Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cyndi's Pizza Dilema

An Introduction to Cyndi...LYB Project Creator...

I met Cyndi over 20 years ago.  We worked together in the "Aerobics" world.  The days of leg warmers,thongs and movies like Perfect, with Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta.  We have traveled in the same circles, doing the same but different things.  Reconnecting again and again over the years. Cyndi's Passion and energy always radiates all around her.  I have learned more about her story over the last year or so through her Facebook Community Page: Love Your Body Project: Peace, Love and Food. I am continually impressed by her strength and resilience.  To learn a little more about her...check out this blog:


"About three years ago, my husband and I started having Tuesday nights out. I used to work late at my old job and didn't get out until 8 pm. I also had a 37 mile commute, which meant I wouldn't get home until almost 8:45. One week, he texted me, asking if I would meet him at the pizza place down the street from our house. We would sit in the bar, place an order for takeout and have a drink while we waited for our food. It was so much easier than trying to throw something quick together at home.

This became a tradition known as "pizza night" (uber creative name, I know). Every week, I SO looked forward to this. I could not wait to get my hands on pizza. We tried a different kind each week and I ate the s**t out of it. I couldn't get enough.
Until I did.

One day, I arrived at our place and decided I didn't want pizza. I was almost a bit...sad. You see, in all the years I restricted, there were two food items that had achieved legend status in my mind: ice cream and pizza. I thought about these two things constantly and when I had the chance to eat them, I fully took advantage. But, then I began healing my relationship with food. I was coming to terms with the fact that dieting wasn't the answer, the scale wasn't really my friend and exercising 2-3 hours a day wasn't practical for me anymore. I made the choice to allow everything and deprive myself of nothing. After a few months of this, I began to find my balance. I ate more from genuine hunger and intuited what my body wanted. Hint: it wasn't always pizza. All of a sudden, the legend status was gone. It was no big deal anymore because I could have it anytime I wanted, which resulted in me not wanting it all the time.

Now, we still frequent our neighborhood place once a week. We have become very close friends with the bartender who was always there to take care of us. It's fun to have a place to go where "everyone knows your name" (insert theme music from "Cheers" here). But, it's no longer "pizza night" every week. Sometimes, it's fish. Sometimes, it's salad. Sometimes, it's pasta. It changes all the time and I think that's the way it should be.
Allow all foods in your diet. Then, let your body decide what it needs and wants. It's smarter than you think."   Cyndi@ LYB Project


Go to the Love Your Body Project page to find out more about her, and our work together...There are many pearls of wisdom to be cherished...

Monday, March 23, 2015

MEET IZZY

It was Christmas , 2011...I was sitting on the floor with my daughters Ashley and Alyssa. It had been over a year and a half since the divorce.  I was filled with love and gratitude having them both with me.

I ripped open the red Rudolph wrapping paper and my mouth dropped open wide, my heart , which I thought was already full, now overflowed.  There on my lap was a Pink "not so scary" stuffed monster.

It was 4 years earlier at Christmas time, when we were visiting New York.  I was about 5months pregnant with the twins.  What an amazing place the city is that time of year.  The hustle and bustle...

We saw John goodman play Tracy Turnblads mother (in drag) in Hairspray...climbed to the top of the Empire State building, skated in Bryant park, and shopped!  The Apple Store, American Girl, and FAO Schwartz were the favorites.  It was the enormous toy story that I first set my eyes on that adorable pink stuffed monster.

I remember picking her up, hugging her, and yelling across the store (as only an embarrassing mother of teens can) to my girls..."LOOK HOW CUTE!!"  They both rolled their eyes( as only teenagers can do) and continued on their way.

So now, as I sat on the floor with that adorable pink monster in my arms...the memories of that trip came rushing back...inside I was full of happiness and pride.  These amazing young women remembered how I acted when I saw this little special monster.  All I could do on the outside was cry.  My heart full...immediately I named her Isabelle...Izzy for short.

Most people get dogs or cats for companionship, friendship and unconditional love.  For me? I have Izzy...this adorable pink "not so scary" monster.

She has travelled to Florida, New York, and all over New England.  She has sat on the dashboard of the car, holding toll money, and cheered me on at marathons( being carried around by my now husband Tim, not at all embarrassed by this little mascot). She has heard all of my secrets, , listened and offered comfort. She is a special friend.

A special thank you to Alyssa and Ashley...their care, love and thoughtfulness, and for the many special memories I have with them that I will always treasure...along with Izzy.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Climbing in and out of the Hole


What is it that causes you the most pain?  Is it a past mistake the continues to haunt you?  Is it a physical ailment that is chronic, and wears you down?  Is it the loss of a loved one that leaves a hole in your heart that cannot be filled... a broken relationship, where your heart has been broken and you cannot seem to find anything that can mend it?  Or, Is it yourself?  The constant beating up of yourself for not doing, being or achieving what you think you should...

Our pain comes from different places....different experiences.  It sits at all kinds of levels that can change minute to minute, day to day.  Some of our pain can be so big...

Imagine a large hole that has been dug into the ground.  It is a place that you go to when you feel pain, hurt, alone, abandoned, sad, frustrated, angry, disappointed, distant, desperate...It can provide extreme relief and comfort.

Everyone’s hole is unique.  Some may be empty...a punishment hole with no way out, it is dark, cold and scary, and at the same time extremely comfortable and welcome. Others may have a hole where they go to get away.  They feel comfortable there, they cannot be hurt by anyone, they cannot make any mistakes here, they can’t say the wrong thing, no one can judge them here. Here they do not have to be someone they are not. They can just sit with themselves...with their sadness, their pain and their brokenness...

I have realized over the past few years that no matter what my pain level is, or has been, there are ALWAYS many examples of greater pain brought to my attention.  It could come in the form of a conversation, a physical interaction, a friend of a friend, the TV, or even a face-book story.

It is in these moments where I step away from myself and step into their pain, their sadness, their loss, their hole.  Within hours of this interaction, I have come out of my own hole willingly, for my pain has been lifted.  To feel the pain of another is a blessing.  It enables us to understand our own pain better... Climb out of our own hole.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Paving the Path to your Story



 To know your purpose and then find the path that leads you there is my hope.  The questions I ask myself are:  Why am I here?  Why was I born?  What am I supposed to be doing with this life I have been given? 

Our purpose is more than any of us think.  It is an understanding that we might need to stop trying so hard, stop asking the questions, being ok not knowing what it is.  Our place on this earth is to Trust...To trust that our path is out there waiting for us to get out of our own way.

I believe that if we can share our bliss...our enthusiasm, our love, our light; of which comes from our talents. It doesn’t  matter how insignificant, or irrelevant we may think these talents are-     we own them and they are OURS.  They are ours to share with others.  It could be the way you tell a joke, the way your laughter is contagious, the way you tell(or write) a story, the way you draw an elephant or flower, the way you do a jumping jack, navigate your computer, thread a needle....

Living our lives with joy, happiness, and laughter...that is the path we are to follow...

Not the path our parents wanted us to pursue, not the path your husband or wife wants you to follow, not the one our teachers, our bosses, or society want us to go after...

We have lived our lives believing that we should be successful, make a lot of money, raise a happy family, hold down a “good” job, be a wonderful friend, be fit, healthy, attractive, thin and of course happy...

All these are thoughts and beliefs that have been made into stories...stories that we have told ourselves for years, and stories that we have been bombarded with through society, and the people that surround us.

It is time to release all these stories, for they are not yours.  It is time to write your own story, pave your own path.  What does this fresh new story of your life look like?

My story includes helping others find their way out of pain, out of struggle, out of the story they live in where they don’t belong, are not enough,  or don’t believe in themselves...

It is your turn to begin to pave a path where beauty surrounds you, where your mini me is in awe of your strength, where your mind is quiet, and your body is at peace with itself.  Breath the fresh air, trust in yourself, trust in your story, trust in your life...trust the amazing and overwhelming beauty that is within you...Follow the paved path and trust...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sliding Into Joy...An Unexpected Memory

I felt like Kate Winslet in the Titanic as she reached desperately for Leonardo DiCaprio's out-stretched hand....

"Grab my hand" I hear Tim yell...as I see only his hand sticking out of the car window.  I am slowly sliding further away from the car on the ice covered hill in my dressy black boots that I have worn about twice a year for the last 10 years...

The snow bank on the side of the hill stops my slide, and I take a step back to climb back up towards the car in the snow.  I grab onto Rosie's fender(Rosie is the affectionate name of our 10 year old Hyundai).  I slowly scale and slide across the side of the car to grab a hold of Tim's outstretched hand.

He pulls me safely into the car, and asks me to put on my seat belt.  All I can squeak out is "NO...Don't Start the Car!  DON'T EVEN TRY to go down this hill!!!"

"Its OK" he says, "Just relax and put your seat belt on, everything will be OK"

It was only moments earlier I was in full on panic mode, with all of my strength and body weight pressing down on the brake of the car, and still sliding down the hill.  "Slow Down" Tim says in a calm and relaxed voice...
"I CAN"T" I hear myself say as I begin to hyperventilate.

We were on our way to share a night of fun and friendship at a comedy show...


Now, we are stuck with our back end in the snow bank...Emergency brake on.  Tim calmly says, lets change positions...as we do, we look like a Laurel and Hardy comedy skit...

Now...Tim decides to TRY...as he turns the wheel, and we slide and spin...thud, we land facing downhill in the snow bank this time.  We cant possibly walk up this hill on this ice, and our dashboard is lit up like a Christmas Tree...We Contemplate our actions...

7:10pm; We call the Plow/Sand guys...3 different phone numbers, 3 different answering machines

7:20pm; With no call back yet, we call AAA

8:00pm; AAA calls back, be there in about 30 minutes

8:05pm; Plow Guys call back, be there in about 20 minutes

We Place Our Bets...
9:00pm; New London Fire Department(thank you!) Shows "UP", and instantly slides down the hill backward, ever so slightly clipping Rosie's nose, and ends up in the middle of the road mid way down the hill.
9:10pm; Plow Guys(Thank you!) show up, unable to pass the Fire Department Vehicle...9:11 New London PD shows up(thank you!) he addresses the situation...

9:25pm; The hill in front of us gets sanded, by a talented plow driver moving up the hill backwards...

9:30pm; as we slowly creep down the hill, we meet the AAA truck on his way to rescue us.  We thank him...

9:45pm; We stop at Jakes, we need recovery food and wine...

9:50pm; We check in at the Lamplighter Motor Inn (Thank You!) to complete our Date Night...ahhh...joy...

Comedy show? Check...not quite the one we planned
Friends? Check...new ones made, not quite the ones we were expecting!
Date Night? Check...along with a great unexpected memory to tell our grandchildren

What is your most unexpected memory?





Friday, March 13, 2015

Judge Foody (Not to be confused with Judge Judy)

"I cant believe I ate all that!"
"That was such a bad thing to eat!"
"I am going to have to stay at the gym all day because of that lunch!"

These are words I have said to myself and hear daily at work.  Our inner Judge scolding us, and letting us know how unworthy we are.  All because of our own perception and beliefs about what is Right or Wrong with the food we eat.

Good Foods/Bad Foods=Good Girl/Bad Girl

Exercise becomes punishment for a dessert shared with a friend, which should have been enjoyed and treasured moments in time...Not punishment.

Step on the scale, step off, move it to another spot, try again.  Today's mood dependent on what this hunk of metal says...

Food is not "Good" or "Bad"...as a matter of fact, I think the M&M people are very cute and entertaining...how could they be bad?

Life is too short to have the food Judge in my face any longer.  She has criticized my choices, dictated my actions, scolded and shamed me into depression, addiction and abuse.

Food is Fuel...It is needed to keep us going.  For us to keep our energy up and keep our brains and bodies working.  It is needed for us to make a difference with our work, enjoy a walk in nature, connect with friends, carry the groceries, rearrange furniture( a fun trait I get from my mom, that drives everyone else crazy!), write, read, stretch...

This life is full of so many wonderful things.  Why do we continue to let the Judge in our head ruin an otherwise perfectly good day by telling us we have made the wrong choice, or bullies you because the scale says something it doesn't like.

Throw away the scale, let the M&M people be your friends.  FIRE the JUDGE!  She has made enough money to retire very nicely...in an upscale retirement community in Florida.  I have paid her well throughout the years.  It is time for me to hire myself to be my own Judge.  One that treats me with respect and admiration.  One that does not criticize my choices for dinner, or guilt me into going to the gym...again...

My new Judge says "Eat for Energy, Exercise for Enjoyment"  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I am off to see the Wizard!

It felt like I was punched in the stomach.  I immediately felt a wave of nausea travel through me and land in my stomach.  My heart begins to beat hard and fast.  RUN, just RUN.  As far and as fast as your legs will take you. 

 I am a coward, I do not speak up.  Even at the cost of losing my soul, my spirit, my voice and my sense of self.  My self esteem being kicked...and plummeting lower day by day.  The sound of anger sends me deeper into myself, cowering in the corner of my heart.  Why don't I stand up?  Why cant I speak my mind? Why do I  have this overwhelming allergic, repulsive reaction to the sound of a raised voice?

I feel like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of OZ.  The outward appearance of strength, yet inward there is weakness, timid-ness and shame.  It is time to see the Wizard, my Wizard who is strong, confident and bold.  Take my trip down the Yellow Brick Road.  This road  that I know has places I need to pass and leave behind with my footsteps as distant memories that need to be forgiven and released.

I imagine a child releasing a balloon into the air, sad to watch it go and at the same time thrilled to see it travel higher and higher into the sky to a place wonderful and unknown.

This meandering yellow brick road I have to travel makes its way around a pond of pain, and moves through the forest of failures and over the mountains of mistakes.  I continue my journey through the many planted gardens of guilt and past the expansive sea of shame.

Finally  to make it to the home of the Wizard.  Who lives in the center of my heart, hidden behind a closed door.  It has been a long journey, and I will not turn back now.  I open the door to find  my own Maxine (My Maxi Me) standing strong and holding a bouquet of balloons.  She is my Wizard-ress patiently waiting to grant me my Courage.

 The courage to let go of all my balloons...It is with some anxiety and sadness that I let them go one by one, watching them drift slowly up and away.  Then, there is a sudden gust of wind and they all shoot off on different paths.  I smile at the sight, it looks like fireworks; bolts of colors traveling through the sky with destination unknown.

The Wizard has been here all along.  That sneaky Maxine!  I am thankful to have finally taken the trip to find her and help her find her voice, her spirit, her soul...HER SELF**


** Are you ready to find your Maxine?  If so please consider joining me at my Leap of Life Retreat...A Women's Wellness Weekend.  Located at Nurture Through Nature in Denmark Maine.  For details email me at annepoirier11@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Searching for Significance

I lie in bed listening to my brother, 2 years older, dry heave in the next room.  My dad standing at his side.  I only hear some bits and pieces of the lecture, words like: irresponsible, lack of respect, disappointment, thoughtlessness...There is judgement and anger in his voice.

It was then I vowed not to cause any more trouble than I already had. They had suffered enough through my anorexia.  It caused fights and heartache between my parents.  More than I could ever imagine.  My guilt ran deep.   I would be a good girl, do what I was told, do my best at school, at sports, stay out of trouble.  I would be the perfect daughter, act the way I thought I was supposed to act.  I had caused them enough pain.

The search for significance and acceptance began...

The Wants:  To Fit In; To be Noticed; To be Liked; To be Accepted; To be GOOD   

All this work to be this person became overwhelming.  The want to be good became exhausting.  It turned itself upside-down.  The path I decided to take became a detour.  I was paralyzed with the fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.  I began to cover up my flaws, hide my true thoughts and opinions in order to keep the peace.  Avoid all conflict.

The years went by, these thoughts became beliefs, these beliefs became actions...the only thing I knew.  I had lost myself in my own story.  

It is time to change my story...Today I vow to embrace my flaws, realize they do not make me a bad person.  I have a voice...my authentic voice.  It may disappoint, it may cause conflict, it may not fit in.  

My work now comes in understanding that this is OK.  It is to live my own story, embracing my fear of "not being liked" and know that by doing this, I begin to be true to myself.  It will be hard, yet I know I am strong enough to overcome my own resistance to live a more authentic life for me. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stepping Through the Open Door

How absolutely wonderful it is when you can sit with a friend and open your heart.  It is like seeing an open door, knowing that no matter what, you will be loved and accepted on the other side.  Laughing until you pee your pants...crying until it hurts, and know it is ok.  Pour out your soul, to know that it will be caught in a mug of comfort, compassion and care.

Share the stories of an elderly gentleman who has lived a great long life and appreciates every waking moment.  He unknowingly shares his love, hope and gratitude upon anyone blessed to walk through the open door of his store.

To watch a cross country skier, dressed in a beautiful blue wind suit, that perfectly matches the backdrop of ocean waves and pops out of the winter white snow as he glides smoothly down the coast.

As February turns to March, I sit  alone with a notebook and a pen....realizing that there is a open door in front of me.  On the other side is the knowledge to follow my heart, trust of my instincts, forgive my mistakes, and finally face my fears.

Tomorrow I will awaken, the dawn of a new day.  The pinks and blues of the sunrise over the ocean.  There will be a new trust within myself, a renewal of spirit and purpose of life all within me.  There are open possibilities, and open doors.

Oh...look, there is another one.  Let's walk through it together with confidence and courage.