Screw Willpower; Call on your C.I.A. Instead!

• Posted by Melissa Costello

That's right, the holiday season is in full swing and most of us think that willpower is the way to get through and avoid temptation. When it comes to eating healthy and living a vital life, willpower has nothing to do with it AND changing your behavior has EVERYTHING to do with it.

In fact, I say, "Screw willpower." (Excuse my bluntness)

Willpower is one of those things...we think if we have it and engage it, we can stay on track with our diet, exercise, not eating crap, whatever, but the truth is, willpower tends to be a precursor to "failing." Stay with me here.

Yes, the dictionary does describe willpower as the ability to control yourself; strong determination that allows you to do something different. Yet, how many times have you told yourself, "I'm going to be strong and not eat the whole pint of ice cream, or half a bag of cookies, or a whole bag of chips?" Or, you diet, you do well, lose weight and then gain it all back, and more.  Or you eat healthy for a month, then you slip up once so you throw it all out the window and you feel icky about yourself.

And what happens? Willpower fails you! Or, more accurately, your sabotaging, unaddressed behaviors fail you. You rest on the laurels of your "strength," yet you haven't looked at WHY you make the choices you do, what leads you to even needing willpower and how your inner belief system is really running the show. Willpower is NOT enough OR something to rely on when it comes to food, especially.

What you really need is the CIA: Commitment, Intention & Action!

Most of us have values in our life, especially when it comes to being healthy. I've never, and I don't use that word lightly, come across anyone who has told me they don't care about their health. So, it's important to know your values when it comes to your health and wellness.

Are you committed to being the healthiest you can be? Are you committed to only eating good food? Are you committed to taking impeccable care of yourself? Are you committed to treat your body with respect? And, can you forgive yourself and not beat yourself up when you make a so-called "bad" food choice? Being committed to your values will keep you on track. Writing down your values and posting them where you can see them will support you in going toward them, because the truth is, I know from my own experience how crappy it feels to be out of integrity with my values.

Intention is super important. What do you intend when you go to a party?  Or when it comes to eating over the holidays? Focus on the positive, not the negative. Setting a clear, positive intention will help. It's very similar to setting goals. For example, when I go to a party where I know there will be a table full of yummy, tempting food, I set an intention to connect with at least one person, and ask them about their life/day. Or I set an intention to only have a bite of dessert and know that's enough. This gives me a focus, and guides me toward my values of CONNECTION & VITALITY, versus away from them and toward the dessert table. I really don't want the dessert, but sometimes being uncomfortable can lead me there.

Taking Action is the most important thing here. Because remember, you are the ONLY one who has a choice about what you put in your body. This is not willpower, this is choice. There is a consequence to every choice, whether it's "good" or "bad." So you get to decide for yourself if you want to put bad food in your body, overeat, drink too much, and so on. Taking a contrary action, or doing something different than you normally would will start to make new brain grooves and shift your old behaviors over time. That's why "they" say, it takes at least 32 days to break a habit. Why? Because you have to create NEW belief patterns and lessen the grip the old ones have. And this takes consistent action.

So, take 10 minutes and write out your values around health. Then make a plan that includes engaging the C.I.A. And if you get off track, it doesn't mean you failed, it means your brain is resisting change. So, get right back on the horse and keep on riding right toward your values, not away from them. Because remember, consistency with your commitment, Intention and Action will bring you long-lasting results. Oh yea, and forgive yourself along the way. I'm pretty sure that will feel a whole lot better than telling yourself you're a failure!

Sending you massive love and hugs for a beautiful holiday season!



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How to NOT Overeat This Thankgiving Holiday.

• Posted by Melissa Costello

The holidays are quickly approaching and there will be a plethora of yummy, gooey, heavy, hearty, fattening food tempting us from now until January. This time of year is so wonderful because people are in a festive mood, and we get to see family/friends and spend quality time together connecting and bonding. It's also a season of over-eating, over-indulging and weight gain, which can often times lead to illness in the New Year.

It's super easy to overeat at the holidays. Especially because, like I mentioned above, there is tempting food EVERYWHERE. Not only at your dinner table, and in your home, but at coffee shops, gift stores, grocery stores, cafes and on TV luring us to eat more.


But don't worry, I am here to share some awesome tips with you to support you in staying in alignment with your health values this season.

1. Be Prepared: If you are going to a friends or family members house for Thanksgiving dinner this year, offer to make a few of your own healthy dishes to share. You don't have to let anyone know they are healthy, it could be your little secret. If the host declines, let him/her know you will that you have a commitment to yourself to stay healthy this holiday, and you will be bringing some of your own food. I do this all the time, and people usually want to eat what I have because it always looks so tasty. Click here for an awesome healthy side dish recipe.

2.  Set an Intention or a Goal: It's important to be intentional when you go to an event where there will be a lot of food. Having an intention or goal will help you with this. For example, your intention could be that you are going to focus on connecting with a specific family member, or friend instead of stuffing your face full of food. Or you could set a goal to only have 3 bites of dessert, knowing that is enough to satisfy your taste buds (FYI, your mind is the one that freaks out and thinks you need more, but the truth is, your reward center in your brain shuts off after the 3rd bite, so anything after that is just your ego feeding you lies about needing more.)

3. Stay Present: Put away your phones, computers and anything that will distract you from being present with your loved ones. Get out a board game, go for a walk or play some cards. Use this time to really savor each moment with the people you love. Tell stories, laugh, connect. That is what the holidays are about.

4. Move away from the Table: Once you are done eating your main meal, get up from the table and move to another room, or help the host clean up. If you are the one who cooked, start to put leftovers directly into food-saving containers so that it's not sitting out and tempting you. Put some music on and clean the dishes.

5. Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable: On the actual holiday, make sure you eat a hearty, healthy breakfast to set your blood sugar up for success. Don't starve yourself with the thought that you want to have room to eat all the Thanksgiving goodies. This will set you up to over stuff yourself, and then your body will hate you. Overeating causes our digestion to stop working optimally and can give us heartburn, indigestion and bloat.

6. Make a Choice: YOU are the ONLY one who chooses what goes in your body. No one is forcing you to eat that second helping of Pumpkin pie. Make good choices. Fill your plate with more veggies and greens than anything, and then take very small servings of the rest. I always load salad on my plate, that way I don't have room for much else.

7. Eat until You're 80% Full: Most people are not able to know when they hit this point. When you tune into your body's subtle cues, you will be able to tell when you are satisfied and this will prevent you from stuffing yourself like that turkey on your table. My body's cue is when I take my first deep breath and I can tell I'm getting kind of full. That is when I stop, put my fork down and take a break.

8. Chew Your Food and Eat Mindfully: This is something I teach in all my food-based cleanses. Slow down, chew your food and be mindful when you eat. Instead of clearing your plate in 3 minutes flat, take time to put your fork down between bites and have conversation with others at the table. Chewing your food will help your digestion work more optimally, as our digestion process starts in the mouth. Look, the bottom line is that you can always go back for more later, but use this time to be super tuned in to each bite, the flavors of the food and how lucky you are to be with your family and friends.

9. Limit Alcohol: Drinking results in tons of added calories and a blood sugar roller coaster. It can also lead to overeating and loss of attunement to yourself. This doesn't mean you can't drink; but keep it to 1 or 2 drinks over the course of a 4-6 hour period and drink lots of water in between to stay hydrated.

10. Volunteer: Spend your Thanksgiving morning volunteering to help those in need. This will put life in perspective when you see how many people in your own neighborhood don't get to have a feast of food, or family to spend their holiday with. Being of service is the best way to get your mind off food, and engaged in something meaningful.


I know that navigating the holiday season can be tricky, but using these tips will support you in sticking to your health goals as well as being in alignment with what is important to you. Take the focus off food, and put it on those around you or those in need. Your body and your health will thank you!

Have a wonderful holiday!



Food = Love?

• Posted by Melissa Costello

For many of us, our first connection with food was through our mother's breast when she held us and stared lovingly into our eyes while we suckled ourselves into bliss.

This bond and connection we had while being fed by our parent(s) can often set the course for many of us to equate food with love. And why wouldn't we?? We are getting a basic need met through the connection of love and intimacy.

As we got older we may have been rewarded with food when we did good on a test, or even got our favorite treat if we had a bad day or got a boo-boo.

Sometimes we turned to food for comfort when we didn't have any where else to turn, or any way to express our emotions, or the tools to communicate what we were feeling, because let's face it; FOOD IS SAFE and it will NEVER turn its back on us!

This comfort seeking in food tends to turn to binge eating, emotional eating and over eating. In times of stress, we turn to food. If we're sad, we turn to food. If we're bored, we turn to food.  We lean on it. It becomes our friend. You get the idea.

How many times have you sat down in front of your TV at night and ate mindlessly? GUILTY! Or continued to eat even when you're not hungry?! Guilty, AGAIN!

It always blows my mind how many people are in a FOOD PRISON. I used to be one of them.
I work with clients every day with this very struggle. Food is their every thought. They do "good" and eat healthy for a while, and then something happens in their life, and they get off track and spiral downward. They sabotage their efforts.

At this point, they just decide to throw it all away, because they feel like a complete failure. And then their body starts to betray them, and they feel bad physically. Then they might realize they need to make a change, so they look for the next quick fix. But a quick fix is not what will help.

What I have learned from my own journey and experience with emotional and binge eating, is there IS NO QUICK FIX. It takes courage and brevity to turn and face it. It takes action, perseverance and digging deep to break these ingrained habits and patterns that have been laying their tracks since childhood.

One way I began to break this cycle was to hire a coach to support me in taking the journey inward. I knew that trying another diet or food program would not fix what was going on inside me. Yes, meal plans are great and work for many, but what I realized is that my feelings didn't disappear with a meal plan.  It was time to go deeper to see what I was REALLY hungry for when I overate and turned to food. I wanted to know why I turned to food in times of need, stress, loneliness and boredom. What was I looking to fill?

This was definitely an intense process, and at times achingly hard, but I knew that if I wanted to experience freedom in my life with food, and my body, I needed to go deeper.

Do you know what I discovered as I was going through this journey of self-discovery? That what I was really seeking and hungry for was; LOVE, CONNECTION and VALIDATION.

After uncovering this, I began to work more with my coach on what steps to take to be able to give myself that love and connection I was needing. I had turned away from myself and disconnected from my own body and heart. I was putting my value and worth in the way my body looked and what I weighed. Wow, what a PRISON I was in.

Little by little, I started to break free, and release the shackles that bound me. And now I can truly say that I am no longer in the prison of my own making. It took time, dedication and commitment, but it was worth every step.

If this is something that you are experiencing, it's time to take charge of your life and break yourself free. One place I recommend starting is by reading the book, "When Food is Love," by Geneen Roth. Actually any book by Geneen is amazing!

And, if you are really ready to take it a few steps further, and you need the support and accountability to do so, please email me and let's have a conversation. I want to support you in diving deeper and really starting to break yourself out of prison. Remember, the only way out is through!

Look at how one of my clients found her freedom, "Before I started your program, I felt so overwhelmed with various programs that I lost touch with what is organic/authentic for me.  I am finally re-connecting with myself again and feeling liberated with this new sense of discovery!!!!"

Your turn?

Love your Body, Love your Food, Free Yourself!

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Karma Chow September Giveaway: The Green Beauty Rules Book & Coaching Session

• Posted by Melissa Costello

I'm super excited to bring you this giveaway for September where you will have a chance to win a FREE copy of The Green Beauty Rules; The Essential Guide to Toxic-Free Beauty, Green Glamour and Glowing Skin, by celebrity make-up artist, Paige Padgett (she beautifies Jillian Michaels, among others,) AND a 30-minute coaching session with me!

Paige's book is the first of its kind to offer an action plan for creating a totally green beauty routine! Using a step-by-step formula, Padgett guides readers through the decision-making process of what to try, what to toss, and what to buy. She also teaches practical strategies to make green beauty easy―like how to read labels, see through misleading buzzwords, and identify toxic chemicals.

It’s easy to enter, just complete the Rafflecopter entry below and follow the instructions. Winners will be announced on October 1st! You can enter as many times as you want for more chances to win!

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How Are You Hiding?

• Posted by Melissa Costello

I was recently working with a coaching client of mine who expressed to me that she has been hiding her whole life behind a mask of "everything is ok," and "happy-go-lucky." I was blown away by her awareness of this, because the truth is, most of us ARE hiding, but don't really know it. I resonated very deeply with her on every level.

I have hidden a lot in my life.
Behind food.
Behind being a "good" girl.
Behind Shame.
Behind Fear.
Behind Busy.
Behind a Fake Smile.
Behind Perfectionism.

And you know what I learned?
All this hiding just brought me a tremendous amount of suffering. I felt so lost in my life. I felt disconnected. I felt alone. Hiding sucked, but I didn't even know where to start, or how to change it.

In fact, I wasn't even fully aware of it, but I had a constant nagging feeling of dissatisfaction in my life. A constant feeling of struggle. A feeling like something was always "off."
Do you feel me?

There are many ways we hide. Thinking we have things under control is one of the big ones. Perfectionism is another. The truth is, all of this hiding is really a protection mechanism; a way we keep people from seeing the real us. When I asked my client what would happen if people really knew the truth about her, she burst into tears. She couldn't even fathom that anyone would like her if they saw her not-so-nice side, or if she really spoke her mind, or if she asked for what she wanted.

I mostly find this epidemic among women, but there are plenty of men out there who feel it too. Men don't seem to be as afraid to show themselves, they are naturally more assertive and usually have no trouble asking for what they want. Maybe there is a reason why women still only get paid 70 cents compared to a man's dollar in the working world. Is it because we are afraid of others seeing our "bitchy" side and of not being liked? Could be, but I think it goes deeper.

Look, we all come into the world the same way. We are born as a little bundle of pure love. We have no language, no belief systems in place and no awareness of our ego. As we grow and learn, all kinds of things are projected on to us from the outside world and those in our life. If you had loving, nurturing, caring parents, it's very likely you don't have to hide because you feel completely ok with who you are, and you are proud of showing it.

For those of us who struggled in this department, we may have received a lot of messages of not being lovable, worthy or good enough through our parents behavior and lack of connection. These messages are programmed as a belief system during the ages of 0-9, as we create our core memories, and we take those systems with us into adulthood without any awareness that they are running under the surface. But, we know something is off. We keep experiencing the same challenges over and over, and we don't understand why.

For me it's been "failed" relationships, body hate and mistrust. I pretended everything was honky-dory, but life kept handing me the same thing over and over. I started to believe I was broken, that I needed fixing and that no one would ever love me. I started to try and control everything around me; my body, my environment, the food I ate. I wanted everything to be perfect and look perfect and it was utterly, and completely exhausting.

It wasn't until I began to take a deeper look within and ask myself some important questions about who I wanted to "be" in life and how I wanted to show up. The answer that came was profound at the time, because it wasn't about anything external, or anything I could acquire. It was all about being an example of love, authenticity, presence and inspiration for others. It was no longer about what I wanted to get, but who I wanted to be and how I wanted to show up in the world. The fact that I kept repeating patterns over and over only told me one thing; I was the common denominator and I was tired of hiding who I really wanted to be.

I started to share my most vulnerable truths with others. I started to have more compassion for myself. I began to forgive myself. I started to look deep at all the judgements and projections I was putting on others and turned the mirror back on myself. It wasn't easy, but it helped me to start to peek out of my deep, dark hole that I had been hiding in for so long. I didn't need to seem happy all the time. I didn't need to look perfect. I didn't need EVERYONE to love me. It was ok to just BE who I am. There was nothing to fix. I wasn't broken. Hallelujah!!! A serious awakening.

Now this is not to say that I don't practice these things on a daily basis. There are still days, hours, minutes I struggle, but what is different now is how I am showing up in the world for myself and others. I am NO longer the victim, but someone who is taking responsibility for my life and the flow it brings.

How can you start to come out of hiding and take responsibility for your experience in life? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. And remember...

I am here loving you! Always!