My "No-Holds Barred" Personal Manifesto

Written By Christi Collins in May 2005

"From A Woman, For Other Women:

Our Health Journey"

 

Somewhere in the middle of the subways, cell phones, and palm pilots… we’ve lost our relationship to Nature, the Earth, and our Wise Womanly Intuition.

Somewhere between “9-5,” “shop ‘til you drop,” and “the Superwoman mentality”… we’ve lost our capacity to slow down, recharge our batteries, and ask for help (without feeling guilty).

Somewhere amongst the anorexia, fake breasts, and flat tummy quest… we’ve lost our intimate pride in our bodies, our curves, and our gut instinct.

Somewhere between the birth control pills, Advil, and Pepto Bismol… we’ve lost our ability to listen to our bodies, respect our vaginas, and take really, really good care of ourselves.

Somewhere amidst the diets, rules, and restrictions… we’ve lost our connection to the deliciousness, pleasure, and sensuality of eating.

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We eat the 'Standard American Diet'

(I call it “SAD #1”).

 

We don’t get up in the morning and intend to eat poorly, but we do.

Our diet is made up of foods that can be prepared in a microwave in less than 2 minutes. It’s made up of foods that are prepared by other people. It’s made up of foods that taste delicious to the tongue, but aren’t natural in any way, shape or form. It’s made up of chemicals, artificial ingredients, preservatives, and junk.

We know that “SAD” doesn’t support our bodies because we suffer from all kinds of health conditions: constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, PMS, migraines, arthritis, cancer, energy crashes, headaches, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, endometriosis, stomachaches, depression, diabetes, and chronic fatigue (just to name a few).

We view these health conditions as normal when really... they’re anything but normal. We shouldn’t have to put up with them.



You shouldn’t have to feel yucky all the time.



Food has become incredibly complicated these days. Thanks to the hundreds of diet books and eating programs out there (not to mention the TWELVE new food pyramids), our meals now drip with rules, restrictions, and measurement systems.

When we eat out at restaurants, we use language like, “I have to” or “I need to” or “I really should.” We wait to see what other women order before we decide what to tell the waiter to bring for our lunch.

If no one else indulges, then we suffer silently through our Garden-Salad-with-the-Dressing-on-the-Side and the Baked-Potato-Hold-The-Sour-Cream.

We wait patiently for ‘next time,’ when no one is around, and we can order what we really want. We go home and shovel chocolate chips into our mouths, knowing that our family is in the other room and can’t see what we’re doing.

We measure our self-worth based on how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we’ve eaten throughout the day. The problem is: half the time, we can’t even remember why we categorized a food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in the first place.

Some of us will be disappointed to learn that devouring broccoli and shunning chocolate won’t get us into heaven faster than those women who carry chocolate in their purses at all times... and those women who, if they're sad or mad, will hop into bed with two men (named Ben & Jerry).

 

News flash: Food is not a religion.



The way of eating that worked for us last year or last decade probably doesn’t work well for us today. Our bodies change. Our lifestyles change. We change. Our food should change, too.

 

What are your rules around eating? Do you remember where half of your food rules came from? When was the last time you stopped to reevaluate whether those rules still work for you and your body?



Yet, even with all this change, we wait patiently (like good little girls) for the diet books to tell us what to eat and what to avoid. We accept the rules outlined by the food industry and the government without question.

We try to stick to their rules with all our might… for as long as we can. Which isn’t long.

Face it ladies, diet rules are NOT made in our best interest. Most of the time, diet rules just don’t make any sense.  And even those that make sense aren't necessarily meant to be followed 100% of the time.  There's room for flexibility, for fun, for fabulous indulgence in whatever our hearts desire.  And yes, that includes chocolate.



If it’s in a glitzy commercial with a skinny model, we’ll buy it.

If our friend lost weight by eating it, we’ll try it.

If it comes with a money-back guarantee and promises quick results...

We’ll give it a shot.

What have we got to lose?



We are bombarded by commercials, advertisements, and endorsements that tout junk food. If we look closely, we'll notice that the amount of advertising dollars a company spends on a product has a direct correlation to how UNhealthy that food happens to be.

If companies didn’t spend large sums of money advertising their processed food products, would we have any interest in eating them? I bet not.

I'm not saying that we should turn over all the blame to the food industry and marketing companies.  But I am saying that we're up against some strong entities... ones that have profits, and not our health, as their top priority. 

It's our job to wake up and say, "No, this is unacceptable!  Eating healthy should not be this hard!  We don't want our daughters to search this hard to avoid foods with chemicals, MSG, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated anything.  We simply won't stand for this anymore!"



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We live the 'Standard American Day'

(I call it SAD #2).



We go from work to gym to errands to home to chores to TIVO to bed. We roll out of bed in the morning, exhausted, not quite ready to get up and start it all over again. But we have to get up… this is life.

Sigh.


Where have the juice, the spice, the passion gone?



We have forgotten that pleasure is an important part of our day. In fact, we have forgotten that we are the ones who choose how to spend our days. If we want to get out of the SAD #2 cycle, we can. But we forget that. It’s easier to go with the flow. After all, everyone else lives this way. Everyone else is over-stressed and over-scheduled, too, right?

Being busy and overworked has become a symbol of pride, a badge of honor in our society. Perhaps this is why we never slow down. What would we tell people we did all weekend… if we actually relaxed, took it easy, chilled out?



Why should you be the one to rock the boat?

Do you deserve to feel relaxed, sensual, in the flow?

Of course you do.  Accept this as your divine right.  Pull it in.  Draw it in.  Breathe it in.

RELAXED, SENSUAL, IN THE FLOW.



Day after day, season after season, our routines stay the same. When we get sick, we work through the flu. Sure, we might stay home for one day… but we spend that day checking email, calling in for meetings, and catching up on housework. Not really the restful break our bodies were looking for! The next day, we’re back at work after drugging ourselves up with cold medicine.

And we wonder why our flu drags on for days?



After we give birth, we take it easy for a few days to relish the joy of having a new child. But oh-too-soon, we’re off again like rockets. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of everyone else… but ourselves.

As new moms, we’re back at work before we know it, and we wonder why we’re exhausted when we finally collapse into bed at night? We might love our job, might love the intellectual stimlation and the income... but that elusive work-life balance sure is hard to come by.  Could it be that this dual career option doesn’t work so well after all?

Or we're working at home all day, taking care of kids, household, husband, partner, chores, errands... before collapsing into bed at night. We might love being a homemaker, but we are tired of not getting the respect we deserve for all that we do.  Could it be that taking care of everyone else, and not taking care of ourselves, doesn't work so well after all?

When we run out of food, we order takeout because we don’t have time to get to the store. Somehow, we have time to check email for an hour, watch 2 hours of TV, pick up our dry cleaning, and return our clothes to the mall… but we don’t have time to swing by the grocery store to pick up some good, wholesome foods to fuel our gorgeous Goddess bodies.



Does something seem wrong about that to you?

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On to that which defines us as women…



When we get our monthly periods, we plow through them. No period is going to get to us – we’re tough!  We might have cramps, but we take Midol and pretend like we have all the energy in the world (when all we want to do is crash on the couch for the rest of the day).

We don’t realize that our periods actually reflect the rest of our lives like a mirror. When we don’t take care of ourselves during the first three weeks of our cycle, it shows up in the last week. If we neglect ourselves, our bodies will tell us when it gets a chance (hint: it’s best ‘chance’ is during our periods).



What is your period trying to tell you?



When we get cranky or irritable before our periods, we chalk it up to PMS and give ourselves a hard time for being weak and emotional. We don’t understand that these emotions are really our bodies’ way of telling us they desperately need us to slow down. After all, they’re trying to perform a mini-miracle for us month after month after month.

We might not know that our emotional responses before our period – our breakdowns, arguments, and intense dreams – actually point us to the things that are most important in our lives. If we paid close attention to the people, things, and words that make us most mad, sad, or teary-eyed during our period, we would know which things we most need to change, improve, or monitor about our lives.

Some of us don’t get monthly periods anymore. Instead of listening to our bodies and trying to understand what’s gone wrong in this - our most basic womanly process - we head to the doctor who prescribes pills for us. These pills usually work… and our symptoms go away in the short term… but the long-term cause of our missing periods is still there, inside of us.



We’re trying our best.

Oh, how we try.

We’re doing the very best we can.

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But... Our Primary Food Is Suffering

Our primary food is out of whack. Primary food doesn’t come on a plate, and we don’t put it in our mouths… but when it comes to our health, it’s just as important as the food we eat.



Primary food is everything that feeds our souls. It's our careers, our relationships, our fitness and movement, and our spirituality.

Take a look at your career.

 

Does it feed your soul? Are you doing something that makes a difference… challenges you… uses your talents and strengths to the max… adapts with you… allows for a full personal life… rewards you for a job well done? Does your workday fly by?

Or does your career drain you? Does it squash your talents, creativity, and zest for life? Do you secretly pine for that ‘someday’ when you can do what you really want to do? Do you dread Mondays and anticipate Fridays? Does your boss bring you down? Do the minutes creep by slowly? Do you threaten to quit and walk out the door on a regular basis? Do you feel like you’re not adequately paid for the work you do?



Take a look at your relationships.

 

Do they feed your soul? Do they boost you up? Do they make you feel alive and grateful? Do they support you, nourish you, make you laugh? Do you have people you can count on? Do you get lots of touch and love every day? Do you have people you can call to come to your aid immediately, without question? Do you experience unconditional love?

Or do your relationships drain you? Do they make you feel weak and small? Do they bring you down? Do they make you feel like you need to change… like you’re never enough? Do you do more than your fair share of work and support? Do you feel alone or misunderstood? Do you have to rely on yourself to get things done? Are you lonely? Have you forgotten what it’s like to feel someone else touching you?



Take a look at your movement.

Does your body move every day? Does it feel young? Is it well taken care of? Is it flexible and strong? Do you have workouts that you do regularly? Do you enjoy and look forward to your workouts? Do you have a mixture of cardio, strength, and flexibility training in your schedule? Do you walk on a regular basis? Can you get up off the floor without trouble?

Or is movement lacking in your life? Do you dread or avoid the gym? Have you let your membership slide? Has it been a long time since you played outside? Do you drive everywhere and take the elevator instead of the stairs? Have you given up the sports you used to play as a little girl? Do you drive your kids to sporting events and just sit and watch them move and yell… living vicariously through them?



Take a look at your spirituality.

 

Do you build in quiet time each day? Do you have somewhere to go where you can get away? Do you have a way to connect to a higher power, to Nature? Do you regularly give thanks? Do you build in ‘break times’ into your year? Do you take vacations? Do you schedule time for fun and pure pleasure into your calendar? Do you know where you feel most ‘you?’ Do you volunteer your time or money to worthwhile charities?

Or is spirituality lacking in your life? Have you given up your spiritual practice? Do you always find an excuse for not meditating, breathing, or stretching? Are your days so jam-packed that you fall into bed exhausted… without having a break all day? Do you find yourself saying ‘glass-half-empty’ comments all the time? Do you feel like you are a separate being… not connected to anything or anyone else?



How does your primary food stack up?



The secret is this: we oftentimes turn to food to fill a void created by primary food. But this never works. It just makes us feel worse, because we know – deep down – that we’re trying to do the impossible. Ice cream, chocolate, and chips… they just aren’t a substitute for good careers, relationships, movement, and spirituality.

Even if we eat the "perfect" diet (and darn it, I want to tell you, THERE ISN'T ONE!), we still won’t be truly healthy unless our primary food supports us. If we eat well – and our primary food is working well – then we have a very high chance of living amazingly healthy (and deliciously fun!) lives.

 

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The Movement Is Starting...

Somewhere underneath the roar of the diet books, the howl of the weight loss programs, and the bottles of birth control pills… a womanly whisper is growing louder and louder. It’s the whisper of our own bodies.



Your body is talking to you. Can you hear it? It’s been whispering for a while, but you’ve been moving so fast that you haven’t truly heard it yet.

If you take a moment to listen right now… what is your body saying to you?



Your body is saying that it desperately wants the chance to guide you again. Your body knows what to do. Better than any diet book, it knows. Better than any over-the-counter medication, it knows. Better than any self-help book, it knows.

It’s scary to think about listening to our bodies. We might hear things that we’ve been ignoring for a long time. That’s partly why we’re on autopilot all the time. We move quickly and pack our days full of errands and tasks because… well, because it’s easier that way. We’ll get to the real stuff some day… when the dishes are done, the bills are filed away… after we’ve been to the gym, to the store, to the bank.

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What would it be like to try something different?

To join a movement, a revolution?



What would it be like to fall back in love (or perhaps fall in love for the very first time) with healthy eating, juicy living, and guilt-free self-care?

What would it be like to take away the rules, restrictions, confusion and overwhelm around self-nourishment?

What would it be like to give yourself permission to take really, really, really good care of yourself?

To bump your health up to the top of your priority list?

To slow down… to need others… to get help from other women… to not have to do everything on your own?



How does that sound to you?



Don’t worry about the “how” just yet!

For now, just sit with those questions and see how they feel to you.

Do they make you feel excited? Passionate? Motivated? A bit sad or scared?

It’s a radically new concept. But it’s the health wave of the future. It’s where we’re headed… it’s where we MUST go if we want to experience true health.

As women, we must set the trend.  We must begin the journey and inspire others to follow us. 

We must reclaim our health. We deserve it. It’s time. Now.

Are you ready?

Stick with BostonHealthCoach.  I'm in this for the long haul.  I'm looking forward to making the journey... with you. 

Oh, by the way, I'm struggling with all of the things I wrote about. 

Oh, it might take some work. No doubt it will require a major shift in thinking.  But it will happen.   Together, we will make it happen. 

As women, we're not supposed to do things by ourselves.  So, join forces with other marvelous women you know... and start making changes today. 

Use this website as inspiration.  Use me as support.  Just do whatever you need to do to start reclaiming your health.

 

Please email me and let me know if this manifesto touched you in any way... if you agree... disagree... I'd love to hear your thoughts.

If it made you mad, good.  If it made you sad, good.  If it touched your heart, good.

So now you're all fired up and you want to take the next step towards being the healthy, sexy, vivacious YOU you were meant to be? 

Great!   If you want to see what's been keeping you from achieving ultimate health these days...click here.

 

 

RECOMMENDED READING


** If you'd like to keep the momentum going, here are a few books I recommend:

- Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup

- The Life Organizer by Jennifer Louden

- Lit From Within by Victoria Moran

- Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts by Regena Thomashauer

- You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

- If You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair by Geneen Roth


© 2007 Boston Health Coach, All rights reserved.

 

You are free to use material from this manifesto in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear before you publish it.

The attribution should read:
"By Christi Collins of Boston Health Coach. Please visit Christi's web site at www.bostonhealthcoach.com for additional articles and resources on healthy eating, juicy living, and guilt-free self-care." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)



 

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