How I went 5 weeks with ZERO sugar

How I went 5 weeks with ZERO sugar

Imagine a life with no sugar. No candy. No Sweets. No Carbs. No Dried mango. No dried mango. No more than 20 grams of sugar a day.

Hell no right?

Well a few months ago as I was touring Paris with a Nutella crepe permanently glued to my hand, in Spain dunking my churro in a cup of melted chocolate, or in Amsterdam submerging my waffle in powdered sugar, I would have said the same thing.

I’m a sugar addict. Or I was I should say. My European experience was an extreme one, I was eating things I’d never eat because it was all part of the experience. But even while living in the US, sugar has always been my kryptonite. Heaven consisted of eating my sisters vanilla almond cake with buttercream icing.

But when I can back from Europe I realized I had eaten myself into a sugar addiction. So like I do, I started reading anything and everything I could get my hands on.

I ended up enthralled in the book why we get fat, obsessed with the movie Fed Up and enrolled in the 8 week program iquitsugar.com #truestory

It all led me to this: successfully going 5 weeks without sugar. Which meant no fruit. No dried fruit. No chocolate. No sugary sauces. No more than 20 grams of sugar a day. And in the latter weeks it could slowly be introduced back in, in very minimal amounts. Oh, and red wine + 100% cacao was allowed. Probably the only reason I survived it.

What blew my mind was the mental clarity I had. The complete extinction of cravings. Temptations minimal. And a real appreciation for all that was green, and suddenly things that never seemed sweet before got so m u c h  s w e e t e r. I had some really low moments of “whyyyy am I doing this” and some issues as my tummy got used to the drastic changes, but overall it was quite the experience.

More than me, however, I gained a very clear understanding of the true culprit of this country’s obesity and disease problem: sugar. The more I educated myself in the topic, the more horrified I was by the effects sugar has on our body. It’s more than weight: it’s cancer, emotional turmoil, disease.

sugar

Do you think you could do it too? Go cold turkey on sugar? If you’re answer is NO WAY…just start paying attention to how much you’re actually consuming a day without even knowing it. Those salad dressings, the vanilla soy milk, the low fat snack? Packed with it. It’s not just the obvious stuff. But seriously, If I can do it you so can you.

I was given the gift of awareness through this program. And that’s something that can never be returned it can only be shared…with you!

 



Why Thirty Dollars Will Put You in Debt

Why Thirty Dollars Will Put You in Debt

I heard one of my girlfriends once say… “I’m going to go broke, one thirty dollar purchase at a time.”

Right!?!? How true is that. Spending all the money we make doesn’t happen in the big purchases, buying a DVF dress, a new website, or a two thousand dollar bed… It happens one pedicure, spin class and happy hour at a time. Well it does happen in big purchases but we at least know it’s happening when we buy things like that. Rather, I think it’s the $30 mark that really gets us.

If it’s under thirty dollars, it can’t possibly be a problem. But 17 of those $30 dollar “why nots” not only causes you to barely inch your way to that next pay check, you might as well have just gotten that pair of shoes you so badly wanted, you’d at least have something to show for it.

The more I start opening the conversation up about money with my galpals, the more I realize so many of us are freaking out about the wealth were creating (or not creating). It’s like we’ve gone about our lives figuring it all eventually change when were older, when we make more money, only to BE older and making significantly more money only to realize it’s not changing. We’re still spending it all, but with a more cushioned savings and more stamps on our passport to show for it.

As you can tell, I’m very much trying to mature my outlook on finances and the way I handle them. And I’ve had some help getting my head and gameplan wrapped around this topic. Earlier this year I started the LearnVest financial planning services and it’s been such an eye opener. As my palm readers in India all told me, I’m good with my finances. That said, there’s a way to be much more structured and informed about our future goals: buying a house, starting a business, investing in our education.

And in the same way that we can go broke one 30 dollar purchase at a time, the opposite is true. We can build for our future in the same manner.

For more Money Tips, check out Maxie Monday on The College Prepster

Money Advice for 20 Somethings

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Inspiration Roundup :: my favorite things this week

I love love LOVE finding amazing new things that make. my. day. Don’t you?? There’s so much out there on the internet, a few good pieces of inspiration are always a good ‘thang. Which is why I’ beginning to  round up some of my favorites from the past week. So that on Sundays, as you’re gearing up for the week ahead, you have nothing but positivity to set the tone.

Don’t wait until your bullet proof.

Waiting until your bullet proof, or perfect, before you go in to fight the good fight, will leave you never going in. It’s never going to happen. As many of you know I admire Brene Brown, but I came across this second Ted Talk of her which I just l o v e d. She pushes you to stop waiting. To understand shame. And to go after your dreams any ways. To get dirty in the arena of life.

Tieks Pop Pink Flats are BACK

There are very few things I love more than my Tieks. Have a million errands to run around the city? I will pick them over a pair of tennis shoes any day. Seriously, in my Tieks flats I quite literally feel like I can take on anything the day has to throw my way. I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for Pop Pink patent Tieks to return since last summer. And today, TODAY, they are back. I’m kind of freaking out. But they are that amazing.

Everything You Know about Personal Branding is W R O N G

This post by Gina Bianchini is so dead on. If you want a lesson in personal branding and an amazing call to action to survey your nearest and dearest to assess your own personal brand…this bad boy is for you (I have a friend running mine this week). Gina and her team along with Intuit launched a community dedicated to the self employed…it’s an incredibly motivating community that any of you who are entrepreneurs or dream to be, should check out ASAP.

Beauty has nothing to do with your makeup

I find myself wearing less and less makeup despite my oh so southern upbringing. Many thanks to my sister and the incredible Rodan + Fields products she introduced me to, you’ll find me without face makeup one more often than not (mascara and lipstick not included hehe). As I get older, I find my appreciation of natural beauty both for myself and others growing stronger and stronger. I absolutely adored this music video from Colbie Caillat about just that. It was brave and vulnerable. Cue the Mascara Alert.

Anything I missed?? What were you inspired by this week?



Think about this before you “vent”

I’m a talker. A communicator. A writer. It’s how I process. And while it’s often an incredible strength, 2.5 decades later I’m realizing it has a shadow, as every strength does.

Have you ever caught yourself talking about something, telling a story, recounting a moment of your past and noticing how drained you feel? It’s weird because it’s something that’s very much in your past, something you’ve moved past, but yet when you’re done talking about it, your levels are just a touch lower. There’s a cloud over your energy. Maybe heat in your face or a slight ache in your head. It’s palpable. But it was something you had to let go, so why would it matter to talk about it?

Well here’s the shadow for all of us communicators: Energy flows where words go.

I was hit with this realization when talking to a galpal about something that happened earlier this year. And I mentioned how I needed to just stop talking about it. I’ve moved past it, but it’s a story to tell…so I catch myself recounting it. So pointless! Especially because it makes me feel mad all over again when I know truly that I’m not. She mentioned this idea, that when we talk about something negative, our souls follow suit.

So, I’ve decided to be a little bit pickier with the stories I tell and the way I tell them. If I’ve let something go, not matter how interesting, then there’s no point getting into it. Readers’ digest versions can be really useful here- general synopsis of happenings can save your energy from plummeting alongside the story.

If you want an upbeat energy, focus your communication on stories that make you feel that way. Our energy is a very fluid thing, easily swayed and readily guided. Take it to a place of productivity. Your energy is following your words and thoughts like a moth seeks the porch light.

Think about that before you go off on a story of the past. Remember that before you vent about things that aren’t going to change. Keep your energy above the line with the words you choose.

How to live outside of expectations

We all have an incredible amount of pressure on us. We want to be great daughters. Awesome friends. Great athletes. Giving humans. Participants in society. We want to make a name for ourselves. We need to be supportive. We must be interesting and cool. Gotta be beautiful and fit and funny.

We live in a world of expectations. Some are the expectations of others. But most are the expectations of ourselves. The shoulds. The musts…Its. All. Bull. Shit

What’s one thing you would do today if someone’s expectation of you didn’t exist? What’s one thing you’d do if you dropped all the expectation of yourself? Who would you be? Where would you go?  You’re living in 6-by-6 foot room and calling it your house. When really, it’s just the guest room and there’s a whole huge castle out there for you to live, roam and play in.

That’s what’s living outside of expectation can feel like: a giant, beautiful, limitless castle for you to have a big amazing life in.

I’m not always nice to myself. You probably can relate. I always feel like there’s more I should be doing. Whether that’s fitting in more workouts this week or writing better or making more of an impact at work. It can be crippling if you let it run you (and occasionally I do). The most freeing thing you can do, that I can do, is to be kind to ourselves. Kindness is the key that let’s us out of that 6-by-6 foot room. It lets us out of a life constrained by expectations that we believe to be our reality.

Room or Castle…it’s pretty obvious which you would want to choose right?

Dropping every expectation at once is impossible. But choose one and start there. Let go of one person’s expectation of you and see how much just that single limit begins to open up your life a little bit more. And when you’ve moved past that one, work on another. One by one you’ll move into that beautiful castle. Before you know it, you’ll be living outside of expectation.

Can you be happy for someone else?

Imagine a moment in time where something you’ve hoped for has finally happened. Imagine it. Feel the joy. Feel the excitement. The smile that takes over your face. Maybe you’re walking off the plane on that dream trip. Or perhaps it’s because you’ve just found the love of your life. You know it, he knows it. Maybe your career is finally taking off and you landed the big new job. Or better yet you reigned in the courage of the heavens and quit that job to chase after your entrepreneurial dream. Maybe you finally got the time off to fly home and spend it with the family you haven’t seen in one too many months. Or you just closed on a house with your soon to be fiancé.

Are you feeling the joy of your good fortune yet?

Now imagine that thing you want, happening to someone else. To a best friend. To a sibling. To one of your seventeen hundred facebook friends.

Do you still feel the joy? Or is their a twinge of something else…

My guess is, if you’re anything like me, occasionally there is a twinge of something else. Jealousy feels like too strong of a word here, but you know the feeling. You notice in the lives of others that which you feel is lacking in yourself. We all do it. When I’m feeling insecure about my SF housing woes, it’s as if all I notice are people and their perfect homes. Or if I’m tired of the dating scene, somehow I’m always noticing other people’s passionate relationships.

Big news: we all freaking do it. My housing freak out is you questioning your purpose is another person’s ending their relationship.

But here’s a little word that’s about to rock your world and flip this whole comparison paradigm upside down: Mudita.

Mudita is the practice of rejoicing in the good fortune of others, it’s the pleasure that comes from delighting in someone else’s well-being.

One of the things I most appreciate about my best friends is the way in which they are always *always* more excited about the good things happening to me than I am. They glow with pride in what I’ve done. They believe in me. And they absolutely rejoice in my success, often before I even realize it’s something worth being excited over.

You likely have that person in your life too. That’s the Mudita. But ask yourself this…are you in the practice of that with others? Do you get deeply, genuinely excited for people when they reach joy, accomplishment or love in some area of their life?

Let me tell you, when you do you’ll notice how much better it feels than that twinge. Than jealousy. Or Envy. And when you try on Mudita, when you begin to see the universe as wide enough, deep enough and connected enough for unlimited capacity for the joy of every single one of us…when you stop viewing the events of others from a place of lack. I promise, you’ll feel better. You feel their joy. When you can feel joy for other’s success, your heart will experience a new level of contentment.

Why you shouldn’t have said yes

We all like saying yes. It feels good to make others happy, to know that we’re helping, or that it’s the right thing to do, or that we maybe just feel like we should.

But have you ever said yes to something that you shouldn’t have? That good “pleasing” feeling goes away pretty quickly when you’ve agreed to something you shouldn’t have.

We all have our reasons for saying yes. Saying no, can be just as important. Both for your sanity, time management and success, often saying no is the hardest yet most valuable thing you can learn.

If we say yes when we should have said no, the amount of guilt, anxiety and stress that comes from that is *way* worse than the momentary discomfort of saying no. Way worse.

So what do you do…when you say yes and shouldn’t have??

I’ve done this to myself a handful of times and it’s different in each situation. If you catch your “this should have been a no” situation quick enough it can mean needing to go back on your word, in an honest way. It means going to that person that you agreed to help and telling them you made an error. Explain the things going on in your life and why you very much wanted to do x or z, and it’s very hard for you to say no, but that this just isn’t the right time.

In other situations you just don’t have that option and you’ll need to see your “yes” through to uphold your own integrity and respect the person or situation you agreed to. It’s in those moments that you deeply understand the power of no.

If you want more time in your life, more value, and a better understanding of yourself, saying no when you want to say yes only in order to please will be a great asset. Pleasing with a yes isn’t placing enough value on you. Take care of you, even when that inner voice is calling you selfish.

Procrastination Pays Off

Procrastination. What a dirty habit, right? You put off, put off, put off. You “scramble” to get something done at the last minute. It causes stress, anxiety and a host of other terrible emotions. We’ve learned since grade school that we Must. Quit. Procrastinating.

News flash: who ever told us that was wrong…Procrastination can often pay off.

Now, slight footnote here: I first learned the phrase “Procrastination Pays Off” 4 years ago from my cowriter and sage, Matt. And it eventually became an entire chapter in our book. But I’ll admit something, I didn’t understand in full effect how true this was until recently.

Over the past few weeks this topic has come up numerous time. I’ve heard things like “I know I shouldn’t have waited until the last minute but I just couldn’t have done it any other way.” Or “I totally dragged my heels on this project, but it ended up being totally better because of it.”

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you’re just not ready to do something until you’re damn well ready? You know you’re procrastinating, and yet it ends up working out perfectly. You beat yourself up for waiting and waiting and putting it off but then something happens to actually make you feel grateful that you put it off until that very minute, the minute where it all becomes clear that now is the time.

I’ve realized that most things in my life require me to be ready. And this is where procrastination does pay off. When I’m emotionally, spiritually and physically aligned, then my best work come out. My greatest ideas take shape.

Think about the perfect chocolate chip cookie. You make the dough. Put it in the oven. And turn on the timer. 9 minutes later the timer goes off but the cookie just doesn’t seem ready. So you wait. And 90 seconds later you have your perfect cookie. Not burned. But not with an uncooked middle either. It was just perfect, because you waited.

Whatever you’re procrastinating on today, this week, this year… Let it go. Tell yourself it’s OK that you’re waiting. Because when you’re ready, you’ll know. All of the things on the back burner can stay there a little longer if you want. Whether that’s the big project you keep failing to find time for, the blog you wanted to start, the chair you want to reupholster or trip you said you’d take. It’s ok that you’ve not begun. You’ll know when it’s all ready, when you’re aligned to make the greatest outcome or impact possible.

But if you haven’t paid your bills, procrastinating is NOT ok. For some things their are actual consequences. You know the difference ;)

Why we all do this when things are GOOD

REPRISE* I’m in London for a few vacation days…just can’t keep myself away. I’m writing a lot, but until you get a sneak peak of that…here’s one of my favorite posts that came up in conversation this weekend with a dear friend. Enjoy!

I thought I was alone. I was convinced I was the only person who would begin to vividly detail tragic things happening to me or my family whenever something really really good was happening. I never knew why it always happened. I never understood what would send my day dreams to such a dark place whenever I was really happy in the present moment or about something coming up.

The week before I went to India, I was so abundantly joyful and excited about my upcoming trip. But I was having to fight these mental thoughts about how I would die there. I literally spent the entire plane ride from New York to New Delhi envisioning this trip being the end of my life. The thoughts would just happen and I’d try to push them away, but they’d manage to bubble back up.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been on the cusp of something exciting in my life before falling into the anxiety of doomsday thoughts. I remember being in college, shortly after I landed my coveted, dream internship at ESPN, feeling so insanely happy that I knew knew knew something terrible was going to happen that would keep me from getting to be in Bristol that summer. I felt too happy. My mind would end up racing onto thoughts of something awful happening that would keep me from actually living out this dream summer.

I always thought it was so screwed up. I knew it happened to me but I just thought maybe I had some deep-seeded anxiety or fear that I didn’t know about…and which caused my mind to race in these ways whenever I was really really happy in the moment.

Are you having a “me too” moment? Because it turns out I’m not alone. It turns out this is a “thing.”

I was literally brought to sobs when I was watching Brené Brown’s life class on OWN when she asked the crowd how many of them dress-rehearsed tragedy when things were going really well. Hands went up in the crowd unanimously. “WHY are we doing this??” I thought.

Turns out that our “best barometer for measuring capacity for vulnerability is how much we dress-rehearse tragedy. Because Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience.”

dress_rehearse_tragedy_ilo_inspired

It makes sense right? When we are feeling utter joy, we get scared of how happy we feel, knowing it can be fleeting, so we try to protect ourselves by beating life to the punch. We think joy can’t possibly last or that there won’t be enough of it to continue or that we don’t deserve it.  We think that if we plan out how terribly wrong everything can go, we’ll hurt less when it happens. But here’s the secret: when you play into visions of tragedy in order to be prepared, you lose out on the joy happening in that moment.

How do you fight foreboding joy then? Because obviously we know saying “hey stop being such a dark twisted dramatic person” only goes so far. Brene says that we need to lean into the joy in those moments. We have to practice complete gratitude for the joyful existence and happy circumstance at hand. When the visions of tragedy start to bubble up, we only have one choice to counter it…

Lean into joy.

One thing you must STOP doing

The morning has always been my favorite time of day. There’s something so inspiring about having a completely clean slate. Every morning. Every day. Until there are no more days, we have an option: which side of the bed are we going to wake up on? One that is full of possibility and positivity? Or one that is anxious and wound up before it’s even begun.

I pick the former. And it’s not as hard to do most days as you would think. But there’s one thing that will kill your chance of starting the day out bright and beautiful: checking your freaking email.

Stop it. Seriously, seriously stop it. If I could get anyone and everyone to stop doing one thing right now to guarantee a chance at a more peaceful day it would be this. It’ll take your stress down an entire notch with one simple habit. I know because I’m a recovering morning email checker.

Every morning I would wake up, and whether it was naturally from the sunlight or because my alarm was ringing, the absolute first thing I would do is look at my phone and see my emails on the home screen. I’d make up conclusions of what was in the email based on the sender and subject line before I even read it. My anxiety would pump. My mind would race. I was beginning my day on a stressful beat and pace that was unneeded. What difference did a 6am response really make? What problem could actually be solved from under my covers? Absolutely nothing. That’s what.

And in an effort to be on top of our email. To be in the know. To be “on it”, we lose one of the most creative and tone-setting times in our day. It’s gone. And it can’t be reclaimed.

Give yourself 30 minutes in the morning. Turn off you alarm, do your normal morning routine. Have a cup of tea and read your favorite morning email. Whatever you do, do it, enjoy it. Meditate. And take email out of your morning routine. It’ll be a soul filling habit you’ll never want to break. I promise.

Need some quick tips to make this a reality? Here’s 3:

Sleep with “do not disturb”. You wont be woken up by buzzing and dings, but calls will still come through and notifications will show on your home screen.

Take your email off of push. This way you have no email notifications on your home screen when you check it in the morning.

Keep your work email in a separate app. So you can read personal emails without the looming work inbox RIGHT there ready for the clicking.