Last year I started a podcast which allowed me to connect with some of the best wellness experts around the country, who specialize in everything from yoga to tapping to personal finance.
Their stories and perspectives are as unique as their specialties, but the common thread is that each of them is devoted to creating holistic wellness in their niche and sharing with the world. These wellness gurus are as down-to-earth as they are knowledgeable, allowing them to connect with and truly serve their clients, patients and readers. Here are some of my favorite lessons from interviewing them:
1. Exercise doesn't have to be complicated.
This paradigm shift came via Dr. Joel Kahn, holistic cardiologist and author of The Holistic Heart Book. This was huge for me because I always thought that exercise had to involve fancy equipment and some discomfort. Dr. Kahn's take is that it can be as simple and functional as choosing the farthest parking spot, taking the stairs, and standing when you’re on the phone. As a result of speaking with him, I now take laps around my apartment whenever I’m on a call, and even do jumping jacks in the bathroom.
2. The best beauty products are in your kitchen.
This wisdom came from Alexis Wolfer, founder of The Beauty Bean. Since our talk, I go to my fridge more than my medicine cabinet for skincare. I use coconut oil to take off eye makeup and moisturize my lashes, and I keep plain full-fat organic Greek yogurt in the fridge for a face mask or to spot treat blemishes.
3. Somedays it's better to skip the workout.
I learned this from Amanda Russell, trainer, athlete, and the brains behind the fitness empire ARFit. She was a college runner and Olympic hopeful, until an injury took her out of her sport completely. Her story inspired me to give myself a few days of rest rather than forcing a workout when my body's not ready, because that could sideline me for months.
4. Stop yourself, even when you're on a roll.
When Jessica Ortner, author of The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss & Body Confidence was writing her book, she used a kitchen timer to keep herself on task and make sure she didn't burn out. Now when I’m doing something creative, I set the timer for one hour while I work, then force myself to stop even if I’m on a roll. Then I’ll get up stretch and drink water. Using this trick helps make sure the hour counts and ensures that I don't burn out.
5. Emotional eating is not that bad.
We’re taught to hate ourselves for emotional or overeating, but health coach Isabel Foxen Duke has helped me see this differently. Her take is that overeating is a mechanism to avoid a feeling you don’t want to feel. It's like a bandaid on a head wound, but it also isn’t inherently bad. Sure, your tummy won’t feel the best, but you're not doing anything inherently wrong and adding guilt and self-blame will only cause more emotional eating.
6. Let your niche find you.
This lesson comes from Latham Thomas, author of Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy. Latham has created an amazing brand as a sought-after nutrition and lifestyle expert, but she didn’t set out on this path; it came to her after the birth of her son. She saw a need and created her brand from there. Her journey was a revelation to me because I was pushing to find my niche and since then I’ve sat back and allowed my niche to find me.
7. Money is just a stand-in for value.
My relationship with my finances transformed after speaking with Kate Northrup, a financial freedom expert and author of Money: A Love Story. Her philosophy is that if you free yourself financially, you can be fully present to your purpose on the planet. When you value yourself, that will be mirrored back to you in your finances. Thinking about money this way was a huge shift for me and helped me take control of my money.
8. Your stomach doesn't have teeth.
The importance of chewing for digestion comes from no-nonsense health coach Robyn Youkilis. Her approach is to keep things simple so they’ll stick. Since our talk, I simply start the day by drinking a big glass of water. That way, if I do nothing else, I’ve started the day in a positive way. She also stressed how cooking can be simple and now each time I cook make enough for another meal, so I cook once, eat twice.
9. Clean water is the most important element for our body's eco-system.
This huge paradigm shift came from Daniel Vitalis, founder of FindASpring.com. His work is grounded in the importance of drinking natural spring water rather than "cooked" water stripped of enzymes, which makes it difficult to remain hydrated. He looks at our bodies as an ecosystem similar to an aquarium: you can give fish the best food, but if their water is dirty, the fish die. I'd always thought alkaline water or filtered water was the best water for us, but now I seek out live spring water whenever possible.
10. Radical honesty is the key to wellness.
This idea from all-star life coach Laurie Gerber changed my life. Laurie believes that what stops people from feeling free is what they are hiding. What we hide preoccupies us and makes us feel guilty and wrong. I quickly learned that starting a radically honest way of being was like starting a healthy diet; it was a process. I hadn't realized all the ways I was being dishonest and how it was affecting my life. Being honest meant having tough conversations and getting issues out on the table. Doing this over time made me feel free.