I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly because when the crowd goes one way, I say raaawr and do my own thing. When something feels forced or like I’m being summoned to change because of a social construction, I am precisely 0% likely to do it.
This year I feel a bit different. 2015 was hard for me. Mainly because I was face to face with issues that I had spent my entire life avoiding. Facets of myself, my makeup, my biochemistry, my brain, my body, that I had spent 30 years distracting or covering up with obsessions, addictions, disordered eating, and control mechanisms came to light. If it could be controlled, I was ON IT. This meant food, people, boyfriends, family members, exercise, and on and on.
I’m realizing that I think I spent my whole life avoiding who I really was on the inside. Because if you didn’t know it already, a calm, sensitive, interesting, introverted, creative, writing and reading obsessed person is terrifying ;). Throughout my life I got caught up, developed a set of beliefs that I am unlovable and unworthy, and precipitated each and every action with these stories. This led me to have a deteriorated sense of self and self-esteem for most of my years. I think a lot of people go through this, but maybe are not conscious about it. I let people be mean to me, walk all over me, dictate who I was, and decide what I did and didn’t like. I didn’t stand up for myself, ever. I didn’t think I was worthy of doing so. I had no voice. I was a person with one thing on their agenda: people pleasing. If someone didn’t like me or was mad at me, I immediately did everything in my power to fix it, which is basically just like gift-wrapping my own power and giving it to them.
This year, all of these things were put under a microscope. I became completely intolerant to so many of my favorite foods that I had spent my entire life eating and being in love with. Match these food allergies to being a chef and having a history of an eating disorder, going out to eat with friends, and social functions, all made it REALLY HARD. It made people think I was picky, difficult, or constantly on a diet which drove me INSANE because that is SO not what it is or was. I’d be told things like “That’s okay, Ashley, I’m doing the 21-day-fix, too!” or “I know you’re picky so I got you this organic stuff” or “You know balsamic vinegar has more sugar than our dairy-based dressing”. I had to speak up at restaurants, to my loved ones, to strangers. It was not fun for me, but in the process I learned that I am worthy of speaking up, I am worthy of asking for what I want, and I am worthy of taking care of myself even if it means I’m going to get eye-rolls or “she’s so picky” comments. I chose to hibernate much of the time, but avoiding problems just makes them worse.
In addition to the food allergies, I also realized that the two most celebrated substances that are used for “fun”, booze and treats, DO NOT WORK FOR ME. Man, I freaking love wine. I love me a craft cocktail filled to the brim with booze, sweetness, and promises of hopes and dreams. I love getting buzzed and tipsy and being around friends and laughing in a haze. But then I realized that alcohol is no longer my friend. I’d take a couple sips and feel worse than I did when I began. I’d feel like a veil came over my brain, and I was on a train to the land of the depressed. I was irritable, belligerent, and just not myself. Most people drink alcohol to feel more like themselves or loosen up, but frankly, I don’t need it and it’s hardly ever worth it.
Sugar is the same thing, magnified by ten. Sugar creeps up on me two days after it’s been consumed, and I am one moody, depressed, straight-up bitch when I eat it. I even start hating on my boyfriend, the sweetest person in the world, when I eat it. That’s when I knew. I saw it as a reward, as an act of kindness, when it actually was the largest detriment I could put upon myself. I will write more about sugar addiction and the diet I use to keep myself even and well.
Most importantly, I began the best relationship I’ve ever known, with a man so good I couldn’t have made him up. I was really crappy at relationships before I met Derek, because I had a belief that I never deserved love the way that he loves me. It took me two solid years of a self-imposed dating break to realize that, lo and behold, I actually do deserve all of the things I want and they are possible for me. Once I shed that belief, he came into my life. But when your person comes into your life, shit gets REAL. It’s like “hey, nice to meet you, would you like to be confronted with all of my issues and while we’re at it, yours too, and then work through them in detail and talk for twenty hours about why I am the way I am and do the things I do?”
It’s not easy. Parts of you that you wanted to hide forever get revealed because of the way you answered someone’s question or were bothered by an innocuous comment they made. Nonetheless, because I love my man with my whole heart, our relationship has forced me to shine a light on the most difficult parts of myself and do something about them. Our relationship has been a slow braise (rather than the flash fries I was previously accustomed to) and is built on a solid base of trust, honesty, friendship, love, and respect.
Because of so much growth and change, I have been shedding many of these beliefs and will take this year to be unapologetic about who I am, what I like, and what I want to do or not do. I will stand firm in my power, do things I love, and abstain from the things I know are not good for me. I think resolutions should center around the things you must take action on in order to become a better person. In turn, you’ll have the energy to do the things you want to do so you can change the world, live the life you want to live, and birth the individual callings of your heart. I’m going to be writing more about these things on this here blog, as I get back up and running again. Here are the things I know I must do:
Write every morning. Have you read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron? If you are creative, this book is essential. Cameron suggests hand-writing three pages in your journal right when you wake up so you can get the junk out of your head and start the day clean. Amidst intellect, most of our brains are filled with junk; many of our thoughts are not nice. Once we clean out the plaque, weed out the incessant chatter, we can be ready to take on the day. Usually, I start my day wobbling to get coffee and catching up on super important blogs that other people write or dilly-dallying on facebook and my email, but no more. Morning pages are where it’s at.
Reduce time on social media. Those times where I get lost in the universe that is facebook and instagram looking at people’s lives? Reduced.
Begin periscope-ing. Yeah, I might seem composed/professional but I’m totally strange so this will allow people to get a deeper glimpse into my personality.
Be consistent with writing, blogging, ‘gramming, YouTubing. This year is about growing my business online. Period. It’s not that I don’t have content; I have endless content. It’s just about consistency and being disciplined with my posting. I also want to share more aspects of my story and keep my writing game UP.
Autoimmune Paleo protocol. Even though I have seen drastic improvements following a paleo diet, I still have lots of internal issues, all stomach & bloating related. After a year of contemplation, I’m buckling down and committing to an autoimmune paleo diet, which is the cornerstone of healing your insides. This takes a lot more commitment because I will also eliminate nuts, seeds, seed spices and oils, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), and eggs, in addition to…
No coffee. I have no further words for this one. I drink coffee every day and I rely on it for… a lot of things. This will be hard.
No alcohol. I love the social aspect of drinking, and sitting down to a jammy California Zin with my love, but if it was just me in the world, I wouldn’t drink alcohol. Like I mentioned above, it no longer feels good in my body or brain. I will be taking a solid couple months off of it. Then, depending on how I’m feeling,
No sugar. I will still eat fruit, but I’m going to eliminate sugar in non-natural forms from my diet. After a long time of going back and forth, the effects sugar has on my mental and physical health is never worth the momentary euphoria.
Travel with my love. I’m a homebody, and I don’t like to party that much anymore, but my babe and I like to see the world and explore new things. This will be a priority this year, because it’s really easy for me to get caught up with work or the grind of daily life.
More time into relationships. I’m lucky I deep friendships to fall back on and nurture. I’m going to make it a priority to connect as much as I can. Additionally, half of my best friends don’t live in Miami anymore, so I’m hoping for more trips, phone dates, and lots of FaceTime.
Fit back into my old clothes. I haven’t fit normally in my clothes for a couple years now, and I’m hoping that the inflammation I’m currently experiencing will be deleted once I put some time into AIP.
Fitness stuff. I will work consistently towards my fitness goals ie get deeper into my yoga practice, get stronger, etc. I’m not putting specifics on this one, I just want to go step by step, every day, and just see what happens.
Money stuff. I’ve made more money the past three years than I ever have, but I haven’t saved as much as I should. I will now. I have lots of thoughts about our relationship to money that I’ll share as time goes on.
No workaholism. Since I run my business solo, it’s easy to overschedule myself and get overbooked in order to make more money or get more clients. This can leave me frazzled, stressed, and lost. I’m going to slow down more and be deliberate with the things I choose to participate in.
Be selfish. This year, I will be unapologetic about putting myself first so I can get back to being my normal self once again.
I’ll be consistently writing on how all of these are going, because most of them are SO out of my comfort zone that I need to be held accountable in some way. Additionally, I need to say that I am thankful for growth and change, and despite it all, I know everything I’ve been through hasn’t been by accident. Maybe sharing it all is a large part of that.
Here’s to 2016.
We cannot make sustainable change with food, our bodies, or our surrounding habits until we honestly explore and get curious about our relationship with each of them. Mindset change is not easy, but so, so worth it.
Being healthy starts with learning to cook simple foods in easy, delicious ways with approachable and practical recipes and techniques.
Our health begins with properly nourishing our bodies with nutrient-dense foods. I believe in bio-individuality: each person requires different types and amounts of food to feel their best. Learn how to eat intuitively for the rest of your life!