Today I have a special guest for you who I just know you are going to love. Sharissa Bradley has been a friend, mentor and client. Her wisdom in the subject of health and getting to know your body is unparalleled. She has so many wonderful nuggets to share with you today.

We are going to talk about how your mindset plays a crucial role in the health of your body and how your body responds to the thoughts that you’re thinking. No matter where you are on your journey to health, you can reverse your damage by simply changing your relationship with your body – which means how you think and feel about your own body and health and what you’re in control of. It is a powerful episode. You’re going to love it.

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Sharissa is a mother and a teacher. She originally went to school to be a psychologist and after teaching for a few years she decided it was not her path. She started her company, Independence Through Nutrition, in 2016 to help people reverse autoimmune disease using food as medicine. She has 4 autoimmune diseases and, after reversing her own decline, she realized that she wanted to help others do the same. She’s super passionate about helping other people change their lives. She loves being outside, cooking and sharing everything she knows and helping people get back on their journey back to health.

I want to preface, even if you are someone who does not have an autoimmune disease but suffer from stress, anxiety, anything where you’re not sleeping and dealing with stuff, this episode is for you. Stick around for the whole thing because at the end Sharissa shares some tips and a challenge you are going to love that will change the way you show up every day.

Tonya: We have been friends a long time and I feel like we’ve known each other our whole lives. I have fallen madly in love with your style of teaching health to people who are looking for something down to earth and realistic.

Sharissa: Thank you, I really appreciate that. It was really hard thing to start with because so many people want to follow a “take everything out of your diet” or “do this super specific strategic plan,” where I really think none of those are long lasting. Doing this one step process gives us that real longevity and health that we are looking for for our whole life instead of being skinny for the next few months.

Tonya: Yeah, that’s jello, it doesn’t last. You have a very unique approach to health, especially for somebody who has the history you do and the issues you do. If you don’t mind, fill us in a little bit on what your backstory is.

Sharissa: It’s important to go back and touch on growing up to show how it shaped who I am now. When I was younger, my mom was diagnosed with autoimmune disease when I was 10 or 11 years old and it shut her down. At that point in my life there was no more mom, no more somebody else to take care of me. It was on me to start taking care of my sisters and make sure the house went the way it was supposed to go and make sure everybody ate and had clean clothes and all of those things. Right from that moment, being that age, I made myself a promise I would never get to that point in my life. Even if I had children, I would fight and fight until I could find healing in the best way possible. I went to school to be a psychologist and help children like me to build them up so they didn’t have the feelings I had growing up – alone and with a lot on my shoulders. I got my masters degree in psychology and learned all about health and health behaviors in children. Then I had my own children and I ended up getting sick. I was as sick as my mom was when I was a kid and it totally killed my spirit. My mindset was in the dumps because I felt like I had become everything I wanted to avoid in my life, which ended up actually being the most incredible blessing. I learned how to reverse autoimmune disease and how to heal in a way that was long lasting, that created longevity, that took people off of medications and completely turned around my life and the life of others. I was able to help heal my mom’s autoimmunity. She was at stage 4 kidney failure and she now has normal working, functioning kidneys. Just the amount of change I was able to find and have the passion for came from the early childhood traumas. Getting sick myself was the necessary last piece to create a domino effect for the purpose of my life which is to help moms and women to never go through what my mom went through and what I went through as a kid and again when I was a mom. So really, my purpose in life was set all the way back then when I made that promise to myself to never get sick and them when I did I had to keep that promise to myself and learn how to get better. By learning how to get better, I was able to help so many more people than just myself and my mom and it has become a passion for me in my life just to share with people what I learn.

Tonya: I love how your story has evolved where your initial goal was to avoid and then you manifested the thing you were trying to avoid. It happens when we are so focused on something. I don’t want to say we call it into our lives but it’s almost as if some part of us knows we are going to have to deal with it at some point.

Sharissa: Oh absolutely, it was a part of my journey all along.

Tonya: It was like you knew that. The easier thing would have been to avoid it, which we totally do. Don’t we do that with emotions or anything that’s painful? Like, let’s avoid it. Rarely does it work.

Sharissa: I think in order for me to really complete full circle what my purpose was, because I had been avoiding and avoiding, I had to get hit. I twas a smack you in the face kind of drama. This had to happen because I was pushing it away so much and ignoring it, thinking, “That’s not my purpose. I’m not supposed to be doing that.” We make these plans for ourselves and set these expectations that have nothing to do with what we actually are going to do with our lives. I couldn’t be more grateful for my experiences no matter how hard they were. They brought me to this point and I’m really grateful for that.

Tonya: Absolutely, because that experience taught you how to deal with something and made you a stronger person. Which is what we are all about here and how you raise your vibe. You don’t avoid things, you learn how to handle them in a very healthy way. You’ve done that with your own health and with a lot of clients you’ve worked with. I know you have a ton of experience with autoimmunity, but do you also work with other issues?

Sharissa: When I first got started I really wanted to help the autoimmune population because I really thought they were undertaken care of, underappreciated, undervalued. They were getting the same response I was getting from doctors which is, “This is how you’re going to live your life now. This is it for you. It sucks, sorry. HEre’s some medication.” I felt so jaded by that experience. When I first started out it was really all about me and that population. As I’ve gotten deeper into it and learned what autoimmune is and the disease model. We have these 6 stages of diseases. Autoimmune disease is 5, stage 6 is cancer and then ultimately death. I was only helping that stage 5 group and then I realized I could help prevent people from ever getting ot that point. That opened this world up to me to helping anybody who is willing to put in the work. I now only base it on the people who are willing to put in the work. Autoimmune or not, if there are challenges and there is the motivation to get better, I am 100% on board to doing whatever I can to make that work.

Tonya: Great! Let’s dig in. I’d love to discuss those challenges. We could do a whole podcast based around challenges and then motivation…What really drives you to do the work? Because you said it, it’s work.

Sharissa: Not only is it work. It’s not fun or easy. It’s not like, “Oh this is something I’m going to enjoy and learn a lot!” It actually can be quite difficult to, first of all, let go of the person you are with a disease. That was a really big challenge for me. A very strange challenge for me to think about just the fact that the words I used were perpetuating my disease. When I would tell people, “I have autoimmunity. I have Hashimotos. I have Celiac Disease.” I was reverbating the information to myself and my body kept holding onto it. Like, ok, I have these diseases so that means I need to hold onto them. I think even that becomes a really big challenge. I’ve had a lot of clients who’ve tried to work with me in the past who were not willing to let go of that part of their identity. I have this disease, I am diabetic, I am this. It becomes part of who we are and it becomes a big challenge just to let go of that in general. It took me a really long time to learn. First I had to figure out why it was I wanted to get healthy. What was I going to do with my life when I did get healthy. What was life going to be like if I could get out of bed every single day. That was the motivation. It had to be powerful enough to get me through the days that I just really wanted to order a pizza when I was exhausted on a Monday night from doing all this stuff with my kids. I really had to push myself to say, “No I want to be healthy. I want to be strong. I don’t want to own these illnesses anymore. I have to do the work.” There’s where the motivation comes in – letting go of the disease and finding out what it is you want to do when you’re not sick anymore.

Tonya: Ok, so when you talk about disease and sickness, I want to define what that means to you and how you incorporate these words into your practice.

Sharissa: Big question! Disease I typically define as when you get some type of diagnosis. When someone comes to me and says, I have this. That’s what I call a disease. Sickness or illness is anytime where you’re not feeling yourself, where you’re not feeling right all the time. It’s very easy for us to get into this cycle of, “I usually get a headache at this time of day. I usually get tired around 3. I usually don’t feel good when I wake up in the morning.” And we want to say that these are normal behaviors but they’re not. This is us moving along that disease model into stage 3, stage 4, stage 5 which becomes autoimmune disease. When I’m defining and look at what disease actually is, in my brain, I go back to the disease model. You can Google it. It is just a 6-stage grid that basically tells you what a perfectly healthy individual looks like (stage 1) all the way to stage 6, that last stage before there is really nothing left that anybody can do. As we are going along on this journey from 1 through 6, the symptoms get worse and worse and that then creates the disease where we would get some kind of diagnosis from. I’m willing to guess that everybody has been given a diagnosis at some point – whether its endometriosis or some kind of endocrine disease or things like heartburn or acid reflux which is also acid reflux disease. Anytime your cells are weakening or not holding up their value or strength, we call disease.

Tonya: Ok, so something like, stress, which we all get. Who doesn’t have that in their life? Especially in our culture. Or anxiety. We talk about anxiety and stress a lot on the podcast and we talk about it a lot and go in depth in the Vibe Tribe because it’s something that I feel like is considered the norm, like oxygen. And it is something we need in our life. It’s not. Correct me if I’m wrong. I feel like that just perpetuates further emotional distress and focus in brain function and you start to get diagnoses like ADHD and depression. It more and more just perpetuates inside of the body.

Sharissa: I couldn’t agree more. There are a couple of things that I like to talk about when we talk about stress. First of all, we need some type of stress in our life. I don’t mean we need to be stressed out. But in order for us to have any motivation or to get any work done, we need to have a little bit of stress. Something that says we need to do this. It more looks like motivation, like “Oh I’m motivated to get this work done.” But it really is stress. We have this optimal level where we need a little bit, it’s good; not enough and we’re lazy and don’t get anything done; too much and we’re  dead. We need just that right amount of stress to get us going and get us moving throughout the day. But what we don’t think about often enough is that stress is a physical thing, it’s not an emotional thing. That’s how we feel it but it’s actually a physical thing. When we feel stressed our hypothalamus releases chemicals that go into the body and tell the body we are stressed right now. So that stress in the body actually becomes a real chemical response. We’ve got the brain changing because of stress. Those chemicals are changing the structure of the brain. We’ve got the thymus, which actually controls our immune system, being affected and turned on. We’re under siege. Our bodies are being attacked by stress. It shuts these systems down which makes us much more susceptible to illness, colds, the flu and those kind of things. Then those chemicals get stored in our bodies so then we gain weight and we can’t lose weight. We wonder why can’t we lose the weight we want to use? Well that stress – that chronic stress – created adrenaline and cortisol overdoses in the body. Those things became toxic hormones and needed be stored somewhere. So the body stored them in the fat cells to be protected. Now we are gaining weight because of stress. Stress is not a cloud of smoke that rolls in and out of our lives. It is this actual response in our body that says hey we are under attack and all of that crap and all of those chemicals and all of those hormones being released so we can feel the stress that’s in our lives, gets stored in our bodies. That makes us weaker, that makes our cells weaker, makes us gain weight, makes us more toxic. If you go through a detox program you will detox those hormones and feel really crappy. It’s a very physical thing to be depressed or anxious or feeling overwhelmed. It isn’t just this abstract thing., It’s very physical. All of those times we put ourselves – and really, we put ourselves – in that stressed state because you can control whether or not you react to a situation. As you start to understand it is a physical thing, we learn how to control that physical response. You realize oh this is stress, if I allow myself to feel the stress then my body is going to release cortisol and adrenaline and weaken my cells. It’s going to change the structure of my brain. It gives you real motivation – want to talk about motivation, that’s motivation to not feel those things.

Tonya: You said the word, my favorite word. Control.

Sharissa: Yeah! We are in the driver’s seat.

Tonya: We are! We often don’t think that we are. I’m going to recap what I’ve heard you say so far Sharissa. We’ve got these 6 stages of disease where stage 5 is autoimmune, stage 6 is cancer and beyond cancer it’s all downhill from there. It’s death. So if we back up, where is something like stress on that scale?

Sharissa: Depending on how much we have in that body, we can be at a lower stress state in stage 1 because we still need a little bit of stress to keep us motivated and then we can work our way up the disease model. If you are overworked and overstressed and over pushing yourself for years and years that can create those cancerous cells and put us in stage 6. So really, you can look at your own stress in your life and how you respond on a daily basis to the stressors in your life and really see where that puts you in the disease model. It’s just an image and it actually shows based on organ systems. It will show the heart in stage 1, stage 4, stage 5, stage 6; the lungs, the kidneys. These things have their own range of illnesses in our disease model. Depending on things that you’re feeling – if you’re getting constant headaches, you might be stage 4 in brain, lungs and those types of things even if your stomach and heart are working properly. We are moving through those stages all of the time depending on what we are allowing into our bodies and our brain.

Tonya: Makes sense, stress shows up in every stage. So how much and how bad and what types of symptoms is it creating. You talk about working with clients who have had diagnoses and living with symptoms for quite awhile without being able to reverse or to stop those symptoms from perpetuating. Those symptoms are often what we notice. We notice that we don’t feel good and that we are constantly living in this state of stress or anxiety. We’re having things show up in our life that look like weight gain, fatigue, problems sleeping, and all these things where our body just isn’t working the way we want it to or the way we expect it to. What is wrong with me becomes the thing. Something is wrong. I want to know what’s wrong with me. So you go to doctors and some people want to attack this issue in a more holistic way so they turn to you. What I’m also hearing you say, Sharissa, a lot of this comes back to – if we can go back a bit and go to those beginning stages is…mindset? Is that what I’m hearing you say?

Sharissa: Absolutely! I recently published a book and I put the chapters in order of how I think it’s necessary to heal. The very first chapter of the book says we have to change our mindset. We can’t change and we can’t heal or get to a really healthy state if your mind isn’t in a healthy state, especially when we are thinking things and automatically think something is wrong with me. What is wrong with me? We start to attack the body and think My body hates me. My body is attacking me right now. My brain is mad at me so its giving me a headache or whatever it might be. Really all of these little things, all of these little symptoms are little flags from the body saying, “Hey! Look at me, I need some help in this area.” There are all of these things we can see. If there is joint pain, there is inflammation in the body and we can work on those key components. Mindset – changing the way we think about our body – and really understanding this stress is physical and not abstract. We can go back to 6th grade science or biology when they taught us about mitosis and meiosis when we had to draw a diagram of a cell and memorize what all of these things meant. None of that got integrated into our brain. We have to relearn it but the point I’m trying to make is, our body has no ability to create malice. None at all. It does not know how to be mad at you or how to punish you or how to make you feel bad. All it knows how to do is regenerate itself. It only is going through this process of death and rebirth all day long. New cells. New cells. New cells. All of the things that we are feeding it and all of things w we are feeding to our minds – those thoughts that we think about ourselves – ugly, fat, over blah blah blah, ate the wrong thing so we must be lazy slobs… all of the horrible things we think all day long. Nobody is as mean to us as we are to ourselves. Nobody ever. All of those thoughts are being integrated and they are being physical through hormones and actual chemical responses in our bodies that are changing our body on a cellular level. Our cells are getting weaker and weaker. As we get weaker cells, we get illness, we get disease, we get cancer. That cell turns black and starts to kill the cells around it. All our body knows how to do is regenerate. The way it regenerates in a good way is thinking good thoughts and putting good things in and on our body. It’s that simple. We put things in, we put good thoughts in, we put good things on our bodies like laundry soap, lotions, makeups and our cells have all of the tools they need to be healthy and viable. That’s where it comes from.

Tonya: Yeah! Immediately what comes to mind is the Emoto experience. If you haven’t heard of this, I put a link below. Once upon a time, Dr. Emoto decided to test the effect of energy on different water samples, I think a swamp. He took samples of water from the same source, and put them in jars. On half of the jars he labeled them with nasty words. He proceeded to get in a state of anger and talked to the water saying things like, “I hate you. You’re disgusting.” He monitored how the water changed over the time. The water molecules – the crystals – became really morphed and demented and ugly. The other set of samples he labeled with words like love, peace and harmony. He said nice things and got in a state of loving, grateful energy. Really infused those water samples with beautiful, loving energy. When he photographed the crystals inside of the water, they made beautiful snowflakes.

Sharissa: That’s incredible. And we’re made of water and energy, right? That’s such an incredible thing. I tested this on myself. In the last 6 months, I dealt with a battle of depression myself. One day, I thought, “I’m going to try this. I’m going to write on myself I love you.” Why not? Just the act of writing it shut down so many nasty thoughts in my brain. It was such a strange thing to do this physical thing. I wasn’t looking in the mirror trying to lie to myself or convince myself of something that wasn’t real. I just wrote on my hand with a gel pen my daughter had the words “I love you.” That’s it. Just the act of doing that and being able to say I’m in the driver’s seat and in control. If this could work for other things like a bottle of water, it could work for me. I definitely felt – even if it’s just because I made the action toward myself that I love myself – whatever it was it gave me a benefit. I loved it.

Tonya: I love your idea! Everybody do it. As soon as you’re done listening to this episode, give yourself a tattoo somewhere on your hand or your wrist for the day. See how it changes you for the day. If you love it, do it tomorrow.

Sharissa: Yeah, get it tattooed on your head! It was such a surreal thing for me and it felt empowering. It felt like, “Ok, I am in control of the things that I think and the things that I feel.” Even though it doesn’t feel like that all of the time, we can take that power back for ourselves. It’s up to me.

Tonya: I love this! We’ve got disease, it’s gonna happen. We would love to all prevent it, but I don’t think that’s helpful to be honest. It puts us in a state of fear.

Sharissa: I agree with you! Especially if we’re reading things like I have to do this to prevent Alzheimer’s I have to do this to prevent whatever. We are putting it in our brains. Think of what I did to myself! I was so scared of developing autoimmune disease and being bedridden, I literally created that exact environment for myself, trying to avoid it and try to prevent it. “That will never happen to me.” The thoughts whether or not we are thinking them in that direction are still being created for us. I definitely created that environment. Now looking back I feel really grateful about it. Being in it was the worst experience ever. Being out of it now I can see clearly, but all of these lessons and all of this power and all of this control, I don’t need to rely on anyone else to love and support me and give me what it is I need, I don’t need at all. Because I have it all inside me.

Tonya: You are living proof that you can reverse things, you can take the power back. Just because it’s happened to you doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it.

Sharissa: No, you don’t have to own any of that or any of what happened. It’s done. Now we need to go onto the next thing and see how can I learn from this? How can I get value from it? For me, the value of getting sick, the value of disease was the ability to understand the body in a way that I’m now able to help and coach and teach and guide other people through this same thing. We’re not necessarily avoiding or even preventing anything, but rather taking this different approach to who we are and stop giving everyone else the power to take parts of our body. In the book, I mentioned how our body used to be this whole picture and because of the way we train medical professionals now, we give them each a separate job. By doing that we took parts of our body and turned it into a puzzle. We gave each piece of our puzzle to someone else. We gave our endocrine system and our hormones to one specific doctor, an endocrinologist. We gave our gastrointestinal and our stomach and our intestines to one doctor. All of these doctors are specialized in one specific area and not able to look at how the body is working together. So when we take back this approach and put ourselves back in the driver’s seat, I like to think of the analogy that I’m taking all of the pieces of my body back. I’m putting it back together. I look at the picture and I’m like, now I get it! My puzzle was missing pieces and upside down and all over the world and now I’m whole again because I took my power back.

Tonya: I love it. I have so many favorite parts in the book but that was one of my favorites. You explained that in a way that is so easy to understand where it’s like well duh! When you think about it. But nobody put it quite so eloquently where you can understand it like that. Really, our body is not separate. Everything communicates constantly and we are effected by everything.

Sharissa: A very simple way to look at it – I have a client trying to detox one area of their body. He was doing a very specific juice everyday and he was seeing a lot of good changes from it however, because he wasn’t really taking into effect when you detox one system in your body it could affect other systems in your body too. He was having other problems come up from it. Simply by adding a little bit of fiber to his diet we were able to bind things and help work on his systems. So when we look at the body under a microscope and try to do just one small thing – I’m just gonna focus on my liver, or the ovaries or just one thing – we’re missing so much of the picture. And there’s all of the emotions involved, too. If you’re liver is having a lot of problems, you’re also dealing with a lot of unresolved anger in your life. Anger is stored in our liver. If our liver is being attacked in some way there’s also an emotional component that’s being charged. That’s why i think it’s so important to look at the body not just as a physical thing but also the emotions and the feelings that we have are also physical and also affecting our body.

Tonya: And it all comes back to the most important thing in the world – the power of the mind. I’m gonna address a challenge and if you don’t mind Sharissa, I would love some tips for our audience. If you’re listening to this episode, I know you’re creating a mental to-do list or a checklist in your mind. I don’t sleep, that’s me. I am stressed, that’s me. I have anxiety, that’s me. I think I’m suffering from adrenal fatigue, that’s me. Or whatever. I’m suffering from all of this, what do I do? It’s very overwhelming. It can send your mind spinning. It can send you down a rabbit hole on Google. Trying to figure out what’s wrong with you and trying to make sense of all the different pieces of your own puzzle. What tips do you have for somebody who has noticed, ok we are all aging, it’s probably aging, what if it’s not? I’m stressed, how do I get this back? How do I deal with life as it is? If we take this back to mindset and put a pin in all of this for a minute, and start at the square root. Start at the very base. Take back control of the one thing we can get in control of in the next 5 minutes. What tips do you have for somebody before they go into that state of overwhel because that’s going to give more feelings of overwhelm? How do we get back into control right now and take that first step?

Sharissa: You said so many good things right there I want to touch on really quick. As soon as we notice that there are things going on in our body, we are already at that overwhelm state of I have to make changes, I have to do these things, I have to do this, this and this. We’re setting ourselves up for failure. We’re just putting all of these crazy high expectations on what we are capable of changing in a short amount of time. I want to say it is impossible. You just can’t wake up tomorrow and change every little thing about your life. It’s just not going to happen and it’s not going to last. But you can change the way you think about your body overnight. You can change right this second how you think about your body. All of the things we talked about in this episode today, were things like taking the control back, being in the driver seat, feeling like you own yourself and can take your puzzle pieces back. The very first thing before anything else is realizing that you are in control of your body. I am the only person who can affect my body. That’s it. My thoughts are the only thoughts that can affect me. Even if someone comes up to your face and says you’re ugly. None of that needs to affect you if you don’t own it. If you don’t say “You’re right I’m fat and I;’m ugly.” That’s where the thoughts and the feelings are coming in. Before anything else when we look at this mindset component we have to look at it like my body loves me. It has no other choice, it has nothing else it can do but regenerate, regrow, protect you. All of those signs and symptoms and signals all of those flags your body is throwing up and saying help me…none of that is to be negative. All of that is to say, “Help me fix this one area. So that I can go on giving you a perfect life experience.” The body wants to walk around and get up and have a good life. We are getting in the way of that with our thoughts and feelings and actions,. By taking a step back and saying my body is doing everything I am allowing it to do, that changes your world right then. Then you are in control of literally everything that happens. Oh, I got a headache today because I stayed up too late last night, I didn;t eat breakfast and I didn’;t eat enough water today. So how can I fix it so that I don’t get a headache tomorrow? Well if i go to sleep early tonight and I make sure I drink my water bottle tomorrow, I probably won’t get this headache again and my body will have all of the tools it needs to do well for the day. You’re in control of everything. So when we take that step and we look at our body and say, “Ok, my mindset has to be centered around the things like I love my body and my body loves me. Anytime we do anythings against ourselves or against our bodies, we are not showing our body love. When we starve ourselves or when we make it so that, “I’m only going to have lunch after I finish this one task” we are then starving the body of what it needs to have the energy to finish those tasks. We are in control of all of that. We can decide how good we are going to feel. By having that knowledge and that power now, there’s nothing you can blame on anyone else. It’s all on you. That’s really cool for me. It might seem really scary to some people but for me, being in control, feels amazing. It feels like “I can do this. I can take care of myself.”

Tonya: It’s empowering.

Sharissa: It’s huge power. It’s so much power. That’s it. If you can just do that one thing without making all of these crazy changes – you don’t have to quit drinking and smoking and change your sleep behaviors, cut out your coffee and do all of that tomorrow – but if tomorrow you could wake up and say “Hey I love myself and I’m gonna do whatever it takes to give my body the energy it needs to love me back. Wow. What a difference that would make.

Tonya: Absolutely, I love that. And from that place of power, you then will start to form the belief system. If you keep saying it to yourself you’re gonna believe it. Once you believe that you’;re in charge of your body that you’re working with your body instead of fighting against your body, you will then feel more empowered. You will then have the energy to take actions to make small incremental changes.

Sharissa: Exactly! You can’t get up and go to the gym every day, if you don’t love yourself. You can’t get up and go to the kitchen and make yourself a healthy breakfast every day if you don’t love yourself. All of those things will happen very naturally in a very amazing domino effect when you start to put these things into practice. It happens. You really can’t do anything else. Once you decide and really believe, I love me and my body is trying to do everything it can to take care of me, then all of a sudden you’ve developed a relationship with your body. Hey, this is my baby. The brain and mindset is the mom and your body is your baby. You would never want your baby to go without nourishment or strength, or food, or love, or clean clothes or you would never want them to hold in going pee. How many times as moms or busy women have we told ourselves, “I really have to pee but let me take this call first.”

Tonya: I almost did that before I pressed record and hopped on!

Sharissa: That would have been ideal because then I could have talked about it. But here’s the thing, when we do that to our body it isn’t a sign of I love you. It is a sign of, “No, you can wait while I take care of other things.” Look of it like your little kid. Your body is your two year old baby who really needs to have lunch. Are you going to tell your two year old baby “no you can’t have lunch right now because I need to take this call. I’ll do it when I’m done.” We HAVE to take care of our body. We are the only ones who can do it. When you put the power back and give yourself the love and treat yourself like someone who needs to be treated well, all of these things come into play. All of those things will happen on their own and it will become this incredible domino effect of taking care of yourself. But by waking up tomorrow and thinking I’m going to the gym and the only way I’m going to love myself is by going to the gym 4 days a week and do 30 minutes of cardio everyday. You’re not going to have the energy or the willpower to do it. It doesn’t work that way. It’s backwards. That’s like starting at the finish line  We gotta start at the bottom of the iceberg, under the water.

Tonya: So what you’re saying is if we are experiencing symptoms or ailments in our life and our body that we aren’t quite excited about, instead of saying “How can I cure cancer? How can I reverse this autoimmune disease? How can I change and undo all of this damage?” Don’t start there.

Sharissa: God that’s overwhelming just saying it!

Tonya: So start with just that “How can I love myself today?”

Sharissa: How can I love myself today? If you want a challenge, make yourself a list of 10 things you can do to show yourself love today. That right there is probably one of the most challenging things. I’ve never been able to do it. I try to sit and love myself as much as I can every day and I still haven’t been able to sit and make a list for myself of 10 ways that I can show myself that I love myself for the day. These are things like “Make yourself a meal. Take a bath. Brush your hair.” For whatever reason it’s really challenging to come up with 10 or 20 things, so maybe just start with one. Maybe tomorrow start with how can I love myself today. Maybe it’s not skipping breakfast. Maybe it’s not rushing past the bathroom because you’re going to be late to work, but my body and my bladder is more important than the traffic.

Tonya: It’s not a challenge to come up to the things but to commit to one or two of those things. Buyt the more you do the more you decide you are worthy.

Sharissa: This isn’t telling yourself I love you I love you I love you. This is show me that you love me. One of my very favorite song talks about how “If I took the words away from you. If I took the works I love you away from you, how will you show me you love me?” I’ve tried to live my life that way because I love you is just a set of words. Whatever meaning we put behind it. You could say “uck I love you” or you could say “I love you.” It’s a totally different feeling. But showing yourself that you love yourself – going to the bathroom, getting the meals, drinking the water – all of those things are proof, proof that your brains need. You talk about it in your book. You’ve gotta give proof to your brain. Show your brain that you are willing to make the changes, not just that I’m gonna promise myself to go to the gym. Love yourself. What would you do? How would you show a 2 year old or a 1 year old or a newborn you love them. They don’t have a vocabulary yet. They don;t know words.Telling your baby I love you I love you I love you. What does that mean to them if you aren’t changing their diapers, or feeding them or nourishing their needs? That’s what we are doing to ourselves. We are saying to ourselves, yeah, yeah yeah, I love you. But then not caring for ourselves. We’re being neglected. We’re starving ourselves.

Tonya: It’s a beautiful challenge. We’ve got lots of challenges for y’all. You need to write on your hand I love you. Practice doing something today and tomorrow that not only helps you to say those words to yourself but to show yourself that you’re serious about it and you mean it. Those are beautiful tips Sharissa. Thank you.

Sharissa: Thank you!

Tonya: Let’s talk about your book.  I want everybody to read this. I’m not gonna lie, Sharissa is a great friend of mine. We have worked together in the past. We have collaborated in the past. She has helped me with some health challenges. She has helped my family members with some health challenges. I would recommend her to you just based on my experience with her. When she was writing her book she asked me to read it, even though I know all of this about her there was still a part of me that was like “It’s going to be another health book.” I don’t know if I ever told you this, Sharissa, but I’m telling the whole world this now. In my mind, I had this mindset of, “how much new information could there possibly be?” Even though she puts it in a way that is so eloquent when we’re talking, in my mind I thought, when it gets translated into a book it’s going to be like everything else you’ve read. I was blown away in shock and I put my foot in my mouth so many times. It was so good. I couldn’t put the book down. It was written as if you are having a meal with your best friend if your best friend is a walking encyclopedia of everything health. The way that she writes about your body in this book helps you understand where your ancestry has come from. One of my favorite things in the book, Sharissa, was when you talk about eating for your culture, I was like, “Did she just give me permission to eat pierogies and sauerkraut?” That is super cool! Then I went on Google and looked up what did Germans and Polish people eat back in the day authentically and then I thought oh my gosh these are some of my favorite foods! I’ve learned a lot and changed my cooking style as a result of reading this one little portion of the book and I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying food so much more. Thank you!

Sharissa: My pleasure!

Tonya: There are so many things in this book that I’m a fan of. I’m a fan of how you approach it and I think that you have something unique that nobody else possess in the way that you teach. For that reason, I think everybody should read this book and buy 10 copies and every time you hear a friend complain about what’s wrong with them, you just hand them a copy of the book and say this will fix it.   It will answer all of your questions. I think the whole book, Sharissa, is you help people to have a new perspective in how they look at their body.

Sharissa: That’s the point. We need to see all of these things in a way that they actually are. I felt like there are a lot of health books on the market that tell you one piece of it. This is 17 different pieces. Every chapter is on a different concept of your body, including the mindset and how we have to change our mind and understand the body in a different way. There’s a chapter on how we can actually create habits. There’s a chapter on what it looks like for your body to go through a detox and [plenty of different suggestions on how to be eating properly. This isn’t a book that’s going to tell you this is how you have to live and this is what you have to do, but rather here is a ton of different things that you can do. If you do any one of these things you’re going to feel better, you’re going to be happier, you’re going to feel good about yourself and you’re going to get your power back. The book is called, “Journey Back to Health, 6 Steps to Confidently Getting Your Life Back.” The point is I want to give you your life back. I want you to be in the driver’s seat of your own experiences, of your own life, of your own everything. We have that ability of taking your puzzle pieces back, like I said before. This book is a short read, it’s meant to be read in an afternoon or two and there is a workbook so if you ever wanted to work with somebody like me who is going to work on your lifestyle in this way that is a little bit more hand holding or incremental steps that are not big changes. The workbook is actually how you would work with me if I was your coach. You’re really going to get a ton of value out of this little book that I hope is going to change people’s lives.

Tonya: I love that! You are amazing. And you do. You bring so much value. I know that. I know that when you and I were working together and I was going through a detox and I decided that wasn’t going to happen because it was summer and I wanted a  frickin margarita. I was like what am I going to do? How am I going to detox and have a margarita? You helped me create a way to do that. It was like Are you serious? Anybody else would have told me no, and you told me it’s okay!

Sharissa: I never want deprivation. Deprivation brings those feelings of scarcity and all of that negative mindset of I can’t or I won’t or I shouldn’t rather than giving that empowering feeling of how can I get exactly what I want and still give my body healing. That’s what I want.

Tonya: You do it well. Definitely better than anyone I’ve met.

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