Hip Replacement Surgery Update

I feel like I have done this before….Oh wait, I have. A little over a week ago I had my second hip replacement surgery in just two months and this time it was a revision to the replacement. Another hopeful smooth sailing surgery with positive outcomes was the intention.

Of course the intention of the surgeon, who I admire and believe in 100%, was to remove the fluid and hematoma and get my hip functional. My intention was to trust and heal. Period. Just trust and heal.

Hip Replacements and revisions are not all the same.

Maybe someone out there will hesitate to tell their loved one how easy they are going to have it or how the recovery will be such a breeze. I will keep saying that over and over despite driving people crazy.

Hip Replacements and revisions are not all the same.

I knew going into the surgery that I would also be getting a picc line placed. A picc line is a long term IV that basically gives easy access to get IV antibiotics delivered into the body without having to poke often or deal with a peripheral IV. Sounded easy enough, but I was nervous as to how my body would respond to a plastic tubing in my chest given that every plastic, tape, or tubing inflames my skin and I end up being a blistered mess or having the culprits removed early.

The day after the picc line was placed, I noticed that my arm was very swollen. In quick fashion I was soon learning that I had a blood clot in my arm likely from the poke of the picc line. Gah. I had already been on blood thinners so this was surprising and alarming, to me.

I was discharged the following day and ready to heal at home. Unfortunately, my first full day home was spent in the ER with a very swollen arm and more blood clots. It was such a scary and surreal experience. The picc line was removed and what a sigh of relief that was.

I will say it again.

Hip Replacements and revisions are not all the same.

So I am faced with an impasse. Do I react or do I respond to these challenges?

A reaction is typically done so with force and effort, whereas a response is a leaning into and surrendering. If I react to the fact my arm is swollen with anger, how would that help me? If I accept that I have clots causing the pain, how would that help me?

Reaction vs Response

Even though this experience has been incredibly hard, I still believe 100% that reacting in a blame/shame/anger way is so not useful. Those emotions will not heal my hip.

Will responding and surrendering heal my hip? Maybe and maybe not. What I do know is that my heart will be happier and my mental health will be intact if I respond in kindness to what is happening.

Hip Replacements and revisions are not all the same.

My plan for healing is to enjoy the sunshine and the sounds of spring. I am going to reevaluate my life and what fits into the scope of peace and healing, and what doesn’t. Sometimes we have to face really hard challenges that shine a light into an area that has been darkened for a long time.

Stick around while I unearth some long overdue areas of darkness by responding to what is and what it all might mean for me. Check out the details of the week here.


Evolving Self-Care

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” —Eleanor Brownn

Self care Mastery

Over the years I have become a master at self care and what I once thought of as purely selfish or saved for the elite has long since diminished. When I had my great “wakeup” I realized that self-care is actually a necessity to living a whole and complete life. I learned that loving myself meant taking time for certain things that bring me joy and in doing that, I am able to more effectively give to others.

Self-care doesn’t have to be weekly (and often expensive) things like massages, facials or extravagant shopping sprees. Self-care should be simple in nature and definitely doesn’t need to cost a lot. It might be that taking the time to perfectly craft your coffee in the afternoon is your version of self-care–in fact, since I am not out and about as much while I recover from hip replacement, I have found sprinkling a little ground cinnamon on my afternoon coffee to be a fabulous substitute to my usual coffee shop Americano. It may be that your self-care is gardening, or baking bread (YES!), or a solo walk, or organizing your office, or a long shower with special smelling soap, or sitting in the sunshine, or the occasional binge on Netflix.

Self Care Before Surgery:

My self-care before surgery was long, long walks everyday and vigorous strength training sessions. It was also daily coffee(s), Yoga, and weekly massages. My self-care post surgery has changed quite a bit but I am still committed to making sure that I am loving on myself every single day. When I redirect my thoughts away from pain and towards something that brings me joy, I am practicing the best kind of self care there is. I am no longer taking long, long walks or hiking in the mountains. I am not getting on the floor for Yoga, or taking long bubble baths, or splurging on multiple trips to a coffee shop throughout my day. Since I am unable to do some of those things due to limitations in mobility, driving myself and being off work for two months, I have evolved my self-care to fit my current situation.

Self Care After Surgery:

  • Long hot showers instead of bubble baths
  • Daily affirmations (I have used affirmations for years, but being a bit more intentional about them)
  • Making anything and everything sourdough (who knew how fun that could be?)
  • Dabbling more in aromatherapy when I feel my mood changing to a negative one
  • Using and enjoying my crystals in a deliberate way
  • Jigsaw puzzles, digital planning and a lot of iPad goodness
  • Easy stretching and spine work
  • Making soothing DIY skin products
  • Being creative and productive every day

I have come to realize that self-care is a constantly evolving practice. I know for me that being productive and using my creative nature to accomplish something everyday brings me joy. That something might be baking a gorgeous loaf of sourdough, or completing a challenging jigsaw puzzle, working on a new project, or finishing a juicy novel. Or, it might be whipping up a body butter for my skin or enjoying an extra long shower. Whatever it is, I am still loving on me and that is a must for all of us.

How do you self-care and how has it evolved in your changing seasons?

Follow me for more goodness!


Stacie believes that it is her life purpose to share the gift of Yoga with anyone who is willing to say yes. In addition to raising a family and being an advocate for those with disabilities, Stacie is founder of Embracing Spirit Yoga which specializes in bringing adaptive Yoga into community centers and rehabilitation clinics. Bringing her depth of compassion to the mat–or the chair–she offers students the opportunity to grow as an individual in all aspects of their life. With over sixteen years experience, Stacie Wyatt is an experienced 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Certified Trauma Informed Coach, Life Wellness Coach, Senior YogaFit Instructor, Mind/Body Personal trainer, Stress Reduction and Meditation Instructor, Pilates Instructor, and Barre Instructor.

Valentine’s Day Gifts

It’s that time of year when the shops fill up with hearts and roses. But is Valentine’s just for the romantics? More and more people are choosing to see Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love. Whether it is for a friend, a pet or loved one. You don’t have to be in a relationship to celebrate. And you certainly don’t have to do it with hearts and roses. But celebrating love can’t be such a bad thing, can it?

Unconditional Love Blend

These make fantastic little valentine’s love gifts for all your special people. These are packed with powerful essential oils and beautiful rose quartz. Plus, I add a few rose petals for the pretty sake.

What is inside:

  • Rose: Opens the heart chakra and allows you to feel unconditional love. Creates a sense of well-being and calmness while awakening your ability for self-compassion, nurturing, and love.
  • Lemon: Opens the heart chakra to self-love and self-nurturing. lightens while uplifting your spirit and bringing clarity into your life.
  • Neroli: A natural tranquilizer and regulator of the nervous system that opens the heart chakra, uplifts your spirit, and encourages confidence, joy, and peace.
  • Marjoram: Restores warmth, self-compassion, and self-nurturing when feeling lonely or isolated.
  • Lavender: Helps you to relax, let go of the stress, and release fear, which fosters connect with the heart center and opens you up to more love.
  • Jasmine: Uplifting and joyous oil that balances the emotional system, soothes anxiety, and helps with depression and apathy.
  • Geranium: This emotional healing oil restores confidence and trust in others. It can help to heal a broken heart and open one up to love.
  • Ylang Ylang: This is a powerful remedy for the heart and releasing trauma from the past. This oil helps to release bottled up emotions that weigh heavy on the heart which allows for a more playful, carefree, emotionally connected and loving experience of life.
  • Tranquility Blend (Serenity): Includes Lavender Flower, Cedarwood, Ho Wood Leaf, Ylang Ylang Flower, Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Vetiver Root, Vanilla Bean Absolute, Hawaiian Sandalwood. Encourages individuals to first reconnect with themselves and discover peace that lies within, and then to reconnect with the humanity in others. This brings a calm, tranquil, peaceful, relaxed, compassionate and connection person.
  • Rose quartz: Rose Quartz is the stone of universal love. It restores trust and harmony in relationships, encouraging unconditional love. Rose Quartz purifies and opens the heart at all levels to promote love, self-love, friendship, deep inner healing and feelings of peace. Calming and reassuring, it helps to comfort in times of grief. Rose Quartz dispels negativity.

Ready to get yours?


Stacie believes that it is her life purpose to share the gift of Yoga with anyone who is willing to say yes. In addition to raising a family and being an advocate for those with disabilities, Stacie is founder of Embracing Spirit Yoga which specializes in bringing adaptive Yoga into community centers and rehabilitation clinics. Bringing her depth of compassion to the mat–or the chair–she offers students the opportunity to grow as an individual in all aspects of their life.

Being Honest

is being honest
about
my pain
that
makes me invincible.

Nayyirah Waheed

Most times when we do experiences pain, we deny it for a multitude of reasons. In my case I used to deny my pain so that I was always viewed as strong. I am still not super open about my personal pain but I am realizing more and more that may not be the way. Finding fellowship with others can add value to our lives and sometimes it’s nice to not feel alone.

Usually when we talk about pain, we talk about how much pain impacts us negatively. I mean, there is truth in that. Typically when we are experiencing pain, either emotional pain or physical pain, it doesn’t lend itself to creating the best life. And feeling weak is also not a fun feeling and sadly, it usually goes hand in hand with pain.

Over the years I have been on both sides of that spectrum. I have felt deep, emotional pain and deep loss and I have endured incredible physical pain that few really know about. I have minimized and usually have kept quiet about much of my pain. I have also created an amazing life and career that I believe would not have evolved without pain.

Certainly, at times I wish I didn’t have pain.

However for the most part, the pain that I have endured in my adult life has been nothing short of fuel to help me become the best that I can be.

Some of my first pain came when I realized that my beautiful daughter, who I dreamt of having a normal relationship with, (and doing all the things moms and daughters do), was born disabled. When realizing I would not be having those type of experiences with her, I was angry. I was deeply saddened and felt incredibly alone. I felt cheated and that life was unfair. I lived in an area of town that had a relatively upscale school system where the focus was on perfection, and her being different did not lend itself to being included. While other little girls were being invited to birthday parties, my little girl was being shunned, and people were leading their children away from her because she was different. Around the same time, this was happening, my marriage was falling apart, and soon I was a single mom with three kids and no job. Having opted to have children instead of going to college, I didn’t have many skills, other than being an incredible advocate for my daughter. I could’ve chosen to wallow in the crappy cards that I was dealt, and sit in sorrow for the loneliness and view what seemed like an insurmountable mountain that I was faced to climb all alone. Or, I could tighten up my hiking boots and get it done.

Long after my divorce when my children’s father died, I went through a similar feeling of isolation and loneliness. Even though I was in a supportive relationship at that time, his death put any last hope that I was not going to be the only parent that my children had. There was no longer any far fetched wish that he would decide one day to be involved.

A couple of marriages could be seen as failures, or they could be seen as amazing opportunities to see my part in the dysfunction of relationships, and begin to do differently. The breakups were grueling and I probably would still have pain if I chose to be the victim in them. Sure, I could give you a laundry list of all the things that they did wrong, but that would be another version of the same story where pain isn’t useful. Instead I learned to look at my part on the dysfunction and my own abandonment and anger issues. I chose to resolve the deep wounds and allow them to scar over.

I’ve lived with chronic pain for nearly 25 years. I first began to see a pain management specialist to manage my ongoing pain all the way back in 2007. At the same time, I was developing a deep love affair with Yoga. While I was hoping that the Yoga practice itself would help me manage my pain, and it has in many ways, it wasn’t the end all. Many failed surgeries and many failed attempts to reduce my pain could easily cause me to break. I could be sitting at home and complaining about what my body cannot do anymore, or I could be taking as many walks a day that I have time for while feeling the sun on my face and the breeze on my skin and feeling completely and totally alive. I could spend my days complaining about my pain or I could spend my days having compassion for those who also have pain. I could use my pain as an attention seeking tool to have people feel sorry for me, or I could use my pain in a humble way to inspire people to live their best life.

You see, we all have pain. And the way that you and I handle pain is individual. This isn’t a blast on those who maybe don’t see through the same lens that I do. I just know that my pain is what inspires me to get up every day and be the best I can for my students, my kids, those who I love, and mostly for myself.

One thing that I do know for certain is this – my experience with pain has shown me just how strong I really am. It is showing me how adaptable and innovative I am. It has shown me the very essence of my spirit. Had I not experienced the pain, I may not have ever witnessed this amazing woman who writes this post. Without becoming this amazing woman, I would not developed beautiful connections in the community where I could use the pain that I once experienced with my daughter to be an advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves. I would not be able to sit with someone else’s physical pain because I wouldn’t understand it if I didn’t have my own.

Pain is not the enemy here. Pain is actually the gift.

My pain has made me invincible.

Here is how I used pain to turn it into some useful in my life:

  • I let go of expectations of others
  • I learned to love myself
  • I made time for me
  • I chose me
  • I let go of people who did not align with my greatest potential
  • I released negativity in my life
  • I surrounded myself with love
  • I began to pay attention to my thoughts, words and actions
  • I stopped complaining and gossiping
  • I let go of competition with others
  • I accepted myself and the choices I had previously made
  • I practiced daily gratitude which made me actively seek out good in my life
  • I forgave others and myself
  • I stopped doubting myself

Not sure where to start? I would begin by listening to the thoughts you have and the words you speak, especially about yourself. You might just see that shifting those two things to something more loving with start the process.

You got this!

Mastering the Art of Self Love

“As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering were only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.”

Charlie Chaplin

Self-love is the foundation and basis for all the love that flows from our hearts to others.

For many years I was a seeker of love outside of myself. In some ways we all are—we want validation and to be seen—that is normal human behavior. My trouble came when in the truthful and quiet moments with myself, I really didn’t like who I was, and actually loving myself was not even in the ball park.

Then I woke up.

I realized that my kids needed a healthy mom. They needed someone who demonstrated self love. They required a mom who was no longer angry but instead developed an acceptance for life’s hard things and took them as lessons to grow.

I also became radically aware of self care. For decades I thought self care was selfish and totally for the elite. Wow, right? I came to realize that the only way I was to find pure unconditional love was to begin by loving myself unconditionally. You attract what you are.

Today I actually coach women (and men) on the power of a deliberate self care routine to help become the very best version of yourself. It’s not all about bubble baths, although those those do help tremendously.

This month I am teaching that we all have a foundation of values that sustains us, especially when life becomes hard or when we are challenged.

Self love is now one of my deepest values. It is one of the four main “roots” or “walls” that hold me up during storms. Without it, I’d crumble.

I choose self love daily by walking, working out, spending time in my garden, playing on a yoga mat, sipping nice vodka, daily gratitude, enjoying delicious coffee and of course, lavish bubble baths. One way that I combat living with chronic pain is to fight back against it with so much self love and self care through movement that my mind simply cannot focus on the pain long, because I am instead experiencing the joy of being alive.

I can’t believe that I once told myself that self love was selfish. After two decades of self love it has now become a part of everyday living. I know that without this radical practice of self love I would not be able to handle life’s challenges and I would not be able to give so much love. Truly by filling up myself with love daily, I am able to give more to others.

Don’t wait for a health crisis or a divorce to learn you are worthy.

Love yourself radically and fiercely now.

Trust me, mastering the art of self love is the best gift you’ll ever give yourself. You deserve it.

xo

Reach out to me for a free wellness consult and learn how YOU can change your mindset!

With over sixteen years experience, Stacie Wyatt is a E-500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Life Wellness Coach, Senior YogaFit Instructor, Mind/Body Personal trainer, Stress Reduction and Meditation Instructor, Pilates Instructor, and Barre Instructor. Stacie is also certified in Integrative Movement Therapy™and is also a believer in the power and application of essential oils for health and wellness and proudly shares doTERRA essential oils.

Simply a Reflection

The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you.

rumi

Tell me what do you love or admire about yourself?

I asked this question in all of my adaptive and traditional Yoga classes last week as we delved into the idea of Self-Love. The answers often are so sad when it comes to my students with brain injuries. You see these people have lost what most of us value and are having to rediscover the aspects of themself that they actually like. Most have lost their livelihood, their purpose, their families, their independence, their freedom to come and go, and oso much more. When they look in the mirror they often see the challenges and the impact of the injury so finding the qualities within can usually be really challenging. I also have enjoyed asking my group of students that are all over the age of 85 and living in assisted living. I am startled that so few of them can proclaim something that they love about themselves. Perhaps it is a generational thing where they didn’t spend as much time as younger people these days who seem consumed with the Self.

The answer seem to be so hard for them to find.

I ask the question anyway and the answer is usually that they are blank on what they love about themselves.

I keep asking, though.

On one particular day in a class that included a range of ages and abilities, I asked a woman living with a brain injury who is close to my age and is often very down on herself the question. When I asked her what she liked about herself her eyes dropped down to the ground and she quietly said, “nothing”. She was hunched over with her arms on her legs looking so hopeless and sad. This woman is so kind, so willing, so sweet and is so beautiful.

I knelt down so that I was in her eye gaze and asked again. And again, I got the same response.

I knew that I was about to open a beautiful can of worms and an opportunity to teach exactly what Rumi was saying.

I turned the question around. I asked this woman what she liked about me. She looked at me and easily said, “You are brave, and strong and so beautiful”.

We smiled at each other and I looked into her eyes.

My response was this—I am simply a reflection of you. What exists in me is also in you otherwise you would not recognize it. We are indeed a mirror reflection of each other.

She sat tall and said, “really?” Yes my sweet friend, really.

I learned this concept many years ago and try to always remember it, especially when I am with someone who feels that they are not enough or someone who struggles with identifying what makes them special. I ask them to think about someone they admire and what qualities do they see in them that they like? It is those qualities that also exist in ourselves.

Consider that. What you see in others exists in you. Kindness, integrity, compassion, love, bravery, beauty, honesty, humor, etc. If it was not part of you and familiar, you would not recognize it.

The tricky and often sticky part about this is that when we also see a quality within others that we find less appealing, it is because that too is familiar in us. When this happens to me I say, “ahhhhhh yes, there you are to remind me what I am here to work on”.

When we stumble through those ordinary days of self doubt and wondering what is really good about ourselves this can be an amazing concept to return to. When we feel burdened by life’s hardness and separate from the ideals in which the world has attempted to create, and we feel so less than, simply look into the eyes of someone you admire and know that the only way you can see those qualities is because they also exist in you.

It is familiar. It is a mirror reflection of yourself.

Follow me for more goodness!

Self Love

This time of year can seem like we are stuck in endless amounts of cold, dark winter days that go on and on. Also for some of us the holiday hype leads to a low-energy winter drag that sometimes can last months.

Many of us also dread the month of February because the influx of romantic love seems to be everywhere. I’m all for love but I have learned over the years that without self-love, there will be no room for love-love. It’s just doesn’t happen.

For many years I was a seeker of love outside of myself. In some ways we all are—we want validation and to be seen—that is normal human behavior. My trouble came when in the truth and quiet moments with myself, I really didn’t like who I was, and actually loving myself was not even in the ball park.

Then I woke up.

I realized that my kids needed a healthy mom. They needed someone who demonstrated self love. They required a mom who was no longer angry but instead developed an acceptance for life’s hard things and took them as lessons to grow.

I also became radically aware of self care. For decades I thought self care was selfish and totally for the elite. Wow, right? I came to realize that the only way I was to find pure unconditional love was to begin by loving myself unconditionally. You attract what you are.

Today I actually coach women (and men) on the power of a deliberate self care routine to help become the very best version of yourself. It’s not all about bubble baths, although those those do help tremendously.

I crafted this essential oil blend with the intention that it dives into the areas of our brain and heart that focus on positive self love and self image. There was a lot of thought and trial and error that went into finding the perfect combination to embody self love that is purely unconditional.

Unconditional Blend

Rose: Opens the heart chakra and allows you to feel unconditional love. Creates a sense of well-being and calmness while awakening your ability for self-compassion, nurturing, and love.

Lemon: Opens the heart chakra to self-love and self-nurturing. lightens while uplifting your spirit and bringing clarity into your life.

Neroli: A natural tranquilizer and regulator of the nervous system that opens the heart chakra, uplifts your spirit, and encourages confidence, joy, and peace.

Marjoram: Restores warmth, self-compassion, and self-nurturing when feeling lonely or isolated.

Lavender: Helps you to relax, let go of the stress, and release fear, which fosters connect with the heart center and opens you up to more love.

Jasmine: Uplifting and joyous oil that balances the emotional system, soothes anxiety, and helps with depression and apathy.

Geranium: This emotional healing oil restores confidence and trust in others. It can help to heal a broken heart and open one up to love.

Ylang Ylang: This is a powerful remedy for the heart and releasing trauma from the past. This oil helps to release bottled up emotions that weigh heavy on the heart which allows for a more playful, carefree, emotionally connected and loving experience of life.

Tranquility Blend: Includes Lavender Flower, Cedarwood, Ho Wood Leaf, Ylang Ylang Flower, Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Vetiver Root, Vanilla Bean Absolute, Hawaiian Sandalwood. Encourages individuals to first reconnect with themselves and discover peace that lies within, and then to reconnect with the humanity in others. This brings a calm, tranquil, peaceful, relaxed, compassionate and connection person.

Rose quartz: Rose Quartz is the stone of universal love. It restores trust and harmony in relationships, encouraging unconditional love. Rose Quartz purifies and opens the heart at all levels to promote love, self-love, friendship, deep inner healing and feelings of peace. Calming and reassuring, it helps to comfort in times of grief. Rose Quartz dispels negativity

Plus a sprinkling of rose petals makes this blend gorgeous to look at, too.

You can purchase this gorgeous blend here or invest in my self care package and it is included along with bath bombs, soothing foot salve, yoga and meditation.

Follow me for more goodness!

Aligning Your Thoughts with Your Actions

The teaching that I always return to is really so simple: align your thoughts with your actions and your life will change.

The month of March has been historically a month when where major changes occur in my own life. As I look back I see that I started the wakeup of my life that I refer to so often, I took my first Yoga class, did my first Yoga teacher training, taught my first Yoga class, and hosted my first community inclusion Yoga class where able bodied people practiced along side people in wheelchairs and other disabilities all in the month of March. You can see something fiery happens to me during the month of March and magic really starts to happen.

About seventeen years ago I woke up exhausted again and said to myself, “I am done being fat”.  I literally heard the words “I am done”. I had lived with extra weight since my first pregnancy when I was eighteen years old.  Within just four years of my first kiddo, there were three little babies and a bunch of added pounds.  Being fully invested in being a momma I had no idea that not investing in myself was actually a disservice to them.

Not the healthiest

Carrying the extra weight also meant that I was clearly eating foods that were not the healthiest and I was doing no exercise or self-care at all. There was every excuse in the world as to why I was unable to lose weight; healthy food costs so much, I don’t have time, I am too busy, I can’t afford a gym, etc.

Clearly my mind, body and spirit were so disconnected. 

The day in March that I woke up and decided that I was done was in alignment with the world around me where spring was just beginning. When I think back of that time, I realize that I too was in a rebirthing or awakening from a dark and long slumber. I was beginning the journey of my own form of blossoming.

My plan consisted of many things

The foundation of it all began not with the outer or my physical body. Instead it started with cleaning up my inner world. 

My thoughts.

Course of action

The first course of action was waking up up one hour earlier each morning and start my day with quiet, contemplative reading.  I journaled every single morning.  My journal entries at that time were not a recount of my day or diary-like at all. I wrote affirmative statements such as “I am worth it”.  I also wrote down all that I was grateful for in the present, and all that I was grateful for that was coming to me.  It was something like this: “I am grateful for the food I have chosen to eat.  I am grateful for my healthy body”. The quiet and contemplative time was like a drink of cold water on a hot day; refreshing, awakening and invigorating.

Mindfulness

The time spent still and quiet each morning began to stoke my inner fire of mindfulness.  As I became more aware of my thoughts and was purposeful for those sixty minutes, I began to train my brain to be more aware of my thoughts throughout the day.  I started to notice when my thoughts would shift to lack or negativity. I would immediately pause to reframe them to something that was positive. I found that many times I was attaching myself to a made up story or a future based fear.  For example, when my thoughts were something like, “I am so heavy….I am a pig…..I can’t afford that…..I wouldn’t look good in that…..I am broke…..I am a mess”, I would stop and tell myself that all of that was a story and the truth was/is “I am worth it….I have plenty of money….I am beautiful….I am amazing….”

Once I began to remove the heavy and sludge-filled thoughts that were literally weighing me down, I became more deliberate in my actions.  Through the act of being mindful, I interrupted the patterns that were contributing to my extra weight and replaced those actions with healthier ones.

Healthier habits

  • My walking shoes were placed on the steps that went from my garage to my house and every day when I came home from work and before ANYTHING, I slipped on my shoes and walked 40 minutes.
  • The dog’s leash was set out and every morning–rain or shine–I walked my dogs 40 minutes before work.  I slept less but as I moved more, my body was less fatigued and required less sleep that ended up actually being more restorative.
  • The kids snacks were put in the cabinet above the fridge so it literally took a step stool to get to them.  The extra work allowed time for me to really think about how much I wanted/needed cheetos.
  • Instead of going straight to the kitchen when I got done walking, I went straight to the bathtub.  Not only did this give me a self-care ritual, it interrupted a pattern of snacking before dinner.  By the time I got out of my bath, it was time to cook and I eliminated extra calories in mindless snacking.
  • I used small salad plates for every meal which tricked my brain into thinking I was eating more.
  • I taught the kids how to wash and load their own dishes because I was eating thousands of calories in leftover chicken nuggets and fries after I just ate my dinner.
  • I invested in measuring cups and a food scale.  I did this deliberately for a short time so that I would be more intentional with my choices.
  • I logged EVERY single calorie that passed through my lips.  I did this for two and a half years!  Eventually that was an obsession that I had to let go of because it was getting in the way of joy and pleasure with food, but for the time,  I needed to learn just how much food I was over-eating.  Portions and extra wasted calories were out of control.
  • I started to love who I was.  I became passionate about ME.  I was investing in myself and the results were astounding.  I was happier, my relationships improved and my life began to be incredibly vibrant.

When asked how I did it, my answer is this:

I woke up. 

I opened my eyes to my life and I said yes to me.  I cleaned up my inner world of thoughts and as a result my actions became more deliberate.  I began to see my self-worth and choose to love myself by honoring my thoughts and actions. You see, it was not a crazy diet that was restrictive or extreme and I wasn’t killing myself at the gym (although that did come later and had its own set of deep lessons).  I just woke up and put intent into my life.

The teaching that I always return to is really so simple: align your thoughts with your actions and your life will change.

Loving Myself

We all think we know what love is and what the definition is, but I resonate the most with how Brené Brown defines love–

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honour the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get, it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

For the first 30 years of my life I thought I knew what love was and that I was living as an example of love—dependable, reliable, giving, and selfless. I’ve come to now see that what I was really offering was anything but that. I was clueless, unaware, oblivious and at times, destructive.

Not to others.

To myself.

Back when I was young, married and raising three people I was completely asleep when it came to self love. I have come to realize now however that I simply did not like who I was, so loving me was not even close to being on my radar. It is clear now that when you love yourself, you take actions that care for yourself.

Back then I had no awareness that the fast food I was consuming and the sedentary life I was living was contributing to my very large body. I never connected that the heaviness I was in my body was a direct link to the heaviness in my emotions. And then I realized that being an amazing mom wasn’t enough love. There was someone that love wasn’t shown.

Not to myself.

When I began to what I like to refer to as “wake up” and get healthy, I started to like me. I was finding dark shadows that were lurking in my heart that were asking to be let out. The beginning to many things that were literally weighing me down. I forgave others and accepted my circumstances. I began to care for me.

The logistics in which I lost weight are simple–I changed my habits. Recognizing what wasn’t working and learning to make a very conscious decision to change it was my new way.

Some of my strategies were:

  • Eating meals on small plates
  • Chewing gum while I cooked
  • Teaching others to do their dishes
  • Putting trigger foods out of sight
  • Making sure my walking shoes were always with me
  • Changing routines to avoid mindless eating (taking long baths, going for a walk, learning to garden)

You see these simple changes were to avoid be being unconscious. This influenced snacking, portions, and sedentary lifestyle choices. Many of these changes still remain part of my life.

By swapping out the mindless munching on snacks for bubble baths or a short walk, my mind was beginning to see the value in me. It is extraordinary what happens to a person’s soul when time is spent consistently alone on a walk. The changes that occurred both on the inside and outside were amazing.

I began noticing myself.

I have spent a decade and a half living like these habits; mindful eating and multiple daily walks. I even became a yoga and meditation teacher. Basically transformed myself from an angry obese woman to a healthy and happy woman.

A vibrant life was mine.

Then I got injured.

For the last seven years I have dealt with healing from four orthopedic surgeries and learning to live with chronic pain. This body that I had worked so hard to become healthy began to defile me. It was as if she was rebelling against this lifestyle of health and fitness.

Feelings of deep sadness came.

While I have maintained a healthy weight for over 20 years, I have struggled with trusting my body. The multiple diagnoses felt at times like a betrayal. In truth, I spent a solid 10 adult years living on double cheeseburgers, fries and chicken nuggets without a stitch of pain or health issues.

How did I begin to develop inflammatory issues when I was now living my best life? My body’s ability to climb mountains, race bicycles, practice endless hours of yoga, walk miles and miles each day was endless..

And yet, my body was struggling.

I have since learned to accept what is. Learning to continue on living an extraordinary happy and healthy life despite pain.Making daily choices around movement vs sitting. Or ice cream vs a single bite of dark chocolate. And binging on stupid tv vs a long bubble bath. I’ve been extremely happy with the self love I have discovered by nurturing myself.

Loving myself.

The game changed about six months ago when I stumbled onto a strength training program. I was completely content with my body and it’s strength and flexibility-and my size- but was intrigued by this idea of committing to something new.

Questions of worthiness immediately rose to the surface. The excuses were miles long. (I can’t do that because of my hip, that will hurt my ankle, I don’t need to do burpees, I don’t have enough weights, my body is “good enough”).

Deep down I knew that all of that internal dialogue didn’t sound much like loving myself. And I knew it.

So I began October 1st. A brand new love affair with myself. And like any new love there have bumps along the way—days I doubted myself and had some pretty bad words spoken, days I wanted to give up and go back to the inner narrative that I was “good enough”.

Those challenging days of the early love affair with my 51 year old self are gone. Now, I am in complete awe of what I have been able to do and overcome. I am happily shocked at the human body and it’s ability to transform. No longer held back by the story of age or injury, instead I am madly loving my ability and what I have achieved.

Amazing how much healing can happen when you say yes to YOU.

Whether it is food choices, walking, yoga, mindfulness or even getting down with lifting weights learning to love myself has been a journey I am so grateful for.

I have found trust in myself. And isn’t trust a much needed part of love?

This new love affair is destined to last a long, long time and I couldn’t be happier.

Heart Shaped Chocolate Cake

I am a huge lover of chocolate but rarely take the time and effort to bake something from scratch. This year however I have committed to being more deliberate with how I choose to spend my “free” time. These heart shaped cake are the perfect thing!

This Valentine’s Day I wanted to be deliberate and intentional in creating something luscious, chocolatety, and seductive. A practice of self love and love for others, right?

Chocolate + raspberry with a minimal hint of orange will bring just that. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this.

It may be a tad more work than a whipping up a cake mix from a box or buying something from the bakery, but I’m feeling excited to create something so wonderful.

Intentional. Deliberate. And soooooo good.

Ingredients

  • Cake Mix:
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/3 cup of dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Raspberry Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup of raspberry jam
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • Two drops pure wild orange EO
  • 12 oz bag of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Red and white sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Beat softened cream cheese and raspberry in a bowl. Add powdered sugar and whipping cream, mix on high speed until smooth. Place in the refrigerator.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Next, add the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat well until mixture has no lumps.
  3. Fill up each opening halfway with batter. If you decide to make cupcakes instead, fill up liners about a 1/3 full. You can find the mold I use in my Amazon shop below.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Once done, place mini cakes on cooling rack and allow them to completely cool. (I place them in the refrigerator to speed up the process)
  5. Carefully cut the mini cakes lengthwise and place both halves on the cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath. (You’ll need it later to catch the excess chocolate)
  6. Add a spoonful of the raspberry filling to the flat side of one cake half and top with the second half.
  7. Melt dark or semi-sweet chocolate until smooth according to package instructions.
  8. Pour melted chocolate over mini cakes until fully covered. Smooth out with a spatula if needed. Add festive sprinkles or candies of your choice. Place in the refrigerator until chocolate sets.