Kimberly Snyder on the Importance of Emotional Wellness
Our emotions are responsible for a lot more than we give them credit for. At the core of emotion creation are our thoughts – the captain of our emotional ship, so to speak. Pay attention to our thoughts, and the emotions they create, and life can literally change course.
Ten years ago, I overhauled my diet, becoming raw vegan overnight. Back then, I believed deeply it was the health and wellness cure-all. But, I’m the first to admit, I was wrong. Very wrong. What I didn’t factor into this equation? My emotions and the stressful thoughts I’d become accustomed to thinking. My body was in flight or fright, so how on earth was it supposed to digest all of that nourishing food if I was running from that invisible saber-tooth tiger?
It took me a few years to figure out how I’d skipped over one of the most important contributors to overall health, wellness and vitality.
Sought-after nutritionist and yogi to the stars, Kimberly Snyder, is known globally for her plant-based menus that satiate even the most pampered celebrity. While the public may have not known it, she has long practised emotional wellness alongside her vegan diet. The results? Well, if you know Kim and her work, they speak for themselves.
As author of The Beauty Detox book series, she has inspired thousands worldwide, helping them transform their diet and ideas about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.
Her third book in the series, The Beauty Detox Power, the New York Times bestseller is taking readers beyond her signature Glowing Green Smoothie to wellbeing via the subconscious mind and yoga, infused with nuggets of wisdom about how to foster self-belief in order to live a life with purpose.
I first met Kim while living in LA. Back then we chatted about bliss balls, Reiki and how to do vegan the right way. I learned much from her during our hour-long catch up, and have followed her work and her journey ever since, singing her praises as I go.
I caught up with Kimberly again—this time over email—to find out more about her this important book and her yoga DVD series release and why the right diet goes beyond the food on our plate.
What is your book about and what do you hope it will do for those who read it?
The Beauty Detox Power is a new way to think about the role of food in our overall wellbeing. Until now, we’ve been conditioned to think of food as the primary factor in our weight and health. But beyond what’s on your plate, The Beauty Detox Power shows you all the factors at play, how aligning your thoughts, words, actions (such as what you eat), and core beliefs (such as the belief that it is hard to lose weight and keep it off) is the key to success in looking and feeling the way you want. In the book I guide you through exactly what to do to create this alignment, just like aligning your spine.
For people who have been eating a certain way and have plateaued, there’s nothing more frustrating than following a plan to the letter and seeing no results. The Beauty Detox Power helps you take into account all factors that need to be aligned and blast through roadblocks to be happier and healthier.
For example, the gut is the second brain. Emotions affect digestion. Your success hinges on using both of your brains, the one in your head and the one in your gut. They’re equally important. We all know how stress can affect our overall health, and the functioning of your heart. What’s lesser known is how it can affect our weight… but it can.
For example, the gut is the second brain. Emotions affect digestion. Your success hinges on using both of your brains, the one in your head and the one in your gut. They’re equally important.
This approach works no matter how you eat. This is a complement to any type of diet you are currently following, including of course, the Beauty Detox dietary program!
There’s a widespread belief that once being thin is attained, happiness comes as a part of that. Why is that true or not true?
That is NOT true. I’ve always raised the question – what good is it to be a size four if you look ten years older than you are? Now in The Beauty Detox Power I ask, what good is it to be a size four if you are miserable?
I believe that many people are disconnected from their source of power, which is where their happiness lies, and so then project their inability to be happy onto their bodies, becoming increasing dissatisfied with themselves overall and their bodies. In my definition, true power arises from the alignment between your thoughts, core beliefs, words and actions. It comes from within.
It is this alignment that allows you to become extraordinarily powerful and able to shape the body and life you want. When you are truly powerful, you are able to exceed perceived limitations in all areas of your life, including in how you look and feel, your weight, health, energy and beauty. Tapping into your true power is really what the whole book is about.
The Beauty Detox Power delves into the spiritual and emotional factors around food. Was it a big leap of faith writing a book like this or did you naturally feel your readers were ready for the next phase of what it means (and takes) to be healthy?
I was so ready for this, and I felt like my readers were so ready for this, too. I wrote the outline for this book while I was editing The Beauty Detox Foods, and then when I was asked to write another book, I wrote a new outline without hesitation. Remembering that earlier one I wrote, I dug it up on my computer and realised the two outlines were virtually identical. So I felt there was a strong message and intuition guiding me to write about what I did.
The Beauty Detox Power is spiritual, yes, in the sense that spirituality means a focus on increasing consciousness. My approach is also spiritual in the sense that it recognises that there are other factors at play in weight loss that can not be tangibly seen or touched, such as food, or tracked and measured numerically, such as how many calories you burn on a treadmill. Our emotions, feelings, thoughts, and yes, our spirit is also part of the weight loss process.
My approach is also spiritual in the sense that it recognises that there are other factors at play in weight loss that can not be tangibly seen or touched, such as food, or tracked and measured numerically, such as how many calories you burn on a treadmill.
I look around and see enormous daily struggle everywhere in trying to control weight from very rigid means, such as tracking calories on an app. There is so much frustration and wasted energy with women and people in general, energy that could otherwise be used to put towards creative endeavors. It pains me. It is my sincere goal to help others find freedom, the way I have.
You write about beliefs in the book, and how our subconscious mind can house beliefs, unhealthy habits and fear that can literally steer the direction of our life. What beliefs did you find you needed to change during your journey and how did you specifically do it?
I became increasingly aware that I was bound up in ego. I often acted from a place of caring about what others would think about me, versus what authentically served me or what I felt. For instance, I would often go with the flow, drinking too much or even when I didn’t feel like going out because I wanted to fit in. It all stemmed from thinking I wasn’t good enough in me just being me. In the book I share about some super deep, childhood stuff that went on with me…and let’s just say that childhood issues can cut very deep and affect our beliefs about ourselves into adulthood.
But I’ve done a lot of work, and I share some of the tools that have been the most effective for me, including exercises to first even become aware of your beliefs and repeated thoughts in the first place (which many of us may not even be aware of) that can contribute to deep-seated habits, and overcome them to step into your full potential into looking and feeling your best, long-term, and without the continual struggle.
But I’ve done a lot of work, and I share some of the tools that have been the most effective for me, including exercises to first even become aware of your beliefs and repeated thoughts in the first place.
Affirmations, when practiced properly and with concentration (as I teach in the program), help change deep-rooted thought patterns that may be hindering your success. If your thoughts and beliefs are not aligned to with your actions and words, then you will not be able to reach your full potential.
There’s quite a bit of talk about orthorexia nervosa, a disorder that surfaces as controlled, extreme healthy eating. What’s your insight with this?
I think that an obsession with numbers and the ease today with apps and information to help you chart every deduced number of everything you eat. It’s truly unfortunate, because to me health should be our natural state, and feel freeing rather than controlling.
But for some, clinging to numbers feel like they give you control, because they are things you can count, but then you start to feel out of control, because you start to plateau and they don’t work anymore. Numbers are oversimplifying, and we are complex beings.
Though some people may be successful in losing weight by counting calories- at least for a time- how long can you really keep it off? And how much of their energy is engaged in staying on the plan?
My approach is not a diet, but a lifestyle. You don’t want to have to bring a calculator to dinner with you. It all goes back to alignment. If you take one whole macronutrient out of the mix (like carbs), then your alignment gets off. One brain (your mind) tells you what to eat, and then the other brain (your gut), tells you what to actually do with it.
My approach is not a diet, but a lifestyle. You don’t want to have to bring a calculator to dinner with you. It all goes back to alignment.
Your mind creates stress, and stress can actually adversely affect your digestion, the shape of your body and your weight. Digestion is not just about what you ate (though that is important), but also your emotions at any given time, your emotional and mental state while you are actually eating. Were you in a fight with your sister or friend? Did you have a stressful day at work and eating during a tense meeting or discussion? The role of the mind in cravings and our efficiency in digestion are very much as impactful as the foods themselves. I think if people look at diet and health more holistically, they will be able to ease their obsessive tendencies and realize that health is really a total mind-body-spirit state that can be achieved with far more easefulness than they might have ever imagined (thank goodness!).
Why is yoga an important part of The Beauty Detox Power journey?
Yoga has been such an enormous part of my life for over a decade now, and I think it’s such a powerful tool for self-awareness and balance.
Yoga is infinitely more than just a form of exercise. Though many associate asanas (poses) with yoga, in reality they are actually only a very tiny part of what yoga truly is. Regularly and properly practiced, yoga creates balance, a connection with the greater whole, and a deep peace. It’s really not about how “hard” the poses that you can put your body in are, but rather your deepening level of consciousness, breath awareness, and feeling less reactive off the mat. Your yoga practice can awaken consciousness in your entire life, and fits into The Beauty Detox Power philosophy that all parts of your life are interconnected. So how you move your body does have an effect on your mind, and a yoga practice can ease rigidity and help you feel more balanced, and creative, as you move in a more creative way as well.
Are there certain postures you rely on regularly?
I love Virabhadrasana II, or Warrior II, which makes me feel really strong and grounded. But I do all self-practice these days, and I love the flexibility and authenticity of a home practice. I love going into lots of inversions when I feel like I have a lot of energy to work out, and some days (like today, actually), I incorporate only long forward folds and hip openers in my practice, staying close to the ground and my mat, when I need to chill out and go inwards.
From your first book to your latest, what have you learned and how have you changed since you began?
I’ve learned to keep looking deeper and deeper. With The Beauty Detox Solution, I thought I had it all figured out, about how digestion is the key to health and beauty. I still believe that, and now that I’m diving deep into an Ayurvedic doctoral program and am amazed to see how the roots of the world’s oldest medical system support the same Beauty Detox premise (agni is Sanskrit for digestion).
But now that I see there is so much more to health and beauty than food. I wouldn’t have stated that a few years ago, I don’t think. But now I see that your emotional, mental and spiritual state, and how you nourish yourself on those levels and strive for balance, are really as key to health and beauty as what is on your fork.
What’s the most common beauty, health and diet advice you’re asked and what’s your answer?
I would have to say, most people ask me – If I can just commit to doing one thing, what should that be? And my answer is always the same, and it’s to incorporate my Glowing Green Smoothie into your every day. Not only will you get a chockfull of beauty nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber and so much more, but it puts you in the right mental state of mind of having done something good for yourself and putting you on track to make good choices for the rest of the day. It’s the best natural foods grown in the bounty of nature, and connecting with the greater whole of nature in which we are part will leave you feeling amazing, and your energy will soar.