Embrace Discomfort to Become a Better You

hope pass, stillness lesson, discomfort

What kind of character do you want to play in this lifetime? 

Do you want to be someone who is calm, resilient, and adaptable in the face of adversity? Or do you want to be someone who is easily perturbed and thrown off kilter each time an unexpected road block is put before you? Most likely, you chose the former. 

There’s actually no right answer. The real point is that you get to choose. You have the opportunity to train yourself to be whatever type of person you want to be. Have you ever taken the time to ask yourself who you want to be? Have you considered how you want to interact with reality to sculpt yourself into the type of person you desire to be?  

This article examines specifically how you show up during moments of discomfort, but know that you can actively sculpt any part of your character at any point in your life. And the even more exciting part is that life is constantly giving us opportunities to do this 🙂

We’re conditioned to believe that we’re either born with certain personality traits or we’re not. ‘He’s outgoing.’ ‘She’s assertive.’ ‘He’s uptight.’ It’s as if this is what we’re born with and that’s it. However, what I believe, and what I’ve found to be true in my own life, is that we have choice over which traits we strengthen within ourselves and which we weaken.

Even if you already know this to be true, have you intentionally decided how you wish to sculpt your character? I think many people, either consciously or unconsciously, make the decision to float through life. They allow life to happen to them. They unconsciously react rather than consciously creating what they want.  

While it’s certainly possible to continue drifting through life, reacting to whatever comes your way, I find that it makes for a far more fascinating journey to actively engage with reality in a way that turns me into the type of person I desire to become. 

Seek Discomfort to Speed Your Growth

I’ve found adversity, challenges, and obstacles (i.e. anything which elicits discomfort) to be particularly powerful for character sculpting. The truth is that to get stronger, we must push ourselves just beyond the edge of our comfort zones. And, by definition, that requires discomfort. This applies whether we’re talking about getting stronger physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally.

Like any animal, we humans instinctively shy away from discomfort. That’s our nature. Society encourages and reinforces that behavior. We have machines that can perform nearly any task for us, so that we no longer need to do much physical labor to attend to our daily lives. We go from our temperature-controlled home to our temperature-controlled car to our temperature-controlled office, so we never have to feel the heat or the cold or be exposed to severe weather. When we don’t get first place in the spelling bee, we’re given a participation award, so there’s no disappointment to experience and no reflection on how we can improve. When the partner breaks up with us, our friends tell us that they didn’t deserve us anyway, so we never have to reflect on the role we played in the break-up and how it potentially could’ve been avoided. 

This comes at a cost, though. We lose our ability to adapt. We lose our resilience. We miss out on golden opportunities to grow, expand, learn, and become stronger. 

There are countless ways, both subtle and obvious, where we circumvent emotions and experiences which could actually be alchemized into our greatest gifts. If we train ourselves to shift our perspective, we are suddenly rewarded with the chance to become a better version of ourselves. In essence, to up-level.

When we train ourselves to lean into discomfort and excavate the lesson from each experience, we free up so much precious life energy. We no longer waste energy resisting what is. Instead, we’re able to use that energy to sculpt the version of ourselves that we desire.

Instead of being in victim mode and saying “Why did this happen to me?”, what if you shifted the question to “How is this happening for me?”? Do you see the mind shift there? One is disempowering; the other is transformational. 

“No tree which the wind does not often blow against is firm and strong; for it is stiffened by the very act of being shaken, and plants its roots more securely: those which grow in a sheltered valley are brittle: and so it is to the advantage of good men, and causes them to be undismayed, that they should live much amidst alarms, and learn to bear with patience what is not evil save to him who endures it ill.”

Seneca

Let’s look at a few examples. I think the physical realm is the easiest place to start.

This morning I attempted to do a 42-minute power yoga video. I say attempted because this was the first yoga I’ve done in about 5 months and I only made it about ¾ of the way through. The reduction in my arm strength was quite apparent.

I was initially discouraged, but I soon remembered what a gift this was. I could clearly see my weaknesses and tailor my training to address them. This happens to me often in fitness. I get so wrapped up in doing the same workout routine. The body adapts quickly and I stop progressing. However, I don’t notice that I’m stagnant, or at least it takes a while to notice. I’ve learned that if I want to keep improving, I have to be mindful and intentionally seek challenges.

In the mental, emotional, and spiritual realms, examples of this practice are a bit less distinct. One recent scenario that comes to mind is an experience I watched a friend endure. Said friend met a man while visiting a hot springs resort 5 hours away from her home. They immediately had a connection. They kept in touch when they were apart and she would come back to visit every 3-4 months, the connection becoming more flirtatious each time.

This went on for over a year. They hadn’t made any serious commitment, but she felt connected with him. On her most recent visit, right before she was about to leave, he kissed her very passionately in the parking lot. She left feeling elated. Now, several months later, after several texts and calls, she’s never heard back from him.

This certainly falls into the category of ‘challenges’ (emotional, mental, and maybe even spiritual). She could have let the un-knowingness of it undo her. And indeed, it required a lot of inner work, but she eventually came to a point where she could let it go and be at peace with the situation. She may never know what happened to him, but it doesn’t matter anymore. She took the energy that was going into suffering and put it into self care and inner growth.

Find Your Challenge Before It Finds You

Recently, I was looking back over my journal from my Continental Divide Trail hike and I read this entry from the first night:  

“That’s why I come back again and again. To escape the false safety of the manufactured world for something less known. To create my own challenge, my own drama. Because on some level, the human knows it needs struggle in order to grow, and we’ll either unconsciously manifest it or we can intentionally build it into our lives.”

CDT hike Day 1 journal entry

I’ve seen this over and over again where we humans unconsciously create challenge or strife for ourselves (lookin’ at you, drama queens ;)). We claim we don’t want it in our lives, but then we keep creating the same circumstances. I think we innately know we thrive on a bit of discomfort, but when we don’t create it mindfully, it shows up in all sorts of unintended ways. 

Again, it’s easiest to create this challenge in the physical realm. I believe that’s why the more sanitized our world becomes, the more we see people engaging in activities like obstacle course races, ultra marathons, and thru-hikes.

So, not only am I suggesting that we embrace the challenges that spontaneously arise, but even that we actively seek them out. 

By far, the greatest benefit I receive from actively leaning in to the discomfort, over and over again, is a deeply embodied sense of resilience. The more challenging situations I face head on, and survive more-or-less intact, the less fear I have when I encounter the next obstacle. 

I cannot understate how empowering it is to carry the belief, the gnosis, that “I can handle whatever comes my way. I don’t need to waste energy in a fear state because even if this sucks, I trust myself to make it out the other side even stronger than before.”

What would your life look like if you chose to lean into the discomfort, or even more boldly, if you actively sought out the discomfort? Those are the places where the real growth happens. 

Embrace the discomfort. Welcome it. When you find yourself resisting it, take a moment to pause, and to shift your perception. The discomfort is a gift. It’s showing you where you have room for growth. You have the power to alchemize it. Use the energy you normally use to resist the discomfort and use it instead to create a better you. 

Thank it. Learn from it. Grow from it. 

Do you have an example of when embracing discomfort has ultimately made you stronger? Let me know in the comments below!

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Preparation for a 3000-mile Walk

adaptogen endurance

This post was originally written for Wishgarden Herbs.

How do you prepare for a 3000-mile hike? It’s a monstrous endeavor, indeed, and after nearly 5000 miles of backpacking, I’ve learned that as much goes into the preparation as the execution.

The scope of my upcoming adventure is to hike the length of the continental divide from Canada to Mexico. Depending on the route I take, this will entail walking 2800-3000 miles of continuous foot steps, along the Continental Divide Trail. Commonly referred to as a ‘thru-hike’, I’ll be averaging 30-35 miles per day in order to complete the trail in one season.

Many hikers spend far too much time obsessing over gear, food, weather and other minutiae. While those things have their importance, it’s physical preparation and mindset that result in a successful journey.

Physical Preparation

To avoid injury and illness, it’s wise to optimize your health before hitting the trail. Before a long hike, I put additional effort into eating a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet and getting plenty of sleep. This is always important, of course, but the goal is to optimize immune health and resiliency before enduring the physical stress of a long hike.

Building miles slowly is essential to a smooth transition to hiking for 10-12 hours per day. There’s no preparation that compares to putting on a pack and walking all day, but it’s hard to find time for that. Activities like strength training and trail running help build muscle and condition the cardiovascular system in less time.

I’ve seen so many people leave the trail from illness and injury that I created the Adventure Ready online course to help hikers hit the trail feeling healthy and prepared for what’s to come. We cover mindset, diet, gut health, sleep, training, sleep, and stress management.

Mental Preparation

As critical as the physical preparation is, it’s often said that a thru-hike is 90% mental. Mastering mindset starts with committing to myself to do everything in my power to complete my hike. To stay motivated over the long haul, I like to have a clear sense of why I’m out there. If I know my why, then when the going gets tough (and it will), I find reserves of energy and perseverance I didn’t even know I had.

I find it’s also helpful to anticipate challenges and how I’ll work through them. I know that I’ll miss my loved ones, be physically & emotionally uncomfortable (frequently), things won’t work out as planned, and I’ll be alone a lot. It’s easier to navigate these challenges when I’ve prepared myself mentally. Additionally, I know I’m bound to have a transformative experience.

Connecting with Nature

Hiking a long trail allows me to reach more remote areas which few others take the time to get to. This allows for more intimate connections with the wildlife, which can be both magical and frightening.

The most common question I get, besides “Do you carry a gun” (the answer is no), is “Why?”. Why put your life on hold for 4 months? Why walk across the country, putting your mind and body through so much?  

I have many reasons, but perhaps the most compelling is the depth of connection I feel with nature during an experience of total immersion. For me, it takes a week or so of being out, but I can physically feel my body unwinding. The compulsive thought loops of ‘what do I need to be doing right now?’ fall away. I exhale deeply, knowing the only thing I need to do is walk.  

The reduction in external input when I’m deep in the wilderness helps me to notice more of what’s around me. Instead of the constant distraction of my own thoughts, I pay more attention to the surroundings. I notice the changing landscape and the weather patterns because they directly impact my experience. I feel the pressure changes of a storm coming before I even see it.

There is space to just be. My mind needs that openness, that white space. I am never more creative than I am while on a long distance hike. I become the truest version of myself. I see this in others as well. They tap into their deepest desires and potential. Creative projects and business ideas are born.

On a 3000 mile walk, I find a different level of presence than I experience in my ‘everyday life’ and that’s what keeps me coming back for more every summer.

If you’re interested in following the adventure or preparing for your own long adventure, I’ll be logging my progress on Instagram (@katiegerber) and on my website.

Change Your Relationship to Food & Change Everything

freedom

Food is the through line for me. The growing, the preparing, the consuming, the sharing, and the downstream effects of those things–both on my own health, the health of others, and the health of our environment.

Food is, and always has been, a central part of my life, whether I wanted it to be or not. I write about it, I talk about it, I coach about it. I’ve been on and off of diets (though I never admitted to myself that my strict food rules were diets). I grew up in farm country and worked summer jobs at an agricultural research center. I operated an organic market garden for a season. I worked as a pastry chef, and in restaurants, preparing food for a living. I built wood-fired ovens and hosted community dinners. I’ve always loved the practice of growing food. Hands in the Earth: planting, tending, harvesting. The beauty of simply prepared real food captivates not just my stomach, but my eyes, my mind, and my soul.

But the things is, for most of my life, my relationship with food has been far from serene and charmed. I share this story because food is central life, and the way we relate to food matters. Because how we relate to food is, in many ways, how we relate to all aspects of our lives. Whether that’s from a place of ease, flow, and joy, or from a place of shame, guilt, and restriction.

Your relationship to food, and in turn, to your body, can impact your:

*self-worth

*confidence

*energy

*mood

*relationships

*creativity

*presence

*peace of mind

*ability to carry out your work in this world

*overall quality of life

*and more.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have a relationship to food. And, outside of the eating disorder community, I don’t think the impact of our day-to-day relationship with food is acknowledged enough. Full blown eating disorders are destructive, to say the least, but I also want to address the more subtle, nuanced feelings and behaviors around food that shape our lives every single day.

By sharing my story, perhaps you can connect the pieces of your own story. If your relationship with food has ever felt tumultuous (especially in your own mind), know that you’re not alone.

If you have no idea what I mean and you’ve never struggled with food, this post may not resonate. And if you’re here looking for strategies on how to eat and train, hang tight, there will be posts on that again soon. But that’s not the focus of this one.

flagstaff mtn boulder

Personal Evolution

How we relate to food is a topic that I haven’t written on much, but it’s so central to not just our health and how we perform (which is mostly what I write about), but to our entire lives. You can’t talk about health, performance, and diet without talking about our psychology around food.

I’ve avoided discussing it until now because, honestly, it’s something I struggled with for so long and I carried a lot of shame around the fact that it was a thing for me. But I believe shining light on something dissolves the shame (or it helps, at least). I also delayed writing this because my story is an evolving one. I didn’t feel like I was ‘there’ yet. ‘There’ being… completely neurosis-free eating behaviors and body love perfection? I’m not sure what I imagined the final destination to be. I just knew I wasn’t there. Sounds like the familiar trap of perfectionism.

However, I believe our experiences are what we have to offer. Whether or not we fully see their value, it can be helpful to share those experiences, acknowledging that we’re a work in progress. There is no such thing as perfect. After all, I’m leaps and bounds beyond where I used to be when nearly every bit of my mental energy centered around food: planning, calculating, weighing, measuring, controlling. I may not be neurosis-free, but I’ve learned a few things since then.

Ultimately, changing how I relate to food changed everything. Yes, in terms of my health, but also in terms of my creativity, mood, peace of mind, relationships, presence, and overall quality of life. And if this is an area where you’ve struggled, hopefully connecting these pieces can improve every aspect of your life as well. It may sound like a big claim, but bringing awareness to your relationship with food can be more transformative than any diet, exercise regime, or supplement could ever be.

Some days, I wake up shocked that I voluntarily choose to speak to people about food for a living. I was always the person who avoided talking about food and body image to others. I hated when people gave or solicited food/diet/exercise advice. I hated when coaches, teachers, family, and friends would comment on my body. It didn’t matter if the comments were ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. I hated that they noticed that I had a body and that they noticed that it had changed. I think I just hated that I even had a body. I’ve never lived in anything other than a female body, so I can’t say for sure, but I think being a woman and an athlete made this journey even more challenging as I took on everyone else’s expectations about what that body ‘should’ be.

Even more surprising than this being my chosen path is the fact that I actually love working with others around food and health. It’s challenging on every level, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to show up for others compassionately and empathetically as they navigate this intense and complicated space.

It may seem trite, but I believe our greatest personal struggles can serve as a jumping off point for the work we do in the world. Our challenges can be our greatest gifts if we choose for them to be. We can excavate the lessons and share them, if for nothing else than to let at least one other human know ‘I see you and you’re not alone in your suffering’.

tired

My Story

In many ways, this feels like a tired story–one which everyone has their own version of. And it could’ve gotten much worse, so it almost doesn’t feel worth sharing. In fact, I know many women for whom it did get much worse. But it shaped who I am, so it’s worth giving voice to it.

There isn’t a single moment that defines this story, but rather a collection of memories. I remember that I learned to fear food early on. It was something to be cautious of. The body was not something to revel in, but something to control. It’s animal impulses were to be suppressed not just in the mind, but in the body as well, through denial, diet, and workouts. Lingering remnants of puritan roots.

One early memory comes from third grade, when a male classmate told me I had a ‘bubble butt’. Thus was born the awareness that I had a body and that this body was different than other bodies. Why, of all the memories, do I still remember that one? I was never overweight, but my build was always athletic and curvy. I also remember seeing my mother judging her own body in the mirror, fighting her appetite, and being compulsive about exercise. She was fighting her own battle and, of course, had no idea that I was noticing and absorbing it all.

And then there was athletics, when I became even more aware of my body and how it was changing. On the one hand, it was empowering to feel my own strength, but participating in sports also invited comparison and judgment. Being forced to march in parades in a skimpy majorette uniform. Track, swimming, and cross country practices and being valued on how my body performed. My shoulders growing too big for my sweaters during swim season. The comments of a male cross country coach after a summer of over-exercising and under-eating: “Now you’re starting to look like a real long distance runner”. What does that mean? What was I before? I wondered.

Then there was the concern/criticism/jealousy (depending on the source) of coaches, friends, and family upon returning from my freshman year of college 20 pounds lighter than when I’d left. I hated the attention on my body, no matter it’s size. No matter if it was criticism or praise.

This is not a pity story. It’s simply the events that I remember shaping the way I viewed myself and my body, and how that then impacted my relationship to food. We all have these stories. During that time, sadly, the primary purpose of food and exercise for me was to experience a sense of control. That view now feels so shallow to me because food, movement, and the body are all portals to so much more.

This path naturally led to an obsession with health. I read every nutrition magazine and book I could get my hands on. I experimented on myself, trying to figure out the secrets, the one right way to keep the unruly body in check. Like a game-show contestant, I knew the calorie count of every food by memory. I tracked and logged.

Looking back, I’m saddened by how much time and energy I wasted thinking about food, calories, exercise, and my body. So much time and energy that could’ve gone into creation, self-expression, learning, connecting, and actually living.

There were so many phases and rules, and it changed by the month. Only skim milk, never whole. Fruit is the only ‘safe’ dessert. Eat meal bars for exact calorie counts. No eating until your stomach growls. Don’t eat meat or dairy. Avoid social events because you don’t know what food will be there or how it was prepared. So. Much. Obsessiveness.

But I never did land on the ‘one thing’ or actually figure ‘it’ out. There was always a new article telling me to do the opposite of what I’d been doing. I tried and I tried. I chased perfection with my diet. I followed all my food rules. I never missed a day of working out. And no matter how my body changed, it never became ‘perfect’ in my eyes. So I beat myself up mentally and became even more disciplined.

In college, I was under more pressure than ever (at least in my own mind). Advanced classes, sports teams, multiple jobs, new peers, dorm rooms, and dining halls. All far from everything and everyone that was familiar and comfortable to me. Of course I grasped for control. The compulsive exercising and undereating became extreme.

After a year or so of anorexia, I was broken. My body was screaming for nourishment and thus came the binges. First it was only rarely. Then it was happening more often. Then it was daily. All the things I’d restricted. I could no longer out-exercise the binges, so then came the purging. And the bulimia. The shame. The secrecy. I couldn’t believe what I was doing, who I had become. A shell of my true self. I was living in a self-created hell of shame and destructive behaviors.

Every aspect of my life suffered as all my thoughts revolved around food and exercise, and how messed up my life had become. Relationships fell away. Money was wasted. I lied to people I loved. I avoided social functions. I wasn’t truly engaged in anything I was doing.

oregon desert tral

Finding My Way Out

This was controlling my entire life in a way I could’ve never imagined if I weren’t living it.

The cycles of binging and purging, the overindulgence and the restriction, were not limited to food. It affected how I was expressing myself (or lack thereof) in every part of my life. I was ruled by perfectionism, control, and fear. My body couldn’t be trusted to know what it needed. If I just ate when and what I wanted, who knows what might happen? If I had to miss a day of exercise, I was grumpy and angry. My mindset reflected a deeply distrustful relationship to myself, my body, and the world.

Just as there was no one incident that led me into this hole, there was no one moment that pulled me out of it. It’s been a long journey and it’s an ongoing one. And that’s what I want to emphasize: it’s a process. Just as I slowly dug myself into the hole, finding my way out would take time and reprogramming as well.

It involved therapy, building a metaphorical toolbox of tools to deal with challenges, developing emotional resilience, and trusting (my body, my cravings, other people, the world). I worked on incorporating more joy into my life, connecting with a healthy social circle, and learning to see my body for the powerful force that it is. Finding my way out also included being vigilant about what I was feeding my mind, and examining the expectations I was setting for myself. It involved learning grace and learning to hold it ALL lightly.

Part of digging out of the hole of restriction and fear was understanding what these behaviors were doing for me. It’s different for everyone, but personally, these behaviors served as a sense of control when everything else in life felt like too much. So I learned how to bear discomfort.

Eventually, I became more alive, more myself. I learned to spot those Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) and to squash them, rather than letting them colonize my brain as I had before. I put more energy into relationships and laughing with people I love. I forgave myself for not being perfect.

In fact, I learned to laugh at the idea of perfection and embrace the beautiful flaws of being human. Indeed, it’s the ‘imperfections’ of others that make me adore them the most. Couldn’t I learn to turn that mindset inward?

Feeding myself and others became an expression of love and creativity. I attuned to my pleasures, my desires, and the way that life was seeking to move through me. I sought to release all the little knots in my heart and the ways I was resisting life.

I began to take immense pleasure in what my body could do. Using my strength and endurance to move through the mountains has been the most empowering, transformative force for changing how I relate to body. I noticed that I shifted from wanting to feel SMALL to wanting to feel STRONG. To feel the power in my legs as I glide up a mountain, to feel my lungs pound in my chest as I run along the trail, to truly inhabit my animal body, that is what lights me up now. The size of my thighs doesn’t cross my mind when I’m out in nature experiencing life.

green mountain boulder

Why Real Food is Always the Starting Point

But, before any of that, it started with letting go of ALL of the food rules and everything I thought I knew. The only guideline I followed was to just eat real food and listen to my body’s feedback.

When I focused on whole foods instead of ‘diet’ foods (like meal replacement shakes/bars and other highly processed items), everything became easier. I learned that when I ate whole foods containing fat, fiber, protein and micronutrients, that my body regulated it’s hunger levels.  I realized that fat doesn’t make you fat.

Sure, it took time and practice, but eventually I could hear the feedback my body was providing. It was telling me how much food I needed. I could feel which foods were nourishing me and which I was better off avoiding for now. I found freedom from the diet mindset through real, as-close-to-nature-as-possible, foods.

It’s true that there are certain foods I tend to avoid, but not because those foods are ‘bad’, but because I feel better without them in my diet. It’s different to come from a place of love than a place of punishment. Unfortunately, most women I know tend to be really good at denying their bodies cravings and punishing themselves through restriction.

Whereas before my ‘food rules’ came from a place of fear and self-hate, any ‘rules’ I follow now come from self-love and a place of wanting to feel my absolute best. I want to be able to show up for myself and for those I care about. I want to be of service and to have all my energy available to do my best work in this world. I want to have my energy freed up to be present to the life unfolding around me.

food

Finding Food Freedom for Yourself

That’s why I don’t ascribe to one ‘perfect diet’ and why I don’t encourage clients to follow specific diets either. Maintaining an outlook of ongoing learning and adaptability to my body’s feedback is why it wasn’t as difficult as I expected to leave 15 years of identifying as a vegetarian to becoming a conscious omnivore. We have a tendency to think in ideals with diet and, for some, to make it an identity. But that will only limit our freedom and growth.

There are no rules, only choices. Rules are restrictive and prevent you from tuning in and listening to what works for YOUR body. Real health comes from real food and learning how to figure out what works for your body. And learning how to listen to your body is harder than following a set of rules. We want a pill, a prescription, a quick fix. The one perfect diet. But the real work of long term health requires more introspection than that.

There can’t be one simple set of rules because everyone needs something different and that changes throughout their lives. Following what works for someone else while tuning out our own bodies can have real impacts on our health and hormones. Ever had the experience of trying to eat the same diet that ‘works’ for your mom/friend/sister/boyfriend and find it either does not for you, or worse, makes you feel awful?

Our world if full of eye-catching headlines and snappy sound bites telling us what to eat and how to exercise. There’s so much conflicting information out there, with new studies coming out daily. It’s so.damn.overwhelming. No wonder most people are confused about what to eat.

Let go of seeking the perfect diet. Remember that it’s going to be different for everyone, but it will always start with just eating real food. That will never change based on new studies or fads.

It’s time to make peace with food and with our bodies instead of letting how ‘perfectly’ or not perfectly you think you’re eating control your mind, your self-worth, your confidence, your energy, your mood, and your quality of life.

We make it so much harder than it needs to be. And all of the rules and guilt keep us in fear, living a limited life and a limited version of ourselves. And this is not the life I want for myself or for you.

Your relationship to food is central to how you show up in every aspect of your life.

So, what is your relationship to food? Stop distracting yourself long enough to be honest. Because it matters. And it starts with awareness. Guilt? Shame?Joy? Make room for all of it. Because your relationship to food is your relationship to life.

Focus on the Journey (There is no destination.)

As I mentioned, this process is a journey. Give yourself some grace.

Years after I thought I’d healed myself, I was going through a particularly tough spot in life. I’d left a relationship, a business, a career, a home, and a community. I was on entirely new and shaky ground. Everything about my identity was in flux. Without even realizing what was happening, those old behaviors crept back in.

It wasn’t easy to navigate and I certainly stumbled, but I was able to approach it with more wisdom having walked that path before. It took time for me to get a handle on it, but the thing that actually helped was not fighting what was happening, but instead revisiting many of the tools that pulled me out of my mess before. Returning to the basics.

It’s a journey and a practice. There is no destination.

health

The Lessons

It all starts with real food. Food is a source of nourishment, joy, beauty, sustenance, and fuel for your adventures. It’s not something to fear. It’s can be a connection to others, to culture, to the past. It’s SO. Much. More. than calories, macronutrients, or a way to control life.

Good food is good for the planet.

Nourished humans can live their best lives: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They can live on purpose.

Your body and food are vehicles for pleasure. Whether that means a perfect Greek meal made by your nanna or a lung-busting run up the side of a mountain (type 2 fun), enjoy this animal body while you have one because, as we all know, our time here is short.

wind river high route

That wraps up part 1 on this topic. In part 2, I’ll explore how all of this ties into how you eat on trail, or on any other adventure for that matter.

In the meantime, comment below. Did this resonate with you? Can you relate?

Curious how to start your own transition to a whole foods diet? Start with this free PDF of the Top 5 Anti-inflammatory Foods to Eat Daily or with the free Healthy Snack Guide.