Mirror Work: Days…ummm…

I anticipated that this would be difficult. I can find all kinds of time for procrastination, but I’ve always struggled with prioritizing self-care.

In the book, Louise Hay states that resistance and feeling awkward is very normal for this kind of work.

Gotta say, it’s my experience that she’s right. I got through the first 4 days without much problem doing the mirror work itself, but have had trouble prioritizing the time to do the journaling exercises, follow along with the guided meditations, and update this blog.

Because self-care has always been such a struggle for me, I try my best to be ok with progress and not obsess over perfection. I’m doing my best to do that with this project. Tomorrow, I’ll pick up where I left off.



Mirror Work: Day 0

I’ve asked all of my undergrad health psychology students to take a look at their behaviors and lifestyles and to make a change to one of those behaviors. I’ve also required that they journal about it for 30 days, and turn in those data.

And I promised I’d do the same and share it with them. I promised this to my students in Spring of 2014, too. And thus far, I’ve failed to follow through with that promise.

I thought about meditating, or working on my sleep hygiene, or getting back to eating paleo (or at least paleo with some Weston A Price style adjustments), or going to yoga, or getting in some other daily exercise. I’ve started exactly of those.

I pre-ordered Louise Hay’s book “Mirror Work,” and it recently arrived. The exercises are intimidated, so I texted a friend today to see if she’d be willing to go through this journey with me. We’ve both been struggling with self-love, self-acceptance, and physical and mental health issues. We can both benefit from some accountability on this.

The book takes the reader through 21 days of exercises, primarily focusing on looking at my reflection in the mirror and repeating affirmations. It also includes prompts for journaling, and daily guided meditations to be downloaded online. I’ve done mirror work 2 other times in my life, and found each exercise to be difficult. It’s emotional. It’s different. It might lead to profound change. So it’s scary.

I’m ready for a shift. And I made a promise to my students. The book is 21 days worth of exercises and I’ve asked my students to do 30 days of work…but I’ve got to start somewhere.

You’re invited to follow me on this journey.


Things have changed….

Things have changed quite a lot for me in the last year. I’ve been diagnosed with misophonia and PTSD, I’ve “woken up” to feminism, I’ve acquired some new tattoos and piercings, and I’ve adopted a few more furbabies (including a service dog) to help me out.

Despite having recently experienced one of the darkest periods of my adult life, I’m feeling more comfortable in my own skin. I’m looking forward to blogging more and sharing my thoughts and experiences to anyone who happens to stumble across this site.

AHS12: Eat more fat, wrap everything in bacon, and if you choose to have starch, be safe!

Wow! AHS12 was such a blast.

I met many wonderful, bright, beautiful, strong, and healthy people. It felt great to feel like a part of this group of passionate folks. And, I thought this would be the perfect time to start a blog & broadcast to the world what I learned this weekend.

Part I: Session Highlights (for those who weren’t keeping up with the Twitter during the event)

  • Paleo is not one-size-fits-all. There are general principles (and even some of those, such as no wheat, were challenged this weekend), but to reach your personal best, take the time to try different things and see what works for you.
  • Your ability to tolerate starch may depend on your ancestry and salivary amylase (per Chris Masterjohn), your body composition, and whether you are training for strength (stay keto) or endurance (have some carbs). Strive to eat safe starches, which are those that have their toxins removed through proper preparation (Jaminet, Kresser).
  • However, obsessing is not helpful! We can cause damage to ourselves with the stress we create by micromanaging our diets (Denise Minger).
  • On that note, take your scale, put a bow on it, and give it to someone you don’t like! (Thanks, Robb Wolf). Focus on the way your clothes fit or use calipers or a tape measure to get your body composition measures.
  • BACONis the most nutrient dense cut of pork (Mat Lalonde)
    • And it’s great in chocolate (thanks to Eating Evolved for the amazing truffle samples!).
  • Plant-based diet enthusiasts have been duping us with the nutrient density calculations they’ve been using. Mat Lalonde showed that these calculations not only exclude the vitamins and minerals found most frequently in animal-source foods (ahem…B12), but also that the calculations for grain are based on the uncooked values.
  • Organ meats are the most nutrient dense part of the animal. Restricting levels of the amino acid found most abundantly in muscle meats yields life extension benefits similar to calorie restriction. We should aim to eat nose-to-tail. (Denise Minger) (The marrow bone at Russel Tavern was delectable!)
  • When you hit a weight loss plateau, it’s your body’s way of saying “I like what you’ve done with the place.” Barring the presence of metabolic disorders, this may be your healthy weight, even if you won’t be on the cover of a fitness magazine. (Mark Sisson)
    • A note for women: we’re designed to carry more fat than men. Here are two reasons why:
      • We make babies! Gluteofemoral fat feeds the brain of a developing neonate. A waist-to-hip ratio of .7 is common in intelligent women with intelligent children. It’s a marker of fertility. (see, e.g. Lassek & Gaulin, 2008).
      • Sexual selection and male mate choice preferentially selected women with breasts larger than needed for lactation, and to display them when not lactating. As far as I know, we are the only primates with this trait.
  • Being an active member of a social group of about 30-60 people, in which we have socially enforced norms and values and the real opportunity to affect change is important, and is a more natural environment in which we might act than that by which we have been placed by modern society. (Richard Nikoley)
  • If we want to fight back against Big Ag, we should get in the kitchen and get in our backyard gardens! (Joel Salatin)
  • We can make a difference in the food system. Cities still have some sovereignty in regard to local regulations, and some of them can be swayed or changed. We need to get active in our local environments, and in our schools.
  • Eat seasonally. It may be a good idea to dip in and out of ketosis through the year. (Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, Mark Sisson, Cate Shanahan).
  • Children need to play! (Peter Gray)
  • Many maladies, including cancer and MS can be reversed or improved with a nutrient dense, ketogenic diet (Thiele, Wahls, and others).

Part II: Personal Observations

  • Caffeine has its uses, but it is not an acceptable substitute for sleep. It’s going to take me a few days to recover from this weekend and the onslaught of healthy diet and lifestyle information. (Something just doesn’t feel right about that….)
  • The best part of any conference is the one-on-one interaction. Videos of the talks will be available later, but really, people should do their best to get to these events (buy tickets early!)
    • I can learn just as much valuable information between sessions (and afterwards) as I can in them.
  • US Wellness Meats honey- and cherry-free pemmican is delicious! It’s like meat candy!
  • If you have Twitter and follow the right people, it’s almost like being in two talks at once.
  • For me, body composition is less important than feeling healthy and balanced. Although my body composition is nothing compared with many of the beautiful, lean, strong women at the conference, I still felt accepted. Not once did I feel like someone was looking down on me. This gave me a major reality check, and helped me to get a serious dose of self-acceptance.
  • It feels really really really good to go to a restaurant and not be the only person making inquiries about ingredients.
  • It’s also really nice to be part of a majority of people in minimalist shoes.

Part III: What I’d like for next year

  • More on movement.
  • More on how to tell when something is not working for you and it’s time to change. For instance, is it normal for some people to have trouble becoming fat adapted? How long should someone wait before deciding it doesn’t work? What other variables might be having an effect on this?
  • More on sleep, it’s importance, and how to make the most of the hours you have. Also, some info on bedding.
  • More on stress reduction.
  • More on the importance of being in touch with nature.
  • More on fermented foods and other traditional preparation techniques. Maybe a workshop next year?
  • The importance of taking a holistic view of wellness and not micromanaging any particular part of the lifestyle.
  • More opportunities to get out and move around.
  • Later starts to the day to give us more time to rest.
  • More on coping with the conveniences of modern living: caffeine, smog, EMF pollution, toxins, sitting, birth control options, cosmetics and toiletries, sneaky chemicals that we should be on the watch for, etc.

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with my experience. I am inspired to dive into my research once the school year resumes (I intend to milk this last bit of summer break). I have several ideas brewing for what I might like to present at the next one, if I am allowed the privilege of doing so.

Most importantly, I’m proud to be a part of our worldwide Paleo tribe!