Wednesday, September 3, 2014

4 Reasons to Ditch Lotion for Natural Oils & Have the Most Sensual, Soft, Luscious Skin

If you told me a few years ago that I'd be smearing oils on my skin every day, I would have told you that you were gross and crazy.

And now... that's exactly what I do and I would never go back. My skin is the healthiest, softest, and most glowing it's ever been.

Watch this video to learn:
  • why oils work better than lotions and creams
  • what oils I use to nourish my skin without clogging it
  • and how taking care of my skin this way has been a game-changer for making other healthy changes in my life really stick

Do you have questions? What does your skin care routine look like? What products are you using? How do you feel about their quality? Tell me below! I'm so curious!

Pro Tip: If you're going to start switching over, make it easy on yourself! Finish up what you're already using and try out using oils instead one place at a time, rather than trying to make a drastic switch all at once.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Finding Friends Who Really GET You

I never had close girlfriends growing up. I grew up with brothers and I found guys to be safer, less likely to reject me. Ok, I did have one best girlfriend in high school, but she broke my heart abruptly in college, affirming my distrust and disease in opening up to other females. Anyone else feel like it's hard to get close to other women?

I had friends, sure, but not a "BFF" as I so desperately wanted, someone I could talk about my deepest darkest stuff with. So I felt very alone. And very crazy. And very weird. My best friend was my journal.

Women are social creatures. We affirm each others' experiences, we find power in numbers, and we process emotions with one another. Even when you're naturally an introvert, like me, who needs time by yourself... women friends are priceless. They keep you grounded and sane. They remind you of who you are and what matters, even - or especially - in your toughest moments.

As an adult, I've had to let go of my stories about befriending women. I've had to allow myself to open up to having women friends, to decide that I wanted women friends.

And I've intentionally gone out to find them. Here's how:

Finding Friends Who Really GET You (A Road Map):
  1. Know what you want. Like attracting an ideal partner, it pays to know what you want in a friendship. And then let it go. People don't always look or show up the way you think they will.
  2. Go where they gather. I used to find women's communities and social groups and said yes to invites from friends who I thought would run in the circles I wanted to be in.
  3. Be bold and introduce yourself. It takes some vulnerability and getting out of your comfort zone to make a new, authentic connection. Most people go out hoping for this, so dare yourself to make the first move. Be yourself, not a people pleaser.
  4. Look for 1 person to connect with. Someone you resonate with. Ask them out on a tea/hiking/dinner date AND get it on both your calendars before you leave. Follow up. It's kind of like dating or networking for friends!
  5. Rinse and repeat. Decide what worked and what didn't and get back out there. This is a growing process, remember. Don't take "no" or "busy" personally and don't push something that's not happening. When the right person appears, you'll both feel it and the friendship will blossom in a way that feels natural and easy. Focus on building a community, a network for yourself, not on finding "the one."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sticking to Your Intentions & Goals

In this video, I talk about the power of knowing what you want, of setting an intention, and how to remember to stick to it... usually the hardest part, right?

How often do you say to yourself, "I want to be more grounded/calm/present/relaxed/positive/healthy..." and then real life kicks in and you get to the end of the day and realize you got... distracted. Overwhelmed. Wrapped up. In the flow.

Here is one of my biggest secrets for sticking to my intentions & goals:

Alchemist Alex - our new online shop for Intention-Imbued Body Scents

Here are the scents I mentioned! Bookmark it so you can see when Honey Sunshine, the special scent I gave you a sneak peak of in the video.

Beautiful Traveler

Intention: sense-ual, meditative, connected and spiritual journeying through life, noticing the beauty in all the little things

Aromas: sweet, rich, deep, warm, spice, vanilla, tropical floral, woodsy

Scent of the Ent
(for forrest & nature lovers)

Intention: grounding, inner wisdom & strength, protection, staying clear & centered

Aromas: fresh, piney, spicy, clean, deep, green, earthy, woody, soft, sweet

Delicious Being

Intention: relaxing into who you truly are, letting yourself BE yourself, releasing stress

Aromas: sweet, vanilla, lively, citrus, tropical, warm, woodsy, soft

Are you a believer in the power of intention and knowing what you want? Share with me below - what do you do to remind yourself to stay aligned?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

One of My #1 Tools to Knowing - and Feeling - Your Body Better

Video below!
One of the biggest challenges women express to me is making time for themselves and the things they know they want to be doing for their body and health.

Here's the thing: When you get sick or your body gives out, you're forced to stop and take a break. That costs a lot of time and energy, sometimes weeks of productivity... but you know what? The world keeps going! Wouldn't it be nice to allow yourself to take your time before you get to the point of break down?

I think about this kind of thing a lot. It's something that motivates me to make time for myself. Let's face it: we spend a lot of time in our heads. It's all too easy to forget about or ignore our bodies. But when we're disconnected from our bodies it's easy to...
  • overeat and feel like crap in our bodies AND about ourselves
  • get into a cycle that burns us out or gets us sick
  • get overwhelmed by our emotions and break down or freak out
  • pull a muscle or put your back out
I've done all of those things. Multiple times. Not being tuned in to my body has even led me to pass out on an airplane! I'm sure you've got stories too. When you're a highly sensitive person... it doesn't take as much to go over an edge.

I can say for sure that I'm not into going over edges anymore. I like balance and feeling good.

The great news is that it's not hard to stay connected to your body, but it does take consistency and making time. I do yoga, I meditate, breathe, visualize... but I want to share with you the key that changed everything for me a few years ago, and that I make sure to get in almost every week now, in some form or another. When I started to do this, it changed my relationship to my body, my energy, my beauty, my eating... really, my whole self.

What do you think? I challenge you - what are you going to do to drop in with your body this week?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Taking Responsibility For Your Eating (and Choices)... Without all the Guilt

I've had a small hand-made sign next to my desk for the past two years. It says "Take Radical Responsibility for Your Reality." It's become the underlying mantra for every decision I make, every invitation I say yes (or no) to, and every food I eat (or don't). What does it actually mean to take radical responsibility? Knowing what it means has changed everything about the way I take care of myself - and how easy it's become.

For most of us, responsibility equates with obligations, burdens, all the heavy stuff of being an adult that, really, we'd rather be free of...

The idea of taking radical responsibility first resonated for me when I was reintroduced to it as "the ability to respond."


It's an ability that all of us have. While I've spent the last couple of years of my life learning and excepting that I can't really control anything outside of me, I have also, simultaneously, been learning how to respond differently to what is happening inside of me. This was the KEY for me as an unpredictably healthy/out-of-control eater.

"Control my thoughts and feelings? Yeah, right..." I thought control meant restricting myself, holding myself back, depriving myself. Because otherwise, I feared I might lose it one night, never stop eating, and blow up like a freaky obese person. Seriously. And I know I'm not the only one with those thoughts.

What I had to realize what that I needed to stop trying to control everything - starting with myself - and instead, find my feet on the ground and simply notice what was there so I could decide how to deal with it. Reclaim my ability and power to respond. This required me to do some learning and reprogramming of my first-response reactions to things.

Luckily, I love learning and I love knowing myself deeply because it means I can (finally for the first time in my life) trust myself. Feel safe and at home within my own being. Like most of us, I've gone most of my life trying to find trust, safety, love, stability and a sense of belonging (and satisfaction and happiness...) from others without consciously looking for and cultivating those feelings within myself, the one place I do have the ultimate say. This is not our fault. It's the result of being brought up in a consumerist society where we are programmed from birth to look outside of ourselves for happiness and satisfaction.

To stand up and say, "I'm going to decide how I feel and what I want from now on," To me, that is taking radical responsibility.

It requires committing to yourself to look at your own inner programming and habits. It requires getting honest, real, vulnerable and open with yourself. Then you can access your innate ability to respond from a place of grounded, clear awareness and conscious choice.

So how do you stay grounded enough to be clear in your own head, so you can respond with good choices, amidst ubiquitous food and stress?

I see groundedness as the ability to recognize your own two feet on the ground, to see and feel all of your past, your stories, your fears, AND be able to look down and say to yourself "Okay here I am right now, and I'm okay." Maybe you're not where you want to be (aka stressed, lonely or uncomfortable) but if you know where and how you are then you can always do something different.

The willingness to see, with eyes wide open and feet grounded on the floor, and choose, clearly and consciously, how you will respond = claiming and owning one of your greatest powers, Your Response – Ability.

Taking radical responsibility of your eating habits is being aware of your body's hunger, as well as your emotions and mind's stories and desires, and making a grounded choice about what to eat, when to stop, and what not to eat at all. It's knowing why you are eating. I don't mean to take all pleasure out of eating, quite the contrary! Eating for enjoyment and nourishment are my top two priorities! But it's to recognize when eating becomes a distraction, an obsession, or way to check out.

Let me tell you some of my Food Story to illustrate...

When I first started my practice as a Health Coach my focus was on eating for more energy. I was personally eating lots of greens and whole grains, feeling high-energy physically... for the most part. The only problem was that all my stress and little perfectionist self-judgments would pile up at the end of the day and I'd find myself stuffing my face in the pantry almost every night. As healthy as I would eat all day, I would go to bed feeling stuffed, bloated and sluggish, frustrated and disappointed with myself, saying, "That was the last time!"

I wasn't fully taking responsibility for my energy. Emotions, after all, are physical-mental energy too. I wasn't dealing with my negative emotions. I was literally stuffing them down, avoiding them, distracting myself, trying to feel better in the moment. Because I wasn't allowing myself to be grounded, to acknowledge all the things I was feeling and just say "okay here I am right now, and I'm okay," I wasn't giving myself the opportunity to respond to what was going on in my life. Instead I created more anxiety about my anxiety, convinced that if I let it out, it would consume me. That is a victim mentality. But we are not victims of ourselves. All of our actions and behaviors have a positive intention. Some behaviors just aren't serving us anymore.

It was my own coaching training program that helped me to realize that. So I committed to myself to look at my own inner programming and habits. I got honest, real, vulnerable and open with myself. And then, I suddenly had access to use my innate ability to respond, act and behave differently, from a place of grounded, clear awareness and conscious choice. It felt like a miracle. But the ability to respond is innate to every single one of us.

Want to hear some exciting news???

If you're ready to take radical responsibility for your eating and your reality, to feel more in charge and in control of what's going in your mouth, I've got fabulous news for you:

I've taken my most powerful tools and created "In Charge: An 8-week Course on Controlling the Controllable & Letting the Rest Go." Get in control of your eating, deal successfully with stress, and have more freed time and energy to be productive and enjoy yourself. For a limited time, I am beta testing this course for just $500 (that's 2/3rd's off)! Jump on it... is all I can say.

Secondly, I'm laying out an introductory breakthrough package of two 45-minute coaching sessions for only $100, to assist you with stopping your cycle of self-sabotage - eating, health, or otherwise. This is the sampler pack for the curious but tentative. I totally understand how getting started can be, and I believe in clarity through action. You have to try some things to know.

I'm here to make some waves and support you.

If you're ready to take radical responsibility for your health and the places you're feeling stuck, I am your woman, and now is always the best time.

I invite you to take advantage. To find out if we're truly a match, check out my calendar and schedule a Strategy Session with me. I'll help you get crystal clear either way.

Monday, June 23, 2014

When Eating IS the Distraction

One night, home solo for dinner, I make myself a gorgeous plate of lemony greens over fresh whole wheat pasta, snowy with Parmesan cheese. A few of my cookbooks are still open on the table and I start paging through, looking at the pictures and searching for recipes I want to try. Soon, I'm putting the last bite into my mouth and I've barely tasted any of it.

I'm pissed. And disappointed. Despite my intentions and efforts to be more mindful, to be fully present and enjoying the food in front of me, this still happens more than I like to admit. I check the weather (and then my messages and then Instagram) on my phone, or I get absorbed reading the Nutrition Facts on the back of a package. But then I miss the moment, the amazing food in front of me. Studies show that being awake to the process of eating accounts for the majority of the satisfaction you feel. When your mind is distracted, you miss out on feeling satisfied.

You probably know what happens when you don't feel satisfied. You eat more - then or later - because you're still trying to get there. You feel bad about yourself and all your shortcomings. You make promises to yourself you can't keep. You restrict yourself. It's easy to spiral out. That's how I ended up binging on almond butter and cookie dough so many nights. It feels too shameful, too embarrassing, too huge and overwhelming to just change. All the the things you don't feel or don't want to feel, you wind up using food to try to fill or to distract yourself from your mental hunger. And so the cycle self-perpetuates, conveniently creating a problem to distract you from your real issues.

Here's the trick: You don't have to DO anything to change. But you have to BE with your discomfort and the dissatisfaction.

Ok, GRRREAT. That's what most of you are probably thinking. I didn't say this would be comfortable, remember? It's the opposite. The question is: Are you willing to go there and see what happens? I always thought I'd be opening Pandora's Box of Alex's Hot Mess and I'd have a breakdown that would incapacitate me for at least a year. But the most amazing part?  (And I know you know this.) After a good, honest cry, you feel so much lighter.

Here are a few ways you can start allowing yourself to be with uncomfortable feelings in the moment:
  • Crying. I mean it. LET IT OUT. When you hold it in, it becomes tension, it adds to the weight you are carrying around. Emotions are "e"nergy in "motion" - let it move through. Breathe.
  • Running. When I have pent up emotional energy, expending physical energy helps me release. Exhaustion, while not necessary, is potent medicine. Think about a child who plays or cries themselves to sleep. A tired body or mind then shuts down to rest and rejuvenate.
  • Tapping. This is a technique that allows to you accept what is happening instead of judging, resisting or avoiding it. I find the physical sensation to be incredibly grounding. Here's a basic how-to video on how to tap.
  • Writing it out. I don't know where I'd be without my journal, the place I dump out my mind and hash out my feelings. I get such clarity from letting it all out on the page. Write knowing you can always burn it. There is such power in acknowledging for yourself what is really going on. Ask yourself: What am I really needing or hungry for?
  • Voicing it. To my most inner, trusted circle, the people I wasn't afraid (although I still resisted) to cry in front of, people who I knew could just hold space and listen. Find a friend (or two) with whom you can be each others' lifelines. Or a professional you trust.
It takes courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable in this way. What resonates best for you? What are you going to try? Or, are there things here you've already tried that have worked or not worked? Please leave a comment below.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Alone with Chocolate Fudge & Not Afraid Anymore: My Four Big Shifts to Food Freedom

We were sitting around the table, with gorgeous fresh strawberry shortcake sitting in front of us, passing around a jar of chocolate fudge to put on top. Everyone was talking about what they would do with the fudge if they were left alone with it, most agreeing they'd eat the whole thing with a spoon in one sitting. I sat there, almost shocked that I had no desire to eat any more than the tiny dollop in my bowl. Two years ago, I would have eaten myself sick on it every day and night until it was gone. Leave me with it now and I'd put it away in the fridge, no uncontrollable cravings, no feelings of guilt or deprivation. "Whoa," I thought, "I've come a loooong, long way."

Overeating, especially when it feels emotional or mindless (you've checked out of your brain, or something else has taken over), does us a lot of damage. I've interviewed over 40 people about their struggles with food, especially the tendency to binge and overeat, and the physical damage is perhaps most obvious and first to pop into most people's minds when we think about the consequences. The digestive stress and bloating. The lethargy. Worrying about what all that sugar and fat is doing to our health in the long run. Gaining weight... Or living in perpetual fear that we will.

From all those conversations, what struck me at the overwhelmingly most painful, frustrating part - and for me this was the hardest part too - is the repeated blow to your self-esteem and confidence. It's facing a recurring personal failure that undercuts all of the rest of your success in life. It's being smart enough to understand the pattern and yet not being able to stop. It's disappointing yourself over and over again, because you know you know better. It's beating yourself up about not treating yourself the way you want to be... which is still not treating yourself the way you know you want to be. It was enough to wreck my first attempt at a Health Coaching practice two years ago. As an emotional binge-eater, my self-confidence was shot. How could I help anyone else if I couldn't figure it out for myself?

My lack of confidence kept me from building my practice and career for over a year, which - though I didn't see it until I was through it - gave me the space to finally step back from thinking about food all the time (funny how I chose a field that perpetuated that, isn't it?), so that I COULD figure it out for myself. All of the shifts I experienced were influenced by the coaching programs I was participating in as a student, and by coaches I worked with myself along the way.

My Four Big Shifts to Food Freedom:

1. Talking about it, rather than hiding it away. Getting honest and vulnerable in front of the ultimate mirror, another person, someone I trusted to hold safe space for me to show up in all my mess and imperfection. For me this was my partner, and then a coach, and then the people I trained with during my own coach training program. I got support and started creating a network of friends and circles that I knew would see and respect all of me, even when I didn't feel like I could. Eventually, I felt safe enough to share my closet binge-eating story publicly. It was one of the scariest and most liberating things I've ever done. What has inspired me most on this front? Brene Brown on The Power of Vulnerability. Bookmark that one for later.

2. Deciding to take radical care of my body, my vessel and vehicle for experiencing everything else. I started getting massages every week for three months. Dropping into and reconnecting with my body, my energy and physical sensations changed everything. I let myself feel into the times it felt strong, centered and beautiful, instead of dismissing myself as vain or judging myself as shallow. I gave myself permission to enjoy feeling good about myself, and to keep going back to what made my body feel amazing: massage, hula hooping in the park, dance, yoga, walks, baths, laying in the sun, sex, running, eating avocado every day, moisturizing my skin...

3. Letting go of trying so hard: to be so good, to be perfect, to look good, to have it all figured out, to control all aspects of myself... including my eating and my body. I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted. Yes, that turned out to be largely healthy stuff like quinoa and kale and almond butter, but I had to stop judging and denying myself the foods I was craving. Like cheeseburgers and chocolate cake, whole milk and cereal. It's true, sometimes I still went overboard. I ate stuff and more than I wished I had. I still do sometimes. But I also stopped making rules about "tomorrow I won't eat/I'm on a diet..." and started forgiving myself, realizing that every "screw up" was a learning experience, an opportunity to remember to check into my body for its hunger, fullness and needs, and not just what my mind was saying.

4. Learning to feel and be okay with my uncomfortable emotions. I used to act passive-aggressive (I was a master at the silent martyr role) when I was unhappy or wanted something to be different... I never knew how to express my unhappiness and ask for what I wanted and needed. So I either stuffed all the "bad" stuff, my anger, loneliness, sadness, fears, disappointment, and stress down with food, or I knotted it up as tension in my shoulders, neck and back. I worked with an emotional intelligence coach to help me learn techniques for processing, expressing and releasing my emotions... and even though I was initially terrified I'd be opening Pandora's Box of Perpetually Overwhelmed Hot Mess, I found that once I let myself experience an emotion, it would release. And I could move on SO much more easily. For the first time in my life, instead of being on a ruthless roller coaster or a ship lost in an unpredictable sea, I have a sense of clarity, groundedness and strength that feel like the rooted tree of my being, my emotions just being weather.

These shifts are more like practices I've chosen to live by - they are still things I consciously and intentionally cultivate and practice in my life. It doesn't go perfectly and smoothly, but I've learned to treat myself and my body as a priority (or else nothing else or nobody else gets 100%) and, when that falls through, with compassion and kindness, as you would a friend. I know how long and hard some of you have been struggling to figure it out, to will yourself back into willpower. I feel you. I felt for my friends as they sat around the table that night, laughing about their inability to resist the jar of fudge. Because I suddenly knew, for myself - even though I'd thought for most of my life that surely there was something wrong with me - that another way of living is possible.

I'm creating right now... coaching programs, free guides, sugar detoxes, online webinar trainings. I know what's worked for me, but I know we don't all have the same experience. Please share below or write to me and tell me what you want and need. What are your burning questions? What are you dying to experience differently?