My Sleep Challenge – Part 2: My 30-Day Challenge Results with Christine Meyer

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by your own bad sleep habits. This episode is all about my triumphs, from enjoying my evening ritual of Sleepytime teas to sleep-inducing hypnosis audiobooks played through headband headphones. Join me as I recap my challenge experience with sleep health coach Christine Meyer and relive the…

Key Takeaways:

  • Prioritize Quality Sleep: Recognize that quality sleep is essential for overall well-being, impacting mood, energy levels, and productivity. Make it a priority to improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Start Small: Implement small changes in your sleep routine, such as creating a relaxing sleep environment and establishing a consistent bedtime routine. These small adjustments can lead to significant improvements over time.
  • Adapt and Overcome Challenges: Be prepared to adapt to challenges that arise during your sleep journey. Whether it’s managing distractions or adjusting your routine, stay flexible and find creative solutions to overcome obstacles.
  • Notice Positive Changes: Pay attention to the positive changes you experience as a result of improved sleep habits. Increased energy, better mood, and enhanced productivity are all signs of progress on your sleep journey.
  • Take a Holistic Approach: Approach sleep improvement holistically by considering various factors that affect sleep, including sleep hygiene, stress levels, lifestyle habits, and physical health. Addressing these factors collectively can lead to more effective and sustainable improvements in your sleep quality.


  • “I had no energy, and [the lack of sleep] affected my mood, it affected my activities, it affected my work. It impacted everything.”
  • “It was little things. It was a lot of little tweaks, but they’ve made a big difference.”
  • “Sleep doesn’t just happen by itself. It’s not in a vacuum. So many things can impact your sleep and then your sleep can impact so many other things.”
  • “When you focus on it, when you’re intentional about improving the quality and the quantity of your sleep, it’s going to help you in other areas.”

Resources Mentioned

These are some of the items that we discussed using during my sleep habit makeover challenge (links to Amazon):

Daytime Sleep Helpers

  • Sodastream – In an effort to cut down on my afternoon caffeine consumption, I traded in my daily Dr. Pepper Zero for seltzer (or ‘spritzies’ as we call them in our house). Sometimes I drink it plain, but most of the time I add a little bit of flavor to jazz it up.
  • Water enhancer – I add this to my seltzer water to up the fun drink factor. I like Stur brand because it’s naturally sweetened, but there are no rules here.

Evening Wind Down

  • Reading light – This little gadget has been invaluable for my night time routine. It’s helped get back into reading more often, and it doubles as my bookmark!
  • Kindle – Some people are diehard physical book fans so if you’re one of them, skip to the next item. For everyone else, if you’re someone who falls asleep reading and drops their physical book on their face, this hurts less.
  • Headband headphones – As I mentioned in the episode, I have freakishly small ears and so I have a hard time with most headphones and earbuds. These bluetooth headphones are perfect as they lay over the ears. I’ve also started using them for listening to audiobooks when I walk the dog and when I go running. They’re great because I can hear my books/music but I’m also able to hear traffic because it doesn’t block out outside noise.
  • Essential Oil Diffuser – Studies have shown that certain scents can contribute to better sleep quality. I used eucalyptus and lavender essential oils in my diffuser, but different scents work for different people, so if those don’t do it for you, try something else!
  • Blue light glasses – If you use devices close to bedtime, the bluelight they emit can interfere with your sleep. Using these glasses can help minimize that effect
  • Downdog yoga app – Studies have shown that practicing yoga can improve sleep quality, including sleep duration and reducing the number of nighttime wakings. If you choose to include yoga in your wind-down routine, look for slow and relaxing practices such as restorative yoga or a yoga nidra (yogic sleep).
  • Yoga mat – Not required but makes lying on the floor a little more comfortable.
  • Bolster – A fancy word for a yoga pillow. You can use one to support different parts of your body during your practice.
  • Sleepytime Tea – This is a staple in my night time routine. I put it in a BIG mug and add a touch of honey. I was surprised to learn there were so many varieties of Sleepytime!
  • Bedtime Journal – During our call I mentioned I had a hard time turning off my brain at night so one of the wind-down options was a brain dump into a journal so my mind could relax knowing all the things it didn’t want me to forget were safely documented somewhere, and all those mental sticky notes could go right in the mental trash basket.

In bed/Sleeping

  • White noise machine – I had this left over from when my son was a baby and we recently brought it out of retirement to help mask the cat noises that were waking up the dog during the night. There are also white noise apps that can be used as well.
  • Weighted Face mask – I’ve had this for years, I think my husband bought it for me when I was having a lot of migraines because it doubles as a mini-heating pad. I find the pressure on my eyes while I’m falling a sleep very relaxing!
  • Weighted blanket – Another present from my husband (I think from a Christmas or two ago?) that I hadn’t really been using but pulled it out for the challenge and have used it nightly since! Note, these types of blankets can trap in heat, so while it was great during the winter, I’ll be switching to a Cooling Weighted blanket for the warmer months
  • The Rabbit Who Wanted to Fall Asleep’ hypnosis audiobook – For years I had no idea how this book ended because it was so effective at putting me to sleep. I now know how it ends (I won’t spoil it for you!) but this is really helpful to have cued up for those nights when I wake up and have a hard time falling back asleep.
  • Apple Watch – I use this to track my sleep, which is how I found out how much worse it was than I thought! It records your data in the Health app on your phone and it tracks how much time you’re in bed vs actually sleeping, how many times you wake up during the night, how much time you spend in the different sleep cycles, plus your sleeping heart rate and respiratory rate.
  • Rise sleep tracking app – This is the app I used to track my sleep debt. Even though I could feel it when my sleep debt was high and I knew I needed to prioritize getting caught up, seeing the actual number of hours of sleep my body was missing in the app made it more real and got my attention.

    What I also like about this app is that it can predict (with great accuracy!) when my energy will peak (and plummet!) throughout the day, based on my previous night’s sleep. What I used to think was just a post-lunch carb coma turned out to be a natural low point in my daily energy level. This made me feel less like it was “my fault” for being useless and brain fogged most afternoons between 2 and 3 pm.

I hope these items help you create a wind-down routine that works for you! And if you’re not sure which things would help you the most, connect with Christine for a Sleep Strategy Session so she can put together your own personalized Restful Roadmap!

About Christine: 

Christine Meyer is an Ace Certified Health Coach, Certified Health Education Specialist, and a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. She has over 14 years of experience in the health and wellness field and helps mid-life women go from foggy to focused, by helping them restore their restful sleep. Her coaching focuses on lifestyle changes, which includes stress management and time management skills. She is a wife, mom, and new Grandma and resides in Southern California.

Connect with Christine:


Episode Transcript:

Laurie: Welcome everyone. I’m here with Christine Meyer, who is a sleep health coach, to recap the results of my 30-day sleep challenge. Welcome back, christine. How are you? I’m doing well, thank you, I am drinking coffee, but this is it for the day and I’m done, I promise.

And I never I wouldn’t say never, very, very rarely even especially since, like the last month do I drink coffee in the afternoon, but I just there was some left over and I hate to. I hate to dump it out Like I can’t. I just can’t. So it pains me to throw out coffee. I just love it.

So part one is my backstory of how you were on the podcast. I realized I sucked at getting good sleep. I did some of your things. It improved a little bit, and then I got an Apple watch and I realized I really sucked. And then I was like, oh okay, I got to do something about this. And then we connected and then we did our session and then you gave me a plan. That’s part one, and so now this is part two where we’re doing the wrap up. So the recap of the strategy session and the action plan, and then summing up with the challenge week by week. So I don’t want to go day by day because that’s going to be a three day episode, no one will listen to it. Week by week what went well, what didn’t, and then the changes that I noticed each week, and then the biggest changes I noticed from the beginning to the end I do. I do feel like a bajillion times better than I did when we had our session. I think it was like two months ago now, night and day.

0:01:57 – Christine

0:01:57 – Laurie
When we had that session, you asked me what my struggles were, what my challenges were, what I wanted to get out of the challenge. How did I want to feel at the end of it? Like what was the goal, what was I trying to do? And I had told you and I just watched it, I just rewatched it to recap and I was, like I remember, feeling like just drained, like I had no energy, and talking about how it affected my mood, it affected my activities, it affected my work. It was just everything. It was like a like a bicycle wheel, like the spokes, like it just touched everything. And now it’s completely different. But I wanted to be. I wanted to be popular in my house again. I wanted to be somebody people wanted to talk to, people wanted to spend time with. I wanted to want to go and do things and just not be too tired to do it. And so putting this plan that you gave me into place really helped me kind of get on track with habits and boundaries. And it was little things. It was a lot of little tweaks, but they’ve made a big difference. So after the session, you gave me a plan and I said, okay, I’m going to put this into action.

And what happened was I had said I wanted, I wanted a few things. I wanted to read at night, I wanted some aromatherapy, and there was something else that I wanted. But when I went to start the challenge I was like, oh, I don’t have any of the things I need to do that, so let me go buy them. So I went on Amazon or I went shopping and I bought a little essential oil diffuser for my oils and there’s a funny story there that I don’t really have time for but basically I turned it on, used the oil and my husband was like, oh my God, it smells like a nursing home in here, Like what is happening. He immediately nixed whatever I was cooking up in there and he’s like no, no, no, whatever this is, ditch it. Like I’m not living this way. So I was like, no, I get it.

And then the other thing was I wanted to read in bed and you had said if you have a table lamp, that’s fine, not an overhead. And I have a table lamp. I had one on my nightstand but it was too small, like I had to read, like all hunched over and leaning over, and it was not conducive to good sleep. So I got one of these little USB rechargeable book lights with a little clip on it so I can clip it on my book and then read. And it’s a tiny little thing and I can just keep it in my book. It’s a doubles as a bookmark. So and I’ve read like two whole books in the two months, which is like sadly a record but it’s. But it’s that time and I get to read and relax and it’s just mine and I read my silly books and it’s, it’s fantastic.

But I had to go and buy my stuff that I needed. I already had a sound machine and I already had a weighted blanket and I already had a weighted face mask which I was kind of using intermittently. But those were the things that I wanted to help me in my plan. So once I had gone shopping and picked up everything, then I was ready to start. The goals were sleep goal number one create a relaxing bedroom environment. Sleep goal number two establish a nighttime routine.

A little bit of a delay there, but it’s okay, it worked out because week one of the challenge coincided with the time change. So my plan was to start my wind down routine at 9.15 and then lights out at 10. And in my brain and in my body it already it thought it was already later. So I was kind of getting sleepy anyway around that time. So I said, oh, this makes it really easy to like excuse myself and say I’m really tired, I want to go to bed, you know, and go up to my room and start my wind down. So that worked out great. What was kind of a funny offset was that my dog doesn’t understand time change and so she was still waking up at what she thought was six o’clock but really five o’clock. But if I hadn’t been going to bed earlier I would have been going to bed at 10 o’clock and getting up at five. It did work out for the best that I was going to bed earlier because I was still getting up early with the dog, but that first week I was tired enough to just kind of to go with it lights out at 9.15.

The other part of the changes that I was implementing was switching to decaf drinks after 2 pm, and we had talked about how I was drinking coffee and I would have a soda in the afternoon. I’ve cut out the soda. I do miss it, but I have seltzer, I have herbal tea and I have some other like fun drinks to have that are caffeine free, and so that hasn’t really been that much of a disruption. The other thing was getting more activity. I haven’t really done more activity, but I have the same level of activity of walking my dog twice a day. So that was one thing.

The third thing was turning off screens in the evening, because I was a notorious shut. Off the computer, go right to the phone, have the phone on basically all night until lights out, like I would be scrolling in my bed and then staying up too late watching reels and then going to bed. So putting the phone away, putting the laptop away, no devices after a certain time. That was one of my things and I liked that because it actually had a side effect of reducing my stress in that if I’m not on my phone, I’m not on my computer, I’m not doing work. So it helped me to kind of set that boundary around not doing work after hours, which you know as a as somebody who’s self-employed, somebody who owns their own business. It’s really easy to. I’m just going to check this email. Oh, I’m just going to do this. I’m just going to do this. Two hours later you’re still on the device.

You’re still doing work and you should have gone to bed an hour ago, so I really liked that. It helped me to be like nope, I’m off the clock, no devices can. Can’t help it.

0:07:44 – Christine
Yeah, you’ve got that buffer zone there. You know you’ve got some work boundaries and now you can prepare to transition for Tibet easier.

0:07:52 – Laurie
I definitely felt less stress, because that was one of the other things we talked about was kind of a brain dump, like I was having trouble turning off my brain and I had said I wanted to do like journaling before bed. But what happened that first week was when I, when it got to be 915, that first night that I was supposed to start this, I went into my room and I looked at my list because I’m very black or white, like when somebody gives me a checklist, it’s like you do all the things, that’s doing it right. If you don’t do all the things, you’re doing it wrong. So I looked at this list and while, as somebody with ADHD, I love lists because it helps me stay on track, I also get overwhelmed with lists because if I see everything at once, I go oh, too much. And that’s what happened that first night.

It said yoga journal, read lights out. And I was like, oh my God, like this feels like too many things. I can’t, I’m going to do one thing. And then that’s when I messaged you and you said pick one or two and then add one later and I was like okay, I’m going to start with the reading, because I know that’s easy for me to do, like I can just lay down, open my book. I know it’s going to make my eyes tired, I know it’s going to help me fall asleep. We’ll start with that and, to be honest, that’s working. I would like to do journaling or yoga, maybe like some restorative yoga or yoga nidra, at some point.

0:09:18 – Christine
But right now this whole situation is good. It’s important to keep in mind, because we can have all these ideas and you’re going to like one thing and maybe not another. Or I go through stages where I’m reading for bed, but then after a while it’s like I’m going to start doing yoga before bed, and so you can just kind of switch it up. The main thing is that you’re doing something for yourself, you’re keeping that routine. It doesn’t have to be like this rigid checklist all of the time. So it’s good to have that, that you know that menu of options that we talk about in coaching.

0:09:43 – Laurie
Exactly, and so that’s why I keep the plan out and I said, okay, when I’m kind of like over reading at night, I’ll add in the journal or I’ll print out some prompts and maybe I’ll just write a sentence or maybe I’ll just kind of like dabble in between the three. It doesn’t have to be a do this, do this, do this. You’re not trying to give me another job here. Yeah, you do what feels good, exactly. So I got ready for bed you know pajamas, brush my teeth, do all that stuff lay down my weighted blanket and turn on my little book light, read my book, went to sleep. So that first week, that works great.

The second week, I’ll tell you, I wasn’t as tired. At nine o’clock when it when it that time to start to wind down rolled around, I was like, oh, I don’t really feel tired. But I was like, oh, I’m not falling for this again, because I know that just because I don’t feel tired doesn’t mean I’m not tired, right, this is the line I give my son all the time. He’s like I don’t want to go to bed, I’m not tired. I’m like well, you might not feel it, but you are. But I have to tell this to myself Because I was like I don’t really feel that tired. And then, lo and behold, I would start the routine. I would read the book and I was like, oh yeah, I’m falling asleep, I’m tired. How about that Sneaky? It snuck right up on me.

And then by the third week, I’m going to tell you I was like pumped. Like after dinner I would have my tea, I had my sleepy time tea and I stocked up on all the different kinds of sleepy time tea. I didn’t know they had different types of sleepy time tea. They have variations. And I was like give me all the sleepy time. I love me some sleepy time, like everybody, just get in the basket, let’s just go. So I’d have my tea in the evening and then my son would go to bed and at 9.15, I’m like hell yeah, I’m out of here, I’m going to go do my thing, I’m going to wind down and I’m going to be in bed by 10. And it just felt so good, like I didn’t feel like I was being punished, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. My husband was a little sad. On the other hand, I think he was kind of like I could use some quiet time.

I could use some time to myself. So I’m not totally broken up about it, it wasn’t. It was like he was like, eh, he was kind of like eh, eh. And I did have a few nights I wouldn’t say it was like a hundred I went to bed at, you know, on the time that I wanted to. There were a few nights that I did end up staying up later than I intended. Um, like, I maybe went downstairs to get my water or I forgot my headphones and I would come downstairs and my husband would be watching something fun and I would sit down and then the next thing I knew it was 11 30 and I was like this was not supposed to happen, but whatever, back. And then the next thing I knew it was 1130. And I was like this was not supposed to happen, but whatever, back on the horse the next night, not going to let it derail me.

One of the issues that I was having was waking up in the middle of the night, like three or four, and not getting back to sleep. And you had said, if that happens and you’re awake for more than 15 minutes, go somewhere else, like, get out of bed, go in another room, go sit like in a chair and I was like, okay, I can do that. One of the things that I thought I would be a good idea was to get these Bluetooth headband headphones and then connect it to an audio book. That’s hypnosis on my iPhone, but my phone was in the other room but I could use my watch to turn it off and on. I thought I was pretty slick with this and that worked great. And my son loved my headband headphones so much he wanted a pair, so I had to get him a pair too. So now we’re all headband headphone nerds over here and they’re awesome and they’re actually good for like walking and like and running and stuff because they’re comfortable. I have freakishly small ears.

So those earbuds never fit. Everything hurts. These things are great. So I’m a huge, I’m a huge fan of these. And that worked out really well because I would wake up. Am I falling back asleep? Sometimes I would, and if I wasn’t put on the headband, start the story lights out and I’m telling you this book. It’s called the Rabbit who Wants to Fall Asleep.

I listened to this at bedtime with my son for like two years, before I even knew what the story was about. This book would knock me out. I was like what is this even about? This rabbit wants to fall asleep. But then what happens? I don’t even know, I have no idea. I couldn’t even tell you.

And then by the fourth week, my husband was like you know what? I think I want to go to bed early too. I don’t know if he was lonely or he just saw like how much better I looked or felt or seemed. He was like you know what? Maybe I’ll do that too. So he’s starting to go to bed, not with me, but just earlier than he had. So but I will say like I noticed a huge difference between starting the challenge in the end, in my energy. I’m waking up without an alarm and I’m waking up awake, mm-hmm, I’m not dragging myself out of bed, I’m not hitting snooze, I’m not, you know, depending on coffee to wake me up, none of that. And it feels so good. So this has been a great experience and I’m so thankful and glad that you helped me get to this place. This has been amazing.

0:14:54 – Christine
I’m glad it’s helped you and, like you said, it’s not just your morning, but your whole day is different. Your personality is different, you’re more pleasant to be around. So sometimes we don’t want to admit that, but it is hard. So that’s great to hear, it’s great to hear. And, like you said, it was just like these small little tweaks. You kind of experimented with what did and didn’t work and you’ve you’ve got the routine with other options, in case you decide I don’t want to do this anymore, totally fine.

0:15:22 – Laurie
Exactly, and my goal was, you know, to do this for a month. I want to get caught up on my sleep. I want to develop some, some good habits around, you know, during the day, like things that I’m eating or drinking or doing that impact my sleep. Things I’m doing right before bed that impact my sleep, and then things that I’m eating or drinking or doing that impact my sleep, things I’m doing right before bed that impact my sleep, and then things that I’m doing after I’ve already fallen, it’s like in the middle of the night, that can kind of be impacting my overall sleep quality.

And I’ve achieved that, like I’ve done all these things and I said, okay, I’m going to do this for 30 days, and if I get to the 30 days and I don’t want to go to bed at nine o’clock anymore and I don’t want to do all these things, I don’t have to right, it was an experiment, it was a challenge to see, like how this could impact how I felt my overall everything. And I’m going to tell you like I’m going to keep doing this because it’s awesome when my son goes to bed, I’m excited for my wind down. That’s like my time to take it easy and just, I love having the boundary around that time and it’s just for me to unwind and ease into sleep.

0:16:25 – Christine
Yeah, and how do you feel this has affected you business wise, as far as, like, your creativity, your focus, your productivity? Do you know changes there?

0:16:35 – Laurie
It’s much better. I’m a little less distracted. So I do have ADHD, so I’m not going to say everything’s great, but I will say like being exhausted, like my whole issue before was that I would be sitting here with a list of things to do and just already tired when I sat down. And so looking at this list, it was like I already have trouble focusing on what I’m doing, but now I don’t have the energy to focus on what I’m doing. So while it helps my focus a little bit but that also you know that’s myths but having the energy to point my flashlight in one direction for an extended amount of time in one direction for an extended amount of time huge difference.

0:17:19 – Christine
Right, yeah, that’s great to hear.

0:17:28 – Laurie
So definitely impacting, like my productivity and my energy, when I sit down at my desk. And also, I had a podcast interview this morning. This is my second one today. Now a couple of months ago could I have done that? No, I would have been on the couch. I would have needed a nap after that. So this is definitely an improvement. Awesome, I need some kind of I need some outside eyeballs on what I’m doing to help me figure out. You know how I can kind of make some adjustments, make some tweaks that work for my lifestyle, work for my preferences.

0:18:13 – Christine
And just help me to get to a place where I am getting not only enough sleep but good quality sleep. So that’s what we do in my 60 Minutes to Better Sleep session is first thing I have you do is fill out that questionnaire that you filled out. It talks about your sleep hygiene, your stress levels, your lifestyle habits, your physical health because medical conditions and medications can have an effect as well and then we meet together and I talk about you know what’s standing out for me as far as you know, not only what your you know sleep sabotagers might be, but what you’re doing well that you want to continue with. And that’s where we come up with that 30-day plan. Typically, we’re going to pick no more than four things to focus on over the next month. You can implement them all at one time but, like you said, it can be kind of overwhelming. So I recommend, maybe every week you do one, maybe two things that you want to add in there.

Like you said, prepare for it, get everything that you need and just start to notice maybe keep that journal each day of how many hours you slept, how you feel, and it’s a subtle change. Like you said, it’s not like all of a sudden you wake up one day and wow, everything’s great. It’s just kind of like gradual. Over time, like you said, you noticed week by week things were a little bit different, and now that you’re at the end of it you just notice this huge change. And so that’s what we do, is work together. You know, I’m not telling somebody what to do. We’re deciding together. I’m saying here’s what stands out for me. What do you want to work on? What do you think is going to work best? We come up with that plan. I send a great little roadmap summary to you and then we can do like periodic check-ins to see how things are going and then, beyond that, if more coaching is needed on a regular basis for that, then we can definitely continue on with monthly coaching.

0:19:51 – Laurie
Awesome. So you mentioned keeping a sleep journal, so talk to me about that, because that’s something that you’re going to have available for any of the listeners who want to start tracking their sleep or understanding, maybe, what their obstacles are or what’s standing in their way.

0:20:07 – Christine
Yeah, you can find like sleep diaries online. They’re huge checklists of everything you’ve done throughout the day, which can be kind of overwhelming to look at the next day and connect all the dots. But with this journal, it just has a different prompt each day, just asking you a question, and it could be a question about your sleep, your stress levels, what you ate that day, just kind of you know things that you want to maybe take a look at and how did it affect your sleep. And it gives you more insight to maybe where, again, those sabotagers are. Maybe you don’t know how it’s affecting you and it gives you more insight to maybe where, again, those sabotagers are. Maybe you don’t know how it’s affecting you and it allows you to figure out more on your own those areas that you might need to dive into a little bit more.

Is it sleep hygiene? Do I need to work on my stress levels? That’s a huge one for people. Are there some medical conditions or medications that I’m taking that might be affecting it? So it’s good to look at so many different areas. That’s why I do like more holistic coaching, because improving your sleep isn’t just a one-shot deal. It’s not black and white. I can send you a checklist and that’s. It’s great for general ideas. It’s like a kind of like a little baseline blueprint, but everyone’s going to be different.

0:21:19 – Laurie
It’s like a kind of like a little baseline blueprint, but everyone’s going to be different. You just said something that that’s important is that you know sleep doesn’t just happen by itself. It’s not in a vacuum. So many things can impact your sleep and then your sleep can impact so many other things. Everything is connected, but sleep is one of these foundational like. If you’re not getting sleep, that trickle down is going to be substantial. It’s going to be more of an impact than you know maybe some other self-care practices that you’re ignoring. But sleep is foundational and I’m telling you, when you focus on it, when you’re intentional about improving the quality and the quantity of your sleep, it’s going to help you in other areas.

So now that I’m getting more sleep and I have more energy, now I have the energy to work out more and I have the energy to do things and I’m not stressed out at work, so I can take time off to like do fun things that I want to do, that that fill up my cup, like connecting with friends or going going to Costco by myself, with friends, or going to Costco by myself. No one tells you that. You know, when you become an adult, that one of the greatest luxuries is going to Costco alone. I don’t care what anyone says, I think like to me. That’s like I’m like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, just like spinning around. I’m like, ah, exactly, exactly. But it’s nice to just be able to have the energy to know like I’m not so stressed that I can’t take time out for myself during the day.

The other thing that I was going to say is that if we have listeners who are not ready to book a call with you, I’m going to be setting up a challenge where they can do their own 30 day track, your sleep challenge and see, you know, maybe, maybe, make some adjustments and tweaks, look at some of the things that I am doing and see if that helps you. And then you know, all of Christine’s information will be inside the challenge so you can connect with her that way. Christine, I’m going to be putting the link to the 30 day sleep journal and all of your social media links in your website inside the show notes, so I’ll have all of your links in the show notes for anybody who wants to connect with you. They can do that and see all of the good things that you have available.

0:23:30 – Christine
Awesome, I really appreciate it. I’m so happy to hear about your progress there. I know we’ve been kind of checking in here and there, but it’s so great to just hear at the end about your journey and how it’s helped you.

0:23:40 – Laurie
Thank you, Christine.

0:23:42 – Christine
You are welcome.

0:23:44 – Laurie
Thanks for listening and if you liked this episode, go ahead and leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, and be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified when the next episode is live. When the next episode is live, check out our show notes for this episode, where you can find any of the links and resources that were mentioned during the show and connect with a health and wellness provider committed to helping you ditch diets and achieve results without restriction. Thanks for listening and we’ll catch you in the next episode.

My Sleep Challenge – Part 1: My Sleep Smart Strategy Session with Christine Meyer

In this episode, I’m letting you listen in on a private sleep strategy session that I did with a sleep coach to prepare for an upcoming 30-day sleep challenge. I was struggling with chronic exhaustion because I had garbage bedtime habits and I needed to do something to turn it around. I decided to embark…

Key Takeaways:

  • Consistency is key when it comes to establishing a healthy sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate the body’s internal clock and improve sleep quality.
  • Creating a relaxing sleep environment is crucial for promoting restful sleep. This includes decluttering the bedroom, using aromatherapy, and minimizing noise disturbances.
  • Managing stress throughout the day can significantly impact sleep quality. Incorporating relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and promote better sleep.
  • If you’re unable to fall back asleep after waking up in the middle of the night, get out of bed and engage in a relaxing activity until you’re feeling sleepy again. This can help prevent you from associating the bed with being awake and promote better sleep efficiency.
  • Doing a brain dump before bed can help clear the mind and reduce racing thoughts that may interfere with falling asleep. Writing down tasks and concerns can provide a sense of relief and allow for a more restful sleep.


  • “If you’re not sleeping, you can’t do anything else. It just trickles down into everything.”
  • “I need to be more consistent and more intentional about what I’m doing during the day and in the evening to get better sleep.”
  • “Creating a relaxing sleep environment and establishing a consistent sleep routine are key factors in improving sleep quality.”

Resources Mentioned:

About Christine: 

Christine Meyer is an Ace Certified Health Coach, Certified Health Education Specialist, and a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. She has over 14 years of experience in the health and wellness field and helps mid-life women go from foggy to focused, by helping them restore their restful sleep. Her coaching focuses on lifestyle changes, which includes stress management and time management skills. She is a wife, mom, and new Grandma and resides in Southern California.

Connect with Christine:


Episode Transcript:

0:00:00 – I don’t think there are enough people who talk about the importance of sleep. You know, people will do like nutrition or workouts and stuff like that, but it’s like if you’re not sleeping, you can’t do anything else. I mean, it just trickles down into everything.
0:00:13 – (Laurie): I’m Laurie Mallon, and this is the results without Restriction podcast, the show where results have nothing to do with weight and everything to do with setting and reaching health and fitness goals that focus on what we’re achieving and not what we’re doing losing. We’ll talk about deprogramming from diet culture and get expert advice on reclaiming your relationship with food and movement. Join me on this journey to get results without restriction.

Welcome, everyone. Today’s episode is a little bit different. It’s part one of a two part episode where I’m sharing my experience participating in a 30 day sleep challenge that I recently completed with the help of sleep sleep health coach Christine Meyer. Now, you may remember that Christine Meyer was previously a guest on the show. If you listen to that episode, you’ll hear me admit to Christine that my personal sleep habits are not that great. They finally caught up with me a few months ago.

I found myself chronically exhausted, and it was having a negative impact on pretty much every area of my life. So I reconnected with Christine and she agreed to help me with my 30 day sleep challenge. The 30 day challenge started with Christine and I meeting virtually for a better sleep strategy session so that she could understand my current sleep situation and struggles. Then she sent me a restful roadmap, which was a summary of our call and printable action plan for me to use during the 30 days of the challenge.

This episode is a recording of our strategy session. In the next episode, I’ll be recapping my challenge experience and reviewing my results with Christine, so be sure to check out that episode after you listen to this one. So now have a listen in on my virtual sleep strategy session with health coach Christine Meyer.

[Beginning of the Consultation Recording]
0:02:02 – (Christine): Welcome. Basically, what we’re going to do is talk about your sleep habits. You know, what’s going well, what are you struggling with? And at the end of the session, we will decide together four action steps that you can start implementing over the next 30 days to help you with your sleep, and then I’ll be sending you everything we discussed and the goals that you’re going to be working on. Tell me what’s motivated you to seek help with your sleep.
0:02:27 – (Laurie): I’m so tired, christine. I’m tired all the time. I was at the point where I was just so tired all the time, and I was like, oh, my God, I’m dying. Like, something has to be seriously wrong with me because why do I feel like this all the time? And then I got an apple Watch, and I started wearing it to bed, and my watch was like, oh, by the way, you have a double digit sleep jet. And I was like, well, shoot, I had no idea my sleep was. Was that bad. Like, I know sometimes I stay up a little bit late or sometimes I get up too early and it’s like, we have pets and I have a kid and, like, things interrupt my sleep. So I was like, I didn’t realize it was that bad.

So I was like, okay, I need to do something about this. And then we had our podcast, and I was like, I definitely want to do something about this. Did a few things, and I can see when I do these things, it gets better. When I don’t do these things, when I do my own thing, that debt climbs. And I’m like, what I need is a routine, a habit. I need a block of time that I dedicate to establishing really good, like, sleep hygiene or, like, a nighttime habit. Because I’m getting to the point that when that sleep debt is getting high, I’m just useless during the day. I’m just counting the hours until it’s socially acceptable for me to go to bed.
0:03:41 – (Laurie) Like “please let my son go to Bed soon so I can go to bed.”
I need to be more consistent and more intentional about what I’m doing during the day and in the evening to get better sleep.
0:03:53 – (Christine): So when you’re doing the things you need to do, sleep is good. And you notice that when you don’t do the things you need to do, it’s not so good. What keeps you from that consistency of being in a routine?
0:04:04 – (Laurie): When I make the choice to go to bed early and I don’t have my phone at night and I get caught up, my sleep jet gets under 5 hours, I feel great. And I’m like, oh, I can stay up and watch tv with my husband or watch a movie after my son goes to bed or something, and it’s like, I can’t keep doing it because then my sleep debt climbs up, then I’m exhausted, and then we do the whole thing over again. So, yeah.
0:04:27 – (Christine): So you tracking your sleep debt kind of contributes to that pattern. It sounds like looking at the numbers and seeing what you’ve accumulated or if it’s going up or down, would that be right?
0:04:38 – (Laurie): I’ve made the observation that when that sleep debt goes down, how I feel, I feel a certain way. And when I feel that way, like. If I didn’t, if I saw the number and it said like four and I still felt like shit, I wouldn’t stay up. Like, I would be like, “oh, I really want to go to bed.”
But it’s like I’m just having the Awareness of how I feel And when I feel good and I Have a lot of energy, then I start thinking I can stay up and party like I’m 46 again.
0:05:06 – (Christine): So it’s keeping those patterns in place even when you’re feeling good. But a preventive measure in a way, right.
0:05:12 – (Laurie): I want it to kind of just be a routine where I’m not, you know, maybe staying up and watching a movie is a once a week thing or it’s like a Friday night thing, but it’s not like a bunch of nights in a row until I feel like I just am exhausted again.
0:05:26 – (Christine): So there’s an inconsistent sleep schedule. Like you mentioned, you go to bed at eleven, but that sounds like that can vary quite a bit.
0:05:32 – (Laurie): It can vary. When I’m really tired, I’ll go to bed. Before my son even goes to bed, I’ll just say, “peace out, I’m going to bed. I’ll see you guys later.” My husband’s like, “bye, go to bed.” If I’m really tired, I put myself to bed. But then I’m like, two days later, I can be up at 11:30 doing whatever, watching a movie, doing stuff on the Internet, like scrolling facebook.
0:05:52 – (Christine): How does this affect your day to day life? All of the inconsistency and kind of the back and forth with that.
0:05:59 – (Laurie): It affects how I interact with my family. I’m not popular here because it affects my mood and I’m just cranky, snippy. I don’t have the energy for things that I’d like to be doing, which is getting back into running and lifting. The idea of working out when I’m too tired is just, I just can’t because I just want to sit on my couch and just go to bed.
0:06:21 – (Christine): Okay, so the sleep and the moodiness affects others in the, in the household there?
0:06:26 – (Laurie): Yes.
0:06:26 – (Christine): All right. And how long have you been experiencing this?
0:06:30 – (Laurie): Probably like, since COVID hit as a parent, I already had like, a certain level of, like, low grade chronic stress. But then with COVID and then, like, things going on in the world, like, it just kind of got worse and I found myself waking up a lot at night. So even if I went to bed early, I was still waking up randomly and 2 hours later I can’t get back to sleep. So it probably started around three years ago where it got bad. But if I’m honest, my sleep hasn’t been great basically since I had my son nine years ago. I just kind of accepted that’s, that’s where we are, so.
0:07:02 – (Christine): Okay, so I did review the questionnaire, obviously, so I’ve got a lot of that information from you. We’re going to, you know, dive in deeper into, into some of those areas, but definitely want to call out, you know, things that you’re doing that are helpful for sleep and. Sounds like you exercise on a pretty regular basis, would you say?
0:07:20 – (Laurie): Yeah, I walk the dog twice a day for half an hour whether I want to, and I’m like a zombie or not. That’s like the bare minimum. Sometimes I do other stuff, but it depends on my energy level.
0:07:30 – (Christine): Okay. But it sounds like you want to do more. And like you said with the like weight training,
0:07:35 – (Laurie): I want to get back into running now that it’s cooling off, but I’m just like.
0:07:38 – (Christine): Okay, alcohol sounds very infrequent. You said maybe once a week, if that I can be a sleep sabotager. Uh, for sure. Especially in the evening time. Sounds like you’re limiting caffeine to early afternoon. Or would you say on the days you’re tired you are drinking it later in the day?
0:07:55 – (Laurie) I try not to really just try to pay more attention. I used to have two cups of coffee early. Between like seven and ten would be like I’d have my coffee done and then I would have a soda between like around lunchtime. And then I would try to just do water or other drinks, non caffeinated or tea or something in the afternoon. But on the days that I was really tired, I would make the mistake of like, I’m like, hey, I really need to like pep up here a little bit, have a later cup of coffee again. That keeps me up later, and then we kind of start the cycle all over, so.
0:08:30 – (Christine): Right, gotcha.
0:08:31 -(Laurie): But for the most part, I try to keep it well before, like the after, like mid afternoon, so.
0:08:38 – (Christine): Okay. It doesn’t sound like you’re eating late at night. You said your last meal is about 6630 and it sounds like you’ve got some outlets for first stress management. Aside from the exercise you’d like to read, I think you said you connect with your friends. You did rate your stress at about a seven out of a ten. You said you manage it fair? Tell me more about that.
0:09:02 – (Laurie): I’m just always in a probably that, like, low grade level of I’m always thinking about stuff. It’s hard to shut my brain off. So I think that is kind of like what I’m referring to. Like that I’m always trying to remember stuff. Did I forget this? I also have ADHD, so that’s like my default. Always trying to keep track of the sticky notes in my mind. Constantly running through that loop of what did I forget? What do I need to remember?
0:09:27 – (Christine): When you say manage it fair, I.
0:09:30 – (Laurie): Feel like I could do a better job of actively trying to relax, like doing a little bit more to turn it off. I don’t really try to turn it off. I just wait till it. It wears down.
0:09:43 – (Christine): Right.
0:09:44 – (Laurie): And I just kind of don’t know. But if I was like, you know what? I’m going to shut the door on this. I’m going to focus on this. That’s not work related. It’s not news, it’s not. It’s not stressful. It’s like fun. It’s like some kind of activity or game or whatever. That’s just for the purpose of relaxing, reading my book or something like that. So getting better at that intentional flipping of the switch of my brain is now in this mode.
0:10:11 – (Christine): Right. There’s that difference between, you know, doing things to manage stress, but like you said, also just unplugging and doing things that are not stimulating the brain as much and slowing down there. So. Okay, so it sounds like you wake up in the middle of the night at least one or two times a week.
0:10:31 – (Laurie): Yeah, probably. Well, so I’m not great about drinking water. It’s one of my things I want to be better about, but I’m not great about remembering to do it during the day. So I’ll like, get to be like, 04:00, 05:00 and I’m like, oh, I need to drink my water. And then I’ll start drinking water. And I try to stop before 08:00 but I feel like I’ll wake up at least once to pee during the night.
0:10:54 – (Christine): And so how often does that happen?
0:10:56 – (Laurie): Probably almost every night. I also have pets. I have a dog who sleeps on my bed. That probably wakes me up because she hears the cats. They can’t be together as a dog will eat the cat. So she hears the cat, she wakes up, she Wakes me up. So sometimes that’s what wakes me up, too.
0:11:17 – (Christine): Gotcha. And your husband snores as well, is that right?
0:11:19 – (Laurie): He does.
0:11:22 – (Christine): All right. So we’ve got some noise there. How long does it take you to get back to sleep when you’re awake In the middle of the night?
0:11:27 – (Laurie): Sometimes it’s easy, and then other times I’ll lay there for, like, an hour and a half.
0:11:32 – (Christine): Okay. And what do you do to try to lull yourself back to sleep?
0:11:36 – (Laurie): Sometimes I count backwards from 100. Sometimes I just try to remember things that I’ve memorized in the past, just to not think about the things that I know are going to hype me up. So I try not to think about, like, work stuff or the state of the world or things like that. I’m just, like. I try to go to, like, boring routine, like ABCD, like, just things that are going to kind of bore me.
0:12:03 – (Christine): So it sounds like you’re from what I read in the questionnaire, your sleep can vary anywhere. You’re in bed maybe about seven and a half hours, but you’re sleeping maybe six to seven. What’s different on the nights that you’re getting less asleep?
0:12:15 – (Laurie): I fall asleep pretty easily. So if I’m not getting sleep, it’s either because I went to bed too late, I stayed up because I waited too long, and then I didn’t feel tired, or I’m waking up in the middle of the night, and then I can’t get back to sleep. Those are my two big things. But once I lay down, like, and I turn off the light and take off my glasses, I fall asleep pretty quickly. I don’t ever lay there going, oh, hey, I can’t sleep. But it’s just when I wake up a few hours later and I go pee and I’m like, oh, I’m awake.
0:12:46 – (Christine): Okay. And you read in bed before you go to sleep? Table lamp or overhead lights?
0:12:52 – (Laurie): It’s just a little table lamp.
0:12:53 – (Christine): Okay. In the evening time, you tend to have the lights on in the house?
0:12:58 – (Laurie): Yeah.
0:12:59 – (Christine): All right. And you wear, like, any blue light glasses at all when you’re reading?
0:13:03 – (Laurie): No.
0:13:04 – (Christine): Okay. And you have regular, like, led light bulbs in your. Your lamps?
0:13:10 – (Laurie): I assume so.
0:13:11 – (Christine): Okay. All right. So what’s worked well in the past, you said, is reading. And what else? When you get in a good routine, what’s. What’s that look like for you?
0:13:22 – (Laurie): Tea in the evening, like after dinner? Yoga. Nidra read my book, and then, you know, lights out. So that’s usually, like, a good. For me. That’s been helpful.
0:13:35 – (Christine): Okay. And what would it take for you to get back to that and stay consistent with it?
0:13:42 – (Laurie): I would have to set a boundary and say, this is the time I’m going to do this. This is what I’m going to be doing. You guys like people in my house. You do whatever you want. Don’t involve me. I’m busy. I’m going to be doing this. I’m doing my yoga, I’m going to read my book, and I’m going to bed, so.
0:13:58 – (Christine): Okay. And then you said you’ll still make space for, you know, having an occasional late night for the tv.
0:14:04 – (Laurie): Yeah. So, like, once a week on a weekend, I don’t have to get up early the next day for school or for work out. I can sleep in a little bit.
0:14:12 – (Christine): So, based on what we’ve discussed so far, like, what really stands out for you? Is there anything that kind of jumps out at you, aside from the routine? Anything that we discuss that you feel needs to be part of your action plan?
0:14:26 – (Laurie): My room could probably be a little bit more relaxing, a place I want to go. And it’s easy for me to relax. Like, there isn’t a pile of clothes in the corner. There’s a bunch of donation stuff sitting on top of my dresser, and, like, making that space relaxing.
0:14:44 – (Christine): All right, so room environment, routine. Anything else?
0:14:47 – (Laurie): I think I would like some, like, aromatherapy, something next to my bed that smells nice because I mentioned I have a dog. So sometimes I go in there and I’m like, hmm, kind of smells like dog in here. Doesn’t bother me, but I’m like, it could be better.
0:15:01 – (Christine): And that kind of goes in with the environment of the room. And your nighttime routine with would get, you know, could be infusing that. So anything else I think, too, what.
0:15:13 – (Laurie): Would also help me is kind of a brain dump before bed. Like, I want to make sure I do this tomorrow, or here’s what’s happening tomorrow. I know I need to do this, this and this, but just someplace where I can just kind of get it out and then it’s safe. I’m not relying on myself to remember it because.
0:15:33 – (Christine): Right. That’s what kind of stands out for me with a lot of, this is, like you said, stress management, having those relaxation moments where you’re just unplugging and not doing and even, you know, not even just in the evening time before bed, but maybe even taking some kind of a timeout during the day. A lot of times we’re go, go, go, go all day, and it’s like, okay, it’s time to relax at night. And it. It doesn’t always work that well because we’re kind of wound up. We’re in that mode.
0:16:02 – (Christine): So how do you feel about doing something during the day to, even if it’s just a very brief moment, to just kind of step back and do some kind of unplugging relaxation type of activity or exercise? You mentioned yoga, nidra, and actually, those can be very beneficial. Midday as well, because it helps you to kind of, you’re unplugging, relaxing, but at the same time being aware. And so that could be something again, you know, looking at things that are more unplugging, where you were just calming your body and your mind and just being, like, calm in that moment.
0:16:43 – (Christine): Yoga, nidra, a meditation, deep breathing. Just something where you’re just basically your mind and your body, you’re being still, if that makes sense.
0:16:52 – (Laurie): Okay. Yeah. I could do ten to 15 minutes restorative yoga in the afternoon, 15 minutes before I go to get them from school. I can just shut the computer off a little bit early and do that.
0:17:04 – (Christine): Yeah. Yeah. And again, it doesn’t have to be anything really long. You could be sitting in your chair doing, you know, neck stretches, time of thing, but just anything to just kind of be in that decompressing moment. Because if you think about everything we do from the moment we wake up, it’s going to. It’s going to go with us to bed at night. Learning to just decompress during the day as well so we’re not carrying it all into the evening time can really be helpful.
0:17:29 – (Christine): Taking those self care moments.
0:17:31 – (Laurie): Okay. I like that sometimes it’s just taking.
0:17:34 – (Christine): A few deep breaths, just closing your eyes and stopping what you’re doing when you notice you’re getting wound up. I call it a mental timeout.
0:17:40 – (Laurie): So I never get wound up. Christine. I’m holding my hand.
0:17:45 – (Christine): Some relaxation during the day, making the environment more relaxing, having that routine. And this is all going to help with your stress management and. Right. It’s all wound up together there. The other thing that stands out for me is, you know, not getting. Being able to go back to sleep at night. It’s fragmented. What do you feel about doing something like a breathing exercise, a body scan some way, again, to not keep the brain active. What a lot of people do is they’re thinking, I need to get back to sleep. And then your brain is still thinking, you know, and it’s more stressful. So maybe, again, doing some kind of relaxing activity.
0:18:27 – (Christine): It’s actually recommended. If you can’t get back to sleep after 20 minutes, you should get out of bed, go into another room where it’s quiet. And again, you could do those activities. It could maybe be reading under low light, but doing some kind of breathing, listening to relaxing music until you get sleepy again, and then go back to bed. Because what can happen is we start associating the bed with not sleeping. If we’re laying there tossing and turning so many times, you know, it can kind of start affecting you, you know, mentally, that you’re worried about not getting back to sleep. So basically, about 85% of the time that you’re in bed, you should be sleeping.
0:19:03 – (Christine): And when I looked at your, your numbers, you know, it kind of varied from like six to 7 hours. But sometimes your sleep efficiency is, you know, basically anywhere from 80% to 90%. I don’t like hyper focusing on numbers, but that’s just to kind of give you a, an understanding of what that is. So you’re in bed seven and a half hours, but maybe only sleeping six to seven and a half. And so it may seem counterproductive to get out of bed when you can’t sleep, but it actually can help with you, you know, sleeping more while you’re.
0:19:31 – (Laurie): Actually in the bed. You know, if not getting out of.
0:19:34 – (Christine): The bed is not an option for you, you could just focus more on relaxation type of activities.
0:19:40 – (Laurie): Can I get out of the bed? But like, go sit in a chair in the same room and like a meditation or something over there. You can try that.
0:19:47 – (Christine): Another option too, like I said, is, you know, do just kind of, if you’re going to stay in bed, is focus on just doing those relaxing type of activities. Just focus on relaxing versus focusing on trying to sleep. That would be my suggestion for that. And then with the noise, obviously we can’t change some of the environment around us. I don’t know if you’ve tried earplugs or anything like that to help you sleep at night.
0:20:10 – (Laurie): We have a sound machine that we run in the room. Seems to be helping. I find it comforting if I wake up and I hear my husband snoring, that can kind of keep me awake. But what I do then is I pretend it’s the dog snoring and then it doesn’t bother me. I had pugs for twelve years, so I always found that, like, it was very. A comforting sound to me. The other thing I meant to tell you is I have a weighted blanket and I have one of those weighted eye masks that I like to sleep, like, with on my head.
0:20:36 – (Christine): Okay, whatever works for you. So your top four tips would be to create that environment in your room with aromatherapy. And you said cleaning up clutter.
0:20:49 – (Laurie): Yes, it’s cluttered.
0:20:50 – (Christine): Okay. How else could it become more sleep conducive for you?
0:20:54 – (Laurie): I don’t think there’s really much else other than making it smell better and just knowing it’s cleaned up and tidy.
0:21:01 – (Christine): It’s true. I mean, there’s actually research to show that having a cluttered room can actually contribute to stress and sleep. Just, it’s a subconscious thing, but it’s, it’s a real thing. So that sounds like that’ll be very helpful for you. So sticking with your routine of the reading, the quiet time, yoga, nidra. Now, routine includes like a sleep schedule. You know what would be an ideal one for you? Not that it has to be rigid and set in stone seven days a week, but I. Ideally, what time should you be going to bed and then waking up?
0:21:35 -(Laurie): Ideally, I’d like to be trying to at least sleep seven and a half to 8 hours. We get up at 630. So if I’m asleep by 10:30 with no interruptions, ideal. However, I’m going to have at least one interruption during the night. So I kind of want to give myself, like, padding. So if I could be starting my routine by 9:15 and then in bed, turning off the light at 10:00 I think would give me that buffer, like that time to unwind and then falling asleep early enough that if I do have some kind of interruption, it’s not gonna throw me off my schedule too much.
0:22:13 – (Christine): Okay. And are you always waking up at the same time?
0:22:16 – (Laurie): Yes, except on weekends, not as much, but during the week, that’s our standard. Everybody gets up at 6:30.
0:22:23 – (Christine): Okay, so 9:15, start the wind down routine. Be in bed by ten. How confident do you feel that you can do that on a scale of one to 10, being most confident, I.
0:22:34 – (Laurie): Give it a nine. It’s a matter of just prioritizing it and making it, establishing the habits.
0:22:42 – (Christine): Okay. And then it sounds like the brain dump will be part of the nighttime routine then.
0:22:48 – (Laurie): Yes.
0:22:48 – (Christine): And you may, just might need to experiment with it. And it’s, it may change. You may find, well, I don’t like doing it this at this time. And nothing has to be really rigid, but it’s knowing that we have kind of like that menu options of things to do. And you just know this is your time for you to wind down. What do I feel like doing tonight type of a thing? It’s perfectly fine. Sounds like the brain dumps going to be definitely part of that for you. So you can, you know, keep the brain from thinking too much. You know, even if you wake up in the middle of the night, it can definitely help with that. And then during the day, finding some time for some kind of relaxation would be the third one. Right.
0:23:25 – (Christine): And then we’ve got if waking up in the middle of the night, maybe going and sitting in a chair, if you can’t get back to sleep after 20 minutes, you said maybe do a meditation. What do you think you might do during that time?
0:23:37 – (Laurie): I think. I think a meditation might be good. And then trying to go back to sleep.
0:23:42 – (Christine): Okay, so how does that sound to you?
0:23:45 – (Laurie): That sounds good. That sounds doable. It sounds like really simple, like things that I can implement. Right. Nothing or nothing here is like heavy lifting.
0:23:56 – (Christine): And it sounds like you’ve got good support from your husband. If you tell him he can help hold you accountable, you can feel not guilty about it. He’ll reap the benefits.
0:24:06 – (Laurie): That’s going to be his biggest motivation, that I’ll just be overall in a better mood and more agreeable.
0:24:12 – (Christine): So what I’m going to be sending you is a summary of the four suggestions here and the tips as far as you know what you can do. And then there will also be like a resource page for some apps for meditation and breathing, some of my YouTube breathing videos. Another one’s a website for managing stress. But is there anything else that you feel would be helpful?
0:24:36 – (Laurie): I think that would be good. What I’m afraid of is overloading going too much in the opposite of like now. You know, I have a few things to do, but I’m so anxious to solve this problem. I’m going to try to do too many things. So I kind of want to keep it the handful of things I’m going to do.
0:24:50 – (Christine): As far as the session today, how was that for you?
0:24:53 – (Laurie): Very good. It really helped to kind of verbalize and reinforce, you know, why it is that I want to do this.
0:25:00 – (Christine): Okay, good. I will give you our summary and everything.
0:25:04 – (Laurie): This is great.
0:25:04 – (Christine): Thank you, Christine.
0:25:05 – (Laurie): Okay, you’re welcome. See you later.
0:25:10 – (Laurie): Thanks for listening. And if you liked this episode, go ahead and leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts and be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified when the next episode is live. Check out our show notes for this episode where you can find any of the links and resources that were mentioned during the show and connect with a health and wellness provider committed to helping you ditch diets and achieve results without restriction.

Approaching Dry January with Curiosity – The Sober Nutritionist, Teri Patterson

In this episode, I’m welcoming Teri Patterson (The Sober Nutritionist) back on the show to talk about Dry January, what it is, and how taking a mindful break from alcohol and approaching it with curiosity can lead to a new awareness about how alcohol is impacting your health and wellness.

Key Takeaways:

  • Growing Awareness: The awareness and participation in Dry January have significantly increased in recent years. In 2021, about 13% of Americans considered participating, while in 2022, this number rose to 35%, indicating a growing wellness conversation around mindful breaks from drinking.
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverage Industry: The rise of Dry January has led to an increase in non-alcoholic beverage options, with major companies introducing alcohol-free products to support the movement.
  • Mindful Break from Drinking: Dry January is not about depriving oneself but about taking a mindful break from alcohol. Shifting the mindset from deprivation to gaining new ways to honor the body is a more empowering approach.
  • Potential Benefits of Dry January:
    • Improved energy levels
    • Reduced anxiety
    • Better sleep
    • Less brain fog
    • Enhanced mood
  • Skip the goals, set Intentions: Instead of setting rigid goals, focus on setting intentions. Ask yourself why you want to participate in Dry January and how you want to feel at the end of the month.
  • Curiosity and Mindset: Approach Dry January with curiosity. Pay attention to any challenges, cravings, or shifts in mindset. Curiosity helps suspend judgment and fosters a more positive experience.
  • Common Dry January Misconceptions:
    • Some may see Dry January as a way to prove they don’t have a drinking problem. It’s essential to recognize that willpower alone may not lead to lasting change; tools and support are crucial.
    • That one must complete the full 31 days, or the effort is wasted. Each day offers valuable data points to guide the journey.
  • Benefits Beyond January: February 1st is not the end; it’s an opportunity to ease into the insights gained. Use journaling to reflect on the experience, revisit initial intentions, and design the post-January period intentionally.
  • Rediscovering Fun Sober: Challenge the myth that “sober is boring.” Reconnect with activities and experiences without relying on alcohol. Engage in hobbies, socialize, and find joy in the absence of alcohol.


  • “If sober is boring, you’re doing it wrong.”
  • “We have to ask ourselves, is that true? What happened when I was 10 and I was running around in the backyard playing with my friends and we were playing doorbell ditch and laughing and hoping we didn’t get caught or running through the sprinklers. Where is that person? That person is still inside of us.”
  • “February 1st is not the, you know, you don’t put the key in the lock and now I’m out of jail. Imagine February 1st as the time to just ease into the information that you’ve gained and allow yourself to say. Okay. Wow. That was really interesting.”

Resources Mentioned:

About Teri: 

Teri Patterson is a Functional Nutritionist and a This Naked Mind Senior Coach. Teri blends her knowledge of nutrition with her passion for living an alcohol-free life into a unique business as The Sober Nutritionist.

Teri’s mission is to help her clients discover how drinking less can be the key to better health. Teri is also the host of the popular podcast The Sober Edge, Inspiration for Alcohol-Free Living and the creator of the brand-new SELF Experience, a place for women after alcohol who want to build a life by design, not by default.

Connect with Teri:


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Episode Transcript:

Laurie: Welcome, everyone. Today, Teri Patterson, also known as the Sober Nutritionist, is back on the show, and she’s here to chat with us about Dry January, what it is, and how taking a mindful break from alcohol and approaching it with curiosity can lead to a new awareness about how alcohol is showing up in your life and impacting your health and wellness.

Welcome, Teri. 

Teri: It’s so nice to be here. I’m excited to be back on your podcast and having a conversation around dry January.

Laurie: You are like my expert on very compassionately examining our relationship with alcohol and what it means and how it shows up and looking at all the ways that it’s impacting the different areas of our life. So I’m excited to dig in with you as we’re coming up to January. And a lot of people will be participating in the Dry January. So I really want to get some information out there for people to help them participate successfully, however it looks for them. What we’re going to start with is in case anybody doesn’t know what is dry January and why it’s becoming more popular in recent years.

Teri: Yes, we see the roots of dry January actually from 2013 when a British organization called Alcohol Concern, they actually started a charitable fundraiser around taking a 30 day break from drinking alcohol. And the reason they picked January was of course, because traditionally people might want to make some healthy changes.

But the other interesting part is they did it because the pubs and the bars don’t get as much business during January. So they thought, Oh, this is a good time for people who aren’t necessarily going out to the pub so much. To take a mindful break from drinking. And so that’s really the roots of it. And it was done to help raise money.

And, uh, it’s been fascinating because the movement has grown since then. And now it is absolutely huge. And I was looking up some statistics because what we see in the United States, it’s really interesting in these last few years as awareness. around taking a mindful break from drinking has become more popular.

We see these dry January numbers just increasing exponentially. So in 2021, we had about 13 percent of the American populations say, yes, I’m considering, or I am going to participate in dry January. And in 2022, 35 percent of Americans said they wanted to participate. So you can see that the awareness, the wellness conversation around taking a break is really growing.

And to support that, we’re seeing a lot of companies jumping into the non alcoholic beverage industry, seeing big names now like Heineken Zero, for example. Everyone is coming out with their own version of an alcohol free product to support this movement. 

Laurie: I have noticed that, Teri. I’ve seen so many ads just in the last year popping up everywhere for non alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks for people who want to feel like they’re still social or they still can have that drink, but without the alcohol impact.

I was going to say too, that In January, we tend to see a lot of, like, the pendulum swing. So, like, December is a big month for indulgence. People like to eat a lot of special foods and, and they tend to maybe not move as much. They’re out of their regular routine. And by the end of December, people are at a point they’re like, I just want to get back into doing the things that I normally do that make me feel good.

Sleeping more, moving more, eating the foods that I’m used to eating on a regular basis that make my insides feel good. We see that pendulum go from like really enjoying to [00:04:00] restriction. I’m going to start a diet. I’m going to start cutting out all these foods starting January 1st. I have a resolution. I’m not going to do X, Y, Z.

If you’ve been a big drinker over the holidays, it’s probably one of those things that people are just like, Oh, I really overdid it. Maybe I need to take a break, or maybe I need to kind of look at what this means.

Teri: Exactly. And so we often want to be like, it’s like an alcohol timeout, you know, so I’m going to take this time out and alcohol is the enemy and you know, and, and I’m, I’m deprived.

I’m sitting over here in the no fun corner, not drinking for the month of January. Right. And so. It, again, when we go back to mindset, it’s really powerful to think about what we’re gaining versus what we’re giving up because we can maybe look at it as deprivation and that’s just not going to serve us in the long term.

So it’s so much more powerful to say, Oh my gosh, I found new ways to honor my body. 

Laurie: 100 percent because when I went vegan, like 150 years ago, it feels like, at the time it was more like. I approached it with curiosity. What would happen if I took 30 days where I didn’t consume this? How would I feel? Would I feel better?

I’ll give myself permission. As soon as you say, I can’t have, I can’t, like it’s off limits. Your brain goes, Oh, I have never wanted that more in my entire life than I do right now. But if you kind of approach it with here’s, you know what, I’m going to see how it feels and just keep my mind open and be aware of like what’s going on here and there and just make note.

How does that feel in my body? Right. So approaching alcohol the same way, what you’re gaining could be, you know, better digestion, better sleep, more energy, more friends, more clarity, like all of these great things can come from this that you wouldn’t experience necessarily if you don’t take that break or approach Dry January with that curiosity. I love that you mentioned that.

Teri: It’s also interesting too, as you say, we, we want to be mindful that when we go from indulgence to restriction that, you know, we need to have time for our mindset to catch up. And one of the things I really love about dry January is it’s no longer feels like something that gets sprung on us. January 1st, we now see a lot of opportunity to sort of prepare and think about it and plan and have some intention behind it.

And we’re also seeing that it’s not, uh, you’re not an outlier. Any longer when you choose to participate in dry January, I think if you pay attention, your listeners and all of us will notice more people say, Oh yeah, I’m going to take a month off.

I’m going to, um, you know, participate in dry January and it’s now seen as positive. It’s no longer like, Oh, I have a problem. I need to take a break from alcohol.  

Laurie: I love that. It’s just taking a step back and saying, I’m not the only one doing it. We’re all doing this together. It’s a positive thing. It doesn’t automatically mean, you know, you have any kind of label around your alcohol consumption, but we’re being curious about how this is showing up for us.

So you talked about a couple of things that I really want to dig into. When we participate in Dry January, we go the 31 days, cutting back on alcohol and examining the impact that it’s having, what are some benefits, either mentally, physically, after the end of that experience?

Teri: So it depends on if people really are able to go 31 days not drinking, you’re going to have different effects than if you cut way back.

Like, let’s say you have your couple glasses of wine every night, which is perfect. Very common. And let’s say you decide I’m only going to drink once a week. You’re going to experience some benefits for sure. Because anytime we take what is basically a toxin out of our system, we’re going to feel better.

Uh, and if you are able to go 31 days with no alcohol, you’re going to exponentially feel even better. And so one of the things I think is really powerful is just notice if it feels challenging. To not drink. That’s one of the first things that happened for me was I thought, well, I’ll take a break and cut back because I realized that, you know, I was drinking more than I wanted to.

I was feeling kind of crappy a lot of mornings. I just didn’t like that. My brain kept saying, well, when’s the next drink? When’s the next drink? So when I tried to cut back, that’s when I realized, oh, this might be a little bit more of an issue than I thought. So I think inviting people to just get really curious about, is this, A challenge for me.

Is this feel hard? Am I feeling more cravings mentally, physically? And so I think that is a really important part of this. And then once we do cut back, we’re going to start seeing things like we’re going to have more energy. We’re going to have less anxiety. One thing that people don’t often realize is that alcohol creates more anxiety because of the adrenaline and cortisol releases in our body.

And so sometimes we think, well, when I drink, I feel less anxiety or I drink because I’m stressed. And initially because alcohol is both a stimulant and a depressant, we do get a little bit of that buzzy euphoric feeling. And we might feel like, Oh, I’m not so stressed, but that lasts a very short period of time.

And then the depressive. Parts of alcohol last much, much longer. So we’re actually Increasing anxiety when we drink so people often notice. Wow, my mood feels a little lighter they’re gonna notice things like potentially within a couple of weeks, you’ll have hopefully better sleep and We’re going to notice less brain fog lots of different effects.

Laurie: That’s really interesting the beginning of your comment was depending on what the goal is. Is it to abstain completely? Is it to cut back? Can we talk a little bit about how to realistically set a goal for dry January and what that might look like?

Teri: Yeah, I love this question. This is so good because I like to think of rather than setting a goal, which sometimes looks like very black and white, you know, I succeeded if I made it 30 days, I failed because I only made it 10 days and then I had a drink.

I like to help people set an intention and an intention allows us to have sort of, how do I want to feel? What is my motivation behind taking a break? And so for people to be successful, I think it’s really powerful to bring in some curiosity because curiosity helps us suspend judgment. And what I love about this is you said, I want to participate in Dry January.

I would ask to tell me why. And you might say, well, I hear there’s a lot of benefits to cutting out drinking and I’ve been drinking a little bit more than I want to, or I’m noticing that. I’m thinking about alcohol more than I want to. And so we can start right there and say, well, great. How do you want to feel at the end of January?

And you’d say, Oh, I want to feel proud of myself. I want to feel motivated to take on more health challenges. I want to sleep better. I want to be able to go to the ladies book club and say, no, thank you when they pass the wine. So I think those are all really important things to bring in. So we’ve taken it from a very black and white, I’m going to go 31 days without drinking alcohol into something that is personal to you, the individual.

And that can make a huge difference in how we follow through with that stated goal. 

Laurie: I do see this too with eating and creating these food rules and things and they start out with black and white, I’m going to do this, I’m not going to do this. And then three days in, if something is such an ingrained habit that they didn’t even realize, and it’s so.

It’s hard for them to not do the thing they want to do or to do the thing they don’t want to do. It becomes a failure point and it’s completely devastating mentally and it throws off the whole experience. Then they’re quote unquote starting over, they failed. So I love that you’re saying, look at the intention.

How do you want to feel? Let’s Let’s reverse engineer this process from where you want to end up instead of trying to power through something that might not really be a good fit for you. And it might actually set you up to be worse off than maybe you are now. And, and really feeling worse about yourself, about the whole thing.

So I love that you’re, you’re reframing it as a, an intention versus a hard and fast goal of XYZ, I’m going to do this, I’m not going to do this. So I love that. Let’s talk about some of the misconceptions that people might have about participating in Dry January.  

Teri: I think a lot of times people will have a mindset that if I can take 30 or 31 days off, that means I don’t have a drinking problem.

I’m going to prove to myself that this is not an issue. And what I find sometimes is you can go probably 30 days with just willpower. You can avoid all the usual places. You can suffer through this idea of depriving yourself. And then on February 1st, let’s bring out the cocktails because I did it. Let’s celebrate with alcohol.

This is something that. people will do because they are not building in the tools behind the taking a break. So we can change our behavior for a short period of time, but [00:14:00] willpower, as we know, will run out. And so it’s really important to have The mindset, the habit change, the intention, you know, the routines to get support in all of these areas if we want to make this more successful and we want to come out the other end, you know, saying, wow, I learned a lot about my relationship with alcohol.

I’m more curious in these ways. I have some maybe work to do over here. I felt really good. Um, and so, you know, If you’re considering dry January, I invite you to just look at the why, you know, am I trying to prove I don’t have a drinking problem? Well, anytime we ask is alcohol a problem for me, that’s a clue, right?

And so if that’s you, if you’re saying, wow, you know, maybe. This is a problem. I invite you to reverse that. Instead of asking, do I have a problem with [00:15:00] alcohol? Ask yourself, is alcohol adding anything to my life? Is alcohol serving me? Is alcohol making my life better? And that again is just an open ended curious question that allows us to say, huh, yeah.

Maybe it’s not. Maybe it used to be fun. And now I find myself drinking even though I don’t want to. And so we might think that dry January is this proving to ourself that, you know, I’m okay. And the reason I started there, Laurie, about your question is because a lot of clients have shared this with me.

Like I told myself, if I could take a month off, then all bets were off. I’m fine. And so I think the other misconception is that you’re, you have to go 31 days. Or that February 1st is now the goal. And so I invite you to stay mindful throughout the 31 days. Oh, I drank [00:16:00] on day seven. Oh, I drank on day nine.

Oh, I didn’t drink again until January 27th. And pay attention to those times when you felt like I really want to drink or I must drink, you know, or it just happened that I found myself with a drink in my hand. Like these are things that we can use during the month that look very different than the myth of I’m going to get through 31 days with, you know, no problem or to prove something to myself.

And it’s also really powerful to just allow that if you have, we call them data points. So if you have a drink, it’s information. What happened? Like if you’re running a marathon and you trip on mile three, you don’t start back at mile one. You just keep going. And so it’s helpful to drop the myth that if I have a drink, oh, well, I’m like half the other population.

I drank on day 10. It’s over. No. Use that information to guide you in the next 20 days. 

Laurie: That’s really helpful, Teri, and I love that you mentioned your data points, because I was just going to say, I remember from our past conversation, instead of having that all or nothing, black or white, oops, I tripped and fell, it’s over, I’m starting from the beginning, approach it with curiosity, look at the situation, what were the conditions, what was the environment, what was the mindset, and then just look at that information and see what you can pull out of there.

I love that. One of the things that might be a challenge for somebody is that They are approaching Dry January. They want to participate. They don’t know anybody else who’s doing it. They don’t have a support group. They don’t have a bunch of friends that they can hang out with. 

Teri: Well, I think what you’re mentioning here, Laurie, is really powerful is to have some support outside of ourself.

You know, one of the things that, uh, comes up when I’m working with clients around this journey is we spend a lot of time beating ourselves up in our own head. And so we could start to create a lot of stories around, oh, it’s not going well, or you’re never going to be able to do this. But when we’re in a group, we have the other person saying, I believe in you, I’m cheering you on, this is going well, you’re doing it.

And so it is so helpful to be in community during dry January, and it’s not hard to find a dry January community. There are going to be lots of opportunities. So I think we just start with asking Google, you know, what is available in my area? You could do it online. You can do it maybe in person. There might be a blended atmosphere where people say, hey, We’re going to have, um, hiking every Saturday morning during dry January so that you have a reason to get up at 6 a.m. Or 7 a. m. As opposed to, oh, you know, I drank on Friday night and now I, I’m going to sleep until 11 and I didn’t make the running group. So setting up a little accountability and a little companionship is really helpful. Laura McCowan has a group called The Luckiest Club. You can join that. I think it’s very inexpensive, $25 a month or something, and you could join that for dry January.

There’s free smart recovery groups, uh, that will be featuring some things for dry January. I did my first dry January as a leader, not an individual. And I guess I did my first dry January without even thinking about it in 2016 because I wasn’t drinking by then. But in 2020, I worked with This Naked Mind in their live alcohol experiment for January, and there was about 3, 000 individuals that came at that time who wanted to go through a 30 day program.

It’s very inexpensive, uh, to have coaching support, to see other people also experiencing this. One of the things that can happen, Laurie, is when we are drinking and overdrinking or drinking more than we want to, or questioning our drinking, we often think we’re the only one. And so when we see other people say, Oh yeah, you know, somehow five o’clock is really hard, or I do great, you know, Sunday through Tuesday.

And then what is it about Wednesday? And so when we have this support, it helps us get out of our own way. And helps us, you know, again, have that accountability and that support where other people are also going through the same thing. And we don’t feel so isolated. One of the other things I’ll say about having some accountability or some support is, uh, if you Don’t tell anyone, then no one knows if you’re doing well, no one is noticing.

No one’s cheering you on. Um, for example, I just recently, um, have been going through a health challenge of my own, so I had some food sensitivity tests and I can’t eat eggs right now and I can’t have dairy. And so I was talking to my daughter about a recipe to make some Christmas cookies and she was like, “Mom, You can’t make that. It has butter!” And I was like “Oh, you’re right!” But if no one knew I was trying to cut out dairy, I could just go about my business and pretend it wasn’t really happening. You know, and my brain, because we’re humans, we want to avoid discomfort, seek pleasure. I don’t make the cookies with butter and pretend I don’t have, I’m not supposed to be giving up dairy.

So some of that. External accountability is really helpful to just be like, Oh yeah, it’s like going to the gym and you’re in a group class versus going to the gym and just looking around and saying, well, I’ll do five minutes on the treadmill or I’ll lift the five pound weight. But when you’re in the group, it’s very different.

The instructor saying, pick up those 10 pound weights. You know, do this, do that. So use that as a motivation to help you through this dry January. 

Laurie: So don’t do a secret dry January, make it, share it, share it with those around you so that they can help you, cheer you on, be those extra eyeballs and ears and shoulders.

Teri: And remind you of your, of your intention, like, gosh, you know, um, Let’s go for a walk. You don’t need a glass of wine right now. Let’s take a walk. And if you still want a glass of wine, have a glass of wine. But, you know, having that, I love the word secret. Yeah. Don’t, you know, save the secret Santa for December and have an out loud, public dry January. 

Laurie: Loud and proud dry January. I love that.

Teri: People want to know, like, what do I tell people about not drinking? So dry January is awesome because people just say, Oh, I’m doing dry January. And everybody’s like, Oh, okay. It’s not that you have a problem. Everybody’s doing dry January. We touched 

Laurie: on this a little bit, but maybe we can dig in a little bit more.

You said over here in the no fun corner. Right? So if we start to feel like, oh my gosh, if I take out drinking, what am I going to do? 

Teri: Yeah, there is a huge myth out there, Lori, that sober is boring. And I like to say if sober is boring, you’re doing it wrong. Because what we realize is that we have. often built alcohol into all of the activities.

I mean, for example, you know, oh, we’re going to go on a picnic. Oh, get that special bottle of rosé so I can drink during the day. Oh, we’re going to baby shower. Well, we have to have mimosas, you know, oh gosh, we’re going to have pizza and watch the game. I need a beer. And so, What we’ve done is we’ve really trained ourselves to rely on alcohol, and then we see alcohol as the fun factor, but that’s not true.

Uh, I had a client who was very concerned in her mind. She thought, well, if I give up alcohol, you know, what really bothers me is I have this memory that I was in Italy and I was sitting out on the terrace with my husband and looking over the vineyards and the little old wizened old winemaker came out with this very special old bottle and he poured us this drink and it was magic.

You know, the moment was magical and I, I just can’t imagine never experiencing that again. And so what I told her was, I said, okay, so let’s imagine this. Let’s look at that bottle of wine that he poured for you. And I want you to think about taking that bottle of wine into your closet. And I want you to sit in the dark and close the door and have a drink of wine.

And then I want you to come out of the closet metaphorically and imagine being on this terrace in Italy. And. You can smell the flowers, you’re experiencing the warm afternoon sun, it’s a beautiful vista, you are sitting across from your husband who you are just gazing into his eyes thinking this moment is so magical, and the little old wizened man comes out and he pours you this special juice that they make from these old apples.

And you toast each other and you think, I’m, this moment is magical. So tell me, Laurie in that moment, was it the wine? Or was it the experience? So when we think about, you know, well, I have to have alcohol to have fun. We have to ask ourselves, is that true? What happened when I was 10 and I was running around in the backyard playing with my friends and we were playing doorbell ditch and laughing and hoping we didn’t get caught or running through the sprinklers.

Where is that person? That person is still inside of us. We just decided that we needed alcohol. So we had fun at some point in our life without alcohol and we can get there again and much of it is a mindset shift. 

Laurie: Absolutely true. I love that. February 1st, Dry January is over. 

Teri: Now what? First of all, February 1st is not the, you know, you don’t put the key in the lock and now I’m out of jail.

Imagine February 1st as the time to just ease into the information that you’ve gained and allow yourself to say. Okay. Wow. You know, that was really interesting. And now I’m at a new place. Now I have more information. I have new experiences and I really want to see what this means moving forward. And for many people, it will be a place of new awareness around the impact that alcohol has been having.

And, you know, I have lots of clients that come to me and they say, well, you know, I’m here at this place where I’m drinking more than I want to, that, you know, things are happening that I don’t like, I don’t feel as good. Now that I’m older, perhaps, you know, alcohol is having more of an impact. But they say, I don’t want to stop drinking forever.

And so, you know, this is a really important awareness when we say, well, what are the benefits of alcohol? If we took alcohol out for a month and we felt better and we found socializing wasn’t as hard and we enjoyed the community aspect. that. Do we really want to go back to putting a toxin in our body on a regular basis or every day?

So, you know, I invite people on February 1st to explore. Well, what does it mean? And one of the best ways I think to do this is to journal and to really write down like, okay, here’s how I felt during this month. Here is the good, the bad, the ugly. And what do I want to do with this information? Uh, you know, really design Your February rather than just default into the old patterns.

And that again, takes some intention. And so while dry January, it might be like, uh, people think, well, it’s a month without alcohol. What if it’s a month exploring your relationship with alcohol? And then there’s more to do maybe in February and March and April.  

Laurie: I love that Teri, because you said January doesn’t have to just be a month without alcohol.

It could actually be a month with …Whatever we’ve been not doing because of alcohol, what are some activities or, or things have you been putting off or not interested in doing or not had time for because you’ve been doing all of these events or activities that are based on alcohol, what can you kind of fill in and explore and try?

And maybe that becomes things that you do in February. And I like that you were talking about journaling because then it gives you a chance to revisit who you were on January 1st, why you started it, what were you thinking, how are you feeling, and be able to look back and revisit. Each of these different points, maybe you did have a drink, what was going on, it’s so much, it’s so much easier to recall and go back to that when you’ve written it down.

Ask me how I know. Instead of trying to like remember and just kind of think at the end, like, Hmm, how did that go? Well, guess what? 

Teri: I don’t remember. You know, Annie Grace does have the 30-Day Alcohol Experiment as a book. So that’s a good resource as well. It’s not a journal, but there’s questions and there’s, you know, a 30 days, like each day it talks about something different, like alcohol and socializing, alcohol and anger.

Laurie: That’s a great resource. I’m glad you mentioned it. I will put the link to that in the show notes as well. Terry, we’re going to wrap up and I was hoping that you could give us your top three tips for participating in Dry January. 

Teri: Tip # 1, I’m going to take a page from your playbook and say, write down your intention.

What do I want to experience during the month of January? Why? How will I know if I was successful? And I invite you to redefine success. So I’ll know because I was I was paying attention. I brought in awareness. I asked questions. I made new choices like those types of things. So I invite people to really explore Their intention and their why behind taking a 30 day break and then write that down.

And that can be the very first tip is to set that intention in writing. How do I want to feel? What is my motivation for doing dry January? And then the second tip would be, ask some questions when you feel like drinking. What am I thinking alcohol will provide in this moment? Am I thinking that, oh, I’m feeling a little social anxiety and alcohol will help, or I’m bored, or I’m lonely, or I feel sad? stressed?

All of these things are going to be really powerful to start to untangle where alcohol started to become our go to.

And then the third thing that we touched on is that community aspect. Don’t do this. In secret share with someone you maybe you’re not a joiner. You don’t want to join a big group although I invite you to consider it but have some support somewhere [00:31:00] so that you have someone cheering you on someone to help keep you accountable And someone to share some of these thoughts with because if this is brand new for you, there’s going to be a lot going on because our brain has defaulted to alcohol perhaps for a long time.

And so you deserve to have that support You know, the NA beverage, the non alcoholic beverage industry is really growing. So have some fun with maybe some mocktails or some special hop water or some kombucha or some teas. Enjoy having an adult beverage. If you had a ritual of pouring a drink every night, just change what’s in the glass and allow yourself to just say, wow, it feels really different when I have that sparkling tea versus my, you know, my, uh, hard cider and enjoy that. There’s so many resources out there and you’re going to find a lot more popping up as we get closer to January. So have fun with that.

Laurie: That’s a really good tip to have something prepared, have a plan for when you normally would have something, swap it in with something else, try it out.

Those are great tips, Teri. 

Teri: I don’t have something specific to Dry January, but I do have a program that I’ve recently created called Stop Drinking in Your 50s and Beyond. And it is a six week program. And in that program, it’s a self paced program. And so, uh, it, what it is, is for Every week you have five days of activities and then two days of application.

So on three days a week, you have a short video, no more than 10 minutes. And then one day a week, you have a journal prompt. And one day a week, you have kind of a tactic to work on. And so I really believe that to make this a journey that is successful, you need to have knowledge, application and some tools.

Laurie: Teri, I’m going to be putting all of your links into the show notes and I really do appreciate that you shared your new program information with us and I’m going to be putting the link to that if anybody wants to learn more. You’re on social? Yes. Okay, perfect. I’ll be putting those in the show notes with all of your information so our listeners can connect with you in all of the different places where you are.

Thank you, Teri. 

Teri: Yes. Thank you, Laurie. And good luck to all of your listeners if you decide to try Dry January. I’m cheering you on.

The Healing Power of Yoga with Tashya Knight

In this episode, I’m welcoming Tashya Knight, a certified health educator, health coach, and yoga instructor, back to the show. Tashya shares her journey into yoga, emphasizing its role in her wellness and the surprising benefits she experienced.

The discussion covers the physical and mental health benefits of a regular yoga practice, busting yoga myths and highlighting its impact on physical, mental and emotional health.

Tashya elaborates on the importance of self-acceptance, self-confidence, and spending time with yourself in yoga. We dive into Tashya’s approach to yoga as a healing practice, particularly in addressing trauma and promoting breath awareness and how finding the right yoga style, teacher, and studio are important to create a positive and welcoming experience.

Key Takeaways:

• Yoga as a Holistic Wellness Practice – it’s not just as a physical activity but a holistic practice affecting mental and emotional well-being.

• A regular yoga practice has diverse health benefits including stress management, anxiety reduction, improved sleep, lower cortisol levels, enhanced cardiovascular health, and even potential relief from migraines

• It’s important to approach yoga with an open mind and curiosity. Each person’s body is unique, and yoga should be personalized to meet individual needs. Modifications and variations are encouraged, promoting a sense of self-acceptance and self-confidence

• Restorative yoga is a practice focused on rest and relaxation. The poses involve the use of props and aim to calm the nervous system, providing an opportunity for deep relaxation and self-care


  • “I can’t imagine my life without yoga. I can’t imagine not sharing this with other people and helping them to calm their anxiety. It’s helped me with my depression. It has helped me with stress.”
  • “Yes, it is slow because it’s asking you to slow down. You’ve lived your life in a form of, you know, whatever goes on in your daily life, taking some time to yourself.”
  • “[Your practice] is all about you, and it’s yours. So finding ways to use breath allows you to find ways to get quiet, to slow down, to take a minute that’s just yours.”
  • “Restorative yoga is it’s just really a time to rest your mind and rest your body, which I think is something we all need in our time right now where we’re constantly on the go.”

Resources Mentioned:

Join Tashya for a free class

Tashya hosts a virtual Saturday morning restorative yoga class, so no matter where you are, you can join Tashya at 10am Eastern for an hour of self-care as you start your weekend.

Want to join Tashya for a free class?

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP use the code RWRCLASS to try the class out for free

About Tashya: 

Tashya is a former educator with a Bachelor’s in Education and a Master’s in Health Promotion.
After finishing her degree, she became a certified health education specialist (CHES). Combining this with her health coaching certification she has created programs, curriculums, lessons, and experiences on the subject matters of mindfulness, yoga, wellness, SEL, self-care, and empowerment.

Enrolling in a yoga teacher training allowed Tashya to do the hard work of healing herself by applying yoga philosophy, meditation, and aspects of her wellness coaching. She removed herself from toxic behaviors and relationships. Using her own experiences, she has been able to create programs that empower women to thrive as their best selves.

After leaving the classroom, Tashya worked for several different non-profit organizations teaching kids cooking classes, nutrition education, social emotional learning skills, girl’s empowerment, yoga, mindfulness, and self-care practices. She is a professionally trained and certified health coach and yoga instructor.

Tashya is a passionate advocate for promoting wellness and empowering young people and adults to know their worth and practice self-care on a daily basis. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she continues to teach yoga, coach clients, and write about various wellness topics.

Connect with Tashya:


In this episode, I’m welcoming Tashya Knight, a certified health educator, health coach, and yoga instructor, back to the show. Tashya shares her journey into yoga, emphasizing its role in her wellness and the surprising benefits she experienced.

Episode Transcript:

Laurie: Welcome everyone. Today I am talking to Tasha Knight, who you may recall has been a guest on the show already, but this time she’s back to talk to us about the benefits of a regular yoga practice. Now you might also remember that Tasha is a former teacher turned certified health educator, health coach, and yoga instructor. And she discovered yoga while she was working on her master’s degree in health promotion. And now she’s on a mission to empower individuals who are interested in taking a more holistic approach to their wellness journey. Welcome back, Tasha.

Tashya: Thank you, Laurie.

Laurie: What I would like to do is start with kind of like your backstory and how you got into yoga and definitely like your journey to becoming a yoga teacher. Can you tell us about that?

Tashya: Yes, absolutely. I actually came to yoga through meditation first. People usually come to yoga first and then find their way to meditation. But I was in grad school and my master’s is in health promotion. And I had one semester, we had an entire class on meditation. So we were learning the philosophy.

We were learning background and all of that. And we had to practice different types of meditation. So I started practicing the meditations. This is not about meditation, but the usual thoughts, I can’t do meditation. I can’t say it and had a lot of misconceptions about it. really began to understand and dive into it a little bit more.

And then from that started a meditation practice and then thought, Hey, maybe I should do a yoga class. So I took a couple of yoga classes and I actually wrote a blog post about this on my website. I didn’t like yoga and I didn’t think that I could do yoga. And I thought like, I can’t slow down. I can’t sit still. I can’t get quiet. I’d rather do a different type of movement, something a little more hardcore. Because I had been practicing the meditation, I found that when I showed up to the yoga class, it, I was able to practice it. I was able to connect to the breath and find that because I had learned how to slow down in the meditation.

Did I ever think I was going to be a yoga teacher? No. If you had asked me ten years ago, that wouldn’t even have been on my list of goals or aspirations. For some reason, I just felt like that was the next step for me. I was already a health coach. I had already gotten the degree in health promotion. I was already, you know, helping people and being of service in that way.

And then I started getting ads for this yoga program that was specifically for educators. And as you know, Laurie, I used to be a teacher. And so I thought, of course, I’ll go learn how to be a yoga teacher around my people, around other educators. And that’s what I found myself doing. So I ended up taking a yoga teacher training that was specifically for educators, very social, emotional learning based learning, how to incorporate that into your classes.

And I loved it. And I started to dive more into the philosophy and more into deepening my yoga practice, deepening my meditation practice, learning how to breathe better and all of that. And now I can’t imagine my life without yoga. I can’t imagine not sharing this. with other people and helping them to calm their anxiety.

It’s helped me with my depression. It has helped me with stress. It has helped me to just calm down in a world where I am constantly busy, busy, go, go, go. And this has just given me another tool for self care and to feel better in my life.

Laurie: Okay, so you already dipped your toe here into my next question, which is how can a yoga practice contribute to overall better health? And you mentioned some things that have been helpful for you. People may have a like a preconception about yoga, which is you go, you do some stretches, you lay on a mat. How does this help? But some very specific studies have been done on how yoga can help you physically and mentally. I just want to make sure people are aware of that.

Yoga has been shown to help lower cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone. So it helps with stress management, which is a huge factor in improving mental health. It’s also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. It has been shown to help reduce chronic pain, reducing chronic inflammation.

It’s also been shown that it can help with your cardiovascular health, and this is amazing that it actually can impact your heart rate, your blood pressure, your cholesterol. It’s also been shown to help you sleep better, and because a lot of yoga practices incorporate breathing, it can actually make your lungs stronger.

So it might help if you have any kind of chronic lung conditions. And then the last thing I’ll note is that it has been shown to help with migraines. So if migraines are something that you struggle with, there’s a study that has shown that yoga may help to reduce the number of migraine headaches that you are experiencing. I think that’s amazing that all of this can be done through yoga. What are some other ways that yoga can really improve physical and mental health when you have a regular practice?

Tashya: Well, I think that it, um, allows you to spend time with yourself, right? So it improves your self acceptance. I think it improves your self confidence, right? Because your. listening to yourself, right? Like when I say, I say often at the beginning of a class is I’m just your guide, you know, your body and your mind’s better than I do. So what you need to do to make yoga, it’s all about you and it’s yours. So finding ways to use breath, right? Connecting your breath to your movement It allows you to find ways to get quiet, to slow down, to take a minute, right? That’s just yours. It also allows you to move your body in certain ways.

And I know that we have spoken before about trauma, and it allows you to move some of that through your body. It builds a more, um, stable foundation for yourself, helping you with balance, helping you with flexibility, with mobility.

And as we start to get older, um, we, some of that gets a little lost, right? So helping to build that strength and helping to build that balance and flexibility and mobility for yourself is really important for physical health. And it’s important for emotional and mental health because you’re doing that check in.

You’re taking time to listen to what’s coming up for you. And then hopefully not brushing that aside or stepping it down, hopefully taking some time to, um, bring that in. There’s more aspects of yoga than just the movement, right? There’s the meditation, there’s the breath work, there’s the learning to sit.

There’s also the living in your values. How are you showing up off the mat? And that’s a whole nother class in itself. So I won’t dive into that. So maybe that’s a, uh, another interview, but, um, I just think that it helps you in so many different ways in showing up for your life and connecting to who you truly are.

Laurie: I love that.

Tashya: I just really want to use yoga as a healing practice more so than a workout. Thinking from a trauma informed lens, how can we use yoga as a way to move our trauma through our body? Because we store it, I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book, The Body Keeps Score, by Bessel Van Der Kolk. And talks a lot about how we are not able to process the trauma.
Whether it is repressed memories, and sometimes it’s not even that. We know the trauma happened, we remember the trauma happened, but we don’t allow ourselves to deal with it. It’s more of a like, okay, that happened, stuff it down, move on. We wonder why our bodies are sick, our minds are sick. And so we wonder why that is.

And it’s because we’ve allowed that all to be trapped in. So my goal with yoga is finding a way to use it into connecting to your breath, moving your body. Yes, it stretches you, which is very important, but also using that just to learn how to breathe better, how to, you know, cause meditation is part of yoga and how to calm our nervous system down.
How to find a way to cope with our stressors. That’s a little bit more healthier than some other avenues. That is really how I approach yoga. A lot of people are like, Oh, it’s too slow. So I don’t want it as my workout. Yes, it is slow because it’s asking you to slow down. You’ve lived your life in a form of, you know, whatever goes on in your daily life, taking some time to yourself.

So, you know one of my big things is about finding self care for us. And it doesn’t just mean. Put on a sheet face mask and take a bubble bath or, um, it can be, I mean, I do those things. Not right now. It’s a little hot these days, but you know, once it becomes colder and winter, that’s definitely something I enjoy.

But finding one hour in your day where You sit with yourself, or you have that gentle movement, or you are working on your breath, or you’re thinking about some of the topics or, um, statements that maybe I bring up during the class as you’re moving, that is you taking care of yourself. That is you giving yourself self care.

That is you giving yourself love by allowing that one hour of slow down in that one hour of just you. We focus more on the movement of the body in yoga and the breath is really what’s so important. Something that I say to folks who are runners or cyclists, or they do something a little bit more of a high intensity workout rather than yoga, working on your breath helps you to have endurance for that. It allows you to stay in those workouts longer because you can recover your breath quicker because you’ve learned how to deepen that inhale and exhale so you can stay in that exercise a little bit longer than if you were breathing more shallow.

So that’s also another point that I like to bring up to people who tell me that they, you know “I can’t do yoga” or “I don’t like yoga and I don’t want to do it” and I’m like “Do you do others sports or other movement? because this breath alone will help you to feel stronger in that as well.”

Laurie: That’s a really good point.

Tashya: I think that’s something people don’t realize that, that breathing is such a big part of a yoga practice. When you’re talking to people about yoga and they tell you “Oh, I can’t do yoga. I tried it. I don’t like it.”

Laurie: What’s kind of like your number one tip for getting into a consistent yoga practice?

Tashya: The different styles are very important for yoga. And I also think a yoga studio and yoga teacher is really important because, um, If you go to a class and you already have those preconceived notions, right, of not wanting to do the yoga or having something about yoga already in your mind and not being for you or you’re not good at it, when you go and you find a teacher that is really welcoming or a teacher that makes yoga accessible, right, that normalizes using props, or normalizes you listening to your body and you figuring out what works for you.
Nobody shows up to a class of any kind and knows everything the first day. When I used to teach, I would say to students, like, you all didn’t show up to kindergarten, knowing everything. You all didn’t show up to third grade knowing all the answers, right? That’s why you’re here. The same applies to yoga, right?

So when I hear people say, “Oh, I’m not good at yoga”. Oh, neither was I. And you don’t have to be good at yoga. That’s not what it is. And something I like to say often is it’s a practice. So you’re always going to be evolving, you’re always going to be learning something new in yoga if you have an open mind.

And I think that’s really one of the most important things, is showing up with an open mind. Taking all of these other misconceptions or myths about yoga and placing them to the side. And just allowing yourself to be open minded on, how could this help me? What could I learn from this? Going in with that beginner’s mind and what is my mind saying to me?
What is my body saying? How is my breath helping?

Keeping that open mind as you go in and finding a teacher who you vibe with. You are not going to walk into every yoga studio and vibe with every single teacher there. You can walk into a studio and only find one teacher you like. You could walk into a studio and not find any teacher you like.

And the style of class also matters. My tip is play around. Go to a few classes, try a few different teachers out, try a few different styles out, and have that open mind, and allow yourself to absorb what is being said, what is being done, what is being taught, and then make your decision from there.

Laurie: I’m going to share my, my experience with yoga, which is kind of like what you just described in that, you know, I tried it when it was really popular. I went with friends to a class and I was really intimidated. I am not bendy. I am not flexible. I was just really embarrassed because I couldn’t do. any of the moves. Like you said, you don’t go, you don’t show up on the first day knowing everything or being, being able to do everything. But that’s kind of how I felt that not being able to do any of that made me feel like I shouldn’t be there. So I went to yoga. I wasn’t good at it. So I stopped doing yoga. So when you don’t do yoga, you’re not good at yoga. So, you can’t expect to be good at yoga when you don’t do it. That math doesn’t math, right?

So, I love your advice of being willing to approach this with curiosity, like, how could this work for me? What styles appeal to me? What is it that I like about yoga and what is it that I want to get out of it?

And then, I think it was probably about five or six years ago, I went with a friend to a beer yoga class. It was just supposed to be fun. I like beer. I like my friend. I’ll go. I’ll hang out on my mat while whatever. It was a really big class in the brewery and It was this teacher said something to me that flipped the switch. We’re doing something I’m over here. Like, I don’t know, maybe it was triangle or it was a warrior pose. And I was sucking at it, hardcore. And she said “listen to your body, do this If it feels good in your body” And I was like “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, wait a second….

Because I had gone in with a very black or white “here’s how you do a move. If it looks like this, you’re doing it right. If it doesn’t look like this, you’re doing it wrong.”
But she’s telling me, I can modify this for what works with my body. And that was like a light bulb went off over my head. I was like, I can do yoga for my body. I can approach this in a way that, that works for me. And after that, I was hooked. I was like, okay, I can now give myself the space and allow myself to be a beginner and to be, and to learn and to, to grow in a practice.

Tashya: So I love that that is your advice to kind of, you know, approach it with a curiosity and a willingness to, to just do what works for your body. I love that you had that experience with that teacher, because that means that teacher was. welcoming, made it accessible, spoke to you as a person rather than, I’m at the front of the room, I know what’s going on, and this is how yoga is supposed to be.

That teacher made it about you, and that is what yoga is. The truth is, all of our bodies are built differently. All of our flexibility is different. Our mobility is different. Just our bodies in general, our bone structure, it’s all different. I’m really glad that even though you gave up on it for a little bit, that you still had an open mind and you went to another class and you found a teacher who embodied what yoga actually is.

Kindness, compassion, letting people be themselves, and tapping into who they are, rather than being at the front of the room telling you how you are supposed to be.

Laurie: Maybe the beer helped, right? It kind of loosened me up.

Tashya: Also that, sure. Yeah, it probably did.

Laurie: Um, but it was just like, I just felt like I finally had permission to just do yoga for me.

Tashya:I have a yoga client who comes every Saturday morning to my virtual class and for the past few years. And when I first, a few years ago before she came to the first class, when we were messaging about it and she said “I can’t do yoga. I’m not good at yoga.” I said to her “well, you don’t have to be good. Just show up.”

She now comes every week, if she took a vacation or, you know, during holidays when we don’t have class, she’ll say the following week, you know, I missed it. My body can feel that I didn’t do it. She can feel that she missed a class and she doesn’t want to miss a class. So I just think back to, and I’ve watched her also improve, in how she approaches the poses and how her flexibility has grown and her willingness to evolve her practice has grown and I’ve watched all of that and I just think back to the first initial speaking with her.” I’m not good at it I don’t think I can do it” and then now too It is part of her weekly routine and she she is there and I love that Improvement for her.

I just love watching that and one of my other favorite stories that I like to talk about is I started teaching restorative back in January, and at first I said, “no,  I don’t know how to teach restorative. I can’t do that.”  And I also was like, “and that’s too slow. We’re just laying here in restorative. That’s not my bag.” And the more I started teaching it, I’m hearing from the students at the end of class, thank you so much for that. That’s exactly what I needed. I feel so good now I’m going to go home and get some rest.

Like, and I could see the change in their posture and in their body and I could see it in their faces that at the end of class that was exactly what they needed. And that also changed my view of restorative and and allowing myself touse restorative as a healing practice. So I was already versed in a flow.

I already had my own practice, but even as a yoga teacher, I still had some type of misconception and I had to come in with an open mind and curiosity, as you said before, and so I love seeing that evolving as the more people practice. Can you talk a little bit more about restorative yoga? Just kind of like a description of what it is.

Restorative yoga, you’re only going to do about five or six poses throughout the whole class and you’re using props. So you’re using a bolster, blanket, blocks, a strap, whatever it is. And you’re using that as a support. So restorative is rest. You are using these, and you’re holding a pose for six or seven minutes, and you’re just allowing that prop to support you.

You’re allowing your mind to really relax. And you talked about something earlier when you were, uh, um, citing those studies. And with restorative, it is really calming your heart. It is calming your nervous system because you are sinking into this. You are deepening your inhale and exhale. There’s no stress being put on your body.

There’s no stress being put on your mind. It’s just allowing you that freedom to just slow down to come to a full stop and to just rest. And so then when you’re learning to breathe and you’re learning to find that support, when you go into a stressful situation, you can pull those tools back out.

Restorative yoga is it’s just really a time to rest your mind and rest your body, which I think is something we all need in our time right now where we’re constantly on the go and just giving ourselves that time to just really rest. So Tasha, right now you teach a virtual class on Saturday mornings, which is a gentle flow.

Laurie: Talk to us a little bit about your virtual classes.

Tashya: I had first started that it was going to be for beginners, people who are new to yoga. But then as I started to teach, I evolved my virtual class to be more of a gentle flow rather than just for beginners. We’re not going to be doing any handstands.
It’s really just starting your Saturday morning very gently, breathing, doing some gentle movement, waking up your body, right, because we all know by Saturday morning, it’s really hard to get up and it’s really hard to get the day going. And so how can you just. Find that time to ease into the day. Also giving yourself an hour of self care at the end of the week.

Maybe Saturday is the start of your week. I don’t know. What is it that you can do that’s just for an hour on a Saturday morning, very gentle to wake yourself up. The reason why I like it being virtual is that it’s very accessible to everyone. You could roll out of bed at 9 45 and click on the Zoom link at 10 a.m. and you’re there. No one’s looking at you. You don’t have to show up in a certain way, wearing certain leggings. It doesn’t matter. You can be in your pajamas in, uh, in sweatpants. Just coming there and just finding that nice way to wake up. You could be anywhere. A lot of my clients who come on Saturdays have not been in New York City. They’ve been in other states. But it’s easy because it’s on Zoom and there’s no stress or pressure to leave your house, to get dressed, to go somewhere when you can just do it right from your own home and feel comfortable. Right now, Saturday morning is the only virtual that I have, but I have been wanting to add some evening classes.

Tashya: So an evening virtual flow, you know, gently after work, and then also a restorative. So now I’m kind of putting feelers out to see if there’s some interest in those. As my business expands and so hoping that eventually that those will be some offerings and I can also put in the evening because not everyone can come to a Saturday morning class and sometimes people prefer something in the evening, especially midweek with everything they have going on.

Laurie: Very good point. What I’m going to do, Tasha, and you’re going to be giving our listeners a coupon code for a free class so they can join you, try it out, see how they like it. I’m also going to be putting all of your information, like your website and your social links in the show notes so that our listeners can get in touch with you and follow you.

Laurie: Thank you so much for being with us today.

Tashya: I always enjoy talking to you and happy to come on again and talk about lots more wellness topics.

Celebrating Recovery from Eating Disorder With Intuitive Eating

CW: as the title implies, this episode describes a guest’s lifelong struggle with eating disorders


In this episode I chat with Debbie Lesko, an anti-diet and eating disorder awareness activist, who shares her personal journey of recovery from an eating disorder and how she became an advocate for body positivity and intuitive eating. She emphasizes the importance of rejecting diet culture and the harmful effects of intentional weight loss. Debbie also discusses the benefits of embracing an anti-diet mindset, such as freedom from food restrictions, improved self-esteem, and a healthier relationship with your body. She provides practical tips for transitioning away from dieting, including changing language around food, cleaning up social media feeds, and finding joyful movement.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Reject diet culture and the labeling of food as “good” or “bad.”
  2. Clean up your social media by unfollowing accounts that promote dieting or weight loss.
  3. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit and buy clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident in your current body.


  • “Anti-diet means rejecting the idea that a diet is going to cure your self-esteem, your body image, your health.”
  • “All food has nutritional value, no matter what it is, and your body knows what to do with it.”
  • “Give up the fight for making your body a shape that you think is acceptable.”

Resources Mentioned:

Need help?

Looking to speak with someone about eating disorders concerns for yourself or a loved one?

About Debbie: 

Debbie Lesko is a 67-year-old grandmother and an eating disorder awareness and anti-diet fat liberation activist. She has been on a journey of recovery from her own eating disorder since she was eight years old. Debbie is the host of the “Diets Don’t Work” Facebook page, which is a community that supports and educates people looking to ditch the diet mindset and approach health without a harmful focus on weight.

headshot of Debbie Lesko

Connect with Debbie

In a world obsessed with weight loss and diet culture, it can be challenging to find a path to true health and well-being. But there is hope. Debbie Lesko, an anti-diet activist and eating disorder awareness advocate, is on a mission to help others break free from the harmful cycle of dieting and embrace a new way of approaching health. In our conversation, Debbie shares her personal journey to recovery and offers valuable insights into the benefits of ditching the diet mindset.

Finding Recovery: A Personal Journey

Debbie’s story is one of resilience and determination. From a young age, she was subjected to the harmful messages of diet culture, constantly being told that she needed to lose weight to be accepted and valued. This led to a lifelong battle with an eating disorder, with multiple hospitalizations and treatment centers along the way. But it wasn’t until 2017, when her job threatened her employment if she didn’t seek treatment, that Debbie realized she needed to make a change.

“I can’t leave my granddaughter,” Debbie recalls. “I can’t die. That would just hurt tremendously.” This realization became the turning point in her recovery journey. She sought treatment at Rosewood Eating Disorder Centers and immersed herself in various modalities, including intuitive eating and the Health at Every Size (HAES) approach. Through this process, Debbie discovered a new way of approaching food, movement, and self-acceptance.

The Anti-Diet Movement: Rejecting Diet Culture

Being anti-diet means rejecting the harmful messages of diet culture and embracing a new approach to health and well-being. It means letting go of the idea that weight loss is the key to happiness and self-worth. As Debbie explains, “Anti-diet does not mean anti-health. It’s pro-health.” It’s about focusing on nourishing your body and finding joy in movement, rather than obsessing over numbers on a scale or restrictive eating patterns.

One of the biggest pitfalls people face when trying to leave the diet mindset behind is the language they use around food. Debbie emphasizes the importance of eliminating labels like “good” or “bad” when it comes to food. “All food has nutritional value,” she says. “Your body knows what to do with it.” By reframing our thoughts and language around food, we can begin to develop a healthier relationship with eating and nourishing our bodies.

The Power of Community and Support

Recovering from an eating disorder and embracing an anti-diet mindset can be challenging, but Debbie emphasizes the importance of finding a supportive community. Through her Facebook page, “Diets Don’t Work,” Debbie curates a collection of posts and resources that promote body positivity, intuitive eating, and eating disorder awareness. The page has grown into a thriving community of over 4,500 members who share their experiences, ask questions, and support one another on their journeys to recovery.

Debbie also highlights the importance of cleaning up our social media feeds and surrounding ourselves with accounts that promote body positivity and reject diet culture. By curating our online spaces, we can create a more positive and supportive environment that aligns with our values and goals.

The Benefits of Ditching the Diet Mindset

So, what are the benefits of embracing an anti-diet mindset and rejecting the harmful messages of diet culture?
Debbie shares three key benefits:

  • Freedom: By letting go of restrictive eating patterns and the obsession with weight loss, we can experience a newfound sense of freedom. No longer bound by the numbers on a scale or the rules of a diet, we can eat what we want when we want it, without guilt or shame.
  • Increased Brain Space: When we’re constantly focused on diets and weight loss, our minds become consumed by numbers and restrictions. By embracing an anti-diet mindset, we free up valuable brain space to focus on more important things, like spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, and engaging in activities that bring us joy.
  • Improved Self-Esteem: Diet culture often leads to a negative body image and a constant battle with our own self-worth. By rejecting the idea that our bodies need to conform to a certain standard, we can develop a healthier and more positive relationship with ourselves. Respecting our bodies for what they are and what they can do, rather than how they look, can lead to a significant boost in self-esteem and overall well-being.

Looking ahead…

Ditching the diet mindset and embracing an anti-diet approach to health and well-being is a journey that requires commitment and self-compassion. But as Debbie’s story demonstrates, it is possible to find recovery and live a life free from the harmful cycle of dieting. By rejecting diet culture, reframing our thoughts and language around food, and surrounding ourselves with a supportive community, we can begin to embrace a new way of approaching health that focuses on nourishment, self-acceptance, and joy.

As the anti-diet movement continues to gain momentum, it is important that we challenge the harmful messages of diet culture and promote a more inclusive and compassionate approach to health. By sharing our stories, supporting one another, and advocating for change, we can create a world where everyone can embrace their bodies and live their lives to the fullest, free from the constraints of diet culture.

Let’s Debbie in her mission to spread awareness about eating disorders, promote body positivity, and empower others to embrace an anti-diet mindset. Together, we can create a future where health is not defined by weight, but by the joy, nourishment, and self-acceptance that comes from living a life free from diet culture.

Realistic & Holistic Wellness with Megan Caldwell



In this episode I chat with  Megan Caldwell, a personal trainer and health coach who helps busy moms prioritize self-care,  move past overwhelm and exhaustion to find strength and confidence in both mind and body.

Megan shares her journey of transitioning from a stay-at-home mom to an entrepreneur, running a fitness franchise for moms. Despite the success she found, she was burnt out, putting her own wellness on the back burner.

Recognizing that wellness is more than just fitness, she now focuses on five pillars of health: movement, hydration, nutrition, sleep, and stress management, because taking care of yourself, creating habits, and finding systems that work with you and the season of life that you’re in are critical to maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional health.


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