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The Magical Eating Manifesto and a Reintroduction to Me!

Hi Everyone! Since so many new people are coming to check me out lately, I wanted to take a moment today to reintroduce myself!
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Hiyaaaa, and WELCOME!! I’m Elisabeth (or Beth, or Bethie, depending upon the audience)! 

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^^^ that is my serious face...but it's more likely that I look like this when you see me...

Eyes closed, full on snort-laughing.


I grew up in beautiful Central New York, where the air is clean and the population is low. When I was a wee 21-year-old, I moved to Maryland, where I still live in the ‘burbs between Baltimore and DC. Since 2007, I have been a mentor and coach to women who are on a journey to heal from disordered Eating. 

I made this decision at the suggestion of my own mentor, after having been treated for bulimia/EDNOS from January 2006-July 2007. I found it extremely rewarding to be able to help other women to heal from their disordered eating behaviors. Also, I experienced great personal growth when I put myself into the role of being a mentor to others.

Despite the fact that I was obsessed with health and nutrition (to my detriment) for a good portion of my life, it was impossible to deny that I truly loved health and nutrition! I retained a ton of the information that I had studied over the years on my own, and I knew that this obsession and ultimately my years of disordered eating had a greater purpose. It became my dream to be able to share this love for nutrition and health, along with providing the skills for other women to heal from disordered eating.

I was an accountant for my entire adult life, but in 2016 I decided to get my masters degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition, and to become a Certified Holistic Nutrition Specialist in Maryland.

In September 2017, after the birth of my third baby, I became deeply committed to expanding myself and my life to the next level.

 He's pretty great. <3

He's pretty great. <3

I hired a spiritual mentor and business coach, and in addition to sharpening my skills in business marketing, I also started to dive deeply into all of the Woo-stuff that makes so many people uncomfortable. It even made ME uncomfortable, at first, TBH. Then I realized that all of these "new" things that I had brought into my life were objects and processes that my ancestors had used for centuries before me.


I started practicing meditation, learned about healing the blocked energy centers in my body, started communicating with myself and my spirit guides on a divinely magical level, started reading tarot cards again (as I had done briefly as a teenager), fell in love with Oracle cards, began using crystals in my life, and ramped up on the essential oils that I had been using for years. I knew that this...the MAGIC...was the piece of myself that I needed to become more in touch with, and this was the piece that I needed to be able to teach to other women. 

And something amazing happened. I began healing myself on a deep, meaningful level—all the while, learning more about myself, my anxiety, my past decisions, and exploring lots of things that I had ignored for many years. I had already been through a period of massive healing back in 2006-2008, but this time it was different. I had opened up to the possibility that in addition to the standard "textbook" ways of healing that I had relied upon in the past (which had helped me out immensely), there was another deeper level of healing that I could achieve.

The truth arose that if I allowed the Magic to take over to a higher degree, and  if I trusted myself a little more, then I could achieve my dream of helping other women realize their own potential for Magic and joy. I could teach other women how to allow magic into their own lives, and in this way, allow themselves to become more in tune with their bodies, and allow the magic to flow into their relationship to food.

This was such a valuable lesson to learn, and although I have been coaching and mentoring women since 2007, the actions that I’ve taken over the past two years have not only made me SUCH a better mentor and coach, but they have literally changed my life.

And so, I opened myself up to new possibilities, and 'Magical Eating' was born!

 


I challenge you today to own ALL of the parts of yourself that make you shine, and don't be afraid to wave your magic wand when you need to.

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Are you eating magically?

Everyone loves a quiz, am I right??!!

Of course I love a mindless (UN-magical?) quiz about which famous movie star I was in a past lifetime, but I am a nerd, so I tend to LOVE the quizzes that are based on scientific research and facts! The quizzes that actually help me on my journey towards personal growth are my favorite.

Most of the ladies who find me have been on a quest to lose weight for a long time, and they want to know WHY they can't seem to keep weight off or be happy with their bodies. They want **SOMETHING** to help, but they don't understand why I could help them, when nothing else has ever helped.

Honestly, the skills that you need to coexist in a loving, carefree relationship with food and your body were there when you were born. You just forgot how to use them (due to various social and personal factors), and I just know how to teach you to tap into them again.

And these skills...the magical ones?

They're based on science.

There...I said it!

I didn't make up the whole idea. It's not some new-fangled, new-age thing. It's just science, research, and personal growth.

So, I developed a quiz...because as previously mentioned...everyone loves a quiz!

MY quiz is research-backed, and although I've given it a fun spin in which it will assign you with a cute mythological creature at the end, this is the ACTUAL questionnaire that I use with every single one of my clients. Although you won't see this unless you ask for the free detail, this quiz can tell you which areas of Magical eating are challenging for you, and that's where I come in.

When I can pinpoint the skills that will help you to begin eating magically, I can personalize your experience so that you can strengthen those specific aspects. This quiz, when scored fully by me, can tell me how to help you with that.

I'm offering FREE full analysis of EVERYONE'S quiz results right now--after you take the quiz, you just have to chat me to ask (after you receive your results, click the "Chat Now" button right here on the website, and let me know that you'd like a full analysis)! When things get crazy (since I know that this thing is going to blow up like a "Which Full House Character Are You" quiz on Buzzfeed), the full analysis will be a paid feature. So if you're curious, now is the time to get some insight from me in a quick, easy, and FREE way!

And, if you just want to take the quiz for fun, that's cool too! You are not obligated to leave me ANY personal info for just taking the quiz, because it's none of my biz unless you want to make it my biz!!

Love you guys!!

You can also head over to Facebook and join my closed group, Magical Eating with Elisabeth Smith. We'd love to have you!

Take the quiz here!

Self-Care Isn't Always Baths, Manicures, and Massages!

Everywoman knows at this point that self-care is key to maintaining your sanity from an overall perspective. It also is really important when it comes to being able to use your Magical Eating skills, because you have to be connected to your body. When our brains are spinning and we don't take even a minute to slow down the chaos and internal dialogue, we aren't able to be aware and observe, which means that we can't use the remaining skills in our Magical Eating Toolkit! 

I am a busy mom of 3, I work a full-time 9-5 job, plus I'm in the process of spreading my Magical Eating message. My husband works most evenings and weekends because he has his own business too, and let's be real--when the kids go to sleep, I mostly want to watch Netflix. 

One thing that I try to do at least once a day though (in addition to my regular Magical Eating check-ins), is spend a minimum of 15 minutes reading and journaling. I always have a book that I'm reading, and for journaling, I sometimes use my journaling method when I'm actively dealing with a situation or manifesting something amazing, and other times, I may use guided journaling prompts from other resources. Both are great ways to see where my thoughts are.

I love to drop some essential oils into my oil diffuser, sit down in my comfy chair, and just BE for a few minutes. 

This story is most significant right now not only because self care is important (even if you only have 15 minutes...or 5), but also because I have been on a quest to find a really great essential oil diffuser, and I think that I have finally done it.

I literally have about 10 diffusers, because of my love for essential oils, and also because we do not use artificial air fresheners in our home...but we like the house to smell nice. I always end up disappointed with my diffusers because they don't dispense a strong enough mist, the water is exhausted within a couple of hours (even when the mist is only intermittent), or because they're just plain ugly. 

I found the perfect diffuser. 

It's beautiful, the mist is hella strong, and yesterday, it took almost 12 hours before the water was exhausted! 

Here's a video of the Sierra Modern Home Smart Wifi Essential Oil Aromatherapy Diffuser in action...

I hope that you find the essential oil diffuser of your dreams, and that you take at least 15 minutes out for yourself to relax today!

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This is my new weekly series, called Self-Care Sunday! If you want to share you favorite ways to add self-care into your busy life, share them in the comments and I'll add them into the rotation here!

Calories Are Not The Reason Why You're Overweight

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Calculating your deficit of necessary calories in versus calories out isn’t going to help you.

You are not a math problem.

Neither is restricting sugar, fat, carbs, or spending hours at the gym.

If you’re like most women, you’ve tried diet, after diet, after diet. Although you might decrease the number that displays on your scale temporarily, nothing ever really changes. The number inevitably creeps back up on the scale, and then you feel like you’ve failed.

In the aftermath of your “failed” diet, you still feel pretty terrible--maybe worse than you did before you started and “failed” on your Diet.

You are not a failure, but the Diet that you just tried is.

That doesn’t changed the don’t like the way that your body looks.

You still aren’t happy.

You have counted, weighed, measured, portioned, memorized, and obsessed about food for a considerable amount of time. Maybe you can’t remember a period in your life when you WEREN’T doing all of these things.

The thing is, before you were doing all of that dieting, you knew what you were doing. Your body was born with all of the skills that it needed in order to properly, perfectly, purposely, nourish itself. You just forgot how to do it along the way.

It’s been a long journey to get here, but all you really need...like REALLY need...is to be reminded of those Magical Skills. When I was reminded of my Food Magic, back in 2006, I was recovering from 15 years of disordered eating. I didn’t trust myself to be in the same room as a bowl of candy. I couldn’t share the same house with a bag of potato chips. Ice cream was demolished as soon as it stepped foot in my house.

Needless to say, after so much struggle with my relationship to food, I was SHOCKED to realize that the Magic was always right there inside of me. I just needed to tap in!

If you want to know more about the skills that I teach to my Magical Eating clients (I call them “Magical Unicorns”), you can check out a few of them in this short (raw/barely cut) video series.

If you’re ready to join me on this Magical Journey, sign up now and get early bird pricing! We’ve been waiting for you!

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VIDEO: Magical Eating In A Modern World - Day 4 Preview

Hey Magical Eaters!

Last week, I spent the week sharing a preview each day on Instagram of 5 out of the 7 skills that I teach during the full Magical Eating in a Modern World 7-week course. I wanted to share those with you, here on the website as well! 

Here's the video for Day 4, when I talked about Being Mindful in the Environment.

Ready to enroll in the 7-Week course? You can get early bird pricing for another week! 

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VIDEO: Magical Eating In A Modern World - Day 3 Preview

Hey Magical Eaters!

Last week, I spent the week sharing a preview each day on Instagram of 5 out of the 7 skills that I teach during the full Magical Eating in a Modern World 7-week course. I wanted to share those with you, here on the website as well! 

Here's the video for Day 3, where I'm wearing my favorite green dress =) , and I talk about Being In The Moment.

Ready to enroll in the 7-Week course? You can get early bird pricing for another week! 

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VIDEO: Magical Eating In A Modern World Preview Day 2

Hey Magical Eaters!

Last week, I spent the week sharing a preview each day on Instagram of 5 out of the 7 skills that I teach during the full Magical Eating in a Modern World 7-week course. I wanted to share those with you, here on the website as well! 

Here's the video for Day 2, where I talk about Observation.

Ready to enroll in the 7-Week course? You can get early bird pricing for another week! 

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You Are Not the Problem, Your Diet is the Problem.

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“Just eat the cake!”, my therapist said.

I had called her from the bakery aisle of the grocery store, in a state of absolute mental turmoil over whether or not I should honor a craving that my body was experiencing.

“But I’m afraid that I’ll eat the whole cake! If I eat the whole cake, I’ll get SO FAT!”

“Have you ever eaten a whole cake before?”

“Not a WHOLE cake, but close.”

“And what happened when you did that?”

“I felt sick and probably threw up.”

“Ok, and what else?”

“I don’t really remember anything else happening, I just felt terrible.”

“So, that time that you almost ate a whole cake didn’t make you SO FAT?

“No, it took more than that one cake to make me SO FAT.”

“So go ahead and eat a slice of the cake for dessert today, if you want it.”

I had this conversation with my therapist in 2006, and I credit this conversation as being one of the major ‘a-ha’ moments on my journey to practicing magical eating.

There are biological, neurological, and hormonal reasons why restricting ourselves from food and dieting don’t provide us with forever weight loss and weight stability.

The problem is that in our society, we are fed this notion that the only way to achieve health is to actively engage in restrictive, dieting behaviors. It’s just not true, and there is a body of research to prove that it’s not true.

There is another way. It’s non-restrictive, it honors your needs, it listens to you as an individual, and you can personally grow exponentially larger than a scale could ever measure as a result.

You can learn more about how I teach my clients about the freedom of Magical eating by subscribing to my VIP list. If email isn't your thing, I get it! Head over to Facebook instead, and join my closed, ladies-only group. There is a Magical group of ladies over there, just waiting to pull you into the Sisterhood, with shared experiences around eating, dieting, and our relationships with food.   

Five Reasons Why You SHOULD Just Eat the Cake (If You Want the Cake)

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For women who find themselves struggling to lose weight and feel "better", the most logical solution in our society is to go on a diet! If we go on a diet, we'll lose weight forever, and we'll feel better forever, right?

Wrong!

A diet plan may help you to temporarily reduce your weight, but research has shown that diets don't help us to maintain that weight loss over a long period of time. In fact, studies have shown that rather than maintaining the weight loss, we actually tend to gain back the weight that we lost plus MORE weight in the long run. The problem with dieting is multi-faceted, but at the crux of the problem is that diets just aren't designed for long-term weight loss.

Companies (and people) who build diet plans and sell diet products are not in the business of helping you permanently lose weight--they want you to be a customer for life! The process of regaining all of the weight that you lost within the first 6-12 months of the diet (plus some MORE, possibly), is an inevitable part of the diet plan itself.

Dieting is not the answer. 

Here are my five reasons why you should just eat the damn cake (and not judge yourself for it):

  1. DIETERS EAT MORE THAN NON-DIETERS, WHEN DISTRACTED.

According to Dr. Traci Mann, author of "Secrets From the Eating Lab", and someone who has been conducting research about diets and dieting behaviors for over 20 years, 

We’ve conducted studies where we have brought dieters and non-dieters into the lab, and distracted them a little bit. What we have found is that when distracted, dieters eat more than non-dieters. In fact, distraction only affects how much dieters eat. A simple little thing like that tells you that if you’re trying to resist eating, the subtlest things can mess you up. All these little things cause dieters to fail in resisting food that don’t really affect people who aren’t dieting.

2. YOUR METABOLISM WILL THANK YOU FOR THE CAKE.

All of the rumors are true--when we engage in dieting behaviors that include food restriction, our body becomes more efficient in processing calories. The less calories we take in, over time, the slower our bodies process the calories. The beautiful thing about our bodies is that when we consistently decrease our calorie intake, our bodies actually become SUPER efficient at utilizing the calories, and our bodies actually tend to have even MORE calories left over! Sadly, those leftover calories will be stored as fat, and that has the opposite effect than intended.

3. YOUR HORMONES WILL THANK YOU FOR THE CAKE.

When we lose body fat, the hormones that help our bodies to feel full actually decrease in production. This means that the more body fat we lose, the hungrier we will likely feel, and the less likely we are to feel full. That is also counterproductive to the weight loss that we're striving for!

4. YOUR BRAIN WILL THANK YOU FOR THE CAKE.

    Ever notice how, when you're on a diet, food just seems to be EVERYWHERE? It's as if you're all of a sudden surrounded by food, it all looks and smells delicious, and you want to eat all of it. This is because our brains are programed to do this! When we're restricting ourselves of food, our brains and bodies are literally trying to save us from dying. This neurological response that we feel to 'EAT ALL OF THE THINGS!' is basically just our bodies doing their jobs. 

    5. YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE WILL THANK YOU FOR THE CAKE.

    If you are living in a perpetual state of "Diet", you are perpetually also in a state of restriction. Arguably, even if you aren't actively engaging in a diet plan, you are probably running through the same old inner dialogue:

    "You shouldn't eat that."

    "That is going to make you fat."

    "I hate grilled chicken...but I'll eat it anyway because it's 'healthy'"

    So, even though you haven't committed to the 'next best thing', or the 'old best thing', or the 'high fat/low carb/raw/vegan/gluten free/etc.' diet plan that you read about online yesterday, your brain is still churning out that same tired playlist about what a failure you are at dieting, and how you have no willpower.

    Being 'successful' on a diet plan has nothing at all to do with you. Diets are not designed for success. Thankfully, there is a better (Magical) way!

    You can learn more about how I teach my clients about the freedom of Magical eating by subscribing to my VIP list. If email isn't your thing, I get it! Head over to Facebook instead, and join my closed, ladies-only group. There is a Magical group of ladies over there, just waiting to pull you into the Sisterhood, with shared experiences around eating, dieting, and our relationships with food.   

    I can't wait to talk to you about it!

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    What IS Magical Eating?

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    I keep talking about this "Magical Eating" thing, and I have even written an entire 7-week program around the concept. People keep asking me "What the HECK does that even mean?!"

    The term "Magical Eating" is a loaded one, but the basic concept behind the term is that we were born with the skills that we needed in this lifetime to eat in such a way that our body would be both 1) nourished, and 2) satisfied.

    These skills, the ones that we were born with, are literally Magical. Not like 'Abra Cadabra'- Magical, but like 'Amazing', 'Incredible', 'Remarkable'-Magical.

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    Back in 2006, when I learned the skills that I needed to stop using food as a weapon against myself, I realized that food was not the enemy. I COULD be trusted to be around food. I COULD listen to my body and know what it needed in order to feel nourished and satisfied, and that when I ran into instances where my brain and body did not feel in sync, I could easily forgive myself for the oversight and move on.

    No more judgment. No more guilt. No more shame.

    Magic.

    This program that I've developed, Magical Eating in a Modern World, is based on not only my past 12 years of experience with actually practicing Magical Eating, but also on 10+ years of mentoring many women who have struggled in their relationship with food, and now, my formal education in Integrative Health and Nutrition. It is my souls mission to help women like me stop engaging in chronic dieting behaviors, so that they can free themselves from the anxiety, shame, guilt, and negative self-talk.

    By forging a positive relationship with food, we open up our lives to an immense amount of joy, self-love, positivity, and new opportunities for connection.

    Magical Eating is not a diet plan. It's also not a set of guidelines for how to live your life. It is a set of skills that you were born knowing how to use, but you just forgot along the way. My role in this process is to remind you of these skills, highlight the ones that you may find to be the most challenging, provide you with space, time, and opportunities to develop those skills, and then let you practice them in your own life.

    All the while, I support you both personally and in offering you a Sisterhood of Women who are experiencing the same challenges as you are. There is great power in the energy that we can provide each other along this Magical Journey, and because I know this (and have experienced it on my own), I offer this as a group program with other women (and only women).

    Magical Eating is both your program AND mine. It's mine to teach you, but yours to ultimately develop on your own, and that is why this program works so well. I'm not telling you HOW to nourish and satisfy your body, I'm just telling you how to rediscover the skills that you need in order to determine how your body needs to be nourished and satisfied.

    The results are beautiful. Incredible. Outstanding. Magical.

    Join us!

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    Magical Eating in a Modern World

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    I have developed a new program, and it's completely magical.

    I've been trying for some time to develop a program that would encompass the way that I FEEL about eating and food, but I would always come up to a road-block when I reached the 'development' phase. I love food, I love eating, I love having the freedom to eat everything that I desire without feeling guilt, shame, or judgmental thoughts about myself.

    I learned the foundation of these skills as part of an 18-month treatment program for my eating disorder, which was based loosely on a bunch of different techniques and modalities (at the time, I didn't really care what it was--I just cared that it worked). With years of personal and professional experience since my official "treatment", I can now recognize in hindsight that these techniques were a mish-mash of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Law of Attraction, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and Hypnotherapy, among others.

    The challenge for me was that although I have been practicing these skills since 2006, and I know how to DO it, I couldn't figure out how in the HECK to teach the magic to other people!

    Then, I picked up a book that had me nodding my head all the way through. It's called Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful: How to End Your Struggle with Mindless Eating and Start Savoring Food with Intention and Joy, by Susan Albers, Psy.d. This book offered a very practical approach to learning how to mindfully eat (or, 'Magically' eat, as I like to say), and the aspect of this book that really spoke to me was the 'Seven Skills of Mindful Eaters' that are detailed.

    Breaking these skills down into very manageable terms seemed so obvious, and I knew that I had been practicing these exact skills for years, even though I did not learn them by reading about them. But, there they were, on paper, in the Albers book! 

    And, Magical Eating in a Modern World was born.

    In this program, I teach you the skills of Magical Eating, and I teach them to you the way that I learned them: by doing them! I also teach them to you in a way that is much more magical than just reading about them in a book. In this program, we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell the Magic of Food together, as a group of women--learning to reconnect with our own Magical Eating Skills!

    I realize that to the outside person, I sound insane when I write (or talk) about this topic, but we were born knowing about the magic of food. We should be able to enjoy food in all ways, and my goal through this program is to not only teach you how to reconnect with that magic, but to also help you become part of a Sisterhood of other women who are experiencing the exact same feelings that you are!

    You are not alone!

    Here's some of the 'official' lingo and background research that I developed for this program:

    According to Miller, et al. (2012), practicing mindful eating and mindful self-awareness can help to improve our self-esteem, reduce anxiety, depression, overall weight status and food cravings, and can also reduce the incidence of eating disorders. In practice, successful mindfulness-based interventions use techniques and methods that provide individuals with the tools to become more aware of their in-the-moment physical sensations, mental state, and to process thoughts in a non-judgemental manner (Albers, 2008; Miller et al., 2012). By developing a close and intimate relationship with our own minds, we can become less reactive to the emotions, thoughts, and food cravings that we have (Albers, 2008). Mindful eating interventions include teaching individuals the skills to make deliberate food choices, how to become more aware of internal cues related to food intake, becoming conscientious of physical versus psychological or external cues to eat, and teaching the skills to appropriately respond to these cues (Miller et al., 2012).

    Magical Eating in a Modern World is a 7-week program, and will take place in the comfort of your own home! There will be one group video call per week, conducted via Zoom, and one weekly course module each week, accessed via the eCoach learning platform.

    The goal of this program is to teach women the skills they need so that they can stop engaging in the chronic-dieting behaviors that are so common in our society these days. Not only do these behaviors damage our bodies in the long run, but they also damage our confidence and self-esteem.

    The first session of this program will take place from September 10-October 26. If you'd like more info on the program, all of the details are right here

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    It's Never Too Late to Rediscover YOUR Food Magic!

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    “Information about abuse inflicted during childhood is recorded in our body cells as a sort of memory, linked to repressed anxiety.”

    Alice Miller, renowned psychologist, psychoanalyst, and advocate for healing childhood traumas, wrote this in 1997. 

    The trauma that we experience during childhood impacts our bodies on a CELLULAR level. It alters the course of our life. 

    Alice elaborates:

    “If, lacking the aid of an enlightened witness, these memories fail to break through to consciousness, they often compel the person to violent acts that reproduce the abuse suffered in childhood, which was repressed in order to survive.”

    Maybe all of us weren’t “abused”, by the harshest definition, and maybe we don’t all feel compelled to engage in the “violent acts” that come to mind when we think of the term “violent acts”.

    We all have our very OWN definition of “abused”. What matters is how OUR experience affected OUR truth.

    If we ***felt*** abused, weren’t we then abused? Or, if we felt neglected, weren’t we then neglected? If we felt unloved, weren’t we then unloved?

    An ‘Enlightened Witness’' is a person who is innately sensitive and aware of the experiences of other children, and who chooses to hold space for other children of abuse and neglect.

    Holds space for the grown-up-women versions of those children who were abused and neglected, who then turned to food so that they could begin feeling loved, cared for, and soothed.

    As children, the food made us feel less anxious, less shameful, less guilty.

    As grown ups, with grown up cells, holding childhood trauma, all we feel is more anxious, more shameful, more guilty. Unhappy with the body that we live in. 

    The beautiful part about this story is that WE WERE BORN WITH the magical skills we needed to navigate through our relationship with food. Before the trauma, we knew how. 

    We can be reminded of these skills and develop them now, as grown-ups! It is never too late to reinvent your magic!

    OG Enlightened Witness, at your service!

    #enlightenedwitnessAF 

    How can I help? Here’s a really easy way to send me a message: http://elisabethsmithcoaching.com/contact/

     

    Simple (and Very Effective) Meal Plan AND Grocery List

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    You're busy. 

    I know.

    I hear these words from my clients (and say them myself) like eleventeen thousand times per week. We're all busy, and we all feel like we can't add even ONE MORE task on our list.

    This is a universal sentiment, and people who have zero children and minimal responsibilities say this just as often as those who have multiple children and a million responsibilities. It seems that "free" time is really difficult to come by, because we tend to fill it pretty quickly with the things that we feel have to be done. 

    I think the only difference between people with no kids and people with kids is that the people with no kids tend to do things like laundry. They clean mirrors. They retrieve the grape that fell under the fridge. 

    Am I right?

    Moving on...

    Something that almost immediately falls out the window when we are "busy" with our kids and responsibilities is eating. As in...eating something other than fast food, take out, or opening a package and heating it up in the microwave.

    I'm not throwing shade here--we do what we have to do in order to feed our children (and ourselves)!

    But meal planning and grocery shopping takes TIME! And since I just told you that nobody has TIME, of course we can't meal plan and grocery shop. There's just no TIME. What if I told you that you do have time?

    I am the mom of 3 small children (6 years, 4 years, 11 months), and I have meal planned for most of the past 520 weeks. That's ten YEARS.

    Yes, meal planning was a much easier task when it was just my husband and myself to feed. Grocery shopping was relaxing back then. It's more difficult to fit the task into my week now, but I know that it's worth it because of the proven benefits.

    For Women: 

    1. Women who meal plan at least occasionally eat a higher overall variety of foods.

    2. Women who meal plan have lower odds of being overweight and obese (Ducrot et al., 2017).

    3. Women who plan meals or prepare dishes ahead of time are twice as likely to eat more servings of vegetables (Fruh et al., 2013).

    For Families and Children:

    1. One of the largest perceived barriers to eating meals together as a family was the ability to meal plan.

    2. Family meals result in greater consumption of healthy foods in children, adolescents, and adults.

    3. Adolescents and children who consume fewer family meals consume more unhealthy food overall.

    4. School-aged children and adolescents who consume more family meals have greater intakes of typically under-consumed nutrients.

    5. Increased family meal frequency may decrease risk of overweight or obesity in children and adolescents.

    6. Frequent family meals also may protect against eating disorders and negative health behaviors in adolescents and young adults.

    7. Psychosocial benefits include improved perceptions of family relationships.

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    So the question is: why WOULDN'T you make some time to meal plan?

    "BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE TIME!"

    OK, I know. Me neither, but I've developed a pretty quick and EASY way to do it, and you can have my tool for free.

    I've tried various methods of meal planning over the years, and what I've realized since having children is that it MUST be simple, easy, quick, and effective. The end.

    I don't need 4 different lists of things to keep track of, or a schedule of what to cook when and how. I just need to know two things: 1) What are we eating each day of this week? and 2) What do I need to buy in order to accomplish the task of making the meal?

    There are detailS that I need to be aware of, like who has martial arts, what assignments I have due for school, work deadlines, what my husband's schedule is for the evenings during the week, who has to schlep which child to what activity, etc...but at the core, I only need to know what we're eating, and what ingredients I'm missing.

    For the most part, my meals take no more than 30 minutes to prepare, they're kid friendly, and they have to be on the table within an hour of starting the prep. Ain't nobody got time for gourmet meals right now, ya hear me?

    The first thing I do is go to Pinterest and start looking for recipes. I mainly only plan dinner recipes, because everything else falls into place pretty easily for breakfast and lunch, so that's all I focus on with meal planning. If you want some inspiration, you can use my "Recipes For Dinner" Pinterest board to get you there. That board has recipes for conventional, vegetarian, vegan, Whole 30, Paleo, and every other type of eating pattern on it, since I don't discriminate.

    I also have around 50 FULL MENUS that I completely planned out and posted right here on my Pinterest Page. Those boards include a pdf of the weekly menu as well as a link to each one of the recipes, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

    After I've rounded up all of the dinner recipes that I want to use, I just fill them into each day of the week on the left side of my handy Meal Plan and Grocery List.

     Click here to download the fillable PDF for free from Google drive!

    Click here to download the fillable PDF for free from Google drive!

     

    After that, I write down the ingredients that I am missing from each recipe on the right side of the Meal Plan and Grocery List. I also add anything "extra" that I'm missing (items for breakfast and snacks, for instance). This meal plan and grocery list is MY meal plan and grocery list. It's one of my favorite tools that I've developed, and I literally use it every single week.

    Using this list, as well as my efficient recipe saving and searching skills on Pinterest, I can have my meal planning done in an hour or less each week. It normally only takes me about 20 minutes these days, because I have an entire arsenal of recipes on Pinterest that I have tested and given my 'seal of approval'. 

    Starting is the most difficult part, but once you get the momentum, it becomes just part of your normal life, and you stop worrying about whether you have "time"...you just do the thing that makes your life easier in the long run. 

    Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

    I am Elisabeth Smith, am empath and practitioner or Integrative Wellness and Health. My clients are women who are ready to do the emotional and physical work that it takes to make long-term changes to their lifestyle so that they can start to enjoy their lives to the fullest! Women who are ready to put down their calorie counter, get rid of their scale, and get down to the real business of wellness: personal growth. I'm part motivator, part supporter, part mentor and teacher, with a sprinkle of "woo" thrown in there for good measure. My life purpose is to help women align with their most concentrically-well self, from the inside out.

    If you want to talk about working with me on a 1:1 basis, let’s jump on a free call to Plan your Magical Journey! Or if you just want to see what I'm up to, come join my VIP Ladies-Only Facebook Group, Magical Eating Mamas, where I share all types of information on mindful/intuitive eating, Health At Every Size, and I promote all things non-diet and pro-positivity!

     

    Reference

    Ducrot, P., Méjean, C., Aroumougame, V., Ibanez, G., Allès, B., Kesse-Guyot, E., … Péneau, S. (2017). Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14, 12. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5288891/

    Fruh, S. M., Mulekar, M. S., Hall, H. R., Adams, J. R., Lemley, T., Evans, B., & Dierking, J. (2013). Meal-Planning Practices with Individuals in Health Disparity Zip Codes. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners : JNP, 9(6), 344–349. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3718071/

    Martin-Biggers, J., Spaccarotella, K., Berhaupt-Glickstein, A., Hongu, N., Worobey, J., & Byrd-Bredbenner, C. (2014). Come and Get It! A Discussion of Family Mealtime Literature and Factors Affecting Obesity Risk. Advances in Nutrition, 5(3), 235–247. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4013176/

    Why Logging Your Food Is the Best Method for Sustainable Eating

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