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Monika Whitmore - Emotional Wellness Coach

hello@monikawhitmore.com

(816) 392-3034

Dissecting Diet Culture

As I sat down to write this blog, I realized that I’ve ALMOST written on this subject five different times. The truth is, I feel torn on how to balance my feelings on the subject. 

On one hand, I despise the pressure so many people in our society feel about looking a certain way, fitting a certain mold. I don’t even need to explain this any further because the standard of beauty has been so ingrained in us from every direction, from every media outlet. You ALL know what I’m talking about.  

On the other hand, I recognize our nation is facing an obesity epidemic that impacts the physical and emotional wellbeing of millions of people.

On one hand, I know I should never judge another person’s situation because you truly never know what they’re going through. 

On the other hand, I know there are so many people who want help with issues such as emotional overeating, but feel stuck and helpless. I’ve been there and it’s scary. And I needed help to get through it.

Are you seeing my dilemma? Nevertheless, when I get quiet and listen to my inner voice, I know the answer is always rooted in love and compassion. But only 100% of the time (love you, Byron Katie)! More on that in a bit!

First, let me share my definition of diet culture as the pervasive belief that thinness is equal to worthiness, success, and beauty. Diet culture encourages you to change your body based on the lie that you’ll feel sexier, happier, more successful when you’re smaller. The fact is, if you don’t do the inner work, NOTHING you do to change your outer appearance will help. 

The only way to feel sexier, happier, and more successful is to have sexier, happier, and more successful thoughts about yourself. And that’s possible at any size. It may be hard in the beginning, but I promise, it’s possible (and one of my favorite things to work with my clients to master).

Diet culture is also FULL of judgements. Some direct, others more subtle. Here’s a seemingly harmless example. You see a friend you haven’t seen in months. You say, “Wow, you look great! You’ve lost so much weight!” Whether you realize it or not, you just made the connection that weight loss = great. The unspoken counter message is that weight gain = bad.

Think about the impact this has on children, whose developing brains are being programmed with these messages.  

Below, I’m going to share with you some of my observations about diet culture and offer some alternative ways to think about food, exercise, and overall wellbeing. 

Diet culture: Hyper-focus on food. Food controls your day. You obsess about food you’ve already eaten, what you are currently eating, and what you’ll eat next. 

Instead: Thoroughly enjoy food when you’re eating. Focus your attention on more important things when you’re not eating. If your mind wanders to food, notice it, and consciously shift your attention to what you are doing in the present moment.

Diet culture: Labels foods as either good or bad. This sets you up to make “good” choices and “bad” choices all day long. Your worth is often tied to these choices.

Instead: Think about food as fuel and nourishment for our bodies. 

Diet culture: Exercise is a tool for weight loss. It should be difficult and painful in order to be effective.

Instead: Exercise is a tool for emotional wellbeing. Find a form that you enjoy.

Diet culture: Masks judgement about other people’s bodies and life choices as concern for their health. 

Instead: Remind yourself that you can never truly know what another person is going through. Also: Other people’s bodies are none of your concern.

Diet culture: Compliments people on weight loss.

Instead: Compliment people on their beautiful smile. How they light up a room. How helpful they’ve been. 

Diet culture: Celebrates hard work, deprivation, sacrifice, and willpower.

Instead: Celebrate choices that align with your inner voice or your core values.

Diet culture: Encourages you to change your body to fit societal standards.

Instead: Focus on your emotional wellbeing, healing inner wounds, and reconnecting with your inner strength. Inner turmoil will not be resolved with a smaller body.

Has something I’ve shared here today resonated with you? If so, please let me know!

And if you’d like more information about working with me one-on-one, please email me at hello@monikawhitmore.com or call me at: (816) 392-3034. 

Emotional Wellness Manifesto

When I decided to become a life coach, I could have went a million different directions with my practice. However, it didn’t take long for me to hone in on an area that I’m extremely passionate about: emotional wellness. 

I decided I wanted to help people FEEL better, because when you FEEL better you can DO better. And I believe life is about DOING things. The more fun things, the better! 

I DON’T believe we were put on this earth to suffer.
I DO believe we were put on this earth to experience love, to grow, have fun, and evolve.

I DON’T believe we have to continue believing our childhood programming (call it hardwiring, our subconscious, but whatever you wanna call it, believe me…it’s there!).
I DO believe we can start to identify, challenge, and rewrite what we want to believe about ourselves, others, and the world.

I DON’T believe we give enough attention to maintaining emotional wellness but rather focus on trying to “fix” things once they are broken.
I DO believe in the power of mindfulness, living life with intention, and keeping a positive perspective.

I DON’T believe most human beings are as connected as they would like to believe.
I DO believe in the power of authentic human interaction, the importance of meaningful work, connection to nature, and the significance of hope in a brighter future.

I DON’T believe tolerating our lives is honoring our ourselves or a higher power.
I DO believe you are capable of more.

What is it like to work with me?

Three words: exploratory, transformative, fun.

Exploratory: When I start working with new clients, I take time to genuinely get to know them. I look at what’s working well in their lives and what’s not. I ask questions that get at the heart of their thought patterns and belief systems without dwelling on the past itself. 

I encourage my clients to get curious about the results they have been getting in their lives. Together, we explore how their thoughts have been creating their feelings which ultimately drive their actions (or inactions).

Thinking THOUGHTS that you’re inadequate? Betcha you’re FEELING inadequate. When you’re feeling inadequate I doubt you feel like DOING much of anything, because it probably won’t be good enough. RESULT: further evidence that you’re inadequate. 

I help clients break this cycle. We explore how they want to feel and work backward to find thoughts that will better serve them on their journey. We look at how they want to show up in their lives and how they will need to FEEL in order to honor that desire.

Transformative: I would never suggest I know what is best for another person. However I love working with people to uncover what they truly want in life and addressing the blocks that are keeping them from creating their best life. 

When I work with clients, we create goals and a plan of action. We address obstacles that will inevitably show up and strategize how to deal with those challenges in the moment.

We practice thinking better thoughts. We celebrate successes and plan for the future…all while intentionally finding joy in the present moment. 

Hands down, the most fulfilling part of my job is seeing clients embrace the power of their minds and using that power to create better lives for themselves.

Fun: I am committed to the belief that life is supposed to be FUN! 

I encourage my clients to look for opportunities to laugh, play, and create. I ask them to purposefully have more fun and not take life too seriously.

Even tasks they’ve deemed tedious or boring, I challenge them to consider how to make them more fun. Make it a game! Crank up some music! Find reasons to be grateful for the task at hand! It’s pretty hard to be grateful and pissed off at the same time. 

Here’s the thing. When it’s all said and done, you’re more likely to regret the things you didn’t do than the things you did do. So I say…choose fun!

Wherever you go...there you are.

There is some debate on the original author of this quote and a number of ways to interpret its meaning. Here’s my interpretation:

 

You can’t outrun your thoughts. 

 

I just got back from a lovely vacation in the mountains. It was equal parts active and relaxing. I used to think of vacations as a way to escape my regular (unfulfilling life). You may be able to relate to how those vacations went down: long, boring drives, heated debates on where to eat, what to do, when to do it. Irritability and frustration all around! I may have physically escaped my home but I definitely didn’t escape my stressed out, overwhelmed mind.

 

Fast forward to this vacation.

 

One major difference involves a shift in mindset. Instead of thinking of this trip as an escape, I chose to view it as a change in scenery, an opportunity to broaden my experiences. And that I did! I soaked up every ounce of mountain air and had as much fun as I possibly could! 

 

On this trip, I enjoyed the journey, not just the destination…meaning I had fun on the 9 hour drive (each way!). I listened to a mysterious podcast series, read a great book, listened to music, and had good conversation with my partner. These days I want to make the most of every experience, because why not?!?  Are the kids still saying YOLO these days? 

 

Honestly, there’s no need for me to run from anything or anyone (including myself) these days. And that’s a very nice feeling.

 

Want to learn how to start making these shifts in your life? Reach out and ask me how! 

Do Your Chores - #relationshipgoals

About a year or so ago I started a new personal practice when it comes to household tasks. To say it has brought me (and my partner) a significant amount of peace would be a huge understatement.

Basically, it goes something like this:

If I see something that needs to be done around the house, I only complete it from a place of love. Otherwise, I STRAIGHT UP leave it. 

 

Dirty socks on the floor? Made peace with them.

Piles of unfolded laundry on the bed? Made peace with them.

Dirty dishes in the sink? Made peace with them.

 

“Wait,” you may say. “How can I make peace with dirty dishes? Especially since I’ve done them the past 5 nights and *insert partner/roommate’s name here* hasn’t done them since who-the-hell-knows-when?!?” 

Here’s how: learn to either love ‘em or leave ‘em! 

I recommend you leave ‘em until you can do one of two things:

1.    Wash them from a place of peace and love

2.    Work out an agreement with your partner/roommate

“What’s this agreement you speak of?”

So glad you asked!

Instead of setting yourself up for failure by having an (often unspoken) expectation that another human being will do exactly what you want them to do, exactly when you want them to do it, make an agreement.

The conversation may go a little something like this: 

“Hey, partner/roommate. Can we come up with some kind of plan for keeping up on the dishes? Something we can both agree on?” 

Then you hash out a plan. Because that’s what grown-ups do.

Some people find that simply asking another person, in a kind, loving manner, to complete a task works just as well. I’ll leave the experimentation process up to you.

“But what happens when said partner/roommate doesn’t hold up their end of the agreement?” 

Then LEAVE THE DAMN DISHES ALONE. Or wash them from a place of love. A place that believes things like, “they were probably just too busy” or “they probably just forgot.”

However, whatever you do, DO NOT wash those dishes from a place of anger or frustration. You DO NOT need that kind of negativity in your life. 

Things that help me enjoy my household tasks:

·     Listening to music or inspiring podcasts while completing them

·     Focusing on how grateful I am to have those things in my life – my house, my clothes, my dishes, etc.  

·     Doing something that puts me in my happy place before tackling the task

I challenge you to try this! It might just change your life (and your relationship). 

Living with Intention

How you show up in your life may be something you’ve never really thought about. You may go about your day reacting to things as they come up without giving much attention to the way you respond. You may feel like your life is happening to you.

I call this living on autopilot and I don’t recommend it! How you show up in any situation is ALWAYS your choice.

I believe there is transformative power in living life on purpose.

Here’s a practice for you to try.

Write down three adjectives that describe how you want to show up in your life. Examples may include: calm, courageous, helpful, cheerful, energetic, friendly, peaceful.

Now under each word write three things you can do this upcoming week that will support your conscious decision to show up that way in your life. See how many of those things you can accomplish in a week. Notice how you feel when you complete them.

It's time to shift out of autopilot and in to a life with greater fulfillment and purpose!