56: Rewiring Your Body's Trust Blueprint
Samantha Skelly struggled deeply with her relationship with food and her body during early adulthood. Through her struggle, she was inspired to create Hungry for Happiness: a company dedicated to spreading the message of hope, healing and happiness and committed to helping women all over the world find peace with food and their bodies. She came on the podcast to talk about lessons she's learned about how to create more trust within ourselves in order to be able to tap into our intuition with food and life in general.
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Paige: Hey guys, welcome to Nutrition Matters Podcast. I’m Paige your host and you guys, I am just so excited about so many of the episodes I have coming up for you in the next few months. I am pumped about this project. I love being able to be a small part of your lives and a small part of your journey toward a healthier relationship with food. Just know that even though things have been a bit slow in the last few months, I am really excited. I’ve lots of great things lined up for us and I know you’re just gonna love it. So and today is no exception. Today I am going to share with you an interview that I did with Samantha Skelly. She is actually the owner and founder of Hungry of Happiness which is a movement to empower women to overcome their disordered eating and body image issues. So she is a motivational speaker, a best-selling author, an entrepreneur, and has a lot of personal experience with emotional eating and with working to become more intuitive as a person and with her eating as well. And so, just so you know a little bit more about her, she has shared with her mission all over the place. She’s made appearances on global tv, [??} NBC, CBC. In 2013, she was awarded top 24 under 24. And in 2014 she was named a finalist for best emerging entrepreneur which is super exciting! She spreads her message of health and happiness to help transform so many people’s lives. She has a program that she does to help women become healthier with their relationship with food. Motivational speaking. She also has a podcast called the Hungry for Happiness podcast, and she does worldwide international retreats. Oh my goodness, her best-selling book called Hungry for Happiness: One Woman’s Guide from Fighting Food to Finding Freedom. And just a reminder, if you need a little extra help with your relationship with food and you want to join a really supportive community and get some really awesome information, some tools, some guidelines, and some coaching, I have an online course that’s available on my website. It’s just paigesmathersrd.com/course. If you’re interested at looking at what the details are in that, feel free to just head on over to the website and check it out and see if it might be a good fit for you. So I hope that you enjoy this episode, you guys will see, I’m like a little bit excited in this episode because she was so much fun to talk to and she had so much really beautiful insight and wisdom into all these issues that we talk about all the time on this podcast. So I think you all will really enjoy this. Thank you all for joining me and enjoy this episode.
Paige: Alright well welcome Samantha! I’m so glad to have you on Nutrition Matters. Welcome!
Samantha: Thank you for having me. I’m super excited for this conversation.
Paige: Me too! So let’s just briefly sort of explain who you are and what you do. And then we’ll dive into your story. So just get into that and I’ll ask questions along the way.
Samantha: Yeah so I run a company called Hungry for Happiness so we help women who struggle with the relationship they have to food and their bodies. [??]I feel like we’re putting bandaids on bullet wounds and not really looking at the root cause of what’s going on and it’s super important that we look at the emotional side of what is going on and my whole, my whole thing is just helping women end their fight with food, get out of that vicious cycle of dieting and binging and just really looking at the core root, the emotional weight that’s going on.
Paige: Yeah, awesome! So we do very similar things. How did you, how did you get interested in that world? Tell us about your journey.
Samantha: So I grew up as a child actress from the age of like very young and I was constantly either on the stage or in front of the camera and I didn’t you know, the whole body image thing didn’t affect me until I actually stopped the industry. So when I was around 18 I started dieting like a crazy person. Like I was on over 50 diets in less than 4 years and just constantly, constantly dieting and not really knowing how to eat properly. Not knowing how to use food for health and hunger and just ultimately feeling incredibly disconnected from my body and disconnected from what feels good. I didn’t even know I had an intuition. I could not decipher between and emotional hunger queue and a physical hunger queue. That whole, my whole connection with my body was completely gone and meanwhile, while I was going through, I called it my diet depression years, I was actually a personal trainer as well, so I felt completely out of alignment, you know with the work I was doing in the world. So I knew that there was a deeper reason as to why I was in this battle, in this fight. And so I spent 3 years after that just really healing the relationship I had to food and my body and really figuring out what I was hungry for and what was really going on and taking it ten layers deeper and not externalizing the issues. For so long I felt this feeling inside of me and I just tried to externalize my behavior and my food to try and heal the feeling. But I realized that I was just hitting a wall doing that. I needed to go into my body really not put bandaids on bullet wounds and treat internal issues with internal solutions and until I did that I was still stuck in that binge cycle battle. So after about 3 years of doing that I saw the contrast between what it felt like to feel super good in my body using food for health and hunger and not even thinking about food versus that’s all I thought about every single day when I woke up and went to bed and throughout the entire day. It was this obsession of calories and exercising. Not liking my body and like seeing the contrast and seeing how vastly different my life was, I knew that this was the work that I needed to bring into the world. So I created the brand Hungry for Happiness October 2014 so it’s been a journey but fun.
Paige: Yay! So can I ask you a few follow up questions to that whole story. One thing I’m curious about is when you were in front of the camera and on stage in your childhood and adolescence, were you the type of kid that was ultra aware of what other people thought of you? Were you anxious? Were you nervous about the way your body looked? Did you have a pretty healthy relationship with food? Or what did that look like as a kid?
Samantha: I didn’t think about it when I was a kid. You know, it didn’t dawn on me. Let me reframe that, I thought about it. I was aware of it but it didn’t create that pain that it created when I was 18. So when I was dancing, I’m like, ok I know I need to be small. I know I need to be small. That was like the thought but it didn’t like pain me through that process. It was interesting. It wasn’t until after I realized like wow the weight on my body is really affecting my emotional state. What is going on right now? Why are those two things so linked and that’s when it started to really have an effect on my overall being. When I was younger, not so much. It was just kind of how I did life you know? I was super headstrong, very logical, very up in my head and didn’t really let myself feel until I was about 18 and that’s when I started to actually feel these things. And then suppress them and suppress them. And then feel them and suppress them. And that’s where the cycling came in.
Paige: Kay, so we want to focus our conversation today around the idea of how to kind of rewire our body’s trust blueprint.
Paige: So just to understand your story, did you feel like you were able to be connected and in touch with that as a kid and then you lost that when you started dieting? Or did you feel like you kind of never had that? Or give us an idea of that process for you.
Samantha: I think I didn’t consider when I was younger. I didn’t ever think, oh do I trust my body? Does my body trust me? It wasn’t…
Paige: In retrospect, what do you think? Like looking back.
Samantha: Oh, in retrospect? In retrospect, yeah I mean I trusted myself when I was younger.
Samantha: And then during those 4 years of obsessively dieting and being on over 50 diets in less than 4 years, I completely shattered the trust that I had with my body.
Paige: Yeah, ok.
Samantha: And my body didn’t trust me. You know?
Samantha: It was like there was zero trust so every time, even things I out of food because I didn’t trust myself so much with food, I didn’t trust myself with money, with relationships, with my career. It percolated into every area of my life. Not just the relationship I had to food to my body. So I had to during my recovery process, cuz when we think about actually trusting ourselves, we think about trusting like our personality, our ego, and the part of us that let us down in the past. But there’s a deeper part of us, our intuition, and our soul that is so trustworthy. It’s unshakable. And that’s the part of us that we need to trust. And so when we’re recovering and we’re going through this work, we actually have to take action just without the evidence and just know that we’re going to show up for ourselves. And that was the leap that I had to take and granted it took me a long time to get to that place where I’m like, I gonna take action and not worry about what happens. I’m just going to take action and just trust that I’m gonna catch myself and I’m going to be supported by something higher than myself. So that is how we ultimately build, rebuild trust in our body, is by taking action. One of my mentors is named Philip McKernan, he says, in the absence of clarity, take action. So I was so unclear on how to trust myself. I had no idea as far as my story that I was not trustworthy. And so in order for me to learn how to rebuild that trust, I had to take action, I had to do things that allowed me to rebuild that trust with myself. Something as simple as listening to our body and deciphering between a visceral yes in the body and a visceral no. A lot of us are so disconnected from our bodies, we have no communication to our intuition. And our intuition is like this glorious birthplace of so much guidance and direction and for a lot of us, especially dieters, we’re just so disconnected from that because we’re all up in our heads. And it’s like, what should I do? Right? Rather than, what is my body telling me to do? So it was a process of really deciphering between a visceral yes in the body and a visceral no and taking micro, making micro-decisions based on what my body was telling me to be able for me, to build that up [and] make bigger decisions based around food or other life decisions. And now it’s, now with my decision making, I kind of take logic out of the equation, I ask myself the question and I can decipher between that expansive yes feeling of like Yes, that feels good, let’s lean into that or No, don’t do that. And that’s a really freeing, it’s such a freeing feeling to not have to overthink and overanalyze decisions and just check in with our bodies and make decisions based on what our body is saying and not what we think we should do or what everybody and their dog thinks we should do. So even little decisions now like, what grocery store should I go to or whatever it is, I try and take logic out of the equation as much as possible and in a world that’s so rooted in logic and overthinking, overanalyzing; inviting our intuition is an act of courage. It’s great.
Paige: I agree. Oh my gosh, you said so many things in that little segment that I wanna follow up on and dig deeper into.
Paige: So the first thing you said that I loved. I loved and I’m noticing this you know, as I start to pay attention, I’m noticing this everywhere, but that’s so true that as you…sometimes it kind of seems a little bit unimportant to talk about our relationship with food right? It can kind of be like, ohhh food is not as important as refugees or like all these things going on in the world right?
Paige: Like how are we talking about food when there’s so many other things going on? But what I love about what you just said is you know what? As we work on healing our relationship with food and becoming more in touch with our wise, beautiful intuition that we have within us, we are better human beings in general, we become that can’t help but trickle into other areas of our life and I think in the end this connects back to our theme for today where when you connect to that intuition and you trust and rewire that trust blueprint in your body, you are able to trust yourself in every other way as well and it’s with exercise, with jobs, with relationships, with you know, all of these things and I just think that’s such a powerful idea and I want to hear more about your experience with that and your wisdom in that area.
Samantha: Yeah it was super interesting when I started to heal the relationship I had, so money is so linked to food. So generally speaking, when we have issues with money, we also have issues with food because the root cause, one of the root causes of both of those things is rooted in scarcity. And so when we’re operating from a scarcity mindset, we develop dysfunctional relationships with food and money. There’s not enough. It’s not enough. I’m not enough. It’s like this enough-ness thing that’s going on and so when I was super focused on my relationship with food and healing that I realized the byproduct of that is I had a much healthier relationship with money. It came more in abundance. I didn’t have that like scarcity like, *gasp*I’m gonna run out feeling. It was like, oh money is constantly flowing to me and it’s effortless and I can become a river for this and the same thing with food. And a lot, for me personally, with food, I gotta eat it because I don’t know when I’m gonna get the next meal. It was like that feast and famine thing. And that behavior and pattern was also present in the relationship I had with money. And so it’s really beautiful now when I am feeling like, ok, I’m feeling like *grr* sticky with money or food, it’s like ok I know where this is coming from, this is just rooted in scarcity and then I go back to my scarcity work and I do the healing that needs to happen around scarcity in order to heal what’s currently going on in that situation. So right now, what’s super clear to me, what the belief is that is perpetuating those behaviors to be activated.
Paige: Samantha! That is huge, I’ve been thinking about this so much! This idea of scarcity and that mindset and how that plays into our relationships with food and
Samantha: Oh yeah.
Paige: When we think something is scarce, whether that’s put on by a diet or put on us by a supposed intolerance or maybe it’s not really real but you’re just kind of, oh this is helpful to help me restrict, when we make something scarce, our bodies are wired to go find it. If we think about it from an evolutionary perspective, that’s important. That’s an important part of psyche to know that when food is scarce, we get extra motivated to go find it.
Samantha: Mmhmm. Hundred percent, hundred percent.
Paige: And when food, and I’m sure you’re a Brené Brown reader, I can just tell by the way you talk,
Samantha: Mmhm. hahaha
Paige: I can just tell. So I love in her book, Gifts of Imperfections, when she talks about how the opposite of scarcity is not abundance, it’s enough.
Samantha: Mmhmm enough-ness.
Paige: Oh gosh, that just speaks to my soul like I feel like I’m being a little bit too intense and excited about this? But I can’t help it but I love that enough, in her book she describes, you know you wake up in the morning and you’re like, god didn’t get enough sleep and then you’re running around, gosh I don’t have enough time. And it’s like, that like the way we live our lives is like, I’m not enough. I don’t have enough. There isn’t enough. And when we’re talking about food in particular, how silly is that? Food is at every corner, in abundance.
Paige: There is enough!
Samantha: Yeah. A hundred percent!
Paige: Anyways, so I’ve been thinking about that a ton and also as that connects to like even our sense of self worth like, if we can stop having that self taught track going on in our brain of I’m not enough, I’m not popular enough, I don’t have enough followers, I don’t do enough work, I’m not enough, enough, enough, it’s like just remind yourself that you are.
Paige: Because you simply are because you exist, you know? You are enough! So what do you think about that?
Samantha: Well it’s important as well not to externalize our enough-ness right? Or our worth. It’s pretty much the same thing. So yeah, I mean so often when I tell my clients like, you are enough or you are worthy, they’re like, well, I need to find the evidence. They try to externalize it right? They try to externalize their job role, the amount of money they have in their bank, who they’re dating, what they’re doing, the travel that they’re going on. And it’s like that actually has nothing to do with it. If you think of a baby, they’re not enough because they have a really nice baby blanket and a great bottle.
Samantha: They’re just enough because they just are.
Paige: That’s such a funny thought.
Samantha: right? It’s like this, you just are.
Paige: But with the baby, like the minute they enter this world, they are everything.
Samantha: Exactly, they’re significant.
Paige: And you can’t help but feel that when you’re around a newborn baby who’s absolutely done nothing positive or negative in their life, they just simply exist.
Samantha: Mmhmm. Absolutely, absolutely.
Paige: That’s so cool.
Samantha: And that’s the thing, so it’s about being cozy and being cool with the idea like the enough-ness feeling that is not externalized and is simply a reflection of what’s going on in your emotional field and not your possessions. So normally when we’re feeling inadequate and we’re not feeling enough, we’re getting to a state of consumption and we’re trying to consume more books, more podcasts more clothes, more money, more boys, more alcohol, whatever it is right? And we get into a state of consumption and actually that’s detrimental to our feeling of enough that actually creates toxicity in our relationship to being enough. And the best thing that we can do when we’re on our quest and search for feeling enough is inviting in simplicity, how can I simplify? How can I get down to the basics? You know? You know when we get rid of clothes in our closet, there’s that feeling of Ahhh, right? And that’s the same feeling like what do you need to get rid of in your life to be more connected to your worth because everything else all the materialistic stuff, all the other stuff in your life is simply just a distraction from you actually feeling your worth and the reason why we want those things in our life is often because we’re scared that we’re not enough and we’re scared that if we take all those things away, that you’re going to be left with nothing. And that’s just not the case. That’s just what our mind thinks, that’s what our ego is attached to. So the true essence of who we are is who we can be with nothing at all.
Paige: Ok, I just watched the minimalist documentary.
Samantha: *loud gasp*did you? Oh my god I wanna see that so bad, I haven’t yet.
Paige: it’s on Netflix and it’s spoke to my soul. It really did and what you’re saying about like all this clutter I think is so true on like a figurative level and also on an actual physical level. And as we, you mentioned like the example of when you get rid of clothes in your closet, you’re just like, ahhh I feel like physically lighter and freer.
Samantha: Yes so good right?
Paige: And that documentary talks about that physical side and I loved it and they really gave some great examples of how to make it work for you and you don’t have to live in a tiny house or whatever to do it right?
Paige: But then, I love the idea of taking this a step further and talking about, what about all that extra clutter in our spiritual or our kind of like mental health level right? Where it’s like, we feel better about who we are when we stay simple and when we get rid of all that extra stuff that distracts us from what’s really important and what really matters to us. I don’t know if I’m making sense but…
Samantha: No, a hundred percent. Well didn’t they say like, you can only have, not you can only have but like having like limiting it to 33 items or something?
Paige: No, no, no. Not the, no so these guys are basically what they say is like, they interviewed a family that lives in this big huge house and the mom didn’t really want to be a minimalist but the dad really did and so they found a way to make their lives work and what I love about it and I think this totally relates to food, and I’m really letting this idea marinate for a while but sorry for all the puns, the food puns. Anyway…
Samantha: Hahaha I food pun all the time.
Paige: Ahh you don’t mean to but it just happens. You can’t help it.
Samantha: And some won’t stop.
Paige: So what I loved about that take away from the documentary for me is they interviewed all kinds of people and how they have a minimalist lifestyle and no two people or two couples did it the same way. And what it came down to is every single thing, thing like physical thing, that these people have in their lives and that their surrounded by has an intention and has a purpose.
Samantha: So cool.
Paige: And it’s so cool, like it’s cool on like that physical level but if you think about it, like with food, I think this is what we’re trying to teach. Is like, there’s no good food/bad food. There’s no right and wrong. There’s intention.
Samantha: Intention. Yeah.
Paige: Can you bring the foods into your life that have purpose and meaning and you know what? I’m not here to say that cookies don’t have meaning because for me, they do. Like I love a chocolate chip cookie but I don’t love it everyday all the time right?
Samantha: Yes. Exactly.
Paige: And so I think this idea of like being intentional with each and every thing we bring into our lives whether it’s food or things or people or relationships, I think brings us to this level where we’re no longer saying, oh I should or I shouldn’t or it’s right or it’s wrong to eat this food. We’re saying, what’s right or wrong in this moment for me? And that’s a different answer for someone else right? I just love it! I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
Samantha: And also, like that does come down to this whole essence that we’re talking about ourselves of trusting right? It’s when we create rules around things we don’t trust ourselves around. So we don’t trust ourselves around food so we have to create rules around it. We don’t trust ourselves around certain things, men, money, whatever it is so we create rules around it. And this is this whole essence of like ditch the rules and practice trust because what is going to work for you today is not going to work for you tomorrow and you’re going to make a different decision then and you need to trust yourself that that decision that you make, providing that you make it from a place, an intuitive place, is going to be the decision that is most aligned with the highest, best, and most authentic version of you. So we can’t slap rules on things cuz that’s just not our truth.
Paige: Wooo! But guess what? That’s so hard for people. Holy smokes.
Samantha: It’s so hard for people.
Paige: I know people when they just heard you say that, we can’t have rules, people are cringing and they’re like, no! don’t take away my rules right?
Samantha: Don’t worry girls, I was there too. I was like, what do you mean I can’t have, I can’t count calories? That’s crazy!
Samantha: And you just, you know, you get used to it.
Paige: That’s literally one of the scariest things you can tell certain types of personalities, right?
Paige: It’s like, hey there are no rules, there is no right and wrong, people are like, annnddd not listening to you anymore.
Samantha: Annnddd, shut the podcast off. Don’t do that! Hahah
Paige: Ok, so let’s dive into that cuz I think that’s like super super important to this conversation about trust. Because I guess, here’s how I conceptualize it, I would love the give and take from you but when we put our, when we follow rules, right? They’re external, they’re outside. It’s a form of trust. It’s a trusting someone else. It’s trusting, hey Paige is a dietitian so I’m gonna do what she says or Samantha’s a total expert. She’s been through this front and backwards so I’m just gonna do what she says. I’m gonna follow her rules right?
Paige: And so yes, that’s a trust but it’s not the right kind of trust because the way you eat and the way I eat, I promise you are different. And it’s each and every day is different for me and each and every moment might be like a little, woah yesterday I wasn’t hungry at 3 o’clock but today I am so I got to take care of that. And so I think when we’re talking about trust, we wanna make sure that everybody knows that we’re saying you want to put that trust in yourself because there’s this underlying magnificence within each of us. Both on a physical level, like our bodies know what will help them feel the best and function the best and our bodies know what weight they want to be you know? And so we need to direct that desire to trust toward ourselves which is scary but it’s so worth it. And so I wanna hear what you think about that.
Samantha: So I always so to my clients, and I know there’s, it’s so funny I said this and then this document came out so it’s gonna sound like Tony Robbins but I am not you’re guru, like I do not have the answers.
Paige: I say that too! And I didn’t know that Tony Robbins said that. That’s funny. I always say that.
Samantha: He had a documentary that came out that recently, it’s called, “I’m Not Your Guru.”
Paige: How funny!
Samantha: So when it came out, I’m like, I gotta stop saying that.
Paige: Oh dang it! Me too I guess.
Samantha: It’s like, I don’t want my clients to trust, you know, my way of doing things cuz my way of things is going to be vastly different from your way of doing things for biological reasons, makeup of the body, genetics, it’s extremely different. And so my role is for, to teach my clients how to trust their blueprint. How to trust their bodies and how to listen with compassion and curiosity and be ok with the fact that who you thought you were, you’re probably not. Because we all have this idea of who we are and what works for us and all of these kind of things and we have to destroy what our mind thinks we are to invite in what we actually are. And so my job is facilitating that process within the individual. It’s not about what is Samantha’s morning routine? what does Samantha eat? What does she do to exercise? How does she stay fit? How does she meditate? That doesn’t matter because here’s the thing, for me that changes all the time. Sometimes I don’t want to meditate at all. I think it sucks. And then other days my body craves it so if you run your life based on what I’m doing, you’re depending on me and again externalizing an internal issue that we’re still externalizing internal issues. Even though we’re doing things that are quote unquote “healthy” or “conscious” or “what we should be doing.” You’re still not finding the truth as to what makes your soul tick. You’re still figuring out what mine does and then you’re trying replicate it. And that just simply does not work. That’s why the whole diet industry is completely broken because we’re just smacking these cookie cutter things on everybody. Like no, not everybody should be a certain way. Whether that’s like paleo, vegan, gluten free, whatever. It’s like do whatever works best for you and trust yourself and listen to your body and then to listen and to take data and to figure it out and yeah, maybe dairy is not the best for your system, cool, go with it. But don’t listen to what everyone else is doing. Listen internally cuz that’s where all the answers are.
Paige: I agree. I agree and one of the things you just said really hit me. Where you were saying like, you don’t need to listen to me as a guru and I, like I said, I say that all the time too, but I also think when you’re new to this, you can. You can take a little bit of it on faith. You can say, ok this sounds a little scary but I hear Paige saying that she eats 3 meals a day and a snack at night usually. Like ok, maybe I’ll try that. But the idea isn’t to like, not look at people as an example or not learn from people and just like, think that you have to reinvent the wheel for yourself but I think what it comes down to is this attitude of, like you said I love it! And I say it all the time, we’re like soul sisters.
Paige: Anyway, being compassionate with yourself and being curious and so when you’re curious, that implies that you’re nonjudgmental and you’re saying, ok I’m going to try what Paige maybe suggested or I’m gonna try this method from this book I read to see, like ok, like how does this work for me? Be curious about the results and then adjust things. Feel very free to adjust things as necessary based on the fact that you trust your body and you know it will communicate what it needs. Does that jive with what you’re saying? Or do you have a push back?
Samantha: Hundred percent. A hundred percent.
Samantha: No, yeah. Hundred percent. And we’re just terrified of trusting ourselves. It’s like we gotta take the chances. You know? Like take the chance. Just take the chance because your body knows all the answers. Your mind just gets in the way.
Paige: So ok, so let’s talk practical because I think we’ve done a really good job, in my opinion, my humble opinion. I think we’ve done a really good job of setting the stage for why is this important to both of us and how we’re approaching these issues. But I think people love and crave and need some like, practical advice. So one of the things you said early on that I wrote down to remember to say is you gotta just start doing things.
Paige: And I actually just wrote a blog post about this where I’ll share with you a little story and then I want to hear your thoughts on this. So I went to this really beautiful meeting and it was like a, my friend is putting on a monthly meeting of women where we all get together and we talk about something important to us. And this topic happened to be body image and she had me on the panel and someone else that was on the panel, said something that just like struck me to my core and she said, how do we learn? She’s an art therapist, right? So she’s like, yeah I can sit down in my office and I can talk to people about mindfulness and skills and whatever and their life and their experiences but she’s like, I’m an art therapist because there’s like a different level that when we start to like, do and take action that’s when we really learn and that’s when we really make progress. And I was just talking about this yesterday with one of my clients and I said, you know if you’re really scared to do something or if you have a fear of something, the only way you become not scared of it is by doing it. Like you can’t think your way through not being scared of it. That’s just not how it works. And so like I just think there’ so much power in doing. That is every single moment in my life where I’m like, yes I’ve learned something huge that like stays in my heart, it’s there forever. It’s not when I’ve been ruminating and thinking and stressing out with anxiety in my bed at night, that’s not when I learn. It’s when I get out there and take action. So I think that’s a beautiful idea and a really good place for us to start with kind of getting into that practical of how do we rewire our body’s trust blueprint? What do you think about that?
Samantha: Yeah, so here’s the thing about that. We have to be aware to not freak out our systems and our neurotransmitters and our bodies because if we start taking action and then we freak ourselves out, we’re going to delay the process and prolong the suffering. So my suggestion to that is getting really clear between the difference between a visceral yes and a no in the body, you know, we all know what that feels like. If we connect and we take a few deep breaths and we get super present and we ask ourself questions, we know the difference and start small and build up the evidence. So seemingly insignificant things like, hey should I wear this or this? Should I do this or this? And just like tapping into our body’s infinite intelligence and taking action quickly. So this is what happens normally when we try and trust ourselves, is we ask the question and then we have initial intuitive hunch like oh yeah, that’s what I should do, then we start negotiating with our minds like, oh is that the right decision? Oh I don’t know. Should I? Should I not? Blahblahblah and then we procrastinate. So my suggestion is ask the question, listen the hunch, take action right away and commit to it. And do it with little things to start with. Once you start to build up the evidence and the trust and the faith and the confidence like wow, my body actually does know a lot. Then we can start putting it on things that are a little bit bigger you know, that hold a little bit more energy whether that’s food or exercise or you know, relationship stuff or career whatever it is. And then we can slowly build up until we get to a place where we’re like, cool I don’t need to negotiate with my mind at all anymore, my body just knows. So start super, super small. I would recommend after you listen to this podcast, make a list of 10 things that you can trust your body to answer. Seemingly insignificant things so we don’t trip up the ego and you get scared. And then just ask the question, listen to the intuitive hunch, take the action right away and commit. Don’t do the grass is greener whole thing cuz that will screw you over. Just keep doing that. Keep taking those small actions every single day. You will eventually get to a place where you’re like, wow I just develop a new trust with myself that I historically did not have. Or not even historically because we had this when we were younger so it’s just really about getting back to what we used to do as children. And so that way we can have evidence to make those bigger decisions but if we kind of go all out, so to say to start with, we could get into intimidated and you know, the fear that the intensity of the fear could prolong the suffering and we may go into procrastination a little bit. Does that make sense?
Paige: Yeah! Of course and I’m really glad you added that. So let me just add one thing that I’ve learned that’s really an important part of that process. I loved the practical advice of something small like what do I want to wear today? Like so silly but like actually pretty, pretty important.
Paige: And I think a big part of this equation is not just doing it and forgetting about it. I think doing it and then really taking a moment to reflect back on that because that’s actually changing your brain. That’s actually like neuroplasticity happening where you’re creating a new connection, where you’re recognizing that you know what? I listened to my gut instinct about what to wear today and again, sounds like of silly, but I listened to that and you know what? It felt really good and yeah, I can trust my body and my intuition to guide me through life. Like how great. If you can have that self-talk going on even about some of those seemingly insignificant things, that will literally change your brain. And so I think it’s one thing to do it, I think it’s another to take a moment to really just reflect and create that connection.
Samantha: Totally. Connecting creates communication. When we’re disconnected from our bodies, we don’t have any communication so it’s essential that we get present, connect through the breath into our bodies first, before we request the communication from our bodies or else it will be numb. We won’t be able to listen. Does that make sense?
Paige: Yeah, you are awesome. I love it. Well ok, so I think that’s a pretty good discussion around the idea of like, learn by doing. Like get out there and take some action. What are some other practical steps you have or you’ve gathered as you’ve worked with people on creating some more trust in their bodies? What’s another practical step?
Samantha: Um so often when we are seeking transformation in terms of this or any kind of transformation for that matter, we get so caught up in the how. Like the step by step by step. And yes that is important so I just gave you guys like a very “how” strategy but that has to be amalgamated and used with a very clear intention. So when we’re dieting, we get so caught in the day to day and the calories and the obsession and the restriction, that we don’t know actually how we want to feel. So I’d ask everybody who’s listening to get really clear of like, when you fully trust yourself, what is that actually going to feel like? And who do you have to become to get there? And so when we have that clear picture and we’re like yo universe, this is what I want and we’re so solid in that reality, the journey of getting there is so much easier because we already know the destination and we can work backwards. So that’s like a little like side note, make sure you kind of do that. The breath is what fundamentally connects mind and body, head and heart. We have so much more access to our breath, to our intuition through our breath and so many of us are such shallow breathers and emotional work takes a lot of presence which is accessible through breathing you know? Go figure. Right? Like we have this natural relaxation system that builds into our bodies that unfortunately, most of us just don’t use.
Paige: Fun fact about that: deep belly breathing actually massages your vagus nerve which helps to calm you.
Paige: It’s like your diaphragm actually massages your nerve which is like, just with the anatomy of the way it works. Yeah! So it’s like a real…
Samantha: I’m doing some massaging right now.
Paige: I know! It’s like, it’s kind of crazy to think about that but it’s not just all in our head it’s like actually like physical things are happening when we breathe deep and breathe in our bellies.
Samantha: That’s hilarious! I had no idea. Huh? Go figure right?
Paige: So I love, oh my gosh, I’m sorry I feel like I’m your biggest fan now. I’m loving this. This is like so awesome. I hope people love it as much as I do. So ok, so I loved your point about really be careful of the how. The how question because that can be a little bit in that mode of like, oh I’m trusting these gurus, right?
Paige: So yeah I think that’s a really important kind of foundational attitude to have about any advice you get in this realm. It’s like, take it with a grain of salt because you’re you right?
Samantha: Yes. Yes yes yes.
Paige: Kay, and then the idea of the way that you tap into your intuition for a lot of people, and maybe different for others but for a lot of people it’s through the breath, right?
Paige: I just want to leave room for the fact that someone else might be like, no, but I totally resonate with that. I think that’s just really sounds like the right thing to me. Have you ever heard of someone talking about a different way of how they tap into that? In nature maybe?
Samantha: You know, there’s many ways we tap into our intuition and on the flip side, there’s many ways that we block our intuition for instance, anger. When we are like riddled with anger and fear and doubt, we block our access to our intuition so we have to really check in with our emotional fields and our emotional landscape and really be like, hey girl, what’s going on right now? Because I know for me personally, yesterday, for some reason, I was just like, not feeling it. I had like this sadness in my body yesterday. And I didn’t know what it was from, and I was finding it really difficult to tap into my intuition. And that’s ok. I just let myself be ok with that. Today I woke up and I’m like, phew I feel super awesome today and I’m very intuitive today. Just be aware that like, things like anger or resentment or you know, frustration or being passive aggressive, those sorts of energies block our connection to our divine intuition so those sort of things take us out of alignment and when we’re no longer in alignment with the highest version of ourselves, it gets foggy. So just something to be aware of but you’re totally right. Like being in nature, connecting with nature, can bring us into an extremely intuitive place so I practice connecting to my intuition when it’s super easy so in nature, when I’m on the beach, when I’m clear so then in times when I’m feeling triggered, my body already knows how to get back into an intuitive place because I “practiced it” when things were easy. Not when I was in conflict or being triggered.
Paige: Yeah. That’s a really good point. I just wanna mention that I think every emotion whether it’s anger like I personally, and I’m not trying to push back but I wanna have a conversation about it, I personally like the idea of not labeling one emotion as good or bad because they all can have their place right
Samantha: Oh my god yes.
Paige: And I don’t think we’re meant to be completely 100% tapped into our intuition at every single moment of our lives because you know what? Sometimes it’s kind of a beautiful thing that you don’t even go through the process of: Hmm what do I wanna do here? When you’re angry or when you’re startled. Sometimes those situations drive you to do just the right thing even though it might be bypassing your intuition. Does that make sense?
Samantha: Oh yeah. 100%. So like joy is just as beautiful as anger. Here’s the thing, like Hungry for Happiness would not even be a thing if I wasn’t angry about what was going on. So I took that anger, I did not transcend it into aggression but I channeled it into creativity. And so anger is a beautiful thing, it’s a creative emotion and it’s fiery and it’s amazing. And providing that we know how to channel it properly and we don’t go off the rails, it’s incredible. So is sadness. Like I was actually grateful I was sad yesterday, I was like, wow this is a cool contrast because usually I’m like happy as a bee and yesterday I was super sad. So there’s no good and bad emotion. It’s just energy in motion that’s all emotion.
Paige: Yeah. I think that’s so true. I just never want anyone to internalize like oh I’m going through a really hard time in my life and I’m feeling really sad or resentful or angry and there’s something wrong with that. I think we all, again if you can tap into your intuition, I think your body and your mind will kind of teach you and let you feel released from that emotion when the time is right. Or let it be channeled into a way that’s healthy for you and that’s good for you. And so I just never want anyone to internalize like, oh I’m a bad person because I’m angry today or whatever. We all do that and we all feel that. And I loved your story of how that for you channeled in the right way, created this beautiful fulfilling career and way to reach people that’s so meaningful in helping so many people and I think many of us can relate to that.
Samantha: It’s so fun. I love it.
Paige: Yeah. Ok so any other thoughts about tapping into that and rewiring that trust system. We mentioned breath and we mentioned distinguishing between a visceral yes and a no. We talked about taking action in little ways and then letting that build, letting that confidence build. Is there anything else that comes to mind?
Samantha: I think it’s important to note here to not overthink this step because this is the most natural, innate human thing that you can do and it’s not like you’re learning a new skill, you’re just getting back to what you’ve always known. And this is… we are intuitive beings. We needed our intuition for survival back in the day. Today we just pretend that we don’t even have one and it’s really hard to access. It’s so easy. It really is. And if we approach it from that place of ease and power and this is just what I get to do as a human, it makes the journey of discovering it so much easier.
Paige: I agree. I love that.
Paige: Oh, you’re awesome. So what, I’m interested to hear just on a side note, like what’s influenced you, schools of thought, philosophies, books, documentaries? I just wanna hear like where have you gathered all of this beautiful information and put it into your brain. Like how did you do that?
Samantha: So I’m a little weird in this. I get this question a lot and the answer is I actually don’t consume a lot of information. Like I don’t, most of the knowledge I have that is my work is through myself. Now let me just kind of explain that. I went through 4 years of absolute hell and then 3.5 year recovery journey and all of the lessons that I teach are like because I tripped and I fell and I skinned by knees and I stayed at rock bottom for a while and then finally learned. And so I don’t really, as far as like resources or what I look to, if I wanna solve something, I kind of just put myself in a quiet place and I really work through it in my own body because I know ultimately, that’s where all the answers are. Because even if I listen to someone as amazing as let’s say Brene Brown, like as we’ve mentioned. That’s Brene Brown’s journey like that’s her you know, content based on her journey and I wanna make content based on my journey. And so I admire her and I love her and I take everything with a grain of salt because that’s not me. So you know, the people that inspire me, to be honest with you, have nothing really to do with personal development, like I get inspired by comedians and I get inspired by dancers and I get inspired, you know because it’s like that in UFC fighters, that level of I admire their level of dedication and mastery but as far as like content and taking something on as my own, I generally like self-manufacture my own content and then deliver it in ways that feel authentic to me.
Paige: That’s awesome. Do you ever come across different schools of thought and philosophies and be like, oh that totally resonates with how I do things? Cuz I’m kind of like you, a lot of my lessons are lessons I’ve learned from clients or lessons I’ve learned from my own life or my own intuition but then recently I actually have come across a lot of resources that I’m like, oh my gosh this is almost perfectly describing the way I’ve come to it on my own and I didn’t even know this whole thing existed.
Paige: Like an example would be like, secular Buddhism. I mean just the idea of suffering and attachment and compassion and like all of the tenants of secular or just Buddhism in general but if you want to make it secular and not as a religion, just to clarify, it’s like a, it’s just actually the Buddha said, or Buddha or maybe the Dalai Lama, one of them said, like don’t use this to become a better Buddhist, use this to become better at what you already are.
Samantha: Mmmm. I love that.
Paige: I know!
Samantha: I will say yes. I spent 2 months in Bali a year and so there’s so, I’m very familiar with Buddhism and I love it. It’s very much about self and love and yeah so when I read things like that or I hear you say that, I’m like yes! That’s amazing or even things like Kundalini yoga or Kundalini whatever it’s called. Is it called Kundalini yoga?
Paige: I have no idea.
Samantha: Well Kundalini whatever. You know? Even some of the philosophies in that practice. I’m like, oh totally! That’s cool. Or transformational breath work. This whole concept of there’s trauma locked in our bodies that sometimes isn’t accessible through talk therapy so we have to use our breath in order to unlock those pieces in our body. Like I can get all over that cuz I totally believe that and sometimes those schools of thought just help me deepen what I’m already doing and what I already know to be truth for me. So yeah, I would say for me, transformational breath was something that I discovered and I’m like, this is amazing. The world needs this.
Paige: Yeah and in so many areas of the world that is part of the culture or the lifestyle or the expectation is that you do connect with your breath. Right?
Paige: So it’s cool. I guess what I’m trying to say is you can come to your own inner wisdom in a beautiful and profound way and then as you start to open your eyes to the world around you, you start to see, oh yeah! All these other people have come to similar conclusions maybe they do it a little bit differently but the foundational principles of intuition and intention and trust and mindfulness and awareness and presence, right? Maybe are themes that come up among a lot of the philosophies that resonate with you.
Samantha: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes yes yes.
Paige: Ok. One more question and then I’ll let you go. Ok.
Samantha: Ok. I could be here all day.
Paige: I know me too. Right?
Samantha: I’m digging this conversation.
Paige: Do you ever worry and I’m just pushing back just because I personally when I listen to a podcast, love to hear both sides right? It’s kind of not as fun to have a [??] chamber going on. So I just want to hear, do you ever worry that your emotions or feelings can be manipulated? Where you’re like, oh I don’t even think about the logical side, I just think about what my body’s telling me to or whatever. Do you ever worry or have you ever experienced feeling manipulated in that way? Cuz there are definitely ways where your feelings can be manipulated. Does that make sense?
Samantha: Ask the question again with different words.
Paige: Ok. Hahah.
Samantha: I think I’m a little bit lost.
Paige: Ok, so if you’re going, if you’re living life off of like, ok do I feel good about this? Do I feel good about that? And kind of like you’ve mentioned, no my logical brain, I just kind of put off to the side. Right? Ok. So this is what I’m running with, so do you ever worry that that, oh, I feel good about this, therefor it’s the right thing to do. Do you ever worry that that gets manipulated by someone who’s like…
Paige: Do you know what I’m trying to say?
Samantha: Yeah yeah yeah. Hundred percent. Sorry. I got it now.
Paige: That’s ok.
Samantha: So I’m talking about dominant versus secondary so most of the world, their logical brain is the dominant driving force in making their decisions and either they don’t even think about their intuition or it’s a little like side thing. My philosophy and how I run my life is like my dominant is my intuition and my logic checks in after just to make sure I’m safe. So that’s how I run my decision making. It’s all intuitive and I do have that integration with my mind to make sure the facts are in order and the details are in place. My intuition doesn’t take note of that so my brain does. However, the initial, larger decision is based on my intuition. Does that answer your question?
Paige: Yeah. Yeah, I definitely, I think that that makes sense and my thought or my wonder is like, it’s just sort of scary sometimes the power that there’s this DNA, built into our DNA, we want to be involved in the community, we want to be in the In group, we want to be…we can’t even help it but this is in us, some of these things so it can be so seductive to kind of have our emotions or our feelings manipulated because of these innate desires to fit in and to belong and to be a part of something. And sometimes when you’re doing this work of being intuitive and connected to your body, it can feel very counter culture and so I just, I guess I just wonder how you stay true to that even though there is this potential for manipulation and/or sort of like, you’re unaware but there’s underlying desire that’s built into our DNA to belong or that kind of thing.
Samantha: Yeah, it comes down to just simply what you were talking about, awareness. I’m aware that one of the things I crave most is connection and I know sometimes I follow my intuition in doing what I want to do, I might create disconnection in some areas of my life but I also can create more connections by being truthful to what’s true to me and my heart. So it really comes down to constantly doing what’s right for you, knowing that there’s some potential to be manipulated, swayed based on other people’s decisions or what society thinks you should do. But at the end of the day, ultimately, what’s best for you, what’s best for me is following exactly and doing what I want. What’s good for me is good for the world. By virtue of me staying in my power and in my truth, I am giving people permission to do the same. So by setting strong boundaries and following your heart and doing what you want and not caring and not giving 105 reasons as to what you said no to that person. It is what it is. By virtue of you doing that and being in your power, you give permission to other people to do the exact same.
Paige: That is a beautiful answer. I love that.
Samantha: Hahaha you’re welcome.
Paige: I just think it’s important to look at both sides and I anticipate sort of like, what people might be wondering as you’re talking and that’s the only reason I brought that up.
Samantha: I love that you did. Thank you.
Paige: Yeah cool! So take a few minutes now and just tell people how they can find you cuz I’m sure they’re like, oh my gosh! I need this girl in my life! So talk about that.
Samantha: So if any of you guys have resonated with you and you are by being with the relationship you have to food and your body, I think the best thing to do would be to apply for the Society you know, everything I do is by application and invitation only so I can ensure the women that I work with are truly committed to making this transformation in your life because it’s not for everybody at all times. And so our Society is our signature program, it’s a 6 month group coaching program to truly revolutionize the relationship you have to food and your body. It’s a deep transformational program. We run that twice a year so you can apply from our site which is hungryforhappiness.com and we’ll hope on a call and see if it’s a fit for you.
Paige: Awesome. And then social media, they can follow you, right?
Samantha: Yeah. I share a lot of content on my personal page which is Samantha Skelly and we’re @hungryforhappiness/Hungry for Happiness on Instagram and facebook. And youtube as well. We put up tons of content on there so yeah! Fill your boots.
Paige: So Hungry for Happiness is how people can find you on Instagram and facebook if they want to.
Paige: Yay! Ok well Samantha, you are just so much fun and I don’t even know how to describe you. You’re just like a fireball of wonderful energy but like so kind and gentle at the same time. I love it.
Samantha: You’re so sweet. Thank you so much
Paige: So thank you so much for being here and sharing all this with us. I’m sure I’m going to get lots of great feedback about this episode and keep doing your amazing work, I really admire you. Thanks for all you do.
Samantha: You’re so welcome, Paige. Thank you for having me on the show. It’s been super fun.