Feast Without Fear

Dropping in with a Thanksgiving love bomb.

If you’ve been following along recently, I’ve been going through a bit of a death cycle and trying to realign to my purpose. It’s been a bit wild. 

I’ve had a number of people reach out asking if I’m no longer going to provide nutrition coaching services over the past couple of weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing and pondering and contemplating and doing the deep inner work to see if I can reconnect to the passion and drive that led me to want to work in the nutrition field in the first place. 

What I’ve discovered, even though I don’t have all of the answers right now, is that I do know I’ve been gifted with the wisdom and experiential knowledge related to nutrition for a reason. More so, I know that I want to help people experience peace with their bodies and move through life feeling a sense of vigor that is obtainable by eating well. I want to help people navigate their nutritional needs and achieve their goals. I want us all, collectively, to experience a connection to our food and to understand the basics of how our bodies use the foods we consume because we literally “are what we eat.” 

That’s all to say that I’m not planning to stop coaching anytime soon. But that’s not what I’m hoping on here to share. 

My intention for this post is to address some stuff I’ve seen come up for a lot of people this week around the holiday and the consumption of the foods we associate with it. I want to offer a couple of pieces of guidance to help you experience enjoyment and peace while celebrating Thanksgiving, not stress or worry about some overindulgence or that eating a little outside your normal protocol will destroy any progress you’ve made or cause you to completely come off the rails, so to speak. 

First of all, it’s a holiDAY. One day out of 365 days. One day, once a year, over a lifetime. Not your last day on earth. 

One day of indulging in the abundance of the season while celebrating all that we have to celebrate with our family or friends, in our cozy, warm homes, with clothes on our backs, and being surrounded by love, laughter, and memories in the making. (In the grand scheme of things, we should be celebrating like that all 365 days!)  

What I see happen is that within the moment, we make choices to indulge a little, but then, if we eat more than our bodies can handle or are accustomed to – if we eat things we know our bodies don’t thrive on – it tends to revolt a little.

We FEEL icky physically. Our bellies are literally stuffed and we might experience some GI distress… bloating, gas, heartburn… Uncomfortable perhaps but not the end of the world. 

However, what happens is that we start to have FEELINGS about how we FEEL physically. They compound. And before we know it, we’re beating ourselves up for overeating or being careless or making the choices that we felt compelled to make in the midst of merriment. 

The trick here is to disassociate how we physically feel with the feelings that arise as a result. 

You can experience the physical feelings of discomfort without spiraling into a vortex of negative self-talk or worse, forcing upon yourself some form of punishment like not eating the next day or convincing yourself that you need to go run for three hours to burn it all off. 

The second piece to that is to put a positive spin on your choices. You’ve flooded your body with nutrients! Because even pumpkin pie has some nutritional value. You’ve provided your body with fuel! The day after Thanksgiving, you’re going to be running on all cylinders. Trust me! You’ll have ample energy to hit Black Friday sales, hit the gym to put those extra calories to work (using excess calories as fuel to build muscle is not the same as punishing yourself by slogging through hours of exercise out of shame or guilt), or spend the day decking the halls putting Clark Griswold to shame. And, as I’ve already implied, you made memories with your loved ones. That’s nourishment for your soul!   

My second suggestion, that I’ll share from my own experience in relation to the actual food element is this: you are not obligated to eat it all and especially if you don’t love it or you know that certain foods do not feel good to your system.

For most of my life, Thanksgiving was my least favorite holiday. I love food. But I don’t love turkey. I don’t like mashed potatoes and gravy at all. I really don’t like stuffing or dressing. And I don’t care for pie either. 

However, I’d force myself to eat it all because it was there and that’s what we do to express our gratitude for the harvest, right? 

A few years ago, I realized why I didn’t enjoy the holiday and decided to start making some of my own dishes that I would enjoy much better. (I’ll take the opportunity to plug my Aligned Activation workshop, Service to Self, because this is the perfect example! Also, I don’t have a webpage with details yet but it will be on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at 4:44 PST and it is FREE!! You can sign up via this previous blog post.) I make a little extra to share but most of the time I am the only one that eats it. And that is okay! I get so much pleasure from eating the things that I really love and enjoy. It’s completely changed Thanksgiving for me!

And that leads to my final suggestion. Be intentional about your choices and savor every single mouthful. Remember, it’s one day. Not our last day. We don’t have to shovel it in as though it’s our last ever opportunity to indulge a little. 

Indulgence should be special. It should be outside of the ordinary; outside of our normal dietary profile. And it should be enjoyed immensely. So be intentional about your choices and be intentional about your consumption of them.

I know there is a tendency to feel the need to “get back on track” following a holiday (or vacation or a period of stress when we might deviate from better nutritional habits) but one of the coaching strategies I employ is helping my clients create space within their plans to not only indulge but to do so deliberately so they don’t feel they’ve gone off the trails and need to get back on. 

Enjoying holidays, and birthdays, and celebrations can and should be part of your plan in working towards nutrition and health goals. Otherwise, it’s not sustainable. 

If you’re looking for this kind of guidance and support and feel I might be a good fit to help you succeed in achieving your goals, please reach out. Let’s chat!

I wish you a meaningful and memory-filled Thanksgiving!

xo, Hyla

Burn It Down Part 2

Contemplating collective confusion.

On a client call this morning, I noticed some contraction during our conversation when macros came up.

Ironic since a larger portion of my coaching is somewhat centered around guidance on macronutrient intake.

I am a nutrition professional. But I am finding, at an increasingly sharp rate, that I feel a pull to disassociate myself from the field. I don’t want to further the collective confusion around what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, which “diet” to follow, or any other variation of dietary BS.

Every day my Instagram feed is overflowing with contradictory information and nutrition professionals talking shit about this dietary approach or than consumption preference. For context, I do follow a very large number of nutrition professionals and while a lot of them share my passion for nutrient-dense, whole foods, I also get a lot of mixed signals too. Everyone means well, don’t get me wrong. But like any topic, there’s a wide range of differing opinions.

(Don’t forget: just because I consider myself a leader in the field of nutrition, it doesn’t mean I’m not susceptible to second-guessing whether or not I should reduce my intake of high oxalate foods, for example.)

To piggyback my above comment about not wanting to create more collective confusion, if you do follow me online, you’ll notice that I’m no longer sharing food-related photos, stories, or posts.

The reason is simple. I’ve come to realize that I, unintentionally, might be portraying an unrealistic standard in terms of how I choose to feed myself. I am extremely privileged that I get to eat how I choose to and more than ever, I know that is not possible or even desirable for others.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have extraordinarily high standards when it comes to food sourcing and quality. (I’ve heard the correlation made that most people care more about the quality of gas they put in their car than they do about the foods they consume for THEIR fuel which is sad but true.) But I don’t expect everyone to have the same standards I do. Not everyone wants to invest in premium gasoline and that’s cool.

I guess where I’m going with this is… I know in my immediate circle, I’ve made people feel bad about their choices. And I don’t want anyone to feel bad. I tend to be overly assertive in my delivery about how much I care about others’ health and well-being and I’m trying to reel that in.

As a byproduct, I’m electing to restrain from offering unsolicited advice, commentary, and content online that could contribute to the potential for more misunderstanding.

Anyway, all of this has created a lot of uncertainty for me in terms of how I wish to coach moving forward. I started with reconfiguring my coaching packages. And while I’m satisfied with the offerings at the moment, I’m still feeling a bit of an edge in terms of how to proceed.

I will say that two of the things I am really proud of in my one-to-one work with my clients are encouraging food sovereignty and asserting that macro tracking is used as a guide but not a stringent regime that lends to obsessive behavior.

My clients take regular breaks from tracking macronutrients and I encourage them to work to develop their intuition when it comes to dialing in ratios related to how they feel based on energy expenditure, activity level, menstrual cycles, sleep, etc.

It’s not all black and white; and the best person to determine what an individual needs is the INDIVIDUAL. However, it’s not common that someone has been taught to attune to their nutritional needs.

My intention in sharing this is to help me process what I’m feeling so I can find resolution and remind you that the people you seek for healing are doing deep healing work of their own. What I know above all else is that I do feel called to do this work so it’s been a challenge to navigate this swell of emotions that have surfaced the past month.

If my nutrition philosophy feels like a safe place for you in reaching your own health and wellness goals, I’d be happy to discuss ways we can work together to help you achieve them. (You can review my services and the activation (investment) for each offering on my Functional Nutrition page.)

If you’re looking for general health and nutrition recommendations, I have a private Facebook group, HY PERFORMANCE, you can join.

If you follow me on social media, please enjoy photographs of my garden, ducks and chickens, my granddaughter, and other random tidbits of my life that do not revolve around food and eating.

xo, Hyla

Service to Self

Raise your hand if you’ve been in it deep this week.

And by “it,” I mean shit.

What keeps me anchored in times of chaos, uncertainty, and fear is my ability to choose service to self first and foremost.

(If you are – or have been – a client, you know I speak of service to self frequently.)

The former flight attendant in me reminding you: “should additional oxygen become necessary, put your own mask on before assisting others…”

I was corresponding with a client a few days ago who is also in “it” right now. Physical ailments, being out of their routine, the loss of a loved one, job stress, the daily demands of life, and family dynamics compounding and taking a toll on their ability to stay grounded in their commitment to self.

One of the main elements of caring for ourselves during times of duress is ensuring that we are able to adequately nourish ourselves.

It is how I stay grounded when times are challenging and it’s my assignment to remind you that service to self first is the most selfless act.

You are needed at your best.

If you don’t put your mask on first, you will be no use to those around you that depend upon you.

You can be in “it” but you can also choose the route of empowerment by electing to feed yourself to the absolute best of your ability.

I think there is a misconception that my work as a nutrition professional revolves around macronutrient ratios, weighing and tracking every morsel of food in an app on our phones and that the only measure of progress is a number on a digital device that dictates how hard we’ve worked to restrict ourselves.

That is NOT the foundation of the legacy I desire, however.

My mission, first and foremost, is to transform your heart so that any effort you’re making towards vitality and wellbeing comes from a place of love and service to self above all else.

xo, Hyla