I lost my job… and it was a good thing!

When you saw the tittle you probably thought “she might be drunk”. I am not actually. So, let me explain…

Last week I have been fired because of the economic disaster of Covid. The US have been hit really bad, my old self would have started to imagine a catastrophe scenario of me losing my apartment, not knowing how to eat and getting in debt just to stay alive.

But something strange happened when I received the news at 7pm. I went to walk on the beach and try to calm down…and I didn’t feel upset or stressed at all. As I kept walking, I was waiting for the tears and they never came. Do you know why?

Because I knew deep inside of me that being fired was the best thing that could have happened to me at that time.

If something happens, it is for a reason. Even if it doesn’t seem right in the moment, it’s fair and it happens to us for the best. You can take the event as a negative thing, sit, cry and play the victim. Or you can use it as a tool to switch the situation into your favor. And that is what I did.

I realized it wasn’t bad news because that job wasn’t my dream job. The conditions, the management and the vision of the company weren’t aligned with what I wanted to do. This position was a dead end for my dreams.

I understood that me getting fired was life giving me an opportunity to sit down with myself and think. Think about what I wanted to do for myself. How can I bring back passion to my life? How to bring a new sense of purpose to my career? How can I use my skills to be efficient, bring value to a brand and feel good? What kind of customers, companies or brands do I want to work with or for?

For months, I was just so on my daily routine that I forgot what I deeply wanted. I had become numb and just acted as a robot, repeating the same gestures and tasks every day. Didn’t even realized it was killing my joy of living little by little.

That night, I didn’t worry at all. I just enjoyed the sunset at the beach and talked with a friend. When I came home, I had dinner with my man and cuddled with my dog.

The next day I thought “OK, let’s just do some calls and send e-mails to find a little income to pay the bills while I am reconnecting to what I want”.

2 days later, I had found another job by the purest form of coincidence and it was fulfilling every aspect I had been looking for:

  • A deep sense of purpose and usefulness on my tasks
  • Working under the supervision of a badass boss bitch whom personal and professional skills are going to take me to the next level
  • Work conditions fitting my goals: a mix of office and home work
  • Perspective of evolution short and long term for my career with great contacts in different fields

There is no perfect job or leader. There is no perfect situation that will give you the fantasy that you are imaging in your head. Everything is always moving in life.

But the amazing lesson I learned from this event is that we really have the choice to turn everything into something good. Something that seems tragic can actually be positive for you. Losing a job, having a health issue, a break up, etc ….

If you are facing a hard situation and you feel like you are drowning, take a second to focus on the positive things you are wining. Because there is good in everything. Maybe it is the occasion to reconnect with your inner child, pursue your passion and be creative. Maybe it is time to take that trip, reconnect with this old friend or family member.

It happened to me, it can take only a couple of hours or days to completely switch a situation to your advantage.

I am stressed because I am a perfectionist and I want to be successful on that new challenge. I want to make the best out of this new opportunity, prove my skills and learn new things. But I understand also I have to enjoy every single aspect of the new, the unknow, saying goodbye to the past and looking at the bright side.

It could be you too. 

“My sugar addiction”

Aaaah sugar sugar sugar. This modern demon we are running away from. Maybe even more as the gluten (pretty much also public enemy Number 1 the past years).

Until a couple of weeks ago I thought I really had a sugar addiction. I made a few research on Google and social media and from what I saw, I wasn’t the only using that expression. Comparing the sugar addiction to cocaine addiction. Are you like me and heard about this scientific study comparing the effects of sugar and cocaine on rats? The first conclusion was that sugar had the same addictive effects on the brain than cocaine. What the hell, we have that thing everywhere on our food! But in the nutrition field (we could even say the scientific world) every information can be debated and be demonstrated wrong. Some scientists found this study on rats absurd and others mentioned the importance of not comparing too fast rats and humans.

I don’t know in which camp you are, neither am I, I am not a scientist. I just want to eat the best food possible (I want palatability and safety for my body).

This addiction idea has also been challenged quickly when I took an honest look at myself. I had to change my point of view and be less dramatic when I had a check-in with my coach. We talked about how I was managing my diet from Monday to Sunday, from all meals to also my snacks.

By the way, I can only recommend you to get a coach to do these super-efficient exercises. This talk opened my eyes about my consumption and the modifications I had to do (I will share that quickly).

I think I can spare you the traditional “but what is sugar, the different types and how to choose the best one”. You probably read or heard that in different places and don’t need me to remind you.

So, my situation I think, is the one of many people. I wasn’t eating a lot of sugar because I was addicted. I was eating too much sugar because my diet wasn’t balanced properly and I didn’t manage my anxiety and stress properly. Yep, when I would look in details:

  • I didn’t have enough proteins in my diet so my satiety levels were too low which led me to snacking too much.
  • My meals were not tasty enough so I would snack on cheese and sugary stuff to give myself some treats.
  • My portions were sometimes too big and other too small.
  • My breakfast and diner were not big enough.

That, for me, was the easiest part to modify because I like to cook and try new recipes. And if you are telling me I can eat more chicken and eggs, I can only be happy.

No, the difficult part for me was to understand the behavior disfunction behind my compulsive snacking. Because yes, when you snack out of boredom or stress and you binge a lot of crappy food in five minutes it is compulsive. I would know, I had anorexic and bulimic issues in the past.

I realized I was snacking out of my mind just talking with my coach. I was snacking in front of my computer when I was stressed by my work, my future, when I was bored and would just get busy this way. So, the solution was to balance my diet and calm my mind.

What helped me was a combination of meditating, drinking way more water and green tea, going for a walk outside and breathe fresh air.

I thought it would be extremely hard to stop eating so much sugar because I was snacking on biscuits and chocolate every single day. Every day. But at the end (it’s been 6 weeks, still a long way to go), it wasn’t that hard. So, I was really exaggerating, I wasn’t addicted to sugar, I just add a really bad habit. When you are doing something wrong since a long time, it’s harder to change it. Harder but possible.

I set up an easy exercise to succeed: I would have my chocolate and biscuits just once a week. With my diet and my little steps per day it was easy. When the first week was over and I realized I didn’t crave it that much I was super happy and proud of myself. I could easily repeat it. And I have been doing it for 6 weeks and it’s just getting easier.

Not only I got a mental boost, I also got a better skin, less swing moods and I lost 3 kilos (6 lbs)!

The more I keep this rhythm the easier it is getting and I am not craving industrial sugar that much. Every week when I am having my chocolate break, I am taking a smaller portion and I had to change of products because some of the things I was eating, are now disgusting me. When you get used to it, the taste of certain chemical products can make you feel sick and it’s not a nice feeling on your stomach.

So, if you want to reduce your sugar consumption, look at different parameters:

  • Are you consistent with your diet from Monday to Sunday, or are you eating well during the week and binge during the weekend?
  • Do you eat enough protein through the day (animal or vegetal, what matters is the total)?
  • Do you have enough variety and tasteful nutrients in your plate?
  • Do you experience stress and anxiety and how do you cope with it?

Once you answered all these questions, reduce your sugar snacks. Go slowly so you don’t feel overwhelmed or depressed. If you were like me, reduce your consumption to 5 days a week and step by step reduce to 1 or 2 days. Of course, if you can, go for really good quality foods when you want it. Chocolate with good cocoa, sorbet ice cream, homemade banana breads, etc.…

Good luck and keep it up!

Staying calm inside

We are living a very challenging time. The majority of us had the luck to say until today “I never lived a war, a national trauma or a state of emergency”.

Now we are in this pandemic situation together. No one is safe and everybody is impacted on all levels.

Maybe you lost people already, your job is at risk, your health, your financial situation. This crisis we are living is a serious threat to our future and our loved ones. But it is also an opportunity to learn and look forward to the future, on an individual and collective point of view.

In what kind of world do we want to live, how, what to improve and what to live behind ? I think it’s still too early to have an answer to these questions. We have to go deep into our self reflection, our leaders have to make decisions to use all this time we have for good.

But right now we have to manage our daily lifes, trying to hold up everything together. Being stucked at home with very limited liberty of movement is not only a hit to our bodies but our minds. We have all seen on social media how people record themselves going nuts only after a couple of days inside. What is happening ? It is hard to ground, calm down, take time to do something useful … or do nothing.

That’s the challenge. We are so damn busy all the time, running from one task to another that now we feel scared contemplating the amount of time we have for ourselves. It is scary, we feel lost. You have all day to think about your relationships, your habits, your money, your past, your family, what do you want to manifest, etc. News are scarier every day, making the next week almost unbareable to wait for.

What can we do ? For the world, not much but stay inside and wait slowly. But each one of us has the choice and the responsability to not let fear take us and do our best to remain calm. Every day is not going to be peacefull. Especially if you live in a small place with your partner and your kids. We have the chance to meditate, put a little music on, dance, read, draw, write or cook to take our minds off the anxiety around us. For families it’s a beautiful occasion to connect, get closer and create new memories together.

It’s the moment to be productive for you and your family but it’s not either a competition to “who is going to be out with 10 lbs less or create a new business plan”. Don’t be hard on yourself, if today you did nothing but wearing pyjamas watching Netflix. Today was slow, tomorrow will be different. Take this deal day by day and be gentle with yourself. We live an unprecedent crises that NOBODY KNOWS HOW TO HANDLE.

Life is giving us an opportunity not to be lock down for weeks, but to take care of ourselves in a new way for weeks. Let’s get out of this with more love for ourselves, new habits of self-care and new goals.

The power of your habits

Listening to a podcast for health coaches I heard a very interesting sentence that got me digging the topic : 95% of our daily actions are habits. Pure habit. Unconscious mechanical action. Only 5% of our decisions and actions come from your conscious mind. 

What does this means ? Well most of what you do, say and think during the day is the result of your subconscious mind. You do things per habit, without even thinking about it and you go on for years. 

Don’t you think it’s terrifying ? It’s means we are acting like a robot 95% of the time. Letting our social and family conditioning dictate your life without knowing it. 

Why habits dictate our life 

It comes initially from a natural instinct of protection and survival. 

Your brain has the greatest ability to transform every single possible thing into a routine to save energy and minimize the risks for you. This neurological reaction is necessary to our survival but can also work against us when we have a bad habit.

It’s during our first years of life that our brain is very moldable and tries many different things. With time it become less and less moldable and changes are way harder to make. 

Also the human body is pretty amazing because every time you follow one of your habits, your brain “gives you a treat” by providing you its own natural hormonal goodies. We get addicted to this sensation, it’s harder to resist the temptation and feeling, and so, change a habit.

How it happens ? When you do something for the first time, you cortex side receives the information. After a couple of repetitions like that, the behavior becomes a routine and the information go deeper into the brain (in the ganglions). There, they are recorded as fixed processes and can’t be erased.It’s for this reason that change an old habit is one of the hardest thing in the world to do.

When you try to do so the craziest thing happen: your brain is going to fight you. Yes, your own brain. You have to really force “against him” the new habit and fight the rational ideas that will pop up in your mind. 

Why is it so hard to change my habits

As we mentioned earlier, you have to fight your own brain, something imprinted in yourself. This is (a very famous expression these days) stepping out of your comfort zone.

And it’s freaking hard, it goes against what we want and feel good with : being comfortable. Every time you try to change a habit and do something new it’s hard, it feels weird and annoying, you feel hesitant and it can even be painful. 

Let’s take one of the easiest example: when you start working out.

The first day you go because you are motivated, but the day after you are sore everywhere. That’s not okay with you : you wanted to exercise for pleasure not to suffer. 

So you think “this is too much for me, I just wanted to get in shape. It’s easier and more pleasant to spend time with my friends or watching TV”. And you stop trying to work out after a couple of days.

Same thing happens when you try to stop smoking or start dieting: it creates an unpleasant sensation in your body that you won’t like. It takes discipline and organization to pass this unpleasant feeling until you get to the point where the new habit is implanted. 

Focusing on “how to do it” can be extremely paralyzing : you visualize the difficulties, fear takes over, you start procrastinating and just give up without trying.

Which is why you have to focus on your “why”. Why do you want to start exercising, quit smoking, read a book per month, etc…
When you feel aligned with your why, find a new method to implement to actually work progressively towards your “why”. Then you develop slowly a new habit attached to it.

How to switch from bad to good habits

I don’t like to label things “good” or “bad” because it brings a negative and guilty connotation to the topic. So let’s give another formulation to this: define which habits you want to change, why and how. 

The powerful aspect of your habits is that you do them mechanically. It means your daily actions can really allow you to accomplish amazing things or huge disasters (to yourself and to others). With this perspective, a good habit brings you closer to your goal, a bad one takes you away from it. 

Take time to list your principal habits, the things you do every day, every week. Write as most as you can and after a while, write next to each one if it’s serve or work against your goal. For your “bad habits”, develop and write down what it is not serving you and what you could do instead to achieve your goal. It will be easier for you after that do determine your plan of action: you can decide to eliminate a habit or reduce it slowly step by step (sometimes it’s easier). 

Anyway, keep in mind that you new strategy and habits are going to take time to work. It’s going to be painful, long and you are going to want to give up many time. Remember your strong why. It will make you keep going.

And the only way to make it work is to keep doing it, repetition, repetition, repetition. 

4 Tips to help you change your habits 

  1. Be conscious of what’s happening, observe what’s your mind is doing: what are you thinking and why.
  2. Don’t act: don’t stop running or eat this entire cake. Take a step back, listen to your mind but don’t do what it says to you. 
  3. Let the temporary discomfort pass: you are hungry or tired but it’s not going to last.
  4. Actively talk with your mind and argue sainly ! eat this cake it’s good = yeah its good for a minute and then I get fat and I am unhappy. So no we are not eating that.

Habits and goals 

You can’t talk about one without the other, they are related, they evolve with time and your efforts. It’s good to review your habits and your goals on a regular basis, for example once every month. 
First it allows you to review your goals: are you still on them or do you want to make some changes. Depending on your answer, then you adjust your habits.

If you still have the same goal to reach but you see that your current habits don’t get you anywhere with it, it’s time to think about a new habit strategy. 
Changing a bad habit is always really hard, we like our comfort. But it’s easier to change a recent bad habit than one we have for years. As usual the hardest part is to fight the comfort we seek and like to actually progress. 

The beauty of the process? You are going to be on it your all life. If you stopped trying you can get back on it, life is a journey and you have multiple occasions to change the parameters of it. 

Upper Crossed Syndrome

Yep the name looks scary, to me it resonate as something terribly painful. I never experienced in my life a big injury, a surgery, nothing traumatizing.

So during the past couple of months when I started to feel chronic pains in my back to my neck I worried a lot.

I thought it was only stress and I tried to reduce it as much as I could but without any effects. 

I went to a bad chiropractor that just wanted to crack me 3 times a week (cracking and touching my spine so many times would just created instability). I also kept going to the gym, believing that my back exercises would help me ease the pain.

As you can guess so far, all of this was wrong. I went on like this for months. The pain became my daily companion, there was no position giving some sort of relief and even lying on my bed  would cause me pain and difficulty to move.

I even woke up a morning with difficulties to breathe and the sensation of a sharpening blade punching me in my ribs. 

Fortunately, destiny/karma/god (whatever the origin, the result is the same) brought to my path a amazing health professional who accepted to take care of me. Within just a couple of minutes she diagnosed my problem: Upper Crossed Syndrome.

What the hell is that ? It’s a syndrome caused by a pathological bad posture. The muscles in the neck, the shoulders, and the chest become deformed because of the poor posture. The muscles typically the most affected are the upper trapezius and the levator scapula (the back muscles of the shoulders and neck). First, they become extremely strained and overactive. Then, the muscles in the front of the chest become tight and shortened.

When these muscles are overactive, the surrounding counter muscles are underused and become weak. The overactive muscles and underactive muscles can then overlap, causing an X shape to develop. This is what is looks like: the typical posture of our young generation always bending to its smartphone (or a 90 years old person).  

And yes, this is when I realized that my work environment of the last months had caused me this pain. Bad chair and desk, no bluetooth mouse, small and low laptop screen… and all of these hours spent bend on my phone and my home laptop.

Hours and hours in a bad position. For months. I was actually surprised to see that my body had been capable of holding it for so long.

Five situations in which you can develop upper crossed syndrome

  1. Reading
  2. Watching TV
  3. Using a smartphone/laptop/computer
  4. Driving
  5. Biking 

To me it was a very alarming wake up call because these are situations that I (and we) live on a daily basis, from the moment we get up until we go to sleep.

And as many things, when you don’t know that you are hurting yourself, you don’t know how to prevent and cure it.

My main problem was the pain on my neck and all my back. My movements on my shoulders became really limited and more painful. Of course I became extremely tired from being in pain all the f****** time. One of my ribs also moved out of its place (that was the sharpening pain).

Of course because of this bad posture and its consequences on my body, I became completely useless when I was exercising. I could feel it and see it (I hit a plateau). 

Which bring me to the most important : how to prevent and cure this syndrome ? 

Three ways to get rid of upper crossed syndrome

  1. Physical Therapy if necessary (with a chiropractor or a physical therapist which will make you do specific movements for a certain amounts of weeks depending on your case).
  2. Exercises: learn again how to lie down on the floor, sit and stand with a correct posture. 
  3. Practice prevention every day 

Tips to prevent cross upper body syndrome

  • Limit the time you spent watching TV, reading, using laptops and computers, or driving.
  • When you do these activities, take breaks every 15-20 minutes to move and stretch. 
  • Try to get a cardiovascular exercise every day, if you can squeeze 30 minutes of a low-impact activity that you like. Personally, I enjoy walking on the beach and swim twice a week.
  • Pay attention to your movements because they can potentially make worse your symptoms or the pathology. If you want, set a reminder on your phone every 15 minutes to move.
  • Practice the stretches that target the sore muscles of the back neck, shoulders, and chest.
  • Do strengthening exercises to target these weakened muscles in the upper front neck and lower shoulders.
  • Whilst you are working on a laptop, watching TV or reading make sure that you are doing it at eye level.
  • Pick a chair without a back to help you maintain a proper posture, a standing desk if you can.
  • Use a headset for long telephone calls or transcribing.
  • Use a single pillow that keeps its shape.

The first 4 months after the diagnosis I left the gym to just focus on correcting my posture. If you can’t keep a good posture, your workouts are going to be useless, you are going to lose motivation and chances are high you will give up. And the pain is unbearable.

In a matter of only two weeks my pain was almost completely gone, I increased the intensity of my foundation training, yoga sessions and came back to the gym once a week.

From now on, I feel pain when I am getting back on a bad posture at work so I know when I have to correct it. I work exclusively on a standing desk and I look crazy because I stretch in front on my coworkers. I also practiced more breathing exercises and meditation time to calm my mind and lower my daily stress.

If you are living a similar situation check with you chiropractor your physical condition. 

How do you sleep

I have already talk about the importance of having a good quality sleep to feel good, productive during the day and recover properly from your workouts.

There are many factors today that induce a reduction of your sleep quality: stress, food, daily activity, personal and professional environment, etc.

Having a good bedtime routine and a good morning routine are crucial for your daily well-being. It’s a good way to start your day and a good way to close it. But do you know how to do it? Do you know what might disturb your sleep? Do you realize how sleep is important to your health?  

Your digital tools are intrusive

The evolution of technology and digital tools really increased and invaded our lives. We spend most of our time on our laptops and smartphones, both at work and during our personal free time.

As many scientific reviews talked about this, you know now that these machines produce a blue light from their screen disturbing our bodies. This blue light affects a very important natural element in our bodies who put us to sleep: melatonin. It reduces the quantity of melatonin produced and disturb the quality of our sleeping process. We watch TV, Netflix on the laptops and worst, we check our phones one last time before going to bed. We don’t let the melatonin kick in, we don’t feel that sleepy and push back the moment to go to bed.

It takes a real effort on our routines at home to change this and go to bed more naturally. We are losing gradually the capacity to listen to our body, or we simply ignore it (because we really want to finish this email or this post on Instagram is so cool I want to comment it).

The phone under your pillow

A lot of us also keep their smartphone on during the night. Of course, we have 100% chances of being disturbed by notifications, calls, etc… This process of getting awake several times per night can really damage your brain, your nervous system, your hormones and your mood. Why? Because you are not letting your body fell into the deepest state of sleep, which is absolutely essential to rest and function as a proper human being!

The habit of keeping the smartphone on your night stand or below the pillow is something young generations are really used to. We still don’t know the effects on the brain and the body but it’s sure can’t be really that good because of the electronic waves produced.

Better safe than sorry, it’s a good reflex to at least put it on airplane mode while you sleep.

Do you snooze

A lot of scientists also warn the public about another disturbing app we use on a daily basis: the function snooze on our phones. We wake up, we fell asleep and then we wake up again and we go on until it’s really late to go to work. This on and off process is bad for your body because you get into a new sleeping cycle that you don’t finish.

Quick scientific reminder here: there are different phases of sleep and a phase of awakening. You have the phase of falling asleep, the two light sleep phases (quick and slow) and the deep phase. Each phase takes a certain amount of minutes to actually works and can be disturbed by many factors: quality of the bed, temperature in the room, last meal, sleeping with a partner, anxiety, phone, etc…

When you wake up in the morning, the moment of transition between the sleep and the awakening takes generally between 15 and 30 minutes. This is when we feel groggy, grumpy and clumsy. When you look at it, it’s not that long to awake.

But when you get awake at the beginning of a sleeping cycle with the snooze of your alarm, this period of awakening can last up to 4 hours! The result? You end up feeling more tired because you stay in a state of superficial sleep.

How sleep impact your health

Having a good quality sleep is important for your energy level and your mood. You see and feel the results instantly after a good night sleep. But you must also understand the long-term value of this element. The accumulation over the years of a poor sleeping quality has bad consequences on your general health:

  • Increase of the mortality through cardiac pathologies
  • Increase and multiplication of cancers
  • Reduction of the sex drive and fertility problems
  • Diabetes and obesity issues  
  • Increase of stress, anxiety and depression
  • Issues with focus and memory capacities  

Not sexy not fun at all. Yes, we are all going to die anyway. But the question is what kind of life quality do you want? You can live to the fullest until the end, or finish your life in pain and suffering.  

Top 4 of the reasons to kick your smartphone out of your bedroom anyway

  1. If you sleep well you will have more energy to go through your day physically and mentally
  2. Bed is for sex. And sleep. And sex.
  3. You can create new moments for yourself around bedtime with quiet music and a nice book instead of looking anxiously at your email box and scrolling through shit on Instagram
  4. Sex again (this is really important so I repeat)

How to change your sleeping routine

  • An hour before going to bed, do calm and quiet activities such as meditation, listening to music, drawing, reading, writing.
  • Don’t do a work out too close from your bedtime.
  • Have a light meal for dinner.
  • Turn off phone, tv and laptop 50 to 30 minutes before going to sleep.

Manage your own body

Also keep in mind to do something adapted to your body and your needs.

Some people need 7 hours to sleep, others it’s more 9. Your age also influences deeply this aspect, the older you get the less you sleep.  Some of us are more sensitive to the room temperature, others by the noise.

Take a couple of minutes to analyze your routine and start with little changes that are going to have good effects slowly but surely.

Living abroad : the good and the bad.

It’s been a couple of years that I left France to live in other countries. A lot of people find it inspiring, other quite boring (it’s a trendy thing in our generation), other don’t imagine living their hometown.

Since I am living this experience, I have had so many conversations about preparing your trip, how to adapt yourself in another country, how to speak a language that is not yours, make new friends, build your career… But I think I never listed clearly out loud the positive and negative aspects of it. I spoke a bit about it on my podcast (it’s in this blog if you want to listen to it and are a French speaker).

People have dreamy visions of being abroad. I think it’s a beautiful capacity of our brain and our imagination. We fantasize a lot, creating beautiful boards in our heads about how is it going to be, how we will feel, what we are going to accomplish. It is an amazing process because I think for most of us, it help us make the jump. Actually not only about living abroad but also take a trip on our own, move on from a job, a relationship or try a new hobby.

My entourage really was amazed by my moving to Canada (I was too) and they got even more excited about Miami (USA my life dream become reality). I have been here for a year and I really feel the need to be clear and explicit about what it is to live here. I don’t mean to be pessimistic and discourage people who want to try. I just want to be really honest so the ones of you reading me can have realistic expectations.

Miami is a vibrant city, with a lot of sun, beautiful settings and a big mix of cultures. It is also a city that never stops working, who is very expensive, with bad customer service in almost everything. Miami is unique and I wouldn’t live it. I love my new home and I am proud, me the little girl from Normandy, to have fulfilled my dream to live here before I am 30. Being clear: being here on holidays is not the same as living here. I am not clubbing a lot, going to yacht parties and tanning my ass on the beach every day. What you see on TV and the postal cards are for the tourists. It’s not the reality for the locals. It’s generally 60 hours of work a week and a few times a month to cool down. But I make it work my way and it’s even harder for a lot of other people . Oh and the food is shit and it cost you 400$ to see a doctor when you don’t have a good insurance.

Every city has it specificities, you have to find what suits you. No matter where you go, you will always experience the same things:

The negative sides:

  • Being far away from family and friends. You are going to miss weddings, babies, parties and the daily life pleasures and little comments. Some times are harder than others (holidays, birthdays…) but it also helps to see who are your real friends and which family members you can really count on. I am gone since more than 2 years and I am still talking to friends and family on a daily/weekly basis. It helps cherish the moments you spend with them when you go home.
  • Food : I will be quick here because there is no need to go into details. French food/American food… do I need to say more ?
  • Your culture : sometimes I really miss being understood for my French weird sens of humour, the references to my shows/favorite artists/movies… My culture and my knowledge of it is really something I miss sharing because it can only be understood by my own…or partially by my auditors here… It takes away a bit of the pleasure of sharing it.
  • You can really kill your budget quickly. Be smart on your savings and work as fast as you can to get back on your feet. It’s stressing enough to be abroad, with no money the nightmare can take a whole new dimension.

The positive sides :

  • This is the biggest and more important one to me : you will grow and learn every day about your strength. Because it takes balls to leave everything behind you for something new and completely unknown. You challenge your comfort zone, your relationships, your financial security. It scary as shit. And yet you did it. And you keep doing it and working it. I used to be really anxious about little things. I don’t anymore. Because I look at what I accomplished and I think “hell yeah I moved by myself to 4 countries with almost no money…I can deal with this little shit easily”. You will be even stronger with time, more flexible and resilient. Fucking badass.
  • You will challenge yourself on your professional side: make international contacts, work on projects you would have never done home. If you stay in the country where you immigrate, it will be a good asset to show you know the local culture and you can bring your own vibe. If you come home, you will have even more leveraged on your competitors.
  • You will create a whole new family : your boyfriend/girlfriend, friends, coworkers, your hobbies buddies… You can create the same deep meaningful relationships then when you were home. It takes time and patience to do so because you are not in your familiar place but trust me you can. Surround yourself with people from your tribe, quantity over quality.

I used to have a lot of “fixed” ideas, now I am more open minded. I know I can be home anywhere, I know what matters is to be at peace with myself, have a good health and quality relationships in my life.

The lessons I have learned, I wouldn’t have learned them staying in my home town, with my family around. Because I wouldn’t have met all of the people I met, did my jobs and faced these challenges.

So hell yeah, if you can, move abroad, for 6 months or 6 years. But be aware it is not going to be only a wonderful adventure full of laughs, unicorns and bills floating around. If you just want to have fun abroad and you are not sure about what you want to do, just go on vacation.

If you really move abroad for more than a holiday, be prepared but have fun along the way.

10 ways to reduce bloating

In this article I will only talk about a temporary bloating, caused by food or hormonal phase (women period). But if you are experiencing bloating for long periods you need to consult with your doctor. 

This isn’t a topic I thought I would talk about one day because I barely had that problem before. But since I live in Florida, I have noticed that I am experiencing this issue more often, probably because the food composition is less healthy than in Europe. 

First of all, bloating is not a severe health condition if it last only for a day or two. You will feel super uncomfortable in your clothes and you belly will be bigger than usual. You can be bloated for various reasons :

  • An excess of salt in your food (added in extremely high quantities in processed foods).  
  • Too much carbs in one day (or one meal), particularly the simple carbs such as white pasta/bread, chemical drinks, sugar treats. 
  • You are eating too much: your stomach has the flexibility to grow bigger. But if you try to stuff it too much, you are most likely to end up with a baby food bump.  
  • Sodas and sparkling beverages fill your stomach with gaz and it take time to evacuate it.
  • You have constipation: it can be caused by your food, your drinks, a lot of stress or other health conditions. If it persists more than a couple of days, call your doctor to check if you need a prescription.
  • Dairy products: I know they kind are the devil in USA with gluten products. The farming processes are way more chemicals than in Europe so yes, you can develop an intolerance to dairy products. 
  • And this one is for all women out there (you know what I am going to talk about): periods ! As if we didn’t had enough inconveniences in our body this time of the month, bloating can be one more in the list. Personally the two first days of my period I get so bloated it looks like I am 3 months pregnant and I can’t put on some pants…  

Here are 10 ways to help you reduce bloating : 

  • Eat slowly, not too much food and stop before you feel full. 
  • Increase your organic food intake, cook as much as you can and avoid processed foods.
  • Reduce your salt consumption.
  • Water is the only beverage your body actually NEED. The rest is really just for pleasure so keep the consumption of other liquids to the minimum. 
  • Add complex carbs to your menu: fruits, vegetables and whole grains products.
  • If you think you might be intolerant to dairy products you can stop them for a couple of weeks to see how you feel and then adjust.
  • During your period, drink more water and avoid processed foods and chemical drinks. Exercise can also help reducing the discomfort. 
  • Avoid chewing gums : you bring on to your belly a lot of swallowing air.
  • No more than 2 or 3 sugar-free products : they contain sugar alcohol !
  • Avoid certain kind of foods such as beans and lentils : they are high-fiber foods that make some people produce a lot of gas.

On my side the biggest changes I had to make was to purely not eat any American dairy product even though I still eat my imported French brie (thank you WholeFoods).

Also, I am making a huge effort to take time to eat my meals slowly. Being on the go all the time and eating too fast was one of the worst thing for me. 

I hope this can help and if you know some other helpful tricks let me know !

5 reasons to cook from home

I am not the cook of the year, but I do have a taste for homemade recipes.

It reminds me of the moments I spent with my mom and siblings in the kitchen, preparing dishes and desserts for special occasions.

My actual struggle is to find a way to use wisely my time: I don’t have a lot of free hours to cook very sophisticated meals every week. But I like to cook because it has a lot of advantages.

Here are the 5 most important reasons to prepare home food:

  • You have more control on the amount of sugar, fat and extra chemicals that you put in. The biggest issue with industrial food is that despite what brands try to make us believe, we never really know what’s inside. Even if it looks fresh and clean, when you start looking at the labels and see the number of additional components it makes you dizzy. FYI, it’s always better to buy products that don’t have more than 3 or 4 ingredients, with industrial and organic food (we can be fooled by organic brands too, don’t forget their point is to sell).

  • You save money, a significant amount of money. Take a couple of minutes and write down in a piece of paper your weekly or monthly food expenses. You are going to quickly realize how much not cooking home can actually cost you. There are the food carts not really optimal (when you go to the supermarket without a list or a general idea of your meals), all the food deliveries you can get at night and during the weekends (thanks UberEATS), the restaurants or takes out at lunch time in the office… When we spend all that money little by little every day, we don’t realize how much it is. It’s a good time to re think your budget, spend more on quality food on your local supermarket and maybe choose 2 days in the week to eat out in a very good restaurant. This way, you gain quality on your food and your wallet.
  • You save time later on: I do my food prep of the week on Sunday, depending on the recipes it can take me between one and three hours. It allows me to then, save time every day, I only have to heat up my dish in the micro wave or the oven. It’s also a way to save energy: you know when you come home, you are hungry, and you scratch your head in front of the refrigerator and you end up ordering a delivery… That’s another benefit of meal prep.
  •  You explore and experiment new recipes! I have my classic recipes, the ones I do quickly because I know them by memory. But I can get bored, I need diversity, so I regularly try new recipes, or I try to change a few things on my classic ones. Sometimes just another vegetable or spice can change the taste. Because my budget is limited and I don’t want to spend 4 hours on the kitchen, I usually stick to recipes with between 3 and 5 ingredients.
  • You create a moment of sharing and making memories with your loved ones. As I said, when I was a kid and a young teenager, it was always an amazing time to be with my mom or grandmother, cut vegetables or having my hands on flour preparing some cakes. Now these moments are rarer as I live abroad but I get to spend time in the kitchen with my boyfriend and his family. It’s a super cool way to bond and learn new things about each other cultures.  

As for my experience, cooking at home it’s a saver of both time and money. Also, it allows you to enjoy quality food at home and when you eat out. 

The downside of social media

I am young (27) so I kinda grew up with social media. Because we are the first generation actually living with these things, we don’t measure yet the consequences into our mental health. These tools can get us incredible life opportunities and meet people from around the world. But it can also cause feelings on loneliness, fear of missing out, lack of confidence, low self esteem and self worth, etc…

I want to talk today about the story of a fitness mom that I have been following on Instagram for more than 4 years. The girl is (was) freaking killing it: married, 4 kids, several businesses, cooking, having a beautiful house/car, waking up at 4am to work out, bikini competing internationally. A dream life, work hard life, but beautifully sold on Insta, FB; Snapchat and her website. A couple of weeks ago, big surprise, the bubble explode: we saw her crying on her Instagram stories. Turns out the perfect shiny life wasn’t so perfect: complete burnout from working too much 6 to 7 days a week, lack of sleep and energy, lawsuit, one business to sell and a marriage on couple therapy. 

The lesson ? Now that things are negative in her life, she doesn’t want to share more and she is literally begging people for privacy. But it’s hard for the public to get that. For years we saw everything, from the wedding to the pregnancy, the kids growing up, the training and make up routines, the cooking and decoration of the house, the travels and the shopping…Everything, content every single day. 

What can be wrong with that ? Once you start to tell everything to people, they feel entitled to ask everything. 

It’s hard for her to back up now and protect her intimacy. I am not judging, just observing a fact.

My point is that nobody is perfect. We all need to learn how to use these tools, between sharing and not sharing, and what kind of content. If we choose to share everything, we need to be willing to accept all what is going to come with it. People making inappropriate comments, bullying, harassments… the list goes on. It can get so terribly wrong that some people kill themselves after horrible experiences through social media.  

As a user you can see on the comment sections how a conversation can quickly escalade to strangers insulting each other. Being behind a screen makes us forget that we are talking to human beings with feelings.

I myself still trying to find balance with the content I share, especially on FB and Insta. I have goals, I want to use social media as a tool to grow an audience and share with people.

But if I do it a certain way, it can really backlasch on me and produce the exact opposite effect of what I want.

The only thing that I didn’t do and don’t think I will do is share about my relationship with my partner. It’s already hard enough to have a relationship and take care of your partner. You always receive some negative comments about family and friends. But exposing it to the world and thousands of strangers that are going to make comments just based on pictures… for what ? Get some likes on an unrealistic picture with the hashtag #relationshipgoal

My goal is to feel good and make the ones around feel good too. What we see in social media is just a tiny percentage of what we are and what we do. We can so easily manipulate it, it makes me dizzy. 

Note to myself for the future: put more effort and consciousness about what I share and why.