The switch that happens when you go from plans to planTs!

The switch that happens when you go from plans to planTs!

Ever since I went vegan four years ago, I’ve tried to put into words what happened when I went from continuously attempting to follow the latest diet fad or plan,  to listening to my heart and embracing a whole food, plant based diet.  There was this “holy crap, I’ve found the secret … why isn’t everyone getting it” kind of feeling, coupled with a sense of happiness and contentment that I had finally found a way of eating that could provide the best of both worlds; a healthy system on the inside with a vibrant look on the outside while being able to eat a lot of food (because I’m always hungry) that was varied and delicious and provided me tons of energy and enjoyment.

Every time I survey my community about their biggest struggles when trying to commit to a healthy lifestyle is how to stay consistent.  I mean life happens right? All of a sudden you get invited to a wedding with a six course menu, then there’s that vacation in Mexico where you’re bathing in tequila and tacos, and upon your return a blizzard hits out of nowhere and you’re snowed in… which naturally requires at least three bottles of full bodied red wine, pizza and chocolate cupcakes to keep you nourished for the full 24 hour duration.

Why do we develop such an unnatural, obsessive relationship with food?

The problem is three fold:

  1. what most people are feeding their bodies when they go on a diet or follow a “plan”, is not what the body needs and wants, but is unnatural, restrictive and frankly, not very exciting or tasty.  My own memories from when I was eating bland chicken and broccoli five times a day, to looking “forward” to the day when I could ‘cheat, makes me a bit sad, really.  When they say ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’, they are forgetting that we don’t have to compromise to be healthy, there is in fact ways to be able to eat flavorful food (and enough of it) and still meet your health goals.  This is what happens when you embrace a plant based diet.
  2. Secondly, there is not a deeper reason or why behind the desire to get “healthy”. Because what is healthy to you? And why do you want to be healthy? I’m not talking about a superficial goal of wanting to lose x amount of lbs so you can look hot while you’re at your college reunion event, there has to be a bigger, long lasting acumen.  For instance, to me healthy means I’m healthy not just on a physical level, but also happy, content, relaxed, fulfilled and able to enjoy myself and detaching from other people’s expectations or pressures.  Mental stress so often manifests into physical ailments, but this is also what is being minimized and devalued so often by society and even health professionals.  Another big ‘why’ for me, is that I don’t want to contribute to the suffering of other beings’, mainly animals, or the pollution and destruction of our environment. I  cherish everything that lives on this earth with us, and it motivates me to make better, more compassionate choices. When you find a bigger reason for the way you eat, live and love – you will not struggle with cravings for cheese, steak and ice cream, but revel in all the cruelty free, plant based options we are so lucky to have available to us!
  3. Which brings me to the last point; people often resort to food that will give them a ‘quick fix’ or pleasure, because they are unhappy in other areas of their lives. Food becomes an unconscious addiction.  Maybe they feel unfulfilled and underutilized in their job, or perhaps they have settled into a relationship they deep down know is wrong for them, but are in it because of convenience, or they feel like they are living and doing for everybody else, with no time for themselves. Many women I work with came to me because they felt lost, had forgotten who they really are, what they love to do and what lights them up. So they resorted to the only thing that would cheer them up (at least temporarily) and not disappoint: food.  This is why I emphasize my work on self awareness so much in my coaching; it’s the key that will unlock so many answers, and make life a whole lot easier when navigating the road to achieving a joyful state.

I read somewhere that “dieting” is when you eat foods that make you sad.  Now how depressing is that?  Why do we do this to ourselves?!

The issue I see that happens most frequently when women try to go on a “diet”, is that these plans are a) cookie cutter, which means it does not account for your unique schedule, lifestyle, preferences or overall situation, b) terribly boring where you eat the same three bland foods over and over again, which then leads to vitamin deficiencies and cravings which then leads to c) not being sustainable. You end up under a pile of Cheetos, Oreo cookies and ice cream tubs because your body is screaming “what the hell is going on here?? feed us what we need to thrive!!”

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There is so much pressure and obligation when someone says “I’m going on a diet”. Because the underlying implication is that now, all fun ends, no food is ever going to be enjoyable, only endured, I have to stop being myself because I’m on a mission to reach a state that I am not even  sure I will truly reach or enjoy. But of course, it won’t last forever.  So you see how people trick themselves into thinking that a ‘diet’ is temporary, that when they’ve championed through those tough 12 weeks, they can pat themselves on the shoulder saying “I did it man, let’s go get a beer and some nachos?”  I mean, what’s the point of those past weeks then? Was it for show? For whom?

The idea should be to want to live fully and eat the foods that provide your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals it screams for so you can be in a high vibrational, optimal state of health both physically and mentally.  The goal should be to look forward to every meal, to be grateful for and excited about what’s on your plate, and to feel happiness in your soul that you are not causing any harm to anyone because of what you are eating. That to me, is health.

When I went vegan, one of my biggest concern as a chef and food lover, was that my choices would be severely limited.  And that I could never enjoy the flavors I had grown to love so much in dishes that reminded me of my childhood and fun, social gatherings with friends and family.  I visualized having to eat salads and dry pastas for the rest of my life, but since I went vegan for the animals, I was willing to give it a try.  As I started delving into my new world, meeting vegan chefs, food bloggers, nutritionists and other people passionate about this lifestyle, I began realizing that my fears were unfounded. In fact, the opposite happened; I discovered a whole new world of creative and delicious dishes and ways to prepare foods I had never even thought of before!  I was also ecstatic to learn that the classic dishes I thought I had to give up, could easily be veganized and tasting exactly the same!

As with so many other things, the fears in our heads are much worse than reality.  There is ALWAYS a solution to a problem, as long as you are willing to stay open minded, be flexible and ready for change so you can grow and improve.

For me, food has become so much more fun and rewarding since I embraced a plant based diet which is why I’ve devoted my life to sharing it with others.  My fears held me back for years in making a change, because I had made up a fake reality of what my life would be like if I gave up certain foods.  How silly I now feel, knowing what the real truth it.  That doesn’t mean I beat myself up over it, it has actually helped me not taking so long making “scary” decisions in other parts of my life because I now know that change is good and makes life so much more interesting and rewarding.

I know a lot of my clients have the same fears when considering doing the switch; that they have to say goodbye to their favorite dishes, perhaps one of the few things that really bring them comfort and joy, and that they will not know where to begin or what to eat and that life will stop being fun. I get it. But I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.  I would be happy to talk to you about what your concerns are, what you need support around and help with.  Don’t let fear of the unknown rule your health, happiness and life.  Drop the plans, and say hello to PLANTS! 

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Visit me at sunnygandara.com to learn more about me and how I work!

 

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A bit of my story and announcing my new coaching services!

A bit of my story and announcing my new coaching services!

For those of you who know me well,  know I have dabbled in a LOT of different industries and have a ton of varied interests, traveled the world, lived in four different countries and have always been on the “search” for my ideal life where I could feel like myself and ultimately, just be happy. This might seem like a simple (or foreign) concept to many, but I truly believe everyone is searching for happiness, whether they want to get a promotion, lose weight, travel or make a million dollars. Why exactly do you want what you want?  Probably to feel happy, right?  Let me back track…

I am, as many other entrepreneurial women out there, multi-passionate and have a thirst for life and have never settled for average.  I grew up in a small town in Norway, with fairly conservative parents who taught me that hard work pays off (and was necessary in order to make money), money was to be respected and didn’t come easy, and that I should focus on getting an education so I could get a good, steady job. I don’t think my parents were different from most and my education was very traditional in that respect.  They were simply trying to make sure I would be “safe” and ok in the world.  I was taught not to really make a big fuss about myself, be modest and respectful, and was constantly asked “what will they say or think” if I wanted to do something out of the ordinary.

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I am still not sure of who ‘they’ were, but felt somewhat imprisoned by these strange creatures out there who just sat there all day long judging me, telling me what I could or shouldn’t do. Other people’s opinions and expectations of me became somehow very central to my thought process, and every decision I made started with asking myself “What will they think”…

They” supposedly expected me to either become a doctor or a lawyer since I was an A student, to marry a tall, handsome man and have 2.5 children, buy a beautiful home in a nice town with impressive furniture, a cabin in the mountains (where we would go every weekend) and preferably a boat on the fjord, feel ok with the fact that fun would be over when you are married and that now my day would look something like going to work from 9-5, make dinner, read the paper and watch the news and be in bed by 10. And do it all over again until Friday, when we could finally have some “fun”, go for a hike in the mountains and maybe even have a glass of wine or two on Saturday night!  Sigh…

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Even so, I decided to do something as untraditional as move to the United States to go to college  (San Francisco, to be exact) and spend all my money on my education, despite university being practically free in Norway in comparison. This was because I had become aware that the world was big and I wanted to explore it. Nobody really understood what I was doing, but half way expected me to return to Norway when I completed my education.  I must have disappointed them, because after having spent my junior year in Paris and completing my senior year in San Francisco, I decided to move to New York to try my luck there in the working world, and 20+ years later, well the rest is history. I’m still in NY.

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In New York, I landed in the exciting music industry where I worked for a decade as an international marketing director and traveled all over the world with celebrities, stayed in five star hotels, dined in top restaurants and basically lived la vida loca.  When that journey ended, I felt I was done with the jet set life, and decided to pursue my interests in food and wine. I went from making 6 figures to making $10/hr as a cook in a restaurant, which was quite humbling. I told myself it was worth it, because following my dreams and trying to find my true purpose was more important than anything, and that I could always be making that money again. After all, I had proven it to myself.

After just a few months working as a cook and being a cocktail waitress in a restaurant in pursuit of my dreams,  I decided started my own catering company, Fork and Glass with my husband.   Oh yes- that reminds me: Ever since the age of 18, people back home constantly asked me the same 3 questions: “Aren’t you moving back home to Norway soon”?  “When are you getting married”? and “Don’t you want kids”?  I felt like an alien sometimes, because no, I didn’t want kids (unless you count four legged ones) and I was in no hurry to get married – but when I did, I made sure it was to a man that was Mexican and shorter than me, just for shock effect (not! lol).  And after 20+ years in the U.S. the question “Do you like it there?” seemed kind of redundant and ridiculous.  Yes, I sure do, and no, I’m not moving back to Norway.

Maybe it was the rebel in me, but in between all of this I decided to slim down, double my muscles and compete in bodybuilding shows. Instead of getting pregnant, being in a desk job tolerating life, and giving into the story that my body had seen better days since I was now approaching 40 and that’s just how life is, I strutted my stuff in a shimmering bikini and high heels covered in an orange tan. It felt amazing and I was empowered by the fact that if I wanted to look good the only thing I had to do was make a decision to set a goal and put in the work. Much like anything else in life, you just have to make the decision.  The rest can be figured out.

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While I ran my company and worked my ass off catering (this line of work is not for sissies and I quickly learned doing manual work for 14, sometimes 16 hours a day was not my calling), I was getting my wine education and worked for a small Norwegian luxury vodka brand which was quite fun. Because I was positive, outgoing and interested in networking and learning about new things,  life always seemed to be giving me these amazing opportunities which I accepted and learned from.   I was most definitely grateful for these chances given to me, but I still hadn’t found what truly lit me up, what would give me the feeling of “ah! THIS is why I’m here in this world”.

So I continued searching. I tried working for a wine importer as a sales consultant, and then moved into retail as a wine buyer for a large wine where I stayed for over 2 years, before I came across the world of coaching through my continuous search for “me”.

BINGO!! All of a sudden the lights came on and a whole new fire was lit up under me. I quickly realized that I had been coaching my whole life; I was the person all my friends would come to if they needed to talk something through or had a problem or issue, and I loved hearing about their lives and realized that we are all really challenged with the same things in life. And ultimately we all want the same thing: to be happy. 

I think the most important reason I have been able to see the big picture now, at age 43, of what I am supposed to be doing with my life; to help women find the courage and confidence to design their dream life DESPITE what background they have and programming they have had in life; is when I made the best decision in my life at age 40: To become a vegan.   Might as well stay on the track of being different, right??

I have always been an animal lover, but I didn’t always see the irony of claiming that title in one breath, while eating the ones I claimed to love in the next. I grew up with a dozen cats, chickens, ducks, horses, goats… you name it. But I also loved cheese, meat, eggs and fish.

It wasn’t until my late 30s when my friend started sending me videos of animal cruelty on factory farm, that I started researching and was horrified at what I found out. That this could be hidden from most people was unbelievable . Then what I found even more incredible is that people don’t really want to know, because they have a hard time letting go of the foods they have been so accustomed to.  This was me for many years too. Instead of watching the videos or reading the books, I just turned a blind eye and pretended it wasn’t happening.

Until one day when I realized; I’ve spent my whole life trying to find who I am, who I want to be and what I want to do – and ignoring the welfare of beings I supposedly I said I was so fond of, was not in alignment with being a kind, conscious and truth seeking individual.

So I did something ELSE untraditional: I went vegan overnight.  Which meant I had to say goodbye to any followers of my Norwegian food blog (I spent a lot of time building that community) who only followed me because of my writings about smoked salmon and brown cheese, I had to get my husband used to the fact that we wouldn’t be eating the same dishes anymore (but we found a happy compromise) and I had to get re-educated on the best way to build muscle on a plant based diet (it’s easy and much healthier, by the way). Instead of seeing problems, I started seeing solutions, which became my mantra for my new life.

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So what does becoming vegan have to do with finding your purpose in life? Finding the courage to do what makes you happy and fulfilled, and being honest with yourself, of course.  When I turned vegan something happened inside of me – I felt so true to my nature, so clean, uplifted and positive that I know could make ANYTHING happen in my life. What I had seen as a potential huge obstacle, really wasn’t that hard at all, and so many new doors opened up for me that had been shut before.

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This is what happens if you allow yourself to believe in yourself and your capabilities of doing what you truly want to do, despite what other people say.  How many times have I heard that “I have to be careful, because it can be unhealthy not eating animal foods”, that I’m not getting enough protein, B12,  calcium, iron, etc. Well guess what people: I have been a vibrant, healthy and alive individual for the past 3 years I have avoided animal foods – in fact, feeling better than ever before!  My point is: follow your truth, listen to your intuition – what your “gut feeling” tells you will never be wrong for you!

Don’t believe the hype.  Don’t believe it when people tell you a corporate job is “safe” because you get a steady bi-weekly paycheck, that feeling a bit ‘so so’ about your life is normal, that you have to stay in a relationship that isn’t really making you that happy anymore but is ‘comfortable enough’, that carrying around an extra 20-30 lbs on your frame or feeling aches and pains in your body is to be expected when you are getting older…

Why settle for ‘ok’ when you can have AMAZING??  You only have this one life and you SO deserve it!  The world needs YOU and your special talents, give yourself credit for the incredible and very special individual you are! If you don’t quite know what that is for you yet, that’s ok – do what I did, and keep looking! It is SO worth it in the end.

So where on earth would you even get started with this, you might ask? This is why I transitioning from vegan health coaching into life coaching for women just like you… who know that life has more to offer, or more specifically, YOU have more to offer. You have a desire to wake up in the morning and be excited about your day, not dread it. You want to make a difference, feel good, and you want to be able to make good money while having fun at the same time. I get it, believe me.

I am here to help you explore some options for you… Let me get to know you and learn more about your story and we can come up with some ideas together for how you can make yourself happier TODAY.  I can give you suggestions based on our talks, and a step-by- step action plan to get you to where you want to be.

Whether that for you is changing your diet to get more energy or lose weight, changing jobs or even starting your own business, or picking up an old interest or hobby of yours that will get you back in touch with who you truly are and what you love doing,  give yourself a gift and take a chance on yourself for once, today!!

When I finally got tired of saying “no, I can’t afford it”, or “maybe next year” or “I don’t have time,” while secretly feeling super sad inside, I made the best decision ever:  I realized that I only have today,  and I invested in a coach and took a massive step towards improving my life.

I can proudly say that this month I’ve made more than double my salary in my old job as a wine buyer, all while working from the comfort of my own home and spending time with my beautiful pup Scooby, and getting the privilege of coaching amazing women around the world, helping them find back to who they are and what they love to do.  Best job in the world!!

Schedule a free call with me here to see how I can helphttps://calendly.com/sunnyg/60-min-discovery-session

I would love to see you find your true happiness no matter what that looks like to you.  Talk soon!! 🙂

SunnyandScooby