October 28, 2012

Maya Angelou

You know that question “What’s eating you?” I much prefer the question “What’s feeding you?”

Here are a few things that are feeding me right now…

1. Dream Dinner Party. That question, “If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive who would you choose?” always stumps me. Then I stopped over thinking it and just thought about who would be fun and a joy to be around. I just find it totally delicious to imagine this group coming together around my table. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

:: Julia Child – for her majesty and because she’d cook something delicious
:: My parents and sister – because they taught me the joys of a good dinner party
:: Alanis Morrisette – for her soul and after dinner songs
:: Jimmy Fallon – for the laughs and to play board games with
:: Bill Clinton – to discuss global issues and hear that, ahem, sexy, southern drawl
:: Eckhart Tolle – because aside from being near enlightened, he’s surprisingly funny
:: Maya Angelou – for the pre-meal grace she’d lead us in
:: My nana – who is no longer with us, but would make the absolute best tamales.
:: Tina Fey – obviously.
:: Bill Cunningham – for his commentary on the night’s fashion.

2. Jane Iredale Glow Time BB Cream

My car was broken into the other week and all of my makeup was stolen. This is the replacement I selected for my foundation and I LOVE IT. It entirely mineral based, has SPF 25, and covers perfectly. I use shade five if you’re curious.

3. Sesame Oil Self-Massages

I’m a huge proponent of the healing power of self-touch. If you’ve been craving a massage, while it might not be the same as a trip to the spa, a DIY rub down feels awesome. I use organic sesame oil and do this before or after a hot shower. The only trick is to tune inward, touch everything (especially the parts you might not love fully yet), and take your time.

4. Utilitea Electric Kettle

I’ve had a bad cold twice in the last couple of months. This electric kettle saved me. Hot tea almost instantly. Adjustable temperature for different types of tea or to suit your preference. And it’s not entirely heinous to look at.

5. Lie Detector

Found this at a local flea market. My mom had it when she was growing up and I often played her game at my grandparents house when I was growing up. I love that I have my own set, makes me feel like a kid again.

6. New Projects!!! 

Oh, I’m pretty stoked to be in the grove with several new projects. One of them I’ll announce next Thursday, November 1st – no photo to give it away. If you’re on the list, you’ll get the scoop on Wednesday. Additionally I’m working hard on The 2013 Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop Tour – more details very soon! Deeply grateful for the opportunity to do such meaningful work and to do it in such a beautiful way with you.


What’s feeding you lately? I’d love to hear.

posted in things i heart
October 16, 2012

Half Eaten Nectarine

I received an email from a client this morning. I’ve been working with her for about nine months on breaking free from binge eating and healing her relationship with herself. In her sunrise note to me, she shared the following:

“I sat down with my breakfast and half way through I had the thought, “I am full. I really, really don’t want to eat the rest of this.” So I walked my half-eaten bowl into the kitchen, slapped on some plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge. Done. Holy what!?!”

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I knew this day would come for her. If you struggle with disconnected eating, I know this day can come for you too.

Just a note, if you are one of the many people whose form of disconnected eating leans toward restriction – this story would be same if she ate her entire bowl and then realized she was hungry for more and then ate more. Same coin. Different sides. I’ve been on both.

Right before I entered eating disorder treatment for the second time I was standing in the kitchen at my office (back when I had a 9-5). I had gotten into work before any of my coworkers and went to put my lunch in the refrigerator.  As I did, I saw that there was a lot of leftover bean dip and pita chips from a party the office attended the day before.

At that party I had tasted the bean dip and loved it. It was creamy, salty, and delicious. The pita chips were homemade, and tasted of really good olive oil. I also only allowed myself a few bites.

That next day, standing there alone in the office kitchen I took a bite. I took another. I went back to my desk and in the blink of my eye found myself back in the kitchen inhaling it. Repeat this a few more times. Desk. Kitchen. Desk. Kitchen. Stuffing myself. Anxious someone would come in. Feeling entirely out of control. Lacking all connection to myself, my heart, my stomach, and my soul. I binged.

That was years ago and since then I have worked hard to surrender my weapons and take up living in peace.

Today. Life, for the most part, and food are peaceful. Honestly and truly. And I know they can be for everyone who struggles this way.

Truth? We simply will not feel able to stop eating during a meal, even when we’re full, if any of the following are true:

:: We think shouldn’t be eating (this food, this amount, at this time) in the first place
:: We think the food = love, companionship, a hug, etc.
:: We are using eating to manage emotions we think are too powerful for us to handle
:: We are out of touch with our body’s wise cues
:: We are disconnected from the natural inclination to care for ourselves and at the mercy of our critic
:: We are, overall, underfed

My client’s experience at breakfast – her having that moment of fullness and making the choice to stop eating – tells me that none of these things were true for her, which tells me she is, as I knew she would be, waking up and really living life as a Well-Fed Woman.

She did not make this choice because she wanted to lose weight. She didn’t make this choice because she was following a diet. She was not trying to control herself or punish herself.

She was honoring herself.

:: We must legalize all food and all eating. Allow ourselves to eat anything, at any time, in any amount.
:: We must come to see that we are lovable (and we are love). When we feel lonely or any emotion, feel it.
:: We must practice, taking baby steps, coming home to our wise body, as it is, right now.
:: We must come to ourselves as a mother does to her child, with the utmost tenderness and care.
:: We must remember that food is good.  Eating is good. Filling up is good. Living a life of just barely getting enough or striving to not be too much or eat too much is a recipe for living a half-eaten life.

Tell me. What does living a half-eaten life look  and feel like to you? What are the signs and sensations a life Well-Fed? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

xo, Rachel

October 15, 2012

You might not know Margarita Tartakovsky, but I hope you know her writing. She’s the Well-Fed Woman behind PsychCentral’s Weightless blog and she consistently puts out some of the best content, according to her, about:

:: “fostering a fulfilling body image and life, at any shape + size. It’s about well-being, not weight.

:: building a healthy relationship with food and yourself. It’s about transforming your self-care, and finding self-acceptance and self-love.

:: becoming a clever consumer and recognizing when women’s magazines and other mediums tout unrealistic and damaging tips and standards.”

It’s no question that Margarita has a spot at my Well-Fed Woman table and I’m happy to share her words with you today.


Margarita, what are you TRULY hungry for?

I’m truly hungry to let my creativity out. To explore and express myself in different ways, whether that’s poetry or painting (which I’m honestly intimidated to try). I used to draw as a little girl, and I loved it. I’d like to get back to that playful place, again. That place where I can create whatever I want without feeling self-conscious.

(For instance, I’m considering creating an e-book of my poetry, ACK, there I said it, and yet my inner critic is roaring from the rooftops about all the reasons why I’m not cut out to do it.)

I’m also truly hungry to let go, tune into what I’m doing – instead of getting distracted 800 times — and travel the world with my honey (hopefully a Mediterranean cruise this summer).

What comes through you with ease, meaning, and spark? What are you a conduit for?

Writing is many things to me. It’s my work, my passion, my loudspeaker, which lets my voice be heard. And it’s my way of connecting with others.

If I had to pick a theme that shows up in all of my writing – regardless of the topic – it’d be kinship. I write to let readers know that they’re not alone; to let them know that “yep, me, too,” because when I read writing like that, it eases my heart. It feels amazing and soothing to know that someone has been there.

I also write to help readers learn to be kinder to themselves and others. To share good information and resources. (That’s one of the reasons I love talking to different researchers, coaches and clinicians. And I definitely learn so much myself!)

What’s a hunger you used to deny that you now happily satisfy? How has this effected you?

I used to deny myself so many things – everything from dessert to compassion to authenticity. I used to think that I had to diet and lose weight in order to be likeable, worthy and confident. In other words, I used to think that I had to earn these things – and looking a certain way would be my currency.

Even if I’d eat dessert it was always with unease. I’d gobble it up or shove it in, as though it was my last meal. Inevitably a stifling kind of shame would wash over me, as though I’d just committed some injustice.

I rarely let myself off the hook for anything. Everything I did could’ve been better. Everyone around me was better. I filled my life with “shoulds,” – what I should like, what I should dislike, what I should wear, what I should do.

When I think about it I really just built a fence around all my hungers, whether it was a hunger for food, a hunger for care or a hunger for self-expression. When I was restricting what I was eating or bingeing on foods that didn’t even satisfy me, I didn’t realize that this colored my entire life. That this was basically a metaphor for the shaky relationship I had with myself.

Now I savor dessert (and a wide variety of foods…yum!). Now I try to be kind and compassionate toward myself. To understand that I’m human, that mistakes are OK. That flaws aren’t fatal. They just are.

I focus on activities that bring meaning and make me happy. I tune into my body’s cues, my needs. I try to live life with all my senses. I spend time with people I love who genuinely love me, too, and have my back.

Living this way has helped me to breathe better. I think that’s the best way to describe what’s changed. I know myself so much more today than I ever did. I believe in myself so much more than I ever did.

I still struggle. I still get super insecure. (That poetry e-book is a good example.) I still forget certain lessons. I still hyperfocus on my shortcomings and gloss over my strengths.

But now I can recognize these struggles. Now I know my mean thoughts are not facts. Now I bounce back faster, and I cope with them in healthy and respectful ways. But, mostly, now I feed my hungers.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

A medium-well steak smothered in Asiago cheese with a butter-and-sour-cream baked potato, grilled asparagus and a glass of Riesling at Ruby Tuesday’s of all places. Man, was it good!

October 1, 2012

I’ve spent the past 10 years immersed in the study of how we, as women, relate to our hungers, food, bodies, and yes, weight. I’ve looked at these topics academically, professionally, personally, spiritually, and just about every which way you can…here is what I know:

I know it’s entirely useless to know what you weigh.

I also know that most people will disagree with me on that point. I know that I’m okay with that.

I know that giving up knowing your weight is one the most liberating and radical acts of self-care we can do. (Imagine living the rest of your life not knowing your weight, could you do it?)

I know weight fluctuates our whole lives and throughout each day.

I know you can find a healthy person at nearly every weight. I know you can find an unhealthy person at nearly every size. I know size is not a predictor of health.

I know beauty really does have nothing to do with size. If one doesn’t see beauty when looking at a human body the only thing that needs changing is the eyes of the beholder.

I know that too many use weight to measure their okayness, lovability, and success at controlling a world that was never and will never be in their control.

“It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale. We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical vehicles to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels.” Geneen Roth

I know that the happiest I’ve ever been did not coincide with the thinnest I’ve ever been. Not even close. In fact, my happiness doesn’t depend on my size. Fancy that.

I know each of us has a set-point happy-place weight, determined by an unknowable mix of genetics and lifestyle. No amount of exercise and starvation will necessarily change this. Nor do we need it to. I know that for many their body’s happy place weight is well-above what our society deems okay.

I know sizeism is one of the last forms of socially acceptable prejudice. I know we must change this.

I know we are living in a world that is crying out for women to shift their energy and attention from weight-loss and weight shame to engaged, compassionate, embodied, and awake living.

Will you join me?