I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Ohebshalom of Radiant Living Wellness, a New York-based wellness center that offers a variety of programs, including nutritional counseling and yoga. One of the things that I liked about Nicole’s philosophy is her focus on living a healthy, pleasurable life, where we truly listen to our bodies. It’s a life without restrictive diets and punishing exercise.
On her website, she says, “Instead of following a rigid diet that you would be a slave to, begin to experiment and experience so that you can become the master of your own body.”
Below, she talks about healthy eating, self-acceptance and practical ways to “feel alive.”
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
I have an international wellness practice for women that consists of group programs and private practice. It is a unique wellness program designed for women with a feminine approach towards ancient wisdom with modern technology. It’s an integrative healing approach to wellness that encompasses the transformation of body, mind and spirit through the mind-set, communication, nutrition, yoga/meditation, lifestyle and more.
2. What are some common misconceptions you run into about food, healthy eating and/or wellness?
Many people are unrealistic when they desire to eat healthy, lose weight or create a more balanced lifestyle. One misconception is that many people believe once they can control their diet by a very restrictive eating habit mentality then they can go out to enjoy life and fulfill their desires.
As a society, we hold a linear mentality by using terms of “good” and “bad.” I believe this holds people back from radiating who they truly are and all they want to experience in life. Simply, a mindset of good and bad creates a diet with eating habits that causes people to go overboard, restrict, or worry about every morsel.
3. It seems that as a society we’ve gotten healthy eating confused with dieting. Can you explain the differences between the two and what healthy eating truly is?
Healthy eating is to go beyond physical hunger and meet the hunger that resides within, listening to your body and taking care of yourself. It’s when food doesn’t have any emotional charge and you don’t have to remind yourself to watch what you eat. Eating becomes a natural physical pleasure.
This same relationship is created with your body, where you feel love and respect your body as sacred. I believe healthy eating is when you have a clear and compassionate communication to express your feelings and desires in life. Typically when people begin to live with pleasure and this consciousness then they automatically want to choose healthy food.
4. In one of your blog posts, you talk about the importance of accepting yourself unconditionally because that’s when everything in your life will change. What changes do you mean? Can you talk about the ways we can accept ourselves?
Freedom begins with the act, not the theory or thought, of self-love. Every single person has a range of emotions, longings and passions in life. The life we live in has taught us to repress them, which is a core part of who we are. We can and must teach ourselves.
It’s not about changing yourself rather than getting to know yourself better and becoming clear on your values and desires. When you are in this state of happiness and ownership of who you are then you begin to radiate the life that you desire. When we begin to have clarity, joy and responsibility in your vision of the world then you will also begin to love others’ visions and step away from feeling like a victim.
To begin accepting yourself is to approve, approve and approve! There is always something within you in each moment that you can find to smile about and celebrate within yourself and with others. Ask yourself, “What do I adore and enjoy right at this moment about myself?” Allow yourself to feel the answer to this question and through time this will multiply.
5. Can you elaborate on how the life we live has taught us to repress our emotions and passions?
There are many factors that contribute to women dimming their lights. I think one aspect is we live in a” should and shouldn’t” world, which doesn’t allow us the freedom to ask ourselves, “How am I feeling?” or “What is my core need right now?” Our focus then goes more to the needs of the outside world.
Instead of learning how to pay attention to the genius of our intuition and inner guidance, we instead internalize the belief that we aren’t worthy enough, beautiful enough, or smart enough to live in a life of pleasure, fulfillment and freedom. This denying of universal needs and emotional expression has led many to addictions like overworking, overeating, smoking, etc., that result in an endless cycle.
6. Anything else you’d like Weightless readers to know about food, body image, wellness or other related topics?
Right now is your moment to live – Enjoy It! Don’t be afraid to be fully alive – as long as you’re here, live it! Choose what makes you feel good and alive! Express yourself, move your body, be aware of your breathing and be part of a loving community. Allow yourself to get in tune with your body’s needs. I don’t think that’s too radical.
7. What are some concrete ways we can feel good and alive?
Expressing yourself: We use very limited amount of words to express how we feel. When I begin working with someone their feeling bank consists of: fine, good, happy and sad.
The first step is to really begin asking yourself, “How do I feel right now?” and then sitting with it to try out a variety of “feeling” words. My favorite step is to then approve of whatever you are feeling. A person could say to themselves, “I’m feeling _____ and that is perfect.” There is a large banquet of feelings that people are experiencing so I believe it’s time to claim it to feel empowered and happy in life.
Body movement: There have been many studies on how moving the body is healthy physically and emotionally. My clients create a menu of different physical movements they can perform in relation to how they are feeling. It could be dancing, jumping on a trampoline, yoga, weight lifting, NIA, sfactor….it’s whatever turns you on at that moment! My focus is listening to what your body craves and having tons of fun doing it!
Community: A woman’s brain is built for connection with other women. I believe that women thrive in what they desire when they have the support of other women. It provides self-confidence, freedom and compassion. I witness this firsthand in my monthly women’s group coaching programs: http://loveyourradiance.eventbrite.com or email me at nicole (at) radiantlivingwellness.com
Thanks so much, Nicole, for sharing your insight with us!