Tears for Fears

I’m a big fan of house music, especially remixes that highlight the hidden beat of a song that otherwise falls into the ‘meh’ category, but now you can’t stop moving to. Back in 2003/2004/maybe 2005, my boyfriend at the time and some friends went to the Miami Winter Music Conference; my first time in the presence of some DJ greats. Aside from an encounter with an overdose (not my own thankfully), I was in my element.

The music, the energy, the weather. I am seriously convinced that God is DJ.

Especially when a remix of Tears for Fears’ “Shout” was played. (I still can’t find which remix it was and it’s driving me nuts, so if anyone remembers the version with special emphasis on the xylophone sound and a kick ass bass, plz let me know!!)

A couple weeks later we were all back in NYC leaving a club where the mix had just come on, and there was like 5 of us singing and dancing in the streets of the Bowery:

‘Shout! Shout! Let it all out!

These are the things I can do without

Come on, I’m talking to you, Come on’

One of my best NYC living memories.

So what’s this got to do with anything?

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been confronted with a lot of tears. Tears of my own, and tears of other women on their True You Journey.

Ten/Fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t catch me dead with tears for fears or any other reason.

Today though, tears are a relatively common occurrence.

My tears, and the tears I’ve been privvy to recently, have been tears for a variety of reasons.

Uncovering the Truth of who we are, experiencing Love in a new way, and being so touched that all we can do is let it all out. Tears for saying goodbye… to old stories we were telling ourselves… the things we finally realized we could do without, but had been holding on to for so long. And yes, even some tears for Fears. The fear and uncertainty of what will be on the other side of letting the old stories go, and letting in the Truth and Love?

What I was reminded of this week is that shedding tears is a good thing. All those years I lived with dry eyes, a good part of me was dead inside.

The more I wake up, the more I cry. (And sing, and dance, in the streets of New York.)

My tears and those of these women were signs that we’re waking up; our True You is coming to the surface.

So have a think for yourself. When was the last time you cried? Shouted?

When was the last time you let it all out?

Got rid of the things you can live without?

C’mon, I’m talking to you! C’mon! 🙂

#bu29days: Day 24: The Layer Cake

aka What do you mean, the experience can be different but the feelings the same?

aka Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with your cake.

I started out writing this post with one end in mind, but the story took a twist in the middle, so now there’s a couple different endings you can choose. Just like my favourite detective books when I was a kid 🙂

So here’s a concept to think about: eating disorders and disordered eating live within a spectrum. At a certain point, the mindset, feelings and behaviours, add up to a diagnosable eating disorder.

But that doesn’t mean that less extreme mindset, feelings, and behaviours in the rest of the spectrum are ‘off the hook’. As I was saying yesterday, the external behaviour and experience might look different, but there can be room for healing in the core thoughts and feelings.

Here is my creatively expressed version of what exists at the core within the disordered eating spectrum. And since we’re talking about food here, you’re looking at the picture of a layer cake.

20160224_144931

At the bottom you’ve got You. A source for love and connection to all creatures great and small, but that isn’t always connected.

The next layer of Shame, Fear and Vulnerability that I’ve been going on about for the past 3 weeks is a given.

However, here you could potentially start building one of two cakes.

If you haven’t learned healthy responses to these basic human experiences, you end up in the green layer, doing the trying and hiding dance. It’s a survival mechanism. An adaptation of yourself to create certainty in life and for your identity. It’s where the seeds of the good/bad mentality are planted.

Stick with that for long enough, and it manifests into the yellow layer. This is where the deprivation of desires, wants, and needs, lives; even in little things like not replacing underwear with holes and threadbare socks, or always buying the wine that’s on sale even though you really want the bottle that’s only £1 more.

It’s where it’s difficult to find the words to say what you want, when you want, to who you want, without spending a number of stomach-wrenching hours on the email.

It’s where the idea of spending time on anything other than work-related, achievement oriented, tasks seems frivolous.

And it’s where you are never happy with what, and who, you see in the mirror.

If you’ve never experienced this, there’s a lot of tension in that yellow layer.

And after awhile it busts itself out and oozes all around the cake as an attractive looking orange color of icing (OK, to be fair, I’ve never seen an attractive looking orange-iced layer cake, but that’s what happens when you create like your 5-year-old self used to. Purple elephants can fly!)

The orange icing is where the behaviours with food live. This layer tries to make the rest of the cake taste good, except that all the tension, the deprive/indulge, the good/bad, and the controlling and comforting going on underneath, manifests itself with food, and while it initially tastes sweet, there’s a bitter after taste.

Depending on how caught up you are in the mire of the blue layer, will determine the shade of orange icing; where you fall in the disordered eating spectrum.

In my book, if you are eating any of this cake, you might want to put the fork down, push the plate away, and go look for a different kind of cake.

I’ve looked at my mom’s life and I’ve always assumed she was eating this cake.

While she was nowhere near any of the extremes of an eating disorder, her outside relationship to food and body looked like this:

-Count calories and try to eat ‘healthy’. She would make conscious food choices about which brand of cereal to buy that had the least amount of sugar etc and her not-so-secret vice was and always will be chocolate. A lot of controlling and depriving with occasional indulgences.

-She wished she could be a few pounds lighter but after me and my sister was born, didn’t have time to prioritize that. But we always knew she wished she were lighter. In recent years she’s been going to spin class and pilates and we know she chagrins her ‘old lady arms’. Evidence of body-dissatisfaction.

This actually sounds quite normal, right?. Don’t most women wish they were 5 lbs lighter and could stop the love affair with chocolate?

But here’s what else I picked up on when I was a kid.

Identity & Self-worth: My mom met my dad when she was 15, she was married at 20. Her self-worth and identity during some critical formative years was heavily influenced by her relationship with my dad. They are still happily married, but even she will tell you that it took years for her to begin to see herself as separate from my dad.

Self-expression: I remember my mom saying things like, ‘I wish I could talk with you about this better.’ ‘I don’t really feel equipped to have this conversation with you.’ To be fair that is a vulnerable truth of hers that she was able to express so to that end, she was self-expressing what was true for her, eating bites of a healthier cake. But she still felt blocked from communicating freely in a way that she wanted. A lot of times she would channel my dad too. His decisions outweighed her opinion in our family. Sometimes when I look back at who mom was in our family dynamic, she was the executor. She executed on decisions to make the family run smoothly, but you never really knew how much of that was her true self, or was she just doing her job?

Body Love: As I shared before, it was as if a whisper of a wish was always hanging in the air when it came to her body. She was always striving to improve it. And I only remember one time when she put on a sun dress one summer evening before my dad came home where I remember thinking, ‘Wow, mom looks really pretty in that.’ It must have been their anniversary. Normally mom was in cleaning clothes or church clothes. Neither which are very sexy. Practicality and the household budget was the driving force behind clothes shopping.

Food rules: You could tell she had her own paradigm to live by. In addition to counting calories, she’d always serve herself the smallest portion at dinner, take the smallest slice of cake, comment on what she had for breakfast ‘I only had a yogurt and an apple for breakfast so I guess I’ll have one more cookie.’ It was as if she had to earn the right to have a treat.

Her story has a lot of necessary precursors for an eating disorder. I talked with her about all of this and asked her why she thought this combo didn’t turn into one.

Her answer was this:

  1. She didn’t know it was an option. (Wow, that really makes me think about how to go about raising awareness and how eating disorders are talked about because perhaps the less you know, the better!)
  2. She recognized that there is only so much in life that she could control. She embraced the belief that we regardless of what happens around you, we only have control over our reactions. And I guess she chose to react with a Pollyanna smile. 
  3. Pre-pregnancy she was happy with her shape. She didn’t internalize comments about her teen body as shaming. She took them as motivation to be healthy. Post-pregnancy, at first she worked to get her pre-pregnancy body back but at some point accepted that it was ‘OK’ as it was.
  4. She knew that a sense of humour fixes everything and laughter is the best medicine out there. Even better than chocolate.

While I see a lot of external overlap between my mom’s relationship with food and body, and mine, I’ve also noticed the differences at the core.

There is a presence of more self-acceptance and love for herself and a penchant for joy. The blue layer of her cake wasn’t as big.

Another big difference is that part of her quintessential self has led her to behaviours that look similar to disordered eating behaviours.

This year at Christmas, we all took an abridged version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test (yes, I do geek out on this stuff), and it was no surprise when my mom’s Type description came out as ‘content to enforce “the rules,” often dictated by tradition or handed down from a higher authority.’

Following the rules feels natural to her. (Get this, she even wanted to get the facts straight for a fictional short story she is writing. I had to remind her about little thing called IMAGINATION 🙂 )

I’m realizing that some of my mom’s behaviours with food and her body were a reflection of her ‘True You’; the following the food rules, and advice from authority figures about her body. That is just her being her quintessential self vs her trying to control.

The opposite of yesterday’s message, today’s message is: You can have similar experiences, but different feelings on the inside.

I come out as a much different personality type on the Myers-Briggs scale; more of a rules, schmules kind of person.

Understanding the innate differences between me and the rest of my family has helped facilitate healing.

To understand that what I saw modelled as a child was never going to be right for me, has given me some space to breathe.

Duh, there is going to be some disconnect when they are all J’s, and I am a P!’

It also explains some of the trying I’ve experienced in the layer cake. I can stop trying to be my parents.

I’m sharing this example about my mom for the following reasons:

  1. Don’t underestimate the influence that your parents have on you as an adult. You are not your parents. How you live your life, clean your house, relate to your partner, and parent your own kids, is best done when you are being You, not channelling them.
  2. You can not change your parents. Their quintessential selves are not going to change just because you feel you need them to.
  3. The most important thing about your relationship to food and your body is that it reflects your True You. If you count calories because that is just how you naturally think, and not because it’s a behaviour being driven by shame, fear, or control, then go for it.

So here’s the two endings to the story that you get to pick. If you’re looking at the layer cake and are noticing some behaviours that fall into that spectrum, ask yourself why.

Is it because like me, they are rooted in the blue layer and you were doing the green trying and hiding dance? (If yes, turn to Day 29.)

Or because like my mom, that’s part of being your quintessential self? (If yes, The End.)


Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

#bu29days: Day 20: The beauty of the binge and the purge

aka Do you think you’re crazy?

aka You mentioned yesterday that you binged on uncertainty. I thought you could only binge on food.

Nope, you can binge on other things. Uncertainty being one of them.

Think of a binge as this: An escape from reality.

A purge: The [somewhat futile] attempt to create order out of the chaos. Put things right after the binge.

When I made three major changes at once, got married, quit my job, and travelled for 9 months, it was partly an escape from living the lives we were living and the reality that we didn’t know what else to do, and partly answering a call to adventure. To go find what it is we really wanted from life. 

So maybe not a complete binge since there was an element of intentional choice in there.

But if I’m completely honest with myself, and with you, this binge/purge, control/release indulge/deprive cycle shows up frequently for me.

My house is either tidy or it’s not. More often than not, it’s not. Because we’re very much living in the moment, escaping from the reality that it takes consistent effort to keep order in a house. When the mess surpasses my pain point, then I will clean and tidy all at once.

I will let any admin, filing, accounting, etc that needs to be done pile up until I can’t take the messy piles of paper and the uncertainty of whether or not an important bill has been missed, and then spend a day or two plowing through it all, finding the order once again.

When I was working on papers or projects for work, I’d get the assignment weeks in advance of the deadline and do nothing about it, and then for the 2 days or so before the project was due, would cram and pour out an immense amount of work to meet the deadline.

Last year, from April-June I had a flurry of activity in the spring; blogs, newsletters, a radio interview, a 5 day challenge launched, a release of an 8 week self-coaching guide. Lots of activity to escape the reality that business wasn’t where I wanted it and I didn’t know why. Then July and August – Nada. Order once again because now there’s a good excuse why business isn’t working… there’s no action happening. 

I literally said this out loud this past Fall, ‘Wow, even my business is bulimic.’

Heck, even this blog series fits the pattern. For 2 years, dribs and drabs of my story and lessons have been shared, but for the most part, I kept it close, not facing the music that sharing the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, will inevitably have to happen. And now the floodgates have been opened.

This is how I expressed myself emotionally as a kid too.

You wouldn’t know how I was feeling. I’d be keeping everything in, ignoring and repressing the emotions, and then bam, you were hit with everything as I let it all out.

 

 

The consistency that does exist across this binge/purge tendency is this:

 

With a binge, that escape from reality feels really good in the moment. A temporary relief of giving yourself what you think you want, something that releases all the right chemicals. Food, living in the moment, not having to do the menial tasks. But the high is overshadowed by the knowing of what’s going to come at the end. The inevitability of facing the facts. The painful reality that regardless of all you consumed, the binge didn’t solve any problems. You still don’t like what you’re seeing the mirror, or you still have to clean your house, or you still have to file the papers, or your business still isn’t working, even though you’ve had the temporary feeling of pleasure.

A purge, even though it might seem messy and out of control when it comes to food, actually is the opposite. It’s a way to bring things back to the normal state of being. And most purges, are actually relaxing in a meditative, robotic way. Like an out of body experience. You know what needs to be done and you just do it. You detach a bit and let something else take over. Like being in flow. The satisfaction of the release is pleasurable, and masks any physical or mental pain from the outpour of energy that it takes to vomit, clean the house, put the ideas down on paper, or organize the files.

Each act of binge and purge serves a purpose.

Two things to notice:

  1. There’s a lot pain thresholds driving the bus in these cycles.
  2. The extreme contrast of energy shows up most prevalently with any kind of creative or raw expression.

 

I’ve had to ask the question, is this just how I am, or have I learned this? The age old nature vs nurture question.

I don’t know the answer, but here’s a couple of observations:

Those papers, and projects that were done last minute, they were typically ace. Maybe needed a few tweaks here and there, but close enough to the mark that I never felt I had to adapt my working style to leave more time to create the finished product.

Even with the way I write now, I’ll be mulling things over, processing in the background, so by the time I sit down to write, it all comes out in a few hours.

What does that mean?

Maybe the binge/purge cycle somehow facilitates a higher level of creative functioning?

Yikes!

For a while I’ve resisted this. When I realized my business was bulimic, I did NOT think that was a good thing. How embarrassing! An old destructive pattern back at work. Shame on me!

All good business advice says, be consistent.

Well, I’ll tell you one thing. I’m consistently inconsistent. Or at least consistently going to withdraw while incubating, and then resurface with a flood of ideas.

 

 

I’m learning not to judge this, at least not the action.

I can get clear on my intention though. Check in to see if the binge/purge is going to tick the boxes of Nourishment and Pleasure or are they coming from a trying and hiding energy?

Last year my business activities were defo in the trying and hiding camp. Trying to make it seem all shiny on the outside, hiding that behind the scenes I was a fish out of water.

Compared to this binge/purge with writing #bu29days:

 

The difference here was that I was aware of the pattern and I was making conscious choices.

This January, I made a choice to withdraw, incubate, go within and enjoy the season of winter. I was binging on ‘me’ time. And because it was a choice, it was nourishing to my soul. It was pleasurable because I knew I wasn’t missing out. I was saying yes to things I wanted and no to things I didn’t want. It felt like it hit my sweet spot.

It’s also when I had the idea to blog daily this Feb.

Considering I didn’t write 29 blog posts all last year, 29 in a row is a bit extreme, I’ll admit. Clearly a purge of ideas that have been stored up for a while.

There were moments I was afraid. Would I have enough to say? Would I run out of steam? Have enough time? What would other people think of my ideas? Would they see that this is a purge? (Well, too late for that.)

After getting over the fear, shame, and vulnerability,  I found the nourishment and pleasure.

This process has been filling me up. I’ve learned a lot. And it’s been fun. 

I also found some love. I’ve gained a new acceptance for my creative cycles, whether that is a nature or nurture thing.

I can easily tell myself I ‘should’ be more consistent, even keeled, ‘normal’ like everyone else (and I have).

Or I can accept the fact that I can sustain periods of high intensity out pours of energy during which I can formulate quality ideas. And I can accept that before and afterwards, I’ll require periods of very little action.

I can accept that I’m an expert at being bulimic.

And yes, maybe that makes me a little bit crazy.

But I can either work with myself, or against myself.

For now, this is me.

Working with myself, seems a lot kinder.

I also found another kind thought about my food bulimia: perhaps the binge/purge cycle with food was mirroring a natural creative cycle of mine, but since the creative outlet was blocked at the time, it came out with food instead.

Food for thought.

And one more taster to whet your appetite…

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine last year about those on the bi-polar, manic-depressive spectrum, and how there is often a lot of negative stigma, an idea that those with mental health issues have to be fixed, but that there’s also a correlation between manic states and beautiful creative expression

What we talked about next applies across the board.

What if instead of judging and trying to fix, we could all shift to a place of acceptance? 

To work with a person’s hard-wiring, whether a binge/purge pattern, manic/depressive, autistic, dyslexic, or whatever other mental health and learning-related condition.

Use the ebbs and flows, whatever cycle they may be on, and however extreme, to allow for the individual’s most authentic and greatest self-expression.

To allow for someone to be their quintessential self, even if in some environments and some instances, it might look like it needs ‘fixing’.

Wow, now that would be a miracle of love.


Something to think about: What patterns do you see emerge in your life? Where are they conscious choices? Where is there room to navigate towards as balance of Nourishment and Pleasure? What natural traits do you normally resist, but perhaps present an opportunity to work with yourself?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

Nourish your Quintessential Self. The Nourish Circle, a private group for women to support each other’s journeys with food, body and self, is starting soon. Join Liberty Bain and I on Wednesdays from wherever you are. A place to explore and accept all of you. Join us this February.

#bu29days: Day 13: What I wish they taught me in Psych class

aka How my future child saved me.

aka How long were you bulimic for?

aka So how did you go from pre-meditating binges and purges to not making yourself sick for the past 9.5 years?

That my friend, is a long story with many twists and turns.

It started though one Saturday afternoon when I was kneeling on my bathroom floor with my head over the toilet bowl. I was on meant to be on my way to catch the ferry back to Staten Island for some family event that evening. My original plan was to catch a mid-day ferry. That got pushed pack to 2pm, then 3pm, then 4pm as I couldn’t get myself together to leave my apartment. I don’t remember why, but I was binging and that was stopping me from getting myself home to spend time with family.

I think by the time I had made myself sick, it was 2pm or so. I and remember sitting there thinking, what the f*ck Kendra!? What are you doing with your life? You are so messed up that you can’t even stick to your plans and catch the ferry on time! This is a SATURDAY AFTERNOON!!!!! Why aren’t you enjoying yourself? Why are you at your lowest? What is wrong with you?

I know those weren’t the kindest words I could say to myself, but they got my attention.

Followed by: How are you going to ever have a family? How are going to raise kids if you can’t control yourself and you end up here in broad daylight? How are you even going to birth a child if you can’t keep your food down? What if you vomit up your baby while you’re pregnant?

Now, I know from a biological point of view, that would be impossible because my uterus and stomach are not connected. But that Saturday afternoon, it seemed highly likely that they were.

And something clicked. I vowed to myself that I was going to change.

Magic didn’t happen overnight. But that one moment, that one choice, was pivotal.

And with that decision to change, and more specifically, that I wasn’t going to make myself sick anymore, I took my first steps down a different road.

This happened sometime in the winter of 2004. I don’t remember exactly when, but I know was I training for the Boston Marathon at the time.

The events of the next year was a blur for me. Partly because I still had one leg in the Denial river.

I had previously accepted that I was bulimic. It was the year before that I first told anyone; my boyfriend and my parents. You can read about that here.

But, since I stuck to that decision not to purge anymore, my logic for a good year or so was this:

Zero throwing up + Zero use of laxatives = Bulimia Free

For the record: this is the faultiest logic I have ever come across. And unfortunately, it is pervasive in the world of eating disorders and disordered eating.

The accepted medical definitions of anorexia and bulimia at the time, laid out very clear behavioural criteria that had to be met in order to wear the label of anorexic or bulimic. I clung to those criteria for dear life.

I skimmed over the caveat (and slight fine print): It is important to remember that someone can still have an eating disorder or body image issues and not meet the diagnostic criteria.

As I mentioned, I first heard about eating disorders in a psychology class. We learned about them according to the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association. It is commonly used as a guide by doctors and psychiatrists to diagnose a person with a mental health issue.

The criteria at the time that I held on to, was that bulimia meant you had to purge twice a week for at least 3 months.

When I first experimented with binging and purging, this gave me license to proceed, because I knew that so long as I didn’t do it twice a week for 3 consecutive months, I was good to go. No problem to address. I had it all under control.

And on the flip side, when I made that decision on my bathroom floor not to purge again, it was back to ‘all is well’. No diagnostic behaviours present, meant no problem present. 

(Again, this is not how it works!!!)

But that is how I was still floating down Denial and making steps to recovery at the same time.

Except I didn’t really see it as recovery at the time. What was I recovering from? All I had to do with stop some (pretty messed up) behaviours, and I was back to an even playing field with the general population.

I didn’t have the Acceptance or Awareness that there was anything to recover from. It also somehow served me and empowered me to believe that everything was OK.

That belief served as a life raft that I was willing to hold on to. If at the time you had offered me a life raft for Low Self-worth, People-Pleasing, Co-Dependency, Sex Issues, Money Issues, and a variety of other self-worth related issues painted on it, I’m not sure I would’ve grabbed it.

Stop Purging. Yes, that one I could wrap my head and my arms around.

So for a year or so, I was holding on to that life raft, trying to stay afloat. Trying to go about life as if everything was hunky dory because the problem had gone away.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that the other life raft was the one I’d eventually have to hold on to. The first one could only take me so far.

I have no judgement for myself then, and neither for you if you need the simple and specific life raft right now. Stop Purging, Follow the Meal Plan, Run More, Eat Less, or some other tactical change might be your saviour right now. And if it is, hold on tight.

I would just ask you this: don’t let it seduce you into thinking that it can carry you forever. And when it loses its buoyancy, don’t freak out. It doesn’t mean that you’re back to square one again, it just means you have to find the next one that is going to carry you a little bit further.

I want to acknowledge that the DSM-5, published in 2013, has changed the criteria for bulimia to purging only once a week for 3 months at a time. It’s also added in new category that is essentially a catch-all in case you don’t quite fit into any of the other ones. It’s called Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED) and is defined as this:

‘According to the DSM-5 criteria this category applies to where behaviours cause clinically significant distress/impairment of functioning, but do not meet the full criteria of any of the Feeding or Eating Disorder criteria.’

The funny thing is, I’m not sure I’ve ever met the bulimia criteria for either DSM-IV or DSM-V. Three months is a long time for me to do anything consistently once a week, let alone twice a week, without missing a beat. But that’s just me.

I don’t remember what the longest stretch of time my consistent purging covered, and I don’t remember the most intense frequency. I do know that the fall of 2000 marked my first purge and August of 2006 my last (with an 18 month break in the middle, does that count?)

I also know that for at least 4 years leading up to my first episode, I was restricting and controlling with food and my body to get a desired outcome, and that from 2006 until 2008 I still had binging episodes, was restrictive with my diet, and was using exercise for weight management.

To quote Liberty Bain, ‘You can have an anorexic mindset, and not be anorexic.’

My bulimic mindset carried on past my bulimia. To be honest, I am still recovering from a bulimic mindset, and I learn more about its impact every day. (And I’m actually grateful for it too. It’s helped me learn how to live. More on that later.)

So to answer the question, how long were you bulimic for? My answer could range from never (according to the DSM), to my whole life (according to my mindset).

Personally, I wouldn’t worry about meeting or not meeting the criteria.

The only benefit that I see of the criteria, is for that time where you’re not sure what’s going on, you feel really alone because you’re not sure if anyone is experiencing the same thing you are, and you’re asking yourself, ‘What the heck is wrong with me?’ Then you can google what your behaviours are, or how you’re feeling, and now you have a name for what you’re going through. And now you’re not alone anymore.

Point being: Use the label if it helps you. There were times when it helped me.

But really, the thing I invite you to ask yourself the following:

  • Does your relationship to food, body and self cause you distress?
  • Do I adopt a control/release indulge/deprive mindset at all?
  • Does shame, vulnerability, and fear, lead me to try to change who I am and what I look like?

If yes, regardless of whether it is 1% of the time or 100% of the time, there is room to grow.

I wish those questions had made it into my Psychology of Adolescents class curriculum. Maybe I could’ve taken the shortcut, instead of the long way round.


 

Something to think about: What defining choices have you made in life? Would a label help or harm right now? What life raft would serve you best? What areas of your life cause you distress?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

Nourish your Quintessential Self. The Nourish Circle, a private group for women to support each other’s journeys with food, body and self, is starting soon. Join Liberty Bain and I on Wednesdays from wherever you are, and see if this could be your next life raft. Join us this February.

#bu29days: Day 11: Floating down Denial

aka So was that it? For a few months you binged and purged, travelled around Europe, and was good to go?

Oh dear me no. That was just the beginning.

For April, May and June of that year I was OK. I didn’t purge and I’m pretty sure the binging was under control. The guy I had said goodbye to in Miami was coming out to see me. We had kept the long-distance thing going and I suppose part of what kept me from binging was wanting to look good for him ie not put on any weight.

That summer though, it started up again. I was working as a camp counselor at my university. I don’t remember how I was with food overall, but I do remember one incident where I had plans to run with my track coach one afternoon. I had been staying in the dorms to monitor the camp kids but this day I must have had off, so I went to the house where I lived when school was in session.

I don’t remember what came over me, but I do remember going through at least a pint of ice cream along with whatever else I found in the cupboards, within hours of meeting up for a run. I had to get rid of the food because, as any runner will know, going for a run on a full belly is a recipe for disaster. It will come out one end or the other.

So I tried to pre-empt the situation, made myself sick before going for the run, and still felt miserable during the run.

The next vivid memory I have was that fall. It was two nights before our division’s championship meet. I had had a decent season so far. My best one yet and good thing considering it was my last.

My time in the season’s kick-off workout made it into the all-time top 10 list, which was supposed to be an indicator for the rest of my season. I ran an 18:30 5K, my goal time, although it was on the flattest course ever so I didn’t really think it counted.

I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to close the season strong.

One thing I have noticed, and I probably knew then… I am not a good closer. I pick people off in the middle of a race, but I would always peter out at the end. The last three-quarters to half-mile of a race, my legs would get heavy, I’d feel like I was in slow-motion, and in my head it was a combination of ‘go faster, c’mon you got this’ and beating myself and my body up. Shame would show up with ‘Should’ve done more miles, eaten less, more squats etc.’

It was never pretty, as you can tell.

HEPS 2001
On the left: The face of shame. On the right: Quiet confidence.

 

I used to have nightmares where I looked and felt exactly like I did in the picture.

I recently read Gay Hendrick’s book, The Big Leap, and I can see now that what I was doing was a form of upper limiting. I inherently didn’t believe that I had what it took to win, place, beat the other girl, and so I subconsciously self-sabotaged, even though consciously I wanted to perform.

Talk about an internal tug of war.

And so that night, two nights before the championship meet, I binged on God-knows-what and had my head over the toilet bowl. For the record, that is NOT the best way to prepare your body for a peak performance. I don’t remember my time for that meet, but I don’t think it was even my best for that course.

The rest of my senior year I don’t remember specifics. But I know by the time I graduated and started my first job, I was at it again. The night before the interview, the night before the first day at work.

My mom had bought me my first suit that spring, and I was so afraid that after I graduated college and stopped running 60 miles a week and training so hard, I’d put on weight and wouldn’t fit into it.

Guess what, that fear came true because the only way I knew how to regulate my weight was through running. I grew out of it quickly. It became my benchmark though. On a good day I could fit into the skirt without it being too tight around the waist. On a bad day, I couldn’t even bear to try it on.

This is when I started having two wardrobes. The set of clothes that were between a size 4 and a size 6 for when I was ‘at my best’ and another set between size 6-8 for all the other days.

It was this first year out of college that the binges and purges became more frequent. A pattern started to form too. I was officially living at home at my parents on Staten Island but my boyfriend had an apartment in the city that was a 20 minute walk from my office.

Let me see, a daily 90min-2hour commute twice a day, or a 20 minute walk in the morning and a jog through Central Park in the evening? 

I think I’ll go with Option B.

When I was at my boyfriend’s place, I wouldn’t make myself sick. It was only when I was home. So my bulimia developed a bulimic pattern. 

I’d be ‘fine’ for days at a time, while staying with him, but I had to control my urges to binge. We’d get pizza for dinner and I’d always get the veg one even though the pepperoni one looked really good. We’d go to Gristedes and get ice cream or Pringles to snack on and I’d be terrified of eating what we bought and at the same time craving it. I’d try to subdue that internal battle and just act ‘normal’, whatever that meant. 

But then when I was  home, I could binge eat in secret. I could finally satisfy that craving and release all of the tension that had been building up from trying to control and hide my urge to binge.  I’d binge on binging. It was the epitome of the deprive/indulge model that I had learned oh so well.

These were dark times and it’s hard to find a silver lining.


 

The message that I’d like to highlight today is that while it’s not easy to hide in broad daylight, people around you are.

I’ll quote an amazing kindred spirit that I just met, Angela Barnett, who summed it up perfectly in a blog post; ‘Bulimics are cagier than Her Majesty’s Secret Service.‘ #truthbomb

We’re not the only cagy ones though. Anyone who has a vested interested in hiding shameful behaviours will go out of their way to keep their secrets safe and try on an act that makes everything look hunky-dory.

And this trying and hiding will make you a basket case. The dis-integrity of looking like you got it all together on the outside, meanwhile WWIII is going on inside. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a run with a promising athlete, or interviewing someone with a great CV for a job, or welcoming a new employee wearing a beautiful suite on their first day of work, or filming someone for a prime time TV program (sneak preview for tomorrow). That person could be suffering inside.

They could be caught in a destructive cycle that is ripping them apart and you’d have no idea.

Except now you do have an idea.

I ask myself, was there anything that people around me could’ve done to help or to stop me at the time?

My honest answer: I don’t know.

I don’t know what would’ve gotten my attention then because I wasn’t at a point where I recognized that I had a problem. And as we’ve all heard, the first part of any recovery to so stop floating down the river Denial.

For sure one option is NOT to bash them over the head with a stick until they give up and say, ‘OK, OK, I’ve got a problem!’

And the other option of ignoring that there’s potentially a problem? Not really helpful either.

Third option?

For all of us to come out of denial.

Come out of denial that people you know and love could be struggling. And this isn’t just limited to eating disorders. We all have our struggles.

Accept that this is the case, and then raise your Awareness.

And then from Awareness, show up with Love.

Create a non-judgemental space for someone to just be in. Someone who is in denial and is doing their best to cover their tracks, needs to know that there is somewhere safe to turn when they are ready to get out of the river.

The presence of judgement and an expectation-oriented environment makes this difficult. It’s as if the alligators are on shore instead of in the water.

But creating a space for vulnerable honesty (which means you might have to show some of your mud first), and of acceptance, regardless of the mud the other person brings…. that is the best option.

We can each make a decision to practice living from a place of love. Consciously look to prevent and negate the impact of shame, courageously face our own fears, and start to dance with vulnerability.

Then we’re doing our part in helping someone who is still in Denial, come ashore.

Something to think about: Are you floating down da’Nile in some area of your life? What would help you come ashore?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

Nourish your Quintessential Self. The Nourish Circle, a private group for women to support each other’s journeys with food, body and self, is starting.Join Liberty Bain and I on Wednesdays from wherever you are and receive support for your own dance with vulnerability. Join us this February.

 

#bu29days: Day 5: What’s up with this whole Deprive/Indulge thing?

aka How cake and salad can both be on the ‘good’ list

aka How my lizard brain works

I know, tell me about it right?

It’s crazy! We live in a world where this is the norm, practically an expectation. Deprivation is rewarded and commended.

‘She’s so good, she only had just a bite of cake.’ ‘He’s so dedicated! He goes to the gym every night after work.’

Why is only one bite of cake ‘good’? What’s wrong with having a full slice and enjoying every bite of it?

Why is dedication put on a pedestal? What about commending a commitment to one’s health, regardless of how many trips to the gym it takes?

And Indulgence? We’re invited to Indulge on a daily basis through marketing and advertising tricks, and if we give in, it’s seen as either acceptable to jump on the bandwagon, or just a wee bit naughty.

‘Would you like to supersize that?’ Oh sure, why not as I’m at it already.

‘I bought some chocolate and had a few pieces last night. I know I should’ve stopped at two but the box was just staring at me!’

And it’s not a phenomenon just with food. It’s everywhere we look.

Deprive:

  • Sure, I can stay late again at work (even though I’ll be missing my kid’s baseball game for the 2nd time in a row.)
  • Oh no, it’s fine, I can watch your kids (even though what you really need is an hour to yourself before your own family gets home.)

Indulge:

  • Just buy another TV and put it on a zero interest financing deal (because you really need another TV or even A TV.)
  • I’ll just watch one more episode (even though that’s the 3rd time you said that.)

When we foster this pattern, we give in to a way of living that denies our true wants, needs and desires. We send ourselves a signal that they are not worth it. That we are not worth it.

But if I deprive myself of them, I am somehow raised to the level of domestic goddess and now I’m worthy of love and belonging. (Faulty logic btw.)

Except prolonged deprivation is not sustainable. Picture a see saw, an extreme dip on one end begs to be balanced out. So we give in, go the other extreme, indulge, and soon the floodgates open.

And when that happens, it is clear I am definitely NOT worthy of love and belonging. Because who could love that kind of behaviour?

I’ve seen this pattern in my own life in more places than I care to admit, but here goes. In addition to adopting a deprivation/indulge pattern with food, it was there with sex, money, and emotions.

I grew up in an abstinence culture. You either had sex (indulge) or you didn’t (deprive). There was little room to acknowledge someone’s budding sexuality or engage in any kind of nourishing discussion, exploration, or acknowledgement of desires… another form of deprivation. As you can imagine, ignoring something doesn’t make it go away ; it doesn’t take away the feelings. But when they occurred, I thought that’s what I was supposed to do: just ignore them and wait until you’re married. Unsustainable in the long run which meant I then indulged the desires, but without really knowing why I was choosing to. It’s a great way to foster guilt btw. 

I also grew up on a budget. The budget rarely allowed for spending on items that I saw as pleasurable; brand-name backpacks, sweaters, shoes. The choice was often, you can have one sweater from the Gap, or three from JC Penneys. I’d often go with quantity over quality so that at least I’d have a variety of clothes to wear. But in doing so, I denied a desired pleasure. To own a beautiful, quality piece of clothing. When I started making my own money, I tried the budget approach for a while, but I could never stick to it. One month I’d splurge on clothes, the next month, I wouldn’t spend a dime. And the crazy thing was that in the splurge months, I still wasn’t giving myself what I really wanted. I’d buy/consume a large quantity, but it wasn’t necessarily what I had my eye on. I’d still shop the sale rack or buy stuff that didn’t quite fit right but was ‘good enough’. I was still depriving myself, leaving the desire unfulfilled.

This next one is an adoption of the stoic British motto: Keep calm and carry on. Whether nature or nurture, I rarely expressed my feelings. But when I did, Lordy did you know it. I’d be thinking or feeling things for months, keeping it all bottled in; calm on the outside, but seething on the inside. I’d be depriving myself of feeling the actual feelings. Which inevitably meant that later, I’d explode in a seemingly insignificant situation that ignited those bottled feelings (indulge). Just for the record, it can be a real hang up as an adult as you are trying to build meaningful relationships with partners. It’s not a recipe for success that is for sure.

And of course, the binge/purge cycle that exists within bulimia is just another manifestation of deprive/indulge. Deprive self of food that you really desire, then indulge with a binge. The purge starts the deprivation cycle again; purge and then restrict for as long as possible until the binge happens again.

Do you see the common theme in all of this? What is actually being deprived here?

Self-expression.

Whether it’s our deepest and most vulnerable sexual expression, our intense and charged emotional expression, or an outward expression of what we value and what see as beautiful and pleasurable (ie with food and money), it all comes back to the same thing…. the essence of who you are.

When you deprive yourself of this, the message you are embracing and emulating is: I am not good enough. I am not valuable enough. I am not worthy.

There he is again. Mr Dick.

So what’s going on? Why would we ever want to ignore, quiet, or deprive the world of our self-expression?

Because when we pick up signals that our self-expression, a reflection of ourselves, isn’t going to get the approval, applause, love and acceptance, we’re really good at adapting to what will. Not sure if it’s our lizard brain or monkey brain, but either way it’s a pretty good survival mechanism.

Here’s a 3rd option that’s a bit more sustainable.

Instead of asking, will they love me?  (And sometimes dare I say, Will I love me?)

Ask, what would nourish me? What would bring me and those around me pleasure and joy?

What would feed my mind, body and soul right now?

Maybe one day it’s a piece of chocolate cake. Another day it’s a gorgeous green salad.

Maybe one month it’s that beautiful red dress that you saw hanging in the store window. Maybe the next month it’s honoring your commitment to save.

All of these choices can be equally nourishing and pleasurable when you know what you want, and why you’re choosing what you’re choosing.

As I’ve started down this path I can now tell when I need/want a good cry and a release of emotion, and I’ll give it to myself. I can also tell when it’s not the right time and ‘keep calm and carry on’ is the better option in the moment. However instead of creating a bottleneck that is ignored, it’s pressing the pause button for a more nourishing time.

And as I’ve allowed myself to feel the feelings, express myself, nourish my desires, it’s been easier to allow for pleasure and nourishment with food too.

Something to think about: Where do you see the deprive/indulge cycle in your own life? What do you think would change if you allowed for more self-expression?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

Nourish your True You. This February I’m co-hosting free weekly calls with Liberty Bain on Wednesdays; a time to have your questions answered and receive loving support about everything you’ve just read. Join us!

GGS: My new GPS

Blog - Possiblity

This is a longie but goodie so I’ll cut to the chase. If nothing else, try this at home:

  1. Identify 5-6 people, businesses, or organizations that you admire.
  2. Write down the top three things that you admire about each.
  3. What do those qualities tell you about who you are and who you can be?

This exercise is the best shortcut I know to understanding ourselves. Using others as a window into our own soul. Gold.

I was accidently reminded of this shortcut as I found myself being pulled to these 3 words over the past few weeks.

Grounded. Generous. Service.

Some people would call them ‘guiding words’ but that’s a bit too airy-fairy for me, so I’m thinking of them as my new GPS. Pointing the way to how I want to be showing up in life and what I want as the foundation of my business.

As I’ve asked myself what that actually means, sure enough, my GGS radar has been going off like crazy.

Hello… Why do you think I’m constantly raving about the only place to eat out around here, how to get your money overseas dirt cheap, how I love doing yoga at home, and some miracle workers on the health front?

I engage with grounded, generous and service-oriented businesses each and every day.

Now I know why I love them so much: They fit my own bill.

And now that I’ve woken up to that, I can learn from them. Use what I see in them to show me the way forward. For that, I am forever grateful.

Instead of keeping the (unsolicited btw) rave reviews to myself, I’m sharing them with you. When something changes my life, I want it to change yours.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a GGS guided ride.

1. How to turn your world upside down from your own living room… aka Gaia.com

I’ve been using gaia.com consistently for the past 2 years. Say no more! Because there is very little I’ve done consistently for any length of time in the last decade of my life, let alone 2 whole years!!!!

Never did I think I’d be doing handstands in my front room without using the wall! But it’s true. And I’ve got Gaia to thank for that.

Clearly they have grounded me, but what grounds them?

Grounded: They make it uber accessible to broaden your physical, mental and spiritual health. And they keep it simple. When you log on, pick the category and subcategory you’re looking for, and you’re good to go.

Generous: As a member, you get amazing value for money. Think your gym, netflix for personal growth, and a holistic health guide all in one… for only 10 bucks a month! There is so much packed in there, you need a lifetime to get through it all. Plus they have new member offers to save you some dough and offer referral scheme where you can end up with free yoga. (Here’s my link in case you want to check them out.)  

Service:  I mentioned they keep it simple, which is a bonus since there is so much variety. Whether it’s a quick 15 minute cool down for after a run, morning yoga routines, or a 15 day guided cleanse, I am never left wanting, which keeps me coming back even after 2 years.

2. How to occupy Wall Street and stay out of jail: Transferwise!

If you’re big on boycotting the banks, check these guys out.

I stumbled across them thanks to a google ad while trying to figure out a way to pay my coach in the US without jipping us both out of 30-40 bucks.

At first glance, they seem too good to be true. Transfer money anywhere in the world without paying bank fees?

So I called their customer service team, which were SUPER helpful as they were genuinely happy to answer all my typical control-freak and risk-averse questions.

Turns out they are legit.

Grounded: They too are simple. No fuss, no muss. Create an account. Pick an amount to send. Enter the recipient’s email. Enter your bank details. Job done.

Generous: When it only costs you £4.98 to send £1,000 to the US, I think that says enough.  But since I like to talk, I’ll expand on this. It’s clear they are not there to make money. Going back to grounded: they believe in what they do, that their service will change your life, and so they keep your money in your pockets and rely on customers coming back and spreading the word.

And here I am voluntarily spreading the word.

They also like to thank their customers for doing. So next time you are wondering how to pay your coach, get paid from your client, send your sister some birthday cash, or send money home, check them out. This link will give you a free transfer up to £2000.

Service: Anything that saves me time and money is a win for me.

3. A tale of two banks that shall and shall-not be named: Go forth with USAA

Speaking of money…. I’ve banked with USAA my whole adult life, thanks to my dad’s service in the US Coast Guard. While they didn’t seem so special to me half a life-time ago, now I can’t rave about them enough.

Grounded: They do what they do for US military families, full stop. My only complaint here is that they should branch out beyond military and beyond the US so that more people could have such a simple and pleasant banking experience.

Generous: They refund any cash withdrawal ATM fees you incur, without a cap on this. Their motor and property insurance policies are astoundingly low. And when you call to speak to someone, it’s like talking to your really nice next door neighbor. They genuinely care.

Service: They understand their customer’s main banking challenge: Mobility. When you get deployed somewhere new every 2 years or so, having a bricks and mortar local branch to do your banking doesn’t really help as you have to move on. They make it easy to do the normal everyday things in life.

Like changing your name or resetting your debit card pin number.  Seemingly simple but you’d be surprised. You gotta hear this…

When I got married, all they needed was a scanned copy of my marriage certificate. Unlike every other organization which has asked to see the original paper copy (including my mobile phone company!!!!) which, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to be posting the one and only copy of my marriage certificate around the world, and I’m not too keen on the postage bill.

When my husband and I back packed for 9 months we used our USAA account and another account from a bank-which-shall-not-be-named. I am still recovering from the trauma of this one.

Let’s just say that when you are in the South Island of New Zealand and you get locked out of your account, sending a new pin number via snail-mail in 3-5 business days, or visiting your local branch in the UK, or even, as an olive branch, your nearest local branch which is located on the very north of the North Island, doesn’t really help. Resetting it for you over the phone does (thank you USAA).

It made me think… if one bank/company can go paperless, why can’t everyone else?

I realize that not everyone will be able to experience their service… US military personnel and family members only. If you fall into that category and haven’t looked into it, run don’t walk. Note: Retired military counts too… eg) your dad may have been in the service for 2-3 years in 1978 and you could still be eligible.

4. Awaken your inner Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman with doTERRA

I was introduced to doTERRA about 6 months ago when a friend was telling me about her essential oils business. I had heard of essential oils through some of Gaia’s yoga instructors, and even had a couple in my house that were just sitting there collecting dust. When my friend sent me a few samples to try, I was hooked.

Grounded: Their name means ‘gift of the earth’ in Latin. I don’t think you can get more grounded than that. 🙂

Seriously though, they stand firm in how they source and produce their product. Lavendar from the South of France, lemons from Italy. Think of their products as the equivalent of Champagne from Champagne, or Parmigiano from Parma . They source nature’s bounty from its indigenous region with the ideal growth environments, harvest at just the right time, and extract the oils in a way that ensures the best quality.

They get a lot a heat for their self-regulated CPTG standard, but they still stand by what they do. Just because there’s no industry regulator in existence, doesn’t mean they can’t hold themselves to standards.

Generous: They are consistently giving back to their members. Free products, monthly discounts, and opportunity to earn when you spread the word. (You can find out more here.)

Service: It works. Which makes it easy for them to stand behind what they do. The oils have aided in my digestion, skin repair, coughs, joint and muscle aches, and more. Added bonus: they smell nice and look pretty 🙂

5. Where to go when you’re craving a piece of NYC but stuck in Wales: Wright’s Food Emporium

The moment I walked into Wright’s 18 months ago, I knew I was home. The vibe is like none other I’ve come across in my 8 years of living in the UK. I was so smitten, I fulfilled my dream of being a waitress, just so I could be in this space on a regular basis. I would walk around the sun-flooded tea room, or the fire-lit cozy, or the laid-back and inviting wine room, and send out gratitude for finding the closest thing to a West Village haunt in this countrified corner of Wales.

Grounded: Their values are clear: Good Food & Good Vibe. In a part of the world where I’ve been to pubs and I swear the peas and carrots were boiled from frozen (my childhood nightmare) and the bread from Asda, walking into a place that makes their bread and cakes daily, on-site, and only uses fresh and organic meat and vegetables, was like putting on an oxygen mask. These people appreciate food and know how to cook it.

Generous: They also know how to make you feel at home. You walk in and seriously, everybody knows your name. Which takes people going out of their way to give you the time of day. You’re not just another customer. You’re a person they are genuinely interested in. 

Service: You go there for the food and for sure will leave with full bellies. Even better, you leave with a fuller heart.

6. How to heal your gut + smell nice at the same time: Chuckling Goat

Last Christmas I wanted to treat myself to some natural, handmade, soaps; locally made if possible please. I googled something to that effect and came across a website called Chuckling Goat.

Hmmm… Interesting.  What’s goats got to do with soap?

Everything when the soap base is made from goat’s milk kefir.

Grounded: Kefir and gut health is veering toward trendy these days, but that is not why Chuckling Goat exists. The story is fascinating… how kefir and essential oils saved the owner’s son’s and husband’s lives. Because they have experienced the healing power first hand, they do not compromise their product.

Raw goats milk from their free-range, organic goats, is fermented with their unique strain of kefir grains. Nothing is added to the goats milk other than the grains.

Which means it doesn’t suit everybody’s taste buds. But who cares if it works.

Generous: The owners opens up their home once a month for customers to meet the goats and have their health questions answered. They want to see your body healed and life changed; so much so, that they will spend time with you until all you have all your answers and then some.

Service: They want you to be empowered to own your own health. Once you accept the choice is yours, their products do the rest.

I was only interested in the soap at first (again: smells nice, looks pretty 🙂 ) but after 2 hours in their kitchen, I got thinking… maybe the kefir could help with the dry skin on my right hand? If not, it might help with the wind I get after eating red meat? Not things that were high on my ‘to-fix’ list, but I realized that I don’t have to settle. The discomfort can dissipate if I take responsibility for it. My husband and I both did a 21 day course of Kefir and both those symptoms have noticeably improved (he’s very grateful for the latter 🙂 ) with the added bonus that we no longer keep a stash of chocolate in the house. Sugar cravings? Gone.

In summary:

If you’re still reading, 1. if you can’t tell, I highly recommend engaging with these GGS businesses. Your life will change. 2. I also highly recommend taking the time to learn from those around you that you admire. 

You may not feel like you are ‘there yet’ (I know I certainly don’t) but everything I’ve highlighted in purple reflects back to me inherent values of mine. Which creates the possibility for me to make it onto my own list one day.

I’ll be using the following as my GPS this year.

  • Grounded: You know who you are. What you do, and why you do it.
  • Generous: You freely give without expectation of anything in return.
  • Service: You make a difference.

I’d love to know: What will you be using as yours? 

And what would make a difference in your life right now? Let me know in the comments below.

And if having a conversation about your life would make a difference, schedule a time to chat.