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Friday, May 31, 2013

Viceless Day 22-28: Time Flies While Dreams Are Coming True

I've been sober, sugar free and without TV for 28 days now. I've gone through my own self imposed rehab. This is only the beginning of the process since I've committed to three months, but I understand why rehab facilities use 28 days. The past four weeks have been a struggle. I've gazed longingly at food, the blank TV screen and countless glasses of wine. So much time has been spent quietly yearning for what I've given up that I started to wonder if I shouldn't just partake in my damn vices. My time was being eaten by my desire for them anyway. I didn't feel great, glowy, pure and light. I just felt like I missed eating candy while watching TV.

My online mentor and inspiration
Gabrielle Bernstein.
Somewhere in the past week though, that all changed. Today, I feel better than I've felt in years. Recently, I've connected with three power player in the world of coaching and inspirational speaking. I've conducted my first Becoming a Badass Workshop to great success and I've taken on new coaching clients. My schedule is starting to  overflow with soul inspiring, cash producing work. People are telling me that I've inspired them to improve their lives and happiness! By getting out of my own way, I'm getting everything I ever wanted. My vices have been replaced with fulfilled dreams.

Last night, after finishing my Becoming a Badass Workshop I was giddy with excitement. I've been planning this workshop for months. Before that, before even starting this blog four-years-ago I had been following my intuition hesitantly toward this career.  I didn't know what a life coach was four years ago. I just knew that I loved inspiring, motivating, writing, performing, working with people, improving the world, and how-to's in women's magazines. How that was going to make a career, I had no idea. 

Three important actions have gotten me to this amazing point in my life where I have specific dreams, goals and a plan for accomplishing.

1) I've consistently listened to my intuition and feelings. Often there is a dichotomy between what makes sense and what you know you want. When I was deciding between colleges I was choosing between Boston University where I thought I should major in business and going to California Institute of the Arts to major in acting. I really should have gone to Boston University. I was a great student and could have probably amassed a lot of monetary wealth by now. When I thought about that future though, my throat tightened up and I got a small inkling that I should go ahead and kill myself now. I'm actually down playing that feeling. At the time, my mind said, "this is what you really need to do for your future." My heart always answered, "no, it's not. That will kill me." 

Listening to my heart, I went to California Institute of the Arts even though I knew I probably wasn't going to end up with the typical actress career. I was acutely aware that I didn't know why I was going to school for acting. I was conscious of my own inadequacies and lack of direction. I knew I was making a crazy choice. Still, it was undeniable that I would regret not following my heart. 

Ten years later, I'm not an actress. I'm a life coach and workshop leader. I use the skills I learned as an actress in my present career. At school I learned to be fully present, listen, trust my instincts, be bold, stand in front of people and effectively communicate. I even learned how to put together the workshops I now conduct. A workshop is a show. It must have a beginning, middle and end. It must be engaging. It must emotionally effect the participants. I chose the most amazing, practical undergraduate training I could have for my chosen career. Well, actually, my heart chose my training. My heart picked the training before I even knew of the career of life coach. That is the brilliance that comes from listening to your intuition. 

2) I embraced embarrassment and started before I was ready. I've taken this practice to the next level by following the advice of two of my favorite online mentors.  My spiritual coach Gabrielle Bernstein says you must embrace an attitude of "F-it. Let's go!" Marie Forleo, my business guru, is the queen of the empowering phrase, "start before you are ready." Both of these women are successful powerhouses. They encourage me to be more aggressive with an attitude that I've always relied on. You will never be ready, you just need to get into action. I wasn't ready to go to an acting program that's ranked 15th in the world. I had only done a few plays at my high school. I showed up and found myself surrounded by children of celebrities and people who had been child actors. I was in way over my head and thank God. I was pushed to my absolute limit to keep up with the brilliance around me. I wasn't the best, but I was playing with the big dogs. Think of the opportunity I would have wasted if I had said, "I'll go to acting school when I'm ready." I could have done more plays around Atlanta. I could have taken smaller steps but would I have? Big actions and big decisions give you big momentum. If I had stalled on acting school, I doubt I would have even graduated from any college. I would have stayed paralyzed by fear and my own depression. It's through action, risk and starting before you are ready that you will find your passion and momentum. 

3) I set measurable, timed goals with accountability. Unfortunately, with college my only real measurable goal was to graduate. I accomplished that goal but found myself lost after graduation. Moving to Jackson, I started to set measurable, timed goals. The most obvious is when I decided to ski 100 days in one season. Before setting this goal, I had probably skied a total of 80 days in the three years since I had learned to ski. Kinda crazy to jump into 100 days, right? Well, I wanted to be a badass and I wanted to learn what it was to truly be a skier. The 100 days kicked my ass and challenged me more than I could have imagined. I didn't know how to deal with different weather conditions. My ski boots weren't perfect and I'll always have what I must lovingly call my sixth toe (calcium deposite on the side of my foot). I frequently cried into my goggles and a struggled through exhaustion. Yet, I had told people I was going to ski 100 days. People rallied to support me because I had told people my goal, therefor setting up accountability. I learned more about skiing in that one season that I had in the past 3 seasons combined. I became a skier and have a life accomplishment that I can always think of when facing a new challenge. Hell, I skied a 100 days. I can do this. 
Notice, I didn't say to myself, I'm going to become a better skier and ski more. I announced to my nearest and dearest that I was going to ski 100 days that season. Measurable, timed goals with accountability are key for accomplishments. How will you know when you've accomplished something if it isn't measured, with a time limit and with others knowing your goal? Set yourself up to succeed. I ended up skiing 109 days that season. 

Once again, my challenges are pulling me toward my success. I haven't eaten crap, consumed alcohol or watched TV while alone. After 28 days, I've talked to some of my biggest mentors, held a workshop, grown my coaching business, inspired people to improve their lives and gotten written up in my local paper. Yeah, Viceless is working.

What are you ready to succeed at? Tell me in the comments below. Let's shape some ass-kicking goals for you!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Viceless Day 19, 20, 21: Gabrielle Bernstein and Leaning Toward Health

Day 19 and 20:
I took a road trip to the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. Normally I see road trips as a great time to break the rules about healthy eating. Food options are limited so why not just eat fast food, gummy candy and doritos?

Ummm... because my health never stops and I don't want to feel like crap. So, I utilized a skill that I've been developing hardcore: planning ahead. This skill will revolutionize your life! Yes, it seems obvious but almost any time you say, "I can't," what you probably mean is, "I could have if I planned ahead but  didn't." A cooler packed with veggies, hummus, frittata and other healthy options made for great snacking. When my stud of a man was ordering a cheese burger with tater tots from a country store, I can't say my nostrils didn't flare to take in more of the greasy goodness. I managed to buy myself a gas station treat of my own that was Viceless approved. Plain corn nuts! I think they were the only snack that didn't contain sugar in the entire store. It took a lot of label reading. The corn nuts with a coconut water that was also for purchase and I had my own version of a road trip treat.

As my man slumped from the delicious gut-bomb of grease, I felt perky as a bird and ready to meet some mentors at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. What I'm finding from this challenge is that I don't so much feel amazing as I just never feel bad. I feel steadily good, clear and strong. That seems worth some pre-planning.

Day 21:
Gabrielle Bernstein has been a huge influence on my life. She is a spiritual coach, speaker and author who breaks everything down in a palatable and modern way. I originally went to the Sun Valley Wellness Festival last year specifically to hear her speak. While there I discovered so many other incredible speakers but Gabby is still my main motivation for driving the 5 hours again this year. 

I had the opportunity to ask this ass-kicker of a woman why what she eats is so important to her and how she manages to stay healthy while touring the country and maintain a hectic schedule. She answered that she, "leans toward" vegan and brings a lot of snacks like apples and almond butter with her. She eats grass fed meat occasionally and will sometimes have treats made with maple syrup or other natural sweetener. What a brilliant way to live! I'm leaning toward sober. I'm leaning toward gluten free. I'm leaning toward a life without TV. 

Life isn't perfect, predictable or strict. Lean toward what you want and accept some deviation on the way. I ate out last night, a romantic dinner with my love. We ate at Boca which is a bright and delicious restaurant in Ketchum. We walked into find a big table of speakers from the festival eating there as well. I took it as an auspicious sign. Now everyday, I'm heavily leaning toward dairy free but I have accepted that while eating out there will occasionally be butter in my food. I don't order dishes with obvious dairy but butter is everywhere. Eating out at a restaurant that isn't labeled as health food is mighty tricky if you aren't eating gluten, sugar or dairy. I chose to lean toward Viceless and didn't order a plain protein over olive oil sauteed veggies. Honestly, I could tell that the butter weighed me down after the meal and I'm motivated to not have that feeling again. More requests for olive oil or light butter are in my future. Still,  I'm ordering the lightest dishes on the menu. I'm eating way more veggies. I had a delicious mocktail made with fresh muddled fruit and even a salt rim. I'm maintain huge changes in my life but perfection isn't one of them. Life is good and I'm leaning in. 

What changes could you "lean toward" this week? What have you been wanting to change in your life but the thought of the absolute has been scaring you off? If you gave up perfection, what could you take on? Tell me in the comments. 

Love you badasses. Off to another great day at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Viceless Day 17 and 18: Staring at Chocolate and Fearing Paparazzi at McDonald's

I live in a very small town. I rarely leave the home without seeing someone I know. This is both something I love (oh, the support of a close community) and loath (oh, why can't a girl anonymously buy some ice cream in her pajamas any more?). Making a public declaration of going Viceless has put me in an interesting situation. Many wonderful people are interested and supportive. Still, many other similarly wonderful people who have different beliefs about food and life are on my tail waiting to catch me cheating.

I'm baffled by people who look at me with squinted eyes, in hushed tones saying, "But are you cheating?" No, I'm not. If and when I do cheat, you'll know about it because this isn't an assignment given to me by my butt face of a strict teacher. I'm a grown woman who took on a challenge of giving up my vices to find out if they are actually holding me back from happiness and productivity. Cheating is evidence in my experiment and it's not something I feel like I need to hide.

That's the story of responsible and logical me. Now, for a tale about the irrational, fearful me:

The Redboxes at all of the respectable drop-off locations (grocery stores and gas stations) are full and not accepting returns. I've already been past the McDonald's once where I know there is a Redbox. McDonald's would be the easy answer as I drive further around town to unload This is 40 but I can't risk being seen. I've made a public announcement that I'm going Viceless and being spotted entering a McDonald's would be so damning. I've been the victim of small town gossip more times than I can count. Living in this town can be like playing an extended adult version of telephone. By the time the gossip reaches you, it can take days to decipher where it could have even originated. As I drive, my mind hosts a montage of clips. I'm seen entering McDonald's. A single text is sent from one friend to another, "just saw the viceless badass entering McDonald's. what a bullshit artist." I'm called out at work and my voice squeaks at I protest, "But I had to return a Redbox!" My project crumbles like war ruins in an earthquake as news of my supposed indiscretion spreads through town.

Yeah, that's how dramatic and ridiculous my mind can be when left unchecked. This is why I have a disciplined meditation and mantra practice.

That night, I dream of sugar-less chocolate. Not sugar free chocolate but just 100% cocoa bars. That must exist right? Well, as I'm searching the candy aisle at our local health food store, The Whole Grocer, my fearful guilt creeps back into my consciousness. I feel my eyes darting side to side, looking to see who is witnessing my comb through the high-grade chocolate bars. Thank God the absurdity of my worry pings me between the eyes before I start wearing dark glasses and head scarves while shopping.

I took on being Viceless in an attempt to be happier, more guilt-free and productive. There is no room in my experiment to foster new paranoia. I can't be more productive if I spend all my time trying to look right. This is a mini challenge that has come up in my big challenge. I've got to own my actions and my truth. I will tell you when I cheat. I will trust you to trust me. This is growth. This is progress. This is the benefit of consciously and publicly taking on a challenge.

Where could you give-up some guilt and start living more productively and happily? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Own up to what you want publicly and you've taken the first step to achievement.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Viceless Day 16: Treats for Adults

Last night, I got home from work and the old craving kicked in to sit down and watch some TV in order to shut my brain off. "I deserve my reward for working hard all day," was a pout echoing through my mind. I felt like a child on the verge of a break down. I'd like to stomp my feet, let tears stream and demand candy and TV. Yes, I know this is ridiculous but I also know it's my truth at times. When I see toddlers having melt-downs, I usually don't think, "Shut that brat up." I always think, man, that is how most adults feel inside but they have learned to control their feelings and responses. Who doesn't want to ball-up their fists sometimes and wail, "I'm hungry! I'm tired! I deserve better than this life!" But, we are adults now and it's totally inappropriate. After all, "All grown-ups were once children... but only a few remember it." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince

My sweet man is asleep on the couch when I walk in the door and I immediately want him off the coach so I can just chill. Wake him, go through nightly ritual of teeth brushing and what not together, cuddle him in bed for a while, all the time thinking, what can I reward myself with tonight? "Just come to bed," my man says. He always says this.. My mind huffs, "No! I want my reward. My TV, my snack, my book, anything!" 

I'm literally holding on to a beautiful man with incredible biceps and spot on humor, while my mind whines about wanting a treat. HELLO! You are wrapped around your treat right now! You get to go to bed with a beautiful man who loves and supports you! Is there really anything better than this? Are Frasier re-runs really better than being completely actively engaged in a loving relationship that provides emotional and physical warmth? No. Obviously not. 

Time to embrace grown-up rewards. There's love, adventure, travel, a connection to God, giving, creating and millions of other great rewards once we stop looking for the drink and sitcom at the end of the night. I'm on a mission to open my eyes to the true greatness in front of me every day.

What rewards could be upgraded in your life and what tiny step are you going to take today to make that upgrade? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. You're participation makes this so much more fun for me and more productive for you. Growth comes through engagement and action. This is a safe space to cultivate your badass life. Join the dialogue. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Viceless Day 13, 14, 15: I Cheated

So, turns out I ate about a half a cup of butter when I went out to dinner at Trio the other night. I thought my salad was dairy-free and I was wrong. Boom. Dairy bomb. To be honest, I felt fine.

Next, I had to taste and give notes on nine different glasses of wine as I trained a woman for the restaurant job I am soon leaving. This is an unavoidable part of my job that will be ending in a week. In total I consumed less than a fourth of a glass of wine but still... boom. Alcohol bomb. I still felt fine.

Last night, after a long day of working on my life coaching business, my fiance woke me from an evening nap to tell me we needed to leave in 45 minutes to go the the Roller Derby. Bleary eyed, I came to grips with the situation and snacked on the way to the derby. I didn't snack enough though and ended up buying a rice bowl with spicy pork at the derby. I chose the healthiest option I could. I didn't ask because I was buying food at an arena but let's face it, that sauce had sugar in it. I'm sorry I'm not sorry.

Am I perfect as I execute this new challenge? No. Did I ever expect myself to be? No. Is this a cleanse? No. I'm giving up my vices so that I can be happier and more productive. I feel better than fine.

This is a new challenge for me and as with anything new, there will be success's and failures on the path of learning. Overall, my lifestyle and eating have dramatically changed over the past two weeks. I have no where to hide and I'm getting more done than ever. Also, I'm being forced to question what's in what I'm eating, something I'm not comfortable with because I don't like to be fussy. My emotions don't want to ask but logically, shouldn't we all have the right to know what exactly it is that we are eating? This is a discomfort I need to get over and that's what I love about my challenge. It's in the discomfort that I know I'm growing. This was the whole point! I'm doing this to push myself out of my comfort zone and instigate change in my life. Eating whatever, whenever is comfortable. Watching TV alone is really comfy. An alcoholic beverage make everything more cozy. Take those away, I'm uncomfortable but damn am I productive and growing.

I knew there would be failures, readjustments and a learning curve when I took on being viceless. I'm comfortable with my cheating and failures. I expect them to decrease with time and I anticipate my goals will shift around the reality of the situations I find myself in. This flexibility is required in life. Failure is a part of all learning and growth, so it's definitely a key component of Becoming a Badass.

I'd love to hear in the comments where you push yourself beyond your comfort zone and how it's improved your life. Love you badasses.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Viceless Day 12: "So you're giving up fun?"

I went to dinner last night at Trio. The eating out is getting much easier. I'm just not a person who eats the bread. Ok, I can accept that about myself. I now have special requests like no cheese. Ok. I don't get deserts. This is not the end of the world.

I'm getting my biggest shocks and giggles from the fact that people keep saying that I'm giving up all pleasure and fun by not consuming sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and TV when alone. Like these are the only joys in life. People actually say, "So, you're giving up fun?"

No! I'm not giving up laughter, dancing, humor, fulfilling work or love. I'm not giving up fun. I'm giving up some habits that make me feel bad in the morning either mentally or physically. Is something that is fun in the moment but causes guilt or a crash later really fun? Is it the only fun? I don't think so.

I had a beautiful wood oven roasted beets salad with baby kale and aged balsamic. Then, I had a grilled New york steak with roasted red potatoes, shallots and green beans. It was fun.

I'm kinda starting to wonder, does no one else feel bad about themselves in this world? Now, I'm basically a happy and confident person. I have no big problems with the way I look but I have problems with the way I abuse my body in an effort to feel better in the short term. Stressed- have four cocktails. That will reset your mind by making it unable to function for two days. Bored- eat a bag of candy. That will kill some time. Not sure about what you're doing with your life- call a friend and complain about feeling lost until the feeling blurs. Don't other people have things that they think, "Hey, I'm better than that! This is not how I'm going to spend my life." This project isn't torture. I'm treating myself to a better life though purposefully changing my actions.

At the end of your life, don't you want to look back and think, "Damn, I really did something with that life of mine. What a thrilling adventure that was." I do. I think of giving up these past vices opening a window to bigger and better fun. Fun with no negative side effects.

The strange thing about this experiment is that so far it's not that I feel incredibly good, but I just don't feel bad in so many of the times that I used to feel guilt over my actions or the bloated effects of over consuming. I don't crash from caffeine or sugar. No meal has been ruined by eating too much bread before hand. I wake with less phlegm because I haven't had dairy. Every day is productive because I'm not in front of a TV. Am I so happy and glowing that I give off glitter? No. I'm about the same with less of the bad.

People say I look better but it's hard to tell. I'm breaking out which must be a symptom of detox because it's rare for me. My only breakouts for the past few years have been from stress or detox. This could be a mix of both. I've lost six pounds in under two weeks which just makes me wonder what the hell I was eating before that was holding onto weight that could be lost that easily. I'm not starving. I even monitored my calories for the first week so that I knew I was consuming enough. Things are subtly changing but right now it's hard to say what exactly. What the hell is three months going to bring?

No, I haven't given up fun. For a good time, you can still call me.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Viceless Day 11: Finding My Tribe, Dammit They're Sober

During my depression over not having a career my good friend Eddie asked, "Is there a person you admire that you want to be friends with or a group you envy being a part of?" There just wasn't anyone. I'm surrounded by really awesome people here in Jackson Hole, but none that spoke directly to my soul when it came to career. Now, everyday I find more inspirations in my own back yard but at the time no one was fitting my specific soul call.

While visiting my sister in Atlanta, I came across a book in her office, Add More Ing To Your Life: A hip guide to happiness by Gabrielle Bernstein. This looks kinda cheesy and dumb, was my first thought. I brought the book out to my sister in the kitchen.

I asked, "What's this?"
"Oh, some bullshit Carline gave me. Actually, the author's kind-of the same type of annoying as you. You know, very rah, rah, you can do it! You can have that book," she dismissed.

That semi-insulting conversation was how I discovered my new group of role models.

Gabrielle Bernstein: Spiritual coach
Marie Forleo: Business coach
Kris Carr: Health coach
Danielle LaPorte: Passion coach

My soul was sparked. I have found my people. Beautiful, wacky women on a mission. Entreprenuers-EEKKK!!! Wasn't hoping to find that word. Entreprenuer. Hmmm.... Guess I might as well stick that word in with the other descriptors I've been unable to shake, like creative and artist.

Jessica Zelenko: Badass coach

To make matters worse, 2 out of 4 of my new role models are definetly sober and 3 out of 4 are vegans.  This is a big inspiration behind the beginning of Viceless. As Gabby Bernstien says, "If you want what someone has, do what they do." Vegan isn't on my list, but I'll try out sober.

Another big motivation is my anti-role models. I've seen where a life swathed in the comfort of vices often leads. I see people sitting on the couch all day smoking pot, talking about what should be done but not doing anything. I constantly see work that needs to be done, decisions that need to be made, chances that need to be taken that instead become a cocktail consumed and no progress. I see lives stuck in comfort and habits becoming lifestyles. That's not what I want to focus on now though. What I don't want isn't nearly as important as what I do want.

I'm following my wants and becoming a life coach who helps others lead lives that they are extremely proud of when they die. I want a career that makes my world and the whole world better. I want to stop hiding and start kicking more ass for pay so that I have more to give. I want to meet my role models, say thanks, and eventually become someone else's role model. Cheers to another day of trying.

Who do you admire? I'd love to hear about your role models and inspiration in the comments.

Viceless Day 9 and 10: Temptation and TV

Day 9:

I make my fiance coffee and the smell taunts me. Ok, hot water and lemon. You'll do.

I'm not hung over and I have no food guilt.

Day 10:

I'm in a bad mood. I've gotten wrapped up in the busy and complications of my life and a mood as set in. The type of mood that calls for a cocktail and bitching. Unfortunately for me and the easy road, I'm really not a fan of complaining these days. I believe focusing on negative is bad for your health, mood and good time. Haven't you ever experienced a complaining hangover? You talk and talk about all of the things you don't like and in the end you are drained and sad. During my own bitch sessions, I've always enjoyed a nice cocktail which usually loosens the tongue and makes it possible to really let the complaining rip. This is the type of habit that I'm trying to cut out of my life. The complaining doesn't get me where I want to go and neither does the cocktail. Obstacles have to be creative opportunities. When obstacles aren't viewed as an opportunity, depression sets in and progress halts. I've got things to do in this world, a tribe of badasses to rally and don't have long to wallow.  The habit isn't broken yet though. When the fear and feeling that life is too damn hard sets in, I really want the comfort of a cocktail or the distraction of TV.

On my way home from work, I pick up This is 40 from the Redbox. Maybe I can switch to watching TV alone just on the days I don't work? (I work basically everyday right now so this is crap.) Maybe TV isn't really holding me back? (No, it really is.) I just really want to cheat. I want to fall asleep watching TV and not think about life. I don't want to meditate this feeling away or accept it.

I manage not to cheat by thinking about my goals on a far off mental horizon. I want to make a good living from a career I love that I believe will improve the lives of others. I want to live my life in a beautiful body that is light, active and well nourished. I want to live happily, without guilt, kicking ass everyday and inspiring others to go after the life of their dreams. I save the movie for tomorrow night with my man and pick up my book, Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walters. There is still escape for my mind but their is also learning for my writing and the sleepiness that reading provides. I didn't cheat and that feels good.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Viceless Day 8: Dinner Out, the Ultimate Challenge

Saturday, you sweet beast. If I had a free day, it would be Saturday. The one day my man and I have off together. The day we both try not to work and apply ourselves to feeling young and free while we still are untethered in most ways. No baby. No house. We've been known to drink mid-day. Baily's in coffee with a big cheesy breakfast isn't an unheard of occurrence. So I feel a little lost with my new restrictions.

This day is shouting, "Relax!" I'm not quite sure of how to yet. Still, we have a fun lazy morning. I actually sneak in some work which is against the rules but seems impossible to avoid these days. Then off for a bike ride and hike. We end up down by the river and my mind races over my to-do list. A never ending flow  of wedding and work. I practice my meditation but wine bottles float down my stream of consciousness. So be it. We must sometimes sacrifice what we want in a moment for what we want long term. Must build a website. Must work on clarifying my marketing. Inhale 3, exhale 5. I catch snippets of peace and repeat my mantra, "I am happy. I am free. I am as God created me."

Wine continues to haunt me as a get ready for a dinner out with friends and my man. I'm technically having a great day but there still seems to be these empty gaps where my vices have been. What am I supposed to do to relax and feel luxurious?

Dinner out at Osteria. So far, eating at home has been fine. Healthy food is delicious and flavorful. I always forget this until I go on a health kick. These three months though are supposed to be about living my normal life with some small changes in habits and consumption. I don't want to prove I can be a healthy hermit, so out for some 2 for 1 entrees from the Italian restaurant Osteria. Hindsight, maybe an Italian restaurant wasn't the best choice for my big night out. I figured I'd just eat a salad and some meat and veggies in whatever form they were offered. I've also heard rumors of gluten free pasta that might be an option. Not gonna lie. Pasta sounds delicious.

My server at Osteria was very friendly and super willing to help me find an option to suit my new dietary needs. Unfortunately, the pasta was out because of dairy. My only option was a $30 chicken breast, served with wild rice and a small amount of a tasty beet sauce. Normally, the dish is hen and also includes caramelized carrots. Tonight, they were out of the hen and I had to forgo the carrots due to sugar. I work at a restaurant with an $18 half chicken on the menu so being left with this overpriced option is a bummer. The dish is cooked to perfection but disappointingly simple, obviously by my own restrictions.

I'm surprised with the rise of food intolerance's for dairy and gluten and the popularization of diets such as Paleo that this was my only option. Don't get me wrong. Osteria has no obligation to cater to my dietary needs. I choose where I go and do believe I should just order off the menu. It's an eye-opener though that my options with this lifestyle are going to be so limited. I also need to perfect my ordering. How to be technically fussy without being an asshole? That is a challenge I haven't mastered yet. Currently I just become meek and grateful for whatever I'm given.

This fear of socially ostracizing myself with my dietary choices has always been a battle for me. If someone makes something for me, I'll eat it. I don't like being picky and hard to please so I make myself the gracious guest and companion by eating anything. What if this habit isn't serving my greatest good. I read article after article about the negative effects of gluten, dairy and sugar.  An example being this article: Foods To Avoid If You Want To Be Happy. I feel my mood shift with my gluten and sugar intake. I know dairy gives me morning phlegm and I've been supposed to give it up since my days as an actor when my voice teacher pinned it as detriment to my voice. I've done cleanses and proved that I feel better without these vices but I go back because I don't want to be an inconvenience at a dinner party or restaurant.

To top it all off, at 29, I just got lab tests back that say I have slightly elevated cholesterol. Holy F. They recommend fiber pills and when I ask about dietary changes the nurse seems to brush it off as an impossibility. "Oh, the usual. Less sugar and junk," she says. I know I've gotta change.

Wine is the most missed element of dinner. Since 17 I've tasted wine and identified tasting notes. I want to inhale the nose and search out the earthiness of the Italian wine that the others drink. I miss toasting to the beauty of life. I've been known to raise my glass 4-7 times throughout a meal to cheers the greatness of this or that. I know it's a lot of toasting but each is like a prayer of gratitude that ups the mood of the meal.

Without a big showy dinner or wine and with salad instead of the shared lobster risotto that is the shared appetizer for the rest of my party, I still laugh and have a great time in fun company.

Desert time. I order mint tea. The tiny, bird like women who come into the restaurant I work at often order mint tea. They've always been a source of wonder to me. I envy their ballet dancer arms as they lift a mug to their mouth instead of a spoonful of cream. Everyone at my table orders a tiny ice cream cookie sandwich. My mouth waters. I douse it with mint tea.

The dessert arrives and my fiancé makes sexual, guttural noises as he eats his bit of sweetness. This isn't cruelty. He always makes these noises as he eats. The cruelty is when he mocks my tea and holds the cookie up to my mouth close enough to smell. "Try it. Take a bite. You can spit it out," he taunts. "No," I squeak back. The absolute ridiculousness of the situation hits me and I laugh. If you read this thinking that these diet changes and giving up my vices is a stupid project, feel good knowing the person I live with tells me the same thing everyday.

I do notice that by the end of dinner everyone else is droopy eyed and slightly slumped. No one drank much but they seem to be edging in on a food coma. I'm bright-eyed and light feeling. I'm also entirely guilt free.

We go home and I finally get the sweet relief of watching TV. My man has a cocktail as we watch.

I wake the next morning still feeling light. My man has a hangover. "I'm an idiot," he says. HA! I just smile to myself.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Viceless Day 7: WTF was I thinking?! Gimme the chocolate cake!

Day 7

Working at a restaurant creates an interesting relationship to food. First of all, part of my job is to create verbal food porn for customers. What's the best dish? "I loooooovve our pork chop. The warmth of the curried cauliflower with the sweet tang of the cippolini onion and golden raisin chutney are amazing. They cut right through the rich pork chop creating a perfectly balanced meal. You're going to love it." Yeah, that is basically my job. I sell delicious food as a waitress at a great restaurant in Jackson Hole, called Trio: an American bistro. The food is wonderful and the chefs are always making it even better. They create food heaven and I have it in my hands 4-5 days a week. There is also the fact that often this food is available to me to eat in mess-ups or scraps. On top of that, we have what's called family meal where we are given dinner at 4:15 and eat it as a group. Trio provides probably the best you could hope for out of a family meal. There is always a salad and they try to make it actually delicious. Still, it's often a delicious burger or bulk pasta. Eating that on a regular basis just doesn't line up with my food goals. To finish of the challenge, I eat at 4:15 and then power walk around until 10 or 11 at night. A person gets hungry and there are no breaks. Restaurant life sets you up to be on a crazy food schedule with crazy food choices.

God bless the wonderful chefs at Trio who have been shifting family meal lately to meet my new dietary needs. I'm really going to miss everyone when I leave Trio to move onto life coach training and a summer focused on building my business and website. That being said, working at a restaurant is constant temptation from the soda gun to the bread I slice. Last night, as I brought carried out martinis, opened bottles of wine, described layered chocolate hazelnut cakes with mocha butter cream frosting, I thought, "Why did I publicly decide to give up my vices?! I'm an f-ing idiot!"

I held strong only because I've told you all that I'm going to hold strong. I didn't pop the left over banana bread waffle into my mouth because I promised I wouldn't. I didn't eat the left over mash potatoes because I said I wouldn't. I really, really wanted to. Somewhere floating behind my food desires I knew I had a higher goal but to be honest, when staring at the layered chocolate cake, I couldn't have articulated them for you. There was too much saliva in my mouth.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Viceless Day 5 and 6: Tears and Triumphs

Day 5:

I cried today. Before I cried, I felt myself look around for escape. Nope, can't turn on the TV. No, you can't have a drink. Nada junk food to save me. Just have to face some pain head on.

Joan of Arc who I'll be channeling this week and
who will be reminding me of angels. 
This year I'm getting married and starting my own business. Both have been in the works for over a year and I'm incredibly grateful for each opportunity. Starting a business, especially one with the end goal of giving lectures and holding workshops on Becoming a Badass, is something people aren't always going to support. This isn't the safe route. I talked today to a woman who has her own life coaching business and she warned me again and again about how hard it is to be successful. I tried to remain calm. I finished our phone call with grace but as soon as I hit end I looked toward the cupboard and TV for escape. No, I've promised I won't hide from my fear. I've gotta face the uncomfortable feeling head on. I'm forced to feal the pain fully and accept that I could end up a big failure. Yes, that is always a possibility. After some tears, my own Becoming a Badass preachings pop into my mind and save me. God bless hard work and dedication. A year dedicated to  reminding others of inspirational quotes and teachings on how to live a full life saves me with two thoughts: 1) I would rather fail big, learn big, and move onto something bigger than do nothing and stay stuck. 2) "I am not afraid. I was born for this." - Joan of Arc. These will be my mantras over the next few days. This fear will fade and I think faster because I didn't run from it using my vices this time.

The thing about marriage that I guess I kinda forgot about is that you now have to make really huge life choices and the final decision is going to be a compromise with someone else. They are not just your choice. Where you want to live, if you are buying a home, if you will have children, even your career are major decisions that you must work through with another person. At this point in life and age, I'm pretty comfortable making my own decisions. The new challenge is making a decision with a man I love very, very much but who doesn't always want the same things I want. It's so much easier to ignore these big questions. I tear up as we talk through our future. I worry that I will decrease his happiness in life by protecting my own. That can't be right. That can't be love. The conversation ends with many questions still hanging. In the way that love seems to always redeem itself, simply, tonight, we cook, laugh and love. I"m reminded why I want to get married. I love this man so much. Being with him has made me stronger or happier than I thought possible. When I decided I wanted to get married it wasn't a fairy tale decision about how our love is perfect and now everything will be easy. The decision was based on the fact that I want to challenge myself to grow in this relationship and this love my entire life. I believe in our relationship and want to challenge myself to make the decisions and compromises to have it last my entire life because I believe we can build an incredible life together. A life that will be richer and fuller than what I could build alone. I am aware of the divorce rate and sexless marriages. Yes, I know we could fail. Everyone can stop reminding me and rest assured that I am fully aware of the challenge I am taking on. Still, I would rather have tried and given myself the chance at what I believe will be one of my greatest successes: building a family with a man I love.

Day 6:

One of the women who inspires my business model is Gabrielle Bernstein. She is a spiritual coach and speaker. Gabrielle is also sober. She tells her story often and says she was told, "Get clean and you will have everything you've wanted." The woman is a powerhouse. Today, her work as greatly influenced my life for the better and because of that I sometimes hear whispered in my mind, "Get clean and you will have everything you've wanted."

Gabrielle Bernstein and this message are a big motivator for me to experiment with giving up my vices. Gabby was addicted to cocaine and really needed to get clean. None of my vices are that serious. In fact, many of my friends think of me as someone who uses vices very moderately. Still, I hear get clean. I have to try.

My days are getting more and more productive. Writing, reading, bike riding, loving, and working on Becoming a Badass is all I've done this week and I feel great. To live without the guilt and wake up knowing I feel the way I feel as a product of good choices is amazing. Today, I've moved past the fear of the future that was causing my tears yesterday. Today, I just want to work. Blam! Goodness comes to me. I get a twitter message from an editor at Jackson Hole News and Guide asking to do a profile interview on me for next weeks paper. I can't help but think that I'm getting everything I've wanted. So happy. So purely, joyously, sparklingly happy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Viceless Day 4: My vices are calling me and I want to answer

7:30 am
Woke up pretty chipper. Just wish making a green juice was as easy as eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Clean up is a pain but I guess less of a pain than unhealthy habits in the long run. Why does health always seem to have the initial stubble with the long-term rewards and bad habits always give immediate satisfaction with long-term detriments? God, I don't understand your plan.

1:30 pm
I just really, really want to watch TV. I can't believe this addiction is so strong! Despite the craving I've gotten tons of work done today and that feels good. Also, not feeling guilty about what I've eaten or having spent my time in front of a TV feels really, really good. I'm starting to realize how much of my time was being spent feeling guilty. Guilt sucks! I guess I'll go for a walk outside to get away from this tempting TV mistress.

11:30 pm
Ohhh, man! I wanted to eat so much food at work. I'm slicing bread and bringing some truly delicious food to tables. The smell of creme brûlée as I took it to a table was so hard to handle. Freshly hardened sugar with fresh orange zest on top, you are killing me. Let me drink a coke and eat some creamy asparagus bisque please!!!! Ok. That was hard but now I'm home and going to bed guilt free and that is a great feeling.

Viceless Day 3: TV I love you, but I love me more

7:30 am
Woke early and find myself gazing longingly at my TV screen. Oh, if I could just flip on the TV as I make my morning green juice and hear the comforting noise of familiar voices. Oh, well. Guess I'll just have to be productive instead. Hello, Pandora. Yes, Florence and the Machine. Let's dance this out.

12:45 pm
My TV craving is huge! I usually wake up, tidy up my room, make a green juice or tea and meditate. Then I get started on either my Becoming a Badass work or my other work for part-time jobs that I do from home. I'm the most productive and inspired in the morning so the work comes easily. Around 12:30 pm is when I usually get some big vice cravings. I make a healthy lunch but like eating while watching TV. Yes, as a person who is constantly reading health and wellness books or articles on how to improve your life I know that watching TV while eating is a big no-no. I know! But it is just so damn comfortable. Beside eating in front of the TV being bad because I'm not paying full attention to the taste of the food and how full I am, this habitual also usually makes me really sleepy. Since I don't just go nap, I get a big sugar craving and just want to sit on the couch and eat. I need to be either working out or doing work during this time but I get sucked into a vice-grip of unproductively. Then the feelings of being a loser who is going no where in life set in. Strange how something that initially feels so good ends up making me feel so bad.

2:40 pm
Whoa! Just did and hour and a half walk in the sunshine while talking to my mother. Much better use of my time.

11:30 pm
Came home from work and am going straight to bed. Anyone who has ever worked at a busy restaurant knows that this is a rare occurrence. My mind is still usually racing after a shift and I come home and try to numb it with food and alcohol. I've done a lot of self work and research to learn to quiet my mind and keep fearful thoughts at bay. I recently finished a year long meditation practice based on the book A Course in Miracles. I usually do a daily morning meditation with a mantra that I use throughout the day to quiet my mind and reset myself to peace. These practices have hugely improved my quality of life. I no longer feel like a victim of my emotions or anxious mind. Getting home from work late at night though is a period of time that I've been lazy about. I've given myself a free pass to just veg out in front of the TV with a glass of wine and food. It's the easy way to unwind but definitely not the best possible way.

I wonder if the lack of coffee at 5 pm or Coke around 9 pm is the reason I can no go to sleep right when I get home?

Where do you have good habits most of the time but give yourself a free pass sometimes? I'd love to hear about how you feel about your own free passes. Thanks for reading!

Viceless Day 2: Facing the Hounds

Day 2 May 5th

Ugh... I have to go to work at my restaurant job tonight. I'm dreading the reaction of my co-workers to my new lifestyle challenge/change. I've done two cleanses in the past which really, really seems to bother chefs. I get it. Their whole job is based around food. They are sensitive to peoples food decisions. When making a diet or lifestyle change people always say, "Oh, no one cares what you do." I find that to be completely untrue. Most people, strangely discounting the people who are closest to me, have a very strong opinion about my changes and want to voice them. I know when I go into work, we will sit down for the group meal provided for us at the beginning of the shift and I will need to field opinions.

As predicted, my lifestyle challenge/change created quite a stir at my work. No alcohol! No sugar! No gluten! My boss, who is a chef and restaurant owner, looked me directly in the eyes and said, "That is so stupid." Now, that's a direct opinion. It's tricky navigating work relationships. To explain why I want to make this change is to expose my vulnerability. Me no likey.

We all go through life with the general goal of looking like we've got our shiz together. It's a noble goal but what about when something in your life isn't working and you have to make a big change? I have to admit that crap food, TV, and alcohol are interfering with my goals. I'm building a life coaching business because it brings me happiness and fulfillment. Without this goal I feel like a lost loser. I constantly need to be learning new skills which make me really happy but also stressed. I wake up and can list 20 things I wish I had time to do when I likely only have time for three of the things. Learning to deal with new stresses and challenges that are a natural part of building a business and making a career change. My first instinct though is always to run and hide. I run to the couch and hide behind food and alcohol. So those things need to go. I'm trapped in a safety net of my own making so I've decided to abolish the safety net.

Hopefully, that is what came across as I explained why I am taking on this experiment. Some of my co-workers agreed that this is the way all people should eat and live. Most just couldn't imagine a world without alcohol. To be honest, I have a hard time imagining it too but there is only one way to find out. I can imagine a life without hangovers and that seems amazing. I made it through my big announcement, which by the way, I wish I could not announce and just subtly do but that isn't possible at my workplace. Now, surprisingly, I'm going to bed. Usually, I stay up after work for about an hour and a half decompressing with food and drink but I'm tired and ready for sleep.

Any of you have habits you would like to give up in the pursuit of a higher goal? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks for reading.

Viceless Day 1: Will anyone like me?

Day 1 May 4th:

Woke early to find a co-workers text telling me he needs me to be somewhere in half an hour. Not happy. In my frustration I immediately want candy. A smoothie is going to have to do.

Out later after a big bike ride through the rain to Dornan's and I have to tell my good friend that not only am I now a picky eater but I won't be having a celebratory drink. I'm actually afraid of losing all of my friends because of my not drinking. Isn't that kinda sad? Luckily, my friend is awesome and we have a blast anyway.

Evening home with my fiance when I would definitely be drinking. We go on a walk and I'm still playful. We have fun and enjoy cloud watching.

Breaking the usual habits is hard. There is a lot of saying no to drinks or food and I do feel like a buzz kill. Maybe if I up my fun attitude I don't have to up my drinking. We'll see. This is an experiment after all. Gotta say, it's great ending meals and not feeling guilty. It was also great driving home from my friends house and not worrying about the fact that I've had a drink or two earlier.

Viceless: Three months of pure goodness

Thanks for joining me here at Becoming a Badass! Welcome to the new adventure.

I'm giving up some of my very favorite vices for three months. Goodbye sugar, white flour, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and solo TV watching. This lifestyle change is an experiment to see if I will become a happier and more productive person without my vices or, as many predict, I become the crankiest, most boring person in the world.

My vices have haunted me lately. Instead of being fun bits of naughtiness, I've been trapped in a state of fear abusing my vices. I'm in the midst of a massive self-improvement overhaul on my life.  I'm 29. From observing my female friends who have already turned 30, it seems to be typical to flip out and make huge changes for the better. Apparently, I'm no exception. Pressure is pressing down on me and I need to change. Oh, Holy God. I'm going to be 30. I can no longer blame my youth for my mistakes or lack of progress. This is it, this is my real grown-up self. I want to make myself the best, most successful, happiest, hottest it can be. This means no more wasting time binge eating, hungover while watching the Kardashians. Enter the Viceless Challenge.

The skinny on my past: At 23, after college I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I moved from LA after going to California Institute of the Arts and majoring in acting. I was confused and the only life goal I could pin down was to be an international party girl who dallied in writing. Jackson was a spur of the moment decision that was only supposed to be a two week vacation. I knew I didn't want to be a stylist like the job I had just quit. I didn't want to be an actress which was what I had studied. I didn't want to live in LA. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I did want. I drove solo to Jackson because my parents had left their house there unoccupied while my mother cared for her mother's declining health. To my surprise, I found a group of people in Jackson who were having more fun than anyone I had ever seen, even international party girls. They were living in an adult playground and having constant fun with physical activities like skiing and mountain biking. When bad weather stopped their sports, they took off on travel adventures to spots like Thailand and Nicaragua. Even though I was completely nonathletic at the time, I shifted my priorities and started my project of Becoming a Badass. 

I went from art school, LA party girl to skiing, biking adventurer. I took the lifestyle of Jackson on full force. Moving from LA with a background in acting, I knew how to make my body dance and look cute. I knew yoga and tai chi. There was no trust in my bodies ability to be truly strong or athletic however. Since Becoming a Badass, I've had multiple friends from college say, "I don't remember you being this athletic." I wasn't but I seem to believe in the power of change more than the average person and believe it is my destiny to spread the message that you can change your life for the better. In my effort to Become a Badass, which is documented in this blog, I've learned to ski, mountain bike, surf, travel internationally, and much more. I've climbed active volcanoes, jumped off waterfalls and conquered a warehouse of fears along the way. I've consciously made an effort to redefine how I think about myself. The mission was to go from confused, intimidated, and limited to badass. I still have a lot of fears and stupid ideas about my limitations but I've definitely significantly bumped up my badassness. 

Becoming a Badass was never just about the physical challenges though. To me, it's always been about any new challenge that forces you to overcome the part of yourself that you don't like but feel like is inevitable. I spent so many years of my life thinking of myself as a funny, quirky, chubby, clumsy girl. I love that part of myself now but know I'm not limited to being that person. I'm also brave, sporty, productive and hot. The truly important part of Becoming a Badass is proving to myself that I can be anything I want to be and am not limited by my current thoughts or situations. I now enjoy kicking my can'ts in the ass and proving that I can, even though I usually don't know in the beginning how the hell it's going to happen when I begin. Conquering one fear isn't the end though. I'm always still in process of Becoming a Badass. There is always a new challenge.

Around age 27, people with successful careers really started to piss me off. For years I was satisfied with my adventurous lifestyle that I supported through being a waitress. I appreciated this time of my life as an opportunity of youth. When I started to feel my jealousy of careers, I knew it was a sign that I myself craved a successful career. Jealousy is often a great indicator of what your soul is craving. So I whined like a weeny for about a year, really engulfing myself in my misery over a lack of a fulfilling job until I hit rock bottom. My rock bottom was tearing my ACL while skiing. This is an injury that requires surgery if you want to live an active life. I woke up in the hospital on my 28th birthday and had to relearn how to walk in physical therapy over the next 3 months. I now had no successful career and couldn't even engage in the physical activities that were my source of fun and pride. 

During my recovery I became even more depressed and my vices came out full force. I watched a disgusting amount of TV and ate an even more horrifying amount of crap. My body ingested an unbelievable quantity of jalapeno Cheetos, gummy candy, and macaroni and cheese. I was no longer a super-fit, active adventurer. I was a chubby, depressed waitress. Ah, hell no!

Six months after my injury, I mustered up some gumption and stopped moaning about my lack of career prospects. I got in action. I read tons of Find Your Purpose books, took personality tests and researched online. Basically, I made finding my dream job a part-time job and surprise, surprise it worked. I devoted myself, worked hard and made serious progress at finding a career path. Hard work works!

I discovered that I want to be a life coach and turn Becoming a Badass into a brand. It was disappointing to find that I wasn't destined for an easier, more direct career path such as teacher or lawyer where the steps to start a job and the pay are set. That just isn't me and I have the Myer Briggs personality test to prove it. I'm a creative being and I can't escape the path no matter how hard I try and trust me I have tried. 

By following the advice of so, so many experts through books, blogs, vlogs and online research as well as taking classes, I've gotten a good start on my career. I've studied, experimented, tested and even gotten to the point where I have life coaching clients. I'm on the precipice of my dream career and fear is rearing it's ugly fat head. Fear can really get me in a headlock at times and keep me stuck as the person I am and not moving forward to the person I feel I'm destined to become. All my life fear has had two crippling side effects. Fear glues me to the couch with the TV and switches on a serious food addiction where all I want to do is shove crap in my mouth until I feel better emotionally. Of course, alcohol is also a part of my escape plan. Unfortunately, I just end up feeling physically sick and like a worthless loser. 

Fear's got it's ugly mitts on me but I've decided to badass my way out of it. Or at least give it my fighting all. I'm taking on a big challenge by giving up my vices for 3 months. I'm going to let you know how it goes day-by-day, step-by-step here on the blog. No solo TV watching, white sugar, white flour, dairy, caffeine, or alcohol. I'm here to find out what good I can do with time that used to be usurped by vices. What do I do when I can't run and hide behind my vices? Can giving up my vices help me to build a successful career and increase my general happiness and productivity? Let's find out. I'm so happy you've joined me as I take on this new adventure.