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Adverse Childhood Events and Holistic Healing with Niki Gratrix :074

Abundant Energy Expert Niki Gratrix shares how Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) are probably the most important root cause to address for true holistic wellness.

Niki Gratrix, BA Dip ION NANP, is a nutritionist and energy expert who quickly realized that there was an emotional side to healing that was required in her clients for true wellness and complete healing. Niki discovered a correlative study on adverse childhood events (ACEs) by the CDC whose data shows that ACEs are found in epidemic levels in the population, and how devastating these ACEs are to health and well-being. Niki then started a journey to integrate identifying ACEs with her clients, increasing client awareness of the impact on previous trauma on their own health, and facilitated client-based conversation around facing these past events and moving forward for true holistic wellness. In this information-packed interview, Niki tells all about ACEs, how they contribute to health issues, how to identify ACEs, how to address ACEs, and how increasing awareness about ACEs in both conventional and holistic healing modalities is crucial in the evolution of raising human consciousness and well-being.


Listen to the podcast to hear:

  • How what happens to us emotionally always affects us physically via epigenetic changes, even before we are born or aware of ourselves
  • How different ACE scores correlate with your risk of health issues
  • How ACEs contribute to digestive, hormone, thyroid, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, depression, anxiety, headaches, pain, fibromyalgia, fatigue issues, lifespan, and more
  • What the ACEs are
  • ACEs: the research missed that need to be addressed
  • How many generations back do epigenetic changes get passed down to offspring from both mother and father
  • What are silent ACEs, and how most trauma is ambient
  • How silent ACEs affect our social relationships
  • How social relationships are more important for survival than BMI and other risky health behaviors
  • Why Niki says ACEs are the number one root cause of modern health issues
  • What the trifecta of contributors to health issues is
  • How ACEs affect epigenetics, behavior, and belief, and how that in turn affects lifestyle choices, health, and chances of fully healing
  • How the addiction therapy world is changing their therapies based upon new knowledge on the importance of ACEs
  • How binging and junk food snacking choices are linked to ACEs
  • How practitioners can create burnout in themselves either through over-giving, over-achieving, or perfectionism in their own hustle for worthiness unless they deal with their own ACEs
  • How ACEs can affect our belief system that we are worthy of getting better
  • How ACEs increase your risk of heart disease via epigenetics, despite 􀍞perfect􀍟 diets and cholesterol levels
  • How our stress thresholds are set epigenetically starting in childhood with ACEs, radiating to brain cell function and gut function
  • How our ACEs can even cause destructive approaches in our healing process, and affect our entire perception of the world
  • How our emotional intelligence is in a worse state than our diet choices as a culture, and how that is initiated in childhood and radiates all the way out through international behavior
  • The difference between superficially addressing stress with clients versus fully diving into ACEs with clients
  • How to prepare yourself as a practitioner to discuss ACEs with clients
  • How assessing ACEs needs to be done on all three levels: physical, energetic, and mental
  • How to figure out your or your clients’ ACE scores
  • Why you need to ask about your familial history of ACEs, not just familial health issues, as part of the pre-intake education process
  • How to know when to refer out clients with certain ACEs
  • How neurofeedback, EFT, essential oils, journaling, time in nature, joyful and creative activities, and daily rituals can be useful in overcoming ACEs and retraining epigenetics back to a more parasympathetic state
  • How enneagram assessment (www.enneagraminstitute.com ) can be used to help figure out how you are coping with your ACEs
  • How setting boundaries in relationships and who you are around is crucial to dealing with ACEs
  • How just talking about a past issue that you have never discussed is so strong that it can change your epigenetics
  • How practitioners can only offer the ACE healing to their clients that they themselves have achieved
  • 􀍞We can only take our clients as far as we have gone ourselves􀍟
  • How forming partnerships with counselors and other CAM therapists is a beneficial way to help clients address ACEs
  • 􀍞If you are just doing biochemistry, you aren’t holistic􀍟
  • How to warn clients (and yourself) about emotional detox when starting to address ACEs, and how to sit with the pain of feeling their feelings


Find resources from Niki including her free report/e-book on how to address your or your clients’ ACEs can be found at www.nikigratrix.com



About Niki Gratrix

Niki is an award-winning nutrition therapist, bioenergetic practitioner, and mind-body expert, helping people to optimize energy.

In 2005 she co-founded one of the largest mind-body clinics in integrative medicine in the UK.

In August 2015 she hosted the largest ever free online health summit on overcoming fatigue.

Niki has spoken on over 20 online health summits and been the keynote speaker at live conferences internationally.

Niki is currently the Education Director at NES Health, a quantum biology health technology company. www.nikigratrix.com

Interview by Contributing Podcaster, Lori Rose Ph.D.

Check out what Lori has going on!


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Overcome Binge Eating with Dr. Glenn Livingston :070

Binge eating can be overcome with Dr. Livingston’s advice based on clinical and personal experience.

Having been overweight myself I can attest that the strategies in Dr. Glenn’s book are clear and align with how I now think as a healthy person. Dr. Livingston’s advice seems remarkably too simple, but isn’t that what we want – a simple answer!?

Here are some highlights of our discussion:

  • Dr. Livingston’s background as a clinical psychologist
  • Dr. Glenn’s personal experience with exercise bulimia
  • His self-funded studies with 40,000 to understand food cravings  – Why people crave chocolate or salty, crunchy snacks for example.
  • How binge eating is a result of dieting which throws off natural cycles
  • Why it doesn’t work to love yourself out of binge eating or “love yourself thin”
  • Why binging is the “survival drive gone wrong”
  • Milner and Olds experiment
  • What are you really craving when you crave chocolate?
  • It doesn’t take will power to never binge again.
  • Big Food, Big Advertising, Big Addiction
  • Why it’s important to use the words Always and Never – no matter how uncomfortable!
  • Is there a withdrawal period? How long will it take to no longer binge?
  • Geneen Roth, Breaking Free From Emotional Eating
  • Dr. Glenn’s experience of feeling more alive by breaking free from the “deprivation trap”
  • Dr. Glenn’s hack to overcome the guilt or fear after a binge
  • Comfort vs. Contentment
  • Get Dr. Glenn’s book, Never Binge Again, helpful templates and recordings here!


Watch, listen, learn… Enjoy!


About Dr. Glenn Livingston

Glenn Livingston - Binge Eating - Weight Free WellnessGlenn Livingston, Ph.D. is a veteran psychologist and was the long time CEO of a multi-million dollar consulting firm which has serviced several Fortune 500 clients in the food industry. You may have seen his (or his company’s)  previous work, theories, and research in major periodicals like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Sun Times, The Indiana Star Ledger, The NY Daily News, American Demographics, or any of the other major media outlets you see on this page.  You may also have heard him on ABC, WGN, and/or CBS radio, or UPN TV. 

Disillusioned by what traditional psychology had to offer overweight and/or food obsessed individuals, Dr. Livingston spent several decades researching the nature of bingeing and overeating via work with his own patients AND a self-funded research program with more than 40,000 participants.  Most important, however, was his own personal journey out of obesity and food prison to a normal, healthy weight and a much more lighthearted relationship with food.

Get his book here for free!


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What’s Your Life Purpose? with Holistic Therapist Lucy Anne Chard :069

What’s Your Soul’s Plan?

Discovering and fulfilling your life purpose, ironically, does not come naturally to everyone. Even if your life seems perfect from the outside or you followed all the steps and the rules… you still may be asking these questions. Having been in your shoes, I encourage you to listen, learn and enjoy!


“Get clarity on your heart’s core desires and align your life and career goals with your innate talents.” – Lucy Anne Chard – Holistic Therapist

Here are some highlights of what we discussed:

  • How her skin cancer diagnosis woke her up to acknowledge how disconnected she was in her own life and how she was dissociated from herself and had put aside her own created expression – her own needs and hearts core desires.
  • The tools she used to bring herself back into alignment: hatha yoga, meditation, enjoying being in nature, digital detox, etc.
  • The Insight Timer App
  • “I had built up a life around me that was designed to please others but not myself.” – Lucy Anne Chard – Holistic Therapist
  • How she balances social media and online work
  • “I’ve found in the work that I do that one of the deepest questions, and one of the most important questions, is, ‘What do you want?’ …I’ve experienced when you ask people that… we’re very good at articulating what we don’t want, but we’re not that good at articulating what we do want.” – Lucy Anne Chard – Holistic Therapist
  • Signs of being disconnected: the dreaded “should’s”, a feeling of anxiety in the chest, feeling overwhelmed; seeking guidance, truth, approval, confirmation and energy from external sources; not looking inward for answers or trusting that the answers are inside; knowing information intellectually buy not fully understanding it; “collecting” courses; looking externally for validation, etc.
  • “Imagine how wonderful it would be if we could move forward making decisions based on flourishing and what that means for us, what that means for you – to flourish. And to be able to learn to be able to say ‘no’ to the things that don’t support that.” – Lucy Anne Chard – Holistic Therapist
  • Discovering and recovering life purpose and mission
  • How a Soul Plan Reading helps a person come into alignment
  • Examples from my Soul Plan Reading
  • Anxiety beyond biochemistry
  • Becoming addicted to being anxious


Watch, listen, learn… Enjoy!


About Lucy

Lucy Anne Chard - Weight Free Wellness PodcastLucy Anne Chard is a writer, holistic therapist and teacher, encouraging people to re-connect with their mind-body-spirit wholeness, recover the confidence to be true to themselves in all aspects of life and create a life that is in alignment with their soul’s purpose.

Having completed her Bachelor of Arts in Drama & Performance, she embarked on a career as an actress for a theatre company in South Africa, where she grew up. She spent the first two years post University performing Shakespeare and original South African works to the public, as well as taking productions into rural areas of the country to perform in town halls and civic centers for school children and adults who had never experienced theatre before.

She moved to London in 2005 with her partner, following the impulse to travel and explore the world. It was here where she embarked on a new career in Television Broadcasting.

Drawing on her unique experience in Drama & Performance, Strategy and Planning for some of the top blue-chip channel brands in the UK, Europe and South Africa, her training as an Energy Healing Practitioner and her clinical training in NLP, Hypnotherapy & Life Coaching, she loves working with heart-conscious, spiritual seekers through her Radiant You Programme & Soul Plan Life Alignment sessions, who are ready to shed the confines of playing small, be their own guru and live life in alignment with their soul’s purpose.

Lucy is a certified Advanced Clinical NLP Practitioner, Hypnotherapist and Life Coach, having studied through the prestigious Phil Parker Training Institute in London. She is an Advanced Soul Plan Practitioner, a Reiki Master-Teacher and an Advanced ThetaHealing Practitioner.

Learn more about Lucy and what she offers here!

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Follow Your Dreams – Author and Illustrator Michelle Nelson-Schmidt :065

Children’s author Michelle Nelson-Schmidt shares how facing our fears is crucial to the true wellness that comes from following our dreams.

Michelle Nelson-Schmidt is a children’s book author and illustrator who travels the nation teaching children how to face their fears, listen to their inner voices, be themselves despite what the world tells them, and to follow their dreams.  Her story is liberating and inspiring, and shows us that while the road to your dreams may be rocky, scary, hard, and full of failures and mistakes, it’s worth it.  Her books are meant for children, but her message is equally important to all adults because we have been hurt, squashed, and bruised from the negative messages of the world.  Michelle’s wisdom through her stories teaches us how to listen to our hearts underneath the loud voice of our fears, embrace our true authentic selves, believe in the magic of giving, and tune in to our interconnectivity to each other for true wellness.


“When you start to trust in who you are in this world and listen to your heart amazing things begin happening [sic].” – Michelle Nelson-Schmidt


Michelle Nelson-Schmidt - WhatifMonsters.com - Follow Your Dreams


“A bad test grade does not make you a bad person.” – Michelle Nelson-Schmidt

Listen to the podcast to hear:

  • How Michelle’s message changed the entire course of my wellness path and career
  • Michelle’s winding path to following her dreams
  • How Michelle felt watching everyone else following their dreams while she wasn’t
  • How just because you are good at something doesn’t mean it’s your true calling
  • How it felt to choose the safe version of her passion instead of going all in
  • The difference between hard work and heart work, and how following your dreams requires both
  • Why the freedom to fail and embracing mistakes is crucial to following your dreams
  • What Jonathan James and the What If Monster teaches us about facing our fears and anxiety
  • What Bob is a Unicorn teaches us about being ourselves and find our tribe
  • What Cordelia teaches us about taking accountability for your choices, owning your passion, and making the world better because of it
  • How Michelle’s very successful marketing strategy is very different from what we are taught, and how to embrace giving
  • The difference between giving to get, vs. giving for joy
  • The difference between expectations vs. faith
  • The importance of interconnectivity for maintaining joy

Michelle Nelson-Schmidt - Cordelia


“Just because some people don’t ‘get you’ or understand you does not mean you’re wrong and you gotta’ stay true to yourself because eventually what happens is your people find you. People that think like you, act like you – we’re magnets in this world. ” – Michelle Nelson-Schmidt


“When you shine your light you give permission for others – you shine that light on others and you give permission to everybody else (to shine).” – Michelle Nelson-Schmidt

Contributing Podcaster, Lori Rose, PhD’s teaches

“Everything You Need to Know About Sun Health” 

Demo, e-booklet + 3 Recipes!

How much sun is ok?

What about kids?


Free for a limited time – Join us!

Learn more here.


About Michelle Nelson-Schmidt

Michelle Nelson-Schmidt - WhatifMonsters.com - Follow Your DreamsI am Michelle Nelson-Schmidt, I live in Lilburn, Georgia and I have the great privilege of getting to be an author and illustrator for EDC Publishing. After about 10 years eeking my way towards that goal while working full-time as a mother and graphic designer, I am finally doing it full time. Sometimes I need to pinch myself when I realize that this is actually my life. I still sometimes look behind me to see the ‘author’ that a person next to me is talking about. I write and illustrate books for kids. Wow! THIS IS MY LIFE! I travel to schools all over the United States reading them my books, talking about my journey and encouraging them to follow their dreams – with everything they’ve got – no matter what! Because my life is magical, it truly is and every minute, even the doubting, painful ones were so worth it to get to here, I want every person I know and meet to understand that this life is meant to be magical – and we all can have a magical life. You just have to have the courage to look for it and work for it.

I love that I get to show my children and all the children I meet (over 400,000 now) that life is what you make it. That persistence and hard work will overcome almost any obstacle – and I of course have to make sure that they know reading is pretty much the key it all, no matter what your dream.

When I am not traveling I am busy being silly and having fun with the loves of my life – my husband Kevin, my son Noah, my daughter Sophia and our two crazy dogs, Piggy Pie and Otto Von Schmidt. They are all my everything and I love them more than bees love flowers!


Enter Michelle’s wonderful world full of freebies, inspiration and and books at here.

To join her each Wednesday on her Story Time Live, follow her on Facebook here.

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Natural Remedies for Grief with Nurse Herbalist Lora Krall :062

Grief often does just need time for healing, but there are natural and herbal remedies that can ease the process.


With over 35 years of nursing experience in the critical care and emergency room – Lora Krall is very familiar with tragedy and grief. As if being present with grieving families over the years was not enough experience; the recent loss of her son and many other family members (30 in total) in a two and half year period, make her even more of an expert.


Lora shares from her nursing background, personal grief and herbal training. She has some tremendously valuable insight.




Here are some highlights of our discussion on grief:

  • Lora began learning about herbs as nutritional support and prevention
  • The lack of support for health professionals to talk about grief
  • Being a community herbalist
  • “There are so many places where herbs and conventional/allopathic medicine can work well together. I see no reason why we can’t use the best of both.” – Nurse Herbalist Lora Krall
  • What our culture sees as acceptable ways and time frames for dealing with grief.
  • Where grief pops up: loss of pets, family members, a job, a home, an idea, a dream…
  • What happens when people do not deal with their grief?
  • Go spend time in nature. That is so incredibly healing.” – Nurse Herbalist Lora Krall
  • Death builds life.” – Nurse Herbalist Lora Krall
  • Hawthorn blend: Mimosa bark, Hawthorn, lavender – causes a gentle opening like a flower for a heart closed by grief.
  • The subtle, gentle effects of herbs.
  • Herbal stories
  • Grief in a community
  • “Violet helps you in the journey from the head to the heart.” – Nurse Herbalist Lora Krall
  • “Borage gives you courage and helps you stand up and face the world.”  – Nurse Herbalist Lora Krall
  • How do you deal with death as in an ending of a relationship where you may encounter the situation or people again? Ceremony: write letters and burn them as a method of release, nurture the loss especially when it’s between two females (motherwort)
  • Violet is also known as “Heart Ease” – the metaphors in our language.
  • When you (or a friend is) are sick to death: Linden Flower, Lavender, Chamomile in a foot bath – and some Rosemary for remembrance and peppermint to move things along.
  • Letting go of grief for ideas and dreams that have never come to be.
  • What to do and not to do with someone who is grieving. (Don’t not talk about IT.) Use light touch, not smothering hugs. If you bring food, keep it light: nutritious soups, light teas, juices and things that are easy to make. Not heavy, creamy hot dishes. Just saying, “I’m thinking of you.” is enough.
  • Are there cultures that deal with grief “better”?
  • What can we do to deal with grief better? Lora shares about the “Spirit Bowl”. Honoring the loss of a family member for a year to allow them to integrate into their new environment. This can be done by creating an altar for the one who has passed.
  • How Lora and her husband support one another in the loss of their son.
  • Men and grief.

Lora’s handout “Herbs for Grieving Process”

Lora’s website.


About Lora Krall

Nurse Herbalist Lora KrallI am as much a part of what I see as it is a part of me. We are all one.  I despise labels and boxes instead preferring the gray zones of life that allow us to change and grow, adapt and integrate.  I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter. I have had careers as a nurse, gardener, coordinator, barista, caretaker and teacher. I am passionate about equality for all, education, and the environment in all its many forms.  I love to read, write, research, learn, explore, garden, hike, camp, travel, cook, create and just be.  While the many roles we play in our lives shape and form, it is the stories we create that tell who we are .  I hope you will join me as I share some of my story.



Flower Essences – Natural Remedies for Physical and Emotional Aspects of the Menstrual Cycle – with Loey Colebeck :061

Flower essences can gently and effectively help emotional and physical ailments

This podcast has a particularly feminine vibe to it as Holistic Therapist and Accredited Flower Essence Therapist, Loey Colebeck shares about the healing powers of flower essences and as it applies to the menstrual cycle and women in particular.

This is a branch of herbal medicine that, in my opinion, deserves a greater following.

Loey,  also shares how she originally became interested in herbal remedies and why she specializes in Flower Essence Therapy as a part of her Holistic Therapy practice. With a great deal of education and experience in her time in Barcelona, Spain – where this therapy is taken much more seriously than in the US – her perspective is rather unique. She has also translated a flower essence book from Spanish to English and uses several other natural therapies that complement one another.


Loey Colebeck - Weight Free Wellness Podcast


Here are some of the topics we covered in this talk:

  • Psychotherapy tools paired with her flower essence therapy: Gestalt, Family Constellation
  • “As the founder of this [flower essence] therapy said, ‘Flower essences help bring your personality closer to your soul.’ In other words – in psychotherapeutic terms, to go into the shadow, the catalyze consciousness.”
  • “Truly the mind and body are not separate and flower essences help to create that connection.”
  • What may not have made it into the podcast: in Cuba flower essence therapy is taken very seriously and is a medical specialization; flower essence therapy can affect more than emotions (which is how they are most commonly scene to be used in the US).
  • What are flower essences? On one end of the spectrum we have essential oils which use a lot of plant material and produce a small, concentrated amount of product. In the middle we have the plant material itself used in teas, capsules and tinctures which are close to a 1:1 ratio of dosage; and finally flower essence on the other end of the spectrum. Essentially flowers, at their prime state, are placed into water and absorbs the essence, the message or Gestalt of the flower and when we take this remedy we take on this energy to provide a blueprint for healing. Another explanation – imagine giving a bouquet of flowers to a friend. If you give this friend daisies, it caries a certain fun friendship sentiment as a gesture. If you give this friend roses, there is an element of conveying love – which can also be further specified by the color. Similarly, the vast array of flower essences are used to carry on the message or blueprint of the flower to the body, to patch what needs mending.
  • What about the placebo affect?
  • A flower essence trade secret using Agrimony
  • Using flower essences for PMS!
  • How can a woman in today’s day and age actually take a break during her menstrual cycle? In a nutshell – make it a priority! There’s a flower essence to help with that!
  • Do you have “stagnant liver chi”? Anger and the liver and how it relates to the cycle: screen time, sitting, not speaking up…
  • Is this going to get worse as I get older?
  • Shedding…
  • A single remedy can take care of multiple related symptoms: ruminating thoughts and digestive issues…
  • Help finding (or getting closer to) your true essence.

About Loey Colebeck

Loey Colebeck Flower Essence Therapist - Weight Free Wellness PodcastLoyola (Loey) Colebeck’s integrative clinical work is based in holistic approaches for psychological wellness that is reflected in physical health, and physical health that promotes psychological wellness.

Her work is primarily focused on personal constitution, family systems, and trauma healing. She combines Flower Essence Therapy, psychotherapy tools and Constellation work, Chinese medicine and Taoist tools, and core feminine embodiment practices such as the Jade Egg.

Loey also brings advanced, accredited, Integrative Flower Essence Therapy from Spain to her home State of Minnesota, providing clients and students with high quality care and training.

Learn more at MindisBodyTherapies.com

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5 Reasons for Weight Gain That You Need to Know About :060


Weight Gain is not just caused by consuming too many calories… your body may be trying to tell you something.


Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue can cause a whole slew of problems and issues. You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue if:

– Weight seems stubborn and just won’t go away no matter how much working out you do
– You always feel tired
– You NEED that cup (or two or…) to keep you going

If this describes you, I would see a Functional Medicine practitioner or Naturopath to investigate and receive holistic advice. Also, strive to get quality sleep, cut back on caffeine, and get moderate exercise.


Gluten Intolerance 

There are  so many signs of gluten intolerance – weight issues is a common one. You may have gluten intolerance if:

– You feel tired and cranky
Your belly always feels bloated
– The fat won’t go away no matter how much working out you do!

If this describes you, I would see a Functional Medicine practitioner or Naturopath to investigate and receive holistic advice.


5 Reasons for Weight Gain You Need to Know About


Aside from the physical reasons for weight gain, there are meta-physical and even symbolic reasons for these issues. Our unconscious self works in very mysterious ways at times. When we have poor boundaries and are unable to stand up for ourself – our body can create these boundaries for us. Some people (who are noticeably not assertive) may create a literal protective bubble around themselves. This may be you if:
– You’re a nurturing person
– You just want everyone to be happy
– You’re a peacemaker and/or
– People take advantage of your niceness but you’re too nice to stay away from them

If this sounds like you, I would see a counselor or talk with a strong person (not necessarily a “friend” because they might be one that is causing an issue) and learn to set boundaries so your “extra layer” doesn’t have to be!


You’re eating the wrong things:

You can feel like your doing all the right things; exercising, eating according to… but there are a few small details that can make ALL the difference! Those are:
– Too much sugar in pre or post workout drinks and bars
– Eating too late
– Just generally eating the wrong things for your body-type

Which leads me to the last reason…


You just might be an Earth-type

Understanding your Body-type can help you have a harmonious relationship with your body. Knowing which foods and exercises help your body feel more balanced can make all the difference! There are four Body-types; Earth, Fire, Air and Water. Earth-types are naturally “big-boned” and have a fuller figure. You may be an Earth-type if:
– You’ve always been heavy
– All of the above options sound like you



Take my Body-type Quiz!

Learn more about your Body-type and the habits that help this type feel more balanced. You’ll also receive a free copy of my book in your preferred eBook format plus 50% off the audiobook. It’s fun and very insightful! Get it here! 


For more details and insights watch or listen to the podcast! Enjoy!

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How to Get Unstuck Naturally – My Color Consultation with Janelle Sjodin :057

I wish I had known about color therapy as a tool to get “Unstuck” years ago!

When I went in for my first color therapy appointment with Janelle, I was very excited. I had already seen the vibrant bottles of water and oil-based liquid that make up the core of the Aura-Soma line of products; but I had yet to discover what it was all about.

I sat down in the hair styling chair that I’d been accustomed to – being Janelle’s hair client as well… you could say that color is Janelle’s “thing”.

She guided me through a grounding exercise which I really needed that day. I was having a wonderful day, but did not have both fee firmly planted on the ground. After that we dove in. She asked me 4 specific questions and after each one I chose a shiny glass bottle with the colorful oil and water mixture that represented the answer to that question. I couldn’t trust my rational mind to stay out of this intuitive process, so I closed my eyes and waved my hands over the bottles to sense which one was the one to choose. Being a intuitive kinesthetic “feeler” this method worked very well for me!

After I chose each bottle…

Janelle went through the “reading” process, explaining – similar to how an astrologer would read your chart – what each bottle meant.

The interpretations were so spot on! Also, the bottle that I needed to heal a certain aspect of my life at that time was, as Janelle prefaced, just what I needed – but didn’t make sense at the time.

It was an amazing process that brought extra clarity and confirmation to what was already going well for me in my life as well as soul-level healing that reflected into my emotional and mental life as well.

How else can color therapy help?

While at this point I intend to use this as a way to keep nudging myself forward in spiritual, emotional, mental and even physical health – I saw the connection immediately that this would have been immensely helpful at times when I felt very stuck and unclear in life.

As Janelle explains in this podcast, Color Therapy can be used for so many reasons but we both agreed that it’s especially good for those times when you feel stuck, don’t know where else to go or what to do – it helps the solutions come to you! Get Unstuck!


Janelle Sjodin - Allura Hair & Wellness - Aura-Soma

Highlights of our talk:

  • Where Aura Soma comes from, who created it
  • What is Color Therapy?
  • A therapy for empaths
  • How this therapy specifically helps
  • Aura-Soma Self Selective Color Care System
  • What is an Aura-Soma Color Consultation like?
  • We go over the amazing process and results of my Consultation!
  • “Aura-Soma gives you that experience to start trusting that you did have all those answers, you do know where you are at in your life and what’s preventing you from getting where you need to be… It’s very empowering.” – Janelle Sjodin
  • Get unstuck, practice intuition, tune-in
  • When you don’t know how to work through emotions
  • What each bottle pick means
  • How to use Aura-Soma
  • How often should one go in for a color consultation?
  • “It’s good to be in touch with your emotions and understand them and know where they live in your body… when you have that correlations you can really start to be your own master.” – Janelle Sjodin


About Janelle

Janelle Sjodin - Allura Hair & Wellness - Aura-SomaIn a world of chaos there is a desire to find a place of serenity to reconnect with who you are.

Somewhere that when you enter the room, all of your to do lists and multi-tasking can be left behind.

My studio will provide you this space with a nature-like tranquil setting to unwind and reconnect with yourself while receiving your hair and wellness services.

I will use my years of knowledge and intuition to create a customized look for you while you experience a relaxing environment involving my passions for essential oils, healing crystals & stones, Biomat Far Infrared sessions, Aura-Soma Color Therapy, Meditation, and high integrity product lines. All which will help ground you from the busyness of the world.

I would be honored to be a part of your self care regimen for your hair, mind, body and spirit.

You will leave my studio not only with a personalized look you love, you will also feel amazing and balanced from inside out.

In Light …

Janelle Sjodin

Learn more about Janelle at Allura Hair & Wellness

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Functional Psychiatry with Dr. Reba Peoples :055

Functional Psychiatry is a growing field of holistically treating psychiatric conditions – going as far as to help patients ween off of and treat conditions without medication.


A Functional Psychiatrist will look at the whole picture of a person to help remedy what appear to be mental imbalances. They are trained to see the body as all connected and will look at how your gut health, let, exercise and lifestyle affect your mental and emotional well-being.

If you’re wondering how to treat anxiety, depression and a laundry list of other ailments that you might already be seeing a psychiatrist for; this is well worth listening to! Also, it’s a great way to learn to prevent these issues as well!


Functional Psychiatrist Dr. Reba Peoples shares her insights and some very helpful tools that she shares with her patients.


Highlights of our discussion:

  • Why she named her practice “Imara” – is a girl’s name in Swahili meaning “one with strength or fortitude”. In Arabic it is a boy’s name which means “one who build or constructs”.
  • Functional Medicine aims to find the root cause of ailments
  • Why Dr. Peoples became a psychiatrist and now is adding Functional Medicine to her practice.
  • Dr. Peoples noticed that patients on medication seemed to be “just existing”. Now she says she sees patients thriving and being treated in her Functional Psychiatry practice.
  • How gut health affects our mental and emotional health.
  • There is only about 33% success rate with anti-depressant medications.
  • Why depression is a symptom (a fire alarm) – not a disease (not the fire).
  • What is SMART wellness?
  • How sleep can likely prevent dementia. (beta-amyloid)
  • Studies have shown – People who get 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 4 times per week get as much benefit from the exercise as they do from an anti-depressant for mild to moderate depression.
  • “We have a very potent internal pharmacy that we can activate just through exercise.” – Dr. Reba Peoples
  • Avoid the ANTs (automatic, negative, thoughts)
  • How Dr. Peoples teaches someone to become aware of their (negative) thoughts
  • The importance and difference between “who you are”/ (inner self) and “what you do” (role)
  • How what we put into our bodies affects our health: food, products and even media
  • Is your relationship affecting your health?
  • “When people say ‘trust your gut’ there is a lot to back that up scientifically.” – Dr. Reba Peoples
  • How to keep a positive mindset during trying and emotional times.
  • What to do when Facebook is causing you to feel upset or anxious.
  • When being resilient is no longer a good strategy.
  • “When we do have depression… anxiety… negative emotions – these are functional adaptations to dysfunctional environments.” – Dr. Reba Peoples
  • How a person can start implementing these practices in a low-cost way.



Dr Reba Peoples - Imara Health - Functional Psychiatry

About Dr. Reba Peoples

Dr. Reba Peoples is a board certified psychiatrist and founder of Imara Health and Wellness. Dr. Peoples created Imara because she is passionate about helping each of her patients move beyond their symptoms and truly start to live joyful, healthy lives. She does this by utilizing a functional approach that helps people understand the impact of lifestyle, genetics and environment on health and the progression of disease. Having this understanding allows her to provide a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan that identifies the root cause of illness and really allows her patients to work toward healing rather than symptom management.

Although Dr. Peoples does prescribe medications when clinically necessary, she often finds that a lot of her patients either no longer need medications or are able to significantly reduce the amount of psychiatric medications that they are taking once they have been able to successfully incorporate certain lifestyle adjustments.

Dr. Peoples firmly believes that in order to truly achieve wellness, we must be willing to gently nurture our bodies, passionately expand our minds and lovingly cultivate our spirits. She is truly excited to partner with you on your wellness journey.

Learn more about Dr. Peoples and what she offers at Imara Health and Wellness


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Mindfulness Can be Easy (even for a busy working mom!) with Dr. Chantal Hofstee :052

Mindfulness can be achieved even by the busiest of people…

A very busy person herself: a mom, wife, clinical psychologist, author… need I say more? Dr. Chantal shares what mindfulness has brought to her life and how she has been able to apply this practice without having to chime bells every hour or set aside swaths of time – that frankly, few of us have!


Here are some highlights of our discussion:

  • How she was introduced to mindfulness
  • Her initial skepticism of mindfulness
  • Red Brain : Orange Brain : Green Brain States
  • “‘Red Brain’ brings out the worst in us, ‘Green Brain’ brings out the best in us.” – Dr. Chantal Hofstee
  • ‘Orange Brain’ is the to-do list brain.
  • How you can live from the ‘Green Brain’ State
  • What “stay green” means in her office.
  • In the Green Brain State you can be more productive and feel good at the same time.
  • The Productivity Myth
  • An explanation of procrastination
  • Having more consistent output and energy
  • Stress gives us tunnel vision
  • “Green Brain – the absence of stress – makes us flexible, creative, see new ideas and angles and ways to work smarter.” – Dr. Chantal Hofstee
  • Neuroplasticity – you can rewire your brain!
  • With mindfulness you can rewire your brain to handle stress
  • After 6-8 weeks of practicing mindfulness the amygdala (fear center) of the brain literally shrinks!
  • How Dr. Chantal practices what she preaches, her ‘Green Brain Activators’. She gets up early for a short morning run… gratitude practice… setting a daily goal… savoring her morning coffee.
  • How she created a happier, more connected morning routine with her 4 and 1 year old children.
  • Her perspective on the concept of “judgement”
  • You can be angry or sad in ‘Green Brain’ – it’s just different.
  • “Emotion is a signal that something needs to be addressed.”  – Dr. Chantal Hofstee
  • “Emotions are my internal GPS.”  – Dr. Chantal Hofstee
  • What is helpful?…
  • Check out her book “Mindfulness on the Run” and online programs



About Dr. Chantal Hofstee

Based in Auckland, born in the Netherlands, Dr Chantal Hofstee lives and breathes mindfulness. A Clinical Psychologist, Mindfulness trainer and author. She is a strong believer in taking control of your happiness rather than seeking it outside of yourself. Accessible, warm and compassionate and in the first minutes with her you can tell she teaches from both her brain and her heart. Check out her insightful extended bio here as well as her books and resources!

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Dina Amsterdam Founder of InnerYoga on “Embodied Presence,” Montessori and Leadership :051

Dina Amsterdam, founder of InnerYoga and so much more!

“InnerYoga – How you meet life’s challenges and opportunities, on and off the mat.

Awareness. Kindness. Breath. Ease. Courage.”

Despite being involved in several projects, Dina teaches regular yoga classes in the San Francisco Bay Area, conducts InnerYoga teacher trainings, and is working on a couple of books. She admits enthusiastically that what is taking up a great deal of her time is her role which began at the MIT Media Lab.

Dina is the National Director of Leadership Development Coaching and Wholeness (creating a culture of wholeness) for the The Wildflower Foundation Schools.


“In order to be deeply healthy and empowered it’s important to be connected to the physical body, the emotional body, the mental body, the spiritual body and the energy body.”

– Dina Amsterdam, InnerYoga


Here are some of the intriguing topics we discussed:

  • Do you have to meditate in a crossed legged position on the floor to benefit? Dina shares about “Embodied Presence”
  • How the market crash in 2008 prompted her to expand her yoga teaching for her students who had increasing need
  • Perspective
  • InnerYoga is about Self-observation without Judgement, Cultivating Kindness
  • Dina emphasizes that one thing that makes her yoga teacher training unique is that about half of the training is how to take yoga into your life. Living your yoga!
  • Inspiration
  • Dina coaches leadership capacity with Montessori teacher and C-level clients (Well-being in the Workplace). She shares some key coaching insights she gives her clients.
  • “It’s really about helping a person identify what their biggest challenges are and then helping them see how they can utilize that challenge as an opportunity.” – Dina Amsterdam, InnerYoga
  • Courage
  • What is “acceptance”?
  • Fierce Compassion
  • Eating Disorder – Binge Eating
  • Her role as National Director of Leadership Development Coaching and Wholeness (creating a culture of wholeness) with MIT Media Lab and the Cambridge-based Wildflower Montessori School pilot Lab School
  • How she coaches Montessori teachers to set up their “inner environment”.
  • Wildflower Montessori: shop-front concept, the role of nature, artist in residence, community, etc.
  • “We believe that the environment deeply impacts the children.” – Dina Amsterdam, InnerYoga
  • “The parents are just as important to us as the children.” – Dina Amsterdam, InnerYoga
  • Inner Landscape Cards – Tools that she has created to help children (and adults) navigate their “inner landscape”: faces, landscapes and color washes to help children express how they are feeling.
  • Dina shares her InnerYoga wisdom of how to navigate emotions in challenging times.
  • Vulnerability
  • Anger
  • To Facebook or not to Facebook?


About Dina Amsterdam

Dina Amsterdam has been leading mindfulness-based offerings for over 20 years. She is currently a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA, and works privately with a variety of organizations as an executive coach and head of leadership training and development through her company Leadership Within.

Dina’s Leadership Within mission is to transform workplace and educational environments into cultures of evolutionary self-awareness, embodied presence, and inspired collaborative creative purpose. For the last several years, she has been honored to do this work in support of the Wildflower Montessori network of schools, an open-source approach to Montessori learning developed at the MIT Media Lab. Additional current and previous clients have hailed from Google, Founders Fund, Expedia, the New Yorker, and Innovation Endeavors—to name a few.

A yogi and meditator of over 20 years, Dina is the founder of InnerYoga, a therapeutic approach to yoga that invites deep inner listening and awakens the 4 foundations of awareness, kindness, breath, and ease within those who practice it.

The philosophy and methodology of InnerYoga is deeply rooted in a variety of ancient wisdom practices as well as psychoneuroimmunology—the scientific understanding of the body-mind as the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems.

To date, through both Leadership Within and InnerYoga, Dina has supported well over 100,000 people, in person, on their path to embodied mindful well-being and evolutionary living.

Check out Dina’s website.


Getting Through a Sad Christmas :039

I Believe More People are Sad at Christmas than Will Admit

Sad times seem to stem from one thing… death: death of loved ones, relationships, ideas of what could or should have been, death of the past.

Christmas is about the celebration of LIFE. But like any good life lesson (and story), the potential for great joy is counter balanced by the likelihood of great sadness. Oh, how life can be so poetic!

I don’t mean to be negative. I’m actually wanting to relate and reach out; to help those who are struggling and truly suffering at this time. I’ve been there. Sadness overcomes me at these times too.


If the Christmas time is sad for you I welcome you in

I still haven’t decided how much or how to share all of my story on this podcast. Believe me, I know the pain of separation from people who said they loved me, but whose actions did not speak the same words.

I’ve felt the guilt of not being able to make things better, to be the solution I knew I could and wanted to be. I felt guilty, even when others tore apart the progress that we made.

Divorce is now accepted as a normal way to separate legally and otherwise from a troubling spouse. What is not so widely accepted is to separate from troubling people whom you had no choice in being involved with in the first place; family.

I am divorced from my family of origin, and like any divorces, there are multiple sides to the story, and a lot of hurt feelings.

I fought to mend a complex codependent family dynamic relationship while striving to understand my own values, standards and to create healthy boundaries.

It’s difficult to know how much to share. I want to help others in a similar situation and I also want to break the taboo, that being separated from one’s family is unacceptable. Is the only way to do this to share all? I’m still looking for other solutions.

I have forgiven these people and do not want to cause them any hardship by what I share. So I walk the line steadily. I still love them, but at a distance.


Is the feeling of loss making you sad?

It’s natural to mourn what we have lost: a loved one, a relationship, even a thought or idea of how we thought things were or how they should be.

Grief is different for each person and each situation. Check out this wonderful, short book, Tear Soup.

If you’re reading this you’re experiencing legitimate sadness. I encourage you to feel it fully, work through it, but also seek help.


What can help to overcome this sadness?

For deep grief there may be many waves of these feelings, especially when the grief is struck by timely events like Christmas and birthdays. It’s very challenging also, when the people or situation that you grieve are still alive; when there is no definitive death. When family members (or people in the sidelines of the situation) don’t know the whole story and don’t seem to strive to hear you, this can make things even more difficult to endure.

Here’s what I suggest to help overcome bouts of sadness at this time:

Gather a Group

Gather a group of people whom you really love and appreciate and who reciprocate this care. Make your own festivities, not out of spite, but in order to create what you desire!

Let go

Let go of assuming what others are thinking. Similarly, let go of desiring to be understood, especially by extended family or those in the sidelines of your situation; leave this for your therapist or maybe your best friend. Others will always have their own perspective and proclivities of what they will believe. Be free of the thoughts (or assumed thoughts) of other people!

Seek help

Allow yourself to process. Ask someone close to you to remind you if you’re perhaps “grieving by the clock” – that is, if the coming of the holidays or birthdays start to trigger sadness instead of joy or more positive memories. In this case, knowing is definitely half the battle!


Accepting a situation as it is does not mean that we like it, it just means that we no longer allow it to have hold of us. Once we can accept a situation as it is – a death, the ending of a relationship, the loss of a belief or desire – we can begin to feel whole again. Accepting a loss is like offering the object that is being taken from you. Imagine someone trying to steal a very prized possession. Let go of it. When you give up the object, you no longer struggle. You can rebuild and renew.


Love yourself, love others and perhaps even eventually love and forgive the situation or other party that seems to have caused this sadness, maybe. To begin this, get out and help others somehow. Volunteer somewhere. Get out of your house where your thoughts seem to loom, and help and serve others. This is an amazing healing remedy!


When the sadness won’t let go

There are people who hold onto feeling sad because of the attention that it gains them. I don’t think you’re one of these people… if you were, you wouldn’t have read so far, looking for a solution.

There are also people and situations where sadness takes a very strong grip and won’t seem to let go.

If you’re in this state, even though the above suggestions may seem totally incomprehensible. I encourage you to just imagine what it would be like to just do one of them!


It is serving you

This grief, this sadness, this situation is serving you somehow. I know this may sound ridiculous, but it’s true.

Think of how you’ve become stronger, wiser, more observant, clearer in thought, etc. from all of this already. Imagine more solutions, see who you can become through this, and soon you will be living and being that person, rather than this.


Sending you much love from one mending heart to another, Tara


“Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.” 
― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom


Overcome Resistance on Your Health Journey :036

Resistance shows up in a number of ways on your Health Journey

When you dedicate yourself to a healthier way of living, this first push-back you feel is you overcoming your own resistance. This is good because you will need the strength of overcoming your own resistance to overcome resistance from others.


 Resistance from Self

The resistance you get from yourself is really a fear of letting go of the familiar and the resulting consequences. You might ask:

  • If you change your way of eating how will you convince your family members to do the same?
  • Or, how will you make time to prepare separate meals?
  • If you join the class that helped you to feel healthier before, how will you make time for your family?

The list goes on of worries and concerns. They can be very real and seemingly unsurmountable, they might be many small things that deter you from instituting the change that you know you need to in order to achieve the level of health you ultimately desire or even need in your life.

This resistance is normal. There will come a point when the pain of your ailments or just knowing and feeling that your health is suffering, that all the excuses will go out the window. You will do away with them. You will bust out of your cocoon and choose a new life – a new way of being.

Overcoming self resistance just happens, like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon. One day you’re just too big (read: fed up) with your circumstance. You cannot stand being within this cramped space any longer. If you’re experiencing frustration, this is good. You’re getting to the point of emerging from your cocoon, and once you overcome yourself, you can totally manage any resistance from others.


Resistance from Others

Getting through your own resistance helps to prepare you for dealing with external resistance.

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes those who are closest, those who say they love us, can cause the greatest resistance.

They know the “old you” – they like “the old you” even if they complain about us at times. The old you is predictable to them. Predictable means comfortable. Who doesn’t like to feel comfortable, especially around loved-ones?

Loved ones may say that they support our health and healing path, but this means that their life will change also; especially the closer they are to us.

Many of us say we want change. We desire a certain result, but rarely do we understand or are we comfortable with the little changes along the way that are required for the big change to happen.

The people nearest you may truly want the end result, the goal, for you; but they may not realize the changes that may result in their life. Recognize this.

The people with your best interest at heart will support your healthy changes – or at least be neutral so long as in the process this does not mean that you are destructive to others. Communicate with those closest to you. Express the importance of you making these changes and how it can help not only you, but other areas of your life – even how it may benefit them.

Make new agreements about time shared (maybe even exercise together!), household duties and roles, to help you create new healthy habits.

If you expect that those closest to you will just adapt to your new way of eating, new exercise schedule or change in priorities they may feel left out or even taken advantage of. Communicate instead of just expecting the support.

Set yourself up for success!


If you still experience resistance

Carry on through the challenges of those resisting you.

You are the product of your environment and as you seek a healthy lifestyle you will be faced with deciding whom you allow in your environment.

Learn to be very discerning on what is necessary and what is not. Be solution oriented. Seek to find the possibilities, not the limitations!

Make healthy changes anyway – despite the resistance. Trust your instincts. Seek to learn what this experience is teaching you.

What you may not know is that you are lighting the way. You inspire others to lead a healthy life – you open the door for others to think it’s possible for them!

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Embarrassed to Exercise :035

I remember what it feels like to be embarrassed to exercise

It first started when I was in elementary school. I lacked coordinated, stamina, understanding of most games and even strategies. I didn’t want to take part in any physical activities, so it didn’t bother me to be chosen last to be on the team; this was a given.


I just wanted to be left alone

On top of my lack of physical skills, being active hurt. The clothing rubbing against my troubled skin plagued me when doing normal activities; any extra activity caused pain from repeated friction. I just wanted to be still.

If that wasn’t bad enough, physical exertion made my stomach sick, my face turn red, I felt light-headed, like I would vomit. If there was any moderate running, my lungs burned and sides ached.

Extremes in weather made it worse. I loved the sun but it dried my skin just from the heat. My face got redder and hotter more quickly. My feet felt like anchors that I had to drag along.

Cold weather was equally painful. My already chilled and sensitive body recoiled in the the cold. My skin felt even more parched in the cool, dry air. The open cracks in my skin, open wounds exposed to the piercing air or caught on layers of clothing.

Oh yeah, and on top of it all, I was overweight. Forty percent heavier than my average classmate.

“Just let me sit out.” I thought, at every recess and every P.E. class.

Just let me be.


My biggest hurdle… embarrassment

So acutely aware of my abnormalities, what I couldn’t do, I was ashamed to even try. That would have made it worse, to try, fail and be teased even more.

There was a point, though, that I realized that by not overcoming this hurdle, I was keeping myself from what was beyond just that one, seemingly monumental hurdle!

If I had allowed myself, I would have gone my whole life not discovering how capable and healthy I have become because I was worried about what others would think of me!

I knew for years that my body needed to dance- to learn to move in a coordinated fashion and with expression.

I was embarrassed as a child because I thought dance was too feminine: I felt I gained favor from those I loved by being a Tom-boy.

I was embarrassed as an adult because I thought I looked silly stumbling around; that’s how I perceived myself.


Get over the hurdle

I became sick and tired of being sick and tired. My ailments and thoughts and feelings about my body and my life continually pushed me into a corner. I felt less and less capable, worthy, and even desirous of anything fun and worth while.

Something in my young self knew this was no way to live. I decided to change. I decided to make my biggest hurdle my greatest victory.

Quick synopsis, almost thirty years later I am stronger and healthier than ever. I feel fit, capable, coordinated and now I am chosen to be on teams! It feels really good to overcome such a multi-faceted challenge!


One embarrassing thing after another

Life is funny. It seems to give us lesson upon lesson until we really get it.

Recently I found that I am once again embarrassed about exercise. Like any good life-lesson, the circumstances are much different. Now, much more self-confident, capable and healthy, I am not embarrassed of my body, but I noticed being embarrassed about what or even how I train; in martial arts.

It started as a curiosity for me many years ago. I met my husband through this activity and we’ve trained off and on throughout the years.

It has been a form of exercise and self-study for me for 16 years. It’s true, there is so much to learn just by metaphors in training martial arts; as we have seen in many movies.  I have learned about boundaries, when and how to meet force, when to go around, flow, movement within movement, patience, muscle memory, overcoming frustration, learning with new training partners and so much more. For me, this training is so much more about how to work with and through a situation, rather than to cause harm. But, because I was training with people of similar interest, I didn’t notice so much the seeming contradiction brewing within me.

What would my yoga friends think!?

I train regularly with training daggers and learn to disarm and return attacks. This is does not fit my equally deep training in yoga. This does not abide by one of the tenets: nonviolence.

I don’t train martial arts to learn to be a violent person. Actually, in metaphoric ways, I have become much better at dealing with non-physical violence and even challenging life situations because of my martial arts training.

Most of all, I’ve had to remember that each of us has our own unique path. I must continue to tune inward and find my own way- without worry of what others think.


I don’t let this stop me from training.

While it still surprises me to see myself in a video, training with practice daggers, I know myself best. I know that I am not training to harm, but to learn the dynamics of life, to train and understand my body, to become proficient in an area of life (physical) that is most challenging to me.

Most of all, I can see the metaphors in life; how to defend and react not to the physical dagger, but the sharp tongue or piercing eyes of another person.

I encourage you to face your seeming contradictions and challenges as well. Don’t let the thoughts (or assumed thoughts) of other people stop you from moving your body the way you need to be healthy in body, mind and spirit!

I keep on training because of the many things I gain: quality time with my hubby, increased awareness, improved coordination and reflexes, strength and greater self-confidence.

If I worried about what others thought, I’d be letting my assumed thoughts of what they might think of me prevent me from becoming who I want to be; more educated, capable and to have greater perspective.

Now I: train martial arts, dance, do yoga, mountain bike and am excited to do more! I’m so thrilled to live in my capable body! No longer will I let others’ presumed thoughts dictate what I do or do not do!

Whatever your reason for embarrassment

Don’t let it stop you!

If you were to join any activity for the fun of it

…and as a result you gained in fitness, coordination or self-awareness–what would you do?

What would you do if no one were looking?

What if money were no object?

What are you curious about?

What do you admire that others can do?

Where can you start? How can you fulfill this for yourself?

Don’t worry about what others might think. You’re living your life!

It’s YOUR Exercise for YOUR Body!

Turn your embarrassment into accomplishment!


“If one loves, one need not have an ideology of love.”  – Bruce Lee


Improve Your Health – Get Results! :033

Improve Your Health – it’s Simple!

Ok, don’t kick me to the curb yet. I know when you’re in the midst of struggling with health issues this just does not seem true.

I know that it may seem difficult. You may be able to count on all hands and feet how many diets and programs you’ve done. But that’s just it. Being healthy is not about being on a program.


To improve in any area in life you need to consistently change your habits, right?

To get Results, it’s not about Intensity, it’s about Consistency!


Years ago I forced my body to get the results I wanted. Like any relationship, when you continually force what you want, the other party begins to resist.

Looking back, and now with a lot more life experience, I know that the best things in life take consistent effort, over time, and are done in cooperation.



Have sound goal in mind

To truly improve your health, you will need to make truly healthy goals. Rarely is a goal to achieve a certain weight healthy. Instead, institute the healthy practices that you know are necessary, and be surprised how you achieve a healthy weight!

Employ consistent effort and over time and with a bit (or sometimes a lot!) of letting go, allow nature to take its course, you will see your desired results.

The best things in life take consistent care and time

This is the way the finest wines are produced and even enjoyed years after consistent care.

Similarly, relationships grow and improve with a common desire and continued attention.

A growing family needs great tending: feeding, pruning, guiding, allowing and continued care to bear enjoyable fruit.

Even when bread dough is forcefully kneaded, it is still allowed to rest, to rise, to become the beautiful loaf it is meant to be through the process; even through the intense heat of the oven.

But the bread is not meant to be constantly kneaded, nor continually baked. A wine left to continually ferment is not a product you would want to drink by the glassful! How dull is a relationship that is constantly being picked at and pruned, with no room for spontaneity, un-bound growth or even fun!


Working with the body for your fitness or wellness is the same!

Imagine the fine product you’d like to create with yourself.

Find the elements you must work with, address them patiently but diligently step by step.

Push, pound and force only when absolutely necessary.

Be consistent and open up space for growth and change.

And enjoy every sign of growth!

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Help for Veterans (and everyone!) :032

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a very real thing for many individuals

Nicole Lovald, a trained counselor, life coach, yoga teacher and yoga studio, owner shares in this interview how she was initiated into helping veterans (and civilians) with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Married to a service member, Nicole has a unique perspective and insight to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Watch or listen for the fullest content and experience!


So, first of all, what is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post Traumatic Stress is a very normal reaction to a very abnormal situation.

“When someone is threatened in some way, perceived or real, they will experience increased stress. This stress continues to go with them after the experience and therefor it becomes post traumatic stress.” – Nicole Lovald

Examples of how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder begins

  • Car accident particularly where a person feels their life was threatened
  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Mugging
  • When you are truly concerned for your life and your safety


What can Trigger a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Reaction?

Regarding veterans, It’s usually something associated with what they saw, smelled or experience while they were in this threatening situation:

  • Blast sounds, ex. fireworks
  • Strobe lights
  • Being unsure of surroundings
  • Flat tires


Are certain people more susceptible to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

It comes down to resiliency. Some people are more resilient than other. Some of this is resiliency we see to be born with and some of this is learned.


What can someone keep in mind when living with or serving a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

  • Make sure that they feel safe. Avoid surprises.
  • Allow the person to be aware of their environment.
  • Be careful about the language you use. For example, in her yoga classes, Nicole does not use the common pose “corpse pose” because it can be a trigger.
  • Be gentle with yourself too. You’re not going to be perfect. You can put yourself in their shoes, but not in their minds. Communicate- ask them!


How does yoga help Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Nicole shares how her husband, a long-time service member, came to know, experience and benefit from yoga. He’s become a better dad (not that he was a bad dad, Nicole confirms) but he is less short-tempered, especially when coming back from deployment. He’s able to respond instead of just blowing up and reacting; he has more resiliency. Now he’s pretty much addicted to his weekly yoga class. It helps his body and clears his mind. It’s not normal for him to relax, so this gives him the ability to self-regulate and calm down.


If you have signs or have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is yoga the only answer?

Finding help is the answer. The suicide rates for veterans are unbelievable and it’s sad. Reach out for help. People love you and care about you. It doesn’t matter if it’s yoga, just get help.

If you’re not ready to dive into yoga, start with breathing exercises. Mental health clinics and doctor’s offices are providing more.

Also, meditation helps a lot.  UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center is a non-secular resource.

Could I be affected by Post Traumatic Stress and not even know it, even those who are not veterans?

Nicole explains there is a natural state that we want to be in, it’s homeostasis; it’s what is called in counseling “the window of tolerance”. This is where out body can self-regulate well: blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc.

Then there’s the hyper-aroused state and the hypo-aroused state.

The hyper-aroused state is when you feel anxious. If you’re feeling jittery, your heart is beating harder or faster in your chest, and you just can’t seem to calm down, your just reacting and just can’t get to the more natural, level state then you need help. This is not where your body is supposed to function on a regular basis.

The hypo-aroused state is when you feel lethargic or depressed (this does not necessarily you’ve been diagnosed as depressed) but you just feel like you can’t get out of bed, you don’t have energy, you don’t want to talk to friends or family- this is not a natural state of being.

Even though it’s especially difficult when we feel in the hyper or hypo states, we need to reach out to a friend and ask to talk or go for a walk. Connect with others who can support you.


Resources and Links

Yoga Veterans Project

Wounded Warrior Project

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

Nicole is offering a class for yoga teachers and professionals who want to learn better how to work with people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in April, 2017. Healing Through Yoga: Trauma Sensitive Training

About Nicole Lovald

Nicole Lovald is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Life/Wellness Coach with a Master’s degree in Counseling. She has spent over 15 years working in higher education, social services, non-profit, and for-profit settings. Her love of yoga began many years ago when her husband was deployed and she was looking for a self-care practice to ease her worried mind and untangle the stress induced knots in her body.
What she found was that yoga provided amazing benefits that not only impacted her body but also relaxed her mind and allowed her to get in touch with her inner spirit. After realizing the wonderful benefits of her practice, she decided to embark on a yoga teacher training program so that she would be able to bring it to others. She has now been teaching yoga for over 4 years and is thrilled to be able to help others live healthier and happier lives.
As the owner of Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center, Nicole is excited to continue to support the Excelsior and surrounding communities. In addition to teaching several classes at Spirit of the Lake she also provides individual wellness and life coaching sessions.


What CAN You Do (about it)? :030

What CAN you do?

I ask myself this when I feel stuck, when I feel that there are no more options- especially when I’m feeling sorry for myself.

You know those times when you feel that you’re being challenged from all angles and by every situation in your life? When you feel pinned in a corner.

It’s at these times when you must stick up for yourself. Dig deep. Get up! Keep going!


Ask yourself, “What can I do?”

This game of life can be really challenging at times but don’t let it get you down!

Get a piece of paper and a pen, yes, we’re going to do this the old fashioned way! Putting pen to paper makes it more real… because we are looking for real solutions! (When we’re up against a wall and feel defeated we naturally just see what doesn’t work and what isn’t working.)

  • Feel stuck? Call a friend, ask their perspective, what they think are options.
  • Are you noticing resistance? Still write down the option, and also write down your resistance or opposition.
  • Choose one thing you will do to change your situation. Stick with it!
  • Keep adding to your list.
  • Continue implementing solutions.

Remember, you can only change yourself, so this list is about things that you can do to improve your situation.


See the possibilities

You’ll be amazed by how your perspective shifts. The options that come to you. Write them all down, even the seemingly insignificant ones: I can smile, I can breathe, I can change my mind.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

– Dr. Wayne Dyer

When You Start Thinking You Can – You Can!

Like The Little Engine that Could, soon enough you will know you can!

Yeah, sounds simplistic, I know. But think of times in your life when this has been true. What have you learned or overcome because you believed you could and stuck with it?

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!” – Henry Ford

So, if, just if, every thought you thought came true… which thoughts would you change?

I bet you would choose to think the thoughts of what you want in your life and for your health… not what you don’t want, right?

Notice how just thinking about what is possible changes how you feel. You feel better, which seems to open you up for more solutions.


Find examples of people who have Overcome

A good story can lift the spirits and provide wisdom and guidance. Check out the Success Stories in the archive in the sidebar. Search online “success story ____” and whatever is troubling you.



Stay connected with people and resources that uplift, support and guide you in the direction you want to go. We all need support at times. Connecting to this support is one easy way you can support yourself!


From Pain to Podcast :028


To put it simply, Pain Inspired this podcast

One thing I can say for sure; Your pain has a message for you!

At a young age I had experienced the type of health challenges that people many times my age might face due to prolonged stress and abuse to their bodies.

I’ve overcome the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac Disease, and painful skin conditions. I treated my underlying nutritional deficiencies, resulting anxiety and depression, irregular menstrual cycles and more. Doctors were not readily diagnosing IBS and Celiac Disease at the time I was experiencing the height of my symptoms in the late 80’s. This is why I say “I experienced symptoms…” I found many more answers to my ailments as soon as I began researching and taking control of my own health.

As a young adult I endured painful hardships in relationships.

It was such an excruciating time; as they say, I would not wish this on my worst enemies. I address emotional and relationship health as a part of overall wellness because it has as much or more affect on us as diet, nutrition and exercise.

These hardships and overcoming made me stronger and wiser.

Having overcome great struggles myself, it is very difficult to see others feeling they are a victim of their own bodies and situations.

Naturally I am empathic person. I feel, to varying degrees, what others are experiencing. It was, and still is, very difficult to experience others’ suffering.

I knew I would contribute someday, somehow; to educate, up-lift and inspire others to overcome as well.

Ever since I was a teenager I had a growing desire – no it was a drive! – to discover and create what I could in order to help others.

This drive, this thing that was to become Weight Free Wellness hounded me to overcome, to discover, to create, to learn things I hated to do (technology) so that I would be prepared to receive the name “Weight Free Wellness” and to do something with it!


When it comes to helping people, there are a few routes (probably many) that one can go.

  • One is simply giving of oneself and giving resources in order to help.
  • Another is to teach.
  • One that is often overlooked; it can be misinterpreted as brute capitalism. They are those who create opportunities for others so they too feel they have a sense of meaning and purpose in this world.
  • And finally, there are those that shine the light.


Those who serve and give don’t always fit into just one of the above categories.

Indeed, this podcast, this entire Weight Free Wellness endeavor, fits into multiple categories and will grow and change.

The most valuable resource we have is time. I simply did not have enough time to educate and share with people what I had learned, and reach as many people as I wanted to help, by talking to one person at a time. I had to expand my reach. Hence, the podcast.


You learn to propel yourself when you read or listen to information.

There are times when we need to feel the direct power and passion by sitting across from someone as they share their experience and story. There is an initial high, but this can wear off. The most valuable tools for me have been those I could read and listen to over and over for education, support and inspiration. The most victorious achievements were those I accomplished by finding and assembling the puzzle pieces myself. Sure, I might have a mentor or guide who chimes in, to at times to shed some light, to teach, but not do for me what I could do for myself. As the saying goes, “…teach a man to fish…” Weight Free Wellness is about empowerment. We’ll help you find the puzzle pieces, we’ll even demonstrate how to put them together, but you are the only one who can put in the work.


Teachers all Around us

I used to feel overwhelmed thinking that I had to continue to be on the cutting edge of all health and wellness information; that I had to have all the information. What a relief when I realized that this is simply not possible. This is not where I thrive. I love to share, to help, to lift up and shine the light on others who are doing the amazing ground-breaking work. I love finding these people, learning what they do and creating a platform for them to share. Weight Free Wellness is about making your Wellness Journey simpler by helping you find the teachers and resources to help you on your way.


Connection and Opportunities

We are at an amazing time of technology and creation. Arguably, the most challenging of things these days is keeping up with all the information and opportunities available to us. I aspire to help connect those in need of valuable health-supporting resources with those brilliant people who dedicate their life’s work to creating the tools (even if this tool is themselves!) to help and heal others. Weight Free Wellness is about helping to create opportunities for those dedicated to teaching, providing services and creating healthy products by helping people connect.


Bringing it Together and Shedding Light

Through the pain and the victories of my own Wellness Journey I have learned many things: what to pack, which routes to take and in which season, whom to have as a companion along the way, and when to seek a guide. It is my absolute pleasure to empower others on their Journey in health, life… it all relates. Weight Free Wellness is about empowerment.


The Underlying Messages

There are threads that I tie into many of the posts and podcasts: here they are, if you haven’t noticed them already 🙂

  • Healing is possible
  • The Healing Journey can be simple.
  • Love yourself – develop self-compassion – you must begin here!
  • You can overcome whatever you’re going through – it’ll be worth it!
  • Sometimes you need to fight, sometimes you need to sit back… and at all times, Love.
  • You are loved… Love heals!


Watch, Listen, Read… Enjoy!


Subscribe! Links in the sidebar: iTunes, Android, YouTube, Newsletter


Lessons from my Bullies :027

I no longer curse my bullies – I thank them.

The earliest bullies of my life taught me valuable lessons:

  • There will always be an outside opinion… and it may not be true!
  • Others’ behavior is more about them than it is about you
  • It feels good to forgive before it seems necessary
  • And most of all, there are always going to be bullies, even when you least expect, the sooner you learn to deal with this, the better!


If you’re not paying someone for their opinion and especially when their opinion is not stemming from good will, do not spend time on other peoples’ thoughts of you.

“Be independent of the good opinion of other people.” – Abraham Maslow 

A bully’s behavior is not about you. Until they become aware, people act and react according to their upbringing and environment. How they act towards you says more about them, than it says about you!

Ask, are they responding based on how they have learned how to act and respond?


Forgive Before it is Necessary

When I was about ten years old I was teased by a small group of boys. I was mostly teased for being chubby. I weighed over one hundred (100+) pounds, when the average child my age was sixty (60) pounds. I was also one of the tallest kids in class. My bullies were all around me in class and on the playground, but the biggest bully I only saw on the bus because he was a couple years older than me. His name ways Joey.

Most of the teasing happened on the bus. Joey, like any really affective bully not only was the primary instigator, he naturally encouraged others to behave like him.

Over time I built up so much anger and contempt for Joey and his cohorts.



I spent many, many afternoon and evenings in tears. Many more hours were spent in self-loathing and self-pity. I soon realized that I was torturing myself when my bullies were not around by feeling sorry for myself. This initiated a great change in me. I thought, if anyone one was going to be nice to me, it ought to be me!

Long story short; eventually I created my own boundaries mentally and physically and the bullying seemed to nearly stop.

I had grown tremendously spiritually during this time and was able to find compassion in my heart for Joey and his followers.

Things got so much better that by the fourth grade I was no longer having issues with bullies. Joey had disappeared to the middle school, or who knows where.

Soon I found out where he had gone.


The Guest Speaker

Once or twice a year we had guest speakers come to our tiny, country elementary school.

As we would usually do on such occasions, we children would line up by classes and sit on the floor of the small, cement gym which was also used as a cafeteria. On this day I believe grades three through five were assembled.  There we were, less than one hundred squirming kids, curious as to what had interrupted our normally scheduled day.

I recall a couple of adults talking first, and then Joey came in. I was curious, not angry or upset.

We learned that Joey had just overcome cancer.


It Wasn’t About me

Feeling as if I were in my own bubble, alone rather than being with nearly one hundred other kids, I sat there and reflected. Were my parents correct; that Joey was acting out cruelly because of his environment? I assumed his dissonant environment was his parents. Was he acting out the cancer that was toiling him on the inside before anyone knew of the disease? Perhaps it was all of this.

I was grateful that I had already forgiven him.

I knew that I would have felt guilty that at this point–with all that Joey had been through–I might have thought that I should forgive him. Grateful that I has forgiven him already and no longer carried any negative emotions, with no “should” or “could’ve’s” weighing me down.


Forgiving is Healing

Glad that I had already initiated that step in the healing process for myself; I shared a mental blessing of well-being as the special gathering came to a close. I left feeling that chapter in our lives had ended well.


You’re Being Prepared for Bigger Bullies

You’re going to encounter bullies. The sooner you learn to deal with this the better.

The bully might be the person driving next to you on the road, your coworker, indeed, even some who says they love you.


Learn to handle these situations.

The tricky thing about dealing with bullies is that they like to engage. They’re like a parasite. They have to stick on and get something out of you to survive. Don’t let them stick on; get away from them, move out of their vicinity, stay away as much as you can.

Don’t engage!

Also, be careful that your disengaging isn’t actually engaging… Once you tell them, “Get away!” or simply, “Leave me alone!” you’ve already engaged. You will likely just need to avoid them or go away without saying a thing. I know, it sounds weak to not confront them, but it’s the best use of your energy.


Don’t give them the gratification of knowing when they “get you”!

Going back to the parasite analogy, bullies feed off knowing that they “got you”.

Don’t give them that gratification! Don’t reward their bad behavior!

Be non-reactive to their comments. You’ll know that you’re doing this right when they comment that you’re cold or distant.

I am not suggesting that you bottle up your feelings for good. Find a good friend or counselor and let your true feelings out with them.


Move on

Moving on can mean different things. Sometimes your bully will move on because they’re no longer getting the charge out of you they once did. That’s the nature of a bully.

Sometimes you have to move on. This is not always convenient. It can mean giving up your house, your belonging and much more. Perhaps it is giving up a job where you see promise for your future career-wise, but the emotional environment is not conducive to you progressing. Perhaps it means giving up on what you thought could be; ending a relationship that goes against every fiber of your body, except for the one that says, “no more!”.


When you can Thank Your Bullies…

You’ve learned the lesson. You’re prepared for the next one! Pray that the next biggest bully need not find you, and know that you are prepared with what you have learned.

Don’t become bitter… Become better!



How to Deal with a Weight or Health Plateau :026

So, You’ve Hit a Plateau

Your Wellness Journey has been trucking along, until now…

It’s hard not to feel disappointment, frustration, even sadness.

Things were going so well. You finally overcame addictions, well ingrained habits, even your own mental roadblocks!


When Your Health Seems at a Standstill… press on!

Despite your best efforts, sometimes the body will seemingly not respond. But it is responding!

It’s doing deeper, inner work. It’s telling you to change things up, or even to be patient and wait.

So continue to support your body through this time, anyway!

When it seems that your weight or health has hit a plateau and there are no signs of improvement, let go of the focus, let go of the goal, step back and gain perspective.



Seek to understand the underlying message…

What are you supposed to see?

What has worked so far? Does something need to be changed?

Are you focusing on the horizon, the ever-distant goal; when you need to focus instead, on the next scenic overlook on this lesson-filled Wellness Journey.

Indeed, you may be at a scenic overlook at this point and your spirit wants you to take a look at how far you have come! Take it in! Soak up your lessons, your accomplishments, cherish who you are at this point in time!


Like the repose of winter, our body, mind and spirit need periods of rest as well.

Sit back. Relax. Observe during this time.

Know that when it’s time for you to press on, your tank will be so full of lessons learned, hope and knowledge gained, that you can go further with the progress of your next stage than just sheer determination could have taken you.


After you have stopped to take in the scenery, plot a new path.

Sit with someone who knows the land and the journey. Discuss which path to take. Stock up on supplies and when your heart and spirit are filled with inspiration, take off once again!

Like any worthwhile journey, the Wellness Journey is full of ups and downs, the “are we there yet’s?”; thrilling passes and long monotonous stretches.

Acknowledge how far you’ve come.

Re-plot the next leg of your journey if necessary.

Find some good companions to share in the fun, rejoice in the victories and to help each other along the way.

Most of all, keep on going! Even if this mean just sitting back, enjoying the scenery and the journey so far! Restore, then press on!



Your Body is a Messenger :025

Your Body is a Messenger, but not Just any Messenger

Your body is your specific, personally issued messenger! You have yours, others have theirs.

Your body is always communicating to you.

Listen to what it has to say.


It starts with whispers…

“Feed me.” “I need water.” “Don’t consume that again.” or “I want more of that.”


If we cannot hear, or we ignore the whispers, the messages from our body become more firm, and the physical signs more obvious…

“I cannot take that in!”  I cannot handle any more of that!” “Get me out of this situation!”

…you may find the body actually preventing you from taking in foods, or moving in unusual and uncomfortable ways to prevent you from causing more harm.


Lastly, the body cries out. We reach a crisis point.

The body may become injured. Disease may manifest. Things get out of our control.

For your body, it was never about control. The body doesn’t want to do battle. It doesn’t want to struggle with you. It just needs you to listen, so you can live in harmony.


Your body is not an object… it is your constant companion.

Listen, hear and fulfill the requests for water and clean, whole foods.

Respond when it says in the many ways that it can, “Let’s go!” “Let’s move!” or, “This form of exercise does not benefit us. This may work for Jenny, but it does not work for me!”

Listen with your heart when it says “I cannot endure this any longer.”


You are dependent on one another

Despite what disease or ailment you’re experiencing, even if it seems like your body is trying to hurt you… it’s not.

There are messages and lessons everywhere in life. Your body will relay many of these messages! Learn the lessons coming through your body! The sooner the better.


Work with your body, not on it.


Listen to your body’s messages; it’s trying to help you!

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Make Weight Loss the Benefit, Not the Goal :024

Weight Loss and “Fitting-in” Used to be my Goals

Weight loss and fitting-in were my primary objectives for many years; to fit-in to the right sized jeans and to fit-in to the groups I glamorized.


When you struggle with weight, it becomes your focus.

When it comes to health, weight is a symptom, not the cause.

Recognize that you may the Type who tends to carry more weight naturally. (Take the Body-typing Quiz in the sidebar and learn more about Body-typing in my book, You-niversal Self-care: Improved Health Through Self-Understanding.)

But when being overweight or underweight is truly and issue, we don’t need a scale to tell us this!

From my health and weight struggles and victories, I encourage you to change your focus!

Get off the scale and on to Wellness!

There’s a story

…of how monkeys are captured. The short version is; trappers hang a coconut with a hole just large enough for the monkey to slip its tiny hand into. The trappers place the monkeys favorite fruit inside and wait. Soon enough a troop of monkeys comes through this area and when the freely available fruits are consumed by the hungry bunch, an unlucky few find the baited trap. The monkey slips its hand through the hole to grasp the fruit. He thinks he has the prize, but soon finds out that he cannot remove his hand with the tightly-grasped fruit treat. He does not let go of the fruit and so ends up trapping himself.

When we let go of thinking that a certain weight is the goal, our perspective opens.

We are no longer trapped in this game where a particular weight is the prize.

Instead, let your goals be those things that actually promote health. Find the food and habits that help you feel as close to 100% as possible!

Experience your body being free of cravings by eliminating certain foods, stabilizing your blood sugars, and even by taking quality vitamins!

Your body and mind can learn to enjoy exercise and especially the benefits when you find something that is challenging enough and feels good! (Yes, exercise can feel good and be very rewarding!)

Feel how these changes in habit work synergistically; when eating the foods your body needs it gives you genuine energy (not fake energy from caffeine or sugar) and how moving your body is so much easier with the right sources of energy- and encourages you to keep making those health-promoting choices!

See beyond the “bait” of weight and you will likely achieve so much more than you hoped for!


Relieve Anxiety Naturally (My top 9 Remedies) :021

Anxiety is a Familiar Subject to me

Growing up I witnessed close family members suffer debilitating anxiety and as I came into adulthood and “real life,” I found myself experiencing symptoms as well.

Fortunately I was able to recognize symptoms before they grew into full-blown anxiety attacks. By applying this information, you too can diminish symptoms and prevent them from escalating!

Note, this is by no means medical advice. I am sharing what has worked for me and others. I only share what I have used personally for at least 6 months. I have used all the remedies listed here for several years. (There is one exception below.) Consult with your trusted Natural Health Practitioner to discuss the following options.

Relieve Anxiety Naturally

How I Relieve Anxiety Naturally


1)   Breathe

Yeah, I know it seems too simple. You’re alive, right!? So you must be breathing! Few of us get the quality of breath that we need to fully oxygenate our bodies and stimulate the relaxation response.

Ways to retrain this into your body:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Stretch your “side body” by doing gentle sidebands. This opens the body to be able to breathe laterally (between the side ribs) rather than solely in the upper chest; the latter triggers the stress response.
  • Take breath-work classes. Go to your local yoga studio and ask if they offer Pranayama. (prah-nah-yah-mah). Yeah, it seemed weird to me at first too; but when you feel it working, you’ll want to go back for more!
  • Learn to breathe into your belly. This initiates the relaxation response.
  • Wear clothing that has a loose or stretchy waist so your breathing can be more free and unrestricted.
  • Set a timer to remind you to take several deep, belly breaths every hour.
  • Last but not least… use the HeartMath Inner Balance Transformation System. It’s a simple biofeedback device that you use along with an App on your smartphone that is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety by 46% in 6-9 weeks. When I do just a 5 minute session before going to bed, I notice a remarkable improvement in sleep quality upon waking the next morning!


2)   Live in Day-tight Compartments

I wish I could say that I came up with this one, but I have to give full credit to Dale Carnegie and his timeless book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

In this immensely valuable book he instructs readers to leave all the cares of yesterday in the past and all the thoughts of the morrow for the future; to live solely in a single day. Live in day-tight compartments!

As a side note, try to make a point of reading (listen to the audio for convenience) to this book quarterly.


3)   Moderation and Consistency

Especially for the Air-type (I teach about Body-types in my book, You-niversal Self-care: Improved Health Through Self-Understanding) learning to set healthy patterns is very, very important in order to feel balanced and even calm.

There are three areas in life, that if we can regulate them, will help to set or reset the body’s natural rhythms. These are:

  • Food  Eating healthy, whole foods on a regular basis helps to naturally regulate the body. Eating plenty of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates in the form of fruits and veggies (keeping even the natural sugars to a minimum) helps to balance blood sugars and therefor energy, mood and much more! If you suffer from sever anxiety I would eat meals on a schedule as strictly as possible until symptoms abate. Eat in silence or with soft, comforting music: no tv, no phone, just you and your food and loved ones if they’re present!
  • Exercise  This is important not only to maintain a healthy, functioning physique, it does so much for the rhythmic functions of our hormone regulation system. I’ll talk more about what kinds of exercise are best later…
  • Sleep  If you’re experiencing anxiety it’s likely that you’re already challenged in this area. Anxiety begets troubled sleep which begets poor sleep, it’s a vicious cycle! If you’ve applied all these suggestions and your sleep is still not better, consult your trusted Natural Health Practitioner for stronger natural remedies. If you have a very active mind, I find the Bach Flower’s Rescue Sleep to be very helpful. Also, I have not personally used this but have known it to be very helpful for others, Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy.


4)   Eliminate

Sometimes moderation is not enough. There are times where we need to eliminate certain things from our life in order to re-establish homeostasis. If you’re already suffering from symptoms of anxiety, you may feel dependent on the following, but they are not promoting overall health. By eliminating these things you are more likely to prevent the anxiety from getting worse.

  • Caffeine  We all know that caffeine can give us a nice little boost, but this charge can throw off our rhythms for the entire day. I find myself explaining to people often that caffeine is a diuretic which noticeably stimulates the kidneys and large intestines. Caffeine also stimulates other areas of the body, including the small, helpful little adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys. So as caffeine stimulates the kidneys, it does the same for the adrenals. I see it like the kidneys and adrenals are sponges and the caffeine squeezes the healthy juices and even nutrients from them. Some people will be affected more than others. Clearly if you’re already experiencing anxiety it doesn’t hurt to try eliminating caffeine… dare I say it? Even from chocolate…
  • Refined Sugar  As mentioned earlier, keeping blood sugars stable help to regular many other functions of the body.
  • Alcohol  Although that night cap feels like it initially helps you to sleep, it actually prevents you from getting quality sleep! It also dehydrates the body, further throwing off any regularity already established. This does not help to promote prolonged health and healing. I have found Bach Flower Remedy Rescue Sleep to help calm my mind, instead of alcohol.


5)   Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy

Sometimes anxiety can be initiated by a traumatic event which then can leave you more sensitive to smaller triggers. It can also feel like anxiety is one continued trauma. For such deeply emotional conditions (and even the mild versions) I like to use this totally natural and very gentle yet effective remedy, Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy or FES 5-Flower Essence. They have been used to help victims of devastating floods, tsunamis and other disasters.


6)   Move Your Body – Shake it Loose

Sometimes when wrought with anxiety it does not make sense to do anything exciting or agitating to the body. But, have you ever been with a kid who is just so excited or even on a “sugar-high” that the only somewhat reasonable thing to do is to let/help them burn it off? Sometimes the inner giggles are so strong that you have to just get them out of your system. In my experience, this is how anxiety can be at the extreme stages; your body is so full of seeming electric energy, while perhaps counterintuitive, it’s better to just burn it off, shake it loose, lose your breath (so your body can re-regulate), lose your mind (that is your ruminating thoughts) and… have fun!


7)   Herbs and Supplements

Be sure to consult with your trusted Natural Health Practitioner on this one; I will share some supplements that have really helped me. When in an anxious state your body is likely lacking in nutrients and quickly uses up stores. I’ve found it helpful to supplement with minerals (primarily calcium and magnesium for my body); vitamin C, B-complex and zinc. I also really benefit from adaptogenic herbs. There are many; your health practitioner should be able to help you find what’s right for you! Check out My List of Favorite Natural Remedies in the side bar for details on what I like and use.


8)   Gentle Exercise

I already mentioned exercise above, but the type of exercise you implement when you feel anxious can have dramatic affects! Aside from an occasional “Shake it Loose” session, I have found gentle exercise the best for helping to calm the body and mind. Examples include: yoga, walking (especially in nature), Thai chi, Qigong and casual bike rides. The idea is to move your body in a gentle way, take a break from your day, allow your mind to also take a break… and even smile! Take time to center yourself.


9)  Observe

This one comes last not because of importance, but because it’s the one that takes the most practice. By implementing the above practices you’ll already be well on your way to better observe your body, mind and emotions. If you’ve already experienced very strong symptoms of anxiety, you know that you don’t want the symptoms to escalate again.

The key to prevention is observation.

What does it feel like when your anxiety levels are at a 3 versus an 8?

Which remedies can help you quickly relieve anxiety, and which habits is it necessary for you to keep up on in order to not suddenly be feeling anxious?

Where did you learn the patterns of being anxious? This is not to blame or be a victim, but to observe our environments to become more aware. For must of us, this was our childhood environment or even as early as being in the womb.


The good news is

You can un-train your body! You can manage anxiety naturally. I encourage you to find a health practitioner who not only supports your desire to heal naturally, but who is also knowledgable in ways to do this. Connecting with people who are successfully managing anxiety naturally can help too!

One day at a time. You can do it!

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The Emily Program – Eating Disorder Help :020

The Emily Program, is an eating disorder treatment program

…located in MN, WA, OH and PA that takes a more holistic approach for treatment.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Lisa Diers, RDN, E-RYT, who oversees the national operations of both nutrition and yoga departments, which includes the direction and over site of the clinical practices for 65+ nutrition staff and 20+ yoga instructors.

In my book, You-niversal Self-care: Improved Health Through Self-Understanding I share my experience of anorexia. I share more of my experience including what helped me to “come out of it”.

This is a great time to clarify that the name “Weight Free Wellness®” by no means implies unhealthy weight management. Rather, my message through this podcast is that wellness goes beyond weight; and achieving a healthy weight (which is different for each individual) is often a byproduct of leading a life with healthy habits.

Lisa and I find out we share a lot in common and have a lively chat about eating disorders, yoga, wellness and more!

Step off the scale, get on to wellness!


The Emily Program - Eating Disorder Help

What kinds of eating disorders does The Emily Program treat?

All kinds, all ages! The most common or what people are most familiar with are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorder not formerly specified. Eating disorders are a mental health illness and this category has the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness.

Eating disorders do not discriminate. – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT


How do you identify if someone is experiencing an eating disorder?

Lisa expresses that this is a challenge because in our culture we put so much emphasis and even communicate heavily on the basis of weight, food and image. You don’t know unless they are clinically diagnosed but there are some signs:

  • If your/their eating patterns have changed significantly. Examples are if someone has eliminated a food group or is more anxious around food.
  • Eating disorders thrive in isolation. If a person is not engaging as they normally would, this could be a sign.
  • Depression and irritability


With 12 years of experience working with eating disorders and at The Emily Program, what do you see as the underlying cause of eating disorders?


Having an eating disorder is not a choice. – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT


“One way to really, really generalize and simplify [the cause of eating disorders] would be when life feels out of control; the two things that us humans can control… are our weight and our food.” – Lisa

Eating disorder is a very complicated subject. This is a broad generalization but serves to help shed some light on what goes through the mind of someone experiencing an eating disorder.

“If I’m experiencing internal turmoil and I feel like I have no control over it, a false sense of control is to manipulate my food, self medicate with food or change my weight… can serve as a distraction… Of course this is not a long-term, healthy way to cope.” – Lisa


Eating disorders are a mal-adaptitve coping skill for life stresses. – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT

No one chooses to have an eating disorder. – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT


What causes eating disorder?

The cause is multifactorial and can include:

  • Genetic
  • Environment (ex. Growing up in an environment with individuals who diet and the impact of media.)


What can you expect when seeking treatment at The Emily Program?

You will receive:

  • A clinical assessment
  • Recommendation for treatment based on research, clinical knowledge and what the individual needs and is ready for. This can include an intensive day program with supported meals and snacks, group process, and yoga therapy. There is also out-patient care where you sit with a therapist and dietician. There is also a residential option for 24/7 acute treatment.
  • Reconnect, rediscover, repair the relationship to food and yourself!


I see people recover all the time! – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT

Also mentioned in this podcast:

  • Our bodies are made up of the components of the foods that we eat… when you are missing key components from your food your are missing key components of yourself.
  • Balance, variety, moderation
  • The connection between gut health and brain health.
  • How to eat a food with confidence… own it!
  • How yoga and mindful movement facilitate the healing process: connecting, compassion, anxiety and depression relief, healthy movement.
  • What’s the best and perhaps the quickest way to develop self-compassion?
  • Pause: observe yourself, observe your thoughts, in a curious, not furious way.
  • The thoughts you think about yourself, would you say them to a loved-one or friend?


…Appreciate what your body can do, versus what it looks like! – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT


Check out The Emily Program website for really helpful resources!

About Lisa

Lisa Diers, RDN, LD, E-RYT is  director of nutrition and yoga at The Emily Program, an eating disorder treatment program located in MN, WA, OH and PA. Lisa oversees the national operations of both nutrition and yoga departments, which includes the direction and oversite  of the clinical practices for 65+ nutrition staff and 20+ yoga instructors. She has over 10 years of eating disorder specific: yoga instruction, clinical nutrition counseling and program development experience. Lisa draws from her deep knowledge base of yoga, body image and eating disorder treatment to meet client’s physical and emotional needs. She developed and conducts national  eating disorder & body image  sensitive yoga trainings as well as is  a regular blogger on nutrition, yoga and body image,   a published author (articles, book chapters and published research), and continues to  conduct research to better understand the role of yoga and nutrition in eating disorder recovery.

Lisa Diers - Emily Program



Be Patient With Yourself :018

Be Patient with Yourself, easier said than done, right?

My dad used to tell me this when I was frustrated with how life wasn’t working out; more accurately, how I couldn’t get my life to be the way I wanted it to be. At that time I only had worries about making grades in school or handling bullies, but they were good lessons that I took with me.

Later this advice came back to me as I dealt with health issues. I pushed so hard to make my body heal. I later realized that this was hindering my health and healing.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.

I wanted results. I wanted to be better. In looking back, ultimately I wanted to feel good about me! I yearned for approval from others. Now I know, that I also needed self-approval.

Self-approval happens in an instant. It’s a change in mindset. I could have given myself the approval I desired so deeply, any time I wanted.

I had overcome the physical aspects of anorexia, but I still starved myself emotionally.

I was stingy with self-love and self-care, because my standards were so stringent and high.


Be patient with yourself… the words somehow came back to me.

You may never meet “their” standards, but you can always cultivate self-approval. You know the truth. You know how hard you have worked. You know that all great things take time. Self-healing is a journey, it’s not a linear process.

Give yourself permission to feel good, even about the smallest things. Celebrate small accomplishments. Know that you’re on your way to achieving the big goals, rather than being hard on yourself and chastising yourself for not meeting the big goals in an unreasonable time period.

I see and experience now that the journey I am on is so much more enjoyable just by simply celebrating my small achievements.

No longer do I put unreasonable burdens on myself, filling my backpack with all the tools they say I need. Nor do I visit all the stops they say I must.

Look up, enjoy the view and the journey. Celebrate the accomplishment of each small step!

Know that even long, toiling roads eventually lead somewhere. Perhaps invite a buddy to share in the journey.

Sing in the rain. Stomp in the puddles. Lean into the wind. Listen for the messages in the long, dark, quiet nights.


Be Patient, but also…

Keep going

Keep patiently waiting if necessary

Have faith

Follow your instincts

Stay focused

Do your best

Let go

…and most of all, have fun!

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Work With Your Body – Not on it! :016

The Mantra, “Work With Your Body – Not on It!” came to me…

…as I excavated the messages from my own body and healing journey for my first book, You-niversal Self-care: Improved Health Through Self-Understanding.

In this book I share my journey from being an unhealthy child, suffering from undiagnosed Celiac Disease and Irritable Bowel- like symptoms. I was also overweight. I weighed over 100 pounds at age nine when my average classmate weighed 60 pounds. My skin also nearly constantly pained me. It felt like it was being stretched at best, and would crack and bleed at worst.

In addition to this I had the usual social pressures to look thin and be in-style, and to behave in a way that was similarly in vogue.

I tried for some time to force myself to fit in. I literally starved myself in body and stretched myself in character, hoping it would all gain me more favor. It worked initially. Although, like how a little bit of makeup can look appealing, there is always a tipping point, when too much effort becomes a disaster. Looking back, eventually my extreme measures to change my body and character looked clownish.

There are more details in my book, so I will not repeat them here, but what I will emphasize is this: in order to meet other peoples’ standards I harmed my body greatly. I deprived my body of vital nutrients for growth at a critical time during puberty for which I feel I have finally healed… twenty years later!


Work With Your Body - Not on It

On the other hand there are positives that have come out of this time.

Going through that Dark Night of the Soul experience that also manifested in my body, I became much more acutely aware of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual condition.

It is much more clear to me now what is truly healthy and health-supporting and what is just fashion. Now I have a deep reverence and understanding that what is good for one person, may not be good for another.

I have created a deep, healthy, healing relationship with my body, mind, emotions and even spirit. It’s as if these aspects are layers of my own self that can converse with and guide each other for overall wellness. I am much more acutely aware of my needs in these areas in order to be healthy and balanced.

Going through this time of deep sadness and suffering, longing to be and become accepted, tired of being teased and left-out, helped me to be more compassionate towards others suffering in similar ways.

Most of all I learned to become compassionate with myself. It is necessary, I now see, to start here. We innately treat others the way we treat ourselves- it’s all that we know, until we learn otherwise. We are our own learning-ground.


I urge you to learn to Work With Your Body – Not on It!

Yes, there are times that we need to push ourselves, get outside our comfort zone, even to create healthy changes!

It’s healthy in most cases to: break a sweet, run out of breath, or workout so hard you are sore the next day. Stress initiates change.

What is not healthy is when we have unreasonable goals and ideals.

When I wanted to be the same size as children my same age who weighed forty percent less than me (that was nearly half my size!) I put unreasonable stress on myself, and did not have healthy motives.

As an adult I have to remain focused on building and supporting my body with nutrition, balanced exercise and attribute training so that I am working towards the best version of me that I can help come forth; rather than the jury-rigged version that I might be able to create based on what media and my peers are promoting.


Here are some tips on how to work with your body:

  1. Set a goal with a health-oriented result. Setting a weight as a goals makes you unreasonably focused about weight, which can fluctuate on a daily basis and even increase when you begin healthy habits like working out when you build heavier tissues, i.e. muscle. Set a single goal like eating whole foods for a month and be surprised how the effect of weight loss just happens!
  2. When you commit to a new or renewed goal, don’t make a big deal out of it. The more you build it up to yourself (and others by sharing with them) the more emotion you put into it and if you don’t meet your goal the more of an emotional crash you’re likely to experience. Treat it like it’s something you’re doing because it needs to be done- like going to the grocery store or brushing your teeth.
  3. Give yourself time. How long did it take for your body to get to the condition it’s in? What if it took that same amount of time to heal? It more than likely won’t; but if it did, at least you would be getting healthier and feeling better all along the way!


The beauty of you is that there is no one else like you and we need you to be YOU! Support your body, mind, emotions and spirit so you can be the best version of you possible. How amazing would that be!



Catching Courage with Zoe McKey :015

It takes courage to make healthy life changes.

At Weight Free Wellness® we strive to share the people, resources and principles that it takes to lead a healthy life; and courage is definitely one of these!


In this inspiring interview, Zoe McKey shares insight from her book, Catching Courage (what a great title!) and we talk about how the insight applies to wellness.


“Bravery is a state of mind with an absence of fear… Generally, courage on the other hand, is more than a state of mind, it’s an emotion. When you feel that pressing fear but you decide to do anyway what you’re about to do. You’re totally aware that failure is a high chance to happen, but you decide to do it anyway.” – Zoe McKey

Catching Courage with Zoe McKey

“With courage you experience an overcoming feeling of strength…” – Zoe McKey

Here are some of the highlights of Courage for a Wellness Lifestyle:

  • The difference between Bravery and Courage
  • Why to keep goals to yourself
  • The benefits of getting in and staying in motion
  • Do you have Decidophobia – the fear of making a decision?
  • Be clear on where you want to go
  • Gain knowledge
  • Trust your gut

For the full experience watch or listen to the podcast!


“Deciding to do nothing is still a decision.” – Zoe McKey


“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s what’s possible, then suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi


“Knowledge can help us reduce our fears…” – Zoe McKey


“Whatever you do, whatever aspect of life you want to improve, be very clear about it.” – Zoe McKey


Learn more about Zoe and her work…



About Zoe

My name is Zoe McKey, and I’m a former dishwasher, shop assistant, car factory worker, translator, international relations manager at a language school, and communication coach of a smaller Japanese organization. Add my hours spent as a high school and university student and you can see that I needed 25 hours in every day.

I’ve been living on my own and supporting myself since I was 14. For years I was unable to pursue my passion. And today I’m grateful for all the things I went through.

Because of my situation I had to learn to connect and get along with every type of person. From a young age I had to develop my ability to understand emotional needs. With my strong self-awareness, I help people (re)gain their confidence and self-esteem so they can live a lasting balanced life.

Right now I’m a Communication Coach; I teach interpersonal and social skills internationally. My training doesn’t follow the conventional “pep talk self-help” style, but is the result of a ten-year, thorough study of human behavior, limits, and challenges.

I’m also a #1 Amazon bestselling self-help author. I consider my work to be like a pickle jar filled with different sized pickles. Each pickle represents a different solution to a problem related to confidence: personal lifestyle development, enhancing confidence, improving perseverance, overcoming fears, beating procrastination, building social skills, and many others.

I’m not a mentalist, nor am I an expert gathering titles to prove my aptitude. I believe more in the power of undivided attention, honest caring, and asking questions instead of demanding solutions based on a ten-minute discussion. I’m a simple girl, with an ENFJ personality, who wants to help everyone who needs it.

I’ve been in the position when all the world made me feel insignificant and unworthy, small and helpless. There’s a way out of it. And I know it, and I’d like to share it with you.

I know what it feels like when all the world makes you feel insignificant and unworthy, small and helpless. There’s a way out of it. And I know it, and I’d like to share it with you.

In my free-time (now that I actually have some) I like to draw or paint, take long nature walks, do badass CrossFit training, and sing Karaoke – usually in a box because I don’t want to harm humanity with my singing voice.

My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. (Please don’t judge.)

Visit Zoe’s website here!



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How to Self-Critique Without Being Critical About Your Fitness :014

How to Self-Critique Without Being Critical

Being self-critical is a very difficult habit to break when you have lived your life overweight and have become self-critical to pre-empt what others might criticize you for.


It can be done, though, and it needs to be done. It may seem contradictory but self-critique is necessary and even helpful. If you can not judiciously assess yourself, how do you know where health improvements can be made?


Now technically I should not be using “critique” and “critical” as if they stem from different words; but the truth is that colloquially we put different values on these words. To critique can be seen as a valuable thing- that your are picking out what needs to change for improvement. To be critical has a heavy tone to it; like a disapproving father who picks at everything that isn’t perfect. So make note, I’m using the colloquial definitions here, that I just illustrated.


Here’s how I made the shift to be able to Self-Critique without being Critical


I take an adult dance class two times per week. I started seeking this cross-training when I realized several years ago that I needed an activity that would help me train my body in coordination that would not exhaust me at the same time.


Ballet class is my gauge. I can tell where I am at in mental clarity, physical strength, flexibility and coordination each time I go to class.


It’s through challenging myself in the areas that are most difficult for me to learn (physical movement and coordination) where I learned to self-critique but not to be critical.


The goals and standards I create are my own; I’m not striving to live to anyone else’s ideals. I challenge myself, but am still caring towards myself.


This compassionate nature is what helps me to Self-critique without becoming Critical.


How to Self-Critique Without Being Critical


In this video of this podcast I am critiquing (and sharing these principles) as I resume a workout regime I have not done in months.


I Critique for improvement as opposed to being Critical which tears a person down.


Examples of the difference between Self-Critique and being Critical


First, as I Critique I Keep in Mind:

That I have not done this workout in months. “Just see where you’re at.”

The purpose of this workout is to help improve my strength for ballet. (Weight change and body-shape are positive benefits for me, but not goals.)

I will improve with consistency and applied feedback for improvement.

I will feel my body shift and change… perhaps in undesirable ways at first, but that it will lead to what I desire. (Soreness will lead to strength. Body mass increase (weight and size) will lead to toning.)

I note the positive things that might even surprise me: Wow! I can still do side plank with pretty good stability! I didn’t get as sore as I thought I might!


I Would be Being Critical if I Said to Myself:

It’s only been 6 months and you lost your form!

You can only do a couple suspended crunches per side!

Push yourself and do three sets… You need to get off on a big start!

Did you get the results yet? Go check!



Notice how you feel just reading these: Critiques vs. Being Critical!




How to Self-Critique Without Being Critical Tips:

Focus on creating healthy habits as your goal rather than a weight or a size. The habits more than likely will lead to the results you want anyways!

Cut out the pomp and circumstance! Make the healthy habit something you do normally; make it a normal thing in your life. When you make it an emotion-filled task you set yourself up for an equally emotional let-down if you don’t meet your objective.

Start moderately. Don’t burn yourself out at the start. Allow yourself to feel good; feel progress from the start!

Approach health and fitness with a light-hearted nature. Have fun! Find things you enjoy. Find the activity that is balancing for your Body-type. Take the Body-type Assessment (in the sidebar) to learn more.

Allow time and consistency to work their magic!

Notice where you’re critical of others. You’re likely ten times more critical of yourself in those areas. Then let go!

What if your objective were to learn to improve, rather than to accomplish?

Treat yourself like a beloved child who must learn this (a) particular lesson, and give him/her the patience, resources and time to learn, improve and make changes.


Wishing you Well-ness!




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Spirit of the Lake Yoga – On and Off the Mat :008

Spirit of the Lake Yoga is a lovely studio near Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota.


In this interview, (now) yoga studio owner Nicole Lovald, shares how she came to yoga while her husband was deployed in Iraq, and how yoga helped her to cope with her many thoughts, concerns and challenges as she was faced with raising their 2 year old son alone during that time.


Several years later she and her husband are owners of an award-winning yoga studio, and take the goodness of yoga beyond the mat to their community.


Nicole recounts her first yoga class she went to: that for first time, since her husband had left for Iraq, her mind was silent. She remembers leaving class feeling better. This was enough to convince herself to go to class weekly!





She admits that her friends could tell if she missed a class, because with yoga she was a calmer, happier, easier person to be around.



“When you support your body… you can release… muscles, emotions, tension… Whatever is challenging you at the time.” – Nicole



Not too long after Nicole took a yoga teacher training course, never with the intention to teach (or own a studio for that matter) but to understand better what was going on that caused the great changes she felt in herself.


Some other things we talk about in this episode:

  • How she and her husband came to be owners of Spirit of the Lake
  • How Nicole and her husband have a special desire to work with veterans
  • Is yoga a religion?
  • Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga
  • Nicole’s passion for working with kids – especially little kids.
  • How they are taking yoga off the mat and support the community


“You don’t have to be flexible in body, but be flexible in mind.” – Nicole


What’s unique about Spirit of the Lake Yoga:


Family friendly programs for all ages!

Online programs:

  • Intro to meditation
  • Soulful self-care
  • Mindful parenting
  • Mindful eating

Spirit of the Midwest Yoga Festival

“We can still focus on the good even when we’re dealing with trauma, even when we’re dealing with sadness. It’s important to let that sadness move through us.” – Nicole

 2 Tips on How to Feel More Balanced in Times of Stress and Despair

  • Let “that” emotion move through you (rather than stuffing it). Which leads to illness and disease. Restorative and Yin yoga for example allow us to be quiet and to release.
  • Breathe – “We take our breath for granted… Our breath is our life-force…. It’s what gives us vitality… It’s what helps us to move those emotions through…”  Learn to breathe into the belly.



How Yoga Helps us With Everyday Things – Like Kids

Nicole is adamant that she shares parenting tips not because she is the perfect parent, but because so many of the mindfulness techniques taught in yoga (and in former training) have helped her to be a better parent. She suggests to bring in mindfulness (bring awareness into the here and now). This helps a parent to take the time to respond to a situation rather than hastily reacting. Kids can eventually learn to model this mindfulness behavior also!



“Try to find moments, where you truly see your children… experience with them.” – Nicole



“I just keep thinking how much my teenage years would have been had I had yoga then… Self-esteem, self-confidence…” – Nicole



Listen to the podcast to hear how Nicole beautifully explains the how-to and the benefits of these tips. 



About Nicole Lovald


Nicole Lovald is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Life/Wellness Coach with a Master’s degree in Counseling. She has spent over 15 years working in higher education, social services, non-profit, and for-profit settings. Her love of yoga began many years ago when her husband was deployed and she was looking for a self-care practice to ease her worried mind and untangle the stress induced knots in her body.
What she found was that yoga provided amazing benefits that not only impacted her body but also relaxed her mind and allowed her to get in touch with her inner spirit. After realizing the wonderful benefits of her practice, she decided to embark on a yoga teacher training program so that she would be able to bring it to others. She has now been teaching yoga for over 4 years and is thrilled to be able to help others live healthier and happier lives.
As the owner of Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center, Nicole is excited to continue to support the Excelsior and surrounding communities. In addition to teaching several classes at Spirit of the Lake she also provides individual wellness and life coaching sessions.

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Irritated by Your Partner? You’re not Alone! :007

Being irritated by our partners is rare in the early days together…

Often-times we are so  caught up in new discoveries about each other that it’s easy to ignore if not just plain not see things that flip our switches years later.


After 16 years of an eventful, love-filled and also challenge-filled life together; my hubby and I open-up about our pet peeves with each other and how we manage them within ourselves and with the other person.




I do want to preface that by ‘partner’ we mean any two adults who are in a committed, monogamous relationship. Based upon our experience and preferences, clearly this is going to be especially relatable for heterosexual relationships.


In this episode we cover:


Toilet Dribble (I can’t believe that we ended up starting on this topic!)

Why is this such a big deal!?

Dealing (or not dealing) with ex’s.

Not everyone is able to simply make a clean-cut with their ex, but there are some things you can do to make life easier for you and your new partner; in a nutshell, set boundaries…


What to have for dinner

I share when/why I get upset when my hubby wants to go out to eat…



My hubby has been carefully curating movies for us to watch together all these years… I learn in this podcast! <3



Learn more than you ever need to know…



Good, bad or ugly, we have found success in our relationship by depending on each other; i.e. only bringing others into our relationship for help under specific circumstances and when both partners are present.



What’s your agreement? And, the question comes up…



…How can I help you help me?


Video games…

Where do they stand in your relationship? Between you?

Is it possible to justify a place for video games when you get blank stares and nebulous responses when trying to communicate with a partner who’s playing video games?

Jon talks about John Gray (When Mars and Venus Collide) and how: men meed adventure… they take failure hard- and how video games can fill this void.


Why to give 100% / 100% in the relationship

Then when one partner is having an ‘off’ day, you can still operate at least a 100%



Simplify where you can.

We make our lives as complicated or as simple as we want. Where will it benefit you to simplify?


What is nagging, really?

Women get blamed for nagging, but what do they mean? How do men interpret this and what does it do to the relationship?


Treat me how I treat you…

A variable on ‘The Golden Rule’ because your standards of “…how you want to be treated.” might be much lower than the standards for how I want to be treated. It’s a bit of a mind-bender, but give it a go!


Why don’t guys listen?

How to get the attention of your man…


Why to treat your partner like a king/queen

This doesn’t mean necessarily to wait on them at every turn and address him or her as, ‘Your Highness,’ but any relationship can be benefitted with an increase in courtesy.



What are your secrets to a happy, healthy relationship!?