weight loss

How Overeating Keeps You Safe

HAPPY SOUL SONG SUNDAY!

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

"If I love myself as I am now, then I'll never lose weight"

"If I love myself as I am now, then I'll never lose weight."

Does that thought sound familiar?

When you hear that common refrain, "You really just need to love yourself exactly as you are NOW!" do you think, "UM. NO THANK YOU. Because how I am now is gross and I need to MOTIVATE myself to lose weight and if I'm all lovey-dovey with myself then I won't be motivated and I'll never lose the weight."

Yeah. Me too. Some version of that anyway. I used to really really struggle with the idea of loving myself as I am now because I didn't like my body the way it was and honestly, it felt really TERRIFYING to love my body--just scary. Because if I loved my body, it seemed like things would become chaos. To me, judging my body and being critical of myself, meant keeping control--of my food and my exercise--and I believed that if I loved myself just as I am then the lid would blow off of that control and things would become chaos. Specifically I believed I'd GAIN weight and become a total mess. Hating my body equalled the hope that I would beat it into submission someday.

 

 

I know a lot of my clients (okay--all of them) have felt that way, too.

HERE'S THE THING:

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

It's really counterintuitive, isn't it? It just somehow seems "right" that in order to create change we need to be hard on ourselves. But it is MESSED UP and NOT TRUE.

In fact, when we are hard on ourselves (i.e., when we hate on our bodies) we immediately create a bunch of super negative things that actually keep us from having the body we desire. KEEP US FROM IT.

Let me ask you this: has hating your body worked so far? Has it made you happy? Has it put you into a graceful flow of your life where you resonate joy and confidence? Has hating on yourself created freedom around what you eat and how you exercise? NO. IT HAS NOT.

I know it hasn't because I'VE BEEN THERE. Hating on yourself does a bunch of super negative things. Let's look at some of them:

  • Has you feeling crazy self-conscious and makes you hide out when you could be STEPPING UP
  • Creates obsession around food and has you creating "good" and "bad" categories of food in extreme ways--and then severely punishing yourself when you eat a "bad" food (punishment comes in many forms but the worse form is takes is SHAME)
  • Every time you hate on yourself you release a cocktail of stress hormones that actually have you HOLDING ONTO WEIGHT! So that's fun!
  • Constantly judging and criticizing your body lowers your energy and affects how you show up at work, in your relationships and at play. Basically, you're vibrating on "Total Bummer" and people pick up on that.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the consequences of HATING ON YOUR BODY.

Remember when you were a kid and you didn't think about your body or food at all?!

Yeah--those were good times! We were ENGAGED in life! We ran! We played! We sat down and wolfed down a PB&J and then we ran out to play some more!

That's because we didn't yet know that we "weren't good enough". We hadn't been bombarded with all the messaging from advertising that is designed to have us think and feel that we are "not enough". It's powerful stuff and we've all bought in, hook, line and sinker.

But guess what?! LOVING OURSELVES AS WE ARE is the fist step to having the body AND LIFE that we desire! #truthbomb!

When we love ourselves--like TRULY LOVE OURSELVES--we:

  • Stop obsessing every day and every moment about how we are not good enough. That may sound miraculous, but it is true. And WOW that frees up a TON of energy that can be put to far better use!
  • Stop inundating our bodies with that awful toxic cocktail of stress hormones that chip away at our health and keep weight on our bodies
  • We see food differently! Wow! We are allowed to enjoy food but because we actually LOVE ourselves, all sorts of things start to click into place and it because effortless to actually feed ourselves HEALTHY and NOURISHING food!

And that's just a few of the benefits :)

BUT HOW THE HECK DO I LOVE MYSELF?!!

Yes, that's the crux of it, isn't it? It took me a long long time to figure this out. But I have. And my mission in life is to shortcut for you the years it took me to get here.

And one of the most crucial steps in the process is LETTING GO OF THE FEAR that bad things will happen if you allow yourself COMPASSION and LOVE.

So your homework is to start noticing the fear you have around loving yourself. REALLY NOTICE. Dig deep and see where it is hiding. Bring it out into the light--give it a hug and let it know that there's a better way! Bless and release that fear because truly, THINGS GET BETTER when you LOVE YOURSELF.

As always, I love to know what you are thinking and feeling so hit reply and let me know!

XOXO,

Elijah

P.S. If you are excited to go deep around this, I'll be in NYC on June 27th! I'd love it if you joined me!

Some (possible) reasons you're not losing weight.

If you've known me a while then you know I've really struggled with the whole weight loss thing since my son was born (5 1/2 years ago!)...and if you're new here (WELCOME! I'M SOOOOOO HAPPY YOU'RE HERE!) well then...now you know, too!

I think about weight loss a lot. Here are the two main things I think:

1) We all need to stop worrying about our weight and just love the heck out of our bodies because seriously people, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL and TRULY AMAZING. They get up every day and just DO SHIT. Wow. Like--I'm TYPING WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE KEYBOARD RIGHT NOW. If that's not magic I don't know what is. So yeah, can we please stop obsessing about our weight already?!

2) It's okay to want to lose weight. Some of us may actually be healthier if we lost weight so yes, that's important (that said--being "overweight" does not necessarily mean you're unhealthy and being "the right weight" doesn't mean you're healthy. So let's promise to get rid of those stereotypes right now, shall we?). BUT--just because we may agree with the BODY POSITIVE movement and really understand that it is crucial to LOVE our BEAUTIFUL BODIES (that do so much for us--see #1) doesn't mean we need to then feel bad about ourselves if we want to lose a few pounds--right? Right. 

Here's the thing-of course it is okay to want to lose some weight. But within that context I believe you need to:

1) Make sure you love and adore you body--and appreciate it--AS IT IS TODAY.

2) Be in PARTNERSHIP with your body--don't be at war with it! If you love and adore it than you can both (your body and you) agree that you'll join forces to lose weight and be on the SAME PAGE. 

3) BE REALISTIC. I talk about this in one of my classes of the 28 Day Total Food Transformation...(which is coming up and I totally want you to join, BTW) you need to GET REAL about YOUR BODY. If you're curvy and voluptuous then wishing you had a tomboy vibe is truly going to make you a very unhappy person AND you'll never get there. Or let's say you have this perfectly decent body but you want a MODEL'S body...you know what I mean. Well, here's the thing--models and actors either simply have genetics that make their bodies that way without effort OR they work really really hard at it. So--in reality--do you have time to spend 2 hours at the gym every day? Or maybe more? Can you hire a personal chef? Yeah. Neither can I! So find a way to understand YOUR body. YOU GET TO DECIDE ON YOUR BEAUTY STANDARD. 

kay, okay--so the above isn't why you opened up this email. You opened up this email to see if you could find the answer to that nagging question, "Why an't I lose weight?!"

Here's some possible reasons why:

TOXINS. Please don't roll your eyes! It is true. Your liver (one of your body's five detox organs) can get totally toxed-out and if it is, your body will have a very hard time functioning optimally. Your liver supports fat burning and hormone balancing, super important stuff for a balanced, healthy body that can perform well and release unwanted weight.

2) INFLAMMATION.  Inflammation comes in many forms and is bad for more reasons than just weight gain (i.e. DISEASE). But in this case, we are talking water retention. People roll their eyes at this but holding onto excess water due to poor diet will literally have you gaining between 5 - 15 pounds! On top of that, you will look puffy and bloated. It's fine to retain water--we need water in our bodies, obviously. But TOO MUCH retention is a sign that we are eating things we shouldn't be eating. Allergies or food sensitivities could absolutely be to blame and when you eliminate them from your diet you DROP THE WEIGHT. (If it isn't obvious this reason directly relates to #1).

3) SLEEP. Meaning you're not sleeping enough. This is HUGE. Why? When you don't sleep enough your cortisol levels rise. This stress hormone is associated with weight gain, particularly around the middle. Cortisol also sends signals to your brain TO EAT. Lack of sleep also increases the hormone, ghrelin (this hormone makes you hungry) and decreases leptin (this hormone makes you feel full). Isn't that a fun combination?!

One more thing about lack of sleep--you know how you feel groggy and foggy and lazy when you haven't slept well? Well researchers at the University of Chicago coined the phrase "metabolic grogginess" which basically means that your fat cells feel groggy, too!  Actually what the study shows is that after four days of bad sleep, your body's ability to properly use insulin is decreased by more than 30%. The short version of this result is that you store more fat and you tend to store it in bad places like your liver (see #1).

4) YOU'RE NOT EATING WHOLE FOODS. It is true. Not all calories are created equal. If you're eating a lot of processed foods and sugar, your body isn't getting the nutrition it needs (so it will have lots of cravings as a result) AND it has to work incredibly hard to process the food you're giving to it. Most likely it doesn't even recognize what you're giving it as food! So you'll feel hungry even after you've eaten! Eating nutritionally dense, whole foods will have you feeling fuller faster and for longer AND your body processes that food much easier--so it flows through your system in the way you want it to (as opposed to hanging around on your hips!). Beware of things like "gluten free" processed foods and the like--just because something is gluten free DOES NOT mean it is healthy! 

5) HORMONES. Ah, hormones. Especially as we get older they get out of whack. Remember when you could drop 10 pounds in a blink of an eye? If that's not happening anymore than most likely you're experiencing changes in your body that go with age (its' okay--please don't fret about aging--the alternative sucks!). Starting at around age 35 (especially for women but for men, too) our metabolism starts to slow down. Around 40 it drops some more. Also around 40, women lose about 1/2 a pound of lean muscle a year and GAIN about a pound of fat. And guess what? That fat is different from the fat of our youth--it takes up more space! HOW FUN IS THAT???!!! Sigh. This is where being REALISTIC about your body really comes into play. Accept and love yourself. You're body is changing but you are still you. At this point, eating whole foods becomes crucial as well as REGULAR EXERCISE (which helps to balance the hormones) both cardio and strength training. I could do a whole class on this...maybe I should! Also, studies show that eating protein at every meal is helpful (but make sure you're mostly eating veggies and fruits!). 

6) DEHYDRATION. h, man! I talk about this ALL THE TIME and I'm 100% certain that most people still don't drink enough water!! DRINK MORE WATER! Right now! Go have a glass of water...I'll wait...water is key for health and weight loss:

  • ater helps maximize our physical performance
  • Water effects our energy and brain function
  • Water supports proper digestion and is one of the keys in eliminating constipation
  • Water can increase satiety
  • Water can boost metabolism (and has been shown to do so by up to 30% in some studies

7) YOU ARE EATING TOO MUCH. Yup. I know--shocking, right? But here's the thing, a lot of people are not aware of how much they are eating, especially if they are not MINDFUL when they are eating. In fact, mindless eating adds up to unneeded calories. This holds true for junk food or healthy food. TW-I KNOW I'M GUILTY OF THIS! Especially working from home with my kitchen RIGHT THERE. I eat super healthy but my metabolism is low and I have hypothyroidism so even a small amount of too many calories stays with me. Sigh. SUPER FRUSTRATING. Oh--and my husband eats like 4,000 calories a day and never gains a pound. Double sigh.

8) YOU ARE NOT EXERCISING. uess what?! If you want to lose weight YOU NEED TO EXERCISE. Do both cardio and strength training. Do I really need to say more about this? It's really important for your heart health and bone health as well. SO JUST DO IT!

9) MACRONUTRIENTS. You need to eat a proper amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates EVERY DAY. And by carbohydrates I mean fruits and vegetables. Also, please stop being afraid of fat. Eat it! Except trans fat. NEVER eat trans fat. 

10) YOU ARE NOT EATING RIGHT FOR YOUR BODY. hat does that mean? When we eat food that is hard on our body/hard for our bodies to digest, we cause break down. Over time that break down becomes worse and it shows up in all sorts of ways. We can get eczema, acne, our hair thins, our skin looks terrible, we sleep poorly or sleep all the time but never feel rested, we get GERD, high blood pressure, gut imbalances, thyroid issues, liver and gallbladder issues...etc etc...and we GAIN WEIGHT. All this tends to happen slowly, over time, so we assume it is about aging or maybe we think it is just bad luck. NO.  NO NO NO. I wish I had more time to write about this but this post is already way too long. Listen--about 80% of your immune system is in your gut! When you eat the wrong foods and you mess with your gut, that is affected. Stuff starts to go wrong. BUT--when you eliminate those things from your diet your BODY IS AMAZING and can start to heal. I HAVE SEEN IT HAPPEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN WITH MY CLIENTS AND IT IS TOTALLY AWESOME. 

So how do you know what your body is having a hard time with?

'm glad you asked! That's where my 28 Day Total Food Transformation comes in. I walk you through it step by step AND you're doing it with all these cool people and it is actually really fun. And the results are phenomenal.

So I hope you do my program because I know it will totally be amazing and life-changing for you.

BUT--if you don't want to do my program, here's what you do: you do an elimination diet. That's essentially what my program is. First you eliminate all potential allergens for at least a week (for serious medical conditions you'll want to go longer than that-email me if you have questions). Then you slowly and methodically reintroduce those allergens back into your diet, one by one. You monitor for reactions. You LEARN. IT IS SO SIMPLE YET SO POWERFUL. 

Okay, gorgeous! That's enough for today!

Go out there and TAKE UP SPACE! STAND UP! SPEAK OUT! MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!

Also, EAT HEALTHY FOOD!

Much love,

Elijah

 

Your Genetics on Coffee-How the Genes You Have Affect that Cup of Joe!

This is first part in a series on nutrigenomics—how food affects are genes (and how genes affect how we assimilate what we eat).

COFFEE! OMG soooooo many of us love it so much! We feel like our day wouldn’t be complete without it! Others among us never touch the stuff.

Many of you may know that when you participate in my 28 Day Total Food Transformation that I ask that you get off coffee for the duration of the program. When people find this out there is a huge collective GROAN! For the most part, people have taken on that challenge. And of those people, the vast majority experience huge benefits when they take their bodies off the caffeine cycle including better sleep, more even energy throughout the day, improved weight loss (I know this is true for me) and much more…including that “AH HA” that THEY CAN DO IT! It’s a great feeling of accomplishment.

Setting the controversy around coffee aside (we will deal with that in another email) I want to tell you about really cool research that has discovered specific genes that affect how you experience caffeinated coffee!

My work is based entirely around the concept ofBIOINDIVIDUALITY. This means that all of our bodies are unique and what works for one may not work for others. I help people figure out what their specific and unique body needs to thrive.

Nutrigenomics is the scientific study of how what we eat and drink (nutrition) affects our genes. It’s trying to discover how different people’s genetic make-up is affected by what they eat.

Scientists at Harvard conducted the largest genome-wide association study on coffee drinking to date (Chasman and Cornelis et al 2015) have been looking into how an individual’s genetic make-up influences their response to coffee. So far there have been EIGHT GENES discovered that relate to coffee consumption.

FAST AND SLOW CAFFEINE METABOLIZERS:

They discovered two genes that are involved with the metabolization of caffeine, POR and ABCG2. Because these genes are encoded with proteins involved with metabolizing caffeine, people with these genes tend to break down (metabolize) caffeine faster and therefore tend to be able to drink more coffee easily. They basically metabolize the caffeine faster and better than those without these genes!

Caffeine is actually primarily metabolized in our liver (which is a major detox organ—important to know!). In the liver is an enzyme that does a lot of the work of breaking this down called cytochrome P450, or CYP1A2. This enzyme has a variant (CYP1A2*1A) that metabolized caffeine FAST! So all of this is connected and it explains why some among us can drink a cup of coffee and then go to bed, no problem! (Conversely, CYP1A2*1F is a slow metabolizer of caffeine so if you find you need to cut consumption early in the day to ensure a good night of sleep, you may be carrying this variant!).

TOLERANCE

Along the same lines, the scientists confirmed that two genes, AHR and CYP1A2 (and yes, I know that above I refer to CYP1A2 as an enzyme—and it is…from DNA, to RNA, to protein…the enzyme is the protein expression of gene! Yeah, I know…just trust me) that relate to our tolerance and how well we process the caffeine in coffee.

Because AHR can turn on CYP1A2, people with this combination of gene variant can metabolize caffeine faster and therefore easily tolerate more cups of coffee during the day!

 

HAPPINESS

Ah, the joy of coffee! There may be a reason that coffee makes you happy! The scientists are looking at two regions of our DNA near genes BDNF and SLC6A4 to see if there’s a connection…and it’s looking like there is!

BDNF is responsible for serotonin and dopamine (pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters). These two variants seem to reinforce the positive affects of coffee’s molecular properties—and put you into a good mood!

I think about these genes a lot because there are many times when a cup of coffee really seems to make me HAPPY!

PLEASURE/STIMULATION

Connected to our happy feelings that come from drinking coffee are two genes related to pleasure or “getting a kick” from drinking coffee. It’s a subtle difference and scientists are still looking to understand the connection fully. Two variants found near genes GCKR and MLXIPL are assumed to be associated with a “psychostimulant effect” of coffee drinking! People with these genes tend to drink more coffee because of the associated stimulating effect they receive from it!

So that’s your mini-overview of genetics and coffee drinking!

What’s the take-away?

All of us are individuals and have a unique genetic make-up.Depending on that genetic make-up, we will experience food and drink in a very unique way—OUR PERSONAL WAY.

I really love this because sometimes we can feel a little crazy or annoyed that we seem to have such different bodies and different tastes and reactions to food and drink than our friends and family. There’s a reason for it and science is just beginning to unravel it all!

You don’t need to get your genome tested to figure it all out—you just need to PAY ATTENTION. You KNOW when food messes with you and you KNOW when food makes you feel good! TRUST THAT. There’s a reason for it!

That is also what my 28 Day Total Food Transformation does for you. It helps you figure it out. And when you do, all sorts of symptoms melt away. I’ve seen it happen time and time again and seriously, it can feel MIRACULOUS. I invite you to check out the program. It’s really powerful and I know it will help you feel better than you’ve ever imagined.

 

 

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