Weekly Weigh-In

Happy New Year, friends!

One of my goals for 2018 is to share more, with greater consistency. I'm going to be posting weekly “weigh-ins” to reflect on my journey and progress from the previous week. I hope that this external accountability will help me connect with more of you. If you are also working toward your health goals, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Reflections: One of my intentions for the year is to be more flexible and intuitive with my food choices. I feel physically and mentally better when I limit carbs, but I also want the freedom to enjoy the pleasure and social connection of food. This deserves a dedicated post, but for context, I've been eating a mostly ketogenic diet since December 1, and I'm feeling terrific.

I spent New Years Eve weekend in Yosemite National Park and experienced some magical moments I will never forget. I got more steps than I have in awhile and it was wonderful to be outside. I brought plenty of healthy options for meals and snacks, but also the mindset that I would enjoy indulgences if I wanted to. For the most part, the food around the park is mediocre, but two occasions felt worth it: a few bites of a birthday skillet cookie a la mode and new years eve campfire dinner of hot dogs and s'mores. I am happy with those choices and have no regrets.

Unsurprisingly, the scale had gone up a few pounds when I got home, but I assumed this was water weight and trusted it to even out in a few days. That proved true, and I ended this week 5.2 pounds down from my Tuesday morning post-trip weigh-in.

Intentions: I've fallen way off track with my daily step habit. For years, I consistently walked ~10k steps per day, but this past year, I regressed. My intention for this week is to be more active and accumulate 70k steps over the course of the week. There is rain in the forecast, and I am traveling, which is why I chose a weekly goal instead of the pressure of a daily goal.

Instagram:  Instagram has been a huge source of inspiration and community for me and I'm making an effort to post more consistently. I know not everyone uses social media, so I want to share those posts here as well.

YOU ARE THE ONLY AUTHORITY ON YOUR HEALTH, YOUR BODY & YOUR DIET. I've been so tempted to do #januarywhole30 with friends, but my intuition keeps saying NO. Why? Probably because it's not MY program, it's @melissa_hartwig's program. Don't get me wrong; I think #whole30 is an incredible blueprint with awe-inspiring resources and a supportive community. In fact, the program rules are almost identical to the way I eat, but at this point in my journey, I'm not seeking rules, I'm seeking freedom. – A few years ago I hypothesized that carbohydrates were fueling my food addiction and discovered #keto when googling “Will I die if I don't eat carbohydrates?” I am a long-time advocate of real food and carried whole 30 / paleo principles into my 8-month experiment with a #ketogenic diet. I felt terrific, and my lifelong preoccupation with food went away. I was able to eat intuitively without counting or tracking and lost weight with ease. I didn't binge once, and my #hidradenitissuppurativa went into remission. I thought I had found the answer. – Then life happened. I lost sight of what DID work for me in favor of what I WANTED to work for me. While 2017 was the year I finally learned to have love and compassion for my body, my health rapidly declined as I stopped prioritizing foundational habits like walking, preparing meals at home, and eating vegetables every day. – Last month I recommitted to a #ketogenic diet because I felt like food was controlling me and I wanted to be able to think clearly. For whatever reason, my body and brain seem to perform better in #ketosis. I don't know what this looks like longterm, but I am focussing on being less rigid and more intuitive about it. My intention for 2018 is to honor physical and mental health while cultivating resilience and metabolic flexibility. – I think food stuff is hard for so many reasons, but mainly because it's unique for each of us. My most significant takeaway of 2017 is that we must be our own advocates. No one can understand you or your body better than you. Filter out the noise. I can't tell you what will work for you; I can only share my experience in hopes that it might inspire you on your own journey.

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Nothing went according to plan, but I’m pretty sure everything happened exactly as it was supposed to. Feeling grateful for a magical NYE in Yosemite with @artcampla and fam. – Just after midnight, we heard a mighty pack of coyotes singing across the valley. It sounded as though there were thousands of them and their otherworldly song is one we won’t soon forget. – I read that the coyote is often revered as an important messenger of personal transformation through self-reflection. It’s said that a coyote sighting can be a reminder to look at things you may have been avoiding. A call to see your full reflection and focus on your whole life instead of just one part. – This feels particularly relevant going into 2018. A few months ago I was feeling really down and did a thought experiment trying to imagine how my life might have different had it not been overshadowed by obesity. What else do I care about? What if I never overcome this struggle? What do I really love? – I don’t know why I feel self conscious to share how much I love photography. I’ve been taking pictures since I was 7 years old, but I rarely share them. I’m definitely a perfectionist, but also an introvert so it’s easy for me to keep things to myself. One of my intentions for 2018 is to embrace imperfection and share more of my work. – I’d also like to hike all of the major trails out of Yosemite Valley! This photo was taken as we unexpectedly caught the moon rising on our way back to camp.

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Stocking up at @wholefoods 25% off supplement sale! Double discounts on some of my favorites including #bulletproof and #vitalproteins. The sale starts today and runs through the weekend (January 5-7) in local stores across the country so don't miss it! – #ontheblog, I partnered with @wholefoodssanfrancisco and wrote about my top 3 keto supplements to help get into ketosis and prevent the keto flu. I compared different MCT oils and shared some of the ways to cut down on costs. I'd love to know what you think and if you have any other recommendations for me to try. (link in my profile or http://excessmatters.com/keto-supplements). – Y'all know I rely on real food for my nutrients, but I do supplement when needed so I'll be sharing a few more staples on my stories and I'd love to know what supplements help you optimize your health.

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I'm still figuring out how I want to format these weekly weigh-ins, which are about so much more than the number on the scale. What would you like to see? What would be helpful to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have a minute to share!

Top 3 Supplements for Ketosis and Preventing Keto Flu

So you're trying out Keto? As your body transitions from a glucose to fat-burning state, a number of uncomfortable flu-like symptoms may pop up. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help your body get into ketosis more efficiently, with less friction. I'm excited to partner with Whole Foods Market to highlight some of my favorite supplements which aide in fat-adaptation and keto flu prevention. This weekend's 25% off supplement sale is the best time to stock up and save so make your list and head to your local Whole Foods Market from January 5-7 for great deals on some of my favorite brands.

As an advocate of real food, I make every effort to get nutrients from whole food sources, however, there are a few products I use and recommend to increase success while transitioning into ketosis on a low-carbohydrate diet.


When beginning a ketogenic diet, it can be a challenge to eat enough high-quality fats. One of the more popular methods is by drinking what's referred to as “Bulletproof coffee” — a combination of grass-fed butter and MCT oil blended into coffee.

If you've never heard of MCT oil, you are not alone. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides, a type of fat molecule derived from coconuts. MCT oil is popular in the keto community because it is quickly converted to ketones, providing a potent energy source.

There are four kinds of MCTs (C6, C8, C10, C12) and some turn into ketones more efficiently than others. One of my favorite MCT oils is Bulletproof Brain Octane, which is pure C8 caprylic acid — a form that is particularly effective for cognitive function. As is often the case, quality comes at a premium and the price is higher than anything else on the market. I use Brain Octane sparingly when I need quick long-burning energy.

For day to day, I tend to rely on Whole Foods 365 MCT oil. While it is not as potent as Brain Octane, it fits my budget and is more well-rounded. 365 MCT oil is a blend of three types of MCTS (C8, C10, and C12). While C8 and C10 are similar in mental and metabolic boosts, C12 is the strongest MCT for fighting off viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

If you're curious to try a “Bulletproof coffee,” Whole Foods has just added this keto-friendly beverage to their coffee bar menu!


Transitioning into ketosis can cause a temporary diuretic effect which results in a loss of both electrolytes and water in your body. This imbalance, called Keto Flu, causes symptoms such as fatigue, headache, irritability, dizziness, muscle soreness, cramping, or nausea. During the first few weeks, it's important to drink plenty of fluids and salt your food generously to prevent dehydration. I also find it helpful to supplement with electrolyte drinks and/or bone broth, especially when exercising.

I rely on two products: Nuun Electrolyte Tablets and 365 Electrolyte Plus Powder. Nuun has great flavors and the packaging is convenient. I typically use Nuun at home because it's a large solid tablet that takes several minutes to fully dissolve. On-the-go, I prefer 365 Electrolyte Plus, which is a powder that can be quickly poured into a water bottle to drink immediately.

Bone broth is also a great source of electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals. I like to make this from scratch, but when I'm short on time or on the go, I am a fan of Vital Proteins Bone Broth Collagen.


Magnesium deficiency is fairly common among adults, especially as the body increases the excretion of ions from the body during fat-adaptation. This lack of minerals, including low magnesium, can lead to fatigue and muscle cramps.

I've tried various magnesium capsules and tablets, but I always come back to Natural Calm, an anti-stress drink made from a highly absorbable blend of ionic magnesium citrate. I prefer original unflavored because it is free of sweetener, but it also comes in stevia-sweetened flavors including raspberry-lemon, sweet lemon, orange, and cherry.

Natural Calm also makes single-serving packs that are perfect for travel. Another benefit of Natural I always keep one in my bag to aid in sleep and regular bowel function. If you prefer to get your minerals in capsule form, MegaFood Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium is a great source.

Nutrient Dense Foods

Many foods are rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and are great to include in a ketogenic diet. Some of the top nutrient-dense foods include:

  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Oily Fish (Salmon, Sardines)
  • Eggs
  • Cacao

I recommend including as many of these nutrient dense foods as possible in your meals, particularly during the first few weeks.

This post was created in collaboration with Whole Foods Market. As always, all recommendations and opinions are my own. 

Top 3 Keto Supplements

Moving on Mountains

Hello, friends. It's me and my unruly hair, coming to you live from my favorite mountaintop across the Bay. Most of you know that hiking has become an important part of my life, especially since moving to San Francisco three years ago. I didn't always enjoy moving my body, but in 2012 when I began to build a daily walking habit, I realized the mental benefits far outweighed the calorie deficit.

I've been overweight most of my life and if you share my experience, you know how uncomfortable it can be to move, much less exercise, when carrying excess weight. The rewards of fitness accumulate over time, but it's difficult to build a consistent habit when its negatively reinforced by discomfort. I think this is a big part of why so many of us struggle to get and stay active.

New workout clothes always give me a confidence boost, so when I got more serious about exercise, it was clear I needed to trade in my cheap thigh-rubbed yoga pants for something more technical. At almost 300 pounds, my apparel choices were limited, especially if I wanted something of quality from a brand with integrity. While I hesitated to make the investment, I knew it was important to reward my hard work. Athleta's plus size options and “Give-It-A-Workout” guarantee gave me the confidence to take the plunge into performance activewear.

My first Athleta purchase was the Be Free Knicker, perfect for daily walks and hiking the paved trails of Los Angeles. The pockets were a game-changer and a feature that I now seek in all activewear. The convenience of having a place to stash your phone and keys should not be underestimated. Even when carrying a backpack on the trail, it's nice to have quick access to pull out my phone for photo or peek at the trail map.

As my fitness increased and I began looking for low-impact ways to increase my calorie burn, I stumbled into hiking. I had no idea what I was getting into, but the more time I spent in nature, the better I felt. Not just physically, but mentally — and the research backs my experience. Spending time among trees has numerous healing benefits including reduced anxiety and depression, decreased cortisol production, and increased immunity.

After relocating to the cooler weather of the Bay Area, I found a new favorite in the Metro Drifter. I have several pairs in both regular and high-waist styles and these quickly became my go-to pants for everything from brunch to hitting the trail.

Athleta makes amazing pants for everything, but it wasn't until this year that I decided to try their hike-specific line. I've found my new holy grail in the Wander Utility Pant. Designed not only for trail adventures, but everyday life in the city. The pants are made with trek tech fabric that is water-and-abrasion-resistant on the outside with a cozy, brushed interior. They are stylish and versatile with a super comfortable waistband and tons of pockets, and they even fit my iPhone+!

This weekend, I paired the Wander Utility pant with Cityscape Sweatshirt while hiking Cataract Falls trail on Mount Tamalpais. The Modern Mantra fabric is cozy and breathable with side zips for a little extra ventilation. I'm also partial to the Sunlover UPF Top, which is a lightweight, breathable semi-fitted long-sleeve top rated UPF 50+ and made from sustainable recycled nylon. Both pieces are perfect for layering — a must when exploring outdoors. Finally, I like to wear the lightweight Ahnu Sugarpine boots because they're extremely comfortable, waterproof, and provide ankle support for more challenging terrain. It's just a bonus that they come in beautiful, fun colors.

If you've been thinking about heading out on your own adventure, it's easier to start hiking than you might think. Here are a few beginner tips:

  • Start small. Navigating through the trees and varying terrain can be more tiring that you might imagine. A few miles on a trail will be more difficult than a few miles on a paved road. Start out hiking few miles and gradually build up to longer treks.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable clothes that offer protection and allow you to move. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes to keep your feet dry and supported.
  • Be prepared. Always carry plenty of water and extra snacks. Even on short hikes, carry a small first aid kit with blister treatment, bug spray, and sunscreen.
  • Plan your timing. Hiking can take longer than expected. It's better to plan for it to take a longer than you expect, especially if you are hiking in the afternoon or evening. Depending on your fitness and the elevation gain, you can expect to cover about two miles per hour.
  • Explore your city. You don’t have to live in the Bay Area to enjoy quality trail time. Cities, counties and states all have parks or natural areas to get started hiking.
  • Tell someone where you're going. While it's great to hike with a buddy, solo hiking can also be very rewarding. It’s important to tell someone where you are going and when you are expected home.

I want to know if you share my love for Athleta, hiking, or both. Would you like to see some of my favorite Bay Area hikes? Tips for solo or destination hiking? What about more of my clothes or try-ons from Athleta and other brands I love? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you to Athleta for sponsoring this post. As a long-time consumer of Athleta, I have always felt included no matter my size or fitness level. I respect and support their mission to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential. Of course, all opinions are my own, and I'm grateful to work with a brand I truly believe in.


















Earlier this month I took some time off-the-grid at Yosemite National Park with some girlfriends – Aimee, Lisha, and Shikha. This adventure had been on my calendar since December, but I was having mixed feelings. You may have noticed I have been mostly MIA this year. In January, I joined a nonprofit as Executive Director and have been logging long hours as I ramp up. I have a lot of new responsibilities and I was worried about taking time away from work. Although I felt like I didn't have the time to get away, I knew I needed to step back and recharge in order to move forward.

Lucky for me,  Lisha took over the planning and ensured we were well-prepared for the trip. She rented us a super fun 4×4 Jeep Wrangler from GetAround, a local peer-to-peer car sharing service. Given the record snow this year, we wanted to be prepared with a 4-wheel drive vehicle. We lucked out with near perfect weather, but the Jeep was still the way to go. It fit all four of us and our gear comfortably – plus it just made the whole trip more fun!

We arrived to Yosemite after dark and checked into our tent cabin at Half Dome Village. For those of you familiar with the park, this area was previously called Curry Village. You could probably call it glamping, but I think it was the way to go – our cabin had beds, fresh linens, and a heater!

Saturday morning, we woke up early to hike Snow Creek Trail – a strenuous 10-mile hike with 2700 ft gain in elevation. We started out bundled up for a leisurely walk past mirror lake, but once we hit the switchbacks, we stripped off the layers for a relentlessly steep ascent criss-crossing a snow-melted creek with plenty of waterfalls. At the top we were rewarded with fields of snow and incredible views of Half Dome.

I've worn and loved Athleta apparel for years, but up until this past year, I had only worn trail running shoes for hiking. Last summer,  I took a pair of Ahnu hiking boots to Europe for Tour du Mont Blanc and never looked back – I even wear them in San Francisco when it's rainy. They're super lightweight, waterproof, comfortable, and require zero breaking in. The best part is they are designed for women, by women, and come in fun colors.

Once we made it back to camp, we pulled off our boots and got ready for dinner. The only thing better than s'mores after a long day of hiking, are s'mores made from Dandelion Chocolate. I don't normally eat sugar, but there is no better situation to make an exception than kicking back after a long day of hiking.

Lisha and I dreamed up this trip when I asked her to coffee to talk about shooting some photos for me. I've shared on social media about my body image issues and discomfort being in front of a camera. I've come a long way from the girl who refused to have a profile photo on Facebook, but I still struggle with this. I'm still self conscious, but I'm growing and learning to be more and more comfortable in my skin.

I am excited to share these photos and video with you because they are evidence of my growth, proof that change is possible, and a celebration of how far I've come while embracing where I am today. Thanks for allowing me to share my journey with you.


Hi New Friends…

Hello! Welcome 🙂 I was not expecting you, but I'm glad you're here. My story was reposted to Yahoo and MSN so I've been receiving a lot of traffic the past few days. I've taken a step back from blogging/social as I started a new job in January. I have been trying to figure out how to combine this new role with my work here. Things are very exciting and I can't wait to start sharing more with y'all. My life's work and mission is to reverse the obesity epidemic and I feel so many steps closer to that than ever before. If you aren't already, please subscribe to my mailing list. I have a lot to update you about in the next week or so, part of that being a detailed log of my food and exercise alongside detailed 3D body scans. I wish I could have it ready for you now, but it is what it is. I hope you'll stick around, things are about to get really good around here!

2016 Review

As 2016 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on the year, the experiences I have had, and the ways in which I have grown.

For as long as I can remember, my number one goal/resolution/desire/priority has been to lose weight. Every year, I would make resolutions around losing weight, and every year, I would fail. Apparently I'm not alone in this – only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions and weight loss goals are cited more than anything else.

This year, I took a different approach when setting goals for the year. I didn't focus on weight loss and instead challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to run a 5k, learn to hip hop dance, and go to the banya with friends. I also decided to give up alcohol for the entire year as an experiment to see how it's absence would effect my mental health and productivity.

In hindsight, these resolutions were ways for me to take care of and honor my body – an unfamiliar concept when weight loss was the end-goal. I am grateful to have stopped chasing perfection or a number on the scale, but I want my BMI to be in the healthy range, and I really expected that it would get there in 2016. It didn't, and that's disappointing, but I am very proud of all that I actually did do this year.

For the first time ever, I achieved all of my resolutions. 

After a lifetime of hating my body, I have finally started to feel comfortable in my own skin. It happened almost unexpectedly, quietly, and without fanfare. At some point acceptance turned into love, and now I find awe in my body, it's resilience and it's strength. What matters to me now is really taking care of myself – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Cultivating not just self-love, but self-compassion and allowing myself to let go of the idea that I must always be who I have always been.

2016 has also been filled with new adventures and new friends.

A year ago, I was watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat preparing to spend 7 days cycling through Cambodia with some of my closest friends. I would have never biked 10 miles voluntarily, so covering 186 miles on two wheels is a true testament to our my love for them and our camaraderie.

Happy New Year from Cambodia! Woke up early to catch the first sunrise of 2016 over Angkor Wat.

A photo posted by 100+ Pound Weightloss ✧ BROOKE (@excessmatters) on

I lost 100 pounds!

When I returned from Cambodia, I hit a pretty big milestone of losing 100 pounds.

I met so many new friends through social media! 

One of the most incredible things about social media is it's ability to brings people together in real life. I have met hundreds of people this year as a result of my blog and Instagram, many of who I now consider close friends. I am constantly inspired by the communities we create for ourselves, both online and locally. As an introvert, I used to be painfully shy and enjoy spending time alone. Learning to connect with others has been a huge catalyst for my personal growth. This year I led, organized, and hosted events that I would have been too uncomfortable to even attend. That is surely a result of surrounding myself with kind and supportive people and I am so grateful for every person who I have met this year.

I taught a Binge Eating Workshop & 12-week Course!

I created my first course on overcoming binge and emotional eating through habit change. I spent the better part of a year creating this course and putting it out into the world imperfectly was a huge step for me. This work is obviously very personal, which makes it exceptionally challenging, but I am dedicated to helping those who share my struggle with obesity, binge eating, emotional eating, and body issues. I have continued to refine the course based on feedback from my students and I am looking forward to opening it up again in 2017.

I hiked 100 miles around Mont Blanc!

In September, I set out on the trip which felt like the culmination of my transformation. I've written about how I slowly worked my way up from walking a block to 10k steps per day, and then pushed myself to start hiking. This 100-mile multi-day hike through the French Alps was one of the best experiences of my life. My full review is long overdue, but make no mistake, this was a highlight of 2016.

My 2016 Fitbit Stats:

  • 3,606,549 steps
  • 10856 floors
  • 1,650.06 miles

How Rachel Graham Lost Over 90 Pounds and Found Balance

@LosingGravity Rachel Graham Weight Loss Story

Meet Rachel, a 24-year old mom from Nova Scotia. At 5'5, she has lost over 90 pounds, but more importantly, she gained confidence and control over her health. After suffering with an eating disorder in her teens and ballooning up to 245 pounds while pregnant, she has finally let go of the all-or-nothing mindset. Now she focusses on living a balanced, healthy lifestyle, day by day. I am excited to share her weight loss journey because she didn't just lose weight, she truly changed her life.

Continue Reading

6 Tips to Avoid Overeating and Binge Eating at Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is for Overeaters like what New Years Eve is for Alcoholics. It's the day when everyone overindulges and bingeing is viewed as normal. You don't have to binge eat this holiday season, and here are 6 tips to help you prepare for a sane and enjoyable day.

  1. Start the day with a gratitude list. There is no better day than Thanksgiving to reflect on what you are truly thankful for. Perhaps you might write more long form in a journal. Meditate for a few minutes and remember all that you have to be grateful for. Try to keep this top of mind throughout the day.
  2. Eat a satisfying breakfast. Often times we think we should restrict our food intake in the days or meals leading up to Thanksgiving dinner in an attempt to “compensate” for the large meal to come, but this can lead to overeating and binge eating.
  3. Set loving boundaries or guidelines for your meal. For example, commit to eating one plate of food and no more. Pile it as high as you like with whatever you want. Setting a clear line around the amount can stop the urge to keep going back for more beyond the point of full ness. Be careful of trying to be too restrictive with certain types of foods as this can backfire.
  4. Eat slowly and mindfully. Chew your food thoroughly and make an effort to really savor every bite. Take a moment to consider how you are feeling going into the meal and check in with yourself throughout the meal. Are you hungry? Are you satisfied?
  5. Don't overexercise in anticipation of the larger than normal meal. Exercise is known to increase hunger so it will likely result in you eating more calories than you would have otherwise. Stick to your regular routine and be kind to your body.
  6. Plan how you will spend your time in the evening. The feeling of being overly full can trigger a binge for many people and there will likely be an abundance of food remaining. Think of what you might do to occupy yourself instead.Try getting out of the house for a walk or going to a movie. If you enjoy shopping, some stores even open early for Black Friday sales.

What Are The Signs of Food Addiction?

If we are open, we can see signs everywhere. I don't talk too much about the spiritual side of my journey, but it's perhaps the most important. Being open to the universe and listening to that quiet voice within – that is where we find our truth.

The more I grow, the more I realize how little I know. I'm cool with that, it makes things interesting and reminds me not to get too complacent. There are, however, a few truths that are constant for me. When I'm feeling disconnected or lost, nature always brings me back.

Yesterday, I went hiking for the first time in a long time. It was hard. Harder than it should have been and even more humbling to see how far I've backslid. I've been struggling the last few months and my health and fitness have suffered. I can point my finger in so many directions as to why, but the why doesn't really matter.

What matters is the truth. Whether I like it or not, I'm in the midst of a lifelong battle with obesity, food addiction, and binge eating. There is no room for complacency in this fight. There is no finish line.

I can wish with all my might for a “normal” relationship with food and maybe someday I'll get there, but for today, that's not my reality. If I could eat certain foods in moderation, I wouldn't struggle with obesity. It's really that simple.

Last summer I reached a breaking point and realized that it wasn't just flour and sugar that triggered an addiction like responses in me, it was all starchy carbs – corn, potatoes, beans. I dove into the scientific research, taking a closer look at how our brains work with insulin response and metabolic resistance. I came to believe that I was addicted to carbohydrates and it was very clear to me that I had to eliminate these foods completely to find the freedom I was seeking.

So I googled “will i die if i don't eat carbohydrates?” and came across the concept of ketosis. I wasn't looking for another diet, I gave those up years ago. What I found was a community of people who were finally finding freedom from food, losing weight without starving themselves, and feeling hope after a lifetime of obesity. I'm grateful for those who embrace this lifestyle and show others that life goes on without bread.

I don't promote keto as the solution because i don't think it is. To me, keto is actually a byproduct of the solution – my diet falls under ketogenic/paleo/whole30 because of the foods I choose to eat/not eat. For most people, such a drastic shift is not feasible or sustainable as a starting point. It took me years of being honest about how the foods I eat affect me to reach this point and the process continues to this day.

Sure, I'd like to skip off into the horizon, forever cured of my issues with food, but that's not reality. For today, I'm grateful that I am able to go for a hike and see this sign. A reminder to STOP before plummeting off the cliff and of all the wonderful things we might discover when we choose to turn around and take a new path.

What is Self Care Project? #selfcareproject

The days between Halloween and New Years tend to be a danger zone for those of us who struggle with food. It's the time of year when tensions rise and even the most normal of eaters let their healthy habits slip.

I have been thinking about my own intentions and asking myself why I am able to easily maintain some habits while struggling with others. Research shows that people who are able to create healthy habits don’t have more discipline, they have more self-compassion. This means that the problem is not a lack of motivation, but a counterproductive mindset that undermines our efforts.

Yikes. I spent most of my life beating myself up, depriving myself, and hating my body. I know I am not alone in this. We live in a culture that emphasizes outward appearances over all else and rewards self-sacrifice. How then do we cultivate a mindset that leads us to self-compassion? The answer is self-care.

What is Self-Care?

We've all heard the term self-care, but what does it really mean and how can we put it into practice? At its core, self-care is any action you take to care for your health – be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. Unfortuantely, consistently practicing self-care is challenge for most of us, especially when food and body issues are involved.

As you might imagine, self-care encompasses a broad range of habits and behaviors. From the foods we eat to the ways we manage stress, we make hundreds of tiny decisions every day that affect our wellbeing. Most of us want to be healthier, but actually putting these habits into practice can feel overwhelming and complicated.

How to Practice Self-Care

First, we have to figure out which self-care habits to work on. Each of us has unique self-care challenges so it's important to evaluate which habits we have mastered and where we want to fill the gaps.

If you struggle with your your weight, addressing practical habits around the food you eat and the way you move your body are a great place to start. If you have a tendency toward depression, focusing on regular grooming and social connection might be most beneficial.

Create a Self-Care Action Plan

Once you have chosen a few self-care activities to adopt into your daily routine, think about how and when you will incorporate these actions into your day. Write them down and commit to them. It may be helpful to set aside a specific time each day or schedule them in your calendar.

Accountability and Connection

Having support and accountability is a critical component in successful behavior change. As I was examining my own goals and creating a self-care action plan, I wanted to connect with more people who are also working toward the best version of themselves. I've started tagging my photos that show self-care practices using #SelfCareProject and I would love for you to do the same. I will be following that hashtag to keep up with everyone on instagram and I even have some fun prizes to award every week through the end of the year.

My goal is for this to be an ongoing series of blog posts highlighting different areas of self-care in more depth with strategies and examples. Is this something you would like to see? Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any specific questions or topics you would like me to write about.