, so I need to stay small and hide and never be fully expressive of who I am." Really. I did figure that out and it was AWESOME. Because every time I sat down to write a newsletter, I would CRAVE CEREAL. And then I would eat like three bowls of cereal. You guys. OMG. Can you imagine how crappy I felt afterwards? REALLY CRAPPY. And the WHY I was doing it was because writing my newsletter meant EXPRESSING MY AUTHENTIC SELF and that scared the crap out of me so of course I needed to NUMB OUT! This is the very short version of things. I'm going to write another email telling you more details. But I wanted you to see the underneath the "why"...awareness creates opportunity for action. Getting aware is imperative.

The coach I worked with was trained in the Transformational Coaching Method (which uses NLP and Family Systems work to uncover all this crazy stuff!) and I was blown away and got certified as a Master Transformational Coach as well because I wanted to make sure I could help people change their lives the way mine was changed. That's important for you to know if you're considering working with me!

Okay, Elijah! Let's get ONTO THE JOY! SOUL SONG SUNDAY!!

THIS SONG IS PURE JOY! My friend (and past client!), Randi Berry, suggested sharing this song with all of you and I LOVE IT. It's been called, " of the most joyful songs ever recorded."

A note on the lyrics: You may try hard to decipher some of the words in the song--you may even think you know what they are, but they are actually just made up! Michael Glabicki said in an interview that the lyrics aren't supposed to make rational sense. "I was in the process of coming up with lyrics, and it just sounded so good and felt so right that it had a meaning of its own that you couldn't make better by making it a word. So I left it."







Dealing with two ER visits in 6 months

Hello dear you! It has been pretty crazy over here in the Selby-Kogan household. This is a long email, so why don't you get a cup of coffee or tea, get comfy and read on!

It isn't me that has been in the ER...well, I've been there but only to BRING my husband, Scott. These visits and the recovery times have been powerful experiences in our household. Yes, they have been disruptive. Yes, they have been challenging. But we've also learned a lot and grown and we've grown because we are both committed to that in our relationship. But trust me, it isn't always easy.

For those of you that don't know, at the end of January Beck (my son) came down with influenza. Influenza is a very nasty virus and every year otherwise healthy people end up in the ER as a result of it. It can be particularly hard on the young and the old. Beck was very sick and had a fever that ran for 10 days but he got better and headed back to school with all his 5 year old energy in tact. My husband, Scott, picked up the virus from Beck during that time and also came down with influenza.

After about 5 days, Scott started to turn the corner and felt a little bit better. So he made the mistake (huge mistake!) of going back to work. A day and a half later he was back home in bed and feeling worse than ever. That was a Tuesday. By Friday he seriously looked like a zombie. I can't explain it but he was so ashen, so changed, his voice didn't even sound the was scary. He saw his doctor and also called the advice nurse over that weekend because he was feeling so miserable. But the doctor and advice nurse kept saying, "You have a virus, there's nothing to do but rest." The thing medical professionals look for in influenza is bacterial infection in the lungs which leads to pneumonia but Scott wasn't presenting with any of those symptoms so they just kept telling him to rest.

Fast forward to Monday and it was clear we had to go to the ER. It is a very frightening thing to see your partner looking like he's at death's door but that is what it looked like. I was clear-headed and strong in my resolve that we needed to go to the ER but I was also scared. The idea of anything happening to Scott was too much to bear.

We went early in the morning which, by the way, is the best time to go to the ER. They checked him inright away and started him on fluids. The ER doc performed an exam and parroted what others had said, "You have a virus, there's not much we can do." I was shocked. It was evident to me that something else was going on and let me tell you there was NO WAY I was going to let him be discharged. Scott was complaining that his elbow was in a lot of pain and by late morning his elbow was red and hot to the touch. Long story slightly shorter: they stuck a huge needle into his elbow and drew out a ton of fluid, tested it, and realized that Scott was septic. The elbow had a septic infection and the bacteria had entered his blood stream. This was scary--sepsis can kill you if not caught in time. Thank goodness we caught it intime. He was scheduled for surgery that day and they went in and "scrubbed" his elbow. Luckily the bacteria hadn't done any visible damage to the bone or cartilage. He was placed on very heavy duty antibiotics.

He was in the hospital for a week. They subsequently discovered he had a sinus infection caused by strep and that the strep had migrated into his blood stream and caused the infection in his elbow! CRAZY. This is super uncommon which is why no one picked up on it. He came home and was out of work for about a month. He had to administer liquid antibiotics into his arm every day...he slowly regained his strength and came back to his old, healthy self.

That experience was intense and when someone you love comes close to dying, it affects you deeply-obviously. But Scott and I have good attitudes :) We also are really good at talking about things and talking through things. We both knew it was important to acknowledge all the feelings that this event brought up for us. I recently heard a great quote: "What you can't be with, owns you." Love that. We really needed to BE with our feelings about all of this. I think both of us came away from it feeling just a little more hay--bad things can happen to good people! Nothing is guaranteed! Who the hell knows what will happen?!! We felt a little unstable for a while. But slowly, we got into our groove, Scott was well, our routines were back in place and honestly, life was GOOD.

Then July 16th happened. It was a MAGICAL day up in Nicasio (beautiful place up in Marin) spent on our dear friends' ranch. After a catered dinner on a hilltop overlooking the property and then s'mores (withorganic dark chocolate!) over a fire pit, the day wound down and it was time to go. We were last to leave. We hugged our friends goodbye and gathered our things. As I reached down to pick up my bag I heard a splash in the pool. "Why is Scott jumping into the pool? Is he trying to be funny?" That flashed through my mind in a split second because I couldn't make sense of it! Scott pulled himself out of the pool (he was fully drenched) and said, "I think I broke my leg". He was in a bit of shock and shivering terribly. He made us splint his leg (thank goodness--you guys, ALWAYS SPLINT A BONE IF YOU THINK IT IS BROKEN!). We used a wooden hanger broken in half and duct tape. We got the car as close to him as possible and he crawled to the car! I then, very very carefully, drove him 45 minutes to Marin General Hospital. Every brake, every acceleration caused pain for him--so stressful! (Note: thank you, God, that Scott did not crack his skull when he fell in--we were 45 minutes from medical care so it could have been so much worse.)

At this point we assumed he would get a cast and head home. My sister was watching Beck, thank goodness, so we had peace of mind there.

BUT- after the x-rays they came back to us and said, "So sorry. The break is severe and we need to admit you to the hospital and you will need surgery tomorrow." WHAT??????? (He had a spiral fracture down his tibia to his ankle and two fractures on his fibula.) Surgery meant 2 metal plates and 16 screws into his leg.

Here's the odd thing--this broken leg has been WAY MORE DISRUPTIVE than the sepsis! Less life-threatening for sure, but much harder to deal with.

Healing time for the break: 5 months.

Scott cannot drive. He cannot lift things. He's on crutches. At first he was in a ton of pain (that's getting better thank goodness).

What that has meant is all the driving. all the lifting, all the house care and most of the child care has fallen on to me. And at first I truly fell into a deep depression. I know that sounds selfish, and I felt really crappy for being depressed when Scott was the one that broke his leg, but I couldn't deny it. In fact, it threw everything in my life into a state of doubt--including my work. Because I now needed to drive Beck to school every day (Scott usually did this on his way to work) I could no longer make it to my Orangetheory work out class in the mornings. Exercise for me is crucial for my mental health. Because I didn't have help with the housework, my days felt frantic and overwhelming because there was so much to do and I also wanted to WORK!!! One thing about running my own business is that it often falls through the cracks when other stuff rears its head. I just re-read this paragraph and I realize how lame it all sounds. I mean--how much house work can there be? Well--a lot. We are re-doing parts of our house so organizing and scheduling workers actually takes way more time than you can imagine. But just simple stuff like taking out the trash and recycling--Scott always did that! Scott always helped getting laundry done. Scott would often clean the kitchen after dinner. It all adds up. Sigh.

One happy thing about getting older is the fact that I'm getting wiser. Having experiences teaches you things...and I knew that even though I felt like I was in the dark, depressed, lacking faith...I absolutely knew that this was happening for a reason AND that the feelings would pass. That knowledge was so helpful because when I felt especially down I could draw upon it and know that I just needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other and the feeling would pass. Not only that, but I've learned that going through the hard stuff ALWAYS has me grow and evolve and honestly, I was excited about that!

But here's the reality-being a care taker is no joke. The person that needs to caretake MUST learn ways to prioritize their health and well-being because it really is a huge shift. If you know anyone that is a caretaker, please do something WONDERFUL for them today--if you can give them a break, that's probably the nicest thing you can do. One of the best things someone did for us is to order meal delivery! We got to choose what we wanted and they ordered it and paid for it for us. I can't tell you how wonderful it was not to have to cook or do dishes that night--we felt very taken care of!

I'm not totally sure why the broken leg threw me so off course and it's true that I'm a little embarrassed about the fact that it plunged me into the dark night of the soul..but it did. And I'm happy to say that despite that I continued to show up for my husband and my son and now the broken leg is our new normal. I put a freeze on my Orangetheory account and found another place to go to that has a class at 9am which means I can go after dropping Beck off at school and Scott off at work! Yay! And Scott and I continue to talk and figure out how to manage things in the house, what HAS to get done, what we can let go...all that jazz. We're good.

So--if you've made it this far I applaud you! I'm fairly certain this is the longest email I've ever sent. I just wanted to share what has been going on with me. It has taught me a lot about the need for self care, the constant need for good communication in relationships, about the fragility of the human body, about deep gratitude and it has strengthened me as a person. 

Sending love,