March 10, 2018


For many many years, I’ve been fortunate enough to practice something called Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner. Each Friday morning when we’re in session I pack up my notebook and drive to Lauri’s house where myself and a cohort of other women gather around her dining room table and spend two hours in practice.

I wish every woman in every community had a regular Wild Writing group. It feeds such a potent mix of hungers. The hunger for connection, for truth, for hearing your own voice, for laughter, for space and slowing down, for time away from screens, for emotional release, for permission to be imperfect, for inspiration and new discovery. For me, it’s often been a powerful support to my mental health. I could go on and on.

For a long time I felt the call to lead my own group in my own version of this practice and so last year I finally did.

I called it Sift: a writing practice for being human. Though the subtitle should probably be “a practice for being human together through writing” but that’s a mouthful and well, semantics!

And for six weeks in 2017, myself and a table full of brave women met weekly and let this practice feed us. Then I did it again at the start of this year and for the past eight weeks hosting and participating in this practice has been one of the keys to my well-fed life.

And I’m doing it AGAIN…

I’m hosting another 8-session in-person group AND, for the first time, I’m offering this practice virtually.

Let’s start with an overview of what Sift is:

This is a practice. Like yoga or painting, it’s about showing up and being willing meet yourself where you are.

This is not for people who want to be better writers (though you can want that too), it’s not for professional writers (though you can be that too), it’s not really about the writing at all. It’s about what the practice helps us access and about doing it together. You need no prior experience to participate. Just a willingness to show up and be honest.

Personally, I practice to tell the truth, to be human with other humans, to hear my stories, to make sense of myself and the world around me, to make space for my contradictions, to find the words, to reveal, to relax, and to be a little messy.

The practice essentially goes like this:

You arrive. Settle in. We do a little warming up and then I read a poem and when I’m done I pick a line or two from the poem for us to use as our writing prompt.

Then we’ll write, unedited, pen to paper, not stopping for 10 to 20 minutes. We don’t try to sound smart. We don’t try to write well. This practice serves to help us get around our perfectionist and performer. This practice helps us tell the truth on the page so we can tell the truth in the rest of our lives.

When the time is up we go around the table (myself included) and read our writing. No feedback is given. We don’t discuss what’s written. We just witness each other. Sometimes there is laughter. Sometimes there are tears. Most of the time there are nodding heads. It’s all welcome. Then we repeat.

If it sounds simple, it is. It’s also profound.

If it sounds exhilarating but also scary. You’re not alone.

If it sounds fun and nourishing, it is!

If this calls to you, raise your hand.

What a few past participants had to say…

“Sitting at the table with a group of thoughtful women is my weekly retreat.  And I mean that in the most sacred, spacious, nurturing way. Rachel offers a gentle invitation and I get to set aside my to-do lists, relentless perfectionism and over functioning ways to be guided into JUST BEING with words and the wisdom that pours onto the page.  For two hours, I don’t need to control anything.  I don’t need to be clever.  I get to show up and be present to a circle of women who are present to me, too.  When the time comes to return to the lists and obligations, I do so with a profound sense of restoration and renewal.”

“I signed up for Sift not knowing what to expect but with the intent to challenge myself (and with a dash of inner-critic fear). Rachel’s outline of the program doesn’t do justice to the experience of being in it. It’s like a weekly meeting with myself, sometimes a time to release and be playful, sometimes a line into something deeper. I enjoy the process, which naturally facilities presence, and it’s been an honor to sit in communion with other women and to hear the stories they choose to share. Perhaps the best thing about Sift is it’s without expectation and judgment, truly. I can flow into and float out of our weekly sessions.”

“I love Sift for bringing together an amazing group of women. The structure is helpful for introverts like me (not a lot of small talks). This group has been incredibly helpful and supportive for helping me process some difficult life events as well as finding my voice. Rachel is offering a beautiful gift to the world!”

How to Participate

In-Person Sift

Where: My home in Oakland, California near the Oakland Zoo.

Time: 10 am-noon on Wednesdays

Dates: 3/38, 4/4, 4/11, 4/25, 5/2, 5/23, 5/30, 6/6 (Note: these are not all consecutive)

Cost: $300, nonrefundable.

Space: I have one space at the table remaining as of 3/14.

Deadline to apply: March 23rd. Filled on first-apply basis.

To join: Email me!

Virtual Sift

Where: We’ll meet via the free Zoom video conferencing platform.  

Time: 10 am-noon, Pacific time zone, on Mondays

Dates: 4/2, 4/9, 4/30, 5/7, 5/21, 5/28, 6/4, 6/11 (Note: these are not all consecutive)

Cost: $300, nonrefundable.

Space: I have space for six participants.

Deadline to apply: March 30th. Filled on first-apply basis.

To join: Email me!


I’m not a writer. In fact, I’m a terrible writer, but I feel called to this practice. What should I do?

Let me reiterate that this is not a practice for people who identify as writers or ‘good’ writers, though they are welcome too. This is a practice that using writing to support us in being more at ease being human and for that, you need no skill or title.

I’m traveling for some of the dates listed, can I still join?

Participants must pay in full but life happens and it’s okay to miss a few sessions due to scheduling conflicts.

I have a question you didn’t answer on this page.

Please email me!

December 19, 2017

This is the time of year I start to hear of New Year’s dieting plans. Despite my line of work and despite my very public anti-diet stance folks still share with me their upcoming January regimens. Despite all the evidence that diets don’t work, the most common justification I hear is:

“I just want to feel good in my body, ya know?”

I do know. I like feeling good in my body too. Unfortunately dieting won’t take us there in the long run and almost always leaves us feeling worse. Here’s is some advice for getting that good body feeling:

So, you want to feel good in your body?

Well, let’s start out that our bodies are not there to solely feel good. Our bodies are there to feel. To feel it all. So when we only pursue feeling good in our bodies we will discover that sometimes we have to feel crappy. We’ll have to feel that ache in our back. We’ll have to feel disorientation of being in a body we might not have lived in for some time. We’ll have to feel the rage we’ve been misdirecting towards our flesh that rightly belongs directed to the patriarchy, the dieting industry, and the specific people in our lives who shamed us. If you want to feel good in your body you first have to make peace with feeling.

So, you want to feel good in your body?

Then listen to it. Instead of going in the exact opposite direction of what it wants (a glass of water, some fresh air, more sleep, a sleeve of Oreo cookies) do not stop, do not pass go. Just listen to it and heed the call with as much devotion as you can muster.

You want to feel good in your body?

Erect bigger, firmer boundaries. Tell your intimate partners how you like to be touched and what doesn’t feel good. Practice saying no. Seriously, say it in the mirror a dozen times before you brush your teeth. Feel it’s power.

Make a list of the people and problems that are not yours to solve. Take back your body from other’s people’s fix-it lists. Leave the party early or pass on the invite altogether. Teach the people around you what is and isn’t okay for you. Boundaries are essential to a feel-good body.

You want to feel good in your body?

Vote for policies and people that will pursue better access to health care, women’s rights, and support for those less privileged. Vote in every election.

You want to feel good in your body?

Buy and wear only clothing that fits the body you are in right now. Donate or put in storage any clothing that doesn’t respect your current body. Ask your body what would feel good to it to wear and listen to what it says.

You want to feel good in your body?

Stop attempting to be smaller. That’s a surefire way to feel horrible.

You want to feel good in your body?

Work to stop ranking bodies that you see out in the world. Watch your thoughts as your eyes dart to other people’s stomachs or thighs or under eye wrinkles. Let go of the need to make assumptions about their lifestyle, their diets, their sex lives. Let go of the idea that life is a beauty contest. Let in as many different flavors of beauty as you can.

You want to feel good in your body?

Remember that you are an animal (Homo sapien to be exact), not a plastic doll. That means hair, odor, fluid secretions, cellulite, pimples, stretch marks, and wrinkles are all natural and normal. That means your lips and your breasts aren’t supposed to be full and plump for the duration of your life — or maybe at all. That means your hair isn’t meant to have the same shine that Barbie’s mane does. Say it with me: I’m an animal, not a plastic doll.

You want to feel good in your body?

Make generous offerings to all five of your senses. Move in ways that feel sensual, fun, enlivening, and kind.

You want to feel good in your body?

Embrace that weight changes over the course of a day, a week, a month, a year, and a lifetime are NORMAL.

You want to feel good in your body?

Help create a world where people who are less conventionally attractive, outside gender norms, fat, differently abled, not-white, or older are welcome and free.

You want to feel good in your body?

Never ever apologize for it.

You want to feel good in your body?

If you’re able, get a regular physical check-up and dental cleaning. If you don’t like your doctor (or worse, if your doctor is not HAES-friendly) and you’re able to switch, do that immediately.

You want to feel good in your body?

Stop labeling body care, in whatever form it wants to take for you, as a luxury. Whether a nap or neck massage, if you can afford it, it’s not a luxury.

You want to feel good in your body?

Remember that hunger and fullness cues are your friends. Know that it’s never too late to re-learn Intuitive Eating. Know that attempting to override, ignore, or minimize your hunger will only backfire. Shred your list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods.

You want to feel good in your body?

If it/they makes you feel less than or promotes the denial of your body’s cues: Unsubscribe. Unfollow. Opt-out.

If it/they reminds you of your enoughness and expands your perception of human bodies: Follow. Subscribe. Opt-in.

You want to feel good in your body?

Be intentional, rather than passive in your choices to use or not use caffeine, marijuana and other substances. You get to decide what is right for you.

You want to feel good in your body?

Remember that antidepressants are not a sign of weakness.

You want to feel good in your body?

Notice that confirmation of your enoughness has never been found outside of yourself.

You want to feel good in your body?

Celebrate your sensitivities. Be an ally and an advocate for your just how deeply and intensely you feel.

You want to feel good in your body?

Get savvy to the many costumes the diet industry dresses up in to get your buy-in.

So, you want to feel good in your body?

Let go of being a ‘good girl’. Take up space. Smash the patriarchy. Exorcise the male gaze from your own lens. Be unruly. Be shrill. Be full. Be imperfect.

You want to feel good in your body?

Seek to be embodied in THIS body. here. now. human. flesh. alive. needy. sacred. unique.

Happy New Year everyone.

May 2018 be the year that an army of women decides what this world needs more than their obedience or their beauty is their freedom, their joy, their unequivocal no, their fierce empathy, their unleashed power, their laser focus, their loud voices, and their embodied presence.

Love, Rachel

August 15, 2017

Before a fully formed theory comes a hunch.

Before a hunch comes a question.

Before a question comes curiosity.

I’m curious and I’ve got a question:

What if the same lack of self-worth that contributes to white men being violent towards others, women turn into violence against themselves?

A few disclaimers:

  1. These issues are multifaceted and any question I pose won’t illuminate some grand, pure truth. This stuff is messy and heavy with history and trauma and real-world impacts.
  2. I’m not excusing the racial violence perpetrated by white supremacists by drawing connections to poor self-esteem. Even if there is a connection it doesn’t make it okay. Not in any way.
  3. I’m not saying that white women aren’t also outwardly violent. They are.
  4. I’m not saying white men aren’t also inwardly violent. They are.
  5. I fully acknowledge that the way I’m framing this is rooted in the gender binary. I welcome your constructive critique and reframing.

What I want to get at is the thread of violence and othering. What I want to feel into is the ways in which what we are seeing out there that shocks us—in Charlotte, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, at the Dar Al Farooq mosque in Minnesota— also lives inside each of us. Not just in our implicit biases, unclaimed racism, or our white privilege, which it certainly does, but in how we are in relationship to ourselves.

When we aren’t connected to our innate enoughness and our place in the family of humans our pursuit of enoughness and belonging too often turns violent.

For some white men, this violence turns outward.

For too many women the violence turns inward, toward the self.

Through perfectionism, loathing of the body, suppression of hungers, silencing of voice, denial of pleasure, dismissal of intuition, resistance to rest, and constant comparison to others, we are violent to ourselves. 

Yes, all of these behaviors are conditioned, encouraged and rewarded in a patriarchal society attempting to subdue the power of the feminine. After all, when a population of women is distracted and busy fighting a war against themselves they don’t have near as much fuel to resist and oppose real threats. AND our spiritual illusions foster us being complicit in this system.

This is the toxicity of the illusion of separateness. This is the danger in being asleep at the wheel of human living. Women must commit to stopping the inner violence and turn their peacemaking efforts not only outward but towards themselves. Women must take the anger and hatred that fuels self-criticism and redirect it to its rightful places. 

So I ask us to explore these questions:

How are you violent towards yourself and what are the real-world implications of that?

What are the tools of violence you use towards yourself and do you know why you do it? Is it your tone? Your voice? Your words? Is it withholding permission? Is it physical torture? 

When do you punish yourself?

When are you at war with yourself?

Where do you imprison yourself?

Where do you diminish yourself?

When do you starve yourself?

How do you beat yourself up and over what?

What within you do you denigrate?

What part of you do you guard yourself against?

Do you have such Stockholm Syndrome that self-inflicted violence feels comforting and safe? Do peace, softness, compassion, and kindness feel dangerous sometimes?

Are the ways that you’re violent towards yourself subtle? Are they easy to explain away? On the surface, do they appear benign and yet have impacts that tell of their harshness?

I realize I come to you with many questions and no answers. I’m not sure though that you benefit as much from my certain knowledge as you do from my directing you back to yourself as I go inward too.

What are your questions? What are you wondering? Where is your curiosity taking you and more importantly what actions are growing out of your questions?

As we see such horrific, intolerable incidents of violence I hope it inspires many things in us. I hope we are are raising our voices in whatever ways we can. I hope we’re talking to family members. I hope we’re physically showing up at vigils, rallies, protests, marches, the voting booth, and the offices of our representatives. I hope we are signal boosting non-white voices. I hope, if you’re white too, you’re doing the work to see all the ways you benefit from white privilege. I hope beyond anything that we are putting financial resources behind people and organizations that are on the frontlines of change.

In addition to these important responses, I’m adding that I hope we examine the places we have turned violence inward.


Dieting is a Violent Act

Me, Myself, & I

The Protagonist

Women Behaving Badly

You’re Not Needly, You’re Starving


Self-Compassion is a Verb

August 3, 2017

When I first started my business I wanted to offer you a fun way to begin thinking about your hungers

Enter The Fulfillment Pyramid Project

Inspired by the USDA Food Pyramid this project invites you to design your own ‘food groups’ and create a visual, sometimes 3D, object to remind you of what makes up a well-fed life for you.

You can receive your own Fulfillment Pyramid kit when you sign up for my newsletter.

Earlier this year I gave The Fulfillment Pyramid Project its own digital home where you can watch a tutorial video, see reader submitted pyramids, and see The Hall of Pyramids.

Each month I feature a pyramid from a creative person in The Hall of Pyramids. Here is a round-up of the first six months. I highly encourage you to head over to The Pyramid page to read each of their written descriptions and to learn more about their work.

A big thank you to Alisha, Esmé, Sonya, Rachelle, Allison, and Dana. You can also see August’s entrant: Maya Stein over on the page. 

If you make a pyramid I’d love to see your version and perhaps share it in the gallery. xo, Rachel

February: Alisha Sommer

March: Esmé Wang

April: Sonya Lea

May: Rachelle Derouin

June: Allison Kenny

July: Dana Velden

July 12, 2017

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a handful of dinner dates with girlfriends and to my surprise three of them, all on separate meetups, revealed to me that they were dieting.

That might seem normal in our current culture but I somehow believed that my friends knew better and that my teachings had been transmitted to them, directly or indirectly, over the many years we’ve known each other.

As I lay awake a few nights ago I began to ask myself:

Is it that my friends don’t understand what I do? Or better said, in my most indignant huffy voice: “After all these years don’t they agree with and trust my authority on this topic!?”

Is it that my friends are human and just susceptible to the overwhelming amount of weight-loss propaganda we all face?

Is it that in the face of weight gain they just don’t know what else to do? Is it that dieting has become such a knee-jerk response to too-tight pants that we don’t question it, even if our wiser self knows better?

Is it that our world feels like it’s spinning out of control and being on a diet feels safe and secure?

Likely, it’s some combination of all of these factors and more.

But I want to say to them and to anyone who wakes up and feels the siren call of dieting:

Hang on a minute! 

Wait! Before you commit to that diet or start researching Whole30 or reactivating your Weight Watchers account take a breath.

First, because it can’t be said enough: diets don’t work in the long-run and most often ultimately result in weight gain.

“But I’m not doing a diet!” you might say, “I’m just eating clean” or “I’m just watching my portions” or “I’m just giving up sugar.”

If you can mess it up it’s a diet.

If you’re making food choices predominantly with your brain rather than your body, it’s a diet.

If you have to follow rules to get it right, it’s a diet.

If you can google your specific new approach to eating and find a printable meal plan, it’s likely a diet.

When I say diets don’t work I mean they don’t result in long-term weight-loss, but they do have an impact.

Diets are a violence we perpetrate on ourselves no matter the seemingly benign or holy justification we offer up.

They leave us more disconnected from our hunger and fullness cues. They wreck havoc on our bodies. They treat grown adults like children. I could go on. Diets are bad news and best avoided. Oh, and if you’ve been on the diet train for a day or a lifetime, it’s never too late to get off.

Of course, your body is yours. It’s not my place to tell you how to feel about your body or what do with your body. This is an essential truth. And there are other ways than dieting to respond to your body’s increase in size (real or imagined) than restriction, especially when we know it doesn’t work.

A few other key things to remember before I offer up some suggestions:

Weight fluctuation is normal.

Bodies naturally come in a whole range of sizes.

The size of a body says nothing about the person, including how healthy they are.

Many, many people don’t have any accurate sense of their body because of some level of dysmorphia.

Our world is pretty sick and twisted when it comes to how we view and treat body fat and fat people.

Part of how we heal this on a global scale is by individual person after individual person opting out of thin supremacy, dieting culture, and weight stigma.

Many times the urge to diet is more about anxiety management than body size.

If you’ve gained weight recently or just unhappy with your size and you’re open, or even eager to doing something other than diet, here are just a few constructive responses:

  1. Work with an Intuitive Eating, Health-At-Every-Size-oriented coach or nutritionist. If you’d like a referral for your specific needs, shoot me an email.
  2. Read Intuitive Eating and work through the new workbook.
  3. Add some body-positive voices to your social media feeds.
  4. Delete body-negativity from your social media feeds. Unsubscribe. Unfollow. Be ruthless. 
  5. Throw out, give away, or put in storage any clothing that doesn’t fit the body you have right now.
  6. Ditch the scale too.
  7. Buy a few pieces of clothing that you feel great in, including underwear and bras.
  8. Go have fun. Do something, in this body, that makes you feel alive.
  9. Explore size-friendly yoga. Like with Anna, Jessamyn, Dianne, or Dana.
  10. Spend some time in nature. Notice how the trees never care about what you or they look like.
  11. Masturbate.
  12. Flirt.
  13. Cook or buy something that’s a 10 out of 10 on the delicious scale. Eat it with gusto. See if you can notice the moment your body says “Thank you, I’m done for now.”
  14. Download this hunger scale app. Play around. 
  15. Do nothing. Sit still. Hang out with the discomfort. Get curious.
  16. Let your body write you a letter. Write one back.
  17. Ponder body dysmorphia. Are you 100% sure that what you’re seeing is accurate?
  18. Go look at diverse images of the human body and behold the beauty in everyone.
  19. Ponder thin supremacy and how it might be related to your urge to diet.
  20. Ponder patriarchy and how it might be related to your urge to diet.
  21. Ask: if I never lost an ounce again, could I embrace myself and live my life fully?
  22. Ask: What does dieting distract me from?
  23. Join Feast.
  24. Reflect on past attempts at weight loss. Notice that they never ‘worked’.
  25. Ask: What in my life might be causing me to feel anxious or out of control?
  26. Listen to as many episodes of Food Psych as you can.

Dieting might feel like the logical response to feeling out of sorts in your body, or when your jeans don’t fit, or when eating feels out of control, but it’s a dead-end in the long run. The good news is that there is help and there are other ways that result in feeling better in your skin, more at peace with food, and more available to live your meaningful and full life.

A final note: this stuff is messy and multifaceted. Don’t believe anyone who tells you it’s simple or 1-2-3. What I’ve written here is just a first pass and not a one-size-fits-all directive. It’s complicated to have a body. It’s complicated to be a woman (cis or otherwise). It’s complicated when the world you live in tells you that because of your body or what your body might become you’re not worthy. It’s complicated, or it can be, to come back to your body when so many forces have driven you from it. I have so much care for all this complexity and the real and diverse human experiences that make up the body liberation/positive movement.

Hi, I'm Rachel

I am a life coach and fierce advocate for women feeding their truest hungers. I'm also a curator of inspiration and this is where I share the wisdom I've gained, words that trigger deep reflection, and resources to help you live your most well-fed life. Feast onward.

Returning February 2018

Get your copy of the Body Sovereignty Workbook

  • Subscribe

Sign up for the latest in Well-fed Living

Sign up here to get your free Fulfillment Pyramid Activity Kit and to receive email updates!

What are you hungry for?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.