What If Lazy Doesn’t Exist?

What if Lazy Doesn't Exist

One of the most common reasons I hear for people not making the changes they would like to make, from eating more healthy to losing weight, is ‘Oh, it’s because I’m so LAZY.’

I always felt this excuse wasn’t the whole story, so when I came across this quote by personal trainer Jillian Michaels, it really spoke to me:

“Lazy doesn’t exist. Lazy is a symptom of something else…it’s usually a lack of self-worth or a feeling of helplessness.”

– Jillian Michaels

What if you are not actually lazy but there was something else going on instead, which leads to a lack of self-worth or feeling of helplessness?

Below are what I see as the most common reasons we fall into the ‘I’m so lazy’ trap with a question each time to help you out.

1. Being overly ambitious

Its great to have lofty ambitions in life, but when it comes to making healthy change, this can easily lead to overwhelm. And when we are overwhelmed, most of us tend to avoid taking action and simply feel helpless.

Question to ask yourself:
What is the first small step I need to take towards what I want to achieve? 

For example, if you want to start eating more healthy, you could break this down into a more manageable and tangible step such as cooking more healthy meals at home. From there, your first small step could be simply finding one recipe that inspires you and setting a goal to make that once a week. This will motivate you far more than deciding to completely revamp your diet and is a much more realistic goal you can then build on.

2. Thinking in black and white 

This goes something like this: Either I have been ‘good’ in my eating or I have been ‘bad’. Either I am on the wagon or I have fallen off.
This type of thinking tends to extremes that are not healthy or sustainable in the long-term.

Question to ask yourself: 
Would I keep eating or living this way long-term?

If the answer is no, then don’t do it because you won’t keep it up. Find a more moderate way you can live with.

For example, deciding to completely stop eating sugar is an unrealistic goal that you are unlikely to want to keep up for life. Deciding to reduce the amount of sugar you eat or making it only an occasional treat is a much more realistic way of approaching this.

Making healthy change is about a culmination of small choices and habits you do every day, not a grand diet or one-off effort. It has to fit into your life and be something that is pleasurable enough for you to want to keep doing in the long-term. There is no ‘end’ to being healthy once you achieve a goal so be gentle and kind to yourself.

3. Underestimating your own resistance to change

As humans we all tend to resist change until NOT changing becomes more painful than changing. This is thanks to our subconscious mind which acts as an overprotective friend who wants to keep us safe. And for the subconscious mind, change = unknown = unsafe.

So when we sabotage our own efforts, this is often our subconscious mind panicking and trying to keep us in our comfort zone.

Question to ask yourself:
What is the upside of NOT achieving what I want to achieve? 

For example, what would be the advantage of NOT losing weight? This can seem like a very strange question initially, but really be honest and try to examine where you might have some ambiguity about what you want to achieve. For example, you may desperately want to lose weight but on a deep subconscious level, you are also afraid of all the attention you might get if you lose weight. Or you might realise that the extra weight is actually a convenient excuse for not moving forward in life. Or that fixating on your weight is actually a convenient distraction to something else in your life you are not dealing with.

Once you have identified your blocks to change, you are much more able to work around them.

I would love to hear from you – do you recognize yourself in any of these points? What is one thing you could do to make change more smooth?


What Makes Food Taste Good?

What makes food taste good.jpg

I must have done something right in my life since I am lucky enough to have married a (wonderful) man of Italian origin – which of course means delicious food whenever we visit his family in Italy.

This Easter, we decided to visit the region around Bologna, Parma and Modena –  places that gifted the world with food such as Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, salami, balsamic vinegar and stuffed pastas.

We didn’t plan any of our meals – we simply stumbled into the first restaurant we came across when we were hungry.

And every single meal we ate was amazing. Not just good, but amazing. And this got us thinking – what is the secret behind the world-renown food of this region?

Here is my attempt to put into words what makes food taste good based on my recent Italian road trip:

1. The quality of the ingredients

Italian cooking is based on using only the best quality ingredients. The preparation methods are very simple and rely on taste provided by the ingredients used rather than a complex preparation technique or heavy sauce.

2. Food is prepared with love – or at least pride

My mother used to say this was the secret ingredient in her cooking and my adolescent self would roll her eyes. My adult self has to admit that this really makes a difference. A few of the very simple restaurants we ate at still had the 80 year old owner taking our order and making sure the food was prepared just right. People are proud of food and food preparation is taken seriously.

3. Umami elements

Many of the ingredients we associate with Italian food such as tomatoes, olives/olive oil, garlic, onion, Parmesan, cured meats, balsamic vinegar, mushrooms etc are actually umami. As I have written before, adding elements of umami to your dishes is a sure way to boost taste – and when we boost taste, we also reduce cravings and overeating, as these happen when we eat food that isn’t exciting enough for our taste buds.

4. Being hungry

Being hungry enough to truly enjoy a meal is a gift we give ourselves. When we are constantly snacking and avoid ever getting really hungry, we can’t appreciate food in the same way.

Good food.jpg

I would love to hear from you – what makes food taste good in your opinion? 

Are you what you eat?

Energetics of foodI just saw Simply Theatre‘s excellent production of Oliver Twist yesterday and couldn’t help but notice the role food plays in the story (yes, I know I am a little obsessed with food!). In the opening scene, the orphans dream about ‘Food, glorious food’ instead of gruel, a thin porridge, they are fed daily. Later on, Oliver is accused of being mad by Mr Bumble because he has eaten meat.

Meat at the time was seen as cultivating soul and spirit which was not fitting of the working class.

Food has never just been fuel for humans and throughout history, we have noticed the effect it can have on us.

Meat and animal products in general tend to be grounding and strengthening, helping us feel relaxed and down to earth as do beans, root vegetables like potatoes and sweet vegetables like beet roots.

Leafy greens, fruits, chocolate and raw foods in general help lift us up, making us feel lighter and more creative.

In this season of Lent, avoiding certain foods like animal products in the Greek Orthodox tradition, is meant to elevate us, making us less of the earth and more spiritual.

And perhaps you have noticed that eating from your own garden or shopping at your local market leaves you feeling more connected to your home or local community?

I am sure you have already experienced this: You feel different when you eat different foods.

Another great illustration of the energetics of food is a scene in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey where the dwarves are invited to eat in Rivendell, the Elven outpost in Middle Earth. The Dwarves reaction to the Elves’ food of leafy greens is very revealing: ‘I don’t eat anything green’ & ‘Where’s the meat?’

The Elves’ leafy greens are linked to being light, creative and flexible while the Dwarves staple of meat is related to being grounded and relaxed.

Doesn’t this fit the characters perfectly?

So next time you are craving something, ask yourself what energy you are seeking from the food. Perhaps your sugar cravings are a message from your body that it needs some lightness? Or maybe your sudden love of beans is actually a search for more stability in your life?

Tapping into the energetics of food might just provide a whole new interpretation to the old adage that you are what you eat.

Where's The Meat


The Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein

Food Energetics: The Spiritual, Emotional, and Nutritional Power of What We Eat by Steve Gagné


When We Love Food Too Much

No love sincerer.jpg

Many people tell me that they can’t help overeating because they love food too much.

I completely relate to food as one of my great pleasures in life.

Yet is it possible to love food too much?

I know from my own experience that this is possible.

We can love food too much when what we are eating is not just the food but the idea we build the food up to be.

Emotional eating author, Geneen Roth writes “We don’t want to EAT hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to BE hot fudge sundaes.” 

When we eat those hot fudge sundaes, we are seeking excitement from it because we don’t have the courage to live in a way that brings real excitement into our lives.

Loving the idea of food happens when meal or snack times are the only excitement in our days. When we bury our emotional pain in a box of cookies. When we think we lack control around chocolate when in reality, it’s the only pleasure we allow ourselves after a tough day.

We start loving food too much when we become dependent on it as a substitute for something we are denying ourselves such as true pleasure, connection, adventure, self-care, a fulfilling career.

When we start looking at our true hunger for life, we realize that we no longer love food too much. We still love food but not in a desperate “I am expecting you to give me what I can’t give myself” sort of way.

When we honor our hunger for life, our love for food takes its rightful place and becomes just one of the many ways we nourish ourselves.

TED Talk on Mindful Eating as an Alternative to Dieting

This TED talk by Sandra Aamodt talks about mindful eating and intuitive eating as the only antidote to breaking free of diet mentality and truly healing your relationship to food.

This way of thinking  has completely changed my relationship to food. Rather than focus one size fits all diet, this is also the approach I bring to my Health Coaching sessions: Helping people start a dialogue with their bodies to start understanding:

♥ Hunger vs. satiety signals

♥ Real hunger vs. emotional hunger

♥ Food your mind wants or thinks you should or shouldn’t be eating vs. Food that feels good to your body

This quote from the video sums it up perfectly:

Learning to understand your body’s signals so that you eat when you’re hungry and you stop when you’re full. Because a lot of weight gain boils down to eating when you are not hungry.

How do you do it? Give yourself permission to eat as much as you want and then work on figuring out what makes your body feels good. Sit down to regular meals without distractions, think about how your body feels when you start to eat and when you stop. Let your hunger decide when you should be done.

It sounds simple, but as she says in the video, it took her a year to really be able to do it and I know that for myself, it is an on-going learning process – but  the only one that can lead to real freedom with food.

Find out more about my approach to Health Coaching grounded in intuition, mindfulness and compassion instead of control, discipline or deprivation.

Just One Small Change at a Time

Forget new year's goalsThere’s something about the New Year. The dizzying potential of so much newness. The opportunity to let go of the past and simply start over.

And if you are anything like me, you tend to overestimate your capacity for change. We have this eternally optimistic attitude that THIS time it will be different. THIS time, we will stick to that diet or make that change we really really want to make.

Yet it was only when I let go of my lofty ideals that I was able to create real, sustainable healthy habits.

For example, instead of focusing on getting rid of my 3 cups of coffee a day drinking habit, I focused on drinking more herbal teas. I bought a bunch of herbal teas in interesting flavors and kept them in the office, deciding I would have at least one herbal tea first thing in the morning. Guess what? By focusing on adding in MORE herbal teas instead of obsessing about drinking LESS coffee, I naturally crowded out one coffee a day. I kept going until eventually I had replaced most of my office coffees with teas, and I started only drinking coffee when I really felt like having one.

I did the same thing with my diet. Rather than focusing on what I wanted to eat less of, I focused on what I wanted to eat more of.

The nutrition training I did calls this crowding out, and research shows that it is a more efficient and sustainable way of making healthy change because the new, healthy habits naturally take the place of the less healthy habits.

So as we start 2014, I urge you to focus on what you want to include more of in your life. Are you thinking of detoxing after the holidays? Winter is not the best time for the body to detox as we need fats and proteins to deal with the cold, but it’s a great time to make healthy change. Why not focus on eating more vegetables instead? Leave the detox for Spring – nature’s detox season – and start building the foundation for healthy habits that will last you a lifetime instead.

I would love to hear from you – what do you want to add MORE of in your life right now?

  Forget lofty resolutions – add in one healthy habit at a time instead! Click to Tweet!


Better Than New Year’s Resolutions: Find Your Word of the Year

Word of the Year

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I now come up with a Word of the Year.

This is a simple way of focusing on something you want more of this year, based on the idea that what you focus on, grows.

More than New Year’s Resolutions, your Word of the Year can help inspire and guide you throughout the year.

In 2013, my word of the year was PASSION. I used PASSION to guide the way I lived my life and the choices I made in both my work (starting this blog, leaving an 8 year career in advertising to share my passion for healthy living as a Health Coach) and my private life (from going to Australia  with my husband to everyday activities like cooking, yoga or reading that I am passionate about).

For 2014, I decided my word would be LIGHTNESS.

I want to bring more lightness into my life, in the form of fun, taking things less seriously and enjoying life more.

I want to laugh more.

I want to lighten up my thinking and worry less.

I want to keep eating nourishing foods and moving in a way that allows me to feel physically light in my body.

I want to remember Eckhart Tolle’s quote that “Life isn’t as serious as the ego makes it out to be”.

I want to live lightly in every sense of the word.

So how do you go about finding your word of the year?

1. Connect to your desires. 

Take some time to yourself, and really think about what you WANT out of life in this moment.

You might want to try listing everything you can think of even if it seems frivolous. This can include anything from the new iPad to getting married to going to Thailand on holiday.

2. Identify the feelings behind what you want

Once you have your desire list, identify how getting what you have listed will make you feel. What is the feeling you are chasing? As Danielle LaPorte writes “You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling.”

For example, maybe you want an iPad because it will allow you to feel connected. Or going to Thailand will help you feel adventurous. And perhaps you want to get married because what you are really looking for is stability.

3. Choose the word that attracts you most

Now go back to your list and look at the feelings you have written. What comes across most clearly or really makes your heart sing? What word makes you feel expansive, inspired, turned on?

Play with the idea that this might be your word of the year for a few days before deciding on this. You can try writing several words out on post-its around your home to see which you feel most drawn to.

Once you have your word of the year, you can really own it by creating a collage of images that remind you of this, creating an affirmation around it (I desire to live lightly) or simply having it written out somewhere you can see it. You can even use it for email or social media passwords as a daily reminder (for example: livinglightly2014).

I would love to hear from you – what’s your Word of the Year?

   Better than New Year’s Resolutions – find your Word of the Year! Click to Tweet!

If you want to start the year off with the support you need to lose weight or simply make healthier life choices, why not book a free Health Chat to find out whether Health Coaching is right for you?

6 Books That Changed My Thinking in 2013

Top reads 2013I have always loved reading – a little like Roald Dahl’s character Mathilda pictured here!

Of all the books I read this year, six in particular stand out in having really changed the way I think. Here are my top reads for 2013.

I usually buy my books from Book Depository, a website I love because they do worldwide free delivery and have the lowest prices I have found anywhere (including amazon). I am such a fan that I am now an affiliate – so if you decide to buy any of these books or other books from this website, please do so by clicking on this link or directly on the book titles below so I can earn points to buy even more books (it won’t cost you anything more)!

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

The main idea of this book is that we all have an ‘Upper Limit’ – a set point or thermostat of happiness defined by what we were told growing up and the beliefs we’ve interiorized. When we surpass this limit, we start to sabotage ourselves because we are uncomfortable with so much happiness. This keeps us from making the ‘big leap’ into what Hendricks calls our Zone of Genius – a place where we are able to express our full potential.

I think we can all identify with self-sabotage to a certain extent. This can look like healthy eating and living for a few days and feeling really great…then pigging out on unhealthy foods for no apparent reason. Or it can be finally getting into an exercise routine you feel good about…then having an accident that prevents you from exercising for several weeks.

I read this book while travelling in Australia in October and it made me realize that the worries I often have while traveling is a form of Upper Limit thinking. Simply realizing this changed my travel experience.

How It Has Changed My Thinking:

Simply becoming aware of upper limiting behavior like worrying and self-sabotage behavior and focusing on cultivating a feeling of deservedness instead.

Find Out More: 

Watch this 5 minute interview with the author:


The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self by Charles Eisenstein

Having studied over 100 dietary theories as diverse as the Paleo Diet, veganism and Macrobiotics during my nutrition training, the approach taken by Charles Eisenstein is actually what makes most sense to me.

Rather than trusting some external doctrine on what we should or shouldn’t eat, this book helps you access a higher authority: Your own body.

The approach this book takes is what I have based my Health Coaching on, and even the name of my website: Healthwise. It is about connecting with your own inner wisdom to find the food and lifestyle habits that nourish YOU best because no one way of eating works for everyone.

How It Has Changed My Thinking:

Trusting my own body’s wisdom has helped me find true freedom with food. I also loved the unorthodox view of eating animals which you can read here.

What I have noticed with both myself and my clients is that when you start eating from a place of trust and intuition, this has a ripple effect and you start living your whole life more intuitively.

Find Out More: 

Read my blog post on Eisenstein’s definition of karma.

Watch this 3 minute video by the author


Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie

I read this book during Christmas 2012, then spent 2013 trying to put it into practice and watching videos on the Byron Katie website. I re-read it this December and it spoke to me even more.

For me, this book is based on 3 main ideas:

1. It is not what happens to us but our thoughts about what happens that cause suffering, especially not accepting the reality of what is. As Byron Katie says,  “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time”. 

2. We do not need to attach to our thoughts – we can examine them using the 4 questions outlined in Byron Katie’s method, The Work.

3. For every thought that causes suffering, the opposite or a turn around can be just as true.

How It Has Changed My Thinking:

I constantly try to examine my own thinking and this has brought me much more peace. I have also integrated it into my Health Coaching practice as certain beliefs can often stop us from making the healthy change we want.

Find Out More:

You can find all the resources you need to do The Work yourself on Byron Katie’s excellent website here.

Watch this 10 minute summary of the book:


The Slow Down Diet by Marc David

Marc David is the founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. He focuses on applying psychology and nutrition in a way that is novel and exciting for me.

This books focuses not so much on WHAT we eat, but on how our attitude to food, the quality of what we eat, when we eat and how we eat affects our metabolism.

Marc David’s main idea is that it is only by slowing down, decreasing stress and truly taking pleasure in eating that we can sustainably change our relationship to food and increase our metabolism to lose weight.

How It Has Changed My Thinking:

A deeper understanding of the mind-body connection as related to emotional eating, weight loss, and digestion.

Find Out More: 

Read this blog post I wrote on how WHEN we eat impacts our metabolism, inspired by this book.


The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

Brené Brown is a researcher and storyteller who has studied emotions such as vulnerability and shame. This book discusses how vulnerability is not about being weak or imperfect, but is essential to living wholeheartedly and truly connecting with people.

According to her research, if we are unable to be vulnerable, to take risks, to open up to people or make mistakes, we risk living a life that is lonely, detached and unfulfilled.

How It Has Changed My Thinking:

A realization that to live a truly connected life, I need to risk being vulnerable more, even if this means opening myself up to failure and rejection. It also made me realize that behind perfectionism is a fear of not being good enough.

Find Out More: 

A 3 minute animated film on empathy which summarizes Brené Brown’s approach incredibly well. :

You can also watch her TED talks on vulnerability and on shame.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This is the opening paragraph of the book:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Doesn’t it already have you hooked?

This book juggles themes such as pride, goodness, love, the human need we all have for magic and escape and enchantment and the lengths we are willing to go to follow our passion…or to prove a point. The structure of the book is also very unique, told from the point of view of different characters at different moments in time. Yet it somehow all comes together in a way that left me spellbound.

How It Has Changed My Thinking:

More than change my thinking, this book left me with a feeling: A lingering air of pure magic.

Find Out More: 

Watch the trailer for the book:

Discovering Your Bio-Individuality

bio-individuality blog

Growing up bi-cultural means being exposed to a wide variety of food at an early age and all the richness that comes with this.

I recently noticed however, that I feel much better eating the type of dairy commonly consumed in Jordan than the type of dairy consumed in Switzerland.

Dairy in Jordan consists mostly of labaneh (a natural yoghurt spread) and Halloumi cheese (made of goat & sheep milk) instead of cream, butter or yellow cheese which I love the taste of but don’t feel does my body or skin much good.

This got me thinking. Are we better suited to feel good eating the foods our ancestors ate?

After all, when I think of what my Arabic forefathers before me must have eaten, it certainly wasn’t Gruyère cheese!

This fits perfectly with the concept of bio-individuality, which I use in my health coaching. This is based on the idea that no one diet works for everyone, and each person has a unique palette of foods that suits them best. Finding these foods is a little like detective work, where the key is starting a dialogue with your body and realizing how certain foods make you feel.

A clue to your bio-individuality lies in your roots: What did your ancestors likely eat?

When it comes to dairy in particular, looking towards how much your ancestors ate can be helpful. If you are Dutch and grew up eating dairy and have ancestors who thrived on dairy, you are more likely to have the digestive enzyme lactase that helps break down lactose, the sugar in dairy, than a Japanese whose ancestors ate little, if any dairy.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we can never eat anything ‘exotic’ for us – but it can be helpful in uncovering the foods that truly make your body sing.

I would love to hear from you: What foods do you think your ancestors ate? Could these foods be part of your unique food palette? You might even want to try recreating a healthier form of a childhood dish, like I did with this Arabic semolina cake!

  A clue to your bio-individuality lies in your roots: What did your ancestors likely eat?Click to Tweet!

5 Reasons we overeat during the Holidays

psych effects post

Christmas is approaching with all the temptations it brings. Here are five reasons it’s so easy to overeat during the Holidays and what you can do about them:

1. The Pendulum Effect

Once December comes around, we give ourselves permission to eat the foods we consider off limit the rest of the year, promising to banish these foods or diet again in January.

While this may seem like a fair choice, every extreme act of restriction is followed by an equally extreme act of bingeing. Our relationship to food is like a pendulum: We can hold on to one extreme of the pendulum through willpower, but at some point we no longer have the strength and let go.

A better way: Cultivate a relationship to food that allows you to stay at the center of the pendulum, even if this means allowing yourself the forbidden foods more often throughout the year. When we use all our willpower to NOT eat something, we simply make it more attractive. We can’t stop thinking about it and spend a lot of energy trying to stay in control. By allowing ourselves to eat it in moderation, so called ‘off limit’ foods actually lose their power over us.

2. The ‘What-the-Hell’ Effect 

Does this sound familiar? “I already had one cookie – technically I am no longer gluten-free/sugar-free/healthy/on a diet today. What-the-hell, I might as well have another…and another…and another.”

A better way: It’s OK. You can have your cookie and stop there. Remember that eating healthy at least 80% of the time is as perfect as you need to be. Realize that life is not all or nothing and that there is no point in being black or white in your approach to food.

3. The ‘I-Had-No-Choice’ Effect

You’re at your aunt’s house and she is insisting you have just one more piece of pie. Or you’re at work and your colleague brought some leftover cake. Surely it’s impolite to refuse?

A better way: We seem to think that if something is offered to us or just sitting there, demanding our attention, it doesn’t count if we eat it, because we had no choice. Here’s the deal though. We always have the choice. And we are the only person responsible for our health. So next time you are faced with temptation, tell yourself you can have it if you REALLY want – but do you actually NEED it in that moment? This question will help you make a conscious choice instead of merely reacting to whatever is there.

4. The ‘So.Much.Choice.’ Effect

It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to eat at a buffet or a table filled with so much variety – so we overload our plates with large quantities of everything there is, afraid we may miss out if we don’t.

 A better way: Instead of focusing on the quantity of food, focus more on savoring the food. Take time to chew every bite. Put your fork down between bites and take your time eating. You’ll be surprised at how you actually need less food because you will be truly tasting the food and enjoying it rather than just trying to get as much of it in you as possible.

5. The Treat Effect

The Holidays come around once a year, and so do certain treats. So we figure “I can only have panettone during this period. So I have to eat as much of it while I can to really take advantage of it!”

A better way: Make a commitment to upgrade on quality. For example, if you love the Italian Christmas specialty, panettone, only eat panettone that is the best quality you can find and afford, rather than pouncing on any panettone that crosses your path. Or you can try making healthier versions of your special treat.

I would love to hear from you, which effect can you relate to most? How do you plan on staying sane this holiday season? 


A Different Way of Making Decisions

decision post

Whenever I was faced with a decision in the past, I would attack it very rationally with a pros & cons list.

Then I came across Daniella LaPorte’s Desire Map and it changed everything.

According to Danielle, we have it backwards. Before going for a goal or making a decision, we need to do something crucial. We first need to understand how we want to FEEL.

According to Danielle, when you get clear on how you want to feel,

Decisions will be easier to make: You’ll know what to say no, thank you to and what to say hell yes! to.

In the beginning of this year, instead of writing New Year’s Resolutions or goals, I decided to get clear on how I wanted to feel. I came up with the following: 

I wanted to feel CONNECTED

I wanted to feel PASSIONATE

And I wanted to feel a sense of GROWTH

Doing this exercise made me realize that the reason I was feeling ‘blah’ in my work was that it was no longer in alignment with my deepest desires. This was a real ‘aha’ moment for me as I had been feeling unmotivated and uninspired for a while, but since there was nothing really wrong, I hadn’t been able to put my finger on why. This simple exercise helped me decide to leave this job and take my health coaching work from a side business to a full-time business – a decision that came easily once I realized it was perfectly aligned with my desires.

This is just one of the ways I now approach decision-making which has completely changed the way I live – from the work I do to the social engagement I say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to.

I look forward to sharing this powerful tool with you along with ways to help you access your subconscious – the part of your mind that is actually driving 95% of your processes – on November 19th in Geneva. I will be partnering with Energy Therapist, Lais Stephan to bring a mix of amazing tools to help you start listening to your intuition – that knowing place within all of us – so you can work, love and eat with confidence.

Find out more and sign-up here! 

And if you are unable to join us, why not try applying this principle next time you are faced with a decision: Decide first on how you want to FEEL, and then weigh your options in relation to this.


Pursuit of Everything…in Geneva


It isn’t often that remarkable people casually drop by Geneva for a chat around beer and pizza at Le Scandale…So of course, when Nathalie organized a Misfits meet-up with AJ & Melissa Leon, I was thrilled to participate.

AJ Leon is an ordinary guy who decided to leave his plush New York career to choose a life of meaning and adventure. Five years on, he owns several companies, has written a book and is traveling around the world with his lovely wife, Melissa. You can read more about their philosophy on their website, the aptly named, Pursuit of Everything and you can even download a very inspiring PDF with AJ’s writing about living life with intention, doing meaningful work and changing the world – highly recommended!

One of the things I loved most from what AJ said was that the people we admire are always heroes or adventurers. Don’t we all admire characters like Frodo or Luke Skywalker, heeding their call to adventure? He urged us to start looking at ourselves in the same way, as adventurers or heroes in our own life story, living this one precious life that we have. How awesome is that?

In his words:


He also shared this quote which I found quite intriguing (you can actually buy this pillow for a limited time only):


I find this very true, particularly when you are lucky enough to live in a country as comfortable as Switzerland. Yet as AJ explained, you need to step out of your comfort zone in order to seek a life of meaning and adventure, to feel truly alive. He also mentioned that those closest to us often want us to be comfortable more than anything else, and that this can make our quest to live a more deliberate life more difficult.

AJ’s experience of leaving a successful career in finance and setting off to do his own thing made me realize that at some point, Life hands us a choice: Are you going to choose comfort, or are you going to choose growth, passion, adventure? I got this call earlier this year and decided to set out on my own adventure with my health coaching work, but I have to be honest: I still need to push past the siren calls of comfort every day.

Which is why meeting AJ & Melissa was such an inspiration – to actually meet people who are truly alive to life and living in a way that is in alignment with their hearts. I can’t wait for AJ’s book, The Life & Times of a Remarkable Misfit to be out soon.

PS – Some photos from the event taken by Nathalie.

Travel is an Attitude

Travel is an attitudeFive years ago, my husband and I took a six month travel sabbatical from the corporate world, backpacking and camping through several countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania. To say this experience was life-changing does not do it justice – we now talk about life ‘Before and After Sabbatical’!

Yet the biggest shift this trip brought on was in our attitude to travel. Before this sabbatical, travel was just something we did 2 weeks of the year while we were away from home – 2 weeks during which we would fully live, while the rest of the year was mostly just work.

After 6 months of almost non-stop travel, we came to a strange conclusion: We realized that traveling is about more than just being in a different place – true travel is an attitude. So we came up with a ‘Keep Traveling’ mantra – a way of applying our favorite aspects of travel to our everyday lives.

If you are longing to travel, here are five ways to do it without leaving home!

1. ‘Keep traveling’ means embracing fear as a necessary part of growth

Travel forces us to take a small step – or many steps – away from our comfort zone, and stepping away from our comfort zone is where the magic happens. It’s where we discover sides to ourselves we didn’t even know existed.

Everyday life provides plenty of opportunities to push past our fears – from letting go of something or someone that no longer serves you, to saying no to someone and standing up for yourself. And despite how uncomfortable, and well, scary, fear can be, it is also a sign that we are growing and moving forward in life.


2. ‘Keep traveling’ means being open to new experiences wherever we are

Travel enables us to experience new things – both man made and natural. Seeing kangaroos on a beach at sunrise, taking a helicopter ride or experiencing Angkor Wat at sunset is awe-inspiring.

Daily life provides plenty of opportunities for new experiences IF we create them. These can be as small as trying a new restaurant rather than always going to the same ones, taking that dance class you’ve been meaning to take, learning a new language, reading a book or shaking up your eating habits.


3. ‘Keep traveling’ sees differences as enriching, rather than threatening

Travel opens our minds to different ways of doing things. It gently (or sometimes not so gently) takes us by the hand and reveals that other ways, beliefs and attitudes exist – and that they, too, are valid. In doing so, it provides the opportunity to re-examine our own beliefs and habits.

In everyday life, we are faced with different beliefs and attitudes all around us, but we don’t choose to see these as intriguing – annoying can be a more apt description. Yet we can always choose to be open to differences in opinions and values that come from our family or co-workers. Accepting them with the same openness and curiosity we show ‘foreign’ cultures can be a novel experience.


4. ‘Keep traveling’ means being open to connection

Away from the cocoon of our known lives, we are more vulnerable and open, both with people we know and people we don’t. And while we rarely stay in touch with those we meet, for a brief moment, we have walked along the same path, and this interaction leaves us all the richer. It acts as a humble reminder, as Maya Angelou says, that “we are more alike than we are unalike” despite the apparent differences.

We don’t actually need to physically travel to connect with people or be more open and vulnerable with those around us. We can choose to live with open hearts every day even if this makes us more vulnerable. Why not bring the same relaxed and laid-back attitude we have on holiday when dealing with the people around us?


5. ‘Keep traveling’ means taking the necessary distance from life

Being able to briefly press the pause button on everyday routines provides a bird’s eye view of life.Travel enables us to assess what matters most, to re-evaluate our priorities and what we want or need to change in our daily lives.

And here I concede that a change in environment is helpful – but so is journaling, meditating or simply leaving more space to just BE so you can gain some distance from life.


How will you ‘Keep traveling’ in your everyday life?

Finding Bliss…Everyday


With summer in full bloom, what better time to make finding bliss in everyday life a daily habit? That is what my “Find your daily bliss” 15-day challenge on Facebook set out to do at the beginning of the month.

Here are some realizations on bliss this awesome group of Bliss Seekers revealed:

Bliss moments can be created: Relaxing with a nice cup of chai tea, taking time to pamper oneself, making raw brownies, going on a swing in a park instead of just walking past or choosing to work outside (as in the photo above).

Some bliss moments creep up on us like a sudden thunderstorm on a scorching day or getting a present from someone.

♦ Often, bliss is what you make of it – getting caught in the rain and choosing to dance and splash in the puddles or being in a dangerous situation and choosing to focus on the happy outcome instead.

Bliss can also just be a feeling or realization, such as the feeling that you are exactly where you need to be right now, doing exactly what you want to be doing.

Seeking bliss makes you more mindful: It can be something you become aware of that you might not have noticed before becoming a Bliss Seeker, such as the smell of summer in the air during an evening run or the sound of birds tweeting.

Bliss can even be found in unexpected moments: Through being able to find little moments of bliss despite a difficult time, or by turning activities such as cleaning or organizing into moments of bliss.

♦ Sharing bliss with others through this Facebook group made the bliss moment even more precious and meaningful – a bliss moment shared, is a bliss moment magnified.

Above all, the greatest realization is that we can always find moments of bliss – they come from within. Of course, being on holiday or in out in the sun makes it easier to find these bliss moments, but the overwhelming impression from the challenge is that they can be found anywhere, anytime, no matter what we are going through.

We can always choose bliss. And writing down our bliss or sharing it with others helps us see it more clearly.

As written in this article:

Pursuing pleasure is a worthy goal. Life happens whether we are mindful of it or not, and being mindful of the quirky, the fun, and the meaningful makes these things stand out more in the mosaic of one’s time. We see what we’re looking for and, as I’m reminded every day, writing things down can help us see.

We have decided to keep posting our bliss moments, not necessarily everyday, but to keep the group open to support and share with each other. So if you would like to become a Bliss Seeker, join the group!

Find Your Daily Bliss: 15 Day Challenge


Making space for bliss in our busy lives is one of the hardest things to do on a daily basis. We are so busy DOING that we rarely stop to ask ourselves this very simple question:

What can I do today that truly makes me feel ALIVE?

Life is about more than just existing or getting through the day. And when you make following your bliss in small ways an everyday habit, unexpected things start to happen. In the words of Joseph Campbell, “…doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

One of those doors is better health. More and more research is proving the importance of pleasure for good health and even in improving metabolism. If you find that you tend to eat emotionally, bringing more bliss to your life could help shake things up and even lead to weight loss and a better relationship to food.

So if it feels selfish to do one blissful thing a day, at least do it for your health!

It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It can be as simple as a walk in the park, taking time to really savor a meal, going to a yoga class, meeting with a friend for a drink after work, taking a lunch break instead of eating behind your computer or swinging in a park for a few minutes…

Starting August 5th for 15 days, simply post your daily bliss on the Bliss Seekers’ Facebook group.

It can be a word, a sentence or even a photo of something you did that day that felt blissful to you. By actively seeking a little bliss everyday, you take a small step towards better health and happiness. And by sharing this every day for 15 days within the Bliss Seekers Facebook group, you hold yourself accountable while being inspired by what others share.

Simply ask to join this closed Facebook group – no other sign-up needed.

Will you make more space for bliss?


If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

– Joseph Campbell

Cultivating a Beginner’s Mind

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.

– Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

Do you remember when you were young, and ANYTHING was possible? You told anyone who would listen you wanted to be the next Madonna – never once thinking you couldn’t do it.

You had what the Buddhists call a beginner’s mind.

Then life got in the way. Experience, maybe even failures started weighing you down, making you more ‘realistic’ about what to expect.

We think this is a good thing – that it is crucial to be prepared, to know what to expect. But what about approaching life differently? What about wiping the slate of expectations and judgements clean every day, so that you approach every person and every situation with a beginner’s mind?

This might look like…

♦ Instead of labeling foods as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’, you allow your body’s reaction to be your true authority instead of blindly following what an expert says.

♦ Instead of expecting things to be a certain way, you are open to whatever happens.

♦ You approach whatever life throws at you with curiosity instead of trying to dictate the way things should be.

♦ Instead of mechanically doing things, you discover them anew and take excitement in them again.

♦ By treating people with an open mind that isn’t weighed down by how they’ve hurt you in the past, you create a healthier dynamic in your relationship.

Just for one day, give it a try. No judgements, no expectations. It could change your life.

The importance of your self-talk

I think Louise Hay is one of the authors that most influenced my way of thinking. Thanks to her now classic book, You Can Heal Your Life, I realized that my self-talk was often defeatist and negative. I can honestly say that what Louise Hay explains in this video about your thoughts and words creating your world has made all the difference in my life.

This short video summarizes this way of thinking well (double click on the video for full screen):


Amazing TED talk on body language

This was one of the best TED talks I have seen in a while. It talks about how body language not only influences others’ perception of you, it can also be used to influence your own perception of yourself. As Amy Cuddy says

Fake it till you become it!

Embracing Spring


Spring is about birth and rebirth and the hope that comes with new possibilities. All around us, nature bursts into life again after ‘resting’ during the winter, reminding us we can always start over or bring newness into our lives.

A key aspect of welcoming the new is removing what no longer serves us and Spring is associated with ‘detoxing’ the body and ‘spring cleaning’ the home. As a key organ of detoxification, the liver is particularly associated with Spring and taking special care of it this season will help us feel lighter and more energetic.


During the Winter, we tend to eat sweeter, heavier and more fatty foods which can mean a more sluggish digestion and metabolism. This leads to toxins being ‘stored’ in fat reserves and results in more toxins being accumulated in Winter than any other season. And while our bodies are naturally able to detox, they sometimes need a little help, especially at the start of Spring.

Without doing a full detox, here are some ideas you could try this Spring to help support your body’s natural detox pathways:

♦ For at least 1 week, avoid dairy, fried and processed foods, alcohol and caffeine, white sugar and white flour. 

♦ Drink a glass of warm water with either 1/2 lemon squeezed in or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning. This simple act helps stimulate the liver and kidneys while while flushing the digestive system. If you try nothing else, try this!

♦ Before breakfast, mix 1 tablespoon of psyllium seed husks, chia seeds or linseeds into a glass of water and drink, following by a second glass of water. These seeds act like brooms for your intestines, helping to ‘move things along’ and getting rid of old waste.

♦ Exfoliate your skin by dry brushing your body before you shower using either an exfoliating glove or a natural soft brush.

♦ Finish your shower with cold water to stimulate your lymphatic system which is involved in elimination/detoxing.

♦ Add movement into your life that allows you to sweat. Sweat is a great way for our bodies to release toxins.

♦ Get enough sleep and go to bed before midnight: The liver does its work of detoxing when you are sleeping, particularly between 1 and 3 AM.


The color of Spring is green – a color linked to healing and vitality, balance and renewal. Revitalize yourself after the long winter by being in nature as much as possible.

Food-wise, add cleansing foods into your diet, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables that are raw or steamed. Try in particular to include green vegetables like spinach, asparagus, artichoke and arugula. The bitterness of these foods helps support the liver.

As foods that hold the potential for new life, sprouts and seeds are also a great addition to your diet during this season.


New beginnings imply letting go of what no longer serves us. Take a look at your life: Are there any thoughts, people or activities that are holding you back?

How will you reinvent yourself this Spring?


Sara Avant Stover, “The Way of the Happy Woman”

Quote of the day

“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.”

Wendell Berry