Real Food Whole Life

Feel Good Effect Podcast

78 How to Stop Overthinking Mindfulness

Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

Mindfulness has something for everyone, even though it might seem unattainable or intimidating.

This episode is about how to stop overthinking mindfulness and how to infuse more presence into your everyday life.

Mindfulness has something for everyone, even though it might seem unattainable or intimidating. This episode of the Feel Good Effect is about how to stop overthinking mindfulness and how to infuse more presence into your everyday life. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #welllnesspodcast #simplifywellness #stopoverthinking #mindfulness

How to Stop Overthinking Mindfulness

This is the third episode in our mini series on how to stop overthinking and really simplify wellness.

In this segment, we talk about what mindfulness really is, the benefits it has on our wellness, how wellness mindset blocks get in the way, and some tactical ways to infuse mindfulness into your life.

Scroll down to listen.


Today’s episode is about how to stop overthinking mindfulness.

Or if you don’t think about it at all, maybe how to infuse more mindfulness and more presence into your everyday life.

I’m so glad you’re here for this third and final episode in our mini series on how to stop overthinking and really simplify wellness.

Our first episode was how to stop overthinking meals, our second episode was how to stop overthinking movement, and then we’ll dive right into this third and final on how to stop overthinking mindfulness.

If you haven’t already, I want to invite you to take our free Wellness Personality Quiz.

It’s just a few questions, there’s no right or wrong.

It’s about knowing your personality when it comes to wellness, some of the mindset blocks that might be standing in your way, and then you’ll get a free resource guide that will give you tactical tips and suggestions to move out of those mindset blocks and find sustainable, gentle wellness.

Stay tuned, because at the end of this episode I’m going to give you a sneak peak at who’s coming on next week.

On what mindfulness really is:

Let’s talk about mindfulness for a minute here.

I think mindfulness is one of those things that sounds so unattainable, right?

What does it even mean? Does it mean I have to meditate for two hours a day, or become a yogi? We don’t all have time for that.

But mindfulness and mindfulness practices are actually incredibly simple and they’re often the missing piece in the wellness puzzle.

We often focus on food and then movement, but we forget about this other part, about our mind, about mindfulness, about the whole picture.

So what is mindfulness, anyway?

I love to use this definition from Dr. Leah Weiss: mindfulness is intentional attention.

It’s paying attention on purpose.

Think about that for a second: how often do you go through a whole day or a whole week without paying attention on purpose?

It’s so easy, life is so busy and distracting and there are about a million things pulling our attention in different ways.

Between multitasking and juggling all the things, it is just really hard to have intentional attention, or attention on purpose.

So mindfulness is really about presence and about not missing your life or the important things or the people in your life.

The other major plus when it comes to mindfulness and mindfulness practices is that you get so much benefit from them in such a little amount of time.

You don’t have to spend hours on stuff, you can practice what I like to call micro-mindfulness, or these tiny little pockets, and it has so many benefits.

Yes, more calm and clarity, but also impacts on sleep, mental health, and overall satisfaction with life.

Get out of fight or flight and into rest & digest:

Here’s the other really cool thing about mindfulness practices: they help you get out of fight or flight and into rest & digest.

You may have heard about fight or flight somewhere along the line, it’s your body’s stress response to something you perceive as a threat.

A fight or flight would have been really helpful to us back in ancient days to get us out of danger, but nowadays, our bodies respond to stress all the time.

Maybe that’s traffic, your kid having a meltdown, a really nasty work email, a fight with your partner, and many of us can spend entire days or entire weeks in fight or flight mode, super reactive with cortisol spikes galore.

And like always, this is not about shame or blame or telling you that you’re doing something wrong; this is a normal, natural part of the human experience.

But because our modern lives are so full of these stress triggers, some of us find that when we’re in that fight or flight loop, we can’t get out of it, and that has really damaging effects on physical health, mental health, and overall well being.

Maybe those stressors in your life are really big, an illness, something happening in your relationship, a move, loss of a job, or maybe they’re really small, just the daily stressors that add up over time and start to wear you down.

Our bodies crave and need to get out of fight or flight and into rest & digest.

We need to allow our nervous system to calm and reset, and one of the best ways to do that is with mindfulness practices.

I personally think that some mindfulness practices just seem plain unattainable, they seem like they’re going to take forever, or that you need to be some yogi on top of a mountain (which is fine and super awesome if that is you, but for most of us that’s just not a daily thing).

Maybe mindfulness sounds like a religion and you don’t want it to conflict with your spiritual practices, or maybe you just don’t know how to get into it in the first place.

I think that’s where the wellness mindset blocks come in, of perfectionism, all or nothing thinking, and comparison.


When we think about mindfulness, perfection might come up as that perfect yogi on a mountain or needing to go on a spiritual retreat or carve out time for a mindfulness class, and while all those things are amazing, if that’s your ideal and your perfect scenario but you’re not doing it because you’re not able to access that perfect option, then it’s time to rethink things.

All or Nothing

All or nothing shows up when it comes to mindfulness because we often think we have to do things for an hour at a time, so I have to meditate for an hour, or for half an hour, and that’s enough to keep many of us from trying at all.

And there are a ton of benefits from meditation that lasts a significant period of time, but most of us aren’t able to do it, especially when starting out.

So let’s not let all or nothing thinking get in the way of engaging with mindfulness or little bits of mindfulness throughout our day.

Because maybe micro mindfulness leads you down the path to meditation, or maybe it just allows you to be more present and get into that rest & digest, allow your nervous system to have a break and allowing you to feel calm and refreshed, ready for whatever life throws at you.


Maybe comparison creeps in here, you look at someone else and think you’re a scattered person who can’t possibly adopt mindfulness, or you follow somebody on social media (a place we fall into all sorts of comparison traps) who is a mindfulness teacher or yogi and you just think ”I’m nothing like them, that is not my life” and you may think that mindfulness isn’t for you.

But the thing is, it is for you.

It definitely doesn’t have to conflict with any spiritual or religious beliefs, it’s just intentional attention, it’s paying attention on purpose, being present for your life and for the people in it.

Tactical tips to stop overthinking mindfulness:

Just like the other two episodes in this mini series, I’m going to give you five tactical tips to stop overthinking mindfulness, to simplify it, and to actually start practicing it on a daily (or most of the time) basis.

I encourage you to choose one thing on this list of five to put into action in your everyday life, and share it with us on instagram @realfoodwholelife or on our Real Food Whole Life Facebook Group.

1 | Start with breath.

You may or may not know this about me, but I’m a yoga teacher with a real interest in mindfulness.

And while I think yoga has so many benefits for just about anyone, I don’t even think you have to start there, and I don’t think you have to start with an intensive meditation practice.

I think that the simplest thing to do, is to start with breath.

We are breathing everyday, all day, whether we think about it or not.

This is at our fingertips everyday, we don’t have to buy anything, we don’t have to set aside time, it is the perfect place to start.

There are so many resources to get into breathwork: we’ve had Ashley Neese on the show already and she’s coming back in a few months to talk about breathwork

For now, just keep it super simple with three inhales and three exhales.

Set an intention for intentional breath once a day (maybe twice, maybe three times a day).

Find a quiet moment, maybe in your car while parked, at your desk while your kids are playing, having a cup of coffee, and here is all I want you to do: close your eyes, put your feet on the floor, and inhale through your nose, letting your belly fill with air, letting your lungs expand, and then exhale through your nose, keeping your mouth closed, feeling your lungs and your belly contract and let everything go.

And that is it. Do that three times.

Big inhale, feel the oxygen come in through your nose and nourish your whole body and on the exhale let that feel like letting something go.

The incredible thing about breath, is that it actually is activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the calm, the rest, the digest.

It can pull you out of fight or flight within a matter of seconds, total game changer.

And like I said, it’s free, you don’t need special equipment, you don’t need two hours, you can do this anytime anywhere.

And I think you’ll find that it works so well, so you can start doing this in the morning, the evening, during a break at work, during a walk at lunch.

And my favorite thing is that you can do this with somebody else, it’s a really great tool to use with somebody in your life who might need a little help calming and resting.

I do this with Elle every night, we do three big inhales together and three big exhales together, and it’s been pretty cool to see her take this.

She’s seven now, and she’s been able to use this in her life when she’s having a meltdown, not in the middle of the meltdown, but post-meltdown she’s learned that it can help her calm down.

She’ll tell me, “Mommy I need to take my breaths, I need you to help me take my breaths”, and together we breathe.

And it actually helps me because usually post-meltdown I’m in an activated fight or flight mode myself, and it helps me calm down and be with her in that moment, have some compassion for her, have some compassion for myself, and it’s just this little reset button that helps us get back on track.

I’m telling you, if we could all just start breathing a little more, it would go a long way.

Back to that intentional attention: just pay attention to the breath for three breaths.

2 | Get the tech out of sight, out of mind.

Most of us have goals about reducing the amount of time we’re on our phones, devices, social media, or other ways we’re distracting ourselves from being present in our own lives.

I think it’s really admirable and it’s probably a good idea for most of us to spend less time on tech, but often, the goals are unrealistic and we end up beating ourselves up for the amount of time.

Here’s a simple trick to help you be more present: put it out of sight.

I know, it seems too simple to work, but there’s a ton of research that says the harder you make something to get to, the less likely you are to use it.

We can use this information to our benefit to help modify our environment so that it’s a little harder to get to, we we aren’t so tempted, and when you reach for it it’s a reminder that you wanted to be more present today.

Don’t overthink this part!

It might look like you’re hanging out with your kid on the floor or having a conversation with your partner: take the phone, put it in another room.

You can still hear it if it rings, but it won’t be right next to you whenever your mind starts to get a tiny bit bored.

Another tip: put distracting apps in a different folder.

I call this my simplified screen, I put all my really tempting, triggering apps in a folder labeled “mindfully”, to give myself an extra reminder that I don’t need to open those every second, and then I take it off my home screen and put it onto the second or third screen of my phone so I have to actually take more steps to get to them.

And that makes a difference, by making it a little harder.

Creating those active barriers between you and the device go a long way to make it a little less tempting and you’re able to get back to that presence.

3 | Five minute morning.

I have a whole episode on my five minute morning and how instead of turning it into a morning routine that’s two hours, I really just take five minutes of micro mindfulness to just set myself up to have a little calm so I’m ready to take on the day.

I use my simplified morning journals to get focused.

My tip here: get an actual alarm clock.

If you’re using your phone as an alarm clock, the first thing you’re going to do in the morning is look at your phone.

It’s not a matter of willpower or that you’re unmotivated or lazy, it’s that you’re putting your phone next to your body so you’re going to look at it in the morning.

So don’t put your phone next to your bed, put it in another room and if you’re worried about getting a call in the night, turn the ringer up.

But we all lived with regular alarm clocks until a few years ago so we can all go back, put a normal alarm in your room, and move the phone out so it is not the very first thing you look at.

Start to think about this as a gift that you’re giving yourself, of a bubble of presence where you’re not going to be pulled in other directions by other people, and that you’re giving yourself, as well as the people in your life, that gift.

The phone is still going to be there, the news is still going to be there, and your emails and social media are still going to be there.

This is a muscle that you have to build because if you’re used to reaching for it and opening it up, you’re getting that little dopamine hit, and your brain is going to crave it.

It might feel a little uncomfortable, just give yourself a window to know that you’re really going to want your phone but that you’re just going to let your brain work it out, it will get used to it and you’ll learn a new habit.

4 | Five minute evening.

This is the same thing in the evening.

Come up with a phone or device curfew, I try for 8:30, sometimes it looks like 9:00 at the latest to give myself some downtime.

One of the things I like to do its a gratitude line, it’s not a whole gratitude journal, it’s just one line, and I think of something I’m grateful for that day (the smaller the better).

Those little micro gratitudes really fill up the pages, and over time I have this list of all the little tiny things in my life that I’m grateful for.

Having that tech-free bubble around my evening routine allows me to wind down and also allows me to be more intentionally present, to pay attention, to be present for myself, to be present for those in my life.

It allows me to get out of fight or flight because there’s a lot of things on my phone that trigger that stress response; putting it away, knowing that it’s going to be there tomorrow is such a gift that I give myself and is a core part of what I consider wellness.

5 | Pair it with something else.

One of the things my friend Kait Hurley, who’s been on the show before, has this move & meditate method.

She has online workouts and an app where you move your body and then spend some moments meditating.

What I love so much about this is that it’s pairing two things, maybe it’s something you already do and then you add another part on top so you know that you’re going to practice it.

It doesn’t have to be separate time when you have to find time and space, it’s just automatic.

Maybe you already have a movement or workout routine where you could add a little bit of meditation at the end, or a little bit of breath.

Or you can pair it with so many other things.

One of my favorite examples of pairing is when I turn my engine off of my car and take the keys out of the ignition, I take three deep inhales and three deep exhales.

It doesn’t have to be one more thing on my to-do list, it’s just automatic: when I take the car keys out, I take three deep breaths.

Stop overthinking:

I really, really think mindfulness can be a game changer, can help you get out of that fight or flight stress response loop, to get you into rest & digest, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and most importantly be present in your life, not missing those moments, and being able to pay attention on purpose.

It’s not going to happen over night or in one day, but as you work this into your daily life and routine, you’ll see it ripple across your life and even to other people, and it will start to really make a difference.

And here’s the cool thing: when you put all of these things together from our mini series, mind, movement, and meals, they all start to affect each other.

As you focus on one, each become easier.

And you end up with this constellation of wellness that makes your life better, that allows you to feel really good and help other people feel good as well.

Bottom line: stop overthinking it.

Trust yourself, you are your own best teacher, you’re not doing it wrong, and you’ve totally got this.

So let’s simplify.

Take advantage of what we know from the science and ancient teachings and embrace gentle wellness, because I know you can do this, I believe in you.

The five tactical tips to stop overthinking mindfulness:

1 | Start with breath- three inhales and three exhales, as often as you want, whenever you need it.

2 | Get the tech out of sight out of mind- the harder you make it to get to tech, the easier it is for you to practice mindfulness.

3 | Five minute morning- get an alarm clock, give yourself a bubble of no distraction so you can be present and set yourself up for success.

4 | Five minute evening- give yourself a phone curfew, again with that little bubble, practice a little gratitude, allow yourself some space before you go to sleep to reset and unwind.

5 | Pair it with something- pair it with something you already do, maybe it’s meal prep, maybe after movement, after meals, or when you pull your keys out of the ignition. When and then is a powerful tool that can help you insert micro mindfulness into your life.

As we end this mini series, I want you to remember that it all counts.

All the ways that you’re adding to wellness into your life everyday all add up (little or big ways), they all lead to wellness.

And doing it in a simple, gentle way will make you feel really good, will bring joy to the process, won’t leave you drained or depleted, because the last thing we want is the quest for wellness to make you ill.

I know you can do this and I believe in you.

Let’s get out of overthinking, let’s start simplifying, let’s take action, and let’s spread this message about what it really means to be healthy and this gentle-wellness revolution.

(Tune in next week when we’re talking to Kelsey Murphy about how to find your passion in 15 minutes a day).

Listen now!

Mindfulness has something for everyone, even though it might seem unattainable or intimidating. This episode of the Feel Good Effect is about how to stop overthinking mindfulness and how to infuse more presence into your everyday life. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #welllnesspodcast #simplifywellness #stopoverthinking #mindfulness

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77 How to Stop Overthinking Movement

Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige Reohr2 Comments

Exercise and movement are so essential to true wellness, but it’s something so many of us overthink.

How to stop overthinking movement. In this episode of the Feel Good Effect, we’re going to break down consistent movement with some tactical tips, strategies, and habits to get you out of overthinking and into action. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast #miniseries #overthinking

How to Stop Overthinking Movement

In this episode, we’re going to break down consistent movement with some tactical tips, strategies, and habits to get you out of overthinking and into action.

Scroll down to listen.


Today’s episode is about how to stop overthinking movement.

It happens to all of us from time to time, or for some of us, a lot of the time- exercise becomes a thing on your to-do list that never actually happens.

Maybe it’s something you dread or something you can’t find time for, but we know that it is so essential to true wellness.

So, today we’re going to break it down with some tactical tips, strategies, and habits to get you out of overthinking and into action.

We’re right in the middle of a mini series about overthinking.

And overthinking isn’t a bad thing, it’s not about shaming you or making you feel guilty, it’s something we all do and it's such a barrier keeping us from the wellness that we really want to infuse into our lives.

Last week, we looked at meals: how overthinking might be standing in the way of healthy eating, and I gave you five really tactical things that you can do to stop overthinking and get into action.

And I’d love to hear how that’s going for you- let me know on instagram @realfoodwholelife or on our Real Food Whole Life community Facebook Group.

And today we’re going to take it another step and talk about moving your body.

When it comes to exercise and movement there are so many misconceptions that really get in our heads, which can cause all kinds of problems.

In so many ways, moving your body on a daily basis is really a mind game.

So, what comes up for you when I say the word “exercise” or when I talk about a daily exercise habit?

Chances are you’ve got some stories around it.

Maybe you didn’t feel like an athlete growing up; you got teased or picked on, you hated gym class.

Maybe the activity you wanted to be involved in wasn’t available to you or you didn’t have the resources to participate.

Maybe you decided early on that you weren’t athletic, or maybe other people told you that.

On the flip side, maybe you were really into sports growing up, and you went so hard that you burned yourself out.

Maybe you took a sport to the extreme and it took all the fun out of it.

Or maybe somewhere along the way you developed an injury that makes moving your body a little more painful (or a lot more painful) than it used to be.

I know my story is somewhere in a mix of those things- I played competitive basketball through high school which sucked some of the joy out of movement for me; it was very much about competition and the ways that I wasn’t good enough.

It definitely impacted my view about sports, but over time, I’ve found a reconnected love for all things movement, how it makes my body feel being outside hiking, swimming, or things like yoga and practicing pilates.

And it’s also a love that I share with my husband, Andrew- he is one of the most athletic people I know.

He’s an avid hiker and walker and that’s something we’ve been able to infuse throughout our relationship as something we love to do together so it doesn’t become a chore, it’s just a daily activity that brings us together, allows us to connect, and is just a beautiful thing.

But I know that’s not always the case; whenever we overlay the stories we have about exercise with the wellness mindset barriers (like perfectionism, all or nothing thinking, and comparison) it oftentimes results in overthinking, avoidance, or missing out on ways to move your body on a daily basis.

And I’m not here to try and convince you to start running marathons or become a super-athlete- I’m just here to say that we know daily, consistent movement is so beneficial to our bodies.

It helps with longevity, it helps with brain health, it helps with memory, with focus, it helps us get better sleep, it impacts mental health, anxiety and depression.

And of course there’s that whole weight management thing, which is important but I think it’s so often the focus of movement that we forget all of those other benefits.

I’m telling you, if we could put exercise in a pill and say “this pill may potentially help you live longer, it might help your memory, will help prevent a number of diseases, will help you sleep better, will help you feel better, will allow you to have more energy”, we would all take that pill.

And even though it’s not as simple as taking a pill, it actually is as simple as daily movement.

So if it’s that simple, what’s really going on?

Back to that overthinking conversation: wellness mindset barriers can throw all kinds of problems into the mix when it comes to doing daily, consistent things, like when it comes to moving your body.

Think about perfectionism when we're talking about movement for a minute, think about how that shows up.

Maybe we have a perfect idea of what exercise has to look like and has to be and then if we can’t meet that perfect ideal, we don’t do it.

And that happens all the time.

Then there’s all or nothing thinking about what actually counts when it comes to exercise.

This a big issue when it comes to movement!

Think about how often you feel compelled to do an exercise for a certain amount of time, and often that’s for an hour, or at least 30 minutes.

And get really honest with yourself about what you think counts when it comes to movement, and then how often you practice what you preach: if you can’t get that hour or you can’t get that 30 minutes, or maybe you can’t even get that 20 minutes, how often are you doing something incremental to move your body?

I actually think all or nothing thinking gets made worse by fitness trackers (I’m not saying to not wear a fitness tracker, I actually have one myself), but when you’re supposed to hit a certain number of rings or a certain number of calories and you look and see that you’re not going to hit it that day, it’s often the case that people will just quit altogether.

And if it happens day after day, they actually stop wearing their fitness tracker altogether because they don’t want to be told that they aren’t getting the full number of points or calories, and it really helps cement this cycle of thinking, that it’s all or nothing and if I can’t do it that way then I’m not going to do anything at all.

Similarly, calorie tracking is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to all or nothing thinking because if you’re hyper focused on calories, you’re probably not going to do a five minute walk, especially if you’re looking at your watch seeing how many calories it burned and it doesn’t seem worth it.

But when we’re only looking at that, we’re forgetting all the other benefits of movement.

Getting out of that all or nothing trap is so key and really makes a difference.

Comparison also throws quite a wrench into movement, because maybe you’re comparing yourself to the fitness Instagram star who you love following but you look nothing like her, your form is nothing like her, and your body is nothing like her- that can be really discouraging.

Or maybe you’re looking at the person next to you in class in the mirror, and again, you don’t look like her, your form’s not like her, your body’s not like her- trust me I know that can be enough to send you for the hills and never come back.

When I found my way back to wellness after having Elle, I was really hard on myself.

I didn’t like the way my body looked, I didn’t like the way I felt, and then I walked into a class that had a lot of beautiful, fit women and a lot of mirrors and I spent the whole time looking at myself and beating myself up.

Instead of being compassionate and noticing what an amazing job I had done to just even show up, I spent the whole time thinking about how far I had to go and what a failure I was and after the class Andrew picked me up and I got in the car and I cried.

I felt so defeated and ashamed and so much of that came from comparison of looking at these other people who had nothing to do with me; their journey was not my journey, and yet I looked at them and felt so defeated.

The other way comparison shows up is comparison to yourself in the past, and in my story that was the other thing- I used to be an athlete, I did two hours of exercise a day, and here I was, completely out of shape, comparing myself to who I used to be.

While comparison, all or nothing thinking, and perfectionism are all totally normal, natural ways the brain works, they’re not particularly helpful.

The good news here- we can flip the script, we can find another way, and we can get out of overthinking and make movement sustainable, joyful, and consistent.

Tactical tips for getting out of overthinking

Just like with our overthinking meals episode, I want you to pick one of these to start with instead of trying to do all five- pick one and take action.

It's not going to be perfect, it’s not going to go exactly how you plan, but put it into your life, start trying it, experiment, see what works, see what doesn’t, and come back and make it happen.

If you’re someone who already has a really consistent habit of exercise, that’s amazing, and I imagine that you can take one of these tips and actually update what you’re already doing

1 | Focus on the afterglow.

We’ve all been there, you’re sitting on the couch after a long day and all you can think about is why you don’t want to move your body, or maybe it’s a weekend, or it’s raining or snowing.

Regardless, we can quickly get stuck in a mind game of talking to ourselves about why we don’t want to do it, how hard it’s going to be, or how much you’re not looking forward to it and the longer we spend thinking those thoughts, the more likely we are to just not do it at all.

So, the next time you catch yourself overthinking or telling yourself that you don’t want to do it, just skip to the after.

Skip to the afterglow and reframe the whole thing as a gift you’re giving yourself and a gift you’re giving to your body by moving blood to your brain, by getting fresh oxygen to your muscles, by moving and clearing out whatever’s stuck, whatever needs to move on.

And that reframe can have a lot of power, because you don’t even have to be looking forward to it or love the moment of exercise, but it’s that afterglow that makes such a difference, that feels good; you sleep better, have more energy, and reframing it as a gift you’re giving yourself can really change the conversation you’re having in your mind.

Don’t give yourself too much time to overthink it and talk yourself out of it, flip the script, think of it as a gift, and then get up and just do something.

The hardest part is actually starting, so just get past that small barrier and you will find that you’re able to fit movement in a lot more often.

2 | Take an honest look at the barriers to moving in your daily life and in your environment.

This is such a simple one, but we’re all about radically simple here, and this one is going to change things for you.

Once we get past that mind game of telling ourselves we don’t want to do it, what is actually standing in the way of daily, consistent movement?

Is it that your yoga mat is buried under ten feet of other stuff in the back of your closet? Is it that your shoes are worn out and they make your feet hurt?

Is it that you find yourself on a work break without a pair of shoes to change into?

Is it the time of day- you keep trying to force yourself to workout in the morning but you would really do better at night?

Do you find yourself after work without a gym bag or without the right clothes in the car?

These are all examples of environmental barriers that we can change.

Pull the yoga mat out and put it right next to the couch where you can see it, maybe put some hand weights right on top so when you have a few spare minutes you can fire up an online workout and get in ten minutes of movement.

Maybe you go to a special running or walking store and have them fit you for some shoes that make your feet feel really good so you don’t dread walking, or you keep a spare pair of shoes under your desk at work so if you do have a lunch break where you can get out and move, you do it.

And yeah, you can totally be that person who is walking in a skirt and shoes, it’s fine!

But just be really honest with yourself, what may seem like a big barrier may actually be something that’s pretty small and with some little tweaks it can become easier for yourself.

“A little thinking ahead, a little advanced planning, and a little bit of designing your environment… goes so far when it comes to daily movement”.

3 | Find the joy.

Maybe you’re never going to love exercise, but maybe you can find ways to make it a little more enjoyable.

I want you to take a few moments to actually connect with what you like to do.

We did an episode about personality types and wellness and I think this ties really well- knowing yourself, what works for you, and what you like and don’t like.

For example, do you like to connect with others or do you want time for yourself?

And the answer to this question might vary; for me, lately, exercise is a time for me to be by myself, I really feel like I need that inner time so I might take a walk by myself or do a quick home workout, or go to a yoga class.

That’s the gift I give myself, not only to move, but to have some down and alone time.

But there have been other times when I’ve needed more community and social time, so I found classes where there were other people my age and with the same interests.

You can plug into a community of people who you can get to know and become friends with over time and who also might help you stay accountable, or maybe you know that you need one on one friend time right now or a group of people who can really hold you up.

Maybe that’s a walking date with a friend- you’d be surprised how many people, you know, who say let’s meet for a drink or let’s meet for coffee but if you offer the alternative of a walk or a hike they might take you up on it.

There are other ways to know what kind of movement will bring you joy; do you need to burn it out?

Really workout hard and get sweaty and get some endorphins, or do you need more restorative, calm, and focused time?

There are millions of options when it comes to movement, so the question is: what do you need? What works for you and bring you joy right now?

If you’re doing something that’s really high intensity and that doesn’t feel good to you and your body, find something a little more gentle and a little more restorative or a little lower impact.

And conversely, if you’re doing something that’s a little low and slow but you really feel like you need more activation and energy, find something in that realm.

Another way to look at finding and infusing joy is whether you want to get into nature, if that fills your cup, or if you want to catch up on your favorite show, maybe right now a Netflix binge sounds really good so you could pair a home workout with your favorite show.

There’s no right or wrong so we kind of have to take a step back and think, what are the hidden rules we have for ourselves around exercise, what we say counts and doesn’t count?

Wipe that slate clean and say “I can make this joyful, I can make this absolutely fit me and what I need”.

4 | Batch scheduling.

Okay, so here’s what we know for sure about movement: if you don’t schedule it or plan it, it probably isn’t going to happen, especially if you have a very full day every day.

I think what most of us do is use our calendars and planners for all of the ways we are responsible to other people, like our jobs, meetings, volunteer work, stuff for our kids- we put all of that in our planner and then we think somehow, magically, we will also find time to take care of ourselves and for wellness.

So here’s the opportunity to schedule that stuff in just like you schedule everything else.

One of the ways to make that happen is to sit down once a week and look at your calendar and schedule in those workouts, being really specific: what are you going to do and at what time and for how long?

Those three little things make a big difference and there’s a ton of research; it’s crazy, that just writing it down and scheduling it makes a difference.

And this might help you be a little more realistic about the time that you do have- it might be that an hour during a workday doesn’t work but 20 minutes does.

Here’s a little gentle-wellness hack for you: come up with contingency goals or fallback goals.

Those contingency or fallback goals are really what you’re going to do in that case that things go off the rails- if someone in your family gets sick or you have to work late, or you end up traveling.

Because what often happens is what we schedule, we schedule for the perfect world thinking everything is going to go exactly how we think, but when it doesn’t, we get thrown off and we get that “on or off the wagon feeling”.

So when you’re scheduling in what you’re going to do, when you’re going to start, and for how long, come up with a couple of backup options: some shorter workouts, some alternative days.

Then for those weeks when things get crazy, you know that you’re at least going to get to do something, which is always better than nothing.

5 | The two out of three rule.

So if you do miss a workout, or you miss a whole day, or you miss a whole week, you can use two out of three to be consistent.

I keep talking about daily workouts or daily movement, but what I really mean is consistency, moving your body more days than you don’t- it is as simple as that.

That could be two out of three days that you get movement in and if you end up missing a day, you come right back the next day and say, “okay, the next two out of three days I’m going to try to fit something in”.

That could even be two out of three weeks, if things get really crazy, and you always know you can come back and start again.

I like embracing this idea of more bad workouts, sometimes I do movement or go to a class and just don’t feel great, I’m not able to push really hard, and I actually think that those bad days matter more than the good ones.

It means that you’re showing up, it means that you’re being consistent, and it means that you know that perfection is not the goal and really knowing that everything counts.

This is not a competition to see how many rings you can close, or how many days you can go without missing, because that is not the (only) point of movement.

So really, let’s stop overthinking movement, making it a bigger deal than it has to be, making it a chore and something you dread, or something that you go all in on and then all out of.

Consistency and sustainability is what actually moves the needle when it comes to wellness.

These five strategies will help you get there:

1 | Focus on the afterglow. Don’t get stuck thinking of how much you don’t want to do it or how tired you are, flip the script and think of it as a way you’re giving yourself a gift.

2 | Take a look at those barriers keeping you from moving on a consistent basis, and make small tweaks so that it becomes easier.

3 | Find the joy. What do you actually like doing? And how can you leverage that self-knowledge to make exercise and movement more enjoyable?

4 | Batch scheduling. Once a week take out your calendar and schedule it out: what you’re going to do, when you’re going to start, when you’re going to finish, and then come up with some contingencies or fallbacks for when things don’t go as planned.

5 | Two out of three. More bad workouts. Everything counts.

Wherever you are with movement in your life, I want to encourage you to find ways to make it a priority, to find ways to infuse it into your life on as many days as possible.

Because I know you can do it, I know you can show up for yourself and you can find ways to do it so it’s a little less of a chore and something that actually fills you up and makes your day a whole lot better.

Be sure to come back next week for the third and final in this mini series on “stop overthinking”

We’re going to dive into mindfulness, how to be more present and calm in your everyday life.

Listen now!

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How to stop overthinking movement. In this episode of the Feel Good Effect, we’re going to break down consistent movement with some tactical tips, strategies, and habits to get you out of overthinking and into action. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast #miniseries #overthinking


If you loved today’s episode be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts so we can keep bringing you more content like this! Share the show on Instagram, tagging @realfoodwholelife so we can connect and I can highlight you on my feed.

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76 How to Stop Overthinking Meals

Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

What we eat doesn’t have to be so complicated, so let’s stop overthinking meals.

How to Stop Overthinking Meals, an episode form the Feel Good Effect Podcast. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #wellnesspodcast #healthy #gentleisthenewperfect #gentlewellnessrevolution

How to Stop Overthinking Meals

In this episode, we’re talking about overthinking food and the tactical things that you can do, the actions you can take to get out of overthinking and into being brilliant at the basics.

Listen now!


Today we’re talking about overthinking meals.

What we eat everyday, what we tend to overthink, overcomplicate, and then it ends up getting so hard that we’re not able to do it in real life.

In this episode, we’re not just talking about overthinking, we’re going to get right to the tactical things that you can do, the actions you can take to get out of overthinking and into doing.

If this is your first time listening, subscribe here so you can be one of the first to get bonus episodes when they drop!

For those of you who come back every week-- so grateful for you! Thanks for being here.

I’m super pumped for today’s episode, and it’s actually one of a three-part mini series that we’re doing.

In this “overthinking” mini series, we’re going to cover meals in this part, movement next week, and mind + mindfulness the following week.

I want to give you this information in a super concise, tactical way so that you can listen, you can share it, you can spread it, and you can do it.

By the end of the mini series, you’ll have everything you need to know to stop overthinking and really live a well life full of all the things that just make you feel really good.

I want to give a little shout-out to Allie Casazza over at The Purpose Show.

She did an episode on over-complicating exercise and I thought it was brilliant and wanted to do something similar with my own spin on it, with the gentle-wellness approach infused; thanks for inspiring this one, Allie!

On overthinking in wellness:

Let’s start by talking about the term “overthinking”.

I raise my hand right here and now to say that I am a queen of overthinking.

But I think overthinking is more of a catchphrase for mindset blocks.

We talk about mindset blocks all the time here, but to review, mindset is really the thought patterns.

When we take in information or have an experience, the brain interprets that according to certain patterns.

That's the mindset pattern and it leads to actions and habits and eventually to results.

It’s often something we’re not even aware of, but the cool thing is that it’s totally changeable.

I think when we talk about overthinking we’re talking about mindset.

I think it’s important to know that it’s not your fault, it’s not about shaming or blaming, these are just ways of thinking that we've practiced over and over and it happens to everybody in one way or another.

And the really cool part is that it’s totally changeable, we’ve practiced one way, so we can practice another.

That’s really the point of the gentle movement and all of these strategies and tactics around overthinking meals, it’s about flipping the script on those thought patterns to say “it doesn't have to be this way, it doesn’t have to be so complicated, I don’t have to apply perfectionism or all or nothing to the situation”.

You can go a different way, and you will end up with a different result, which is pretty magical, but also science-based.

“When magic and science come together, that’s always a good thing”.

In the research that we’ve done here at the Feel Good Effect on wellness mindset blocks, we found that there’s really three big ones standing in the way for so many people.

Those three things are perfectionism, all or nothing thinking, and comparison.

These three blocks show up again and again and across the board when we’re talking about wellness, meals, mindset, or movement- anyway you look at it these things come up (especially in our wellness personalities).

If you haven’t taken our Wellness Personality quiz, it’s only four or five questions so it’s super easy to take.

Take the quiz here and we’ll send you your personality type and also a resource guide to help you unpack your wellness personality and provide you with some resources.

If you’ve already taken it and know your type, that’s awesome and it’ll help you really dig into this episode, but we’re also revamping those resource guides so once we get them fully updated you’re going to get a new version along with even more tactical, targeted resources just for you.

On wellness mindset blocks and approaching how we eat:

For Dynamos, your biggest block tends to be perfection or perfectionism

For Seekers, your biggest block tends to be comparison.

And Cultivators, your biggest block tends to be all or nothing.

But don’t get caught up in putting labels on things- it’s less about that and more about finding ways to undo old mindsets and dive into new ways of thinking.

It’s really about self-knowledge and finding tools to unpack this stuff, which we’ll talk about more when we get to what I think are the five ways to get into changing the way you eat and eating to feel well without overthinking it.

It really blows my mind how we’ve over complicated this topic around food.

I’ve actually heard from some of you who are looking for answers and who have even heard guests who really resonated with you but who feel overwhelmed by the idea that either you’re not doing it right or you’re just having trouble getting started.

And while I think there are so many amazing tools, resources, guides, and experts out there, I think that when we overfocus on that we often miss the basics.

“Wherever you are, really focus on being brilliant at the basics”.

This is a quote often attributed to Vince Lombardi, but I think it was originally Muhammad Ali.

At any rate, the idea is that to be great you must be brilliant at the basics.

And I get it, being brilliant at the basics isn’t sexy, I think we want to skip ahead to five-part smoothie or the adaptogenic latte or eliminating one food group.

And depending on who you are, those might be really helpful, but not at the cost of the basics, of the things that actually move the needle and, let’s be honest, the ways that you eat that are actually sustainable that you can be consistent with.

I’m going to give you five things to think about and five things to potentially take action on.

At the end of the show I’m going to invite you to just pick one, I think you’ll have more success by just picking one and really executing it.

On the five things when it comes to meals:

I think these five things are the most agreed upon in the scientific community on food and eating.

But let me just tell you now, if you brought five, ten, fifteen experts on food together, they might not agree on anything.

I’ve been on those panels at wellness conferences and what’s fascinating is that these people who are out there giving advice can’t agree on anything when it comes to how we eat.

If we take a step back and do a high level view, I think these are the five things that make the most sense, that are the most actionable, and potentially have the most research backing them up.

1 | Eat more vegetables.

I know, could we get more basic than that?

But what we know about the impact of plants and vegetables on our bodies is undeniable.

Vegetables are amazing, and they make a big difference.

They are filled with so much nutrients, so much fiber, they have all these amazing things that our bodies appear to need, and yet that so many of us are missing.

For many people, you could go for days and not eat a vegetable more than the lettuce on a burger or parsley garnish here and there.

So when it comes to vegetables, you can really take an additive approach, which is a game changer for so many people.

You can change nothing, except for adding a vegetable to every meal (... or lunch and dinner… or just dinner).

Here’s what happens when you ditch perfectionism, comparison, and all or nothing thinking, all of these options become available to you depending on where you are and what you need right now.

Veggies are where it’s at.

Maybe you feel like you’ve got your eating locked in but there’s someone else in your household or life who’s really struggling, this is the perfect start.

Have them add a veggie to their plate at lunch and at dinner, even if it’s a piece of pizza and then some carrot sticks or a burger and a side salad.

We can incrementally inch our way toward more abundance of vegetables until they become the center of our plate and at most meals.

But really, on a daily basis you can think about the two out of three rule: if at least two out of three meals have veggies in it, you’re doing great.

And if that’s not the case for you that’s an area you can start focusing on.

2 | Reduce the amount of fake food.

Fake food is anything that’s highly processed or just really far from its original source, what it looked like as a whole and now it’s been processed further and further away from its original form.

So, really switching your focus to add more real food to every meal as often as possible.

I’ll share a bunch of really great resources with you at the end so that you have a place to go to collect all of them, but for now, here is what you need to do in order to focus on making sure you’re eating real food over processed and fake stuff.

Read all the ingredients.

Instead of looking at all the nutritional stuff on label, simply look at the number of ingredients.

If there’s a lot more than five, chances are it’s not real food and chances are there are a lot of ingredients in there that are super processed and that your body doesn’t really need.

The five ingredients or fewer is a great challenge to go through your pantry to go through your fridge and freezer, check out the ingredient labels.

Particularly, I know for many people, the refrigerator door is a place that many fake foods like to hide- condiments, sauces, salad dressings.

Same thing with those frozen entrees you might have hanging out in the freezer, take a little look at the ingredients.

And it’s not about judgement, it’s not about good or bad or that you should never eat anything that has more than five ingredients, it’s really about awareness.

If you’re eating a lot of processed things you’re probably feeling it in your body, in your energy level, and that’s an amazing opportunity to flip things around and think about focusing on adding real foods.

Maybe replacing some of those salad dressings with something homemade, or even taking some extra time at the grocery store to read through the salad dressing labels and picking one with fewer ingredients.

And also with ingredients that you can pronounce- if there are words in there that you can’t pronounce or that sound really unpronounceable or not like a real ingredient, it probably isn’t.

3 | Cook more.

Now I hear this collective groan from some of you who are self-declared people who hate to cook and/or who have no time to cook.

And I’m not here to tell you that you need to fall in love with cooking or that you need to find a whole lot more time, I get it and that’s totally fine.

And, as a mama who works full-time and picks up the kid and has to make dinner, I feel you.

I don’t have endless hours to be in the kitchen making food everyday.

I think we carry a lot of baggage around what cooking means and this is where perfectionism, all or nothing thinking, and comparison really show up.

So think about your own definition of cooking or what comes up for you when I say cook more.

Do you feel like it has to be perfect, or it has to be what you see on food blogs, or what your grandmother cooked when you were growing up?

Do you find that comparison thing coming up for you, maybe looking around at what you used to do, what other people are doing?

Or does that all or nothing idea come up, like if you can’t make a two or three hour meal or meal prep for four hours on the weekend then you don’t even bother?

I get it!

But I also have to say, cooking can mean a lot of things and you can reclaim what you want it to mean to you.

In a lot of ways, my cooking it simply about assembling real ingredients in a few minutes.

For example, I just threw so things in a crockpot before I started recording this episode: I threw in some potatoes, some chicken, and some salsa.

Sometimes I’m almost embarrassed with how simple my recipes are, but then I remember, I don’t need to be embarrassed because this is exactly what I’m talking about.

Those are three incredibly simple, real food ingredients that, when combined, make a meal.

And that counts.

I think sometimes we say it doesn’t count if we take a shortcut, or buy some pre-prepped stuff, or just use the same recipes over and over again, or make the simplest five ingredient recipes on a regular basis, but of course that counts!

That’s how we make this stuff work and be sustainable.

And the thing is, when you cook for yourself or the people in your life, you eliminate so much that you don’t need.

When you cook, you control the ingredients which is a complete game changer in how you feel and how you nourish your body.

This is an amazing place to start- if you feel like you’re overthinking it, just start cooking more, like one time a week.

Wherever you are, add one day and see where it goes.

4 | Start noticing patterns.

This isn’t something you have to do, it’s something you have to think about.

Start noticing how you’re approaching meals and food during the week.

Are you skipping meals because there’s nothing on hand?

Or are you eating off your kid’s plate because you didn’t have anything for yourself in the fridge?

Are you eating leftover donuts in the staff lounge in the afternoon because you didn’t have a healthy, sustaining lunch that gets you through that afternoon slump?

Do you not have groceries on hand so you end up hitting the drive-thru, maybe you had good intentions but time got away from you?

For most of us, these patterns reoccur; it doesn’t just happen one time, it happens a lot.

But when these patterns come up, it’s not a signal to beat yourself up, instead, it’s a matter of making small tweaks.

So if you notice those patterns, that’s one area that you can address.

Next week, maybe prep yourself one lunch.

Put it in a mason jar, maybe it’s an essential salad, I have a couple in my simplified reset that I love to help people prep ahead with, and then take that as a huge win.

You broke that cycle, that pattern that wasn’t working for you and you came up with a solution.

5 | Simplify grocery shopping.

Okay, after five years of doing this work, of the gentle wellness movement, I come to know one thing for sure: one of the biggest barriers to people when it comes to meals is not having the right food on hand.

Maybe you’re willing to cook and spend some time, but collecting the ingredients and making sure they actually go together to make a meal, the struggle is very real.

(Maybe we can do a whole episode on simplifying grocery shopping, again I can’t think of anything less sexy or exciting but if that sounds cool let me know and I’ll do another mini series on that).

But for now, I want to give you one actionable tip: shop with three fallback meals in mind.

Most of us have a handful of recipes or meals that we can just throw together, we don’t even need a recipe, we know them by heart.

Some of my fallback meals are the salsa chicken crockpot recipe, meat or lentil sauce with pasta, taco bowls, and we do a big pan of roasted veggies with a sauce once a week.

So here’s how this tip works: I have a little piece of paper or a note on my phone that has my go-to fallback meals and then a list of ingredients for each one.

And when I’m at the store, I make sure I get those ingredients.

I know this sounds so simple, but I think it will help so many people.

One, it helps make sure you don’t miss things, but also on days when you’re exhausted and don’t want to meal plan, you just know for sure that you’ll have those three or four meals that you know you and your family like.

So those are my five, and they’re so incredibly basic.

But if you can get brilliant at the basics, everything changes and it becomes so much simpler.

There’s no more overthinking because this becomes a part of your life, a way of life, a way of being well that doesn’t cause you to beat yourself up or burnout.

To summarize:

1 | Eat more veggies- just add more when you can.

2 | Reduce the amount of fake food and eat real food.

3 | Cook more- that doesn’t have to be complicated, it can just be assembling whole food ingredients

4 | Notice patterns and when you notice something not working, find a tweak and a fix.

5 | Simplify grocery shopping by focusing on those three to four fallback meals with a standing grocery list that you always have with you.

Here’s what I want you to do: it’s one thing to listen to a podcast and then move onto the next thing, but it’s another to decide to take action and pick one of those five things and try it.

And that’s what I want you to do, that’s my invitation to you today.

Because, listen, I know you’ve got this.

So go ahead, pick one, and I’d love to hear about it on instagram or one Facebook with our Real Food Whole Life community.

Give us a shout, let us know what you’re working on and we can also maybe connect you with other people who are working on the same thing.

And then I want you to pay attention: What’s working? Really importantly, how do you feel? Is there any part of this that’s burning you out? Can you take a step back and simplify even more?

Eating, cooking, preparing, and filling your life with beautiful, real food is a process that always takes little tweaks.

So pay attention and ask those questions: What’s working? How do I feel? Is something burning me out?

And then come back, make that loop, make tweaks and see how it goes.

And when it comes to getting out of that overthinking trap, I want you to ask: What would happen if it doesn’t have to be perfect? What would happen if I stopped comparing to the latest diet trend or stylish influencer or version of myself from five years ago? What would happen if I let go of this all or nothing thinking and lean into the idea that everything counts?

This is the gentle revolution. This is change. And you can do this. One thing, one action.

And that’s what I want to leave you with: I believe in you, I really do.

It’s not that I believe that you can do everything perfectly and if you just put your mind to it, everything will change.

I just believe that through this approach, an incremental and intentional approach to wellness, one that it filed with joy and what works for you, that change is possible and feeling good is possible.

Definitely share this with a friend. I try to make these really concise, really action-packed, and under 25-minutes so you can fit them into your responsibility-filled lives.

Come back next week because we’re going to do the same thing with movement.

I’m going to have another set of action items for you, and you can take the momentum from this week and build on it to next week.

I promised you resources, so here are a few places I can send you, either past episodes or some of my favorite influencers and industry leaders who can help you out in some of these areas:

One of the big testimonials from people is that it’s helped them not to skip meals and to have nourishing food on hand without having to work too hard.

Another resource is a show on meal planning for people who hate meal planning.

How to Stop Overthinking Meals, an episode form the Feel Good Effect Podcast. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #wellnesspodcast #healthy #gentleisthenewperfect #gentlewellnessrevolution


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75 How to Use Your Personality Type to Win at Wellness

Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

Self-knowledge isn’t selfish.

Knowing your personality can help you figure out what works for you in wellness.

How to use your personality type to win at wellness, an episode from the Feel Good Effect podcast. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #healthy #wellnesspodcast #wellness #personality

How to Use Your Personality Type to Win at Wellness

When it comes to wellness, and knowing yourself and your personality helps you to you make better decisions. This episodes is all about leveraging your personality to build a life of wellness that you love.

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Personality type assessments are all the rage right now, from Enneagram to the Four Tendencies to Sparketypes to Wellness Personalities.

The cool thing is, when you really know your personality types, when you really know yourself, you can use that information to design a life of wellness that really works for you.

Today’s episode is all about how to use your personality wellness type to win at wellness.

If you were able to tune in last week, we talked with Jonathan Fields from the Good Life Project Podcast and we talked about his work with his new personality assessment, Sparketypes, around how to connect with your true calling.

We’ve also had Gretchen Rubin on the show, talking about her personality types, The Four Tendencies.

And lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions through social media about my Enneagram and my Myers-Briggs type.

And my husband, who is a clinical psychologist, recently became a Strengthsfinder coach, so we’ve been talking about Strengthsfinder in our house.

With all this interest around personality types, I thought it would be a good idea to do a full show on it.

Not necessarily to talk about all those different assessments in detail, but really to talk about the point of knowing your different kinds of personalities and how to leverage that information to make your wellness journey more joyful and sustainable.

Why take a personality assessment?

There are all of these options out there (I mentioned a few of them: Enneagram, the Four Tendencies, Strengthsfinder, Sparketypes, and our Wellness Personality assessment).

Of course, it could just be fun to do the quizzes and get a little information and a little insight into yourself.

It can also be fun to compare with other people’s and discuss how you’re the same or different.

But I think the true power in these different types of personality assessments is that they help you know yourself better.

“Self knowledge, knowing what works for you, knowing what drives you, knowing what doesn’t work-- that is the actual core and foundation of wellness”.

Knowing yourself allows you to create and design this life, and it can serve as the heartbeat of the life you want to build and the life you want to live.

We’ve talked about self-knowledge many times in this show; in interviews with both Jonathan Fields and Gretchen Rubin, we had conversations around the idea of self-knowledge and how self-knowledge can lead to happiness, to well-being, to a sense a fulfillment.

And also how the idea of self-study can seem really uncomfortable.

I think the word self is often related to selfishness in our minds, and there’s this idea that taking time to know what works for you is selfish.

First off, as we’re talking about personality types, I ask you to do a little internal bias check: when I say self, self-knowledge or self-study, does that bring up ideas of selfishness?

And if so, that’s totally okay and normal, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, talking about it, and we usually don’t teach it in schools so for some of us it can just take a little while to even come around to the idea that knowing yourself and what works is not only helpful for you, but helpful for everyone else in your life.

So when it comes to wellness, knowing yourself and your personality helps you do one really important thing, and that’s helping you make better decisions.

At the end of the day, so much of our life is the result of these tiny decisions.

There are so many things we can’t control, but when it comes to the things we can, life is an accumulation of these tiny decisions.

If you can get better at making decisions, you find that it has a ripple effect across the board and things become easier, lighter, and more enjoyable.

“You can spend more time filling rather than emptying”.

Some examples:

I want to give you some really specific examples of this, and even though I’m using my own personality type as a point of reference, it applies to all of us.

Sometimes seeing the specific in someone else’s life helps us draw the relationship to ourselves.

I want to note, that knowing your personality type is not about making excuses for your behavior or getting really rigid and stuck.

For instance, I’m an introvert and it would be really easy for me to use that as an excuse to avoid all social situations and just generally become an isolated human.

It’s finding that edge between respecting and honoring who you are but then also pushing outside of that and challenging yourself, growing yourself, and finding that balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance.

I don’t think there’s any one personality type assessment that’s necessarily better than another.

I think the more you know the better, as long as you don’t get bogged down in the details.

Here’s how I come out in a few of these personality assessments.

Enneagram seems to be so popular right now, and it’s the number one question I get asked.

I took it a couple of times, and I understand that you have one that’s your primary but I scored so closely that I took it several times.

What I came up with was either I’m a 1, which is Perfectionist, or a 2, Achiever, or an 8, Leader.

And they were so close every time that I’m not sure where I land, but for the sake of this conversation I’ll go with Perfectionist.

And then I took the Four Tendencies assessment, and I’m an Upholder with the Questioner-lean.

When it comes to Sparketypes, I came out with Scientist and then either a Maven or an Essentialist shadow type.

And then with our own Wellness Personality Assessment, which is based on a couple years of research that my husband, Dr. Andrew, and I did on the barriers to wellness, the mindset patterns that people have that kept them from wellness or help them succeed.

It comes with a free resource guide and there are three types: and my type is Dynamo.

And a Dynamo tends to lean toward perfectionism.

Taking these all together helped build a picture of my strengths and weaknesses and overall personality that I have.

I think it’s pretty accurate, but there are parts in each that I don’t totally agree with, but I don’t think that’s the important part.

The important part is the big picture and being able to make better decisions.

How to win at wellness:

Let’s talk about how to use this information to win at wellness in the context of movement, meals, and mind.

This is the way I love to look at the whole picture of wellness- we’re not just talking about food or exercise or mindfulness and mental health, but we’re looking at the big picture.

Knowing my personality types, I want to tell you how I use those to make better decisions about movement, meals, and mind.


Let’s start with movement, since I’ve recently been working on adopting a new workout routine.

Those of you who have followed for a long time know that I’m a huge barre fan, and we actually did an interview with Sadie Lincoln, the founder and CEO of barre3.

I also love pilates (check out this conversation with Robin Long on pilates and fitting movement into everyday life).

And I’m also an avid walker and I love a good hike in the Pacific NW with my husband and daughter.

But I just turned 39 this month, and something about my birthday in January and knowing that I have a year until 40 made me rethink my routine.

I’ve also recently developed a little hip problem and plantar fasciitis so I’ve been trying to stay off my feet to heal.

On top of that, we also just joined a gym that has childcare and a pool and gives us a chance to workout together.

This combination of things has made me rethink my fitness and movement routine.

I’m not ditching the ways that I know work for me, but I feel like I’m at square one trying to figure out how I’m going to create this routine.

Here is where knowing yourself and your personality can really work for you:

As an Upholder, I know that if I commit to a plan or routine, I feel very compelled to follow though.

So I’ve been really careful of that right now, of not committing to a prescriptive program or an intense routine because I’m balancing a lot of other things.

If you add in the concepts of being a Perfectionist, or being an Achiever, and a Dynamo, it sounds to me, when I take these into consideration, maybe I shouldn’t commit to a big overhaul in my fitness routine.

Another factor in my self-knowledge is that I need something low impact, which I know from trying things out in the past.

When it comes to anything in wellness, what’s so important is trying things out and then listening to yourself to see if it resonates.

Maybe you’re somebody who tries out Zumba and just loves the community aspect of it and maybe you used to love to dance so adding dance back into your life brings you joy- that’s such a perfect thing to know, that’s such a great way to harness your personality and work it into movement.

Or maybe you’re an Obliger, and you know you need accountability, so maybe you take advantage of Robin Long’s pilates Sisterhood and you hook up with someone there who becomes your accountability buddy.

So you don’t feel bad that you’re an Upholder, you take advantage of it.

It’s all these tiny tweaks to make it more pleasant and more aligned with who you are that helps to make wellness sustainable, gentle, and effective.

When it comes to movement and your personality type, I invite you to take a little scan of your personality type or types and reference it against your movement.

Where is it helping you? Where is it holding you back? How can you use it to your advantage to craft a movement routine that works for you, in your life and with your personality?


I could definitely do a mini series on personality types and meals.

Movement and meals are both areas that you could definitely find a ton of prescriptive, day by day, meal by meal, exercise by exercise plans, which is great because we all need to find that balance between rules and flexibility

But, they really don’t account for your personality or your life.

You may be finding that you’re trying to squeeze yourself into a box or follow a plan that worked for someone else with a different personality type, but it is not going well for you.

Experimenting is a process that is so important when it comes to self awareness- you’ve got to be willing to try things out with the experimental mindset knowing that it might not work out.

And if it doesn’t, that’s not a failure, it’s one more piece of information to help you make better decisions.

When it comes to meal planning, through my own experimental process, I know for sure that we need some kind of map for the week and that rigid meal planning doesn’t work for me.

I see this a lot with clients as well as in the Simplified Reset that we offer, which is a 30-day meal plan and meal prep program based on this idea that you need some structure but that it needs to work in your own life.

And what I find is that people who tend to be perfectionistic or who tend to compare themselves to other people or a previous version of themself (I’m talking about you Seekers out there), or for the Obligers who maybe don’t have an accountability partner things start to fall apart, either you’re going all or nothing or throwing in the towel when it doesn’t go perfectly.

So for me, I found that meal planning a specific recipe each night was overwhelming and didn’t work.

So I switched over to meal mapping, which is much more loose but gives me enough structure so I know what type of meal we’re having each night (tacos, bowls, pasta, etc.) and I use a loose framework to make sure that I get all the groceries that I need (protein, grains and bases, veggies, sauces) and then I can combine those.

Knowing my personality helped me develop a plan that really worked, and I think you can get even more detailed when it comes to meals.

For instance, do you really love the opportunity for date night where you go out to eat?

If that time and connection is something you value, make sure you build that into your routine.

I think a lot of the time when we try to change the way that we eat for forget about what’s fun and joyful, but when you cut all of that out it’s a recipe for disaster.

Or if you’re someone who really doesn’t like grocery shopping, then maybe you consider ordering groceries online.

Again, it’s these little tweaks this paying attention and experimenting to see what works.


I am a huge fan of breathwork.

I think it is a gateway to mindfulness and has so many impacts on our nervous system (check out this interview with Ashley Neese on breathing for health)

But when it comes to just sitting and doing breathwork practice, it wasn’t really working for me.

So I did a little scan of my day and tried to find the times when I’m most stressed

Something you can definitely do in figuring out what works for you, is a little audit.

Do an audit of your day, your week, of a pocket of your day and think about when things might work and when they might not.

I do have a little 5 minute morning, but doing breathwork in my 5 minute morning routine was too much.

So in trying to figure out when I might need it most, and what came to me is when I’m driving, when I’m doing errands, when I’m in traffic, and especially when I arrive at my destination and there’s always a rush onto the next thing and I can’t take a breath.

With that self-knowledge, what if I tried to insert breathwork into that moment?

It’s been so successful and I want to share it with you.

What I do is I pair breath with a certain activity, which is totally taking advantage of my Scientist/Essentialist nature: how can I make it simpler and use the research to make it work?

Pairing is a very effective behavioral strategy, which is when you do one thing you do something else; in this case I paired breath with taking the keys out of the ignition.

So when I take the keys out of the ignition, I take three deep inhales and deep exhales.

I find myself instantly calmer, more grounded, more present, and because I built it into my life it’s not something I feel like I should do but never actually do.

Let’s do something:

It’s all the ways you look at your life and figure out how to use your personality to your advantage.

The end result is this radically personalized life that is so of sustainable, gentle, consistent wellness

Nothing makes me happier than seeing you all put this into action, because it’s one thing to listen to a podcast episode and it's another to do something.

So let’s do something.

1 | Take a personality test if you haven’t.

2 | Share your personality type (I love seeing those on Instagram stories!).

3 | Tell me how you’re using this self-knowledge of your personality to win at wellness (the smaller the tweak the better).

Listen now!

How to use your personality type to win at wellness, an episode from the Feel Good Effect podcast. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #healthy #wellnesspodcast #wellness #personality

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  2. Leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings and reviews help more people find the show!

  3. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

74 How to Know What to Do with Your Life with Jonathan Fields

Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

In this conversation, Jonathan Fields shares his wisdom about how to dive into self-knowledge and really understand who you are, what you want, what you need in your life, and then how to harness that to do the work that you’re here to do.

How to know what to do with your life, a conversation with best-selling author Jonathan Fields on the Feel Good Effect podcast. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #wellnesspodcast #healthy #podcast #purpose #gentleisthenewperfect

How to Know What to Do with Your Life with Jonathan Fields

In this episode, we really unpack what Jonathan calls Sparketypes (the archetype of work that sparks you), tell you how you can figure out what yours is, and some really tactical ways to know what to do with your life.

Listen now!


Today we are talking with Jonathan Fields.

Jonathan is a dad, husband, entrepreneur, and an award winning author.

He’s the founder of Mission Driven Media and the Good Life Project, where he hosts the top-ranked Good Life Project podcast with millions of downloads and a global audience.

He’s also the creator of Sparketypes, a set of archetypes designed to reveal the source code for the work you’re here to do.

His latest book, How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom, offers a powerful framework for a life well lived.

I invited Jonathan on to share his wisdom about how to look at your life right now and in retrospect and to find that through-line, how to dive into self-knowledge and really understand who you are, what you want, what you need in your life, and then how to harness that to do the work that you’re here to do.

On Jonathan’s journey to and from attorney:

Jonathan made a left turn after college, knowing that he wanted to do something to challenge himself and go back to school.

He’d been a lifelong entrepreneur, often in the wellness industry, but never applied himself very much academically and he was curious what he was capable of.

Until the last minute, Jonathan was split between going to get a graduate degree in physical therapy or law; he chose law, where he ended up doing very well.

His first step out of law school was to Securities and Exchange Commission in New York, which is a massive federal government agency that investigates the stock market and that world under the veil of secrecy.

From there, he moved onto a private equities and securities firm.

Knowing where Jonathan is at now, it’s so different from these original positions.

And this might give some optimism to people out there who may be in a career that doesn’t move them, that isn’t their calling.

“You don’t always have to start where you finish”.

In fact, many people don’t anymore; a recent statistic that Jonathan cites says that the average person changes jobs between eight and 11 times in their adult life and entire careers somewhere between four and seven times.

And that’s been his experience, too.

We have to prepare ourselves for adaptability more than domain expertise these days.

After about a year of working in a big government agency, Jonathan knew that it wasn’t the right work for him.

Similarly, he wasn’t feeling like law was in his future either.

But not ready to leave it behind, he went into a giant, private firm in Midtown, Manhattan, where he stayed for about a year.

However, he found himself in emergency surgery only three weeks into that job; he was barely going home, had massive amounts of stress, and he wasn’t taking care of his health.

And although he likes moving his body and eating well, he had abandoned all of it and then layered on insane amounts of stress with little sleep and an infection that basically mushroomed when his immune system cratered.

And that was his first major wake up call.

“When your career starts to be rejected by your body, you kind of have to start to listen”.

Not knowing where to go next, Jonathan sat in his office and made a list of things that sounded like a good fit for him to do with his life if he could figure out how to earn a comfortable family-worthy living in New York City while doing it; that was the beginning of the next story.

After he recovered from his surgery, he knew he wanted to leave law but he also knew he didn’t want to go back to living hand to mouth, knowing he would likely go back into the world of entrepreneurship and wellness.

He also knew he would take a pretty big financial hit, so he started saving money while still working a job that compensated well and didn’t leave him much free time to spend his earnings.

It finally got to the point where he felt life he had what he needed and he didn’t think he could sustain the pace he was working at anymore, so he left.

His first step out was taking a job as a personal trainer in a small, exclusive studio on the Upper-East side of Manhattan making $12 an hour.

“It was all about having the opportunity to step into an entirely new space and learn what was working and what was broken”.

And what he found was that everything was broken; the fitness industry has changed a lot since, but by and large it is an industry that is driven by maximizing revenue rather than creating powerful and sustainable outcomes for the people participating.

The average big box club loses close to 40% of their membership a year, which means every two and a half years, they essentially turn over their entire membership.

Any other industry with that level of turnover would probably not make it.

So to these businesses, the approach to fixing it isn’t to reengineer the way they’re serving people, it’s to spend more money on marketing and locking people into contracts.

Jonathan started to look at this and figure out what people really need, want, and aren’t getting, and then figure out how to give it to them.

Over the last decade, there have been a lot of grand awakenings in the wellness world: intimacy, community, novelty, different functional movement, stuff that engages the mind as much as the body, stuff that allows people to have a sense of joy so they look forward to hard work rather than being terrified of it.

If you look at the average crossfit box, the interesting thing is that there are a whole bunch of people who won’t pay $29 a month for a big box gym but they’ll pay $129 a month to be a member of a crossfit box and they’ll never miss a workout, but they wouldn’t show up at a big box gym.

So you have to ask what’s really happening here that’s creating this change.

On making the leap:

Jonathan admits that he’s unusually comfortable with high levels of risk and taking action and investing in the face of massive uncertainty.

Once he felt like he had a strong sense of how to do things right, the next step was launching his first fitness facility, which was focused on community building, and it grew rapidly.

And after about two and a half years, Jonathan was looking for something new so he sold the facility and came back into New York trying to figure out what the next thing would be for him.\

He was living in Hell’s Kitchen in the city, married with a young baby, and exploring the world of yoga.

He realized that yoga had a lot of benefit to offer, but the way yoga was available was similar to the fitness industry: terrifying to the average, middle-aged, person who felt they were unfit, inflexible, nervous, and self-judging about their bodies and their capabilities.

The thought of walking into a studio potentially filled with incense, chanting, where they would have to move their bodies in uncomfortable ways in front of large groups of people can be terrifying for a lot of people.

Jonathan realized there was an opportunity to preserve the power of the practice and remove the barriers to participation.

The change was in simple things like removing fragrance; in the US the average yoga studio student base is about 70-80% women, and women have a much higher incidence of scent-triggered migraines, so from the beginning he made a decision to not use incense in the studio so that they weren't turning away people who could benefit from the practice.

They launched it and signed a six year lease, the day before 9/11.

Followed was a lot of reflection over the next three weeks, but ultimately they decided what better time to open a business driven by community in service of healing.

Over the next few years Jonathan was accumulating knowledge and certifications.

For the first 18 years of his life, he trained as a competitive gymnast year-round so he already had a strong sense of somatics and mind-body.

It was just the natural evolution from his fascination with that connection and entrepreneurship and being in service to people.

On teaching yoga:

At this point, Jonathan still considers himself teaching yoga, just not the asana (pose) part of it.

He doesn’t teach a 90-minute class where people are moving and breathing together, but fundamentally, that part of yoga practice was originally developed to create a body and still mind so that you could deepen into the more lifestyle and meaning-driven parts of the practice.

Robyn is also a yoga teacher, combined with a background in research and psychology and large scale policy change.

She believes that when you have someone come to the practice with such a diverse background, it elevates all sides, but that the yoga philosophy, the asana, the movement, is secondary, although that’s what everyone thinks of and it’s where the barrier to entry exists.

As a lawyer, what originally brought Jonathan to the practice was that there was so much stress that he didn’t know how to handle.

He felt like he didn’t have the time for a physical practice (a feeling many of us are familiar with), so he was looking for something that could bring him back to center in the moment.

He found pranayama (breathing exercises) to be incredibly effective at taking him from a hyper-stressed out and anxious state into a calm and grounded place very quickly.

On what type of kid he was:

This conversation on Jonathan’s history starts around college and post-grad, but as a child, and to this day, Jonathan is a maker.

He wakes up in the morning and sees things that he wants to create; as a kid, that took the form of bikes, forts, painting, construction projects, as a high-schooler he made money painting album covers on the back of jean jackets, as a college student he spent his summer in construction building houses.

“Any time I had the chance to make things, I am the happiest person in the world”.

The process of making ideas go into something, making ideas manifest, is central to Jonathan as far as he can remember.

He hasn’t always been this self aware, though; he’s human, and still working on it

He was more introverted as a kid, and spent a lot of time alone in nature; having an orientation towards more stillness gave him more space to be self-reflective, but it’s taken him much more intentional practice of self-inquiry and self-discovery over the last 10 or 20 years to get to where he’s at.

On the value in self-study:

Robyn mentions that if you’re listening and unsure what kind of kid you were-- it’s completely normal; we don’t often have those opportunities for self-study or self-reflection, so it might not be something you have a lot of practice in.

And Jonathan thinks it’s even bigger than that:

“We don’t value self-awareness on the level that we value domain expertise”.

Most people might define success as mastery of a craft or skill, but rarely is it defined as something rooted in self-knowledge and self-awareness.

In Western society, we devalue it, but it’s the exact opposite in Eastern society.

There are tremendous paths to self-inquiry that have existed for thousands of years and it’s sort of the heartbeat of how you build and live your life, but Western wellness doesn’t place value on that quite so much

And that may be underlying so much angst and sadness because we don’t know ourselves well enough to understand when and what to say yes and no to in a way that will allow us to align our decisions with the things that fill us up in the world.

“Sometimes we get it right, but a lot of times we get it wrong. We don’t know ourselves well enough to understand why we’ve gotten it wrong and what to do about it to come back into a place of better alignment and really just spend more time filling rather than emptying”

There’s a lack of emphasis, or even pushing away, of the idea self-study in Western culture.

Even the word “self” is so related to “selfishness” for so many of us.

In a conversation with Dr. Kristin Neff, she talks about the idea taking “self” out of “self-compassion” if it’s becoming a barrier to practice.

And in talking to Gretchen Rubin, she found that many people are coming to the same conclusion.

If self-knowledge is so important, why is it so hard?

Jonathan’s answer:

“We have never really accepted that it’s a necessary process for us to be happy and live meaningful, fulfilled, fully expressed lives, so we’ve never gone in search for the tools that would allow us to actually deepen into it”.

We also have become an instant-based culture.

There are processes that are helpful, but there is very little that just gives you everything that you want in an instant; it’s a process, it’s a practice.

Part of Jonathan’s daily practice is meditation and for the last nine years he has had a daily mindfulness practice and a daily breathing practice

Every time you think you know yourself you realize that there is so much more that hasn’t yet been revealed.

We’re really focused on short-term solutions, are there are some ways to shortcut the process

It’s a blend of practice, tools, practice, tools, and practice; you get tools that will give you information, and then you build a practice around that, and then you cycle between those.

But a lot of us just want it now, and Jonathan admits he would take it now too if he could.

In fact, a lot of his work over the last few years has been trying to figure out how to accommodate a Western set of expectations while providing tools and resetting expectations that allow us to get immediate and valuable information and also emphasize the process of deepening into it and continuing to learn more over time.

Part of Jonathan’s work over the last couple of years has been developing a set of archetypes that help people understand the source code for their life’s work.

He’s learned that his primary and secondary archetypes are that he is first a “maker”, and informing that is what he calls a “scientist”, somebody who is driven to solve problems and figure things out.

While his law practice required problem-solving, there was nowhere near enough opportunities for creating for him to sustain himself in the field.

In everything he’s done, the through-line is being a maker informed by a scientist side of himself

On the Sparketypes:

In working with thousands of diverse people who the world views as successful yet who are miserable, Jonathan has been trying to deconstruct what’s going on there.

More recently, he’s been working to understand the notion of meaning and purpose in the context of our work in the world.

Do we each have some sort of deep driver, some sort of source code that informs the work that gives us a strong sense of meaning and purpose that allows us to feel engaged and fully expressed in the world?

Looking at existing research, Jonathan found that what was out there wasn’t really applicable to the everyday world; there’s a lot of metaphysical, spiritual, philosophical stuff, but he wasn’t finding a straightforward, practical set of tools or processes that would allow somebody to quickly understand what their primary driver is.

It’s been an ongoing process, and last year they made the decision to build a valid, well-tested assessment around it.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about helping people live better”

And over this course of testing, it has been distilled down to ten unique archetypes, which Jonathan calls “Sparketypes”, for the archetype of work that sparks you.

And the responses they got after making this public was this it’s a unique, different, and useful resource that was actually helping people.

Take the assessment here and find your Sparketype!

We’re all at some level a blend of these categories, but what Jonathan was seeing is that one or two of them will really start to predominate.

Your primary Sparketype you can think of as the source code for work that fills you with a sense of meaning.

And then your shadow Sparketype isn’t shadowed in a negative sense, it’s just in the shadow of your primary.

And the shadow is the work that you do that you feel confident at, enjoy, and maybe get paid for, but if you’re really being honest, you do it mostly because it helps you better do the work of your primary.

For example, Jonathan’s primary is a “maker”, and his shadow is a “scientist”.

He will start a complex project and then hit a wall where he needs a solution in order to let him continue this process of creation, so he goes into scientist, problem-solving mode.

But as soon as he finishes the process that will allow him to go back to creating, he goes back to it, because it was in service of being a better maker.

And not everyone is happy with the answers that they get; there can be a certain amount of social judgement within these categories.

Robyn took the assessment, too: her primary is “scientist” and her shadow is “maven”.

And they absolutely ring true for her.

Solving big problems is the through-line for her work, and the “maven” side is devouring everything there is to know about a given subject.

But she realizes, too, that while the Sparketype “performer” is her lowest ranked type, a little part of her job now is performing.

It’s less about being competent in different areas, and more about what you choose to do when you have the option.

In some case, like those of early entrepreneurs, you have to take on the role of Sparketypes that might not come naturally.

But once you’re able to hand it off to someone else, the willingness to let go of it as soon as resources become available shows that it’s not your thing.

If you find that your career isn’t in line with your Sparketype:

There are two approaches:

1 | Expand the way that you think about work.

Is work something that you do to get paid for? Or is it something that you do on the side, because you can’t just not do it?

In the broader context of my contribution, what can I do on a daily basis to let me express the work of my Sparketype?

Start doing more of the stuff that fills you, and you’ll start to be in a better place.

2 | Create a canvas to profile yourself on a broader level.

What are the things that are really in conflict with my Sparketype?

What can I do to resolve these conflicts?

However, Jonathan does not recommend blowing this up and abandoning what you’ve built this far; that can end really badly.

You don’t have to quit your job, and your work doesn’t have to be the primary way that you make money.

On what makes a good life:

Jonathan ends his podcast episodes by asking his guests “what makes a good life?”.

It’s rarely answered the same way twice and there’s always something to learn from how each person approaches the question.

After a qualitative analysis of all of the answers he's received, he’s found common themes, which he calls the Good Life Buckets, that people tend to focus on different parts of.

The Good Life Buckets include: optimal vitality, deep and meaningful relationships, and meaningful contribution.

When you fold those three things together and continue keeping those buckets full, focusing on a day to day basis, life tends to be pretty good.

On what it means to be healthy:

“To be healthy is about cultivating a state of body and mind that lets you feel how you want to feel, be who you want to be, and do what you want to do”.

How to know what to do with your life, a conversation with best-selling author Jonathan Fields on the Feel Good Effect podcast. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #wellnesspodcast #healthy #podcast #purpose #gentleisthenewperfect

Guest bio

Jonathan Fields is a dad, husband, entrepreneur and award-winning author. He founded mission-driven media and education venture, Good Life Project®, where he hosts the top-ranked Good Life Project podcast, with millions of downloads and a global audience, and leads an international community in the pursuit of live well-lived. He is also the creator of the Sparketypes™, a set of archetypes designed to reveal the source-code for the work you’re here to do. Jonathan’s latest book, How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science and Practical Wisdom, offers a powerful framework for a life well-lived, and its companion journal, The Good Life Journalreveals a simple 12-minute daily practice that lets you come alive not someday, but today.

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73 The Secret to Consistency with Wellness

Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

Today we are going to talk all about how to stay consistent with your wellness goals and your wellness routine.

The Secret to Consistency with Wellness, and episode from the Feel Good Effect podcast. Listen for more on how to make your wellness goals sustainable. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #healthy #wellnesspodcast #podcast #gentleisthenewperfect #resolution

The Secret to Consistency with Wellness

This show is really about simplicity and some very simple strategies that make such a difference in sustaining your wellness goals.

Scroll down to listen


It’s happened to all of us.

We have big plans, big goals, maybe set some resolutions, or just have ways that we want to improve our wellness, whether that's with meals, mindset, movement.

But when it comes to the day to day, when it comes to staying consistent, that's when things get tricky.

Today we are going to talk all about how to stay consistent with your wellness goals and your wellness routine.

Here we are in January (if you’re listening in real time) and I find January to be such a fascinating time.

I’ve always been interested in wellness, but now I’ve found myself on the other side, as a professional in the wellness industry.

It’s been about five years since I founded Real Food Whole Life.

And what you learn really quickly in the wellness world is that January is a huge month.

It took me a couple years of really learning this rhythm to realize just how important January is and just how much people are paying attention to wellness, wanting to make change, and really wanting to focus on those wellness goals during that time of the year.

I think it’s amazing to have this moment of reflection, to step back and look at your habits and your routines and to ask, “is this working for me? Is this how I want my life to be?”, and take that moment of reflection and turn it into action

But on the other hand, as someone who gets to see the back end of wellness, I see what happens in terms of actual behavior.

Every month I look at the numbers from my website, the number of people who have visited the site and the number of clicks they’ve made so that I can be informed and create better content.

After five years of looking at that information, what I’ve noticed is that January is one of, if not the, biggest month of traffic to my website.

And that makes sense-- people are interested in eating better, meal planning, meal prep, and personal development.

It's a destination and people are there to make that change and to make a plan.

And I love that!

But the interesting thing related to this conversation about sustainability and consistency is that by January 13th or so, after this huge spike on January 2nd, it kind of sustains itself for about two weeks.

After that, there is a slow decline into February where we kind of level off for the year.

What this tells me is that people have big goals and plans going into January, but for most people, sustainability and consistency is the biggest challenge.

And I know this to be true; this is a simple fact of life and wellness.

“If you can be consistent, if you can do things that are healthy or wellness related more often than you don’t, it will change your life”.

And yet we hardly focus on that!

We focus on the beginning, on the kickstart, on the 30 days, on the go hard or go home, and then we wonder why by mid-February we are back to where we started.

This is the magic of the gentle approach to wellness: it is so much more focused on mastering consistency and on the things that you do more often than you don’t.

On this time last year:

Last year going into January I had big plans for the podcast, for Real Food Whole Life, and for myself personally and I was just hitting the ground running ready to tackle the new year.

And then one day in early January, I woke up feeling the worst that I had ever felt.

I couldn’t move, I could hardly talk, I just slept that whole day, and then the next day was the same.

By the third day, things were only going downhill so I told my husband, Andrew, that I needed to go to urgent care; I felt really dizzy I could hardly stand up.

Side note: this is an important lesson to everyone-- if you don’t feel good go to the doctor!

So he took me to urgent care, I got checked in and when they took my blood pressure they sent me immediately to the emergency room.

So we went to the ER, and I had the flu.

I was really, really dehydrated and had really low blood pressure.

I ended up staying there for about a day to get rehydrated and ultimately everything was okay.

But once they released me, it took me five, six days to even be functional at all.

It was just a completely lost week of my life.

It really threw me off and it took me a few weeks to feel like a human again, to be fully functioning, to get back to all of my wellness goals.

And then a week later, Elle got the flu.

Kids are so much more resilient than adults, so it took fewer days for her to get better, but ultimately I took another week off to take care of her.

Each day I just felt more and more discouraged about all of the plans and goals I had made.

And not being able to work out or meal prep and do all of the things that make me feel really good.

I really felt like I’d backslid; it was a familiar feeling of falling off the wagon.

I tell this story because this kind of thing happens all the time, not necessarily getting the flu, but life gets in the way of our goals

You have a plan, and then something happens, and then you feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon and you just might as well give up.

And the thing I want you to know, here, is that this is so normal.

Life is not this perfect, straight line.

We don’t get to make linear progress; it is definitely a up or down situation.

“I think if we wait for life to be perfect, if we wait for the perfect set of circumstances we’re never going to be able to make any change”.

The more I really learned to embrace this, that life is messy, that things don’t go as planned, that this is part of wellness, the easier things became because I’m wasn’t fighting against life.

My tactical tip for staying consistent with wellness:

I want you to try this out and tell me how it goes.

We can connect on the Real Food Whole Life Facebook group or on Instagram.

This simple secret is what I call the Two Out of Three Rule.

The Two Out of Three Rule works whether we’re talking about meals, movement, mind, or minimalism, and it’s the simple strategy I’ve used to help undo the all-or-nothing thinking.

This applies to all of us, but especially to those of us who are Dynamos (if you aren’t sure what you’re wellness personality is, you can take the quiz here)

This quiz is based on a couple years of research that my husband Andrew and I have done, the types of mindsets people have when it comes to wellness, and what might actually be holding them back (which isn’t always what you thought it would be!).

If you haven’t taken it yet, I would highly recommend it and it comes with a free resource guide that we put together just to give you some insight into how you think so you can flip the script and embrace this life tested research based ways of living well.

Let’s be honest, all-or-nothing thinking is a challenge for all of us, but Dynamos in particular-- this is such a challenge because you want to do everything perfectly and if it can’t be done perfectly, then you want to not do it at all.

I bet most of you can think of a time when all or nothing thinking has really gotten in the way of consistency, of staying with your wellness routines and habits.

Whether you went all in and it became unsustainable or whether you just quit all together and fell off the wagon, this all or nothing thinking is such a challenge for so many of us.

And the reason I tell that story about getting the flu in January is because it’s so tempting to just give up.

Here’s where the Two Out of Three Rule comes into play-- it really helps to shift the way you think.

“Instead of trying for perfection… think about success being doing it more than you don’t”.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that for all you Dynamos, for all you type-A perfectionists about wellness, that this feels uncomfortable.

Who wants to do something two out of three times?

But let me just say, if it’s working for you to do it perfectly and never miss a day, never have life get in the way then that’s awesome!

But if it’s not working for you or if you find yourself on or off, all in or all out, let me offer this as an alternative.

I want you to use Two Out of Three any time you find yourself all in or all out; this can help you get back to consistency, back to sustainability.

Examples and habits:

Let’s get into some tactical examples and habits.

One of my favorite ways to use the Two Out of Three Rule is with the meals of the day.

Most of us eat something along the lines of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and maybe one of those meals feels like a splurge.

This is a way to take that moment and instead of turning it into a shame spiral, you turn it into an opportunity.

Let’s say you plan a nourishing meal for dinner, but when you get home from work, you’re exhausted so you order a pizza instead.

Rather than spiraling out all together, just say, “okay, well two out of three”.

And the next two meals, focus on nourishment, on real food, and on healthy.

I find that this applies so well to the three meals of the day, but it also applies to days and even weeks.

If I have a full day of splurging, then I’ll take the next two days to really focus on nourishing myself.

Each day and each meal is an opportunity for a two out of three.

If you can adjust your mindset to see success as two out of three, that it’s not a failure because this is how life is, this will help you stay consistent and do the things you need to do more often than you don’t.

“Incremental change adds up to really big results”.

I even use this rule for weeks.

After a two week holiday just now, where the last week didn’t align with my wellness routine, I’m not even worried because I’m focused on the next two weeks which I will fill with nourishment, movement, hydration, and taking care of myself.

The Two Out of Three Rule applies to movement just as easily.

If your goal is to work out every day but you miss a day, then reframe to “I’m going to get two out of three”.

This works for whatever your wellness mind habits are, as well.

One of the things I love to do is my 5 minute morning (listen to the episode about my 5 minute morning here and grab the journal here)

But the truth is, sometimes I miss a day or even two from my routine.

What I’ve found is that when I miss one day, it’s no big deal.

But once I miss two days, it’s so hard to get back into it.

So I practice Two Out of Three.

Putting this gentle approach into action by having some compassion and having some room for life, illness, travel, and whatever else life throws at you-- it doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t make you a failure.

It simply gives you the tools to come back to that important moment when you miss, or skip, or don’t live up to our own expectations.

Here’s the thing about the Two Out of Three Rule: it really can be applied across your life and across your wellness goals and routines, but the magic is in the practice.

By actually letting this infuse into your life, that’s when the real magic happens.

The more you practice Two Out of Three, the more that you rebound after you “mess up”, the more that you start to change your brain.

You actually change the way that you think and over time that grip on perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking starts to loosen.

You’ll get a little more clarity on this idea that showing up and doing things more often than you don’t are what actually lead to long term consistent change.

And the process, the day to day, is so much more pleasant because you don’t constantly feel like you’re failing
This show is really about simplicity and some very simple strategies that make such a difference.

So as we kick off this new year, as the wellness marketing messages drumbeat of all-or-nothing thinking, go hard or go home are so loud, and where our own brains are naturally drawn toward all-or -nothing thinking, I just want to extend this invitation to you for Two Out of Three.

If you think about that trend line on Real Food Whole Life, and how it spikes in January and falls back in February, maybe think about your own trend line as a really long slow climb.

Maybe in the short term it spikes and falls again and again, but over time imagine that line slowly climbing.

You don’t need a perfect life to practice wellness.

Once we replace this idea that we need perfect in order to make progress, with kindness, things change.

Listen now!

The Secret to Consistency with Wellness, and episode from the Feel Good Effect podcast. Listen for more on how to make your wellness goals sustainable. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #healthy #wellnesspodcast #podcast #gentleisthenewperfect #resolution

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72 Paring Down to Create More with Melissa Coleman

Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige Reohr2 Comments

Fresh year, fresh episode. Today we’re digging into simplifying, organizing, minimalism, and paring down so you can create more with Melissa Coleman from the Faux Martha.

Paring Down to Create More, a conversation with The Faux Martha’s Melissa Coleman on the Feel Good Effect Podcast. Listen for more on how to make a minimalist lifestyle work in real life. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast

Paring Down to Create More with Melissa Coleman

In this conversation with Melissa Coleman, we talk about everything from what minimalism is to how to separate minimalism from perfectionism, taking a step back from the hustle, and then some tactical tips for creating a framework for a minimalist kitchen and minimalist eating-- making this whole lifestyle work in real life.

Scroll down to listen or read the full interview, below

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    Fresh year, fresh episode.

    Today we’re digging into simplifying, organizing, and paring down so you can create more.

    We’re kicking off 2019 with a conversation with Melissa Coleman from the Faux Martha.

    Melissa is a designer, a home cook, a baker, a dishwasher, a wife, a mom, and what she calls a “cozy minimalist”.

    She believes in everyday magic and aeropress coffee.

    Her work has been featured all over the place, including Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, and The Wall Street Journal.

    Melissa published her first book, The Minimalist Kitchen, in 2018, which we’ll dive into during this conversation.

    This episode is brought to you by a freebie that I’ve put together about meal prep hacks that will simplify your life.

    This little cheat sheet has a ton of good ideas and simplified suggestions to get you meal prepping without getting overwhelmed.

    If real food or healthy eating are part of your plan for the new year, this will definitely help you get there (and it’s totally free-- grab it here!)

    In this episode, we talk about everything from what minimalism is to how to separate minimalism from perfectionism, taking a step back from the hustle, and then some tactical tips for creating a framework for a minimalist kitchen and minimalist eating-- making this whole lifestyle work in real life.

    On what led Melissa to write her book:

    Melissa kept coming up against the problem of more, especially in her kitchen space, but also in her closet space-- she felt it everywhere.

    The problem she kept coming back to was too much stuff.

    In all areas of her home, but especially in the kitchen, Melissa started to pare down, keeping the things that she actually used and getting rid of the things that she didn’t.

    Something she started to notice was that when she pared things down to a manageable amount, she was actually able to make more.

    She knew how to use the tools and ingredients that she was keeping, and so she made more.

    On moving towards less: where to start and what it means in practical terms:

    Melissa is still trying to figure out how to talk about how to make moving towards less happen and how to become a more doable distillery in her own life.

    Simplicity is hard-- you can think about it in the context of a recipe.

    When she’s working on a recipe, Melissa tries to pare it down to the necessities and then gets rid of all the extras.

    And there’s a point in a recipe when you cannot delete a step, you cannot delete an ingredient, because if you do, it’s no longer what the recipe is actually supposed to be.

    That’s the hard part, and in a lot of ways it takes experimenting; it's not a one-size-fits-all thing.

    Once you’ve simplified, it looks simple, but getting there is the hardest part.

    It takes a lot of time, and that’s what feels counterintuitive.

    Robyn’s dad is a professor, an academic with high standards, who she worked for in recent years.

    It was amazing work, but it was too complicated-- people couldn’t access it, but it could be simplified.

    Her father found it frustrating, not wanting to “dumb it down”.

    However, to Robyn, simplifying does not mean dumbing it down.

    In fact, it is so much more work to write only one paragraph than five pages.

    You can always do more, and that’s why Melissa believes houses are so easily cluttered.

    You can always add more, but it’s about asking, “if I take this away, will the room feel unbalanced? Will it feel sparse? Will is feel welcoming?”.

    Simplifying takes time and intentionality.

    Our human brain is wired for more, but marketing messages, and the culture here, in the United States, is very focused on never enough.

    This combination creates a perfect storm that’s missing intentionality.

    If you haven’t had a chance to check out Melissa’s instagram or website yet, check them out.

    Everything is beautiful and pristine.

    And she has what Robyn thinks of as a dichotomy, because although it’s not Melissa’s intended message, it becomes about an outcome.

    That’s a secondary issue around simplification and minimalism: it becomes about an outcome.

    We have ideas around what we think minimalism is supposed to look like-- a white kitchen, or labeled mason jars in the pantry.

    And maybe those are part of your process, but it very well may not.

    On outcome versus process in minimalism:

    Melissa is a visual communicator, first.

    Her background is in graphic design, which is how she learned to beautifully and precisely communicate the essentials.

    And that is still her main mode of communication.

    When you’re scrolling through an Instagram feed, you don’t have to read words, but she also loves words, and to her, words matter.

    One thing Melissa is trying to figure out personally, is that sometimes she loves what her life looks like, but images don’t capture it all.

    You can’t see what’s behind the camera; it’s not the full story.

    She wants to be honest about her pursuit of minimalism, of paring down, of simplicity, but it’s really hard to be completely honest in that.

    “Even when it does look this way, it’s still the same life as it was before”.

    Your home might look just how you’d like, but your car still breaks down and you still argue with your husband or lose patience with your kids.

    Melissa has chosen minimalism as a tool, because life is chaotic.

    She began identifying where chaos became a problem, like when it got in the way of being able to figure out what to make for dinner.

    So she grabbed minimalism as a tool, used in the way she designed her home, in the way she designs her recipes, and she’s currently trying to figure out how to implement that into her work life.

    The byproduct of minimalism is space.

    Melissa loves space; as a painter she learned about using negative space as a tool to draw the eye to where she wanted, and as a designer she learned about using white space as a tool to draw the eye towards an image or message.

    And in her home she uses negative space and white space to create space to do the things she wants, like eat dinner, or have a bonfire with her family, or just space to remind herself where her phone is.

    Minimalism and simplifying are about the process and not the outcome.

    When we focus on the outcome, we can get confused and caught up in what we think it should look like; it can become a very privileged and exclusive thing.

    But if we can deemphasize outcome and focus on the process and steps to get there, we can find that space can come out in many ways.

    Robyn sees overlap in creating space and mindfulness: having space to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, or having space in your day to take a deep breath, or having space to sit down and have a meal with your family.

    And having that space doesn’t cost money, it just costs intention.

    And it also doesn’t require looking a certain way.

    It’s about remembering to find joy in our actions, too, which is easy to forget when we busy ourselves.

    Even by busying ourselves in creating the space we live in comes with stress.

    “The weird thing about minimalism is that you do have to do a lot of work to get to a place”.

    Our spaces matter, and Melissa thinks of spaces as mirrors that are reflecting something back at us.

    If your space feels chaotic, you might be feeling that in your life too.

    But even if you’re not feeling it, it’s a visual reminder of a need for space.

    And also about time: time is almost this secret ingredient.

    Melissa was working on a pizza dough recipe that took almost an entire summer of testing, and their secret ingredient, a beautiful analogy, was time.

    The dough tasted so much better when it had time to sit in the fridge and rest for three days, compared to dough made the morning of.

    “I love the analogy that time is actually an ingredient, it should be in recipes, it should be in our life… it’s a practice, and what it looks like today is going to look so different for you, for me, five years from now, maybe even two months from now… it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing”.

    Robyn reminds that when you overlay perfection, comparison, overwhelm, and guilt onto anything you end up with worse results.

    In this case, when you overlay perfectionism on top of minimalism, is becomes paralyzing because you’re trying to get an impossible outcome.

    It can discourage you from even starting or just drive you crazy with a new set of problems that you’ve created for yourself.

    Melissa talks about this idea in her book, too.

    She talks about it because it’s something she’s working on and living in.

    In talking about minimalism, Melissa wrote, “Does everything need to be efficient and just right? No. As with everything, I hope you see this philosophy for all its good and for all its flaws. I like to think of minimalism as a practice because it needs constant refining. Rules that are too rigid will strip away the joy, and rules that are too loose will create overflow and a frustrating kitchen. The magic is in the space between, or as Koren refers to it, the magic is in the poetry”.

    There’s a quote by Leonard Koren, author of Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets, & Philosophers, that Melissa wrote about all through her book.

    “Pare down the essence, but don’t remove the poetry”.

    That quote became a guiding principle for Melissa.

    For her, the poetry is in life and experience, in the practice of yoga, in the practice of failing, and in the practice of doing it right.

    Robyn reflects on having those moments every so often that serve to remind of the purpose.

    It’s not the other stuff, it’s not the outcome of the kitchen looking a certain way.

    And it’s hard; when you think about it from a neurological perspective, you notice that you don’t get reinforcement right away from this process.

    On everyday magic:

    On social media, we try to create a magic that’s expensive, that’s costly, and really there’s been so much work put into the picture that it’s not even enjoyable.

    Melissa realized that the ordinary things are really easy to enjoy, and you don’t have to do much work to get there.

    Something as everyday as sitting by a fire, being mesmerized by a flame, or laughing while playing a board game.

    Those were the things she was missing and the things that she wanted to give her daughter.

    As she started to experience certain things that brought a lot of joy, she paid attention to them.

    The transition to parenthood was a challenge for Melissa’s family, and paying attention to these joyful moments became increasingly important.

    “You experience those joys… you see them and you spot them, and then they go away again. And I wanted to figure out a way to remember what those things are”.

    Now, at the top of Melissa’s family calendar, there is a monthly bucket list with the basic things like canoeing in June or apple picking in October.

    Remembering the really basic things that don’t take much effort to get there but produce a lot of joy, and that’s the everyday magic.

    Melissa also thinks the everyday, ordinary magic is gathering around the dinner table.

    “The food brings us to the table… but then the magic happens once you get to the table. And getting to the table is really hard”.

    One of the reasons Melissa wrote her book was to figure out how to get to the table.

    She wanted to design recipes that were simple enough, flavorful enough, and nourishing enough to get her family to the table.

    But then once they got to the table, what kinds of conversations came up.

    “When you look at the every day, it’s nothing to really even write a blog post about or take a picture of, but when you splice together all those little bits of the ordinary, they turn into something magic. They create these deep, deep connections that you cannot find on Pinterest or Instagram”.

    Robyn reminds that science supports this idea: once you start intentionally pointing out these things, your brain learns to spot them.

    You are already wired to notice threats and spot harm, but you can start to rewire toward these things that matter, but you have to be intentional.

    Calling it out and writing it down may feel forced at first, but over time your experience in the world changes and you begin to create a meaningful life.

    On creating a minimalist life, step by step:

    Melissa uses frameworks everywhere.

    When it comes to writing, she knows that she writes best in the morning, at her desk, with a cup of coffee.

    She figured out when she succeeds, and then created frameworks around that working backwards.

    “The best framework is an intuitive framework”.

    Watch your patterns, pay attention to the problem areas, and then you can work toward really great solutions; that’s the process of working backwards.

    Melissa just created a pantry cleanse to break down the idea of framework.

    Think of the kitchen as a closet, because closets are the biggest troublemakers.

    The hard part, though, is that the clothes in the kitchen are perishable and they disappear, and we have too many tools, too many spices.

    In order to make it more manageable, pare it down.

    Robyn knows how difficult it can be to put this idea into practice, and she uses the idea of creating a capsule pantry to help.

    Robyn’s capsule pantry is very similar to Melissa’s composed dinner, which means this is a framework that is coming up for more than one person.

    It’s this idea that you can think of meals in parts, and use those parts to mix and match so that when you go to the store, you fill in the parts, not the list of ingredients.

    And then when you “shop” your pantry, there’s stuff in there that can be used to mix and match.

    What happens for so many people who are cooking, is they collect recipes and buy lists of ingredients for each recipe, and then end up with this overwhelm flow of stuff that isn’t used again.

    Within a framework perspective, it’s about getting really intentional with your patterns and looking for where the excess is.

    Spices, for example, are such a great example, because so many of us have excess spices in different shaped jars filling our pantries.

    Robyn’s strategy for paring down her spices is to pay attention to what is used and buy nothing else.

    Even if it’s a spice called for in someone else’s recipe, rather than adding an additional jar to her shelf, she skips it or just makes something else.

    In total, Robyn has only eight spices, which she stores in glass jars in a drawer and buys in bulk to save money and effort.

    And all of Robyn’s recipes only use those eight spices.

    But creating something that now makes her life easier was not a totally easy process.

    Melissa still runs into this issue every so often, looking in the back of the pantry and finding something that nobody is really eating.

    Her solution? Either get rid of the jar or fill it with something that they are buying all of the time.

    It’s thought intention, having a framework to start working toward, and experimenting.

    The experimenting piece tends to scare people, but too much step-by-step guidance won’t work for you if it’s coming from somebody else’s plan (it’s not one-size-fits-all!)

    Instead, you have to find a place between someone else’s plan and no plan, and that middle space can feel really uncomfortable.

    And when it doesn’t go the way you wanted, take it as feedback rather than failure.

    There are great resources to get started on this process, like what useful kitchen equipment Melissa recommends or a guide of what to include in your capsule pantry from Robyn, but you should also ask yourself whether you need or will even use something that made the list.

    “Use your intuition. Know when to say no when it doesn’t work in your space and say yes when it does”.

    On how to work like a minimalist:

    Melissa finds herself in a tailwind again and again, working hard and not being in the places that she wants to be.

    She makes a point that she loves her book, but she wants to be remembered by her relationships.

    While working on her book, she realized she was spending her time working on something, but not working on other things that she wanted to be working on.

    She was repeatedly finding herself in a place where her work life was out of control, even though she had created calm spaces.

    Melissa uses minimalism in her personal life to make it feel more doable and create space to hang out with her family, but her work life was spilling over into her personal life.

    While she was on her book tour, Melissa realized that if she was going to use minimalism as a tool in all other areas of her life, it needed to be woven into her work as well.

    Currently, she is working on making just enough, financially, but to make money as a blogger your work has to be seen-- a challenging balance.

    Melissa talks about how helpful taking breaks is: she took long breaks over the summer, disappearing for weekends and slowing down.

    “I approached life more slowly, content more slowly, and I personally feel so much more fulfilled and I’m so much prouder of the work that I’m producing at this pace than the work I was producing at the pace of a hustle”.

    Melissa was listing to an episode of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast with will. i. am., and on it, he talked about a horse named Hustle.

    You don’t want a horse named Hustle because they’re not going to last.

    You want someone who can endure, and in order for Melissa to endure, she has to work backwards and figure out the pace at which she can endure.

    Something she recently asked herself is, “If I can’t keep us this pace, can I work in this industry?”

    She gave herself 12 months to come to a decision, with the intention of walking away from her work afterwards.

    But during that time, she implemented some of the changes she always said she would but hadn’t.

    Ultimately, Melissa is proud of the work she is producing now, and where she’s at came from choices to make less money and be seen less on social media.

    All of our choices have consequences; all of our choices come with loss, even the best ones.

    Melissa’s choices, of working a more manageable, minimalist work life, comes at a cost but it also comes with reward and benefit.

    Both Robyn and Melissa fully acknowledge the privilege this conversation is, around sacrificing work for something more meaningful.

    And although it’s not the topic of today’s episode, it’s always an important message to notice.

    But, behind the scenes, being a content creator or business owner online in 2019 is the perfect experiment in pushing people to always do and be more, to be seen.

    Something that people aren’t always aware of is that if a content creator doesn’t put content out onto a platform at a frequent enough pace, the platform will consequently show their content less.

    And it’s not just about money it’s also about mission, why do this work if it’s not going to be seen?

    Doing really good work that connects with people and provides value might be a proxy for hustle, but producing really good content still matters, even if it’s at a slower pace.

    “Hustle always comes at a cost, maybe to our humanity, maybe to our wellbeing, maybe to our relationships”.

    It’s about finding a balance between taking the time off and doing what really matters and also amplifying the message and continuing the conversation amidst the chaos that is the internet.

    If you are a consumer online, they way you can help is by actually showing up and commenting.

    Engaging with online content opposed to scrolling through is on one hand, linked with more wellness, but that aside, it’s also incredibly helpful to the platforms you love.

    People like Melissa and Robyn don’t put content out there for themselves, they actually would love to hear from you!

    They aren’t experts, they’re just doing it in public.

    On what it means to be healthy:

    “Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry”.

    “Practicing moderation, whether it’s in your work life, whether it’s in the amount of spices you keep in your kitchen, in the amount friends you keep… so that things aren’t taking away and you’re able to add to things”.

    Listen now!

    Paring Down to Create More, a conversation with The Faux Martha’s Melissa Coleman on the Feel Good Effect Podcast. Listen for more on how to make a minimalist lifestyle work in real life. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast

    Guest Bio

    Melissa Coleman is a Maine-based freelance travel writer and the author of the memoir, This Life Is in Your Hands.

    Melissa’s writing has appeared in the New York TimesThe Boston GlobeNational Geographic TravelerTravel WeeklyO MagazineThe OregonianPortland Press HeraldMaine, Maine Home + Design, and on Everett Potter’s Travel Report and

    This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family’s Heartbreak, was a New York Times bestseller, Indie Next Pick, People’s Pick in People Magazine, and nonfiction finalist for the Maine Literary and New England Book awards. A window into the 1970s back-to-the-land movement, it tells of the joys, challenges, and a family tragedy experienced while growing up on an off-the-grid homestead that was inspired by self-sufficiency icons Helen and Scott Nearing.

    Melissa’s father, Eliot Coleman, a renowned pioneer of the organic farming movement, and her stepmother, gardening author Barbara Damrosch, own Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. Her sister, Clara Coleman, manages the family farm and is a sustainable farming consultant.


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    71 Gentle is the New Perfect

    Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

    It’s time to talk about gentle: gentle is the new perfect.

    Gentle is the New Perfect, and episode from the Feel Good Effect podcast. This episode is all about the gentle-wellness revolution, a movement about flipping the script from comparison, all-or-nothing, and perfectionism thinking, to a gentle mindset. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast #gentle #perfection

    Gentle is the New Perfect

    This episode of the Feel Good Effect is all about the gentle-wellness revolution, a movement about flipping the script from comparison, all-or-nothing, and perfectionism thinking, to a gentle mindset.

    Listen in to learn about how to grab onto gentle and make it your own.

    Scroll down to listen


    It’s time to talk about gentle.

    Gentle is the new perfect.

    I’m so glad you’re here for this last episode of 2018!

    First up, I just want to thank you for giving up this time for yourself, whether you are a brand new listener or you come back every week-- thank you for being a part of this community, part of this conversation, and part of this movement about what it really means to be healthy.

    I love this time of year.

    It’s such a great time to reflect back on the year that has gone by and regroup to look ahead at the next year.

    And in doing so, I really wanted to take a moment to talk about gentle: more specifically, the gentle-wellness revolution.

    I’m going to tell you the story of how gentle even came to be in my own life, and how it grew into a movement that is this podcast, that is Real Food Whole Life, and that is you as part of this community.

    I also want to give you a few things to think about if you’re trying to decide if you’re going to set a resolution, or set intention through one little word (listen to last week’s episode with Ali Edwards about this idea!), or how you’re wanting to focus your energy and intention as we head into this brand new year.

    This is an awesome episode if you’re listening in real time and have some time to think ahead, but even if you’re listening to it in the future, you always have the opportunity to reset.

    “We don’t have to wait for a new year. We don’t have to wait for Monday. Every single day is a chance to make a choice to show up in a different way and to embrace this idea of gentle”.

    This episode is brought to you by our Wellness Personality Guide, which is a freebie that we’ve put together for the community to really help you understand who you are and how you operate when it comes to wellness.

    Check it out here, and be on the lookout for the revised version coming your way in 2019!

    On how the gentle movement began:

    Gentle is something that we talk about all the time on this show; it’s infused throughout the work on Real Food Whole Life, and it comes up so often in conversation with guests who are in the wellness space when we talk about what it really means to be healthy.

    It’s also an approach and a lifestyle that has changed the way that I am in the world.

    It’s changed my life, and I know for many of you it has as well.

    So, I want to take you back and tell you the story of how gentle came to be.

    Going back to growing up, high-school and even college, I was an athlete and a student.

    To tell you the truth, I wasn’t a naturally gifted athlete or even a gifted student, but I worked really hard.

    I learned how to strive to be my best, how to accomplish, and how to push through when things got really hard.

    And I developed this mentality of pushing and striving, of always trying to be better, of trying to reach perfection.

    Over the years I learned something: that striving, pushing through, comparison, and perfection can actually lead to success.

    That was kind of my status quo through my early career.

    There’s such a pressure to strive to accomplish, and it really can lead to success.

    But I can really say: it works until it doesn’t work.

    Another habit I picked up along the way, was to add things to my plate without taking anything off.

    So, I went through my 20’s and into my 30’s continuing to collect things-- I collected a full time job, and then I added more hours to that, and then I decided to add school, and then we tried to have a baby for many years without success until finally we were able to have my daughter.

    And as a brand new mom, I was exhausted.

    I felt like I was trying to fit into a box of impossible standards.

    I felt like I was trying to do it all: work, school, family, be a good wife, be a good friend.

    And I found myself applying the same mindset of pushing and striving and comparison that had always worked, but it didn’t work anymore.

    Eventually everything came crashing down.

    I remember standing in our living room, crying, looking at my husband, saying, “I can’t do this. I don’t know what to do. I think everyone else knows how to do this; I’m the only one who can’t figure this out

    And he looked at me and said that this isn’t what we had in mind for our life when we decided to commit to each other and be married; this wasn’t the picture that we had in mind.

    I knew he was right, and I knew this was not how I wanted to live my life, but I didn’t know what to do.

    I kept applying the same mindset and strategies around pushing, accomplishing, striving, and perfectionism, which led to the inevitable-- I crashed and burned hard.

    I got really sick, developing an autoimmune disease (which I think would have happened anyway, but certainly came to the surface at this particular time), and became so sick I really couldn’t even function.

    I realized I was going to have to give up quite a few things in order to be able to recenter and refocus.

    This is the point in the story when so many people quit their job, or quit school, or opt out of society, slow their life down, and then find happiness.

    However, that is not how it went for me.

    I will say, the wake up call did help me realize that I needed to take a few things off my plate, so I switched jobs (from 60-hours a week to something more in the 40’s with a little more flexibility and calm), I put a hold on school while we tried to figure out how we were going to take care of an infant and continue to work.

    What I did next was kind of predictable, but I didn’t realize it at the time-- I took the same approach of all-or-nothing and I applied it to wellness.

    I dove in head first.

    I was committed: I was going to work out six to seven days a week for an hour, I was going to meal plan and meal prep perfectly, and at the time, this is what wellness meant to me.

    I looked around and compared myself to other people in the wellness space and decided that’s what wellness looked like.

    I honestly believed that if I just tried a little harder and found more hours in the day, it would work and I would feel better, I would be happier, things would align, and I would find the path to wellness.

    And this worked… until it didn’t.

    I definitely felt better and was healthier.

    Switching my meals to real foods and moving my body did matter and did make a difference.

    But it was a short-term fix.

    The other thing that happened at this time was that I lost weight-- my new way of eating and new extreme exercise routine worked, but the way I was exercising wasn’t sustainable.

    After about a year and a half I looked around and yes, I felt better, I was healthier, I had lost weight, but I was also exhausted, totally burnt out, I felt like I was the only one struggling, and I realized I had done exactly the same thing again.

    So this was me: trying to do it all, feeling like somehow I was always falling short, taking care of everyone else but struggling to fit myself into the equation, and always falling into that never-ending, upwards spiral to do it all, have it all, and be it all.

    But then I finally realized something.

    “When it comes to wellness maybe I’m not doing it wrong. And when it comes to wellness, maybe you’re not doing it wrong”.

    Seriously. Let that sink in.

    I get it, we have big ideas about what wellness looks like, but when it comes to making it work in real life it just simply feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

    Here’s the thing: this all-or-nothing, perfection chasing, “everyone else has the answers” mentality just doesn’t work.

    “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy”.

    There’s a different, better way that starts with you.

    I realized that we needed to flip the wellness script to change the way I actually thought and what I thought was possible.

    Way less self-help, and a lot more self-trust.

    It was from this place that the gentle movement was born.

    I believe it’s a movement, a revolution, that involves less striving, less falling short, less never enough.

    It allows us to use gentle as the north star.

    On how embracing gentle does not mean losing drive:

    I know this is a fear that many of you have shared with me, that embracing gentle will mean losing your drive.

    And that without striving, perfectionism, comparison, and all-or-nothing thinking, you will fail.

    And trust me-- I get it!

    I held so tightly to those things thinking that was the only way to success.

    Maybe you’ve even had success in this mindset, like I did.

    But then life changes and you find that this extreme approach just doesn’t translate to the sustainable life that you want to live.

    Gentle doesn’t mean easy, it’s not the easy way out.

    It doesn’t mean going soft, giving up, or throwing in the towel.

    “Gentle is about persistence, and purpose, and incremental change”.

    But gentle does mean simple.

    It means making the wisest possible investment about time and energy that will impact your wellbeing.

    When I finally realized that there was this complete other way of approaching wellness that didn’t require changing who I am, or giving up on my big dreams and goals, or require me living a different life, it was my lightbulb moment.

    The more I released the grip on perfectionism and comparison and all-or-nothing thinking, the more I found this third way of using gentle as my north star.

    Coming at it from a place of compassion and kindness for myself.

    Coming at it from a place of reframing balance in more of the idea of equilibrium and not trying to do everything all at one time.

    And understanding that rules can be helpful and also that flexibility is sometimes required.

    And really, truly ditching comparison once and for all, by understanding what works for me, and embracing that.

    And by jumping off the off-again-on-again, all-or-nothing wagon, and knowing that each day brings a new opportunity.

    And that knowing that these small choices and changes add up to a life well lived.

    This is how I simplified and lifted the burden of always striving off my shoulders.

    I’ve settled into a life in the middle-- the extremes might be more enticing, but the middle feels really good.

    And I know that the middle works and it’s more sustainable.

    On applying gentle to your life, for your goals:

    Some of you have asked me really specific questions about how to apply the gentle approach to weight loss.

    I do think that we can approach something like weight loss from a place of self-love and gentle and still make changes.

    Maybe you have other big goals outside of weight related to wellness, whether that be related to eating well, to movement, to mindfulness.

    And the gentle approach can be applied to those goals so that you can really fit it in your life to make changes.

    This is your “start here” moment.

    If you’ve been on the fence or played around with the idea of gentle, if you have gone through these episodes from the last two years or if this is your first time hearing about it, this is an invitation to start here.

    “Grab onto gentle and make it your own”.

    And, guys, this is science-based; it’s not feel good woo-woo stuff I’m just putting out there so that you feel good.

    There is so much evidence that embracing this kind of approach and this way of thinking will not only help you step out of those barriers, but it is also actually highly linked with well-being and wellness.

    On what’s coming in the new year:

    We have so many more tactical shows planned for 2019 around gentle, and really applying it to some of those challenges that you have mentioned to me.

    If you have others that you want to share, you can pop over to my Instagram @realfoodwholelife and share with me in comments or shoot me a DM, you can always email me, or you can join our Facebook group.

    Share with me how you want to apply gentle and what you want to work through, and we will make that a focus of 2019 going forward.

    If you listened to last week’s episode, and you want your one little word to be “gentle”, let’s do it.

    If you want “gentle” to be your word and you want a tribe or a community, I am here for you to support you and live the example and make this visible for you throughout the next year.

    But regardless of what you’re called to, I want to give you these tools, mindsets, and tactics so that you can take whatever you’re working on and really infuse it with these ideas and practices so that you’re more successful and so that the whole process is more enjoyable.

    We don’t want to miss our lives trying to get somewhere else.

    I want to leave you with a gift today-- a gift of flipping the script, of saying no thank you to extremes, of knowing that you’re version of healthy can be exactly right because it’s what works for you, the gift of releasing perfectionism and comparison, and the gift of getting on a path of true wellness or what it really means to be healthy.

    That’s what I want to leave you with today.

    There’s no sales pitch-- this is truly about the mission and the movement, and I’m so glad that you are all here for it.

    Listen now!

    Gentle is the New Perfect, and episode from the Feel Good Effect podcast. This episode is all about the gentle-wellness revolution, a movement about flipping the script from comparison, all-or-nothing, and perfectionism thinking, to a gentle mindset. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast #gentle #perfection

    Show the Feel Good Effect Love!

    If you loved today’s episode be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts so we can keep bringing you more content like this! Share the show on Instagram, tagging @realfoodwholelife so we can connect and I can highlight you on my feed.

    1. Share it via FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter

    2. Leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings and reviews help more people find the show!

    3. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

    70 One Little Word with Ali Edwards

    Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige Reohr2 Comments

    In this episode, Ali talks about how to tell stories in a way that promotes growth, by challenging the ways we tell ourselves stories.

    One Little Word with Ali Edwards, an episode of the Feel Good Effect podcast. Ali Edwards is an expert in that very special place where stories, images, and words about life intersect. In this episode, Ali talks about how to tell stories in a way that promotes growth, by challenging the ways we tell ourselves stories. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast #onelittleword #resolution #newyearsresolution

    One Little Word, with Ali Edwards

    Ali Edwards is an expert in that very special place where stories, images, and words about life intersect.

    Read on for more on Ali’s projects and how to get involved.

    Scroll down to listen


    Today’s guest has mastered the art of finding story in the little details of everyday life and using one little word to set an intention that makes a big difference.

    Ali Edwards is an expert in that very special place where stories, images, and words about life intersect.

    She’s a designer, blogger, workshop instructor, and author of four books about memory-keeping.

    If the name sounds familiar, maybe you follow Ali, maybe you’ve used her memory-keeping products in the past, but also she’s been on the show before.

    Ali was on about a year ago; in that episode, Ali shared her wellness story, what’s worked for her over the years and what hasn’t.

    It was such a great peak behind the scenes of someone who’s running an incredibly successful business, has a blended family, and is trying to balance all the things (like so many of us do), and then also fitting health into that bigger picture.

    She’s incredibly honest about the challenges that she’s faced, how she’s found help with her anxiety and depression, with her philosophy on food, feeding a family of seven, her approach to movement, and finding what works for her.

    It’s one of my favorite episodes to listen to and if you haven’t already, you can check it out here.

    I invited Ali back because she is a storyteller.

    Over the years, she’s managed to find a way to tell true life stories through her brand and business.

    The central theme of the Feel Good Effect is, “what does it really mean to be healthy”; it’s one of the questions we are always asking.

    And I really think that storytelling or finding meaning, putting together those little pieces of life into bigger context and broader story, is highly related to health.

    It’s not something we necessarily think about right away (it’s not a green smoothie or the latest exercise trend), but I think as you listen, you’ll hear why Ali and I believe stories to be so related to well-being and health.

    In this show, we talk about stories and about how you can be really active in telling your own story.

    One of my favorite takeaways from this conversation something Ali said: that part of storytelling and observing is the opportunity or the act of listening to your life.

    And sometimes listening requires stillness, a little bit of pause.

    So many of you have told me that you want a little more pause and presence, but that you’re not sure how to do it.

    This is a very active, practical way to do that, to take the pause and listen to what you hear.

    My other favorite part of this conversation (that I think you’ll be able to put into action right away) is this idea of choosing one word to focus on, as an intention for the New Year.

    This is such great timing for right now, but even if you’re listening in the future, you can always start this.

    My guess is that you’ve heard of the idea of picking one word to focus on instead of a New Year’s resolution, but Ali adds a lot of insight on how we can actually get deeper into it, and not just abandon that word after a few days or weeks.

    So, here’s what I want you to do: if you choose a word for the year, I would love for you to share it.

    One of the things Ali talks about is making that word visible, and you can definitely make it visible by sharing it.

    I encourage you to share it on social media and tag me @realfoodwholelife and Ali @aliedwards, so we can see it and help you make it visible.

    On that note, if you want some support and community, I invite you to join the community newsletter (it’s totally free to join).

    There will be so many resources, ideas, tips, and behind the scenes coming for the New Year.

    I’d love for you to join, and there will be a very exciting announcement coming soon that the newsletter people will hear first!

    On Ali’s journey through storytelling:

    Listen to Robyn + Ali’s first interview here!

    It’s so rich and there are so many takeaways on how she’s applying all of this to her life.

    In case you want a quick re-cap instead, here’s an overview on how Ali got to this point, running her business, storytelling, and having a family.

    Work-wise, Ali has a company that provides memory-keeping tools and products for people to do scrapbook-based storytelling.

    She really focuses on encouraging people to tell the story of their lives and she wants to have products to support people in doing that.

    Ali has a graphic design degree but she never anticipated that this would be her job; at one point in time she thought she would be a stay at home mom.

    A big part of her story is going through a divorce in 2012 and getting remarried last year which increased the size of her family, going from two kids to five kids ranging in age from nine to 16 all in and out of the house.

    One of the reasons Ali and Robyn connected was because Ali had started a wellness journey about two years ago.

    After going through a couple random illnesses, she just started to focus on that a lot more and started a wellness Instagram account to document that story, because that’s how she makes sense of her life- through telling those kinds of stories.

    Ali has always loved reading and loved being immersed in stories.

    After college, where she earned her Bachelor’s degrees in American history and literature and government, she went back to school for her graphic design degree, and then married those two together into this idea of scrapbook storytelling after her son was born.

    She found that she loved telling stories in that way- of documenting everyday life and paying more attention to how the stories of her life were evolving.

    Now, 16 years later, it’s the business that she does and the way that she lives.

    For Ali, documenting things, writing things down, and taking pictures of things, are a big part of the way she makes sense of what is happening in her life.

    With her Instagram account, Ali notes that if she’s not posting she’s probably not taking care of herself- it’s a way to keep record for herself, as well as a way to tell that story.

    On documenting versus tracking:

    Tracking is such an ingrained institution of wellness (we have our fitness trackers, step trackers, calorie trackers, etc.)

    We’ve boiled it down, this whole idea of wellness, to things that you can count.. If you’re tracking it you either do it or you don’t, you either succeed or you fail.

    A lot of the ways that Ali has documented her life through social media she has wanted to put in a story format so that she could share the journey with people (not in the sense of being an expert, but more in the sense of inviting others to come along on her journey).

    But she also wants to do it to hold herself accountable to wellness.

    She likes that she can look back and compare her life to a year ago, how was she managing her time and fitting wellness in compared to right now when she feels like she’s struggling a little bit.

    There’s this mixed piece related to the social media aspect of it for Ali, which is rooted in storytelling, but pressures and feeling obligated to post make it challenging sometimes.

    Posting to check a box is very different than tracking to make meaning.

    We love stories, we listen to stories, and we learn from stories-- how can we harness that into our lives to get more fulfillment?

    When she looks back at her Instagram account, one of the things that Ali sees are the questions she asks herself about the stories she’s telling.

    “What is the story I’m telling myself about the exercise that I’m doing right now?”

    “What is the story I’m telling myself about yoga?”

    “What is the story I’m telling myself about the food that I’m eating?”

    Sometimes the stories that we’re telling ourselves aren’t really accurate, and that can be related to food, to movement, or the words that we use to describe ourselves.

    For Ali, the process of writing is a big piece of how she processes things, and she’ll include these things; these are the questions she’s asking herself.

    On resistance to this practice:

    For Ali, asking these questions and telling the stories has always been a piece of her, but it has become clearer over time.

    One of the projects she does is called “One Little Word”.

    She picks a word to focus on each year, and one of the activities around it is the asking, “what is the story we are telling ourselves, about ourselves right now?”

    As you ask the question, you start getting curious about it.

    “Reality is that that story may not be true, and it might be some other reason completely why your behavior is manifesting itself in a certain way”.

    For Ali, this is not science-based-- it’s more feelings-based.

    It’s an opportunity to check in with yourself.

    For example, it’s an opportunity to explore whether something, like yoga, is a good fit for you right now.

    Maybe you’ve been telling yourself the story that it is a good fit for you, but maybe it actually isn’t.

    On the other hand, for Robyn, this is science and feelings-based.

    When we are presented with a task, situation, or stimuli, the neural pathways in our brain respond automatically.

    And that automatic response doesn’t mean it’s the only option, it’s just the way we’ve practiced responding.

    The way to change it is to become aware of the response and give yourself other options.

    On rerecording to tell a new story:

    This last year, one of the things Ali saw when she challenged others with this idea was that a lot of people noticing that the stories they were telling were telling themselves were really negative

    Taking a step back: growing up, Ali’s dad was a hard person to live with.

    Over the years, she’s had many conversations with her mom about the tapes that play in our head, and her mom has mentioned the idea of rerecording the tapes that you are telling yourself.

    “If you listen to that voice inside your head, what is that voice telling you? Whether it’s telling you negative things, things about your self-worth, or… negative things [others have] said… how could you rerecord the tapes that you're hearing in your head?”

    And that stuck with Ali in terms of pausing to recognize what the tapes are, which are repeating in her head.

    Rerecording those tapes is the same idea as checking in with yourself, because it’s possible that you need to tell yourself a new story.

    The idea behind Ali’s One Little Word class is to provide simple, creative prompts to just get people thinking; she’s not providing a solution.

    Asking these questions can be hard and scary because a lot of people do tell themselves negative stories that are getting repeated over and over again.

    Once you give yourself the space to actually listen to the stories and evaluate, “is this true”, then you can start telling yourself a new story or you can be rerecording a new tape about who you really are or what you really want to do

    “The things that are challenging to us can also be the most beautiful parts of our story”.

    For Robyn, the struggle comes from being raised by a dad who was a professor, and having gone into academics as well.

    When you’re writing professionally, especially in the research world, you don’t tell a story or fluff it up-- you get to the point and get out of there.

    If you’re going on and on in the scientific, quantitative world, that’s not real.

    It’s only real if you can quantify it, which is part of her bias.

    But also in Robyn’s family, growing up, if you couldn’t get to the point fast enough you’d get shouted down.

    And for Ali, that says a lot about how the word “story” can be viewed.

    In this case, “story” can be interpreted as meandering and fluffy, versus Ali’s experience, in that a story is what’s real.

    “Story is what’s real. Story is what you see in front of you right now. Story is what’s happening to you and the way you’re responding to things”.

    And over the years, Ali has learned that stories come in so many different formats.

    Sometimes, she tells stories that are just a list of things; story can be a list of five things you love about your life right now.

    Letting go of thinking it has to look a certain way, that it has to have a beginning, middle and end, or it has to sound a certain way.

    A lot of people get stuck in this writing, related to memory-keeping, thinking that it has to fit within a certain structure.

    We have a lot of rules in our minds that get us stuck: you have to be a good writer, a good photographer, you have to know how it ends, or what the greater meaning behind it is.

    And not all stories are even ready to be told at any given time.

    For Ali, some of the harder stories need time for her to process a little before she’s ready to tell it.

    On storytelling + how to get into these practices:

    First, notice. Pay attention.

    If you’ve seen Jerry Seinfeld's, Comedians Getting Coffee in Cars, you’ve probably heard a little about the comedic process, part of which is noticing the things that are so part of life that they become invisible.

    By pointing them out, it becomes funny.

    Ali talks about the little stories that are present in her home, and paying attention to those.

    Like when there are no kids at home, and she notices that even the laundry room is clean (which never happens with five kids!)-- that’s a story she tells.

    A lot of the ideas from positive psychology and neuroplasticity (changing your brain to be more resilient, be more optimistic, have more well-being), are around rewiring your brain to see gratitude in your everyday life.

    Our brains are wired to see threats, the opposite of what’s good, and the way to change our brain is to start noticing those things.

    But for Robyn, the tactics often given for gratitude, like keeping a journal, are centered around trying noticing things.

    But this storytelling lens feels so much more natural and organic.

    By practicing through scrapbook or storytelling, you’re able to see those stories in a more natural light.

    This just gives it more format and structure.

    Another one of these practices that Ali does, about three or four times a year, is called “Day in the Life”.

    For this, she encourages people to take pictures, for example, every hour of whatever it is that they’re doing.

    With her current take, she’s doing this practice through the lens of gratitude.

    Throughout the course of her day, she’s identifying and documenting 10 things that she’s grateful for on Instagram.

    “It’s the practice of looking for the things that are good, looking for the things that you’re thankful for, even the very basic things”

    On “A Day in the Life”:

    One of the things Ali likes to do in memory-keeping is have projects with a beginning and an end.

    And the stories she treasures the most are the everyday, basic ones.

    She’s found that people are more likely to participate when there is structure, so that might be taking a picture every hour, wherever you are.

    “What’s happening in the life that you’re living right now, and what’s real?”

    From a practical standpoint, Ali has resources to print the pictures, jot down the journey on cards, and stick them in an album, but it can also just be documenting your journey on Instagram.

    The goal is to document what’s real right now, what one day in your life looks like.

    Then, it allows you to go back in time and compare how your life today, compares to your life at another point in time.

    To see how you’ve grown, how things have evolved, what lessons you’ve learned.

    Having this practice has helped Ali build resiliency and make sense of the harder times, like going through a divorce.

    On “One Little Word”:

    This practice started as an alternative to resolutions.

    The idea to choose one word to focus on for the calendar year is really the heart of it.

    Each year, Ali sits with herself and thinks about her intentions for the coming year, what she wants to focus on, be curious about, or investigate more.

    This year, Ali’s word was “space”.

    She wanted to investigate questions about the physical space she lives in and the physical space her body takes up.

    One year she focused on “light”, and another was “open”.

    She uses it as an opportunity to look up quotes and tell stories themed around that word to figure out what happens if she spends a year focusing on that one little word.

    Ali leads a class along with the practice with monthly prompts to make it easy to return to the word, rather than making a resolution and forgetting about it.

    About a year ago, we had a Feel Good Effect episode on goal flipping.

    Instead of being 100% goal-focused and you’re either meeting the goal or not, you can flip it to focus on process and just doing it more than you don’t.

    There’s such pressure to change everything and make a massive New Year’s resolution, but in this way, we can flip it so there’s not so much failure in the immediate future.

    Really, it’s just an ongoing process.

    This practice allows you to root yourself into a word for the year and come back to it as a focal point for what you’re working on this year.

    This is a perfect example of simple steps to becoming more intentional.

    Another common theme on the Feel Good Effect is self-improvement versus self-acceptance, and how it tends to be framed like you can only have one or the other.

    However, you can go into a New Year (or a new day), and want to grow but also not feel like you’re failing.

    For 2019, Ali’s word is going to be “habit”.

    When she picked it, she was thinking her practice would be focused only on movement above everything else.

    Now, she still wants to investigate it and see what it would look like to put that above everything else, but she also wants to be curious about her habits in general.

    How you can pick one little word:

    1 | Pay attention to things that keep coming up for you.

    “Listen to your life”.

    Listen to your life for the next couple weeks and see what comes up, a path you want to walk down or an intention you want to focus on.

    There’s never a perfect word, they’re just words to give us an opportunity to learn something about ourselves.

    2 | Pick a word that you can connect with and learn about.

    Pick a word that relates to something you want to invite into your life-- maybe you want to invite more joy, peace, slowness, or calm.

    You can participate in this workshop by just listening, you don’t have to take pictures or scrapbook.

    In fact, there is a vibrant Facebook community that not everyone scrapbooks in.

    With the class membership, are prompts and activities, and this year is an added journal piece with space for monthly intentions, reflections, and an additional monthly activity.

    But you can even just have personal check-ins using your phone camera-- it doesn’t have to be a big project.

    It’s just about adding some intentionality and incrementality.

    On what it means to be healthy:

    Ali is struggling with what it means to be healthy right now; her mental health feels good, but she’s not sure about other aspects.

    So, we aren’t wrapping up this episode with a bow, because this is what’s real.

    Sometimes in wellness, we proceed as if there is a definitive answer about what it means to be healthy.

    But, it’s okay to be right where you are and not know.

    Listen now!

    One Little Word with Ali Edwards, an episode of the Feel Good Effect podcast. Ali Edwards is an expert in that very special place where stories, images, and words about life intersect. In this episode, Ali talks about how to tell stories in a way that promotes growth, by challenging the ways we tell ourselves stories. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast #onelittleword #resolution #newyearsresolution

    Guest Info

    Ali Edwards' passion resides in that very special place where the stories and images of life intersect.

    Designer, blogger, workshop instructor, and author of four books about memory keeping, Ali is well known for authentically capturing everyday life with photos and words and creating memory keeping projects from those moments that pass by in an instant.

    Guided by simple principles such as not making things more complicated than they need to be, focusing on the things that matter most and embracing imperfection, Ali Edwards is proud to be a work in progress.

    She believes without a doubt that there's no right or wrong way to do all this, that the real stories are worth telling, and there's a whole lot of celebrating to do even in the midst of the challenging pieces of life.

    Since 2004, Ali Edwards blog, workshops and memory keeping projects have inspired tens of thousands of people to share their own stories and enrich their own lives through the process.

    Ali lives in Eugene, Oregon with her two children and their cat George Washington.

    Show the Feel Good Effect Love

    If you loved today’s episode be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts so we can keep bringing you more content like this! Share the show on Instagram, tagging @realfoodwholelife so we can connect and I can highlight you on my feed.

    1. Share it via FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter

    2. Leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings and reviews help more people find the show!

    3. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

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    69 Eat What You Love with Danielle Walker

    Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

    Today we are talking with New York Times bestselling author and beloved food blogger, Danielle Walker about her latest book and eating what you love.

    Eat What You Love, with Danielle Walker, and episodes from the Feel Good Effect Podcast. Listen for more on the process of creating recipes and cookbooks that people can trust, the challenges of being in the public light, and Danielle’s movement away from the Against All Grain brand and more towards herself. #feelgoodeffect #podcast #episode #wellnesspodcast #healthyeating #balance

    Food, Hope & Eating What You Love, with Danielle Walker

    Listen for more on the process of creating recipes and cookbooks that people can trust, the challenges of being in the public light, and Danielle’s movement away from the Against All Grain brand and more towards herself.

    Scroll down to listen


    Today we are talking with New York Time bestselling author and beloved food blogger, Danielle Walker.

    Danielle is the beloved author of three New York Times bestselling cookbooks: Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple, and Celebrations (and I’m sure the soon to be bestselling author of a fourth- she just came out with the brand new book, Eat What You Love)

    We are going to talk all about the book, process, and story behind it in this interview.

    She’s also the voice behind one of the most popular, grain-free, paleo blogs, Against All Grain.

    Danielle’s story starts with an autoimmune disease diagnosis, suffering for many years, feeling like it was incurable, and then finding health through dietary changes.

    On Danielle’s diagnosis and journey:

    Danielle has such an amazing body of work and an incredible story.

    Going back to around 2007, shortly after she got married, something happened that changed the trajectory of her life.

    Danielle was newly married and had just graduated from college when she started having digestive problems that seemed to have appeared overnight.

    Originally she chalked it up to wedding jitters and stress related to graduating, but when it didn’t get better after a couple of months, she ended up in the ER.

    After seeing a handful of specialists in the San Francisco area, she was ultimately diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Ulcerative Colitis.

    That was what really changed her life and set her path for the last 11 years.

    Her doctors told her that while this disease is incurable and lifelong, there are medications that would help her live a normal, healthy life.

    However, she didn’t have any resources, knowledge of medication side effects, or even know what this disease would look like for her.

    Nor was it mentioned that Ulcerative Colitis was an autoimmune disease; Danielle had no idea that her immune system was wrongly attacking her body.

    Over the last 11 years, so much more research has come about and, with the help of a growing social media presence, the autoimmune community has come together more.

    At that time, a lot of what Danielle learned came from medical chat boards, where people shared their experiences with autoimmune diseases and provided resources, which lead her to more reputable sources as well.

    Now, there are a lot of doctors starting to look into diet and lifestyle changes as treatment options, but Danielle believes that when she was first diagnosed, that just hadn’t become a popular idea yet.

    When you’re ill, you’re not always in the position to be your own advocate, but somehow Danielle navigated it for years.

    It was very isolating; she tried to find as many resources as she could and connect with people.

    Danielle started finding some information online about how diet might be able to help.

    She had asked the doctors when she was first diagnosed if there was anything she could do dietary-wise, if there was something she was deficient in, or if there was something she was eating too much of that might be causing this.

    But each doctor she saw was confident that diet doesn’t help, cause, or cure it.

    It started just as a question without anything to back it, but after seeing some people on the chat boards say they were trying different diets, she started to look into it more.

    It was a slow transition; she first went gluten-free, and then cut out anything that was white (like white sugar, white rice and white flour, those things that just felt overly processed)

    She also went through a whole grain phase and then ended up following something called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which is similar to GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome- a diet focusing on removing hard to digest foods).

    SCD was specifically written for Crohn's, Colitis, Celiac, and Autism, and it felt like it was the most direct for what she was dealing with.

    After doing it for a while, she saw improvement- just not at the level that she had hoped to find.

    Danielle realized that the basis of it was anti-inflammatory, focusing on healing your gut, and that it was actually beneficial for lots for diseases.

    She saw enough improvement to get pregnant with her son, but she didn’t stick to the diet very strictly and once her son was about nine months old, there was another flare up of her symptoms.

    She has continued to have ups and downs over the last 11 years (thankfully more ups than downs!).

    In her books, Danielle shares photos of herself during these downs.

    They powerfully show how hard it is to have a child who is completely dependent on you, but not be able to care for them in the way that you want.

    On her turning point:

    That was her turning point: when she didn’t commit 100% and her symptoms flared up with a nine month old son, it just got so bad and so much more real when she had another life depending on her.

    After that, she really committed.

    She was in the hospital for a few weeks and her son wasn’t able to come in and see her.

    Even after that, she was bedridden at home for three months following.

    And she really didn’t know where she was going from there, if it was going to go away, or she would get through it, or end up back in the hospital.

    Her doctors had been talking to her about the possibility of surgery or infusion treatments every six weeks, but she had been putting it off until it became a necessary step in order to be present and care for her child.

    So she was ready and registered for this infusion treatment, but then learned it was a treatment she wouldn’t be able to go off of at any time, even to have another child.

    At that point, she and her husband decided to give diet another try.

    They'd seen it have some effect on her, but if she really really stuck to it, what would that do?

    While it seemed scary, it was just food.

    Worst case scenario: she’d try it for 30 days and if it wasn’t enough, that’s when she’d try the recommended medicine.

    So although she didn’t know where she was going, and did have to get a life-saving blood transfusion, she refused steroid treatment during that hospital stay.

    As soon as she had the strength to get in the car and drive, she started working with a naturopath, did an elimination diet and that was another big turning point for her.

    After cutting out all those things and really sticking to it, even after 48 hours Danielle saw a huge improvement in her symptoms

    “Food is powerful but when I say ‘it’s just food’ I’m just saying it’s just food with no extra cost or no side effects… it’s simple”

    And it’s not creating permanent damage to her body like other treatments, surgery and steroids, would.

    What she was eating was food in its simplest form, unprocessed, unchanged.

    On recipe development:

    Before Danielle had her son, she had started playing around with recipes, and actually started a blog, which was just dormant for about a year after that.

    Once she got the strength back was when she got back into the kitchen.

    “I always had this fear that I wouldn't ever be able to enjoy food again”.

    In college she started getting into food and loved the aspect of trying different cuisines, watching the food network, but that point after being sick and getting better was when she got really excited.

    Initially, recipe developing came out of a place of necessity; there wasn’t a lot out there and she didn’t love the recipes that had been shared.

    It came from wanting to enjoy her son’s childhood and be able to do some of the things she remembers doing with her mom and grandma- simple things like being able to bake cookies on the weekend.

    And wanting him to be able to enjoy these things and eat in a similar way as her.

    It started just as trial and error testing different recipes, family recipes or favorites from her Ina Garten cookbooks.

    She would write down the recipes and then figure out what the best substitute would be for the ingredients she couldn’t have.

    There were a lot of flops at the beginning, but over time she started to really learn the ingredients and what amounts she could substitute in here and there.

    “It was kind of like a science lab in my kitchen for a while”

    It was a lot of trial and error and a lot of fun.

    She likes to say that she was the first to start combining flours in the grain-free world.

    She took a tip from gluten-free recipes out there, which often use gluten-free flour blends, combining a handful of different things like rice flour, starches, and xanthan gum, because they all have different properties.

    A lot of Danielle’s early recipes were solely almond flour.

    They were fine, but she found when she combined it with coconut flour, it supplemented where almond flour wasn’t enough (adding coconut flour helped absorb the excess moisture and hold up a recipe in the middle).

    With food, people might not recognize how innovative it can actually be and how much work goes into recipe creation.

    On how her process has evolved:

    With multiple cookbooks and thousands of recipes by now, it’s gotten a lot easier.

    With so many recipes developed now, Danielle can go back to a favorite cookie recipe, for example, and make some changes for a totally new recipe; she doesn’t have nearly as many failures anymore, unless she’s trying something completely new.

    Where it used to take her about 20 tries to get a new recipe developed, she is familiar enough with the ingredients now that she can get in and get a recipe nearly ready in half a dozen tries.

    Each recipe still goes through two or three testings by Danielle and her team and at least one by an outside person before she shares it with the world.

    It’s a process similar to Ina Garten’s cookbooks, where we see familiar dishes and comfort foods that we want to eat, but she’s a scientist and each of her recipes go through a process of testing.

    There’s pressure, now, to get content out on the internet, which makes it really hard to test something more than once.

    But Danielle knows that people are trusting her and buying the ingredients, and that’s important to her.

    Ina goes even further: after she creates a recipe, she sits at her counter and watches somebody make it silently, without giving any tips, to see exactly how they’re going to read the recipe.

    Afterwards, she’ll go back to her recipe and notice where wording needs to be changed to help convey her ideas to people reading her recipes.

    Danielle keeps that idea in mind when developing recipes so that her readers can trust, when buying her books, there aren’t going to be a dozen recipes that flop.

    “People have the trust that you’re giving them something they can use, and that is going to work, and it’s going to turn out for them”.

    Cookbooks are actually the only type of book that are doing better than the e-book version still; they’re beautiful, people like to have them out in front of them on the counter, there’s something nostalgic about flipping through a cookbook, and the screen doesn’t turn off when you’re hands are dirty.

    Robyn loves her cookbooks, too.

    The ones that she keeps, her most treasured ones, she writes in and they have stories about what she ate, what she liked about them, and what she changed.

    Being able to combine really beautiful, incredibly delicious recipes with a person and their story is something that cooking magazines simply don’t have, but that brands like Danielle’s does.

    On deciding what to share in the public light:

    It’s a constant process, but the first thing Danielle asks herself is usually: “will sharing this hurt me or make things worse?” and “will it help people?”

    If there is a glimmer of hope that sharing something personal could help or speak to a few people, then she usually shares it (with filters to maintain some privacy).

    What she shares might be personal but not necessarily intimate.

    “There’s a difference between being vulnerable and putting things out there into the world and trying to help people, and also saving some of those more intimate moments for yourself”.

    She also tries to share things in a way that aren’t going to invite a lot of opinion.

    Sometimes, though, she’ll fall into the trap on instagram stories where people don’t always realize that she’s tried everything under the sun before she shares, and that’s when she gets a lot of feedback from people who don’t know the history behind the story, though they mean well.

    Danielle shares personal aspects of her life that aren’t necessarily ending, in ways that help provide support of other people, like her journey with her disease and the loss of a pregnancy.

    It’s easy to say “this happened and it’s over”, but she’s very real and shares her ongoing struggles, although she feels like she may be letting some people down.

    “Is there something I can share that can help people… [through what] I’ve learned through my suffering and my experience that can roll off onto somebody else and potentially change their path?”

    On her newest book, “Danielle Walker’s Eat What You Love”:

    The difference between this book and Danielle’s previous books has been a long in place strategy.

    When she first started her blog, Against All Grain, Danielle loved the name because it was the diet she lived by, cutting out all grains, and she was going against the grain in what she was doing in the way she was eating and handling her medical condition.

    The brand has since grown to recipes beyond grain-free, an inspirational platform, and lifestyle resource in how she lives and parents.

    “It’s been a long term plan to eventually drop the Against All Grain brand and just move towards myself”.

    The book is the first part of this transition, although there are a lot of moving pieces.

    Her Instagram handle recently changed to @daniellewalker, her site will change shortly to; all in moving away from being the Against All Grain girl to Danielle.

    A lot of what she’s done in her career has been step by step and opening doors as they came.

    But a lot of it was also calculated from watching people that have gone before her in the non-niche, bigger brands, and watching their progression to see how they’re evolved their brand to be more about them, their personality, and what they have to offer as a person.

    After writing her first couple of cookbooks, Danielle was getting feedback from readers that they didn’t all eat grain-free all the time.

    She didn’t want to detour people who weren’t against all grain from using these recipes

    “They’re just quality recipes that I think anyone can enjoy regardless of their diet”

    She wants everyone to enjoy these recipes without the brand name steering people away because it may not fit in what they do diet-wise.

    On food + hope:

    Looking back, Danielle feels that her work has been about both food and hope.

    The reason she wrote Celebrations and Eat What You Love is because there are so many memories tied to food from growing up and being with family.

    Food is at the center of a lot of these memories for a lot of people.

    For Danielle, when she thought that she couldn’t ever have those foods again, she started to lose hope that she would be able to have those memories still or those connections that she has over the table or around food.

    “I think creating those recipes offers hope to people and… sharing my story about my journey can also offer hope”.

    Eat What You Love went on shelves nationwide December 4th, 2018 so media interviews and book tours are in Danielle’s immediate future.

    It’s not your standard book tour, though- Danielle wanted this to be an experience for people, combining a party, cooking demo, and book tour all in one.

    She’ll be visiting 13 cities across the country (see if she’ll be in a city near you, here!)

    She’s sold out in half of the cities, but some tickets are still available on her website.

    Danielle has also been working on her new web series out called, Feeding Friendships.

    In the future, it may become a bigger show, but for now, it’s free to access and enjoy regardless of where it goes.

    Check out season one here!

    On what it means to be healthy:

    “My definition [on what it means to be healthy] is ever evolving as I continue to learn, but I think it’s just so many different facets.

    Mental health is huge… self-care, eating, nourishing your body in the best way that your body responds to… having healthy boundaries in relationships.

    I look at it kind of like a spiderweb: there are so many different threads that create a healthy person”

    Listen now!

    Eat What You Love, with Danielle Walker, and episodes from the Feel Good Effect Podcast. Listen for more on the process of creating recipes and cookbooks that people can trust, the challenges of being in the public light, and Danielle’s movement away from the Against All Grain brand and more towards herself. #feelgoodeffect #podcast #episode #wellnesspodcast #healthyeating #balance

    Guest Bio

    Danielle Walker is the beloved author of three New York Times best-selling cookbooks--Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple, and Celebrations--and the voice behind one of the most popular grain-free blogs on the Internet, After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and suffering for many years, Danielle found health through dietary changes. She has become a beacon of hope in the autoimmune world, and has been a leader in the Paleo and gluten-free movement for nearly 10 years. Danielle has appeared on the TODAY Show, The Doctors, Fox News, Access Hollywood, Home&Family, and many other syndicated shows, Her work has been featured in People, O Magazine, USA Today, Shape, Women's Health, Parents, Fitness, and more. She is also a frequent contributor to

    Show the Feel Good Effect Love

    If you loved today’s episode be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts so we can keep bringing you more content like this! Share the show on Instagram, tagging @realfoodwholelife so we can connect and I can highlight you on my feed.

    1. Share it via FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter

    2. Leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings and reviews help more people find the show!

    3. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

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    68 How to Prioritize When Everything's Important

    Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige Reohr2 Comments

    Have you ever stared at that never ending to do list and felt completely overwhelmed, not knowing what to prioritize or where to start?

    If so, this episode is for you.

    How to Prioritize When Everything's Important, and episode from the Feel Good Effect all about how to pull meaning out of all the noise. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast

    How to Prioritize When Everything's Important

    This episode of the Feel Good Effect is all about how to prioritize when everything seems important and how to pull meaning out of all the noise.

    I’m going to share a simple strategy that will help you find Purpose and Process in your to-do list.

    Read on to learn more, or scroll to the bottom to listen to the show here or on Apple Podcasts.

    Grab the free cheatsheet!

    Grab the Cheatsheet!

    Downlaod the free cheatsheet to help you simplify prioritization.

      No spam, just love headed your way.


      This episode is about how to prioritize when everything seems important.

      In this episode, I’m going to share one simple strategy that will change how you prioritize forever.

      I’ve created a cheatsheet (that you can download here) with this simple strategy laid out for you so that you can come back to it again and again after you’ve listened to this episode.

      On making a meaningful story:

      In my spare time lately, I've become absolutely obsessed with storytelling, nerding out on how to be a better storyteller and the role that stories play in our lives.

      And of course I've been spending time listening to and really diving into the work of Ira Glass (if you don’t know who he is, Ira Glass is the longtime producer of This American Life, which is one of the quintessential narrative, journalistic podcasts on NPR)

      If you haven't heard This American Life, it’s a one hour show that really dives into one theme, telling three to four different stories that end up linking back to this theme.

      For these stories, they go talk to people and then condense all of the interviews down into short stories that fit into one hour.

      Every time I listen to the show I am blown away by, not just the stories themselves, but how they tie into a single theme, get you to think and feel, and just have this power, meaning and, intention.

      And I just became so curious to better understand how they make this show.

      It seems so effortless and it seems to go together so seamlessly, but I think we all know that when something seems effortless, there's a lot of intention and work that actually goes into it.

      So, I’ve downloaded every interview podcast with Ira Glass, I bought a couple of books, and I just went really deep into how they make the show.

      And something that may surprise you if you aren’t a behind the scenes producer of media content, is just how many hours and hours of footage they collect that ends up making one very short story.

      They have an idea for a show and a story they want to tell, so they go out into the field and they do hours and hours of interviews, it could be over 20 hours of interviews, and then they come back to the studio and start to piece together the show.

      And that means editing; it means taking all of this seemingly important information and distilling it down to a story that has meaning.

      (Which essentially means cutting 95-98% of everything they collected).

      And this active distilling down, of finding the essence, of drawing meaning out of all of this noise, really makes the show what it is.

      If they decided that all of it was important and it all needed to be included to provide as much information as possible, their radio show would end up being 20-30 hours long and you'd miss what was really important because you were distracted by all the noise.

      It's a painstaking process, going through, editing, pulling out the essential, and pulling out what really has purpose.

      It takes effort and it takes intention, but the final product is so meaningful and so much better.

      At the same time, I’ve been thinking about storytelling, editing, how to focus, and how to tell the most important information (or distill out the most important information).

      I’ve been having this ongoing wrestling match with my do-to list, and let me tell you, I love a good do-to list.

      I will sometimes add things to my to-do list, just so that I can cross them off.

      (Especially on a day when I’m having trouble getting going, there is that satisfaction of checking a box or marking something off, feeling a little bit of momentum).

      But what I was finding is that my to-do list was crippling me because I never got anywhere near through it.

      I would start the day with a very ambitious list, which would include not just the things that I needed to do for work, but also the things that I needed to do to take care of myself, my wellbeing, my health, and my family.

      We talked about those three m’s (meals, mind, movement) and with it all, it just go so out of control and overwhelming

      The interesting thing about creating this very ambitious, well-intentioned to-do list, is that they all matter, but by creating this sense of never-ending, I wasn’t doing anything.

      I was getting paralyzed by feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start.

      Often, I would look back at the day and just feel no sense of satisfaction and like I hadn’t made any progress, and it was frustrating.

      What was worse was that at the end of the week, I’d look back and think: Was that really where I wanted to spend my time? Is that what I feel is important in my life? Is that the kind of life I want to create?

      And often the answer was no, because I could look at places where I was spending time where it really wasn’t that important, even though it had felt important at the time.

      So, as I obsess about storytelling, productivity, and ways to make it more meaningful, I had this aha-moment thinking about the editing of that show- how they took 20 hours of information that was probably interesting and important and pulled out the essential parts to make something with real meaning and real impact.

      I felt like I could probably do that with my to-do list as well.

      All of the things seem important, and on their own they probably are, but I am certain there are some that have more meaning, that are more purposeful, and that ultimately get me where I want to go more than others.

      I realized that there had to be a better way.

      On refining my to-do list:

      So I took some time out to ask: How do we come up with a way to decide what actually matters? How do we come up a way to prioritize, when everything seems so important?

      So I went back to this tool that I’ve used in the past, called the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, which sounds far more complicated than it actually is, based on this quote from President Eisenhower:

      “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important” - D. Eisenhower

      So Stephen Covey took this quote in one of his books, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and turned it into a matrix.

      Imagine a box with four smaller boxes inside: along the top is “Urgent” and “Not Urgent”, and along the side is “Important” and “Not Important”; that’s the Eisenhower Decision Matrix.

      Ultimately, it helps you prioritize.

      You want to focus on things that are Urgent + Important, or maybe Important + Not Urgent, but certainly not Not-Urgent + Not Important.

      This matrix has been around for a long time, a lot of people use it.

      And I think it’s helpful, but when I came back to it I felt like something was really missing.

      Especially when we come back to this idea of being an editor of your life, of finding the story that really matters.

      I think Urgent and Important have a lot to do with efficiency and productivity in the traditional sense, but I feel like it’s really missing that purpose, meaning, and intention in the way that you want to craft your life and focus on what really matters to you.

      So I came up with our own matrix.

      (I don’t even have a title for it yet so maybe you guys can help me name this).

      However, it’s less about the name here, and more about how you can use it to decide to prioritize, to take that never ending to-do list of everything that seems important and pick out the few things that really matter to focus on, and to build a life filled with meaning.

      So, again, imagine a box divided into four smaller boxes, and on one side is “Purpose” and “Without Purpose”, and along the top is “Process” and “Without Process”.

      This magic little box is going to be your best friend to help you refine that to-do list, pull out the things that are actually important so that you can let go of or edit out what isn’t.

      Grab the cheat sheet here.

      On the matrix:


      Let’s start with Purpose, and what does that actually mean.

      When you look at all the things you do in a day, you can ask yourself this simple question: does this have purpose? (to break it down further: does this have intention behind it, meaning there’s a reason that you’re doing it?)

      And you might say, well of course, there’s a reason for everything I do, but really unpack that, is there really?

      And the second question to ask: is this meaningful? (does it have significance to you?)

      And that’s Purpose- if it’s intentional, meaning there is a reason that you’re doing it, and if it’s meaningful, meaning it has significance to you.

      On the flip side, is Without Purpose, which is non-intentional, meaning that there is no clear reason to do it and not meaningful or significant to you.


      And on the other side is Process.

      “Process is really about creating a path or a daily practice toward where you want to be”.

      If you have a goal, if you have intention, if there is some significance, Process has to do with helping you get there.

      It’s doing a little something everyday, getting out of all-or-nothing, and really focusing on the daily practice of whatever it is that you're trying to do.

      Something with Process is something helping you create a path toward where you want to be, maybe that’s a goal, or a way you want to feel, or the life you want to create.

      And also its aligned with a daily practice- something that you’re able to do more than you’re not.

      Without Process, on the other hand, leads nowhere.

      Again, you might think, well nothing on my list leads nowhere, but there probably are so many things and so many ways that you spend time that aren’t leading anywhere.

      And that can be fine, we all have ways that we want to decompress, but there are probably also things on that list that aren’t leading anywhere or that are all-or-nothing, something that you’re going big on that you know you can’t sustain or keep the momentum going.

      You can use this matrix to run your own editing process

      Using the Purpose + Process Matrix:

      One of the questions I get a lot from clients, Feel Good Effect listeners, and the Real Food Whole Life community, is: how do I prioritize the three m’s, meals, movement and mind, when there are not enough hours in the day to do it all?

      I know how important they all are, I know how important eating well is and how important moving my body is and maybe meditating or journaling, but when I look at my schedule, I know it is not realistic to do all of the things all of the time.

      The big takeaway message here it that regardless of how you fill out the matrix, you can have more by doing less.

      Truly, you can manage and balance the three m’s and have a well life without doing all the things all the time.

      Let’s say that’s your struggle right now: you want to focus on your mind, and add movement, and focus on meals, but you already feel so overextended.

      Let’s start with Purpose questions.

      Let’s say you want to add meditation into your schedule- I’d start by asking Purpose questions: Whats the intention? What do you want to get out of meditating?

      My guess is that it’s not really about the habit, it’s about what you hope to get out of it.

      Maybe you hope to feel calmer or more focused

      And even further: What's the meaning? Why is that significant to you?

      “There’s always a why behind the why”

      Maybe the significance of feeling calmer or more focused is so that you can be more present with your friends and family, or have a better sense of well being

      And then let’s talk about Process.

      Often times, we are able to identify meaning and intention, but when it comes to Process and what we're going to do everyday, things kind of fall apart.

      We lose sight of how that is even going to happen.

      So first, I like to think of the Purpose box, the intention behind the “what” and the intention behind the “why”.

      And when we come to Process, which is really the intention behind the “how”: How is this even going to happen?

      Going back to the meditation example: Do you have any kind of process? Do you have a way that you’re going to be able to do this more days than not? Will that really lead you to where you want to be?

      I think there is a lot of talk about adding intention to our lives, which is great, but I think where we miss the boat sometimes is forgetting to talk about this idea of Process.

      “We can have great intention.. But if we don’t have a way to get from where we are to where we want to be in a realistic way, then we know things kind of fall apart”

      This is a time to be really honest with yourself about what you can do in this season of your life.

      Am I approaching this by being incremental and making small baby steps or am I approaching this with all-or-nothing?

      This is where we get tripped up so often.

      The pull toward all-or-nothing is so strong, it’s the way our brains are wired and the messages we get from media underlying our culture.

      We make up these rules that don't exist, but we tell ourselves it has to be.

      This is where the “should’s” show up, where perfectionism shows up, where comparison happens, where we say it has to look a certain way or it doesn't count.

      So for you, you may think meditation has to happen every day and it has to be 20 minutes.

      If that consistently is not happening but it keeps showing up on your list, you know that you have purpose there but you don't have process.

      And if you want your goal to show up in the Purpose + Process box, and that’s the box you’re going to prioritize, how do you tweak that process so it actually fits in your life?

      How do you let go of perfectionism, all-or-nothing, and comparison, and say: What does this look like for me in my real life right now? How can I do this more days than I don’t without completely overwhelming myself?

      You keep asking yourself these questions until you move your goal out of Without Process, into Process, and you end up with something that is meaningful, intentional and that can actually happen in your life.

      And we can do that with all the things.

      If meal planning is on your list of to-dos but it seems to not happen or it’s completely overwhelming you, then you go back to those questions of purpose: Why does this matter? Why is this significant to me?

      If you can find some really good meaning there, some intention, then absolutely it goes in the Purpose box.

      But then let’s move over to process.

      Do you have expectations that maybe aren’t totally realistic right now, or you just haven’t found a system or a process that works for you?

      The fun thing is that you can workshop these boxes.

      I would start by workshopping your Purpose + Without Process box; anything with Purpose + Process I’m guessing you’re already doing, but you can definitely start there too .

      If you have crossover with Purpose + Process, then that’s what you should prioritize.

      Instead of trying to do 90 things in a day, try to focus on three things with Purpose + Process, just three.

      And when those get done, you can kind of pick up some of the other things that have been left off.

      “You don’t have to do everything, because the things that you’re doing are going to matter, they’re going to have meaning, and they’re going to move you to where you want to go”.

      And if there are items on your to-do list that you feel are important but haven’t made their way into the Purpose + Process box, then start workshopping that.

      If it’s Purpose + Without Process, how do you break it down, take more baby steps, make it more incremental, make it smaller so that you’re actually able to do it on a regular basis?

      Here’s the thing, this takes a little work, practice, and coming back again and again.

      The more I’ve used this, the more it’s changed, not only how I feel at the end of my to-do list, but at the end of my day, the end of my week, and has just brought me clarity and focus.

      And it’s not perfect, there are still days where I find myself adding more and more to my list, but I just have to come back and really ask those questions.

      “If I do the things that matter, the things that have process, I can have more by doing less”

      We’re going into December, where lists can get really long, so this is the perfect opportunity to practice.

      As we go into January, this will be a great jumping off point.

      Grab the cheat sheet to practice, and share with me how you’re taking this information and putting it into your lives.

      Listen Now

      Show the Feel Good Effect Love

      If you loved today’s episode be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts so we can keep bringing you more content like this! Share the show on Instagram, tagging @realfoodwholelife so we can connect and I can highlight you on my feed.

      1. Share it via FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter

      2. Leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings and reviews help more people find the show!

      3. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

      pin this episode to listen later!

      How to Prioritize When Everything's Important, and episode from the Feel Good Effect all about how to pull meaning out of all the noise. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast  #wellness #wellnesspodcast  #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast

      67 How to Design Gatherings That Matter, with Priya Parker.

      Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige Reohr2 Comments

      This conversation with Priya Parker, founder of Thrive Labs and author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters, is about how to infuse intention and connection into all of our gathering opportunities.

      How to Design Gatherings that Matter, a conversation with Priya Parker on the Feel Good Effect Podcast. This episode is about how to infuse intention and connection into all of our gathering opportunities. #feelgoodeffect #podcastepisode #wellnesspodcast #priyaparker #spiralsupper #wellness #selfcare

      How to Design Gatherings That Matter, with Priya Parker

      In this episode, Priya talks about the idea of code switching, what that does at an individual level and how it led her to group conflict resolution, and about how we can host or guest gatherings in ways that foster self-care with some tactical tips and questions to reflect on.

      Scroll down to listen


      Today we are talking about how to design gatherings that matter.

      We all attend and host gatherings all the time, whether it's a work meeting, or hosting a holiday, or just attending a get-together, a shower, or a wedding.

      And this one is all about how to infuse intention and connection into those gathering opportunities.

      On our guest, Priya Parker:

      I’m so glad you’re here for this conversation with Priya Parker all about how to design gatherings that matter.

      Priya is a master-facilitator and the founder of Thrive Labs where she helps activists, elected officials, corporate executives, educators and philanthropists create transformative gatherings.

      She’s trained in the field of conflict resolution and has worked on race relations on American college campuses and on peace processes in the Arab world, southern Africa, and India.

      She studied organizational design at M.I.T., public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and political and social thought at the University of Virginia (she’s legit).

      She’s also the author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters, which is what we’re really going to dive into today.

      I love this conversation because it helps reframe the idea of gatherings or celebrations or parties and gives us some tactical ways to make them more intentional, more meaningful, and more connected.

      Priya also shares a really good idea with us during this episode, and it’s something I want to invite you to be a part of.

      If you tuned in last week, you know we talked about how to avoid the holiday spiral, and I encouraged you to cultivate and intentional season instead.

      Being really intentional and incremental about these last 50-some days in the year so that when you go into January you’re not starting from scratch and you have some grounding and momentum going into the new year.

      In this interview, you’ll hear me talk about this idea of the holiday spiral, and Priya then came up with this idea of the spiral supper.

      I love this idea and I want to do it for myself, but more importantly I want to invite you do it together with me as a community.

      If you’re listening in real time, this is how it's going to go down:

      This Saturday, November 17th, we will host a virtual spiral supper.

      You can participate anywhere you are in the world; you can participate alone or with friends or family.

      It’s going to be a virtual community event we can all do together on the same day and we will keep it very simple but very intentional.

      First, pick a meal.

      This can be something you cook that means something to you, something you cook with someone you love, or it can be takeout from a favorite restaurant- it's not so much what, but why.

      The second part is to actively set an intention for the remainder of 2018.

      And that can be a big intention, but I really think the more specific and incremental it is, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to stick with it.

      Maybe your intention is to be more real, or to connect in a more meaningful way, or to be more present, or to create more white space and more pause.

      Whatever your intention is, I want you to write it down, speak it out loud, and share it with as many people as you can.

      I’ll send reminder details on the Real Food Whole Life newsletter- if you’re not on there, that’s where I share behind the scenes and insider information (you can jump on that at here).

      I’ll also be sharing on social media on Instagram and on the Real Food Whole Life Facebook group.

      On Saturday the 17th, or the next day, Sunday the 18th, I would love for you to share something about the spiral supper.

      That can be the kind of food you eat, the people you share the meal with, and/or your intention.

      Share it on social media so that I can see it and, more importantly, so your community can see it.

      It’s amazing how the actions that we take can influence those around us.

      Use #spiralsupper and tag @realfoodwholelife and @priyaparker.

      On her book, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters:

      Priya was born in Zimbabwe, coming from a mixed family with an Indian mother and a White-American father.

      For the first four or five years of her life, they moved about every six months or a year to different fishing villages because of their work- her mother is an anthropologist and her father a hydrologist.

      For about 10 or 13 years they were each other’s source of adventure.

      They moved back to the U.S. and within a year they divorced, and within two years they had both remarried other people that broadly reflected the worldview from which each of them came.

      Priya’s parents had joint custody, so every two weeks she would go back and forth between her mother’s house, which became an Indian-British, global, vegetarian, new-age, Buddhist/Atheist/Agnostic, higher-income family, and her father’s house only a mile away, which was a White, American, evangelical Christian, conservative, meat eating, multiple dogs, multiple kids, family.

      And she was fully a part of both families.

      So from very early days, she's been interested in when and why people come together, and when and why people come apart.

      She wrote this book, in part, because in modern life the ways in which we come together and who we come together with has gone into autopilot, which no longer serves us.

      She wrote a book that looks at gathering, not from the perspective of the food that you cook or the way you set the table, but really how we create gatherings in all types of contexts that meaningfully connect people.

      It’s about how to learn to create experiences that are remembered long after they're over, for the things that they make you think about, things they made you feel, the way you were able to connect with someone in ways that perhaps surprised you.

      On being together or apart as one person:

      While there may not be anyone else out there with this exact story, Priya’s story can reflect the idea of going between two worlds or having different sides to yourself, which many people can relate to.

      She is a stand in for a more extreme version of what we all carry.

      Whether it be having Thanksgiving with your inlaws, which includes two different cultures- your nuclear family and your spouse’s nuclear family.

      Whether your own parents came from different religious backgrounds or different parts of the country.

      “We are always culture shifting and code switching we are just not as conscious of it when it’s more subtle”

      Priya’s profession, now, is a group conflict resolution facilitator.

      But she realized that, until college, she was a chameleon- she code switched.

      Priya acted certain ways in each of her parents’ households, though she didn’t notice it happening until her husband pointed it out much later.

      For example, if someone sneezed in her mother’s house, she would say “bless you”, but if someone sneezed in her father’s house, she would say “God bless you”.

      For a long time, survival meant keeping one side quiet.

      For Priya, the biggest conflict between her two homes was religion- in one household there was one correct version of the truth that just didn’t exist in the other.

      It was painful to be a part of one household that believes the other part of her family was going to hell.

      So she separated herself for many years.

      However, in college Priya began thinking about what her own ideas were.

      When she was hosting her wedding, a big gathering in which all of her family from different parts of her life who had seen her in different contexts were all going to be in the same room, she had to figure out what rituals and what values were going to represent her, especially when she couldn’t just tuck away one half of her family for that moment.

      On code switching:

      Code switching: knowing the norms, the vocabulary, the values, and the actual language of a community, and being able to speak in that code.

      For example, in the context of responding to a sneeze in her two households:

      In one context it’s appropriate to say “bless you”, but she wouldn’t imply a God because it’s too religious, yet in the other, the belief is that the only thing that could bless a human is the divine, therefore, God is included in the response.

      Another version of this idea is double consciousness.

      Double consciousness comes from the African-American school of thought, which Langston Hughes wrote a lot about.

      Double consciousness: being able to have your experience as a minority or subgroup and knowing the ways and norms of your group (as simple as knowing how to do your own hair), but also knowing the ways, language, and codes of the majority group (and being able to do their hair).

      If you’re good at code switching, if you’re good at showing up and fitting in, which can be really helpful to you, but also extremely damaging to your soul.

      And you can’t look at code switching outside the context of power.

      When one is code switching, or hiding a part of oneself because you don’t feel safe were you to show it, that is a damaging situation.

      However, being biracial and bicultural has made Priya extremely successful as a conflict resolution facilitator.

      When groups are in conflict about their identities, she can share experiences of hearing family members repeatedly argue for their side, and she can take on multiple world views.

      “In all things around living well and living in the real life, choice really matters”.

      When she puts on her conflict resolution hat, and she chooses to put on this ability to speak in multiple languages (meaning norms)- that is a healthy form of code switching.

      However, she also remembers feeling embarrassed and afraid as a teenager at a revivalist convention watching an infomercial of Hindu gods being blown up- that is not a healthy form of code switching.

      On self-care:

      Often left out of the self-care conversation is that feeling of safety and being able to show up as you are.

      There are so many places in which you might be in an environment that seems very light and easy going on the surface, but at the end of the day drained you because you didn’t feel safe in who you are and you didn’t have a way to work through it.

      Self-care is also deeply relational.

      “Self-care is… to be able to give us the fuel we need to go back out and dive into the world”

      Part of self-care is that we are relational beings in a relational context and we change the world by changing ourselves but also through relationships changing one another.

      In the context of the holidays, have forms of self-care like making sure you can step away and take a few breaths, but also in the sense of thinking about on what terms you are hosting and/or guesting a gathering.

      Many of the ways and the forms in which we gather, we’ve inherited from other people, and we haven’t stopped to think about what we actually want our gathering to feel like, or what it would look like to put self care at the center of it.

      Can you self-care together?

      Think about any gathering as first asking, what is a need in your life right now that by coming together, other people could help you fulfill?

      In the modern gathering, we no longer think about the purpose of us coming together, and we often just skip over the purpose and inherit the format.

      Before you do anything, consider asking: do I have to do it the way it’s always been, or can I do it differently and what would I want that to look like?

      “Reinventing your gathering format doesn’t have to be this exhausting deeply creative thing. It can be deeply creative, but it can also just be simply detangling the assumptions of what has to go together”.

      On reinventing your gathering this holiday season:

      Don’t skip the purpose. No matter how obvious it may seem, don’t skip the purpose.

      What to ask yourself:

      1 | What is the purpose of this gathering?

      2 | What do I need, or what does my community need this year, that by coming together, we could fulfill?

      3 | Who is this for and what is the simplest way for the format to reflect that?

      We tend to focus a lot of the food and drinks and just allow the social dynamic to be what it is, but chit-chat can be really draining and some structure might help with that.

      One way to implement structure is through an activity that Priya calls “15 Toasts”, which is a way to connect a group together through story.

      First, choose a theme (“finding home”, identity, transition, new year, ritual, giving thanks, etc.)

      Then, invite your guests to, at some point throughout the gathering, stand up, ding their glass, and give a toast to the given theme in the form of a story or experience of something they have lived.

      This allows people to meaningfully connect, but also to give toasts that aren’t just to a person.

      It allows people to toast a value that people can all have different interpretations of, but still unite in a meaningful way.

      We spend so much time hyper focused on the ways that we’re different, that our brains start to just focus on that and we find that we can’t see the ways that we are the same.

      On what creates transformative gatherings:

      Priya interviewed over 100 gatherers in different contexts, all who gather people in extreme ways (in the extreme, you can see the ordinary).

      She interviewed a choreographer for Cirque du Soleil, a dominatrix, a Rabbi, a camp counselor of a Jewish-Arab summer camp, among others, and asked all of them what created transformative gatherings.

      Over and over, two themes came up.

      Transformative gatherings have:

      1 | Some amount of intimacy or vulnerability, of removing the veil.

      2 | Some amount of heat, some amount of risk (such as through vulnerability or by exploring an issue with some amount of taboo in a safe way)

      On making this happen:

      Priya’s advice for those who feel like they’re the only one in the family who thinks that this is a good idea: find allies in the family.

      The gathering begins before it begins; if you bring it up on the fly it is likely to get shot down quickly.

      However, if multiple family members agree that the gathering could be reinvented, they may be more likely to be on board, informally, beforehand.

      “90% of the gathering success happens before anyone walks into the room”.

      And invite with intention.

      Maybe just invite the people who are meaningful to you and invite them with specific intentions to let them know.

      Or maybe have that open call, inviting everyone, to see all the people who you don’t usually see during the year.

      Just know why you’re gathering, and make your invitation as specific and meaningful as possibly, rather than just conveying the logistics.

      Make a there, there.

      Intentionally host, but also intentionally guest.

      Think about, how do I want to show up?

      What does it mean to be pro-social, meaning how do I be mindful of the group?

      On the spiral supper:

      What if you invited just a few people, and had an intention-setting dinner?

      Have a dinner, don’t even do it in the new year, do it before.

      And during that dinner, set intentions and hopes, define your practices, and determine how you’ll keep each other accountable, and then do another one 6 weeks later.

      Self care is relational, so how do you set up self-care so you’re not doing it alone?

      How do I thoughtfully create a focused container, to have meaningful connection with the people that I love?

      “Simplifying isn’t always easy, but it is sometimes so much more gratifying because you get to the essence of what matters”.

      An idea that comes from Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, is that of the trickster and the martyr.

      The martyr might look at something and say, “I have to do this and it’s so hard”, but the trickster might say “how do I make this more joyful?”.

      If you’re thinking about gathering, as a guest or a host, how can you move from a martyr to a trickster?

      How can we not throw out the ritual, but reinvent the ritual in a way that reflects our lives?

      On Priya now:

      She is launching a company around gathering and they are beginning to train people on how to design gatherings that matter at a national level, in both small and big ways.

      Priya is also a part of the Together Live tour, (with other individuals like Cheryl Strayed, Brene Brown, Reese Witherspoon, Abby Wambach, and Glennon Doyle) a group gathering to tell stories around the country from November 3rd-19th.

      Priya and Robyn both ask that you send them examples of how you’re gathering and applying the trickster to your lives by tagging them @realfoodwholelife and @priyaparker.

      “Gather boldly, take one risk this season and think about how you gather, how you guest, and how you host”.

      On what it means to be healthy:

      “In Hindi there is a term called swasthya, which… translates as health, and my grandfather… used to say to me that swasthya, the deeper translated meaning of swasthya is to be seated inside the self”

      Listen Now!

      How to Design Gatherings that Matter, a conversation with Priya Parker on the Feel Good Effect Podcast. This episode is about how to infuse intention and connection into all of our gathering opportunities. #feelgoodeffect #podcastepisode #wellnesspodcast #priyaparker #spiralsupper #wellness #selfcare

      Guest Info

      Priya Parker is a master facilitator and the founder of Thrive Labs, at which she helps activists, elected officials, corporate executives, educators, and philanthropists create transformative gatherings. Trained in the field of conflict resolution, Parker has worked on race relations on American college campuses and on peace processes in the Arab world, southern Africa, and India. She studied organizational design at M.I.T., public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and political and social thought at the University of Virginia. She is the author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters. Find her online at and @PriyaParker on Twitter and Instagram.

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      66 How to Avoid the Holiday Downward Spiral & Cultivate an Intentional Season Instead

      Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

      Instead of getting stuck in the holiday spiral this year, use this time to ditch perfection, comparison, and overwhelm.

      How to Avoid the Holiday Downward Spiral & Cultivate an Intentional Season Instead, a podcast episode from the Feel Good Effect. Instead of getting stuck in the holiday spiral this year, use this time to ditch perfection, comparison, and overwhelm. #feelgoodeffect #podcast #wellness #holidaystress #selfcare #intentional #gentleisthenewperfect

      How to Avoid the Holiday Downward Spiral & Cultivate an Intentional Season Instead

      In this episode, we talk about the different ways the downward holiday spiral comes up in self-talk, we compare two versions of the same holiday weekend, one in the downward spiral and one that is more intentional and incremental, and we talk about specific tactics to use to approach this holiday season intentionally and incrementally.

      Scroll down to listen


      Today we are talking about how to avoid the holiday downward spiral and how to cultivate an intentional season instead.

      Whether you’re someone who feels like they fall off the wagon around this time of year, we’re going to talk about how to flip the script on the whole idea of wagon, as well as some specific, actionable, tactical things you can do to make the most out of the few months we have left in this year.

      I love going to you guys and asking for ideas for shows, and this one came right from our community, both from questions and DM’s from Instagram @realfoodwholelife as well as on the Real Food Whole Life Community Facebook group, which you can join here, or just search and request access.

      I noticed a lot of questions and conversations around how to really make the most of the holiday season instead of turning into this downward spiral where you’re not making intentional choices and then you feel like you’re in a hole going into the new year.

      If this episode really resonates, I would love for you to share it on instagram and tag me @realfoodwholelife, and tell me a couple of ways you’re going to be more intentional and incremental in this holiday season.

      This episode is brought to you by our Wellness Personality Guide that you can grab here.

      If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take the quiz before we go through some updates and it’s gone (as long as you’re on our email list you’ll get the new one!).

      There are so many amazing things coming in 2019, and I don’t want you to miss it!

      And knowing your wellness personality really helps you be intentional and be incremental as we go through the rest of this year, and into the new year.

      On the remainder of this year:

      For many people, this combo of Halloween and the beginning of November is really the official beginning of the holiday season.

      As this show goes live on November 7th, we officially have 54 days left in 2018!

      What I think is so interesting about our perception of time and our whole mindset around the holidays, is that we have 54 days left of the year, we have two full months left, and yet, sometimes we get stuck in this idea of of all-or-nothing, might as well throw in the towel, go crazy for the next two months, and just make up for it in January.

      But if you just take a step back and think about it, 54 days is a lot of days.

      It’s a great opportunity to start making some intentional, incremental changes now, so that when you hit January 1st you don’t feel like you have to start over.

      And that’s really what this whole conversation is about.

      On how the holiday spiral shows up:

      I want to talk about how that holiday spiral shows up by really calling out some of the thoughts we have or the ways that we talk to ourselves as we go through the months of November and December.

      Sometimes that shows up by the voice in your head saying something along the lines of:

      1 | I already blew it, so why not

      2 | I'll start in January

      3 | I deserve to indulge

      4 | It's a tradition

      5 | It's a special occasion

      6 | I don't want to disappoint anyone

      7 | The holidays should be perfect

      8 | Everyone else is living a Christmas story

      The holidays can really provoke feelings of isolation, of loneliness, of anxiety.

      It feels like there’s a never ending to-do list with all of the extra things or like everyone else has somebody and you’re feeling alone.

      It’s a really interesting dichotomy between what we think it should be and what it is in reality.

      First, it’s really knowing and hearing those things that you’re telling yourself so you can become aware of them.

      And then you can flip the script a little bit, and go through these next 54 days with a different perspective and some real tools to make it a better, more fulfilling and intentional experience.

      Two versions of a holiday weekend:

      So, my family has a go-big or go-home mentality about the holidays, and it took me some time to learn to step out of this spiral and make some intentional choices so that I don’t end up feeling like I have to start from scratch in January.

      I want to walk you through two versions of a holiday weekend: one weekend that’s more of a spiral version, and one that’s more intentional and incremental.

      First, is this downward spiral version.

      Let’s take Thanksgiving weekend, for example.

      This is a very real example of something that’s coming up in the next couple of weeks for our family, and many of yours as well.

      Usually I take a half-day on Wednesday to go to the grocery store, and if you are somebody who is responsible for Thanksgiving dinner, then you know what a mistake it is to go to the grocery store in the afternoon the day before.

      It’s very aggressive and people are not in a great mood because they feel stressed and overwhelmed and they have so much to do.

      So, I go to the grocery store, try to battle it out for a parking spot, try to grab everything I need, come home, unpack, spend a couple hours getting things ready, maybe have several glasses of wine because I’m exhausted, tired and overwhelmed.

      And maybe family is home or my sister comes into town but I ignore them because I am focusing on creating a perfect Thanksgiving meal.

      The next morning I get up early, because I have so much to do, so many things to get ready, so much to prepare for, and I don’t workout, I don't get dressed.

      I stay in my pj’s, I cook, I skip breakfast because I have so much to do and I want to save room to indulge during Thanksgiving dinner.

      Noon comes around and I might as well open that bottle of wine because I’m exhausted, tired, and stressed, and people are around me but I’m not able to engage or connect with them because I am so concerned about all the things that need to be done.

      Of course, I skip lunch too because I am going to make the most out of Thanksgiving dinner.  

      And things just kind of devolve from there.

      We sit down to eat and I really overdo it, eating way too much so that I feel sick and stuffed and I can’t even really enjoy all the work that went into it.

      I have dessert, and then I go back for seconds and thirds because it’s Thanksgiving, so why not?

      I go to bed lethargic, super bloated, and exhausted and then here’s what happens: one day out of 365 is not a big deal, but the next morning is where things really start to spiral.

      My family has this tradition of eating pie for breakfast (dad- I blame you!).

      And this is the thing that happens- other people around you have traditions and they want you to indulge and they want you to have fun.

      So the next day when I wake up not feeling great, I just grab a piece of pie instead of starting fresh, because why not?

      And then I have two or three cups of coffee, and I was going to work out this morning because I have the day off, but I’m just not feeling it so I skip that.

      And then lunch rolls around and I’m going to have leftovers, and then dinner rolls around and I don’t feel like cooking so we order takeout, and there’s wine left so let’s just open that.

      We go into the weekend and it’s just a repeat of this with pie for breakfast but then maybe I make my way out to the mall and do some shopping and I might take advantage of the new peppermint mocha, because now it’s Christmas and it’s time to get into Christmas mode, and then we go to lunch, and then we come home and crash on the couch, and I go to bed and I’m exhausted and tired and just don’t feel great.

      You’re holiday might not look anything like that, I just wanted to give it as an example of a way we can start this overall spiral.

      Maybe your holiday involves people in your family who you just don’t get along with so the holiday is just filled with fighting.

      Or maybe you’re someone who is alone right now, so instead of having all that family around, you don’t have a place to celebrate.

      There are so many ways that the holidays can play out and that downward spiral can trigger thoughts like I already blew it so why not?, I’ll start in January, etc.

      Now I want to present you with an alternative, which is an intentional more incremental approach to that same weekend.

      Then we’ll talk about some very tactical things you can do to flip the script, change the way you’re approaching this, and have a different experience for these 54 days.

      Instead of going to the grocery store the afternoon before, I spend some time planning a week ahead, and I go the weekend before early in the morning (early morning the Sunday before Thanksgiving is pretty quiet at the store).

      I take about 20 minutes to plan and get that out of the way, or I take advantage of online ordering, and I have the groceries delivered.

      Either way, I’m not battling the craziness of the grocery store on the day before a holiday.

      And then I get very incremental about prepping for dinner.

      I could prep a couple things Monday evening, I could make the stuffing on Tuesday night, and then Wednesday afternoon maybe spend a couple hours making one or two things but especially inviting my family into the kitchen where we can spend some intentional time prepping food and actually talking to each other.

      The next morning I get up and have a huge glass of water, and I go and move my body.

      The fun thing is that a lot of exercise studios around the country offer early Thanksgiving morning classes, so I’ll go to my yoga studio, or we go do a little run at the Turkey Trot, or we take a rainy day hike.

      I come home and actually have a good breakfast with some protein, fat, and fiber, giving myself the nourishment I need for the day.

      And then I take care of whatever cooking I have left to do and spend some more intentional time with my family, even if that just means hanging out and watching a football game.

      We like to do something called “The Turkey Bowl”, where we have different games going on around the house, like darts in the garage, a few different board games, something like bags or cornhole, and we might change things up but the idea is that we spend time together doing something.

      Then, at Thanksgiving, I get all the things I really love, but I leave all the things I don’t.

      If I’m not a big fan of something, I don’t have it just because it’s Thanksgiving.

      “I just take one moment as I’m creating my plate to say, what do I really want, and how much of it would it take to fulfill me without overdoing it?”

      Same thing when it comes to dessert, I might want to try all the pies so I may take a sliver of each, but I’ll still continue to ask myself, do I still really like this, or am I just eating it because it’s on my plate?

      It can be really tricky, but it’s a great strategy, especially when there are times when you do want to indulge.

      Taste it, and ask, is this really worth it? and if it is, keep going, if it’s not, you have permission to stop.

      So when you wake up the next day, you have the perfect opportunity to reset, and not beat yourself up or feel like you fell off the wagon so you might as well have a whole crazy weekend.

      Just to say I really enjoyed myself this weekend and it was totally worth it.

      Or maybe there were some things that weren’t worth it, but I’m going to have a big glass of water and a big breakfast (that’s not pie- or maybe it is if that’s something that brings you happiness!).

      And maybe I eat leftovers for lunch, or maybe I go back to my normal lunch, because for me, eating multiple days of leftovers is not worth it that I know from the past.

      So maybe I freeze leftovers or I find someone else that wants to eat it, but I’m going to go back to my normal way of eating.

      And then I get moving.

      I go on a long walk with my sister so we can catch up or take advantage of Small Business Saturday as a chance to get a lot of walking in and connect again.

      That was the exact same weekend, with a little more intentionality and a little more of an incremental approach.

      And you can apply this to every single one of the 54 day we have left this year.

      “Every day is a chance for a reset.

      Every meal is a chance for a reset.

      Every moment with your family and friends is a chance to be there, to be intentional, and to be present”.

      You don’t have to get it right every time!

      The idea here is not to be perfect.

      The idea here is not to compare yourself with what other people are doing, what you think the ideal version of the holidays is.

      And it’s not to get so overwhelmed by what you think that you’re supposed to that you miss out on what’s really happening right now.

      On actionable tips to make a plan (for these 54 days):

      First, start by getting intentional about approaching this holiday season.

      1 | Getting intentional:

      Create a holiday splurge list:

      Go through the next two months (whatever traditions you observe, November and December are filled with opportunities to celebrate) and think about what you really enjoy doing-- the splurges that are really worth it.

      Whether it be that Thanksgiving dinner, or drinks out with friends, or a family tradition of Christmas cookie decorating, those really special traditions that make the holidays.

      I don’t think we should have to go without or be in total deprivation mode, it’s just a matter of taking a moment to really reflect on what’s worth the splurge.

      And once you come up with that splurge list, you have a game plan for the holidays.

      Create a holiday to-do + to-don't list with purpose:

      This is one of my favorite things to do, planning ahead and looking at all the things I need to-do for the holidays, and all the things I’m not going to do.

      “The not-do is just as important as the to-do”.

      First, I look at all the events we’ve been invited to and say yes to the ones that do have meaning to us, and we say graceful no to the things that are not going to fill our cup.

      Saying no or declining invites can be hard and a little bit uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, I am trying to create an intentional two months.

      We really have to be disciplined here about saying yes to things, and then also about saying no to things.

      I really want you to create a filter of do-to and also of to-don’t, so that everything does not become a to-do.

      Granted, there may be a lot of things that you feel obligated to do, but always ask yourself, do I have to do this, or is this a want-to-do?

      And every time you add something to your to-do list, think about if you can take something off.

      My second tip is about getting incremental.

      2 | Getting incremental:

      Manage the 3 M’s: Meals + Movement + Mind:

      This is a season to take baby steps.

      When it comes to the 3 M’s, come back to them daily or weekly and just ask yourself, how am I managing them?

      How am I managing meals?

      Am I getting completely off track? If so, how do I get back on track?

      Start with eating breakfast, and then a lunch, and then a dinner at home, and go from there.

      Same thing with movement- how am I managing movement?

      If I have found days have gone by without movement, how can I change that?

      Is it because it’s dark and cold outside? How can I take advantage of online workouts, or how can I sign up for a gym now?

      And how am I managing my mind?

      Am I getting enough sleep? Am I connecting with people in a meaningful way?

      If I’m feeling lonely, am I finding a way to connect? If I’m feeling anxious, am I finding a way to take a breath and find some meaning and grounding?

      Use those 3 M’s as guideposts to give yourself a sense of where you are in managing them on a daily and weekly basis.

      2 out of 3:

      How can I get 2 out of 3 when I’m in a season of indulgences?

      It can really be applied to everything, but I often apply it to my meals throughout the day.

      If I have a splurge dinner, I try to make sure that the breakfast and lunch are full of really nutritious, nourishing, real food.

      It can also be days, if I have a day that really felt out of control, I try to make the next two days full of movement and great meals.

      You can even think about this in terms of weeks, if you have a bad week try to make the next two weeks really about nourishment and really taking care of yourself.

      It gives you this permission to be a human, to have some wiggle room, and to just be incremental.

      “We’re going for process, not perfection.  What you do most of the time matters more than what you do some of the time”.

      Reset days:

      Give yourself a full reset day.

      Make sure you have those in your calendar- plan in full reset days where you don’t have anything going on.

      These are days when you’re getting enough sleep, where you fill yourself with hydration, movement, real food, and connection, so that you can fill your cup and go into the next day feeling refreshed and revived.

      Listen now!

      How to Avoid the Holiday Downward Spiral & Cultivate an Intentional Season Instead, a podcast episode from the Feel Good Effect. Instead of getting stuck in the holiday spiral this year, use this time to ditch perfection, comparison, and overwhelm. #feelgoodeffect #podcast #wellness #holidaystress #selfcare #intentional #gentleisthenewperfect

      Show the Feel Good Effect Love!

      If you loved today’s episode be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts so we can keep bringing you more content like this! Share the show on Instagram, tagging @realfoodwholelife so we can connect and I can highlight you on my feed.

      1. Share it via FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter

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      65 How to Tune Into Your Intuitive Food Voice and Stop Serial Dieting, with Robyn Youkilis

      Feel Good Effect PodcastPaige ReohrComment

      This episode of the Feel Good Effect podcast focuses on how to listen to that intuitive food voice we all have and how to quit the serial dieting cycle.

      How to Tune Into Your Intuitive Food Voice and Stop Serial Dieting, an episode from the Feel Good Effect podcast.  An interview with Robyn Youkilis. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast #wellness #wellnesspodcast #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast

      How to Tune Into Your Intuitive Food Voice and Stop Serial Dieting, with Robyn Youkilis

      This week’s guest is Robyn Youkilis, a certified health coach, author, speaker, and leading expert in holistic digestive health. Robyn is the founder and CEO of the global health coaching practice, Your Healthiest You, and the author of bestselling books, Go With Your Gut and Thin From Within.

      Robyn offers advice for those who are constantly looking outside themselves for a fix as well as those interested in this lifestyle change, explains why the gut matters and how fermented foods play a role in gut health, and breaks down her rule of 5 in building a meal.

      Scroll down to listen

      Show Notes

      Today’s guest on the Feel Good Effect is Robyn Youkilis, a certified health coach, author, speaker, and leading expert in holistic digestive health.

      Robyn is the founder and CEO of the global health coaching practice, Your Healthiest You, and for nearly a decade she has helped clients shed emotional and physical weight with her supportive coaching style

      She is also the author of bestselling books, Go With Your Gut and Thin From Within.

      This episode focuses on how to listen to that intuitive food voice we all have and how to quit the serial dieting cycle.

      Note: this is not about intuitive eating- that’s a whole other topic we will cover another time.

      Right off the bat, I want to call out something: the name of Robyn’s most recent book is Thin From Within, and when I came across it I had a little cringe moment at the title.

      But, I wanted to give it a chance so I opened up the book and what I found was incredibly insightful and tactical.

      It was also very much in line with some of what we talk about on this podcast.

      Part of this show is asking Robyn about what inspired her to land on her title, and part is also about holding space for people who are actively looking to lose weight

      On one side, there is the “healthy at any size”, body-acceptance movement and then there's the “thinspo”, hate-yourself-and-lose-weight side of the spectrum.

      But there are also people out there who are interested in changing the way that they eat and health and weight are important issues for them.

      So we’ll talk about holding space for them to do that in a way that is not diet focused and is nurturing.

      This episode is brought to you by our Simplified Guide to Meal Prep + Planning, a free resource for helping you streamline and simplify getting real food together.

      Part of this journey around our intuitive food voice and getting off the diet train is really about cooking your own food and nourishing yourself in that way, which takes a little prep and planning.

      On what inspired her books:

      Robyn has struggled with weight her whole life.

      At 13, she started to notice differences in how her body was changing compared to everyone else’s and how she looked compared to how women looked in magazines.

      She felt like something was wrong with her that needed to be edited, and that began what she called a career of dieting.

      Essentially, it was a conversation around “something’s wrong with me and my body, I need to fix it, here are the ways that I can fix it. Here’s how everyone else has the keys to what I deemed a problem”.

      Robyn read about diets from magazines and tried what the celebrities were eating, but it was part of a larger mass message: this is the way, and you don’t know anything.

      Her mom wasn’t really sure how to talk to her about it; she saw Robyn fluctuating in her weight and obsessing over it, but no one had the conversation with her mom, either.

      This continued into college where she continued with an unhealthy diet.

      She never really had an answer or a solution to it, but she did have quite a bit of spirit, sass, and confidence and she continued to live some version of her best life, even though she was struggling on the inside.

      Robyn ended up finding her way to nutrition school through a deep love of food.

      Although Robyn struggled with her weight, her mother was an incredible cook who made extravagant meals throughout the week.

      She remembers watching her father struggle with his weight, too, and watched him go through the various diet fads.

      When she went to nutrition school, she went with an interest in food and a hope to have a career with food.

      Robyn attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition nearly a decade ago and realized that she had some serious eating stuff going on.

      She started to take a look at what she was eating, how she was eating, the habits she had created around food, and her mindset around food.

      “None of this was technically what I’d classify as an eating disorder, but it was definitely disordered eating behavior”

      She didn’t feel nourished by, supported by or connected to her food.

      It was more like trying to leave some food on the plate at the end of her meals or only having a bite of dessert.

      But when that wouldn’t happen, she would hate herself.

      And then she would try the next new diet.

      Even though she learned a lot about what she was going through, she wasn’t really able to find her own way through it.

      Healthy had become another diet.

      What really shifted all of this and prompted both of her books, was this new way of connecting to her body and her intuition.

      She acknowledged all the information, but also found herself looking outside of herself for something to fix her- feeling like something is wrong and someone else has the keys to make it better.

      It all shifted when she started to talk about family planning, wanting to create the best environment for her baby and then realizing, this body is her body too and she should treat it with the same respect as she would for a child.

      So she started to think about that, connect to herself, connect to her body, slow down more, and develop her intuitive food voice, asking: What would feel supportive right now? What do I need to eat here? What would feel good?

      Getting calmer around her food, getting quieter, slowing down, and really going through those steps of inquiry was the real inspiration for her book.

      “There was something here that needed to be shared: there was a way that we could talk about ourselves and have these goals of wanting to get better in our bodies, but coming from a place of support and love rather than shame and fixing”.

      Advice for those who are constantly looking outside themselves for a fix:

      Ask yourself: “What do I really need here? What’s really going on?

      This isn’t to find the answer that’s going to be the key to everything, rather, it’s more about starting to have that real conversation with yourself so you can get curious and start to release yourself from the idea that there is a there.

      Robyn remembers looking back at photos of herself from a trip where even when she was practicing yoga daily and training for a marathon, she was still thinking, “I wasn’t thin enough. I didn’t look good enough”.

      But now, she looks back at those same photos and thinks “if you weren’t there when you were there in this place, there is no there”.

      Use that process of inquiry to get real with yourself and connect to that release of there.

      “Its finding that sweet spot between working towards loving yourself as you are right now, just climbing your way to higher, more loving thoughts, but still actually doing some work to get you to a more balanced place”

      In that way, Robyn is about the emotional and the practical.

      The emotional component is doing that inquiry, doing some journaling, and asking those harder questions; it's noticing what feels heavy in your life right now.

      The practical component comes in because some of us really do need to be meal prepping or be more mindful while we are eating; these are practical tools to anchor us along the way.

      The key with practical tools, though, is to pick one or two and use them to support you.

      On how Robyn interprets the word thin in her book:

      “Thin” is controversial!

      The title, Thin From Within, comes from a coaching program she ran a while ago.

      Women were coming to her without directly talking about weight loss, but somehow it was part of their goals.

      The idea of thin from within came from the question: “if you’re connecting to what you really want in your soul, how can we bring that out and reshape it in a new way?

      So much is happening around self love and body positivity, but with that, there is some shaming around women who still want to lose weight.

      This is a new way we can have these conversations from a place of support and a place of love.

      Using “thin” in the title, connects to people’s old diet brain while giving them a new way to think about it.

      “A desire to lose weight is a sign that we want something different in our bodies, but even more so in our lives… It’s only when you consider your body as whole that you will finally feel that lightness you’ve been searching for on the scale”.

      Body positivity is great, but there are plenty of people with legitimate reasons for wanting to lose weight as well.

      You can come at it from a place of self-hatred, or you can come at it from a place of self-love with a desire to nurture.

      It’s a complicated, messy conversation that has so many layers; for some people the title is going to be what turns them off, but for some people that’s what’s going to get them.

      All these flat-this, flat-that conversations have a ton of followers, and even though we’re all having this body positivity talk, people are still ordering flat-tummy tea.

      On why the gut matters:

      Starting with the gut leads to so many positive changes.

      The gut is the center of our being; it digests and assimilates the nutrients from our food, but it also is physically the center.

      Its where majority of our immune system is: 70-80% of immune tissue is in the digestive tract.

      The gut is also like our second brain; emotional well being and how we perceive ourselves and the world comes from our belly.

      And then there is a huge emotional, intuitive piece.

      We all have those feelings from deep inside meant to guide us, it’s just about how strong it is for you or how often you’re listening to or trusting it.

      Starting with the gut seems to have the quickest, deepest, and longest results; it is a great place to base everything else off of.

      And it’s really accessible; even if you don’t have a super restrictive diet or an illness you can understand that the gut is important.

      On the rule of five:

      Robyn’s rule of five is a great template on how to think about your food or structure a lunch or dinner.

      A lot of clients that were coming to her were dieting through their meal, but eating through their days, meaning their meals didn't have enough micro- or macronutrients to physically sustain them.

      Your body likes to burn through all the fuel you give it before you pile something else on it.

      It comes from Ayurveda, an ancient healing system from the Sages in India, a sister practice to Yoga, that focuses on nurturing the mind, body, spirit, and soul.

      Think about it like a pot of rice: if your rice is almost done cooking and you throw some more grains on the pot, they’re not going to cook.

      The same thing happens in your digestive system.

      However, mind you,

      “know thyself and go with your gut”.

      If gut issues aren’t most prevalent for you and you do better eating every few hours, go with that rather than focusing on denser meals.

      The rule of five plate:

      When building your plate, think about:

      1 | Greens: include a salad or serving of cooked greens on your plate

      Check in with your intuition, or experiment to see how well you can digest raw greens.

      2 | Healthy fat: these are essential for nutrient and vitamin absorption and help you feel full.

      3 | Protein: similar to healthy fats, these are satisfying for the body and a great macronutrient.

      4 | Fermented food: something like raw, fermented, probiotic-rich sauerkraut that is going to be loaded with good for your gut bacteria.

      This is going to help your body digest the meal you’re eating and is an ultimate superfood (with highly absorbable vitamin-C and anti-cancer compounds).

      Note: this is not the same stuff you get in a jar; it needs to be like yogurt, found in the refrigerated section and to says something like raw, fermented, probiotic-rich, or no vinegar, so you know you have a live culture in it.

      It’s sour or bitter, and your mouth needs balanced taste and balanced flavors to achieve balance in your body.

      5 | Cooked vegetable: adding a grilled or cooked veggie makes a meal feel more grounded, filling, seasonal, and satisfying; it really balances your bowl or plate.

      Lunch idea from the rule of 5:

      salad greens + avocado + canned sardines + sauerkraut + a roasted vegetable, like cauliflower.

      Dinner idea from the rule of 5:

      *bean pasta + sauteed kale + roasted vegetable + olive oil + fermented beets or carrots

      *Bean pasta: pasta made from black beans or chickpeas (experiment with what works for you!)

      On eating fermented foods:

      In American, we are typically are the only culture that don’t include a fermented food into our staple diet.

      Around the world, we see fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, natto, miso, tempeh, and injera bread.

      And we’ve all partaken in fermented foods, but they might not be a version with a raw or live probiotic bacteria in them (foods like bread, wine, chocolate, and cheese all have a fermentation process).

      Today we are talking about ones that either have some probiotic compound in them, or are easier for your body to digest.

      Tempeh, which doesn’t contain live enzymes, is a fermented version of soybeans, or tofu, but it is predigested through fermentation process so it is easier for your body to break down.

      We just aren’t really used to the flavor of probiotic rich foods.

      It’s okay to think it’s weird, but you might like the flavor and, even more so, you might love how you feel.

      Within fermentation, is a process of lactofermentation, which is when starches (carbohydrates and sugars) are transformed into bacteria boosting agents, via lactic acid.

      Lactic acid contains probiotics which nourish the probiotics that are already growing in our belly or microbiome.

      There are trillions of bacteria living on and in us and to be in their optimal state, they have to be fed.

      If you can't digest dairy, you may be able to digest cultured dairy products, like cultured yogurt or kefir (a fermented milk drink).

      Fermented foods like kefir, kvass (a fermented beet drink), sauerkraut, and kombucha (a fermented tea) are meant to be condiments.

      Think about them as an add-on, like a few forkfuls of sauerkraut on your plate.

      They are dense in sodium and not a replacement for fresh veggies.

      Kombucha is a fermented tea, a live, fermented organism has been introduced to a tea-sugar combination; the organism eats the sugar and grows good bacteria.

      Kombucha still has sugar, so keep in mind what your body needs- one serving tends to be 4 oz, yet most bottles are 12 oz.

      Some of these products are more expense, so you can go with a smaller serving, or make your own.

      Advice for someone interested in this lifestyle change:

      Get the book and start reading!

      It looks like a cookbook but it really is a coaching book that discusses the emotional pieces and practical components; see what resonates with you.

      Also, start with chewing your food completely before swallowing

      Robyn has a free, 21-day chewing challenge.

      Digestion begins in our mouth with saliva and enzymes that start breaking up our food making it more easily digestible in our gut.

      It’s easy to talk about mindful eating and slowing down, but a practical component is to just chew your food.

      Think about, “how much can I chew this food?”, and you’ll end up being more mindful about it.

      On the emotional side, slow down around meals.

      We use foods to not feel, and if we are forced to slowly go through what we eat we start to feel more.

      It can feel like a lot at first, but over time it can feel really freeing.

      It creates more space for a conversation around what you really need.

      On where she’s headed:

      Robyn has a weekly coaching program, The Rockstar Coaching Collective, a weekly, live, coaching program spanned over 9 months with no set agenda.

      This creates space for clients (and Robyn) to be on video and seen, with no hiding, where Robyn teaches from whatever she is inspired by at that time.

      She’s also working towards her next book, themed around how to go with your gut in the parenting space.

      On what it means to be healthy:

      “Whatever feels good for you right now, knowing that what felt good yesterday, this morning, might change, so how can you connect to that voice inside of you that is here to give you that information, and how can you listen to it.

      What feels good for you right now, that to me is what wellness is all about”

      Listen now!

      How to Tune Into Your Intuitive Food Voice and Stop Serial Dieting, an episode from the Feel Good Effect podcast.  An interview with Robyn Youkilis. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #personaldevelopment #selfcare #selfimprovement #podcast #wellnesspodcast #healthpodcast #wellness #wellnesspodcast #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesspodcast

      Guest Info

      Robyn Youkilis is an AADP Certified Health Coach, author, speaker and leading expert in holistic digestive health. She is the Founder and CEO of the global health coaching practice, Your Healthiest You. For nearly a decade, Robyn has helped clients shed both physical and emotional weight through her straightforward yet supportive coaching style. She is the author of the best selling books, Go with Your Gut and Thin From Within - The Go with Your Gut Way to Lose Weight, and has been featured by The View, The Today Show, The Cooking Channel, The Wall Street Journal, Health, Mind Body Green, Well + Good, The Chalkboard Mag and more. Robyn currently lives in New York City and Los Angeles with her husband and their daughter, Navy. She enjoys traveling, music festivals and eating dessert at fancy restaurants, one bite at a time.

      To learn more about coaching with Robyn and to join the #YourHealthiestYou community, visit

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