affirmation words

Mid-Year Shifts to My Annual Word Practice

There’s been a shift in my thinking about this year’s annual word, BALANCE. 

The first pic shows my sticky notes from January when I came up with words/ideas that support my annual theme.

The second pic is this July. As I’ve let this word have its way with me, you can see I’ve begun to think about it in differently.

As a runner, as a nutrition coach, and as a 51 yo spiritual person, here are some thoughts about what these words are currently saying to me half way through 2022.

🐝 Can I shift my self-doubt to BELIEF? Believe in my ability to make good decisions. Believe that showing up every day to train will benefit me at the start line on race day. Believe in myself – that I am capable of handling challenges that come my way (and yes, that may mean asking for help!) Believe that the Universe and I are on the same team.

🐝 Can I move with EASE instead of striving? Hat tip to @stevemagness for planting this one in my brain. I pride myself on being a hard worker, whether that is in my training sessions or my jobs. But what if my posture and attitude were relaxed while working hard? It is not my nature to go easy on myself or others but it’s a concept I welcome because it feels better.⁠

🐝 Can I take discomfort and EXPLORE what it is teaching me? I resist uncomfortableness – most of us do – whether that’s my feelings, awkward exchanges, or 2 min hill repeats at rpe 9! But what if I didn’t resist? What if I explored the discomfort? Some people call this “embracing the suck.” Others call it “entering the pain cave” I’m looking at you @courtneydauwalter

Or, what if I saw discomfort as transformational? 

Pema Chodron writes about the concept of tonglen (breathing in pain, and breathing out relief for ourselves and others) in her book Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change. She writes, “We all experience pain and pleasure. We all gravitate towards what’s comfortable and have an aversion to what is not…[As we practice tonglen] We come to see pain as something that can transform us, not something to escape at any cost.”⁠

That last one is a doozy I know! But it’s the one that is speaking loudest to me right now. And I am listening.

You may wonder why I do this? Why do I give my brain and heart more work? Doesn’t life give me enough of that already? 

Well, I thrive on living life intentionally and this practice helps me do just that. I also think it helps me become more me. And isn’t that our life’s purpose? To become more of our truest selves? Oprah thinks so. 

In a speech I recently saw online, she says our one goal in life is to “Fulfill the highest and most truthful expression of yourself as a human being.” 

This quote resonated with me deeply. So I think I’ll keep doing all the things that help me become more me, including this little practice of meditating on annual and supporting words. 

Maybe you have an intentional practice in your life? Keep it up! Maybe you want to start one? It is worth it!




#youtrition #nutritioncoaching #wevegotYOU #affirmations #rituals #mindfulness #believe #ease #explore #🐝 #trueself #8pillarsofanutritiouslife #nurtureyourself #liveconsciously #wearewhatweeat #NLCertified #livinganutritiouslife⁠

Stress Less

This is the last blog in a series delving into the Eight Pillars of a Nutritious Life, the support system I incorporate into my nutrition coaching because good nutrition includes more than just what we eat. More blogs on more nutrition topics coming soon!

All of us experience stress in our lives. A job change, a move, or an illness are a few common examples. The effects it has on our bodies is a huge topic and one I’ll write more about in future blogs. But for now, I want to emphasize why it is an important Pillar of a Nutritious Life.

Stress increases the hormone cortisol which tells our body to store fat. While stress can lead to overeating (or under eating), you don’t even have to eat more to gain weight, the increased cortisol alone can do it. 

It’s important to differentiate between stress and chronic stress. Our bodies are created to handle short term stress – like getting out of dangerous situations or studying for a test. We are not made to tolerate constant or chronic stress – like a high stakes job, poverty, or a pandemic. Chronic stress can lead to diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease. 

If being healthy is a priority, we want to be aware of the role stress plays in our lives and do what we can to manage it.

Sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re stressed. It could be because we haven’t developed awareness. Or, maybe our stress levels have been so high for so long, it’s hard to notice that we’re experiencing chronic stress (this is something I recently realized about myself!)

Stress can manifest in our bodies both physically and mentally. Physically we may have a hard time sleeping, have chest pains, grind our teeth, or clench our jaws. Mentally we may feel anxious, have negative or worrisome thoughts that won’t slow down or go away. We may experience depression, irritability, or have panic attacks. 

Being aware of our stress levels and how we individually experience it takes practice. But it is worth the work if we want to be healthy and feel good. It also helps to know some ways to handle it. So here are some ideas you can preemptively practice or use when the shit hits the fan! 

Belly breathing

Breathe deeply and slowly into your belly (as opposed to your chest,) letting it inflate like a balloon. Imagine the breath going down and the belly filling up. Then imagine the breath doing a somersault and swimming back up and out of your mouth or nose as your belly deflates. This type of breathing encourages your nervous system to calm down.

Move slowly

If at all possible, physically slow your movements. Stress typically winds us up and has us move fast – recall fight or flight. Slowing down acts as a counterweight. Combining slow movements with slow breathing has even better results! This helps me the most. I pretend I’m moving in slow-mo.

Be gentle and compassionate with yourself

Everybody experiences stress. You are not alone! Be compassionate with yourself and know the emotions will pass; especially if you acknowledge them. Thank them for what they are telling you and then let them go.

And I have to mention one more. Exercise.

You will hear a LOT from me in this blog about moving because it is good for our brains and bodies. Exercise is a great way to blow off steam. So punch that bag, run that hill, breathe into that pose. Whatever you love to do that feels good, is right for you. 

Nurture Thyself

This is the seventh blog in a series delving into the Eight Pillars of a Nutritious Life, the support system I incorporate into my nutrition coaching because good nutrition includes more than just what we eat.

Nurturing ourselves in ways that uplift our spirits is good for our health and wellbeing which is why it is one of the Eight Pillars of a Nutritious Life.

“…Nurturing yourself can set the stage for better health, relationships, and general well-being. Self-compassion yields a number of benefits, including lower levels of anxiety and depression,” according to a recent Harvard Healthbeat article.

How can we nurture ourselves? Think of the classics: bubble baths, hammock time, deep breathing, tinkering in your workshop. It doesn’t need to be anything big or expensive, but it is important to make time everyday so you experience the ROI in yourself!

Recently, I bought my first deck of affirmation cards, Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein. I was inspired by my Nutritious Life colleagues’ favorite decks and their habit of pulling cards for inspiration and encouragement.

Affirmations really help me pivot out of a bad mood, suspend limiting beliefs, or hault spiraling out of control behavior, so it’s something I’ve started doing for myself. I pulled this card first thing in the morning:

Then I proceeded to have an absolute hissy fit because I couldn’t get my bike trainer to work. At some point, I stopped and remembered the day’s affirmation. Then I pivoted and did yoga.

I think if I hadn’t pulled the card, I’d still be fighting with that goddamn bike trainer! And definitely not in a peaceful state.

It amazes me that a choice to practice affirmations can generate enough momentum to help us behave in ways that nurture, not hinder us. And boy, over time that pays off!

How do you nurture yourself? What keeps you from nurturing yourself? Let’s share and learn together!

Love More

This is the sixth blog in a series delving into the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, the support system I incorporate into my nutrition coaching because good nutrition includes more than just what we eat. (image credit unknown)


Healthy relationships can be a challenge even for the most committed, but there’s a really good reason to try: they can boost positive feelings that motivate us to stick to a healthy lifestyle. 

From healthy hormone production, to a diverse flora in our mouths (for realz!), listen up for why Love More (aka Sex Ed) is one of the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life.

Produces Oxytocin and Endorphins

We want to be in relationships where we feel safe, where there is a healthy dose of cuddling, and getting busy between the sheets. Why? Because orgasm, cuddling, and holding hands (and I’d be remiss not to mention breastfeeding!) releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin acts like a “soothing antioxidant”, which can lower anxiety, increase feelings of trust between partners, and help us feel relaxed. More on how these feel good hormones motivate healthy behaviors here.

Promotes a Healthy Weight

Many of us want to stay fit so we feel our best when we don our bathing and birthday suits. Well guess what? Being at a healthy weight is great for the libido. And sex does burn calories. So being at a healthy weight not only helps get us in the mood but being in the mood can help us manage a healthy weight. Sounds like a good relationship to me!

Kissing is Good for Your Gut

This is a new fun fact for me and one I’m really excited about because I almost like kissing more than sex, almost. Exchanging saliva with your lovey means you both are exposed to the bacteria in each other’s mouths. Overtime, this can help boost your immunity. Be sure to check out this article that highlights many more reasons why kissing is good for you. 

So read that relationship 101 book, be sweet to your sweetie, and love on your besties because loving more motivates you to make more time for love!