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A Starter's Guide to Conscious Eating & Cooking

Today is the first palindrome since November 11, 1111. What's a palindrome? "A palindrome is a word, number, phrase, or other sequence of characters which reads the same backward as forward." This mirror reminds me of the harmony of life. The never-ending balances we are called to work through on the day-to-day. For some, it could be reminding yourself to consistently work on creating positive habits. Or it could mean breaking old mentalities that no longer serve you in healing -- whether that is in your emotional well being, physical healing or in relationships with family, spouses or children. Your job can also be a point of focus that can make you lopsided in other areas. There is so much emphasis for advancement within a career that we could compromise our health by something as simple as breaking our habit of taking our healthy lunch to work and instead we may choose a quick on-the-go option.

It's always about balance. But it's also about control. And if you're spinning out of control and don't know where to start, I will tell you that I have been there so many times in my life as someone who occasionally struggles with out the blue anxiety. The build-up of control is REAL and once overwhelm hits sometimes we don't have the tools (or energy) to dig ourselves out. This is when all of a sudden tears flow out of what seems to be a silly little problem that isn't that big in the grand scheme of things. I believe when we cast certain expectations of perfection, we can be disappointed early on and give up quickly.

I am reminded how cyclical I am in my intentions. Often I get so exhausted with my own poor choices that it's not until I feel really low and cruddy before I determine to affect some change in my body. What I've started to realize is that before I get to this low level, there are some touch points we can have with ourselves. Those signals we can actually start to discover in ourselves as we begin to checking in with self. I'm not sure if you ever played video games as a kid but it's like those racing games where you have checkpoints.

Remember that perfection is NOT the goal. I'll say it over and over again.

So let's talk about this spiral of control. We will begin to stop this cycle of thought by creating room for ourselves.

How do we do that? We have to ask ourselves some questions... Have I been checking in with myself lately? Am I slowing down enough to actually gauge how I feel several times a day? Maybe for you it means that it is time to set an alarm or two on your phone that says Check in with self. Before we can be aware of these habits that are putting fissures in our overall goals, we need to create a space of consciousness around those places first. When we take time to slow the crazy pace a little, we serve our life's path by creating that checkpoint. It's breathing room. It's the calm before the crisis that we so desperately need to climb our way out of the self-sabotage.

Listen, a couple things here... (This is the perfect time to add enormously sized asterisks) This is not an overnight process so don't get burnt out by the lack of instant gratification. We are working through some old beliefs and that takes time. Be patient.

Secondly, I am not an expert. If I could tell you all the times I've felt like I was hitting a brick wall, I'd be too brain dead to tell you. No, seriously.

Maybe that means you stop stepping on the scale. (Yes, I am speaking to my own damn self here.) Confession time: I STEP ON THAT THING NEARLY EVERY MORNING. That sounds so psychotic when I air my dirty laundry to you like this and type it out. Hello, work in progress here too.

And lastly, you will always be a student to this practice because it will never end. It's the ultimate evolution of YOU. And God will always reveal to you places to invite more freedom in your life so that should be great news to you.

Since we are not going to get it right every time and since that is not our focus and priority, we can easily remind ourselves that this race is not with others. It isn't really a race at all. In life we compete in so many areas, but thank God this doesn't have to be one of them. There is so much room for us to give ourselves space if we allow it. Ask God to grow your container of patience for self. It is so important that we begin our conscious journey with a soft place to grow and give ourselves grace. Again, perfection is NOT allowed and may seem to work temporarily but it will eventually erode all you worked hard for.

This grace is a required ingredient needed for conscious healing to take place.

Just remember that if you were to talk to yourself as if you were you as a little girl, you would be embarrassed for being so harsh. So chill. Breathe. You will do more good for this change with positive reinforcement. You will start to feel that this is not just possible long-term but that you can begin to celebrate little accomplishments along the way.

Fall in love with the journey.

Which leads me to another helpful tip: WRITE YOUR GOALS OUT. Type your feelings surrounding those goals. Do not just say, DO THIS. That is not enough. You have to imagine yourself doing it. If you see yourself acting out that healthy habit, you are less likely to be defeated. So maybe you take 1-2 minutes each goal for the week and you start to tell yourself how you plan on executing this into reality. Dreaming your goals. Do you like post-its? Put those positive affirmations before you. Take a dry-erase marker and every week tell yourself something encouraging to motivate the good inside of you to rise to the occasion. When you trust your higher self to come forward and provide support for her, you will be astonished as to how you begin to show up differently in the world. It's all going to start with your mind and the intentions you place to support that mentality. The law of attraction is more than just Tinkerbell fairy dust sprinkles. Click here for 9 Habits To Manifest Your Dreams Using The Law Of Attraction.

Now that brings me to the flow of food. Can I just say how flipping hard it is to actually hold self accountable once you get out of control with food? You have to eat to live and yet sometimes that rug is unraveling faster than you can weave it. But if we remember the things I just spoke of and remember that it will not be perfect, we will be less likely to ditch our healthy intentions at the drop of a hat just because we have a moment of weakness. Going for loaded cheesy, bacon fries and a double deluxe cheeseburger with a Oreo chocolate milkshake doesn't mean you can't start again next time. It is more damaging for you to act as a punisher to the internal monologue of your life than it is to remind yourself that you get to start new in every single moment and choice. This is permission to stop beating yourself up because this cycle is one of self-love. It is this very control that keeps you enslaved.

When we make good food choices, those choices can and should be celebrated but not overemphasized as a weighted scale of good vs. bad. We have to remove the weight of emotion that food carries by adding a layer of nonchalance to our emotions over it. For example, you have three solid good days of healthful/mindful eating, do you start a tally to celebrate? I think that is more harmful than good. This should be fluid and flowy and not be a place of I'm behaving so well. When you start to support yourself inside your mind, you will not race to fill that good bucket with good behavior just because you dug into that burger a few days before. It all goes back to grace.

Part of some healthy ways to celebrate good eating and cooking is to take time to eat rather than eating on the go. Put your phone away. Enjoy the food as an experience. In slowing down, you are giving it the special attention and honor that this meal is serving your body. Plate your dish so you feel like you're dining at a restaurant. An idea would be to buy cloth napkins perhaps instead of rewarding self with ice cream so you can reinforce the joy in slowing down.

Taste your food. Savor. Enjoy the flavorful components.

One of my favorite reads that comes to mind is Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole. This book really opened my eyes over 10 years ago when I read it. And truly the caption of the book rings true: Make peace with food. Free yourself from chronic dieting forever. Rediscover the pleasure of eating.

Now this book will start you off with some very seemingly odd things like go to the grocery store and buy whatever junk food you want. If it's cookies, grab cookies. Do not shame yourself for it while you place it in the cart. Etc. It seems backwards if you're trying to get yourself on track so to speak but breaking that mentality that doesn't serve you may be the very start to your journey of conscious eating and cooking.

These are just some of my helpful tips along my journey to hopefully help with yours. I hope they encourage, inspire and uplift you along the way. If you would like to get in touch to continue the conversation or be inspired in your journey, I just started a WhatsApp group for ladies to serve as a positive space for women to support women in working out, conscious living, body positivity and more. If you'd like a special invitation, please reach out to me. We are in this together.

Make this coming week the best week of your life!