Melissa Costello

Author Archives: Melissa Costello

April 19, 2021

Ep. 6: End the Vicious Diet Cycle + Trust Yourself with Pam

Ep. 6: End the Vicious Diet Cycle + Trust Yourself with Pam


Feelings of failure, shame, and guilt are the biggest products that the diet industry sells us. This 70 billion dollar industry negatively impacts the mental and emotional health of millions of men and women, promising quick fixes, but ultimately always ending in failure.

My caller today, Pam, knows this struggle firsthand as she has been dieting in an attempt to lose the same 30 pounds for years. She has been stuck in the diet cycle for a long time, but has been unable to lose weight in a sustainable way.

As a result, she has put herself under immense pressure to finally lose weight, which only leads to feelings of failure or shame anytime she doesn’t live up to the high expectations she’s set.

Pam also finds herself overwhelmed and confused by the huge amount of often conflicting information about food, exercise, and health on the internet. But today, she is ready to break out of the yo-yo cycle and make real change. We dive deep into her beliefs around herself and food, and identify the root of her disordered mindset. We also lay out several immediate action steps to help her on her journey to healing.

If you struggle with diet mindset, or just experience negative behavior patterns with food and your weight because of what was modeled to you as a child, you will find a lot of value in this episode as we take the first steps towards healing together.


The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor:

If you have been struggling with your eating and your weight, and feel stuck check out my 7 Step Food Freedom Guide:

To join me for my FREE Food Freedom Challenge starting on April 26, 2021
 click here

For support and to connect with other like-minded women, join my FREE Facebook Group, Reclaim Your Wild: A Radical Self-Care + Self-Discovery Group for WomenFind me on Instagram: @melcostellocoachWebsite:
If you want some free coaching, be a guest on my show and let’s work it out together and help you Come Home to what truly matters, book a session here.

March 28, 2021

Ep, 5: The Nook: Living an Authentic + Aligned Life with Host of Grace + Grit, Courtney Townley

Ep. 5: [The Nook] Living an Authentic + Aligned Life with Courtney Townley, Founder of Grace + Grit


The goal of health and wellness coaches often falls short by only focusing on diet and exercise, but there are so many more layers to it. That is why you are going to love my guest today, Courtney Townley. 

Courtney is the host of the Grace + Grit Podcast and the creator Rumble + Rise. She deems herself a mover, a shaker and a healthy people maker and once you hear this episode you will understand why.

She has worked in the health and wellness sphere for over 20 years now, and today she joins me inside The Nook to give you her insight on how to connect to your truest most authentic self which is the real foundation for optimal health and wellness.

She shares her experiences around finding the balance between Grace and Grit, the detriment of people pleasing and the thing that we won't admit to ourselves that keeps us stuck in a stress cycle.

Courtney also gets a little vulnerable and tells us about how she leaned on her own coaching advice to navigate the HUGE challenges she experienced during this time of COVID, and how one little phrase woke her up to actually make some change. 

She also breaks down her 4-step Consistency Code from her online course, which is a practical tool to help you realign yourself when you feel something in your life is out of balance, or if you are consistently sabotaging yourself and hitting up against the same negative patterns. These four steps help you get unstuck and move forward with both Grace + Grit.

So if harmony of body, mind, and spirit is something you seek, today’s episode will be a game-changer for you. You will walk away with a better understanding of what alignment means and what it looks like for you, as well as several solid strategies on how to create a life that is in tune with your desires and values.


Get my Food Freedom Guide by clicking here:

If you want some free coaching, be a guest on my show and let’s work it out together and help you Come Home to what truly matters book a session here.

If you are suffering from burnout and Human Giver Syndrome, check out this book by Dr. Emily Nagoski:

Learn to feel all of your emotions and promote emotional healing with this book by Susan David:

Join Courtney in her Rumble + Rise membership program here:

Find Courtney at her own Podcast, Grace + Grit, here:

Website: Your Wild Facebook Group: @melcostellocoachLinkedIn:

March 27, 2021

Ep. 4: Navigating Blended Family Dynamics with Brooke

Ep. 4: Navigating Blended Family Dynamics with Brooke


Family dynamics can be difficult to navigate on their own, but when your family is blended, it can cause even more tension and conflict in the relationship you have with your partner or spouse

Today’s caller, Brooke, has been experiencing this exact struggle with her husband firsthand. She has been married for 20 years, and her husband lost contact with his children many years ago, which catapulted him into a depression.  This depression has done damage to their long-standing marriage.

Brooke’s husband has recently started repairing his strained relationship with his daughter which is causing a lot of stress and jealous feelings for Brooke. She fears that her relationship with her husband will move backwards just when they’ve begun to make progress in reconnecting. 

She is unsure what to do with her feelings around the situation, not wanting to burden or affect others by expressing them. She meditates and writes, but it’s not enough. She even takes over-responsibility for other people’s feelings while ignoring her own.

Suppressing her feelings is a behavior that was modeled to Brooke when she was young and now, in this tense time in her relationship, she wants to be seen and acknowledged for how she feels.

In the episode, we look deep at how important it is to have a safe container for your feelings, and that all feelings are valid, and deserve to be heard—even the so-called negative ones! 

If you’ve had a difficult time expressing or sharing your feelings and all you want is to be seen and heard, then this episode will be a game-changer for you!  

Need some coaching?  If you have an issue or challenge you need support with, click here to set up a time to be a guest on my podcast. 

Come join my FREE Facebook Group, Reclaim Your Wild: A Radical Self-Care + Self-Discovery Group for Women

Find me on Instagram: @melcostellocoachWebsite:

March 27, 2021

Ep. 3: Overcoming Over-Giver Syndrome with Lisa

Ep. 3: Overcoming Over-Giver Syndrome with Lisa


If you’re a woman who has spent her life doing for others, and feels guilty putting yourself first then today’s episode will strike a chord. 

Also, if you’re at a crossroads and you feel ready to move into the next phase of your life, but you don’t know how because you’re so used to doing everything for everyone else then I KNOW you will get a lot of golden nuggets from my coaching session with Lisa.

Lisa has recently decided to retire from her long career in healthcare and wants to begin a journey to find deeper connection with her body, mind, and soul. She has been dedicated to her career for most of her life, and as a result has never focused on herself or her health. 

Now that she is soon to be retired, she wants to begin a journey of self-care and self-discovery, where she finally puts herself first and decides what she wants out of life.

The problem is, Lisa fears that putting herself first and taking care of herself will be perceived as selfish. She also worries that she will lose her friendships. This either/or mindset keeps her stuck in a vicious cycle of putting everyone else first. 

During the episode we uncover why Lisa has been living her life this way, and how she can navigate her fears around other people judging her including her own self-care so that she can really THRIVE in this next phase of her life.

I think you will be surprised at what we uncover that is behind Lisa’s real reasons for NOT taking care of her own well-being.

Need some coaching?  If you have an issue or challenge you need support with, click here to set up a time to be a guest on my podcast. 

If you have been struggling with your eating and weight and continually feel stuck, check out my 7 Step Food Freedom Guide:

To read more about healing inner child work, check out Heal the Child Within by Charles Whitfield

Come join my FREE Facebook Group, Reclaim Your Wild: A Radical Self-Care + Self-Discovery Group for Women

Find me on Instagram: @melcostellocoachWebsite:

March 27, 2021

Ep. 2: Separating Self-Worth from Money with Meaghan

Ep. 2: Separating Self-Worth from Money with Meaghan


“Charge what you’re worth…” we’ve all heard that phrase, but what does it really mean? How can you put an actual number on your own inherent worth….

In today’s episode we take a deep dive with my guest Meaghan who is struggling with putting prices on her paintings, and separating her personal worth from the value of her pieces.  She is afraid of being perceived as greedy and also fears being judged by others if she prices her work too high.

During the episode we uncover the deeply ingrained limiting beliefs around money that are holding Meaghan back from pricing and selling her beautiful artwork. 

Her belief that a love for money and a love for family must be mutually exclusive has been keeping her paralyzed from putting prices on her artwork, and posting it to her site so she can get it out into the public eye.

If you’ve ever had trouble pricing any of your goods or services, or you struggle with your relationship with money, this is a powerful episode to help you shift the way you think about money and your worth.

Need some coaching?  If you have an issue or challenge you need support with, click here to set up a time to be a guest on my podcast.

Some of my Favorite Money and Abundance books:
Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny:
The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist: a Love Story by Kate Northrup:
Ellevest - online forum supporting women and finances:

If you are interested in supporting Meaghan’s incredible art, find her website here: on Instagram:
Come join my FREE Facebook Group, Reclaim Your Wild: A Radical Self-Care + Self-Discovery Group for Women

Find me on Instagram: @melcostellocoachWebsite:

March 27, 2021

Ep. 1: A Mom Seeking Passion and Purpose with Dana

Ep. 1: A Mom Seeking Passion and Purpose with Dana


If you’re a mom, or a woman who is seeking purpose and fulfillment after raising children or going through a big life transition and looking to start a career, then this episode is a must listen! 

My guest, Dana comes to the call today feeling stuck about her next career path. She is a mom who has been focused on raising her daughter for the last 12 years, and doing everything for everyone else.  She’s dabbled in real estate and other careers, but never felt fulfilled.  She’s at a crossroads and  feels deeply that it’s time to find her purpose.

One thing Dana knows is that she has a passion for helping others, and yet she doesn’t know what that will look like. She also has a lot of fears and limiting beliefs that are keeping her stuck and paralyzed from taking any action in the direction of her dreams.

It’s very common for women who are ready for the next chapter of their lives to feel lost and unsure of their purpose in the world. Especially for mom’s who have been raising kids and giving their all to their families.  With all the noise out there, it can be difficult to know which direction to move in without feeling guilty for taking steps toward their own fulfillment. .

So in this episode, we explore what is truly keeping Dana stuck (it’s not what you think) so she can move forward in a way that feels empowering, as she uncovers what her true passion and purpose are. 

If you’ve felt stuck in any area in your life, and you have been spinning your wheels this episode will give you some powerful tools and inspiration to help you move forward and to get connected to what truly matters.  

If you want some free coaching, be a guest on my show and let’s work it out together and help you Come Home to what truly matters. Click here to get on my calendar.


Boundaries are important to have, not just in general, but especially if you are a mom that does everything for everyone. Here is a great book on how to set boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend - Boundaries

If you’re a coach starting out, and you want to learn more about next steps or building your business, check out this FREE Masterclass Training for coaches with Christine Hassler:

Website: Your Wild Facebook Group: @melcostellocoachLinkedIn:

November 13, 2020

Beat Holiday Bloat; How to Avoid Overeating at Thanksgiving

Beat Holiday Bloat

The holidays are quickly approaching and it's the time of year where many people tend to overeat, over indulge and feel a bit out of control with food. This often leads to unwanted weight gain in the new year and feelings of frustration and hopelessness. 

It's easy to overeat at the holidays because not only is there a lot of high-fat, gooey, sugary foods laying around, but emotions tend to run high at this time of year as well, which leads to eating emotionally.

Emotional eating, even eating from a feeling of nostalgia, as most of us do at holiday season, results in the ingestion of hundreds and even thousands of extra calories. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to digestive upset, bloat and a sluggish system that can take days to recover from.

Here are some powerful tips to support you in staying in alignment with your health values this season and to treat your body well, so that you can move into the New Year feeling light and balanced.

Who wants to start the new year off on another diet or feeling deprived and restricted? I know I don't!

Tip One: How to Avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable

Don't starve yourself the morning of the holiday, or even the days leading up to it anticipating all the goodies you will eat. This will only set you up to have blood sugar crashes and massive cravings that can lead to eating emotionally.

On the morning of Thanksgiving make some time to move your body, not just to burn calories so you can eat more, but to get your blood pumping and to give your body some care and attention.  Afterward, eat a hearty, healthy breakfast with a combination of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.

This will help to set your blood sugar up for stability during the day and there will be less of a chance that you will overeat.  Overeating disrupts digestion and prevents proper absorption of nutrients. It can also lead to heartburn, indigestion and bloat. Bottom line, it's not comfortable or good for your system.

Tip TWO: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

See the Food as Food and Nothing More

It's common to start to put rules and restrictions around what you will and won't eat during this time, or to label foods as good or bad. You may even find yourself making negotiations or deals with yourself before you even get to the Thanksgiving table. 

The more time and energy you spend thinking about these things, the more you will miss out on the experience of the holiday and enjoying the pleasure of the food.

Come to the holiday with the intention being a normal eater; someone who listens to their hunger and satiety signals, eats what they want, enjoys it fully and moves on without judgments. 

By putting rules and attention on how much you will eat, or trying not to think about it will only keep you stuck in the vicious cycle and leave you feeling at odds or deprived. This can lead to overeating and the feeling of white-knuckling through the day.

Tip THREE: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Focus on Presence and Connection

Put away your phones, computers and anything that will distract you from being present with your loved ones. The holiday is about enjoying time with the people you love the most; to create deeper connections. Get out a board game, have a conversation, go for a walk or play some cards. 

Use this time to really savor each moment with the people you love. Tell stories, laugh, and connect. Pay attention to what you are doing and how you are showing up. 

Just because there is a lot of food around, doesn't mean you need to eat it. When you stay present and enjoy the experience, there is less of a chance of mindless eating and ingesting way more calories than your body needs or can process.

Tip FOUR: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Choose, Don't Try and Control

As I mentioned in tip two, by putting so much focus and attention on the food, we can often set ourselves up to "fail." When you are trying to control your food, or white-knuckle through a holiday, it will set you up to feel like you are going off the rails and feeling deprived. 

You are the ONLY one who chooses what to eat and how much. NO one is forcing you to eat seconds, or to have dessert. Make choices that feel aligned for you instead of trying to control it. Eat the things you love. Fill your plate in a way that feels satisfying to you. When you eat, slow down, savor and pay attention (see Tip 5.)

The truth is, our bodies don't actually NEED a lot of food and often your eyes can be bigger than your stomach, or maybe you don't want to miss out, so you overdo it.  Just remember, that you do have the choice and you will probably feel a whole lot better if you choose instead of trying to control it all. 

Tip FiVe: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Practice the Pause

This is something I teach all my VIP private clients who are emotional eaters, over-eaters and binge eaters. It's a highly effective strategy, because it attunes us to what our body really needs.  Practicing the pause means taking the time to slow down and attune to your body before you eat.  

Stop, take a deep breath and check in before you move forward. Your body will always tell you what it wants, and it will also tell you whether it's hungry, satisfied or full. Slowing down will help you tune into those sensations even more.

It's very common for people to shovel down the food on their plate in 3 minutes flat so they can have more, but this isn't always in service to you or your body.

You can enjoy the foods you like, but there is no need to stuff yourself to the gills with them. Your body will only suffer the consequences from the stress of that. Instead do your best to eat more mindfully. Savor the food, put your fork down between bites and engage in lively conversation with others at the table.

You can always get more, but you might not need to. Slowing down will actually help you understand if your body is full or not. And it usually supports you in eating a whole lot less than you normally would. Savor the experience, don't rush through it.  

Tip SIX: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Eat Until You Are 80% Full

Most people are not aware of when their body is at 80% full. Food expands in the system after we are done eating. When you tune into your body's subtle cues (Tip 5), you will be able to tell when you are satisfied. This will prevent you from stuffing yourself like the turkey on your table. 

I can usually tell I am getting full when I take my first deep breath while eating; it's kind of like a sigh. Then I stop, put my fork down and take a break. I give myself a little time to check in and see how my body feels before continuing on. Often if I wait, I realize that I am plenty satisfied.

Your food expands around 20% after eating, so if you are stuffing yourself to the gills, you will be even more packed 20 minutes later and your body will have a hard time digesting and assimilating the nutrients you just took in.

Here's the deal, you can always go back and eat more if you need to, but it's better to stop before you are feeling full. Go for the feeling of satisfaction instead. I know this will be hard, but I guarantee you'll feel a whole heck of a lot better! 

Tip SEven: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Be of Service

Spend your Thanksgiving morning helping those in need. This will put life in perspective when you see how many people in your own neighborhood don't have family to spend their holiday with, or don't have food to eat.

Being of service is the best way to get your mind off food and engaged in something meaningful. I love to go to my local Soup Kitchen in town and serve meals to the homeless. There are tons of organizations out there and ways to be of service, so make that a part of your plan right now while you still have some time.

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!

June 9, 2020

How to Build Empowering Habits that Stick

​Building new habits can feel overwhelming​, and ​difficult to even know where to start. That sweet little phrase, "old habits die hard.." is no joke. Habits are formed over time so our brain has less to do, and ​can go on autopilot without thinking.  Research shows over 40% of your actions come from habits, which frees up time to focus your energy on the important stuff.

But what about when it comes to habits that are harmful, or don't serve ​you, like mindless eating at night in front of the TV that leads to guilt and shame, or grabbing the afternoon candy bar when you're feeling tired? These types of habits ​ can feel really difficult to break​ AND they don't help you become your best self.

​One of the reasons why, is because the habits are run by our subconscious, and as Jen Sincero, Author of You Are a Badass puts it, the subconscious is like a ninja ​and will do all it can to present you with super juicy temptations that will knock you straight back into your comfort zone.

We al​l have these habitual places where we get stopped - a threshold we reach where ​we get too close to actually reaching our goals for our own comfort. Crossing over this threshold is exactly what we need to create permanent transformation in our lives, and get out of the comfort zones that keep us stuck.

This is terrifying to many of us and that is exactly the reason why our subconscious minds will gather all the tricks it can to ​stand in our way of making change. Can you say self-sabotage?

To be honest, most of us are oblivious to this stopping point and have a lifetime worth of excuses that we use to keep us playing small, ie., I don't have enough time, I'm too lazy, I will never lose weight, so what's the point, or I need to try another diet, the one I'm doing doesn't work, or, I will just start over tomorrow.

​How to change habits for good

​To change your habits, you must have a plan; one that is realistic and doable. You must be tenacious about it​ while being willing to break through the terror threshold, no matter what persuasion the subconscious ninjas use to pull you back into your old sticky ways.

Once you give in to that one little negotiation of, "oh it's just one cookie," or "I need that glass of wine to help me relax," you've abandoned yourself once again and given your power over to the habit you are trying to break.

So let's look at the steps you can take to build NEW, healthy habits and get rid of the ones that are keeping you stuck in the vicious cycle, that you KNOW you want to break out of. 

​You can't do anything if you try to do everything. -Jen Sincero

Click to Tweet

Know your why and hold it tight

​​​It will be pretty dang hard to change habits, if you don't know why you are doing it, or if you don't have a big enough reason. If your goal is to get healthy, lose weight or give up binge eating, you must know WHY you want ​these things.

What will having those things provide for you? Will it give you freedom, peace of mind, the grace to live your life guilt-free, or what? What is your BIGGER WHY? Just ​stating that you want to get healthy is not enough.

​Honing in on your why may seem cliche, and you might even be thinking, "Well Melissa, I know my why, but still can't freaking change my habits no matter how​ hard I ​try." Trust me, I hear you, but ​that's where you are already starting to make excuses for all the reasons WHY you can't change, instead of staying focused on what it is that you really, truly want and ​what you need to do to get there.

So get out a piece of paper and write down ALL the habits you want to change along with your BIG FAT WHY next to each one. 

Circle ​the ONE ​habit that you know is preventing you from reaching the next level in your life. That's the habit we are going to work on shifting for you. It's best to start small, gain momentum and then move on to the next habit. 

​​Negotiations ​be gone!

Oh boy, how many times have you negotiated yourself right of ​trying to form new habits? I bet a lot. Believe me, I've been there....Here's the thing, you must be willing to remove yourself all together from the negotiation process.

Let's say you want to lose weight, and you know that the nighttime mindless eating in front of the TV is not helping with this goal, but you had a cruddy day at work and all you want is one glass of wine to help you relax. So you have the wine, and t​hen you get the munchies. You tell hubs to put on a pot of popcorn, and before you know it, you've drunk a bottle of wine and ate a tub of popcorn.

Or you want to start a morning workout routine, but the alarm goes off and you tell yourself you'll hit snooze one time, and 30 minutes later you're still snuggled up in dream land, and hitting the treadmill is a distant memory. You, once again, tell yourself you will do better tomorrow.

It IS​ these tiny moments, these split second decisions upon which ​your success rides. Each one of these​ tiny little decisions adds up, and serves as a crack in your resolve where other excuses can seep in, and believe me, they will.

So in order to anchor in some non-negotiation skills, here's where you can start:

​1. Identify with a new habit - meaning OWN it, by saying, I am a person who sticks to my commitments, not someone who lets an Oreo, or one or two, take away my power to know better.

2. Know when the negotiation ninjas come to visit - when we try to talk ourselves out of things that we know are good for us, we tend to not be super creative or varied (again, thanks Jen S.) We tend to stick to the same old, lame-o excuses. When you do this, it should be EASY to recognize your tried and true method for knocking yourself out of the new habit-building game. Be on the lookout for these favorite excuses of yours, and the second one comes up, recognize the negotiation and DO. NOT. CONSIDER. IT. for even one minuscule of a second. Just move along like it didn't even happen.

​Know your triggers ​

​Preceding every habit is a trigger of sorts. Triggers can be almost anything: a sound, smell, feeling, time of day, season, another person, etc.

It's important to know what triggers come before your habit kicks in, especially the ones that are not serving you right now. How we react to the trigger will make all the difference in the world when we are trying to change our habit.

​Here's how to identify your triggers. Write out the habit you want to change. Example, I want to stop drinking wine every night when I watch TV.  

Then ​write out the ​triggers of that habit ​using the following headings (I've included some ​examples to help you)

  • Feelings: I'm exhausted, I've had a long day, ​I deserve to have a glass of wine
  • Time of Day; After dinner, it's getting late and I want to wind down
  • Sounds: TV is on and I just want to sit and chill with a glass of wine​
  • Places: ​The couch looks cozy and relaxing after a hard day
  • People: Hubby is cozy on the couch with a glass of wine and ​I want to join him 
  • Smells: Popcorn is on the stove and I love drinking a glass of wine and crunching on popcorn
  • Other:

​Now go through the list and pick the biggest trigger that is linked to your bad habit, and write it down including the action you take with the trigger.  For example; Biggest Trigger >>>> I'm exhausted and I deserve to have a glass of wine. Action: Gets glass of wine and sits on the couch, then starts to eat popcorn.

Now for the juicy part. It's time to identify 3 small positive actions you can take when your biggest trigger hits you. For example: When I feel exhausted and want to ​relax, I can

  1. ​Take 10 minutes and sit quietly
  2. Take 3 deep breaths to calm my nervous system down
  3. ​Put on some soft music and close my eyes while listening to it.

Now it’s time to try your new habit! Today or tomorrow, when you sense your old habit being triggered, switch gears and try out one of your new actions you listed. As you repeat this new behavior, your brain will change and the new behavior will become automatic.

Once this new behavior becomes automatic, you can go back and try this same process for the other habits in your life that you want to change. ​Tackle one at a time for best results.  

The bottom line is that changing habits takes time and consistency. The more you focus on taking small steps, the more momentum you will build with changing your habits. Try this on and let me know how it goes for you!

​*Habit makeover adapted from Mel Robbins Spring it On session

​Are you ready to break out of the vicious food cycle? 

​I work with smart, busy professionals, just like you, who are frustrated and tired of the vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. I help them to stop dieting and radically transform their relationship to food so they can say bye-bye to diets once and for all, and find their natural body weight. If you're ready to finally BREAK FREE, learn more about my ​private and group coaching to​ see how you can ​finally create the life you have dreamed of ​that is free from diets and food struggles. 

May 10, 2020

How Accepting Your Body Leads to Weight Loss

Accept Your Body and Lose Weight

​When it comes to accepting your body, ​do you need some serious help?  What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see a body you like and accept? Or do you pick it apart and criticize every little thing you want to change about it?  I'm guessing it's the latter.

A large majority of people, particularly women, do not like what they see in the mirror. In fact, they downright HATE what they see in the mirror. I would've included myself in that ​majority up until about 5 years ago.

Now, I'm not saying that I always LOVE what I see in the mirror, but the difference​ is that I have ​come to learn to appreciate what I see, instead of hate it, criticize it or pick it apart. 

​For years, I had this crazy morning "ritual"  where as soon as I woke up ​and got out of bed, I would walk to the bathroom, ​pull my shirt up, look in the mirror and see how big (or ​flat) my stomach was. It was my ​Morning Fat Check.​

If I was dieting or depriving myself, or I had started some new meal plan or fat burner, I would check to see how much weight I was losing, or if any of the pudge had ​miraculously disappeared overnight.

​If was off the rails with my food, which happened more often than not, I would lift my shirt, stare at my bloated belly, pinch my love handles and curse myself.  ​Then I would swear to start over and "be good" for the rest of the week.

I would start to make the running list in my head of all the foods I had to stay away from, and​ make a promise that I would only eat salad for the next 10 days and nothing else.

It was exhausting, and seriously detrimental to my well-being AND self-esteem.

I truly hated what I saw every time I looked in the mirror. It didn't matter if I was thinner than the day prior, or not. I would criticize, poke, pinch, prod and shake my head in disgust. This ​was the way ​I started every single day for years, so you can imagine how I ​entered into the day feeling about myself.

​Sometimes I would end up on the floor in a ball of tears when I was trying to get dressed for work. Other days, I felt on top of the world, because my stomach looked flat that ​morning, and I was convinced that whatever I was doing was FINALLY working, and I was a rock-star. But that didn't last long, because I would eventually overeat and break that big lofty promise I made to myself, yet again.

Basically the Morning Fat Check set the entire mood of my day into motion. Most of the time, it resulted in a SHITTY one (excuse my French) of devastation, feeling like a failure and riddled with shame and disappointment.

The big turning point for me was the day I called a close friend of mine for support. I was in tears about how fat I felt. I hated the way I felt in my skin. I was gaining weight and felt puffy, bloated and defeated. And I was out of control with my eating. ​ I was looking for someone​ ​to be in the trenches with me; to feel my pain.

​But what I got instead was a hefty dose of tough love. The words my friend said in that moment stung me, but they were the catalyst to me deeply healing the years long​ ​battle with food and ​my body, 

​After she waited for me to finish whining and complaining, she calmly said,  "I'm sorry you feel this way and you are struggling, but this obsession with your body and weight is SO self-absorbed. GO OUT and BE OF SERVICE. STOP feeling sorry for yourself, get off the couch, get outside and make a difference in someone else's day that needs you." 

​BAM! It was like a stinging slap in the face, but it was just what I needed to hear. ​​​Those words set a series of events into motion that ​dramatically transformed the way I see myself, and my body​ to this very day.

So, here are a few of the steps I took in order to learn to come into acceptance with my body, and stop hating myself. This change didn't happen overnight, but I was committed to ​the process. It required patience, consistency and a tremendous amount of courage.  

​Step One to Accepting ​YOUR BODY

​Stop the Morning Fat Check + Daily Weigh Ins

The first thing I did was give up the Morning Fat Check and I stopped looking in the mirror so much. As hard as this was to break, it was a huge part of my healing process.

Beating my body up and criticizing it ​first thing in the morning, left me feeling depressed, angry and defeated.  ​No matter what I did, it was never enough.

And ​the crazy thing is, ​weight can fluctuate anywhere from 2-7 pounds within a given day depending on circumstances, so I never knew what it was going to be from day to day and that created even more uncertainty and feelings of ​failure.

​So, I vowed to stop lifting my shirt, looking in the mirror and stepping on the scale first thing in the morning. I even threw my scale away!

At first, I ​had a huge fear of getting out of control if I wasn't constantly checking my weight or size. Because how would I gauge if I was getting skinny or not? How would I know​ what to feel about myself that day and if I was reaching the goals I had set to lose weight?

But, what started to happen, as I let go of the constant ​ slew of externally focused, self-deprecating comments and lifting my shirt each day, was that I started to focus on ​the amazing other qualities I had and how I felt from the inside. ​

​​Step ​Two to Accepting ​YOUR BODY

​Practice Appreciation

This was a powerful practice for me in body acceptance. Once I gave up my Morning Fat Check, and started to focus on how I felt internally, it prompted me to truly feel connected to the mirac​le of my body.

As a nutritionist, yoga teacher and former massage therapist, I have studied a lot about the body. I understand a lot about the anatomy of it, and what foods are good for it, etc. but I ​always treated my body as a separate entity. I was disconnected from it, and felt it to be a burden. 

I hated that it wouldn't listen to me, or drop the weight I wanted it to, when I wanted it to​. I felt like my body was constantly betraying me and I was ​in a constant battle with ​it.

Each day I committed to writing down and/or saying three things to my body that I appreciated about it. ​ I focused on it's strength, health, and all the little intricacies of my body that I often don't think about because they run on auto-pilot, literally.

This practice alone helped me to create such a deep appreciation and honoring of my body that I didn't want to say mean things to it anymore. And the funny thing is, after a while, my clothes started to fit looser. Go figure.

​Step ​​THREE to Accepting ​YOUR BODY

​​Tune in and Listen to Your Body

As I mentioned in step two above, I was in a constant battle with my body and completely disconnected from it. By practicing the daily appreciation of my body, I was also able to ​attune to it more. 

I started to pay closer attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle signals that my body would give me. After I ate, I would notice how I felt in my body, not what my mind thought about what I ate (which was usually full of judgement, by the way.)

This would help me feel connected, and be able to give my body what it needed. I stopped listening to the craziness in my mind, and the outside world, and starting listening to the wisdom of my very own body. 

This usually looked like resting more often, not working out as hard, or pushing as hard and doing a whole lot less than I was used to. I relaxed more, and ​​ate less because I was paying attention to my ​satisfaction cues. I slowed down at meals and enjoyed what I was eating. I was getting fuller quicker and didn't overeat as I normally would when I was distracted.

All of this led to me feeling so much more at home in my body. I would check in and see ​what type of movement would feel good instead of what I think I should do (to lose weight.). Some days it was yoga, some days it was hiking, others it was weight lifting. 

​My body appreciated this. And it started to change. It didn't happen overnight, it was a journey, but one that has been so empowering and transformative.  

​Remember: accepting your body takes patience, practice and Consistency.

​​Not only was I ​implementing these steps on a daily basis, I was also doing some further personal growth work to look at my skewed relationship with food. Although it's all connected, I had to dig deeper to get to the core of some of my eating behaviors.

​These​ 3 key elements mentioned above were the most powerful ​and truly helped me come to an incredible acceptance of my body, which resulted in ​my body normalizing to it's natural weight over time.

​So, I'm curious; How do you feel when you look in the mirror? What has been your experience with your body? Do you feel accepting of your body? Or do you loathe it and fight against it? 'd love to hear your thoughts and comments below​.

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